Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich Proposes Colonizing the Moon and Making it the 51st State, Say What?

with 8 comments

Newt Gingrich, possible Republican Presidential candidate,  has proposed colonizing the Moon by 2020 and making it the 51st state. Reaction has been mixed, but mostly ranging from critical to ridicule. It’s certainly an ambitious idea, especially talking about 13,000 colonists. Is this idea totally out of this world, or does Mr. Gingrich have a point?

Let’s look at this logically. First off, is it legal? Can the USA legally colonize the Moon? Pause for laughter. The USA hasn’t given a  rat’s ass for decades about International Law, other than manipulating it for the USA’s benefit. So we can skip this step.

Is there any reason to go to the Moon? Well, there’s certainly sound scientific reasons to go to the Moon.  And ultimately science usually pays off, so while this may not be a good reason in and of itself, it would be a nice bonus. Secondly, there’s every reason to believe that all sorts of extremely rare and valuable metals can be found on the Moon, deposited by asteroid strikes. That’s a big plus. There’s potentially all sorts of industrial processes where the Moon’s vacuum and low gravity would be a big bonus. Lastly, and in some ways the most exciting way, the Moon is believed to have copious deposits of Helium 3. Perhaps as much as a million tons, rained down by millions of years of Solar Wind. What’s so cool abut Helium 3? It has fantastic promise as a fuel for nuclear fusion … 25 tons of Helium 3 could power the USA and the EU for a year. So yes, there’s sound reasons to colonize the Moon.

Is it feasible? Well, who knows. Water has been found in copious quantities on the Moon, and there are some lovely water filled (not literally of course) craters on one of the Moon’s poles in close proximity to mountain peaks that are always in sunlight. Water, which can be made into water and air, situated near continuous solar power. To put it mildly, sounds tailor made for a massively self sufficient colony. IE a colony that can provide its own air, water, and energy has a huge head start, and there’s no reason it couldn’t quickly start producing its own food as well. Yes, there are massive technological hurdles, but the concept sure seems viable. Technological hurdles didn’t stop us from sending men to the Moon in the first place.

Finally, how much will this cost? Well, using the same accounting firm that predicted the cost of the Iraq War, cost estimates for this run in the tens of billions of dollars. And if we use the same NASA accountants that predicted how cheap and economical the Space Shuttle was going to be, we can surely confirm these estimates. Yes, I’m being facetious, this would be an incredibly expensive undertaking. A hundred billion dollars a year, maybe more, for at least a decade.

Well, um, that’s what the War in Iraq cost us, and we don’t have diddly to show for it except war graves, an Iranian aligned Iraq, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and a huge pile of debt. Yeah, that was a good investment. No, the Project for an American Moon would employ huge numbers of people, almost immediately provide profitable technological spin offs, and ultimately pay for itself many times over. Cost alone is no reason to  write this idea off, the only question is where would this money come from? It’s not like these are flush times, and it’s a safe bet that the 1% aren’t going to voluntarily cough up a trillion dollars.

Well, I have an idea. Take the money from the military. Wait, hear me out, don’t target that drone at my apartment building just yet. Yes, use money from the military budget, but, and it’s a big but, give the military a reason to be happy with this, make them an integral part of the project. I am proposing nothing less than the creation of another branch of the military, a US Space Force to be exact. Done right this could be a very inspiring thing. They could be tasked with defending all of Earth from space based threats, starting with rogue asteroids. And protecting the rights of all nations to travel in space and exploit space. To infinity and beyond!

Just trying to think outside the lines, because staying in the lines got us where we are now. Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.  It’s not being used for profit, and, well, it’s all over the Internet. I don’t know the origin, it may actually have originally been Russian. If anyone knows I will properly attribute it. I was searching for a nice image to illustrate the US Space Force idea, stumbled on this, and decided it was too funny not to share. Look closely if you don’t get the joke at first glance. One final positive aspect to Newt’s Moon colony plan. He could be on the very first ship.)


Written by unitedcats

January 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen: Battle of the Crater, A Novel

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As astute, and even not so astute, readers have no doubt noticed, this post is a book review. Book reviews may even become a regular feature on Doug’s Darkworld. Partly because it gets me free books, mostly because it gets me reading, since the Internet my attention span is less than a typical gerbil’s. And I suppose my readers might even appreciate a few book reviews, I’ve become leery of books and movies that weren’t recommended to me by someone. OK, so, Battle of the Crater. This is a great book. Everyone should read it. Go buy it now. See, book reviews are easy, this thing practically writes itself.

I read this book because the Battle of the Crater has always been a battle that fascinates me. I’ve even blogged on it before, though my post does contain spoilers if one is actually planning on reading the book. I knew when I started reading that I would at least be able to tolerate the book as I liked the subject manner. And to my unexpected pleasure, not only did I enjoy the book, about halfway through I couldn’t put it down.  I mean, I know how the battle ended, but I still wanted to see how the book ended. The book also contained a wealth of historical detail that I had been unfamiliar with as well. And as far as I can tell, I’m but an amateur Civil War historian at best, the book got the facts right as well as the tone of the times.

Without giving anything away, the book covers the battle itself, from the planning and preparation, to the aftermath. It also covers the politics surrounding the battle, a truly depressing aspect of the whole mess. The characters are believable, as most if not all of them were real people. The protagonist seems like the only exception, but the authors needed someone to tie the narrative together, so one made-up character in a historical novel is acceptable.

What else to say? The book is a fairly light and enjoyable read, not the sort of ponderous historical tome written by Barabara Tuchman for example. It’s fun to read, and not only will the reader enjoy themselves, they will learn a lot about the American Civil War. To summarize, if a reader likes historically based novels, or has an interest in the Civil War, I recommend this book.

And speaking of the American Civil War: The stupidest most disastrous war in American history. A war brought to us by one man and one man only, Abraham Lincoln. Yes, unlike so many Americans, especially Americans of the liberal persuasion, I see nothing good in the Civil War. That’s my next post.

As well as the usual outlets, Battle of the Crater is also available at the Macmillan Audio Book Mart.

(The above illustration is used with the tacit if not explicit permission of the publisher, so I think I’m pretty safe. Battle of the Crater is illustrated with period style illustrations by the way, always a nice touch. Enjoy.)

Written by unitedcats

November 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm