California Election 2016

The Presidential Election for the United States of America is tomorrow so it’s about time I do some sort of post about it.

I usually don’t like talking about politics with people who aren’t my friends. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be divisive, but I suppose I should use my teeny soapbox of the GoCorral website for what it’s worth.

I’ve got two categories I want to go over for the election, who should be President and California’s propositions. I’ll start with the propositions. Continue reading

Mars One

I read about this project the other day called Mars One.

The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.

Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.

NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.

#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.

#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.

Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.

The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.

That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).

There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.

Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.

Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.

The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.

This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.

I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.

There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.

Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.

And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.

A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.

Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.

My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!

-GoCorral

PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.

All This Ukraine Stuff

The crash site near Grabovo, 17 July

The unrest in Ukraine has been going on about since I started this blog, but I have yet to post on it.

Part of my reason for not posting is because I don’t know much about whats going on there. I feel like the topic deserves to be addressed regardless.

I’ll try to start from the top and see where that leads me.

In February the people in Crimea, the section of Ukraine that extends into the Black Sea,  decided they wanted to stop being part of Ukraine and start being a part of Russia.

Did they decide this on their own or did the Russians threaten them? I don’t know.

The Russians sent in their army and took over Crimea.

Within the next few months other parts of Ukraine started deciding they wanted to stop being part of Ukraine and start being part of Russia.

Again, its unclear if this was what the people in those areas want or if Russia is intimidating them.

People speaking Russian and using Russian weapons have taken over a lot of the government buildings in eastern Ukraine

Outside of Crimea, Russia appears to not be directly involved in hostile takeovers of government entities.

If the people of eastern Ukraine want to join Russia then it makes perfect sense that they would be speaking Russian and using Russian weapons.

But what if the people taking over government buildings in Ukraine are Russian soldiers disguised as Ukrainians?

It seemed plausible until I considered accents.

Ukraine does have a significant Russian speaking population, but I’d bet that their Russian is spoken with a different accent than the accent of a “real Russian.”

That accent would be noticed by the civilians and reporters in Ukraine, but so far I haven’t heard anyone mentioning it.

That means that people aren’t paying enough attention or that the accent fits with the local accents, indicating that the rebels are actually Ukrainians who want to join Russia.

Or my theory is wrong.

One of my other theories is that if Russia is aiding the rebels, then the CIA would almost definitely know about it.

That’s the exact sort of thing the CIA should be trying to find out and considering they were able to find Osama Bin Laden, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found out where the Ukrainian rebels’ weapons came from.

But is it bad if Russian aids one side of a civil war whose outcome directly affects their country?

I’m not sure.

The war is having bad effects on the rest of the world. For example, the above picture that I took from the BBC’s website shows the wreckage caused by the Malaysian plane shot down over Ukraine.

It’s unclear right now who shot it down. Was it rebels? The Ukrainian government? The Russian government? A random lunatic?

My wife said that one Russian news network is claiming the western world created a conspiracy with the plane going down.

The network claims that the western world filled a plane with passengers who were already dead. The two pilots parachuted out and the plane crashed. There was no missile that shot it down.

That makes me think that Russia must not have as strict laws on truthful reporting of the news as the USA does.

That covers most of the actual events. The rest of the unrest in Ukraine has been officials talking, but I doubt the actual people in eastern Ukraine are listening.

It seems like a war will be inevitable, but its not there yet.

-Mister Ed