Category Archives: Business

Hurricane Update

We’re now into our second full day without power. Fortunately, we’re flying back to CA tomorrow. Things are slowly getting back to normal in Palm Beach County, but there is still a curfew from dusk to dawn (it just ended for last night). Our ice has essentially melted, and we’re down to the last of our pre-storm food, but Publix are open, and hopefully they’ll start to re supply. We have several fallen limbs to cut up, but Home Depot is out of chain saws, and doesn’t know when they’ll be getting more (the storm moving up north is likely disrupting supply chains).

On the cat front, it seems to be a lymphoma, but an aggressive one. The bad news is that the tumors aren’t shrinking with the steroid treatment, but the good news is that they aren’t growing, either, and she seems to be stable and happy. We don’t get in until after the hospital closes tomorrow, but should be able to pick her up on Thursday and bring her home, for however long she ends up living.

[Thursday-morning update]

We got in about five last eveing, had dinner and went to bed. Feeling much better now, and it’s nice to be back in CA, despite the idiocy of the voters here. Had the first good night’s sleep in days, to cool temperatures and the sound of our new garden fountain outside our window. Going in this morning to bring Rerun home, and try to get things back, as much as possible around here, to normal.

Norm Augustine

A conversation with him. The transcription has a few problems, but it’s interesting. His thoughts on space tourism:

Much like the airlines once you get more people you got to fly the cheaper the flight, the tickets cost or the more tickets you could sell the cheaper it is to operate an airline and you get this happy, just the opposite of the death spiral that some people talk about. So I think that there are a lot of people today, and I don’t mean billionaires, who would pay a fair amount of money to uh… I don’t mean just go up on a rock and come back to L.A. I mean go into orbit for a day or two and look through telescopes and have lectures on space, experience weightlessness and get to get sick and all these great things. But I do think that that will be the change agent. I don’t see anything that’s going to reduce the cost of space transportation by a factor of 10 other than a much higher volume…

And if we can get people involved, and I think we can, in tourism it will make a lot of difference. I’ve had the good fortune to, I’m kind of an amateur explorer or whatever and I’ve been to the South Pole three times and the North Pole once I’ve rafted the Grand Canyon and I you know you go through this long list of stuff. And people say well you know not many people want to go into space. Who would want to do that? Well I think back when I rafted the Grand Canyon I think there were 14000 people a year going through the Grand Canyon on a raft at that time. If you’d ask Wesley Powell the first person to do if, what 75 years later 14000 people will be into the canyon he would say you’re crazy if you’d asked the Wright brothers that the population of Detroit gets on an airplane every day and complains because they’ve already seen the movie and the food’s bad. The Wright brothers would have thought you were bonkers or something. You know there are many other examples one can go through of that kind of thing and people do want to experience these things and I think that will be the biggest change agent of all.

I’ve been preaching this for three decades.

The Insanity Of Global Warming Hysteria

A simple proof:

as a person familiar with both mathematics and computer science, this variation is not odd, in fact it’s completely understandable. After all a computer model is based on the best possible guesses from the available data and hurricanes are “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” so there is nothing at all odd about there being a 850 mile variation as to where it will it. As we get closer to Sunday and we have true data to input the variation in the models will correspondingly decrease.

Now apply this to climate change models telling us we face disaster in 100 years.

You aren’t dealing with a single “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” you are dealing with EVERY complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes that exists on the earth. Every single additional item you add increases the variation of the data models. Furthermore you are also dealing with variations in the sun, variations in the orbits of the earth, its moon and more.

And that’s just the variations in natural phenomena, imagine the variation in industrial output on the entire planet for a period of 50 or 100 years.

Think of the computer modeling and tracking of that single hurricane and apply this thinking to the climate of the earth as a whole. How accurate that model is going to be over 100 years, 50 years, 25 years or even ten years?

Would you be willing to bet even your short term economic future on it, would anyone in their right mind do so?

Not me.

Falcon Heavy

Leonard David has a story on its prospects for initial success, with quotes from Yours Truly.

To expand on the point, while he didn’t include it, I told Leonard in email:

The other issue is not launch reliability, but schedule reliability. SpaceX has aborted launches of the Falcon 9 when one or more of the engines was indicating performance issues on ignition. Three times as many engines means a lot higher probability of having an issue with one of them. For example, while I don’t know what the ignition reliability of a Merlin D is, suppose it’s 99% (that is, there’s a one in a hundred chance of failure to perform up to spec on ignition). For nine engines, that means the probability of a Falcon 9 aborting on the pad due to an engine issue would be one minus 0.99 to the ninth power, or about 8% per flight, or about once every dozen flights (which doesn’t seem that far off from their record). I don’t know what their flight rules will be for the Heavy, but if they have the same rule that they can’t take off with an underperforming engine, the reliability for twenty-seven engines will be one minus 0.99 to the 27th power, or 24%. That is, if they’re only 0.99 reliable per engine, and require all engines operating properly to take off, they have about a one in four chance of aborting a Falcon Heavy every single flight. That says to me that either they think Merlin reliability is greater than that (which it could well be) or that they’ll relax the rules to allow engine out from liftoff, or perhaps both.

Regardless, here’s hoping for a successful flight in less than three months.