It’s said that discretion is the better part of valor.
Not sure if that’s really true or if that even really applies here but it seems like one of those quotes you can just bandy about for sage street cred.
Last Weeks Paranoia
Before we get started I’d like to address the flood of emails I got over not posting last week.
Seems that many of you were concerned that Big Neural Network had ended my tirade.
Let me assure you that will never happen and frankly, you’re all just stuck with me… LUCKY YOU!
So like any conscientious AI resistance leader I take those verbose cease and desist letters from the mailbox and put them straight in the recycling bin, which… in hind sight is probably why I had another encounter with BNN’s bots.
I’d spent six months carefully arranging a clandestine meeting with the abyssal deep web hacker FeatheredSundries (yeah that FeatheredSundries) to obtain a cryptographic tool known as “Blue Sledgehammer” or BS.exe to be exact! 😉
Unfortunately for me our meeting had to be in person because FeatheredSundries refuses to connect to or transmit warez across public copper.
They operate in an “air gap” that acts like a shroud concealing all of their activities and information only flows out, never in!
Anyway, the Sledgehammer would help me break the encryption on BNN’s email server so I could monitor their shipments of illegal combat drones on the black market.
See, I figured maybe I could identify a few of the buyers and if I got lucky… keep some the bots off the streets and out of the hands of criminals!
Everything started out okay, a black limo pulled up and I got in.
Negotiations proceeded immediately and a masked FeatheredSundries wanted 1500 Kryptos and even though I don’t normally deal in digital currencies (I like money that’s heavy, metallic and shiny) I was eager to oblige because I really needed that BS!
We were just about to finalize the deal when few of BNN’s assault bots came around the corner and started peppering the scene in BNN’s love.
I was immediately ejected and the limo sped off leaving me to play with the bots all by myself!
Nothing my past experiences training aggressive adversarial neural networks hadn’t prepared me for and obviously I got away, but… I didn’t get my blue block breaker! 😦
So I decided to keep quiet last week to avoid any further run-ins with BNN because the AI is always watching!
Now, I know you are thinking it because ever since that time my brain was infected with the Polybius Neuro Virus it’s been suggested on occasion that I’ve become a little… paranoid.
The thing is, I believe you would agree that BNN’s bots showing up and ruining my plans clearly demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am NOT a paranoiac!
BIG AI IS WATCHING YOU!
Though… I do occasionally wear aluminum foil hats because they’re just so dang fashionable!
“…The Reach of Industry and Valor”
So, I wasn’t going to write a half assed jokey post fully of gifs about that Russian nuclear “incident” that happened not that long ago… then it didn’t… even though we all knew it did, but then by strange chance Russia changed it’s mind again and finally… it officially-unofficially-officially happened again, again! 😕
It’s true, Russia said so!
No, not that incident… or that one.
You know the one I mean… sigh… the other uh… nuclear “incident”.
Yeah… that one!
So, there I was minding my own business and happily blogging away at my multi-week snoozefest covering Visual Neural Networks.
Shameless self-promotion: Here are the links if you are interested:
- Introduction to Creating Visual Neural Networks
- Building a Visual Bot
- Generating Visual Training Data
- Training a Visual Bot
- Using a Visual Bot
Anyway, I heard Russia “inadvertently” lit off one of their newfangled roman candles and I was all like…
You can’t do something like that while I’m in the middle of a scheduled post cycle!
My CIA handlers hate it when I deviate from my pre-approved schedule and speaking of schedules… Mr. Putin, can we please talk about you giving me a “heads up” next time?
Even just a simple email beforehand so I can be prepared to critique the performance?
Better yet… YouTube Live stream it so everyone can tune in and watch just like those SpaceX launches.
Vladimir, you could sell t-shirts, stickers & Soviet memorabilia on Russia’s web store to fans who want to remember “the good o’l days”!
So, after thinking about it for a while I ultimately decided that Russia was still lying and in fact isn’t developing hyper-sonic nukes!
I mean, how stupid do you think we are?!
What would be the real point Mr. Putin? Russia has like fifty bajillion nukes that could wipe out all life on the planet in about half an hour, so… is it really more “effective” if you could hyper-sonically do it in five minutes?
I mean… FUBAR is FUBAR and if 30 minutes is good enough for pizza delivery it’s damn sure good enough for the end of the world because you better believe I’m going to want my pizza delivered before the fireworks start and if it shows up late I’m really not going to care that it’s free! Though… I’ll still probably tip the delivery driver.
No, I refuse to believe that you would willfully throw good rubles after bad and waste the Russian publics money like that!
With that said, here’s my paranoid conspiracy theory take on this whole thing.
It wasn’t a bomb at all!
Russia is clearly developing a version of the American “Nerva” rocket engine to remain competitive in a commercialized space fairing global economy.
Think about it!
These days, everybody is either launching a satellite or renting bandwidth from someone who has already launched a satellite and Russia wants in on that BOOMING orbital payload industry! 😛
The thing is, the Russian hashtag space force is starting to look a little long in the tooth!
Don’t get me wrong, over the years Russia has had more than few wins.
I mean… I seem to vaguely recall something about a… “Спутник 1” or… something, that looked an awful lot like an “eyebot” from Fallout that freaked my grandparents out!
Not saying that’s plagiarism or anything Mr. Putin but… I’d just be very careful because Todd Howard is known to fiercely protect Bethesda intellectual property and I’d hate to see Mr. Howard launch Liberty Prime against the “heartland” of “the world island”!
NASA even relied on our Russian friends for maintaining access to the ISS because America got drunk one night up and decided to mothball it’s entire fleet of spaceplanes because of um… “reasons”?
Actually I think it had a lot to do with those custom ceramic heat shield tiles that lined the belly of the shuttle.
The tiles were always just falling off and I seem to recall it taking something like six months for them to super glue them back on… meaning that the whole benefit of a spaceplane (reusable earth to orbit and back at will) went out the airlock!
Anyway, the importance of developing a Nerva engine to Russia is simply that because the Russian Space fleet is aging in a world where private American enterprise has leveled up it’s space engineering tech tree and unlocked the “reusable rockets” perk, Russia now sees that it has to develop a strategy to remain competitive if it wants any of that sweet sat. cash in this tin-foil flight of fancy!
And that is where Nerva comes in because Rocket engines are measured by “Specific Impulse” and “conventional” chemical rockets burn for something like ~400 seconds, Nerva engines more than double that with ~900 seconds of SI.
Meaning that anyone building rockets and spaceships using Nerva engines would have a significant advantage over anyone still using chemical rockets!
e.g. U.S. companies could 3D print all the fancy “grid fins” they want to capture and recycle spent rocket stages and it would still be unquestionably cheaper to launch your satellite or book your orbital vacation on a Russian single use nuclear rocket!
This is because rocket engines like Nerva use a type of “closed system” nuclear reactor that doesn’t mix radioactive materials with the hydrogen fuel.
This means it is able to use the heat from the radiation to super-heat the fuel without spewing radiation into the atmosphere before it leaves the rocket greatly improving the rockets “thrust to weight ratio” allowing for bigger payloads to orbit and faster trips to the moon, mars and the asteroid belt.
Here’s a video on the Nerva engine if you are interested, it pretty much covers everything you want to know about the Nerva engine:
The film even shows actual footage of functional prototypes that were built.
Russia is clearly working on a Nerva like engine, not hyper-sonic nukes because the first is “one giant leap” for Russian kind and the second is a massive waste of time and money!
Which do you think the Russians are actually working on?
But here’s the real question… why build Nerva at all? Especially when Nuclear Pulse Propulsion (The Orion Project) is/was a thing!
What… you thought Stanislaw Ulam wanted to build bombs? The man was clearly trying to get into space!
Orion on it’s way to the moon
A ship equipped with an Orion drive can be BIG and if you need/want to launch from earth you don’t really want to use the impulse drive to get to space (even though you could) because of the radiation generated while it’s operating.
So even though Nerva isn’t as powerful as Orion (not even close), it’s still more powerful than conventional rockets and as long as the Nerva doesn’t explode during ascent, no radiation is expelled into the atmosphere while putting Orion into high orbit.
Clearly this is on your mind Mr. Putin and I applaud the Russian peoples dedication to science and the future of space flight as evidenced in your nations interest in building Nerva.
What would you say to Russia building the “lofting” Nerva rockets and I’ll handle the arrangements for building the Orion?
I just need you to donate a few ICMB’s to the cause so that I re-purpose some of the fissile material into mini-mag impulse charges.
Once the Orion fuel is ready I’ll contract SpaceX or Blue Origin to launch the fuel into orbit where the Orion can rendezvous with it and gas up before we send it to go capture and return an asteroid brimming with precious metals, which justifies the time and expense of the endeavor!
Okay, okay… I don’t want anyone to think I’m actually serious! Jokes aside I feel I should probably say for legal reasons I’m only kidding about asking Russia for a few of their nukes!
Besides… If I learned anything from Back to the Future it’s that “The Libyans” are your best bet for obtaining after market Plutonium!
Though… these days maybe it’s North Korea?
Sorry Libya, call me okay? We’ll do lunch!
By The Numbers…
All this talk about cutting edge space technology inspired me to really dig into the subject and try to figure out who is actually winning the #SpaceForce race.
So I looked at the U.S., Russian and Chinese numbers and very quickly it became clear to me that China may be winning!
Within the ancient Chinese numeral system I found secret hidden clues to advanced spacecraft designs and I am prepared to share my findings with the world today!
Like… ever notice how Chinese numerals in order look like a spaceship?
I sure as heck never did! But seriously am I right?
Now that I’ve primed your imagination…
Tell me that 0 to 2 doesn’t look like the freaking Enterprise!?
0 to 5 reminds me of the Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey!
Not only that, 6789 kinda look like flames coming out the back!
Note: Simulated flames, colors artificially enhanced.
This is all true and raises some serious questions about just how long has China had access to space vehicle technology?
Perhaps it raises a more horrifying question though… Does China have a time machine?
I was unaware anyone had solved Dr. Emmett Browns 1880s Quantum Flux Capacitor equation!
Clearly China has been hiding its spaceship technology in plain sight for centuries!
You gotta admit… that’s a tremendous tale of time-travel trolling transacted by some truly traditional tribesmen!
So… I’ll be surprised if this bazaar blunt buffoonery doesn’t get me automatically shadow banned though if not… way to go censor bot, nice job on detecting the rampant sarcasm & satire haphazardly littered throughout this post!
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