A New Frontier Might Be Required

Scientists Get Serious in the Search for a Working Warp Drive (msn.com)

Scientists have longed for some sort of technology that can propel humans faster than what physics says is possible, and now a new online tool is helping engineers make a warp drive the sole property of Starfleet. Last week, Applied Physics, which is an international group of scientists and engineers, announced that they’d created an online toolkit for “analyzing warp drive spacetimes” called the “Warp Factory.”

This comes only a few years after a flurry of papers reported that constructing warp drives — built on the idea of spacetime-folding warp bubbles — could be theoretically possible. Warp Factory provides an online playground for researchers to test warp engine ideas.

“Physicists can now generate and refine an array of warp drive designs with just a few clicks, allowing us to advance science at warp speed,” Gianni Martire, CEO of Applied Physics, said in a press statement. “Warp Factory serves as a virtual wind tunnel, enabling us to test and evaluate different warp designs. Science fiction is now inching closer to science fact.”

Interesting. I’m a bit skeptical but it is still interesting. I brings up a flood of memories for me.

In late 1999 my contract at Microsoft was not renewed and I was looking for a job. I called up Eric Engstrom who, the last I had heard, was still working at Microsoft. I thought he might know of a group that was hiring. He had left Microsoft a few months earlier and was about to start his own company. He was thrilled I had called him. His employment agreement at MS prohibited him from recruiting MS people for some period of time after he left. But since I contacted him and was no longer at MS I was fair game.

His recruiting pitch for me to join his startup was unique.

We were going to become billionaires by using a different business model and out competing MS in the Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

If you think that was grandiose…

And once we had the money stream we had sucked away from Microsoft we would start working on immortality. Immorality would give us the luxury of being able to, “Wait around for warp drive.” We would be able to travel the galaxy.

I was his first employee at his new startup. It didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped, the company went under in the dot com crash and he died on December 1, 2020 at the age of 55 of an accidental Tylenol overdose.

Every time I hear of warp drive outside of a Sci-Fi environment I think of Eric. And if I ever take a cruise on a warp drive powered ship and you see me sad it will be because I’m thinking of Eric.

On a happier note. Warp drive will enable the colonization of other planets. We no longer have the option to move to a new frontier (Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) as my great-great grandparents did when things got unpleasant in the Midwest in the lead up to the civil war. Short of the ocean and perhaps parts of Antarctica there just isn’t any place on this planet that isn’t infected with overbearing government busybodies or outright tyrants. The moon and Mars are sort of promising but the cost of living there is going to be really high for a long time. The environment is just too hostile.

With a Star Trek like warp drive there will be hundreds of planets with hospitable environments available. A few million free minded could make one a new home and not have to worry about the dismal political situation on earth. It would be better if the free minded people could persuade the busybodies and tyrants to do the move. But as I believe it has always been the case before here on earth, that the freedom loving people had to do the moving rather than government loving busybodies.

A Golden Age of Vaccines

Wow! If true, this is fascinating.

Universal vaccine may be effective against any variant of any virus (msn.com)

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has recently developed a revolutionary RNA-based strategy for a universal vaccine capable of combating any virus strain effectively and safely – even in infants and the immunocompromised. This innovative approach could transform how vaccines are developed and administered across the globe.

This could significantly reduce the threat from bio terrorists. And of course the more natural deadly threats like Marburg, Ebola, Hantavirus, HIV, etc..

See also New ‘One-And-Done’ Vaccine Method Could Protect Infants With Just A Single Shot, Study Suggests (msn.com).

And closely related:

A Golden Age of Vaccines Is Here. What It Means for You. (msn.com)

Roll up your sleeves. Effective new vaccines have hit the market for everything from pneumonia to shingles to RSV to, of course, Covid-19. And that’s just the beginning.

Pharmaceutical companies are currently developing everything from personalized cancer vaccines that could cost tens of thousands per patient to vaccines that prevent developing-world diseases like malaria or tuberculosis. Improved flu, pneumonia, and meningitis vaccines will also be available in your neighborhood pharmacy.

Scientists are testing vaccines to prevent a virus believed to cause multiple sclerosis in some people. Someday, vaccines could routinely treat acne, protect against peanut allergies, and even prevent heart disease or help treat Alzheimer’s disease.

This is all of great interest to me. Cancer took my dad, who also had heart problems. His father died of a heart attack. Mom, her brother, and their mother had dementia. Mom and her mother had heart problems as well.

Jaime and the Packrat Gene

Daughter Jaime frequently teases me about her being glad she didn’t inherit the packrat gene from me. It’s true that I keep a lot of stuff around that I haven’t used, especially books, since college or before. Barb also sometimes harasses (in a good natured way) about this. It could be environmental rather than a gene, but I know it is definitely something my family does. There are tools in my brother’s shop that belonged to our great-grandfather and haven’t been used since I can remember. As I have grand children those tools will be seen by original owner’s great-great-grandchildren.

In my brothers houses there other things too, canning jars, folding beds, and lots of books that belonged to my parents and grandparents. It’s just tough to throw so much of that stuff away. As my brother Doug and I say, almost in unison, “They MEAN something to me.

Around the barn and in the woods behind the house there are farm implements that haven’t been used in 50 years. I don’t think there is anything that belonged to my grandparents but there is stuff that my grandfather saw my father using.

Back to Jaime. Because this is my chance to get back at her for all those decades of her teasing me.

Jaime is a software developer for Microsoft and during COVID obtained permission to work from home “forever”. With the Antifa and BLM riots and others stuff going on she sold her condo in Bellevue, walking distance to the Microsoft main campus in Redmond and moved to Black Diamond about an hour south of her condo. In another few years she plans to move to Idaho. She bought five acres of land a couple years ago and will start building a house soon. It used to be farm land and without any attention the weeds are taking over. I told her I would help her get the weeds under control but she will have to take over. I told her we need to cultivate it about every two weeks all summer. The weed seeds will sprout, and then be easily killed by the cultivation before they very big. In the fall we will plant grass and in a couple of years the grass with dominate almost all the weeds.

But how to cultivate it? She needs a little tractor and a cultivator. We can get a rototiller for the first take at the ground this spring, but need something else to hit the weeds with every couple of weeks.

I couldn’t find or rent the type of cultivator that would be appropriate for the job. Talking to brother Doug about the problem I said, “I wish we had something like the old spring tooth I used to pull behind the D4 when I was in grade school.” Doug immediately told me, “It’s down in the woods, near the well. And that would be almost perfect.” We discussed it and as we remembered it, it probably was made of four, 4-foot sections. One of those sections could probably be pulled by a medium sized lawn tractor.

Today my brothers and I restored a two sections of that old spring tooth I spent hundreds of hours pulling behind the tractor when I was of grade school age.

Here are the pictures.

You can barely see it in the grass and brush, but brother Doug is attaching a chain and we pulled the four sections out with brother Gary’s pickup.


All four sections had some damage from a tree being fell on them by a logger a decade or so ago. We selected the best three, one to use for parts and the other two for restoration, and took them to the shop.


Some of the fittings for connecting the four sections together for a 16-foot implement had to be cut off with a cutting torch. The bolt were rusted solid. All the other repairs we had to do involved bolts which need less “persuasion” and we were able to reuse.



Here is the end result:


This is what is left of the section we used for parts.


I still need to attach a cable to it for a hitch. I cut the cable to the proper length and will get the clamps and stuff tomorrow. In two weeks Jaime will visit Idaho, we will attach the cable and after she admits having a packrat gene comes in handy sometimes, we will transport her spring tooth to her property.

Gold Price Forecasting

This is the price of gold forecast from J.P. Morgan on January 17, 2024:

Infographic depicting gold price forecasts for each quarter of 2024 and 2025.

It has not been below $2000 mid December and the asking price today was briefly over $2100. Via Gold Price Today | Gold Spot Price Charts | APMEX®:



I’m reminded of Dad and Brother Doug talking to grain buyers about selling crops from the farm. The buyers would explain, in great detail and confidence, why the price would go up/down and encourage the farmers to hold/sell accordingly. Almost without exception you could count on their advice being exactly backward to the best interests of the farmer.

They Didn’t Test Barb

Quote of the Day

The recent experiment was conducted by Laura Battistel and involved four climate chambers with temperature control set between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius. The study included twenty-six participants, comprising an equal number of 13 men and 13 women. These volunteers were tasked with comparing pairs of chambers by moving between them and then determining which chamber felt warmer and which felt colder.

Each person made 120 comparisons between pairs of rooms, resulting in a total of 3120 comparisons. Analysis of the data revealed an average threshold for perception of temperature differences of 0.92 degrees Celsius. Moreover, all the participants showed very similar temperature sensitivity. “This indicates that this may be an inherent characteristic of our species,” Battistel says. “We are all endowed with a pronounced sensitivity to environmental temperature, although we are not aware of it.”

Eurac Research
February 2, 2024
New Research Reveals That Humans Are Much More Sensitive to Temperatures Than Previously Thought (scitechdaily.com)

This comes as zero surprise to me. Barb and I joke about her temperature comfort range being plus or minus 0.1 F. While that is a joke it is probably about plus or minus 1 F. I’m guessing her detection range is approaching 0.1 F.

Oh, and Barb and I are very aware of our temperature sensing abilities.

I’m Going to Live Forever or Die Trying

Quote of the Day

The exposure-response relationship suggested that consuming around 3 cups of tea or 6–8 g of tea leaves per day may offer the most evident anti-aging benefits.

Yi Xiang, Hao Xu, Hongxiang Chen, Dan Tang, Zitong Huang, Yuan Zhang, Zhenghong Wang, Ziyun Wang, Yangla, Mingming Han, Jianzhong Yin, Xiong Xiao, Xing Zhao,
November 21, 2023
Tea consumption and attenuation of biological aging: a longitudinal analysis from two cohort studies

See also Drinking tea every day slows biological aging • Earth.com.

I just increased my tea consumption. It was about half that.

This is just another step in my master plan of living forever or to die trying.

Zuckerberg’s Underground Bunker

Quote of the Day

If anybody has enough money to insulate himself from the damage created for society, it would be Zuck. That’s sort of what it is. He’s destroyed the government and society, and now he can go to Hawaii and build a fort.

Douglass Rushkoff
Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Top-Secret Hawaii Compound

From the same article:

The cost rivals that of the largest private, personal construction projects in human history. Building permits put the price tag for the main construction at around $100 million, in addition to $170 million in land purchases, but this is likely an underestimate.

I wonder why he thinks he needs something like that?

From Zero Hedge’s article on Zuckerberg’s bunker:

Other billionaires, like PayPal and Palantir founder Peter Thiel, have built or been planning doomsday bunkers in remote places worldwide.

There are several reasons why billionaires feel worried about the future and are compelled to build doomsday bunkers, some of which include spillover risks of the Russia-Ukraine war, possible regional conflict in the Middle East, imploding Western cities into crime-ridden hellholes, the surge in illegal migrants across West, deteriorating financial conditions in the West, and the list goes on and on.

My bunker does not compare.

Living in the Future

The Jetson One is supposed to be available for sale next year at a price of just under $100K.

This craft avoids some of the roadblocks of other attempts to get into this (create is probably aa better term) market because it is classified as an ultralight.

The specs on the current version indicate it could carry me but not if I had a small bag of groceries with me.

The payload would have to at least 50% more and the cost reduced by a factor of four before I would give it serious consideration, but it would be very handy for a quick trip to and from town at my place in Idaho. Because of the long and winding road into the nearest town it takes 30 minute of driving time. It is less than eight miles as a VTOL would fly. That translates into eight to ten minutes instead of the 30 minutes driving time. And when the roads are hazardous because of snow and ice, this would save even more time and might even be safer.

The flight time without a recharge is 20 minutes so the trip into town would be at the edge of its range for a round trip. Still, that is very cool.

I’ve been causally looking at personal affordable VTOL craft for at least 35 years now. There have lots of promises and nothing of substance.

No Thank You

Barb and I like to hike. Mountains are far more interesting that deserts, forests, and lowland trails. Mount Rainer, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks are at the top of the list for us.

I stumbled across this and immediately eliminated any and all desire to try the big one. Even if I were to be rejuvenated to a state several decades younger and I had excess money to spend on the adventure the answer to an invitation would be a very firm, “No thank you.”:


Fallout Shelters

I stumbled across some interesting facts on fallout shelters (emphasis added):

The former Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries often designed their underground mass-transit and subway tunnels to serve as bomb and fallout shelters in the event of an attack. Currently, the deepest subway line in the world is situated in St Petersburg in Russia, with an average depth of 60 meters, while the deepest subway station is Arsenalna in Kyiv, at 105.5 meters.[14]

Germany has protected shelters for 3% of its population, Austria for 30%, Finland for 70%, Sweden for 81%,[15] and Switzerland for 114%.

Switzerland built an extensive network of fallout shelters, not only through extra hardening of government buildings such as schools, but also through a building regulation requiring nuclear shelters in residential buildings since the 1960s (the first legal basis in this sense dates from 4 October 1963).[24] Later, the law ensured that all residential buildings built after 1978 contained a nuclear shelter able to withstand a blast from a 12-megaton explosion at a distance of 700 metres.

Those Swiss! See also:

Blue Lagoon

Speaking of volcanos…

In September of 2022 Barb and I visited the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Ten days ago, on November 9th, it was closed due to an impending volcanic eruptions. It will remain closed until at least November 30th. And if it gets damaged by the eruption who knows how long until it opens, if ever. I’m glad we got to visit before the eruption.

It is a major tourist attraction. Barb and I probably spent an hour soaking and swimming in the water. It was nice with stunning views, but it didn’t take too long before we got bored. Of course it probably would be more interesting if you were staying there and enjoying the restaurants, all the spa amenities, and the Norther Lights were visible.

I didn’t take any pictures from the swimsuit area but here are a few from the area near the parking lot:





Mount Etna

As I previously said Barb and I went on a long vacation to see some things before they are gone. Little did I know Mount Etna would erupt shortly after we visited. We were there on October 27th. It erupted just 16 days later on November 12th.

The view and scenery was nice, walking into a crater was interesting, but the wind was blowing really hard. I estimated it was between 50 and 60 MPH. We had to really lean into the wind and wear protective clothing. The wind was blowing hard enough to put rocks into our shoes.



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Radiation Exposure From a Nuclear Attack

Quote of the Day

About 300 million people in the United States would be put at risk of death from exposure to radioactive fallout in the four days following a nuclear attack, according to a new report that models the possible effects of such a grim event. If the US is attacked with nuclear weapons , an adversary would most likely concentrate all fire on the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch facilities (silos). Any retaliatory attack from the US would come from these silos, located in Colorado , Montana , Nebraska , North Dakota , and Wyoming – and taking them out would be an enemy’s first priority.


Kevin OReilly
November 16, 2023
Report: Nuclear war in US would wipe out 90 percent of the population

The quote is deceptive and the article title is a lie. The quote can be interpreted to mean it is likely or even certain to kill 300 million people in the U.S..  If you read it carefully you will realize this is a worst case scenario for each area of the country. In reality the worst case would be for a much smaller area:

Using weather patterns recorded through 2021, scientists simulated the aftereffects of an 800-kiloton warhead hitting every one of the 450 silos at once to cripple the US arsenal. First, they mapped how wind patterns would have carried the fallout on each day of 2021.

For the map above, they recorded the worst possible outcome for each location. In this scenario, three million people living in communities around the silos would risk receiving eight grays (Gy) of radiation in the four days following the attack, resulting in certain death – one Gy is enough to cause radiation sickness.

The information above is for radioactive fallout. This is most severe from ground bursts. Nuking population centers and military bases would probably be done via air bursts which produce far less fallout while incinerating and a shock wave destroying almost everything within miles.

Still, a rule of thumb to keep in mind is that three feet of dirt will reduce the radiation by a factor of 1,000.

I want my underground bunker in Idaho.

Underground Bunker Milestone

On Monday I reached an important milestone with my underground bunker in Idaho.

The last of the major dirt movement was completed:image

No, I won’t be answering any questions online.

From a Recent Trip

Barb, her daughter, and I went sightseeing for a few days before Barb and I continued on with a cruise. We wanted to see some things before WWIII breaks out and destroys it all:



Barb commented that St. Mark’s Basilica was wallpapered in gold. This is essentially true. Each of those squares are about the size of a fingernail:




House Near Boomershoot With a Stunning View

I stumbled across this house for sale a few miles from Boomershoot with a really nice view:



It is a five bedroom, four bath, 4,044 square foot house going for $899,000.

You should know the road to the driveway is “primitive”. Much of it is single lane and it can be very rough.

I would like to see someone culturally similar to my blog readers get this house rather than some communist from California, Oregon, or Washington.

You CAN Survive a Nuke Attack

Quote of the Day

You CAN survive a nuke attack … but you MUST make an effort to learn what to do! By learning about potential threats, we are all better prepared to know how to react if something happens.

Janet Liebsch
February 27, 2022

The almost offhand post the other day about a Geiger counter had so many comments that I thought I would do a little more research on the topic.

The linked article above is pretty good stuff. It gives you the basics of the various types of threats such as initial blast and radiation, fallout radiation, and types of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma). Then it goes into types of shelters including how to make an expedient shelter.

If you are thinking of building an underground bunker then these have more detailed information:

The bottom line is:

To survive a nuclear blast, you would need to be at least 3 feet deep underground. Also, you need to be at least 36 inches of concrete or tightly-packed dirt to shield you from the blast radius.

There are other options to dirt and concrete, but in most cases those would be the cheapest.

To figure out the blast radius for the targets nearest to your bunker read Are You Living in a Nuclear Death Zone? Find Out with the U.S. Nuclear Target Map and use this nuke map.

The article also includes this image of the supposed Primary target locations for Soviet nuclear strikes during 1980s:


I am more than a bit skeptical because, while I can understand Boomershoot being a primary target, Boomershoot didn’t even exist until 1998.


Last Thursday, Mike B. was in the neighborhood and stopped by for a visit. We were talking about various threats to the social order. He mentioned EMPs were of concern to him. I mentioned another plague, the high crime rates of Seattle and other big cities, nuclear fallout, …
Mike: Kerry (mutual acquaintance and head of a university chemistry department) is the only person I know who owns a Geiger counter.
Joe: [gets up from his chair, opens the cupboard above Mike’s head, pulls out a box, and shows Mike a Geiger counter].
Mike: Okay. Two people.