Archive for July, 2017

Some Thoughts on Transient Lunar Phenomena: 2

July 29, 2017 1 comment

In the previous post of this series, I made the point that Transient Lunar Phenomena (henceforth referred to as TLP) are real and are still poorly understood. I also stated that one type of them, characterized by small flashes lasting for no more than a few seconds, are almost certainly due to meteor strikes on the lunar surface. But what about all those rather infrequent colored mists and luminous discharges that seem to be concentrated in a few locales on the moon?

Well.. after denying their physical existence before the late 1950s, professional astronomers seem to have gradually come to accept them as real. Of course, there are still some credentialed idiots.. I mean astronomers who love to create every elaborate explanations about how they are an artifact of observation. But enough about those worthless hucksters. Anyway, we are still stuck with trying to understand what process causes them in the first place.

To date, four explanations are usually offered to explain TLPs. Two of them, namely ‘Impact Events’ and ‘Unfavourable Observation Conditions’ have already been discussed with the prior being true for one category of TLPs and the later being an excuse for elaborate hand-waving by sophists. And this leaves us with the other two explanations: ‘Outgassing’ and ‘Electrostatic Phenomena’. While both are feasible and not as mutually exclusive as you might think, they still do not answer the central question- what are we observing in the first place?

The most poorly answered question about TLPs which last for more than a few seconds has always been- “what is the chemical composition of whatever is being observed?”. The simple answer to that question is that we either don’t know for sure or have mutually contradictory data. But why? How come we have tons of data about composition of the atmosphere of Venus, Mars, moons like Titan and other planets but very little information about temporary changes in the chemical composition on the lunar surface that accompany TLPs.

It comes down to two factors:

(1) Almost all studies on the chemical composition of non-terrestrial bodies is done by using some forms of spectroscopy. In other words, measurements of the chemical composition of non-terrestrial bodies are almost all indirect measurements of how photons of some wavelength interact with atoms (or molecules) of whatever is being studies. A secondary effect of being reliant on spectroscopy for such studies is that the equipment to do that is far scarcer than for simple observation of those bodies at optical or near-optical wavelengths.

(2) A lot of the scientific interest and funding for studying the moon disappeared after the late 1960s.Today, there are very few financial and instrumental resources for studying phenomena on the moon, especially one as ephemeral as TLPs. I should also point out that TLPs, while vaguely accepted by the professional astronomical community, are still not seen as “respectable” research especially in a world where scientific research has become another extension of neoliberal ideology- with an emphasis on “productivity”, “metrics” and being non-offensive to “authority”.

But we still have not touched what I believe is the central question about TLPS, namely what are they made of- chemically speaking? Or perhaps a better way to phrase that question is- what would be the likely chemical constituents of TLPs?

Before we tackle that question, let us reacquaint ourselves with some basic facts about conditions at the lunar surface and the moon in general. Firstly, the moon has basically no atmosphere worth mentioning and therefore any gaseous emissions from the interior of the moon will quickly dissipate into the near vacuum which prevails near its surface. Contrast that to earth where, for example, the gas and dust from a volcanic eruption will hang around for days. Secondly, the lunar surface has not witnessed extensive volcanism for at least a billion years. There is however evidence that minor volcanic eruptions on the moon have occurred as recently as 50-100 million years ago.

Thirdly, the moon is substantially smaller than the earth and contains a far smaller metallic core. The point I am trying to make is the moon should be geologically far more deader than it is in reality. Then again, that is what most people used to believe about Pluto and Ceres till space-probes visited them in the previous 2-3 years. To put it another way, a lot of what astronomers thought they knew about factors responsible for geological activity on non-stellar celestial bodies is, at best, incomplete. And this brings us to the issue of what we know about the composition of gaseous emissions from the moon.

One of the first spectrograms of such an event, in 1958, suggested the presence of something containing carbon in the emissions. Observations by manned and unmanned spacecraft have also shown that some regions of the moon give of far more Radon-222 than others. Curiously enough, these areas of the moon happen to be TLP hotspots. To make a long story short, the idea that some regions of the moon often release small amounts of gases is now largely accepted. So far so good.

But here comes the curveball.. all gases known to emanate from the lunar surface (nitrogen, argon, radon, helium, methane?) are colorless! As you might recall, TLPs were first noticed because of changes in luminosity and color in regions with a size of least 3-4 square km. Which means that whatever is released during these events is either one (or more) colored gasses or some form of dust with a particle size that gives it some color when exposed to sunlight. On earth, most of the color in the smoke of volcanic emanations is caused by various compounds of sulfur or nitrogen and basalt dust which absorb light of a higher wavelength than orange.

Given that the laws of physics are constant throughout the universe and chemical composition of the moon is unlikely to be radically different from Earth- it stands to reason that the colors and luminosity changes seen during TLPs are due to the release of emanations with more than a passing similarity to those from some volcanoes on earth. Yet, there is no evidence for currently active volcanoes (as we would define them) on the moon- even though we know the location of more than a few extinct ones. The lunar surface also has atypical and small volcanoes.

TLPs, in my opinion, are due to the release of gaseous compounds (containing sulfur and nitrogen) and basaltic dust by volcanic features similar to Fumaroles and Fissure Vents on Earth. Their distribution on the moon might be linked to the presence of especially thin and fractured lunar crust. Of course, accepting such an explanation would mean that a lot of what we currently believe about the internal structure of moon and other celestial bodies of similar sizes is incomplete. Then again, we could always preserve existing dogma by ignoring such phenomena or pretending it not real.

What do you think? comments?

Some Thoughts on Transient Lunar Phenomena: 1

July 24, 2017 2 comments

As a few of you might know, I have always had a strong interesting in astronomy and related areas of the sciences. In fact, many years ago, I seriously considered a career in astrophysics or something along those lines. In the end, I chose an area of research which was more likely to result in a well paid job. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I always had a strong interest in, and considerable knowledge of, areas of science that concern the study of celestial objects- which also explains why I have a much better than average understanding of rocketry, among other things.

But what does any of this have to do with my thoughts on transient lunar phenomena?

Well.. a lot. One of the reasons I became interested in astronomy, you see, was my interest in the moon. While people had visited the moon many years before I was born, it still remains the easiest celestial object to study. This is especially so if you grew up in a semi-urban area with moderate light pollution. While where I grew up was dark enough to catch a glimpse of many objects in the Messier and Herschel 400 List, there were times when I ended up watching the moon for hours at a time- usually waiting for some deep sky object to reach a decent elevation above the horizon.

This brings me the subject of what I was watching on the moon. While the moon has been well-studied and documented for decades, and even before manned exploration, there are many reasons why amateur astronomers still study it. For one, there is a certain thrill to being able to see, with your own eyes, craters as small as a few kilometers across (4-5 km) on something about 0.4 million km away. The limits to what you see on the moon (in terms of size) depends on the aperture of your instrument (Dawe’s limit), location on the moon and lighting conditions.

Then there is the tiny chance that you will witness an example of what is popularly known as transient lunar phenomenon aka TLP. To be fair, TLPs are a bit like the lunar version of UFOs, in that they were for a long time considered to be observational artifacts- otherwise known as people seeing things. And why not.. over the last hundred years, scientists have been almost unanimous that the moon has been geologically dead for a very long time- like a couple billion years, at least. Moreover many moon rocks collected by astronauts in late 1960s and early 1970s appear to be 3 to 4 billion years old.

But before we go further, let us talk about the two major types of TLPs. The first type, which last less than a few seconds and are not controversial involve the effect of meteors (meteorites) impacts on the moon. It is not unheard of, especially if you have a decent sized telescope and lots of time or a continuous CCD recording to occasionally see very tiny flashes of light on the unlit parts of the moon. Over a period of many years and hundreds of hours of observation with a 8-inch aperture telescope, I have seen a few tiny flashes, especially when looking at the terminator of moon.

An early and fortuitous photo of what appears to be a meteorite impact on the moon was taken in 1953 by an amateur astronomer named Dr. Leon H. Stuart. Since then, others have taken many more photos and videos of similar (but much fainter) events on the moon. Basically, any meteorite with a mass between several tens to several hundreds of kilograms hitting the lunar surface can produce enough light to be picked up CCD devices attached to telescopes with an aperture larger than 12 inches (or 300 mm)- if they happen to be looking at the right area. The event Leon Stuart photographed was however likely caused by a much larger meteorite- probably one weighing several tons, if not more.

The second type of TLPs, which are far more controversial and rarer, appear as highly localized and often colored mists frequently accompanied by temporary brightening or darkening of the surrounding area. These events usually last for somewhere between a few minutes to a few hours. Also, they seem to occur far more frequently near certain craters and features on the lunar surface than would otherwise be the case. An example of this second type of TLP photographed by Audouin Dollfus in 1992 can be seen below. Over the decades, more than a few astronomers have reordered such localized and transient changes on the lunar surface- both in photographs as well as other light-based measurements.

So what is going on? Is it evidence of volcanic activity? Or outgassing? or some weird electrostatic phenomenon? could it be all due to unfavorable observation conditions? or something else? My personal favorite explanation for the second types of TLPs involves a version of the outgassing hypothesis. However, as you will in the upcoming part of this short series, it is somewhat different from the most common version of that explanation- and I will go into some detail about my reasoning for choosing that particular one over others.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: Jul 19, 2017

July 19, 2017 3 comments

These links are NSFW. Will post something more intellectual tomorrow.

Till then, have a look at some links from archives of the other blog.

Spanking Drawings in Color: Jun 21, 2017 – Drawings of girls spanked by other girls.

Spanking Toons in Color: Jun 23, 2017 – Realistic cartoons cuties getting spanked.

Spanking Drawings in Color: Jun 28, 2017 – Drawings of properly spanked cuties.

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 2

July 16, 2017 11 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how overt attempts by the establishment and its MSM stooges to invalidate Trump’s victory in the 2016 election by connecting him to a largely made-up “russian conspiracy” are not gaining support among the general population. Now.. this does not imply that Trump is becoming more popular. In fact, he probably has the worst levels of public support for a president in living memory. However, his low approval ratings are due to his general incompetence in combination with numerous poor policy and personnel choices, rather than most people seeing seeing him as a traitor or usurper.

When I wrote the previous, and first, post in this series we still had not heard much about the latest development in this darkly funny shit-show. As almost every single one of you must have heard many times by now, one of his son (Donald Trump Jr.) had a metting with a mediocre but semi-connected Russian lawyer and a few other people who were supposed to provide some ‘dirt’ on HRC related to some of the Clinton families dealings with a few shady rich Russians. You might have also heard that the meeting in question, which occurred in mid-summer 2016, was attended by an odd cast of characters. Anyway.. as far we know, no money changed hands and very little of what was discussed concerned HRC.

Of course, the MSM is having a field day with this most recent “scandal”. In fact, they have gone so far as to greatly exaggerate the positions, abilities and power of the Russians who attended that meeting. For example- the MSM is portraying Natalia Veselnitskaya (the Russian layer) as some sinister genius when it well-known that she was, at best, a mediocre lawyer who happened to marry a semi-powerful prosecutor in her home country. Rinat Akhmetshin (lobbyist) is being portrayed as a “soviet” counter-intelligence sleeper operative while, in reality, he was just another semi-ambitious guy who joined the soviet army in late-1980s to get out of Kazakhstan and then moved to USA after the collapse of USSR in 1991.

My point is, the people attending that meeting were not especially smart or competent. I would go even further and say that this meeting and its cast of attendees had more in common with a sub-plot in “Arrested Development” than anything which could pass for half-competent espionage and skulduggery.

Nonetheless, establishment democrats are busy promoting this alleged scandal as the “smoking gun” which will finally allow them to impeach Trump and make him resign or remove him from office. Of course, doing so would result in an outwardly normal looking religious nutcase, also known as Mike Pence, becoming the President. Then again, establishment democrats have not displayed much ability to think strategically. I mean.. they have lost almost 1,00 state legislature seats and dozens of governor races in the previous 8 years, in addition to losing the house and senate at the national level. Their only major “success” has been stopping Bernie Sanders from winning the party nomination in 2016- though that one turned out to be a really bad idea.

Having said that, let us consider the short (weeks) and medium (months) term consequences of the establishment democrat obsession with somehow connecting Trump to Putin and Russia. Firstly, they seem to forget that the american electorate has heard this same basic fairy tale for almost a year now. Guess what.. Trump won the election even after democrats started pushing this story and his approval numbers, while low, are still a bit between than their own. Note to self- write a post on how democrats were able to achieve lower approval ratings than a reality TV star who has reneged on almost all of his electoral promises.

Secondly, their obsession with this made-up scandal has prevented them from focusing on his many real failures and fuckups. You would think that democrats would focus on Trump’s failures on issues such as preventing outsourcing or maintaining funding levels for popular government programs like social security, medicare and medicaid. But no.. democarts are busy pushing “Trump-Putin”, “Trump-Russia” and “Russia Hacked Our Sacred Elections” 24/7- regardless of the lack of solid evidence to support such connections and conclusions. Establishment democrat obsession with Trump-Putin-Russia (and simultaneous neglect of issues which most voters care about) is eroding their credibility with the broader electorate at an alarming rate.

Thirdly, making the MSM incessantly push this made-up scandal is corroding whatever residual credibility those outlets used to have- even six months ago. Think about it.. average people now know that CNN and MSNBC will spend multiple hours each day talking about the newest chapter of this obviously made up scandal while simultaneously ignoring their real and very serious concerns. They know that supposedly prestigious newspapers like the NYT and WP (and pretty much every other MSM paper) will almost certainly write a dozen pieces about this obviously made-up scandal every single day. Do you think they will care if and when they publish a genuine negative story about Trump?

Will write more about the general issue of credibility loss by establishment due to their numerous unsuccessful attempts at unseating Trump in a future post of this series.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 1

July 11, 2017 14 comments

One of the funny, if somewhat ironic, effects of persistent attempts by establishment democrats (and their media underlings) to delegitimize Trump’s victory in 2016 election by connecting him to some cartoon-ish “russian conspiracy” is that it has not increased their own popularity among the general population. It has, if anything, made them less popular than Trump- which is a most impressive feat. Curiously, the inability of establishment democrats to improve their approval ratings has occurred in spite of Trump doing his best to screw over the very people who voted for him by making a load of generally unpopular decisions on issues such as healthcare.

More than a few commentators on twitter have been baffled by the desire of establishment democrats to flog the dead horse of “russian conspiracy” while simultaneously ignoring issues which animate average people such as healthcare, jobs, education and other concerns based in real life. In my opinion, it comes down to the sad fact that they (and other “traditional” parties in the west) have become the willing and enthusiastic tools of multinational neoliberalism. In other words, supposedly “traditional” political parties have become intellectually bankrupt cults which lack the ability to perceive the world around them thorough anything other than a neoliberal filter.

But what about the question posed in the title of this post? Will Trump complete, or be able to complete, his four-year term as the president? Or will he be impeached before his term is over? Or will something, which will render both those options moot, occur before his term is over?

As many of you know, impeccably credentialed, coiffed and dressed presstitutes employed by main-stream media outlets (and their equivalents in the entertainment sector) have been busy trying to grab onto any piece of evidence and hearsay, ok.. mostly hearsay and fabrication, that Trump is a traitor who did something “bad” which will lead to his impeachment. As you know, I am no defender of Trump and expect his presidential term to be one giant shitshow. Having said that, I think it is incorrect to say that Trump’s behavior and actions are especially unusual for somebody who has been elected as president.

USA has had more than a few presidents who had behaved worse and done far more fucked up shit. If you don’t believe me, read a bit about people like Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and yes.. even Barack Obama. Clearly.. being a child-fucker, genocidal racist, paranoid asshole, demented moron, corrupt piece of shit and obfuscating neoliberal is no barrier to getting elected and re-elected as president. Only a true believer in the dying cult of american exceptionalism would believe in the bullshit story that Trump is somehow uniquely damaging to the dignity of the “office”.

As things stand today, there is insufficient evidence that Trump did something illegal enough to make him resign or impeach him in a manner that looks impartial. Does that mean that Trump has not done anything illegal or made poor and questionable decisions? No.. it does not. For all we know he could be getting a blowjob from by his adult daughter under the table while eating well-done steak seasoned with tomato ketchup and accepting legal contributions from the Saudi crown prince. But you see.. none of those highly questionable decisions are sufficient to impeach him in an open trial.

If there was anything sufficient to impeach him in an open trial, we would have heard it on every mainstream media outlet by now.

So, what about the other establishment democrat plan- making him resign by harping on the alleged “russia conspiracy”? Well.. we kinda already know how that will turn out. As many of you might have noticed, most people in USA have tuned out of that farce. And why wouldn’t they? Every day brings yet more unsubstantiated claims about some connection between Trump and “Putin” that will definitely sink the former’s presidency and.. it all falls apart after a few days, or sometimes, even after a few hours. Meanwhile Trump is still president and playing golf on every single weekend.

I would go so far as to say that harping on the “russia conspiracy” now makes establishment democrats look like bungling idiots or bitter losers- depending on your viewpoint. There is therefore a better than 85% probability (my educated guess) that Trump will complete his term as a president. But what about the other 15%? What else could happen?

Here is where it gets a bit dark, but not in an unexpected manner. As many of you also know, some hyper-partisan democratic voters have bought into the narrative that Trump is somehow a traitor who is sullying the office of presidency. Given the secondary effects of many of Trump’s ill-advised policies and decisions, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there might more than a few hyper-partisan democrats who will attempt to remove Trump from the presidency. We have already seen a teaser trailer of that particular movie, in the form of the recent shooting of Steve Scalise.

I would not be surprised if in a country of over 300 million people, more than a handful come to the conclusion that Trump has to be removed from office by any means possible. And one such attempt might actually succeed. Even more problematically, a successful attempt will result in lots of covert and not-so-covert celebration by establishment democrats and their hyper-partisan supporters. The point I am trying to make is that there is no good way out of this shitshow. Indeed, letting Trump complete his term might be the least worst option- especially for democrats. Will write more in a future part of this series depending on feedback from commentators.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: Jul 8, 2017

These links are NSFW. Will post something more intellectual tomorrow.

Busty Beach Cuties: Jul 7, 2017 – Busty amateurs hanging out on the beach.

Beach Cuties in Front of the Sea and Sky: Jul 7, 2017 – Beach cuties on natural blue backgrounds

Cuties Walking on the Beach: Jul 8, 2017 – Mostly amateur cuties walking on the beach.

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

A Quick Analysis of the First North Korean ICBM Test: July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017 13 comments

One of the joys of blogging is the ability to point to one of your older posts and say- “I told you so”. As some of you might recall, a little less than three months ago I had written a post about how the narrative about USA disrupting North Korean missile tests through cyberwarfare was fake news. At that time, one credulous or delusional commentator spent lots of time trying to prove otherwise. Well.. we know who was right.

As it turns out, I am also right about the reason why some of the missile tests by that country in the first few months of this year were unsuccessful. To refresh your memory, I has put forth the idea that North Korean scientists and engineers were experiencing issues with using potent hypergolic fuels since they had very limited experience with them in the past. It now appears that they have mastered the use of rocket engines which use those more potent fuels. Don’t believe me? Well just look at the first picture below.

The combination of a clear, almost transparent, rocket plume and that yellow-orange clouds surrounding the rocket as the engine starts up is the signature calling card of hyperbolic propellants- specifically an engine that uses UDMH + N2O4, as opposed to IRFNA and Kerosene or solid propellants like HTPB-based mixtures. To put it another way, they have mastered the use of modern hypergolic rocket fuels including the ability to build engines (and associated plumbing etc) to handle them.

And this brings us to the second question, namely, what is the range of this missile? As late as yesterday evening, the delusional officialdom of USA was unwilling to definitively call it an ICBM. Perhaps they were having some trouble accepting the reality that yet another non-white country had successfully mastered the tech to build an ICBM. It seems that they have now accepted that it was an ICBM but are still trying to make the bullshit claim that the missile can only hit Alaska as opposed to the Alaska and the west coast of mainland USA. So here is another picture to help you understand the next point I am going to make.

While this photo might appear somewhat ordinary, it gives two important characteristics of the missile in question- apart from the obvious fact that it is road mobile and hence very hard to destroy in any preemptive strike. Note that the missile is about 13-16 meters long and 1.5-1.8 meters wide (first stage). As it turns out, those dimensions, having a hypergolic first stage and the fact that it is road mobile tell me that it weighs somewhere between 30 and 50 tons. My best guess is about 35-40 tons. So why are those figures important?

Well.. as it turns out, these dimensions and weight are very similar to a family of submarine-launched ICBMs developed and deployed by the former USSR in the early 1970s. SLBMs of R-29 Vysota family, specifically the first (and oldest) version of that series have a very strong resemblance to the North Korean ICBM which was tested yesterday. Interestingly, unlike hypergolic fuel using ICBMS of other countries, those developed by USSR (and now Russia) can be stored in their fueled and ready condition for years.

Here is why I think they chose to base their ICBM on the R-29 (aka SS-N-18 “Stingray”). Firstly, they probably had access to the technology, blueprints and consultants who developed that missile series. Secondly, it is a relatively light and proven design that can be stored in the ready condition for a few years at a time. Thirdly, though neither highly accurate or capable of carrying especially heavy warheads, it can easily project a single warhead with a combined mass of over 1.5 ton to about 8,000 km (you can convert that number to miles, if you want to).

It does not take a genius to figure out that building a slightly larger (10-15%) version of the R-29 with a slightly lighter warhead (700-800 kg) allows it to reach the 10,000 km mark. I strongly suspect that the North Korean ICBM is a slightly larger version of the R-29 with similar, but not identical, flight characteristics. Moreover it is pretty easy to adjust engine burn times, propellant loading etc to increase the maximal velocity by the few hundred meters per second necessary to make it go a couple thousand extra km.

To make a long story short, that North Korean ICBM can most certainly put a warhead on Seattle, Bay Area or maybe even Los Angeles-San Diego urban aggregation. Of course, we can always get many smartly dressed and hair-styled “experts” on TV to say otherwise, but then again these same idiots were also telling us that it would be many years before North Korea would successfully test an ICBM. Of course, it is unlikely that North Korea is going to use such ICBMs unless provoked to do so by the USA. Then again, it is USA you are talking about.

What do you think? Comments?