Nuclear Fusion Or Civilization Fission

 Obama diverted billions of dollars of taxpayer money towards private companies, such as battery makers (bankrupt “A123”), solar makers (bankrupt “Solyandra”, cost to The People, half a billion), or luxury car makers (Tesla; bankrupt Fisker). Result? NASA can find only $600,000 for research on propulsive nuclear fusion. Why? NASA was forced to give billions to companies such as “Space X” (owned by a South African billionaire). Never mind there is no market for “Space X”.

 Instead, government ought to finance only technological research that cannot bring immediate profit, from sales. Government ought to never, ever, finance for profit companies. Public money has to be saved for financing what no private company would ever finance. That Obama did not understand this is astounding. Governments should fund, and only fund, instead, big, expensive science:

Provence 2013: 20 Billion+ Fusion Reactor Rising.

Provence 2013: 20 Billion+ Fusion Reactor Rising.

 ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is the most valuable international science project. Ever. (The International Space Station, a good thing, pales relatively speaking, as it requires little science; there are rumors it found something unexpected recently, though… CERN is not really a project, as it’s an organization dating from the early fifties.)

 Such a machine is, literally, priceless. Its real cost will be well above 20 billion, as the participating governments have to feed their research establishments to produce the required new science. In particular a whole new science of materials capable of confronting directly temperatures and pressures only found inside the sun. Just as with propulsive fusion, or maglevs, or contact free bearings, the production, control and efficiency of magnetic fields, an electronic and mathematical problem, has also to be considerably improved.

 ITER will bring near infinite profits. Saving civilization may be one of them.  Be it only from ITER’s diplomatic aspects ITER should be financed. All nations worth anything are funding, and collaborating in ITER, each bringing new science! This has never happened before, except at CERN, not coincidentally also on French territory. Learn, silly and offensive Senator Dianne Feinstein, learn. If your hubris allows you to!

 In the preceding essay, Philosophy Feeds Engineering, I deplored that thermonuclear propulsion studies were not financed more.  Some readers asked me to justify myself a bit more, here it is.

 The rationale for wishing for fusion propulsion, is that, since we use, now, much more of the Earth than the Earth can provide, we have to expand in the solar System. Now.

 It’s a pressing problem, a very practical solution should one want to avoid a holocaust: human population augments at the rate of 100 million a year, at this point. Thus as much as the entire Earth can support with pre-1900 technology, about 500 millions, is added every five years (500 million humans on the whole planet was passed around 1550 CE).

 Some will sneer that they don’t see what’s out there in space that we can use. Sure, as we have not been out there. Clearly, with energy at will, Mars could be colonized right away. And even the Moon, as there is water there, in the rocks, so oxygen could be obtained. Again, if we had a plentiful energy source.

 We can’t expand through the solar system with chemistry (that is, by burning stuff), as the energy production of that prehistoric method is barely enough to send robots to planet. And even then: a successor to the Curiosity Rover won’t happen before 2020, because, although the demand is great, it’s too expensive, and we have run out of Plutonium generators, so we simply do not have the energy source for a new rover! (I hope the rabid anti-nuclear lobby is satisfied!)

 However, there is the energy of the sun, thermonuclear fusion, and we know how it works. Much of the science is here. Can the engineering follow?

 Old Geezer Pilot, a faithful commenter on this site, loves the photovoltaic effect and he reminds us that: “Fusion is just 20 years away. And it always has been.”

 That’s an old joke, always good to hear. However, it’s getting a bit too long in the tooth. Indeed, two points:

 a) the photovoltaic effect was discovered by an obscure Frenchman,  Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in1839. It took about 150 years to make the PV effect able to produce electricity economically.

 b) the Joint European Torus, the JET, in the UK, achieved, with its Tokamak design, not just thermonuclear ignition, but break-even (or so), producing nearly  as much energy through fusion as was put in to confine the plasma and heat it up. That was in the 1990s. (Tokamak is from the Russian for toroidal kamera aksial; the great Andrei Sakharov got the idea of the toroidal chamber with an axial magnetic field.) Since then tremendous progress has been made.

 ITER is supposed to produce ten times the energy put in.

 Tokamak designs aim to put the sun in a box. A tall order. Have the sun turn around in a torus, as a magnetically controlled plasma, never touching the walls. It’s ambitious. Maybe too ambitious.

 The first problem is to confine magnetically the 100 million degrees Celsius plasma, so that it does not touch the walls. Initially, plasma could be confined for only a fraction of a second. But, in the last decade, a Tokamak in France at Cadarache, where ITER is built, achieved around ten minutes of confinement. After some subtle computations by a woman mathematician uncovered new tricks for stabilizing a plasma.

 Plasma are the fourth state of matter, beyond gas, liquid and solid. Stars are made of plasmas. It’s not like we don’t need to know about plasmas. Sometimes, stars blow up. The French Corot satellite found that most stars are much more unstable than the sun. (This discovery could lead to very practical applications, say in the search for extraterrestrial life, or just Sol surveillance.)

 Other designs for thermonuclear fusion than the tokamak, are imaginable, or have been achieved. No, this is not a joke about “cold fusion”.

 Electrostatic thermonuclear fusion machines do exist and are for sale. In them a beam of particles is shot into a thermonuclear fuel target, fusion is achieved. They generate copious amounts of neutrons (that’s why people buy them). http://www.nsd-fusion.com/

 The lack of success of the presently governmentally financed fusion efforts has been caused from their very ambition, in particular the necessity to avoid contact with plasma and to handle waste… something that is irrelevant in space.

 A few years back, the confinement of the Tokamak at Princeton failed catastrophically for a second, or so. The plasma touched the wall, or something. The machine is 10,000 metric tons (heavier than the Eifel Tower). It jerked up by a foot.

 10,000 tons, jumping. Fusion is mighty.

 The scheme for fusion as propulsion is a variant of a system long proposed to achieve energy production. The idea was to use some material to crush fusion fuel (Deuterium and, maybe, also Tritium), to the point temperatures and pressures similar to those of the sun would be achieved.

 This is how a so called thermonuclear bomb works. In such a bomb, the enormous pressure of the electromagnetic blast from a fission bomb is used to compress a so called tamper that surrounds a mantle made of thermonuclear fuel with a plutonium fission core. The tamper gathers heat and kinetic energy, and, in turn, compresses its interior to sun like conditions.

 In a nuclear bomb, the tamper participates to energy generation: if made out of U238, it fissions. That, however, generates nasty radioactive waste.

 Thus, the main problem of controlled thermonuclear fusion has been, what do you do with the crushing mechanism, once it has become some sort of obnoxious plasma?

 In a so called fusion bomb, the crushing mechanism, which is crucial, can either be made of lead (to reduce yield), or U238 (to augment yield, by supplementary fission).

 Then how come the usage of lasers to ignite a pellet has, so far, failed to achieve ignition? (Differently from the tokamaks which do this routinely.) Because, precisely, in this NIF, the National Ignition Facility, there is not much of a crushing mechanism. Instead light is asked, directly, to crush. But light is made of bosons, particles that like to pile up at the same place, they don’t crush very well.

 In the rocket engine, the crushing mechanism becomes ejected fuel. Presto, no more waste. So I think it should work.

 Why having fusion obsession as a moral order? We don’t want to do like the Romans, and wake up some day, out of energy to do what needs to be done. Going to Mars. Among other things.

 Just like the Romans had to go to Eastern Europe, to find the metals they needed. But they never made it there, because, the one and only time, the entire Roman army was ready, capable and determined to make it there, its imperator was assassinated.

 His name was Julius Caesar.

 Never again would a Roman army be capable of that mission. Eastern Europe would turn into Rome’s Achilles Heel. In several ways. Those romanized Germans, the Franks, were fully aware that progress of law, order and civilization had to cover all of Europe, so, as soon as 407 CE, they fought as the old republican Romans used to, and conquered Eastern Europe by the 8C.

 After this not so accidental happenstance of history, the assassination of the transgender Caesar, the hostile attitude of emperors to any sort of new adventures, especially in all aspects of the mind (hence technology) insured debilitating degeneracy.  That’s why the initiative of plutophile senator Feinstein (Demoncrat, California) to defund the modest USA contribution to ITER should be seen for what it is. Rage against the progress of understanding. Rage against progress: an attempt to spoil our only chance.

 Either we will master fusion, and will go beyond prehistory, or civilization, just as unable to hold together as a nucleus with too many nucleons, will fission.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

 P/S: Some will say that we can just do with PhotoVoltaics. Not true. However the fusion propulsion project will use PV to create the electrical power it needs. So, as fusion products don’t fission (having too few nucleons), fusion propulsion will be very clean, allowing to use it even in low orbit. Add this to the space elevator, and we have our access to space, cheap, easy and safe.

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28 Responses to “Nuclear Fusion Or Civilization Fission”

  1. EugenR Says:

    Dear Patrice, let me add to your thoughts by quoting from my book;

    “The responsibility of governments is to invest in fields important for general prosperity but unattractive to the private sector because the rate of return is too long-term and the financial risk too great, or because the investment required is beyond private capacity. Basic scientific research that has no direct economic impact but can lead to major scientific breakthroughs and eventually change the paradigm of the lives. Sometimes the utility of such scientific findings is not immediately clear and cannot be economically exploited in the short-term, yet its indirect impact on human life can be enormous. The very best example is the equation E=MC2. It did not have any practical impact when first published, but later changed the whole paradigm of future human life.”

    http://rodeneugen.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/1801/

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Perfectly said and exposed Eugen! You are more than welcome to keep on quoting from your book!
      Famously, Faraday was asked the same question after he discovered a new aspect of electromagnetic induction, following enormous work from Poisson, Ampere, Biot and Savart (a changing magnetic field creates a current). He replied:”What’s the use of a new born baby?”

      Now, of course, we would have no civilization without induction. Even windmills depend crucially on it to make electricity.
      PA

  2. maxed Says:

    dear Patrice, i ‘m surprised to read «mars could be colonized» … i’dont understand what it mean. in my remember, mars is a «dead planet». without tectonic activities and so, without efficient magnetic field. with deadly effects on her atmosphere. stay on this planet in «living base» is very different to a colonization. imagine «mining and extracting» why not. but it would be very expensive… it’s probably more reasonable to target moon or specific asteroid. do i make mistake in my meaning? tanks.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Maxed: Thanks for the question, and welcome to the comment side of this site!

      Yes, I self surprised by admitting this, because the current crop of would-be Mars colonizers exasperate me. However, it’s the truth. Mars could be colonized. OK, not having a magnetic shield would be a problem for going sunbathing. But there will be no such a thing in the begining. In the very begining, quite a bit of the installations will be subterranean. With large quantities of (thermonuclear) energy at the ready, water could be brought from the Oort Cloud (by mining comets). More sinister, the very large hyperbolic comet that will soon nearly crash on Mars, could be nudged to surely crash…

      Terraforming Mars (or the Moon!) would be feasible if we had working thermonuclear reactors: they would just cook rocks and extract water and oxygen (there is plenty, it turned out!!!)

      in all cases: Moon, asteroid, Mars, at this point the mission is not clear, because, as I said we don’t know what the possibiliies are. There are many materials we have nearly none of (Helium3), or dwindling quantities. In any case, we need to ramp up the technology, as we have run out of Earth already. Moreover, space technology will have to do much with sparse resources, so will allow us to stay aead of the depletion curve.

      Another point: the technologies are the same. Although we may be able to squeeze in a mini colonization of the moon with chemistry and PhotoVoltaics… It’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY WITHOUT THERMONUCLEAR, or fission propulsion. It’s feasible, barely, but it would not be economical.

      Fortunately, as i more or less said, both thermonuclear propulsion and the space elevator are entirely imaginable at this point, and should be the object of crash programs.
      PA

  3. old geezer pilot Says:

    Solyndra was actially a GOOD government investment – a new lower cost process for solar cells that private industry NEVER would have done.

    What we did not know was that the Chinese were about to cut the price of their cells by 50%, thus knocking the stuffing out of the solar cell business and, of course, out of Solyndra.

    FOXnews had a field day. They are still talking about it. But we should be a little smarter than FOXnews.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Old Geezer Pilot: The gov should never invest in private companies, because the government is not a private bank.

      The 550 millions to Solyandra, that’s as much that should have been given to research on IR PhotoVoltaics…. And why? Just because my good friend Obama slept in the mansions of Solyandra investors…. IR PhotoVoltaics would mitigate enormously the storage of electricity problem, and augment efficiency enormously.

      Solyandra always looked to me as a terrible investment. I’m not a VC, although I have friends who are VCs. I can tell you this: right now Obama is killing NASA with money sent to Space X. In spite of billions sent by Obama to Space X, Space X CANNOT work. Why? Because the French Ariane has more than 50% of the worldwide satellite market (it’s the best geostationary launcher). Indians, Russians, Japanese, Boeing, Lookeed Martin, Orbital Sciences, all with a long and prestigious track record, share the less than 50% that are left.

      And then Obama throws money that ought to go to research to a number of ridiculous start-ups with primitive tech, such as Space X. What’s the idea? Giving taxpayer money to campaign contributors? What else?

      I talked and denounced the Solyandra stuff (and all the others), years before it was on FOX radar (dig into this site around 2009!). The fact prices of solar cells keeps on collapsing keeps on collapsing solar companies. A good thing. As Merkel would say.

      Right now NASA does not have money for several space missions and the successor of the Saturn V rocket. This is directly related to Obama financing his friends, the billionaires with the big comfy mansions. Some built them to accomodate the Secret Service.

      NASA is getting squeezed out by Obama’s Sequester. I have not watched a second of FOX news for at least THREE years.
      PA

  4. pshakkottai Says:

    “There are two kinds of economies. Monetary sovereign (UK, India, Canada) and non-sovereign (France,Germany ,Greece).

    For states and euro nations and USA before 1971:
    A. tax +net export = spending + govt_savings = spending – govt_debt.

    For USA and other sovereign currency issuers after 1971:
    B. Govt_spending – tax = Deficit = private savings + net imports. Equation B is the MMT equation which has been verified by me in
    http://pshakkottai.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/another-proof-of-mmt-4/

    Taxes are not required for Type B. Only deficits greater than net imports. Deficit is always required for growth. No special status is required for type B. By special status I mean a reserve currency. All monetary sovereigns are equally strong.

    Govt spending is the PRIME MOVER of the economy. For people to thrive, govt must create substantial deficits. If taxes are zero, spending = deficit and the economy will run as well.

    English poet, philosopher and writer – Samuel Taylor Coleridge – knew the essence of monetary sovereignty in 1809.
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=19649

    National debt and national wealth are equal. If deficits are cut the economy will die. There is no such thing as pay down national debt. People own the money called national debt.
    http://pshakkottai.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/cumulative-deficit-vs-household-net-worth/

    USA is a money creator and can fund all infrastructure without asking for dollars from anybody. The problem is people have been brainwashed with the nonsense that the US economy is similar to personal economics.

    How to find the “fair share” of taxation? Here is an operational method.

    Year1. Fund all infrastructure, supply money to the states generously, fund all university education, offer free medicare for all , fund SS with elimination of FICA ,a regressive tax. In addition zero the taxes for everybody including corporations. It should have dropped substantially at this step. Measure GINI index. If 1 year is not sufficient continue for another year.

    Year2. If the Gini index is still high tax at the high end say the top 1%, progressively within each income range.

    Year3. If the GINI index is still too high include the top 5%

    Year4. If too high tax including the top 10% and so on

    And so on till we have a reasonable GINI index , say, comparable to Canada. You can fine tune after year 5 to get close to Norway with the lowest GINI index. In this scheme most citizens will pay no tax. Only the extremely wealthy ones. This will keep the plutocracy in check.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Partha: To say that France and Germany are not monetary sovereign overlooks the fact the ECB is located in Frankfurt.

      Frankfurt, Franc Fort…. The fort of the Franks…Frankly France and Germany can, and will, do whatever they want about the Euro. The Pound is pretty much a sub-Euro too.

      It’s true India and Japan are fully currency independent. No European state is fully independent of the others. If the rest of Europe sinks, so will Germany. Germany found that out the hard way in WWII. Destroying Eastern Europe was fun, but then the natives got enraged, uncooperative, even murderous, Nazi armies got stabbed in the back, big time, and were soon defeated greatly because of this.

      I disagree that all monetary sovereigns are equally strong. In my view, they are only as strong as their army. Cynical me. I have to run right now, but I will try my best to give further grains of salt later…
      PA

    • EugenR Says:

      Dear partha, let me quote out of my book

      Ever since the economic crisis of 2008, but even earlier, public debate on finances has been concentrated on the issue of the public and particularly government deficit. Yet the real issue is not the government deficit itself. After all, the government could decide to buy back all its debts by printing more money, and if this caused upward pressures on general prices, it could increase the Minimum Reserve Rate Requirement to maintain the stability of the volume of money in circulation. By doing so it would reduce the role of the commercial banks and accordingly increase the government role as finance and resource allocator.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Dear Eugen: I am interested to see what Partha will say. It’s a subject where I understand little (but so, it seems to me, most authorities…as freidman pointed out long ago, and BB more recently). Rising reserve requirements on banks means less credit extended, more crisis.

        I think the real problem is the investment atmosphere in the West. If serious investors CANNOT be sure of a hefty return over a decade or so, at least, they won’t engage. Plus: investors need to be motivated. Inflation is a good motivation.
        PA

        • pshakkottai Says:

          Fiat money has value independent of gold or commodity. What is a dollar worth?

          The CUMULATIVE sum of all annual (deficits – net_imports ) from years 0 to N = net worth of all household and non_profits at year N = gross national wealth at Year N = about 70 trillion dollars at present, year 0 being 1776 when USA was born.

          http://pshakkottai.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/cumulative-deficit-vs-household-net-worth/

          (deficit- net import) is the creator of wealth, all in dollars.

          So the value of a dollar is the national wealth divided by 70 trillion, the wealth being all the buildings, all the roads, all the institutions, all the industry, all the skills, all the know-how,…

          which means education(know how) has the most to contribute to wealth. Without know-how nothing is possible. USA would have been like Zimbabwe.

          Money represents real WEALTH. To increase wealth all we need to do is DEFICIT spend like mad, like India.

          If oil is to be bought from outside and USA has no control of it, the dollar will be linked to oil price because it is a scarce commodity.

          However, USA can use other technologies to circumvent energy shortage by developing thorium, solar, wind etc. Fiat money is a flexible resource.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Partha: Hmmm… Maybe I’m an idiot, on this subject, but I have a problem understanding some of your notions. Let’s suppose the USA had stayed in a state of savagery since 1776 (ooopppssss, come to think of it…) According to the equation you seem to posit, the worth of the households (say they are huts, like California’s Palo Alto shacks) would be zero. But that’s not the case: real estate, anywhere in the temperate zone is worth quite a bit. Especially if it’s constructible land.

            Another thing: Argentina (among others) tried to deficit its way to wealth. They are still at it… Not working too well…

            This being said, I think deficits (or, rather, to speak more precisely, debt) towards profitable investments is what’s needed…
            PA

            • pshakkottai Says:

              Hi Patrice: I quote from Mitchell:
              “Just think: If we could have changed one word in the English language, our economy would be much different. If, instead of referring to federal debt, we called it federal deposits, the way the banks do, there never again would be a recession or a depression, and there would be no fears about the future of Social Security, Medicare, education, the infrastructure and all other federal programs. Isn’t it amazing what one word can do?

              I wonder, is government borrowing just an unfortunate legacy from the time when governments were tied to gold and silver, and did not have the power to produce all the money they needed?

              In summary, the person with the money machine does not need to borrow money.
              From

              http://mythfighter.com/2010/05/12/the-meteorology-of-economics-speech-at-umkc/

        • EugenR Says:

          Dear Patrice, as i tried to explain in my book,
          http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00COJIQ5G
          (mainly the parts about the banking, Chapters 10,11) if you look at money as an instrument to and not as a holly grail, its value in circulation can be regulated according to economic aims of the government. The question is with what tool to regulate the money is less important if you have clear position about your economic goal. Let us assume the goal is to reduce unemployment, then you can increase the public spending or reduce the interest rate or do the both.To reduce interest rate you can by printing new money by purchasing government securities or by reducing reserve rate requirement. But the second option can work only if the banks reach their limit of minimum reserve rate requirement and every additional credit given to borrowers would cause increase of interest rate. Since 2008 banks reserves exceeded (more than twice) the minimum requirement, because there is no demand for credit, or no will of the banks to give new loans under the existing economic circumstances. So BB can freely print US$ and it comes back to him as deposits of banks, on which he started to pay lately interest, and don’t ask me why.

          As to Friedman, he is mainly for increasing the government expenses and if it causes additional government deficit let it be. He claims that if the economy reaches the turn-point from deflation to inflation, the government will have the time and tools to slow down the economy. Many have doubts and worries, if the economist have the tools to recognize the turning point of the economy in time. I fully understand their worries and even agree with them. I personally would follow the credit of US households and mortgages. Since 2008 the credit exposure of households decreased rather dramatically, and it can turn around again. This would mean additional non governmental demand.

          As to the tools to fight inflation, they can be monetary, and here the alternative can be selling government securities, or to my opinion a better way could be to increase the minimum reserve rate requirement, because then the government doesn’t have to pay interest on the securities. Both monetary tools cause increase in interest rate. The fiscal tool to fight inflation is by cutting federal budget, and it is more painful than the monetary.

          All this short analysis is subject to the assumption that non of the foreign debtors of US, (Japan, China, oil producing countries, etc.) decide to act one day similarly like Samson, when he said, “Let me die with the Philistines!”, And he bent with all his might so that the house fall on the lords who were in it. Judges 16:30

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Dear Eugen: when you say Friedman, do you mean Milton Friedman? Wow, if it’s him. That surprises me. This being said, blind government spending is bad. so is blind bank spending (what Paul Krugman wants).

            What one needs is command and control of the economy. NO MICROMANGEMENT (that was the defect of the Soviet like systems). But still, a broad outline. And it differs from country to country. For example, France spends WAY too much on civil servants and… REGULATIONS. Actually the Socialist Party claims to be aware of that (???!!??) Meanwhile, the USA spends way too much on its plutocrats, etc…

            In general, not enough is spent on education and research, worldwide. If not enough science is found and deployed, war wil force to do so.
            PA

            • EugenR Says:

              Of course great mistake i meant Paul Krugman, sorry!!! War is never good for science. Just try to thing about all those geniuses who had to stop their research, not to speak about those who were murdered or killed.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              OK, I stand reassured about my picture of the universe. As I said the problem with Krugman, AS WITH RAWLS (see next essay), is that he believes private citizens endowed with special powers (in his case the banksters) will set the world right, IF ONE JUST GIVE THEM enough money to play with.

              War never good to science? I am not so sure. Roman generals, under the Republic, certainly supported tech. (And tech leads to science!) Of course Greek science was entangled with war. Especially on the Ionian side.

              OK, a soldier killed Archimedes. But that was against EXPLICIT orders from the commanding general, who was furious. BTW, the tyrant of Syracuse supported Archimedes, his research, and his death rays, because Archimedes had tremendous military value (as the Romans found out!)

              The biggest science creating states, in Western Europe, where among the world’s most war ready, or most war practicing. Certainly Middle Ages gunners were the first experimenters in ballistics, leading to Galileo’s mechanics.

              Closer to us, high energy physics was heavily supported because generals could see the death rays coming (they are here!)

              Plutocracy is the worst thing for science, because it’s obscurantist. War can go one way, or another, depending whether the forces of light or darkness are behind it. Nuclear energy (and thus high energy physics) got big time started in January 1938, when Irene Joliot-Curie went to see the French War Minister.
              PA

            • EugenR Says:

              Just a thought about Archimedes. He was practical scientist who also developed calculus, as recently discovered. Can you imagine, how the Roman world would look if Archimedes would be not killed, but cooperated with them?

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Dear Eugen: Archimedes was killed by a soldier, in disobedience of explicit orders by the imperator, who was totally furious (at least for the historical record). I do believe this, BTW.
              As I have explained countless times, the decay of greek science in the Greco-Roman empire was caused by the prevailing plutocratic spirit. Pluto hates the light, enlightenment, and explanations, which is all what science is about. That’s why science tends to decay in plutocracy.

              The Greeks had (mechanical, but very complex) computers, they had got their finger on non Euclidean geometry, the heliocentric system, and the zero (which emigrated to India, with the so called “Arabic” numerals). What happened to Greek science was the abomination of Obamization: helping the rich friends, killing the rest.
              PA

  5. old geezer pilot Says:

    All currency is fiat money. Worth what it will buy and no more. The US Dollar is needed to buy oil. All oil contracts are priced in USD. This little trick was pulled off by Kissinger while the world was distracted watching Watergate.

    The USD is backed by oil.

    All others are just paper.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed 100% OGP, on nearly all points! However I would suggest it’s FDR, on the “Quincy” in 1945 who started the pact with the devil Ibn Saud, a giant warrior who mesmerized for days the top American military brass by tales of his wars, the old fashion way (complete with sexual exploits and exploitations…)

      As the age of cheap oil fades away, the question of the mighty Thaler, I mean, Dollar, will rise ever higher. Ultimately, it’s the Pentagion that backs up the $.
      PA

  6. old geezer pilot Says:

    FDR’ deal with the devil came at a time when the world was awash in oil, mostly American oil. It was CA oil that won the war in the pacific; Texas oil the war in Europe. Post war, Saudi oil was on import allocation so as not to disrupt the lucrative domestic profits of the 7 sisters.

    But with oil at $100 a bbl, it has become what gold and silver used to be in an earlier era.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed. I have more coming along the same drift, not to say draft, about Greece. How come nobody dare comment on my demolition of Rawls? I think it’s mighty important, because the market mood set-up by Rawls and company, under the guise of the opposite, PRECEDED the rise of Ray-Gun (as OGP calls Reagan)…
      PA

  7. old geezer pilot Says:

    I am slow to keep up with your posts. More reading in store for me.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, OGP! I seem to be on a rampage. I think I offended deeply the (rather conservative) French commenter, the friendly Dominique Deux, with my belated roasting of Jehanne d’Arc… But I stick by my guns, and I am just sorry I did not visit recently the same treatment to Saint Louis (astoundingly monstrous), Louis XIV and Napoleon the other three five stars French monsters. (Although attacks against them are in older essays!)

      All those characters are ancestors not just to the French, but, basically, the West (I remember visiting a top lawyer in San Francisco on top of the tallest tower, dominating the bridges, the bay shimmering below, facing an impressive bronze bust of Napoleon…) And they built an inheritance of nastiness for all of us…
      PA

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