It is well known in science-fiction circles that author Philip K. Dick was a mad, drug-induced psychic shamanic figure who glimpsed into the future realms on an almost daily basis for over thirty years, much to his detriment in most cases.
What isn’t known so much is that during the 1950s he was friends with an FBI agent and that during the early 1970s a neo-Nazi organization tried to enlist him to their cause:
“In 1972, a far-reaching neo-Nazi organisation discreetly began to contact various high-profile authors in the U.S. with a view to enlisting their help; the plan being to covertly plant codewords into millions of science fiction novels and spread a secret message to certain sections of society. The message related to a new, deadly, and incurable strain of syphilis – deliberately unleashed on the country by enemies of the U.S. – that was currently sweeping the land at an incredible pace, its existence denied by the government. This was, in fact, the beginning of World War III.
The scene I just painted was lifted from the following two letters – intriguing letters to say the least – both of which were written by science fiction novelistPhilip K. Dick in 1972 and sent, in all seriousness, to the FBI. Interestingly, within two years Dick began to experience the ‘visions’ he would later document in his book, Exegesis.
October 28, 1972
Federal Bureau of Investigation
I am a well-known author of science fiction novels, one of which dealt with Nazi Germany (called MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, it described an “alternate world” in which the Germans and Japanese won World War Two and jointly occupied the United States). This novel, published in 1962 by Putnam & Co., won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year and hence was widely read both here and abroad; for example, a Japanese edition printed in Tokio ran into several editions. I bring this to your attention because several months ago I was approached by an individual who I have reason to believe belonged to a covert organization involving politics, illegal weapons, etc., who put great pressure on me to place coded information in future novels “to be read by the right people here and there,” as he phrased it. I refused to do this.
The reason why I am contacting you about this now is that it now appears that other science fiction writers may have been so approached by other members of this obviously anti-American organization and may have yielded to the threats and deceitful statements such as were used on me. Therefore I would like to give you any and all information and help I can regarding this, and I ask that your nearest office contact me as soon as possible. I stress the urgency of this because within the last three days I have come across a well-distributed science fiction novel which contains in essence the vital material which this individual confronted me with as the basis for encoding. That novel is CAMP CONCENTRATION by Thomas Disch, which was published by Doubleday & Co.
Philip K. Dick
3028 Quartz Lane Apt. #2
P.S. I would like to add: what alarms me most is that this covert organization which approached me may be Neo-Nazi, although it did not identify itself as being such. My novels are extremely anti-Nazi. I heard only one code identification by this individual: Solarcon-6.
November 4, 1972
Marin County Sheriff’s Office,
Marin County Civic Center,
Dear Inspector Shine:
As you may recall, on or about November 17, 1971, my house at 707 Hacienda Way, Santa Venetia, was extensively robbed. The last time I talked to you, during February of this year, you informed me that you had broken the case; a man named Wade (Jerry Wade I believe) had been arrested with the Ruger .22 pistol of mine stolen during this robbery. I have been in Canada and now in Southern California and hence out of touch. Have any more of my possessions been recovered? Have there been any more arrests made? Do you have anything more you can tell me at this date?
While I was in Canada evidently my house was robbed again, during March of this year. I did not know this until what remained of my things arrived down here; my realtor, Mrs. Annie Reagan, had stored them, and at least one entire room of stuff is missing: the bedroom in which the control system of the burglar alarm was located, the one room not covered by the scanner. Obviously it was robbed by someone who intimately knew the layout of the alarm system and how to bypass it. I recall that Inspector Bridges thought that the November 17 robbery was an inside job, at least in part. I believe that this later robbery in March of this year proves it. Only two or three persons that I can recall knew the layout of the burglar alarm system. One was Harold Kinchen, who was under investigation by Airforce Intelligence at Hamilton Field at the time I left (Mr. Richard Bader was conducting the investigation; through Sergeant Keaton of Tiberon he asked me to come in and give testimony. It had to do with an attempt on the arsenal of the Airforce Intelligence people at Hamilton on I recall January first of this year). I have more reason to believe now than I did then that Kinchen and the secret extralegal organization to which he belonged were involved in both robberies of my house, although evidence seemed to point more toward Panthers such as Wade. I say this because this is Orange County where I live now, and I have come to know something about the rightwing paramilitary Minutemen illegal people here — they tell me confidentially that from my description of events surrounding the November robbery of my house, the methods used, the activities of Harry Kinchen in particular, it sounds to them like their counterparts up there, and possibly even a neo-Nazi group. Recently I’ve obtained, by accident, new information about Kinchen’s associates, and the neo-Nazi organization theory does seem reinforced. In this case, the November robbery was political in nature and more than a robbery. I have thought this for some time, but until now had less reason to be sure.
As to the motive of the assault I’m not sure at all. Possibly it had to do with my published novels, one of which dealt with Nazi Germany — it was extremely anti-Nazi, and widely circulated. I know for a fact that Harry Kinchen and the Japanese relatives he had through his wife Susan had read it. Kinchen’s Japanese-born mother-in-law, Mrs. Toni Adams, had read the novel in the Japanese edition. Beyond any doubt, Kinchen is an ardent Nazi trained in such skill as weapons-use, explosives, wire-tapping, chemistry, psychology, toxins and poisons, electronics, auto repair, sabotage, the manufacture of narcotics. Mr. Bader is of course aware of this. What I did not pass on to anyone, because I feared for my life, is the fact that Kinchen put coercive pressure, both physical and psychological, on me to put secret coded information into my future published writings, “to be read by the right people here and there,” as he put it, meaning members of his subversive organization. As I told you in November, he accidently responded to a phonecall from me with a code signal. Later, he admitted belonging to a secret “worldwide” organization and told me some details.
The coded information which Kinchen wished placed in my novels (I of course refused, and fled to Canada) had to do with an alleged new strain of syphilis sweeping the U.S., kept topsecret by the U.S. authorities; it can’t be cured, destroys the brain, and is swift-acting. The disease, Kinchen claimed, is being brought in deliberately from Asia by agents of the enemy (unspecified), and is in fact a weapon of World War Three, which has begun, being used against us.
In a recent confidential discussion which I had with my Paris editor, a close friend of mine, this editor ratified my conviction that to allow this coded “information,” undoubtedly spurious, to get into print, would be a disaster for this country. These neo-nazis or whatever they are would “break” their own code and make public this phony information, thus creating mass hysteria and panic. There is, of course, no such new untreatable paresis, despite rumors we have been hearing from Servicemen returning from Viet Nam. I have contacted the F.B.I. on the advice of my editor-publisher friend, but I felt I should contact you, too. You may wish to pass this information about the coded information in novels onto Mr. Bader.
I will hope, then, to hear from you. Thank you.
Philip K. Dick
3028 Quartz Lane #3
P.S. Harold Kinchen introduced me to only one individual, who asked me to write for his underground pornographic publications; I refused. By accident I recently learned that this man, “Doc” Stanley, of Corte Madera, “was a student of the speeches of Hitler during his college days at the University of Chicago, advocating their doctrines and reading them to people.” Neither Stanley nor Kinchen mentioned this to me.”
Interesting that the University of Chicago comes up here. It is a well known fact that the U of C is a hotbed of nonconservative/Trotskyite philosophy where Leo Strauss spawned acolytes such as Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Clarence Thomas, John Podhoretz, and Robert Bork (link).
And if neocons aren’t synonymous with neo-Nazis, I don’t know what is.
Maybe the drugs brought PDK some clarity, hmm?
Singapore is a city-state in the Pacific Rim near Malaysia. It is an economic power-house nearly on par with Hong Kong and is touted as the consummate 21st Century State.
Below is a video from an anniversary celebration last August. Notice all the Big Brother symbolism and the happy sheeple.
Is this our future?
Singapore National Day Parade 2009
For a more involved treatise on the symbolism used, go to Ignorance Is Futile! IIB is a student of esoteric NWO symbolism.
I’m not sure this is a good thing or not since I’m an ol’ country boy:
The world’s mega-cities are merging to form vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of kilometres across countries and be home to more than 100 million people, according to a major new UN report.
The phenomenon of the so-called “endless city” could be one of the most significant developments – and problems – in the way people live and economies grow in the next 50 years, says UN-Habitat, the agency for human settlements, which identifies the trend of developing mega-regions in its biannual State of World Cities report.
The largest of these, says the report – launched today at the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro – is the Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region in China, home to about 120 million people. Other mega-regions have formed in Japan and Brazil and are developing in India, west Africa and elsewhere.
The trend helped the world pass a tipping point in the last year, with more than half the world’s people now living in cities.
The UN said that urbanisation is now “unstoppable”. Anna Tibaijuka, outgoing director of UN-Habitat, said: “Just over half the world now lives in cities but by 2050, over 70% of the world will be urban dwellers. By then, only 14% of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33% in poor countries.”
The development of mega-regions is regarded as generally positive, said the report’s co-author Eduardo Lopez Moreno: “They [mega-regions], rather than countries, are now driving wealth.”
“Research shows that the world’s largest 40 mega-regions cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of our planet and are home to fewer than 18% of the world’s population [but] account for 66% of all economic activity and about 85% of technological and scientific innovation,” said Moreno.
“The top 25 cities in the world account for more than half of the world’s wealth,” he added. “And the five largest cities in India and China now account for 50% of those countries’ wealth.”
The migration to cities, while making economic sense, is affecting the rural economy too: “Most of the wealth in rural areas already comes from people in urban areas sending money back,” Moreno said.
The growth of mega-regions and cities is also leading to unprecedented urban sprawl, new slums, unbalanced development and income inequalities as more and more people move to satellite or dormitory cities.
“Cities like Los Angeles grew 45% in numbers between 1975-1990, but tripled their surface area in the same time. This sprawl is now increasingly happening in developing countries as real estate developers promote the image of a ‘world-class lifestyle’ outside the traditional city,” say the authors.
To quote Jameske of the Daily Grail, “Judge Dredd soon to follow.”
“I am de la-aw!”
Sly Stallone will always have a job I guess.
UFO activity has long been associated with volcanic and earthquake activity, especially in Mexico, Central and South America.
Here we have photos of UFOs that were taken after the recent 8.8 R quake in Chile:
Long-time researcherLiliana Núñez Orellana(formerly with AFLA)sent us a video clip from Chilean television displaying some of the truly startling images captured before, during and after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in that country. Interviewed for this presentation were Rodrigo Fuenzalida and Alberto Urquiza. Mr. Fuenzalida was asked to provide an analysis of the situation, and he shared an interesting theory: that UFOs, regardless of their nature or origin, vacate their underground or underwater lairs before an earthquake much in the way that our own surface ships set out to sea before a hurricane.
This might be evidence of Mac Tonnies’ cryptoterrestrial theory in that in the shear numbers of these objects that vacate geological volatile areas of the planet before, during and after these events.
Are you seeing this Mac?
Once again the possibility that HAARP is reeking havoc to earthquake-prone zones to serve some purpose.
Lately, HAARP has been accused of causing the recent Haiti disaster in order to gain access to rich undersea oil reserves there for the US (link).
Usually just before a HAARP attack, unusual lights are seen in the sky, typically over the target area.
This time, weird lights were seen in the skies over Chile before the monstrous 8.8 R quake hit:
A video has emerged of strange lights in the Chilean sky on the day before the massive 8.8 earthquake, causing speculation about whether the apparition was a HAARP projection or UFO warning related to the impending disaster. Others point to similar videos taken in China and Haiti prior to the recent earthquakes in those countries, and the possibility that shifts in the earth’s crust have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere.
Whatever the case, there is at least one eyewitness account of strange lights being present in the sky at the time that the ground opened up in Chile. Cecelia Lagos, a Chilean reporter, was interviewed by CNN and described seeing the sky change colors outside her window as her house shook. Although the CNN clip wasn’t available, here’s an MSNBC video of her telling a similar story and the transcript from the actual CNN interview, in which she compares what she saw to a seen out of the big blockbuster disaster film, 2012:
Cecelia Lagos – “Besides, I saw through my window, while I was still in bed, I saw the sky changing colors, it was absolutely surreal. I really thought it was the end of the world…I don’t know I hope you understand me because I’m not exaggerating really because I saw it through my window like that. That was the most terrifying thing seeing the sky changing colors with the terribly, amazingly,strong movement of the earth, I thought, ok…this is mother earth… the earth opened up and buildings crumbled into the earth …like in the movie 2012…”
The question here is…why?
What does Chile have the American Federal Empire might want?
Does Chile have undersea/ground oil reserves like Haiti?
Or is this purely political, a warning to Hugo Chavez to mind his “P’s-n-Q’s” and stay in his place?
It could be nothing at all, odd lights in the sky, especially over earthquake prone volcanic areas historically have had anomalous ‘sky lights’ before catastrophic events occur (link).
Curiouser and curiouser…
Think of an orange. Or an apple.
Cut either in half and look at it. What do you see?
A tough, protective layer over the fruit part, right?
Now think of looking at the Earth from about half way to the Moon. If you could detect them all, you would see a layer of satellites in orbit about it.
Just like an apple. Or an orange.
A planetary ‘skin’ or ‘rind’ if you will:
If the ‘Planetary Skin’ song being sung by those young people wasn’t brain-washing, I don’t know what is!
This ties in well with the Google-Plex and the NSA, doesn’t it?
Like I said, kiss your privacy, or what’s left of it good-bye folks!
From Red Ice Creations:
The U.S. has begun preparing tents at Guantanamo Bay for Haitians migrants in case of a mass migration spurred by the earthquake, a senior official at the base said Wednesday.
About 100 tents, each capable of holding 10 people, have been erected and authorities have more than 1,000 more on hand in case waves of Haitians leave their homeland and are captured at sea, said Navy Rear Adm. Thomas Copeman.
Authorities have also has tested the latrine facilities and gathered cots and other supplies, said Copeman, the commander of the task force that runs the detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo, where the U.S. holds nearly 200 men.
The Haitian migrants would be held on the opposite side of the base as the detention center, separated by some 2 1/2 miles of water across Guantanamo Bay, and would have no contact with the prisoners.
U.S. immigration officials have said they will fast-track applications for a federal designation that will allow illegal Haitian immigrants to live and work temporarily in this country, but only if they were in the U.S. on the day of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The U.S. base in southeastern Cuba is also being used to transport supplies and personnel to the aid effort in Haiti, about 200 miles away.
In the early 1990s, it housed tens of thousands of Haitian boat people were held at Guantanamo until they could be sent home.
You gotta love the US military. Always ready to incarcerate folks for quick warehousing.
Naomi Klein’s ‘Shock Doctrine‘ currently is being played out in Haiti:
The Orwellian-named mercenary trade group, the International Peace Operations Association, didn’t waste much time in offering the “services” of its member companies to swoop down on Haiti for some old fashioned humanitarian assistance disaster profiteering. Within hours of the massive earthquake in Haiti, the IPOA created a special web page for prospective clients, saying: “In the wake of the tragic events in Haiti, a number of IPOA’s member companies are available and prepared to provide a wide variety of critical relief services to the earthquake’s victims.”
While some of the companies specialize in rapid housing construction, emergency relief shelters and transportation, others are private security companies that operate in Iraq and Afghanistan like Triple Canopy, the company that took over Blackwater’s massive State Department contract in Iraq. For years, Blackwater played a major role in IPOA until it left the group following the 2007 Nisour Square massacre.
In 2005, while still a leading member of IPOA, Blackwater’s owner Erik Prince deployed his forces in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Far from some sort of generous gift to the suffering people of the US gulf, Blackwater raked in some $70 million in Homeland Security contracts that began with a massive no-bid contract to provide protective services for FEMA. Blackwater billed US taxpayers $950 per man per day.
The current US program under which armed security companies work for the State Department in Iraq—the Worldwide Personal Protection Program—has its roots in Haiti during the Clinton administration. In 1994, private US forces, such as DynCorp, became a staple of US operations in the country following the overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide by CIA-backed death squads. When President Bush invaded Iraq, his administration radically expanded that program and turned it into the privatized paramilitary force it is today. At the time of his overthrow in 2004, Aristide was being protected by a San Francisco-based private security firm, the Steele Foundation.
What is unfolding in Haiti seems to be part of what Naomi Klein has labeled the “Shock Doctrine.” Indeed, on the Heritage Foundation blog, opportunity was being found in the crisis with a post titled: “Amidst the Suffering, Crisis in Haiti Offers Opportunities to the U.S.” “In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region,” wrote Heritage fellow Jim Roberts in a post that was subsequently altered to tone down the shock doctrine language. The title was later changed to: “Things to Remember While Helping Haiti.”
During the past 24 hours, Haiti was hit with a 6.0 Richter ‘after-shock’ and the refugees leaving Port-Au-Prince are reaching staggering proportions. Death squads and price gouging ‘entrepreneurs’ are running rough-shod over the beleaguered population.
A perfect storm for ‘catastrophic capitalism!’
There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the UK recently over the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, which in effect over-rides many of the member states individual constitutions. Especially the English Magna Carta, the ancestor of the American Constitution:
I have a copy dated MDCCLXVI (1766) left to me by my father, and to him by his father. The customary law is Saxon, Celtic, even Visigoth.
“All men in our Kingdom have and hold the aforesaid liberties and rights, well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for ever.”
“No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, unless by lawful judgment of his peers.”
“No constable or bailiff shall take another man’s corn or chattels without immediate payment, nor take any horses or any man’s timber for castles.”
“Any one may leave the Kingdom and return at will, unless in time of war, when he may be restrained for some short space for the common good”.
Here is a nice one, as the Square Mile falls under the control EU authorities with “binding powers”.
“The City of London shall have all its ancient liberties and free customs.” Merchants should be free from “evil tolls”.
The founding texts of the English Constitution – charter, petition, bill of rights – have one theme in common: they create nothing. They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony. In this they guided America’s Revolution, itself a codification of early colonial liberties.
Europe’s Constitution – the Lisbon Treaty, as we know it – began as a sort of Magna Carta. EU leaders agreed at Laeken in 2001 that the Project needed restraining after Danes and Swedes rejected EMU, the Irish rejected Nice, and youth torched Gothenburg in anti-EU riots.
People do not want Europe inveigling its way into “every nook and cranny of life”, they said. Needless to say, insiders hijacked the process. A Hegelian monstrosity emerged. The text says much about the heightened powers of EU bodies, but scarcely a word to restrain EU bailiffs and constables.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights – legally binding in the UK as of Tuesday, when Lisbon came into force – asserts that the EU has the authority to circumscribe all rights and freedoms.
The text was modified after I threw a tantrum in the Daily Telegraph during the drafting process, comparing it to the “general interest” clause used by Fascist regimes to crush dissent in the 1930s.
Article 52 now reads: “Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union.”
Don’t be misled by this inverted wording. What it states is that the EU may indeed limit rights in the “general interest”. In other words, our Magna Carta has been superceeded.
It is the European Court (ECJ) that decides what is “proportional” or “necessary”, and it cannot be trusted. The ECJ behaves like the Star Chamber of Charles I, as I learned following three cases where it rubber-stamped the abuse of state power against whistleblowers Bernard Connolly and Marta Andreasen, and German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack.
Mr Tillack was arrested by Belgian police and held incommunicado for ten hours. Incommunicado on the basis of a fabricated allegation by two EU officials. Police went through his notes and computers, identifying his network of informants inside the EU apparatus.
Mr Tillack took the case to the ECJ. It ruled in favour of the system. It always does.
This is our new Supreme Court under Lisbon, its jurisdiction vastly expanded from narrow commercial law (Pillar I) to the breadth of Union law (Pillars I, II, and III).
As my colleague Daniel Hannan writes, Lisbon gives the EU “legal personality” to enter treaties as a state, and contains an escalator clause that lets it aggregate further power without need for ratification by national parliaments – it draws charisma (papal usage) from itself.
French and Dutch voters rejected this leap from a treaty organisation to a unitary state when given a chance in 2005. The revamped version was slipped through by parliaments – except in Ireland, where voters said No, until coerced by events into acquiescence. In Britain, Labour did this knowing with absolute certainty that citizens would have voted No. You can conjure a Burkean argument to justify the denial of a referendum, but that is to traduce Burke.
“Yes’ votes are always pocketed in perpetuity: `No’ votes are good only until the weather changes. Those who feign not to see the asymmetry of this are being cynical.
By acting in this way, the EU has crossed a subtle line. It is no longer legitimate.
So what can a dissenting citizen do? Do we retreat into realpolitik, betting that the EU Project can go only so far before it provokes into an even bigger backlash from Europe’s tribes, and will in any case spend much of the next decade dealing with bitter fall-out from a currency that pits North against South?
Or do we let out a primordial scream, and agitate for total withdrawal from the EU – knowing that our backs are pressed against the wall, that this Government has spent us to the brink of a debt-compound spiral? Morgan Stanley has warned of a Gilts crisis next year. So have others. This is a perilous for time for heroics.
Makes you weep.
The Magna Carta itself is a descendent of ancient Saxon “free-man” laws designed to prevent the ownership by the various warlords to a “freeman’s” property, including the right to carry a personal weapon, usually a short-sword.
Captives or slaves were denied this right, thus carrying a weapon was the mark of a truly ‘freeman.’
But the freemen had an obligation to the warlord to take up arms when the kingdom was in danger of invasion, a kind of ‘volunteer draft.’ Which carries on today in the US military (although some would argue against this).
What the author rails against is that certain rights to the person or property is abrogated in certain sections of the Lisbon Treaty, which is in direct violation of the ancient Saxon laws and its grandchild, the Magna Carta.
Kind of like what the Patriot Act Laws are to the US Constitution.
Speaking of the British, Sir Richard Branson’s rollout of the new commercial spaceship, ‘VSS Enterprise’ was a complete success, despite of the weather:
Tonight’s Hollywood-style debut of the world’s first commercial suborbital spaceship was a spine-tingling affair – and not just because of the historic occasion, the appearance by a movie star turned governor, or the ice-cold vodka served afterward. It was cold out here in California’s Mojave Desert.
Virgin Galactic’s unveiling of the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane drew hundreds of paying space tourists and travel agents, rocket geeks and glitterati to the Mojave Air and Space Port. For a while, it looked as if stormy skies and brisk winds would force a change in Virgin billionaire founder Richard Branson’s plans for an after-dark, outdoor debut.
But in the end, the spotlights went on and the music blared as scheduled, despite the near-freezing temperatures, the wind and the puddles of rain. SpaceShipTwo rolled down the runway, suspended from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stepped out and smashed bottles of champagne – and Branson’s daughter, Holly, officially gave the 60-foot-long craft its new name: the VSS Enterprise.
The name pays tribute to the sailing ships of old as well, to the fictional “Star Trek” starship – and to the idea that the craft will bring private enterprise into the world of space travel, said Virgin Galactic’s president, Will Whitehorn.
SpaceShipTwo has been under development for years in a Mojave hangar at Scaled Composites – the company that built the craft’s predecessor, SpaceShipOne, to win a $10 million prize for private spaceflight five years ago.
The aerospace guru behind both rocket planes, Burt Rutan, is known for playing his cards close to the vest – and today’s unveiling marked the first opportunity for outsiders to get a close look at his latest brainchild. Rutan told the hundreds of onlookers assembled under a large plastic shelter that he considered himself “the luckiest guy in the tent.”
Unlike Rutan, Branson is known for playing up the glitz game to market his ventures – and tonight’s main event was a Virgin classic: Within minutes after the rollout, the tent was transformed into a lounge, complete with an ice bar, buffet and techno music on the public address system.
Schwarzenegger, who left right after the christening, said he was tickled to be part of the event. “This here today is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Schwarzenegger told the crowd. Even his kids were jealous, he said.
Enterprise’s unveiling marks the beginning of a new phase for Virgin Galactic, coming after last year’s big reveal for SpaceShipTwo’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane (dubbed “Eve” in honor of Branson’s mother) and this year’s successful series of rocket engine tests. “Virgin Galactic is now in the final stretch of becoming the world’s first commercial spaceline,” Branson declares in a promotional video.
Branson is spending an estimated $250 million to $400 million on his space venture, which will involve building at least six SpaceShipTwo planes and two WhiteKnightTwo motherships. The company already has signed up more than 300 would-be spacefliers, including actress Victoria Principal, Hollywood director Bryan Singer and 90-year-old enviro-theorist James Lovelock. Paralyzed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who sampled zero-G two years ago, may eventually fly as well.
The price for a three-day space tour package, including training, is $200,000. That price is expected to come down as the space tourism market takes root.
Touring SpaceShipTwo’s hangar
Is there really enough of a market for space travel to allow Branson to recover his investment? “To be perfectly honest, I’m not too worried if I make money or not,” he told our NBC News crew during a tour of SpaceShipTwo’s hangar in advance of tonight’s ceremony. He said his prime concern was to create something he’s proud of, and have faith that any venture that inspires his pride will end up attracting customers and making money.
Alan Boyle / msnbc.com Click for video: Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson chats with an NBC video crew Monday with SpaceShipOne’s “Galactic Girl” logo hanging above them in a zero-G pose. Click on the image to watch NBC correspondent George Lewis for “Nightly News.”
The rocketship, gleaming in Virgin Galactic’s blue-and-black livery, sat mounted between the twin cabins of the Eve carrier airplane. Branson said the two planes were linked together for the first time just this weekend.
VSS Enterprise is emblazoned with an image of “Galactic Girl,” a mascot who is modeled after Branson’s mother as she looked in the 1940s, but floating in zero-G. The painting was done by one of her grandsons, Ned Rocknroll.
While we were there, Eve Branson, who admits to being near her 90s, stopped by to look at her likeness. “These are your belly-dancing days,” Richard Branson joked.
“Could have made the boobs a little bit bigger,” his mother said, grinning all the while.
“Never satisfied, never satisfied,” the son replied.
Eve Branson said she was indeed satisfied, calling the likeness “marvelous” and congratulating her grandson, the artist. “Hey, if you put your grandmother on the side of a spaceship, you’re all good,” Ned Rocknroll said.
Richard Branson said he marveled to see the paired craft in their flight configuration. “I thought that I was dreaming. … I hope it’s not a dream. I hope it’s real,” he told us.
What SpaceShipTwo will do
SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry six passengers and two pilots to the edge of outer space, past the 100-kilometer (62-mile) altitude mark. The flight profile would provide about five minutes of weightlessness, a commanding view of a curving Earth below the black sky of space, and the world’s highest roller-coaster ride going up and coming down.
Rutan has kept mum about his expectations for the flight schedule, but observers guess that 2011 or 2012 is the likeliest time frame for the start of commercial service. Between now and then, SpaceShipTwo is likely to go through scores of tests. Ground testing starts on Tuesday, Branson told us.
The first flight tests, due to begin next year, would involve captive-carry flights during which the rocket plane would ride between WhiteKnightTwo’s twin cabins so that Scaled’s team can check the aerodynamics of the combined crafts. Then there would be drop tests, in which SpaceShipTwo would be released and piloted through a glide back down to Earth.
Eventually, the hybrid rocket motor would be added to the mix: SpaceShipTwo would light up its engine in a series of powered flights, climaxing with the full profile for commercial service. SpaceShipTwo would be dropped from WhiteKnightTwo at a height of 60,000 feet, blast off, rise to spaceworthy heights and go supersonic on the way down.
SpaceShipTwo uses the same “carefree re-entry” design pioneered by SpaceShipOne. During the peak phase of the flight, the wings fold forward in such a way that the craft stabilizes itself as it descends through the atmosphere, even without pilot intervention.
Concerns about safety
But testing isn’t simply a case of “flown there, done that”: The new rocketship has been scaled up to more than twice SpaceShipOne’s 28-foot length, as shown in this comparative graphic from Virgin Galactic, and that could affect how the craft performs.
There’s always the chance of suffering a setback during the test phase, as the Scaled Composites team knows all too well: In 2007, a nitrous-oxide tank exploded at Scaled’s rocket test site, killing three of the company’s employees. The tragedy caused significant delays in the SpaceShipTwo development effort.
During today’s unveiling, Rutan said the standards for passenger spaceflight had to surpass the safety record achieved by government-run space programs. “That’s why our program has been longer and more difficult than anticipated,” he said.
Whitehorn, also laid special emphasis on safety. Like Branson and his family, Whitehorn hopes to get an early ride on the Enterprise, so he has a personal interest in conducting a thorough test program.
“We’re not in a race to do this,” he told me. “We have only one chance to get it right … and many chances to get it wrong.”
New Mexico’s role
If the effort proceeds according to plan, the first commercial flights are likely to take place from New Mexico’s Spaceship America, thanks to millions of dollars of state and local backing. That explains why Richardson as well as Schwarzenegger were on hand today.
The two governors ribbed each other during their pre-christening speeches. Schwarzenegger declared that California has been a leader in the aerospace industry, and added, “I guess New Mexico is always following in our footsteps.”
When it was Richardson’s turn, he talked up his state’s role in the future of the space industry, and then turned to Schwarzenegger. “Governor, you should join me in going to space – but I want you to go first,” he said.
Richardson said private spaceflight could spawn new economic activity not only for tourism, but also for research and industry. “I call on President Obama to embrace commercial space travel,” he said.
In addition to carrying people, SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo could carry scientific experiments. WhiteKnightTwo is designed so that it could launch either the piloted SpaceShipTwo or an unpiloted rocket (“LauncherOne”). And SpaceShipTwo could conceivably bring up experimental packages, even during its testing phase.
Tonight, however, it was the tourists who were in the spotlight. Scores of customers who have already paid the full fare showed up to get their first close-up look at the craft they will someday take into space. Texas eye surgeon Carlos Manrique, a paid-up spaceflight customer who shivered along with me as the Enterprise rolled into view tonight, said he could hardly wait for the ride.
“It’s not just about this,” he said of the glitz that surrounded us. “It’s about the adventure.”
IMHO, billionaires like Branson and Musk are going to usher in a new age of aerospace, like the Wright Brothers did over a hundred years ago, despite of the troubles NASA is experiencing at the moment, despite of the Augustine Commission V2.0 and despite of what President Obama decides or whether the congress-critters fund any concept of a future launcher beyond the space shuttle.
If last night’s festivities in New Mexico are any indication of what’s to come, it’s gonna happen in spite of ourselves.
The theory of planetary formation is now being questioned.
A discovery of a planet that orbits its parent star in reverse of its spin is certainly an oddity; only three have been discovered to date.
Now planetary scientists are scratching their heads about how this phenomenon can occur:
Astronomers have found an extrasolar planet with an “outlandish orbit” that circles its star either backwards, or at an angle of around 90º to the orientation of the star’s rotation.Planets in our own Solar System orbit in the same plane and direction as the Sun’s own rotation. This led astronomers to propose the ‘nebula hypothesis’ – whereby planets form from a flat, swirling disk of gas around a proto-Sun.
Now two teams of astronomers – one in Japan and the other in the U.S. – have independently discovered a planet about 1,000 light-years away, which orbits its star either in reverse or at an angle of more than 86º.
Predicted but never seen
Such objects have been predicted in models of Solar System formation, whereby a companion star or gravity from another planet knocks it out of orbit. However this strange phenomenon has never been observed until now.
The exoplanet, HAT-P-7b, is 1.8 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits a star about 1.5 times the mass of the Sun. Out of the more than 400 exoplanets discovered so far, only three are known to have misaligned orbits, but none as widely divergent from their Sun’s orbital plane as this one.
Details of the discovery (made using Hawaii’s Subaru Telescope) were published in October by both astronomers led by Norio Narita, from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Tokyo, and a second team led by Joshua Winn from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA.
The teams calculated the distant planet’s orbit by looking at how its transit affected the spectrum of light from its rotating star. As the surface of the star spins towards us, its light is blue-shifted (the light spectrum is shifted towards the blue end of the spectrum) due to the Doppler effect (where light is squashed or stretched depending on its motion towards or away from us).
The other side of the star spinning away from us is red-shifted, so astronomers expected to see a blue- then red-shift pattern. But because of the interference of the dark body of the transiting planet, this pattern is reversed in HAT-P-7’s case.
“The extraordinary orbit of HAT-P-7b presents an extreme case for theories of planet formation and subsequent orbital evolution,” write Winn and colleagues in their paper.
It just goes to show that Humanity must spread out to the stars to visit these sites personally, instruments and probes just don’t cut it!
One of the biggest arguments in the memestream is whether global warming/freezing/climate change is man-made or natural.
The petro-chemical/hydrocarbon industry runs our planet de facto and global wars are occurring this very minute in order to secure these resources for certain nations/empires, the very same resources that are contributing to ‘anthropic’ climate change.
But what if a very suitable substitute came along that was able to use the same infrastructure as the above industry with no muss, no fuss and most inportantly, no wars?
One of the nascent industry’s biggest and most well-heeled players, Sapphire Energy, announced last week that it would be producing 1 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel a year by 2011, double its initial estimates.
The La Jolla, Calif.-based company – with big-name backers like Bill Gates and the Rockefeller family – says it will be producing more than 100 million gallons a year by 2018 and 1 billion gallons a year by 2020 – enough to meet almost 3 percent of the U.S. renewable fuel standard (RFS) of 36 billion gallons.
But there’s a hitch: Federal law makes no room for algae-based fuel in the RFS. The 2007 energy law caps corn ethanol production at 15 billion gallons a year by 2015 and has the remaining 21 billion gallons of renewable fuels coming from advanced biofuels, including 17 billion gallons from cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel.
“There needs to be policy work done to incorporate these new concepts like algae, which is an organism that actually consumes large amounts of carbon in the process of creating a liquid transportation fuel,” said Tim Zenk, vice president of corporate affairs at Sapphire.
Sapphire is working to get lipids(oils) from various strains of algae, which would then be fed directly into the current refining cycle, as any other crude product. Source
Algae-based fuel producers use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to convert carbon dioxide into sugar, which the algae metabolize into lipids, or oil. The industry says it can do so using non-potable water and without converting more forests into farm fields – thus addressing major criticisms of corn- and soy-based biofuels.
Sapphire says its technology is unique because it produces a fuel that can be used with existing U.S. pipelines, refineries, cars, trucks and airplanes. “We are 100 percent convinced that the only way to address climate and energy security is to use the same infrastructure we already have,” Zenk said.
Zenk said his company is supported by major oil companies. Its newly appointed president, C.J. Warner, is a 10-year BP executive.
“They really like us because we’re providing them with what they do today, which is refining crude oil,” Zenk said. “It’s not ethanol, it’s not biodiesel. It has the same molecules as gas, diesel or jet fuels.”
The company’s jet fuel was tested earlier this year by two of three airlines testing the commercial use of algae-based fuels in flight. Continental Airlines reported that the Boeing 737-800 test flight on Jan. 7 was successful. That test was the first commercial airline test of algae-based biofuel.
“Continental’s primary role in the demonstration was to show that the biofuel blend would perform just like traditional jet fuel in our existing aircraft without modification of the engines or the aircraft,” said Holden Shannon, Continental’s senior vice president for global research and security, during a congressional hearing last month. “This is important because … the current engine and airframe technology is unlikely to change materially for many years, so it is crucial that alternative fuel be safe for use with the current aircraft technology.”
Zenk said the test flight showed that algae fuel gets better mileage than petroleum-based jet fuel. “We noticed a 4 percent increase in energy density in the fuels because of the lower-burning temperatures in the engine itself, which resulted in greater fuel mileage,” he said.
But more work needs to be done. Both Zenk and Shannon noted the long certification process to approve jet fuels for commercial aviation. Still, the airline industry thinks it could be using biofuels in its flights on a large scale within three to five years. And Sapphire said its “drop in” transportation fuels – jet fuel, gasoline and diesel – will be ready for commercial deployment in three years.
“Fuel from algae is not just a laboratory experiment or something to speculate on for years to come,” said Brian Goodall, Sapphire’s vice president of downstream technology, in a statement. “We’ve worked tirelessly, and the technology is ready now.”
Indeed, creating fuel from algae is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Petroleum crude oil used today to create gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and other substances was once pond scum – albeit 500 million years ago.
At that time, the Earth’s atmosphere contained 18 times more carbon dioxide than it does today, which resulted in a giant algal bloom. The algae grew over a period of 100 million years and then died. After time, temperature and pressure worked their magic, and that algae became the crude oil extracted today from the Rocky Mountain West and other reservoirs around the world.
“Once we figured this all out and applied modern biology to it – genetics, genetic engineering, molecular biology – it allowed us to think creatively about how to speed up the evolution of that product, that commodity that we value today, by about 500 million years,” Zenk said.
Many things come into play; the military-industrial-congressional-complex/military keynesism for example.
Will the American Federal Empire give up a main portion of their economic engine (war) in order to switch to a ‘renewable’ fuel source in the midst of a ‘great recession’ ?