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Buy this essay and others in Jim's new book Being Sovereign.

The Indomitus Report
Volume 2, #32

3 October 2005
Loom Gold!

Being Sovereign

One of the most important principles in the history of human ethics is the zero aggression principle. It is important because of what it states, and because of what it chooses not to state. It is similar to some of the very oldest ethical statements, which come under the general heading of "the golden rule," but it avoids some of their pitfalls.

From approximately 1450 B.C., we have, "...you shall love your neighbor as yourself...(Leviticus 19:18)." Unfortunately, many groups have interpreted this passage economically, that one should love one's neighbor's prosperity as much as ones own. Clearly, that idea is in addition to the Biblical passage and lacks merit for the pursuit of cornucopia. The pursuit of self-interest is better for everyone.

The same idea is related more recently in Matthew 7:12 "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so unto them." More recently still, the same idea shows up in the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi, "Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." In Jainism the idea shows up in Sutrakritanga 1:11.33 as, "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated." We may prefer that such a man not be a masochist, though.

In Confucian literature, the thought is expressed in Mencius VII A 4, "Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence."

In Analects 15:23, the concept is even more clearly stated, using the negative, "Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?" Tsekung asked.

Confucius replied, "It is the word shu or reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you." This same passage appears in Talmud, Shabbat 31a, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn." This same negative construction shows up in works in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and elsewhere. (A special thanks to Gordon Hayes for finding these quotes.)

These are all good thoughts, but they aren't the zero aggression principle. The statement of the zero aggression principle which I like best is, "The initiation of force or threat of force as an aggressive act for the purpose of coercion is wrong. There is nothing wrong with showing an ability and willingness to defend oneself. Every individual is free to defend life, liberty, and property at any time as the individual judges is best. Retaliatory force may be justifiable."

This concept of reciprocity is very important, because it does not let anyone off the hook. The problem with all forms of externally imposed, coercive government is that the people who run the state get a free pass. They are aggressive, abusive, brutal, coercive, unpleasant, rude, obnoxious, arrogant, intolerant, hateful, evil, malicious, corrupt, venal, greedy, and may often be found murdering, raping, stealing, looting, pillaging, vandalizing, burning, assaulting, robbing, and coercing. Everyone else understands that these behaviors are wrong and should not be tolerated, but everyone is expected to give those who run the state an exemption. In most places on Earth, it isn't even acceptable to criticize those who run the state for behaving badly.

The zero aggression principle means that you are not free to go up to a guy on the street, pull out a gun, and threaten his life in order to relieve him of his property. Doing so would be wrong. Seeing you threatening him, he would be free to pull out his gun, and, hearing your demand for his money, he would be right in using up to deadly force to resist your demand. Any passerby who sees the two of you engaged in conflict would be free to use up to deadly force to defend life, liberty, and property as she sees fit.

It is important to understand this basic idea. With comprehension, it is a good solid foundation of ethical principle which may be built upon. Without this idea, all sorts of sky castles may be imagined, but are going to be very difficult to complete. That societies which didn't practice this philosophy did, at one time, briefly, put men on the Moon and fly passengers at supersonic speeds is rather amazing. That such societies no longer do such things, and were unable to conceive of economically self-sustaining ways for accomplishing such useful tasks in perpetuity is mundane.

For a principle to be foundational, it has to apply to everyone. If it doesn't apply to everyone, then either the principle isn't bedrock material, or the people getting away with murder are very special cases indeed. The problem with the governments we find all over the world is that the people who run things insist on being special cases, no matter how numerous they become. Sovereign immunity is misapplied to everyone in government, and it is nonsense.

Rome Was Evil
One of the most difficult things for Western civilization is Rome. Rome was a horrid, evil thing. Roman laws, Roman ideas, Roman brutality, Roman culture, it was all bad. The Romans killed scholars, burned libraries, conquered their neighbors, ravaged, raped, pillaged, and enslaved, and were really terrible guys. Their military discipline was among the most disgusting in the world, with asinine concepts like decimation - the slaughter of every tenth man in a legion with the idea that killing a tenth would somehow improve morale or performance.

Unfortunately, Rome is idolized. Rome is the apple in the eyes of a lot of people who think they ought to be running things. Rome was amazingly corrupt, to the point that in some centuries it was possible for a Senator to see someone's wife or home and simply demand these things as though every person and thing were a chattel. Rome was widely hated by nearly everyone near it or in it. Yet, power mad idiots seem to think it was the height of civilization. These fools suppose that the hundreds of years of peace and prosperity that followed Rome's fall were a period of "dark ages," when in fact they were a period of technological and cultural development like nothing the world had seen for nearly six hundred years of Roman rule.

The attempt to popularize Rome and gloss over its limitations seems purposeful. If nothing else, it represents a longing on the part of some powerful media interests for an imperial way of life.

If the USA is a new Roman-style empire, the Secret Service is the Praetorian Guard. Congress is the largely emasculated Roman Senate with some perks, making noises to remind people of the old republic The president is a sort of figurehead, representing the power of the emperor. Where is the real power "behind the throne?" That would be the sixty-four trillion dollar question. Perhaps the Queen of England?

Answers would likely come when archaeologists sort through the rubble of a nuke-blasted DC. It may come to that.

Building Up
Chaos is certainly tempting. There is much to be avenged. But, it is far better to build than destroy. And, of course, working against entropy is creative and difficult, whereas increasing entropy is easier and often takes little brain power.

Ultimately, the only way to build successfully or well requires eliminating the prospect of being taxed, regulated, or enslaved. As long as these are expected value, much effort is misspent to avoid taxes, regulations, and conscription. The higher the rate of taxation, the greater the efforts at avoidance. The more regulations, the more people work to avoid them or their consequences. The more prominent is conscription, the more people work to avoid it.

These effects, intentional or not, are so obvious that anyone can see them. So, the possible excuse that those in government are merely incompetent and don't realize that their efforts to tax, regulate, and enslave cause enormous amounts of time, energy, money, and creativity to be directed toward avoiding these things doesn't really work. It isn't like there is some sophisticated idea involved, some higher order math. It's simple arithmetic: take away Jane's money, and Jane seeks to avoid having you take away her money. Gee.

People in government are stupid, they are lazy, they are poorly trained, they make no effort to be competent, and they are often rewarded for failing to solve problems. But, this basic aspect of human nature avoiding what is bad is very simple. The fact that those in government won't reduce their burden on society in view of this obvious difficulty is clear evidence that people in government are fundamentally evil. They like to make other people suffer.

One cannot rely on those who make their living off of other people's suffering to go on a diet. They won't willingly restrict their intake. Look at the budget deficit and the "national" debt these fat poltroons have accumulated with their incessant demands for more, more, more. To put them on a diet, they must be cut off. Productive people have to learn to prevent people in government from getting anything. Millions for self-defense but not one red cent for tribute.

Heck, the cents are only red on the surface. Scratch them and they turn out to be white inside - zinc. In their greed, the banking cartel, the Federal Reserve banksters, and the government have betrayed sound money, they have debased the currency, and they have proven to be scum. If they can so arrange things that even the shoddy silver-plated coppers (of which Aristophanes lamented in "The Frogs") are too close to sound money and they have to go to even shoddier copper plated zinc, they deserve utterly no sympathy. Anything of loyalty they may once have merited has long since been replaced by lies, putrescence, foulness, and the stench of a quarter billion dead bodies massacred by or for the sake of government in the 20th Century.

And, to some extent, it is all your fault, and mine. We have the ability to produce works of literature, art, mathematics, knowledge. We have the capacity to create things of value, things that are invested in or purchased in the free market. We are the producers. Yet, through our failure to husband our resources, evil vampires are feeding on us. All we have to do is circumvent their rules, avoid their taxes, and cut them off. All we have to do is stop supporting them, and they will fall. The great Colossus of coercive external government, with all its amibition, all its greed, all the glamor of evil cannot sustain itself. Why not? Because the people who run the government aren't capable of producing anything of value. All they produce is hate, destruction, envy, intolerance, lies, obfuscation, red tape, and bureau-rat incompetence.

Hurricane Katrina didn't destroy New Orleans. The layered and multi-faceted incompetence of governments destroyed New Orleans. Dozens of people fleeing hurricane Rita didn't die because of any actual hazard from that hurricane to Houston, but did die because of incompetent government bungling. These are cautionary tales, and happen to be recent and easily seen. There's another hundred thousand tales of bureau-rat incompetence, red tape idiocy, mis-, mal-, and non-feasance every week.

So, what's next? The next thing to do is learn new ways of organizing your affairs (and mine) so that it isn't possible to pay taxes, it isn't possible to have our money stolen, and it isn't possible to be enslaved. Ultimately, no other project is more important.

(Anyone who wants to purchase a copy of Tom Paine Maru without involving yourself in PayPal is welcome to contact me by e-mail.)

Free Market Money

      "National currencies not inevitable or desirable
      At least without tariffs or other obstructions to the free movement of goods and men across frontiers, the tendency of national prices to move in unison is an effect of, rather than a justification for, maintaining separate national currency systems. And it has led to the growth of national institutions, such as nation-wide collective bargaining, which have intensified these differences. The reason for this development is that the control over the supply of money gives national governments more power over actions which are wholly undesirable from the point of view of international order and stability. It is the kind of arrangement of which only étatists of various complexions can approve but which is wholly inimical to frictionless international relations."

      - F.A. Hayek, Denationalisation of Money - The Argument
      Refined: An Analysis of the Theory and Practice
      of Concurrent Currencies
      , 3rd Edition, 1990 [Emphases in original]

The first thing we do, we get rid of national currencies. Having now available to us free market currencies, it is neither necessary nor desirable to have national currencies. They are not inevitable. They are not desirable. I would go bold on this one and say, "National currencies are evil."

Free trade is better public policy. Indeed, the very existence of nation states is a bad policy. Since everyone basically acknowledges the economic insanity of tariffs, subsidies, regulations, import quotas, export licenses, taxes, government regulation, and property redistribution, free trade zones and free trade regions have arisen on the basis that freedom in commerce is better. Since productive people have had to rely on filthy, lying scum in government to negotiate free trade zone laws and uphold them, or negotiate treaties for free trade regions such as NAFTA and the European Economic Community, it is inevitable that these endeavors to bring reason and honor to international trade have been hijacked by the lowest forms of dung eaters. It is not ironic that supernational bodies and new layers of government have been imposed as a result of free trade agreements, it is expected value. Everything touched by those who run the state turns to filth.

Just as free trade is better than mercantilism, colonialism, or regulated trade, just as free enterprise is better than central planning, so free market money is better than national currencies. And, national currencies are a blight on the economy.

Keep in mind the image Keynes paints of the early 20th Century. Trade and commerce were worldwide phenomena. They were successful at bringing within reach of a homeowner all the material things he could seek. With his phone, sitting in his dressing gown, he could invest in any enterprise he thought worthy. The economic stability brought about by currencies based on gold, a truly international underlying store of value, had encouraged innovation and the development of immense prosperity in the 200 years since Sir Isaac Newton had set up a gold standard for British commerce. Standard gold coins of amazingly similar weights and values were in circulation in a vast array of different countries. Peace and free trade were normal rather than unusual.

Into this world came the Fabian socialists, the George Bernard Shaws and the John Maynard Keyneses. Out went gold, in came fiat money. First the Weimar Republic and Austria were made to suffer incredible inflationary horrors, which led to the rise of the Nazis. Unable to sate their thirst for blood, the world was set ablaze with a Second World War that was deliberately funded by evil men of the banking cartel. Not content with having funded the Bolshevik Revolution that enslaved most of the land mass of Asia, these fiends sent insurance agents throughout eastern Europe to market life insurance policies, then paid the Nazi regime to exterminate all possible survivors or claimants and literally prise the gold from their teeth. The nationalist socialist traitor FDR sold the entirety of eastern Europe into socialist slavery, and his minions in the State Department ensured that China would soon follow.

So we have had the horrors of the 20th Century, and so we are having horrors in the 21st Century. As long as statists have their way, mankind will never be free. As long as the evil vermin who seek to run the state are allowed to spread their filth, funded by deficit spending, conscripting labor in the form of national "service" programs, and teaching their madness through the public schools, the wars and economic chaos are going to continue.

When it comes right down to it, it is all due to the idolatry of followers of Saulus of Tarsus. The Catholic Church and its minions, even after the so-called Reformation, continue to recognize as authoritative the evil view of "Saint" Paul that all governmental authority arises from God, that the Romans and the other totalitarians were in power because God wanted them in power, and it would be better to obey an unjust law than to rebuke it or change it. Paul stands in stark contrast to Jesus. Indeed, Paul was sent by the Romans to hijack Christianity, and he was successful.

Fortunately, there are new systems on the horizon. One in particular looms large. We shall discuss it in detail under "Free market money," below.

We'll continue our focus on Denationalisation next week.

Gold Mining

Here's how the stocks we presently suggest in this area look of late (early morning 4 October 2005):

Company Symbol

C$

US$

D

Exploring
Almaden AMM.TO

1.80

-

$0.06

Free Gold ITF.TO

0.185

0.141

-C$0.095

Luzon LZN.V

0.12

-

-C$0.17

Pinnacle PNL.V

1.06

-

C$0.43

Western WNP.V

5.70

-

C$3.96

Holding
Lumina Resources LUR.to

0.31

-C$0.44

Northern Peru Copper NOC.to

2.25

C$0.35

Regalito Copper RLO

-

6.14

$1.24

Silver Standard SSRI

-

13.49

$0.71

Vista VGZ.TO

4.95

-

-C$0.05

Mining
Apex Silver SIL

-

15.01

$2.46

Newmont Mining NEM

-

47.01

$3.71

Northgate NXG

-

1.34

- 0.31

Tan Range TRE

2.80

2.40

C$1.80

In the interests of providing more information rather than less, I relented and did not strike Free Gold this week. My only reason for doing so was to show the fairly dramatic price rise. You should regard this improvement as strength, and sell while it lasts. There is no indication in my research that there is substantial underlying value, based on all the new 43-101 compliant reports that place all the "proven" resources into historical context. If discoveries are made on the properties that Free Gold has, great. But, there's no "measured and indicated" resources so far. This week is it for Free Gold. If you still have Free Gold shares next week, you'll have to track it on your own.

Luzon, on the other hand, does have measured and indicated resources, as well as 43-101 compliant inferred resources at their Amayapampa property. The only problem with Amayapampa is it is a small mine. Liphichi, on the other hand, is potentially a huge mine with, e.g., a 39.5 meter interval showing 4.69 g/t Au. A recent visit by company management and prospective financiers to Bolivia supports our conclusion that Luzon has extraordinary underlying value. The company has decided to go forward with a bankable feasibility study at Amayapampa. Currently, the company shows the expectation to recover about 355,000 ounces of gold at Amayapampa at US$176/ounce cash cost. At $466/ounce the company would profit by $103 million, or US$2.50/share. Obviously, that's a good buy at C$0.12/share, even if you utterly discount the prospect for improving the percentage of metal recovered from 84% to 90% and set Liphichi at nought. Also, Jim Currie has resigned as a director of Luzon. Too bad, we rather liked him. We still like Luzon as a Bolivia play.

On the holding company front, Vista Gold turned red, falling slightly below our $5 initial suggestion. Among other things, Amayapampa is Vista's discovery, and a further option payment from Luzon is due in early 2006. We continue to like Vista.

Northern Peru, on the other hand, has turned green. Yay! The market is finally realizing that Northern Peru has substantial underlying value. Regalito is also up, a bit more than 25% on its initial price after the split. Of course, tempering this good news is Lumina Resources, which continues to be down. So, the market hasn't yet perceived the very substantial underlying value there. We'd suggest you buy more LUR.to, since it has the most prospects for gain.

Free Market Money

The big news in free market money this week is Loom Gold. It looms over the horizon like a golden dawn! A fantastic new idea in digital gold, Loom Gold is amazing.

Loom Gold is an entirely new idea in digital gold. It is completely different from all other digital gold currencies. Rather than being account based, Loom Gold is location based. All the gold in Loom Gold is just laying around on the ground as it were, in a gigantic forest, as it were.

Doesn't sound secure? Well, the basic model for Loom Gold is certainly "security through obscurity." But, boy is it ever obscure! The value in any one Loom Gold location is hidden, in plain sight, among 2256 locations. In base ten numbers, that's about 1.15 times ten to the seventy-seventh power. A very large number.

Since there are so many different locations, and since the random location generator only finds unoccupied new locations, the chance that anyone else is going to accidentally or randomly find your gold where you've put it is vanishingly small. One analyst who has taken a cold hard look at Loom Gold, and likes it very much, Venkat Mannakal of RayServers says in his blog posting that the time it would take to deliberately check every location would exceed by many orders of magnitude the anticipated lifespan of the universe.

We discussed Loom Gold with inventor, developer, and proprietor Patrick Chkoreff. Patrick is an old friend we first met at the Gold Economy conference in April 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia. He's a very talented programmer. Right now, Patrick has a couple of ounces of gold involved in Loom Gold. We'd actually heard very recently that a third ounce has been added for the benefit of open-source-crypto voice over IP zFone developer Phil Zimmerman. The gold is presently held in secure storage near Patrick's living quarters. The server shows up in Indiana.

Patrick is putting together an offshore entity which will own a server, possibly one of Venkat's amazing Ray Servers (secure by design and implementation) and hosted offshore. Of course, it isn't like there's a huge transactions database to capture if some evil minion of the state wanted to eat Loom Gold. As with everything new and shiny, we expect Loom Gold to get better as more thought and more development is put into it. Better jurisdiction, more distributed gold storage, and other innovations seem likely to follow.

Meanwhile, link in, browse through the frequently asked questions, and check it out. If you like, I have a bit of Loom Gold and would be happy to swap straight up for another digital gold you like. Try it out. Move some Loom Gold to a new location only you know. Build a little spreadsheet to track your Loom Gold locations. Put some Loom Gold in another location and e-mail a friend to go collect it.

Once you've used it a bit, you'll get the hang of it, and begin to see that Loom Gold is a totally different model. It is far more like cash than any other gold system. No double entry bookkeeping here.

Also in news on free market money, PVCSE is on offer. We're currently working with Sidd on the details. It appears very likely that PVCSE is to be listed ... on PVCSE. If you'd like to be involved in this opportunity to keep a free market exchange open and operating and freedom-oriented, please contact me.

Gold buyers and sellers are now duking it out between $469/ounce which seems to be someone's sell trigger and roughly $465 which seems to be a happy buy number for lots of gold acquirers. Over the weekend, gold was around $468.60 and opened Monday in Sydney with some major selling. Buying started in at $465. In spite of dramatic selling at $468 and $469, the price has recovered well from any point below $465. So, the battle is on. Obviously, anyone betting on the USA dollar is backing the wrong horse.

Finance.yahoo.com's front page this morning (Tuesday 4 October 2005) had a link for Morningstar showing four stock picks. These were GoldCorp, FreePort, Royal Gold, and Barrick. We'll take a look at them next week. The idea to take away here is that mainstream publications are beginning to take note of gold stocks, and, therefore, you should expect much higher prices for gold mining stocks.

Dow stocks haven't done much; the Dow:Au ratio is down to 22.54. Oil is $63.70/bbl, and it takes 7.35 barrels to buy an ounce of gold.

Silver has run up to $7.40/ounce. The Au/Ag ratio is down to 63.30. Silver is still under priced at this level, and should go higher in the next few weeks.

Copper ran up to $1.8056. Tonnage has been coming back out of the warehouses.

Zinc $0.6357/pound. The premium on pre-1982 pennies is just under 20%.

Nickel metal was $5.992 the morning of 4 October. It seems likely to fall further.

U3O8 was still showing $31.25/pound which is reported from 26 September.

Schlumberger was $83.43 on Tuesday morning, down a bit along with oil. Still up $1.21 since our suggestion.

The three free market money stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH, GBH, and MCG. Prices from Tuesday 4 October 2005.

Company Symbol gAu
D
Gold Barter Holdings GBH 0.155

- 0.845

MicroCasino MCG 0.833

+ 0.32

Pecunix Venture Holdings PVH 0.027

- 0.023

GBH finally came back up to the lowest outstanding open interest sell order at 0.155 gAu. Fourteen shares traded on Sunday the 2nd at that price, but there was not enough interest to buy any shares at 0.157 gAu. It is unclear what underlying strength may be involved in this trade. We are now in the Fourth Quarter, so perhaps another capital distribution to shareholders is being anticipated by prospective shareholders. We've certainly heard nothing to support this anticipation.

Our friend Robert Z has come out with his Cyber Gold Bank issue. CBG is trading at 0.106 gAu, and we suggest it. Cyber Gold Bank is an effort to make the digital gold economy independent from banks and financial service providers, thereby furthering the separation from fiat money. It is a true, old fashioned gold "bank" with facilities for deposit, lending, and trading in gold. CyfroCa$h Inc. has guaranteed to purchase shares at 0.1 gAu on the first of March and the 1st of September of every year beginning with 2006. A nice floor.

The Gold Casino last sale was 105 grams of gold per share.

Space Frontier

On 4 October 1957, Sputnik was launched into orbit. It probably would not have been the first artificial satellite launched had it not been for inter-service rivalry in the USA.

The late Harry Stine used to tell quite a large number of extremely amusing stories about the dawning space age. I really miss him. He was an engineer and rocketry enthusiast. Among other things, he helped organize the American Rocketry Association which was later merged into and swallowed up by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, which to my knowledge has done about nothing to encourage youngsters to have an interest in launching rockets.

One of Harry's stories, one of the ones that I believe, was about his work for the Thor launch vehicle program in Florida. Begun in 1954 as a ballistic missile, the Thor system was intended to use off the shelf components put together on a fast track. Thor was noted as a good basis for developing a launch vehicle early in its program history.

According to Harry, more than six months before Sputnik the Thor was ready to go. The engineers ran their calculations, and came up with an interesting result. The fourth stage and some payload would reach orbital altitude and velocity. Mildly impressed with this result, the engineers passed the result of their ballistic calculations to the project's USAF liaison officer. What sort of payload should be included? Maybe a camera, maybe a radio, maybe even a few upper atmosphere research instruments?

As Harry told the story, word went up to the base commander. Then word reached the Pentagon. Mankind was about to put an artificial satellite in orbit, the launch vehicle would be Thor. And that's where the dreams of spaceflight ended. Word came back down the chain of command that the Navy was going to put the first satellite in orbit. Fill the fourth stage with sand rather than rocket propellant, just to be sure.

Perhaps the world would be different if things had been handled differently. Thor went on to become Thor Able-Star and put a few nuclear weapons in space as part of Starfish Double Prime and Dominic Fishbowl. It grew up quickly after that and became the McDonnell Douglas Delta launch vehicle, now the Boeing Delta II, III, and IV. Back then, the Navy's Vanguard failed miserably, well after the Russian success with Sputnik. Kruschev called the Vanguard "kaputnik" because of its stunning ability to lift slightly off the launch pad and explode in a ball of fire.

Had the Americans beaten the Russians to orbit, there would have been no missile gap. Stanley Kubrik probably wouldn't have had that delightful "mine shaft gap" scene in "Doctor Strangelove: Or, How I Quit Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb." John F. Kennedy might not have been elected, though with all those dead people rising to vote in Chicago and South Texas, perhaps that outcome was...ordained. Perhaps the crash program to put men in space would have been unnecessary, and private rocketships would have been developed. The Moon race wouldn't have wasted billions of dollars on a misspent effort to plant flags and footprints on the Moon, and space tourism or other economically sustainable activities would have been the driving force. Instead, it was all politics, all socialism, all Werner von Braun and his team of Nazi engineers could have dreamed of twenty years earlier at Peenemunde.

The USA won the Moon race and lost the space race. The evidence? Last week, two government employees and a wealthy industrialist flew into orbit. One of the bureau-rats was employed by the Russian government and actually flew the space capsule. The other was employed by NASA and had to stifle his outrage. The third seat was occupied by space tourist Greg Olsen. Guess what? On the whole, nobody cares what the bureau-rats say, think, or do. The focus is all on space tourism. And the juicy irony? Americans can't travel to orbit on an American launch vehicle.

Weeks after the last flight of the space shuttle, the fleet is still grounded. It is still unclear why foam broke away from the external tank, although NASA appears ready to fix blame on the ground crew touching the foam near where it broke off. (It is such a joy to think of a launch system that is widely described as the most complicated engineering system ever devised being so fragile that merely touching some of its foam insulation could result in a catastrophic loss of life, as with Columbia.)

Meanwhile, Olsen, raised in Brooklyn, New York, is floating and looking, relaxing, and enjoying himself. One of the crew of two bureau-rats who have been in orbit for six months points out that hot pizza and cold beer aren't available in the Spartan and institutional internationalist socialist space station. But, that's okay. Olsen will have plenty of good food to enjoy when he gets back to Earth. And the crew which joined him on the flight up will get to eat space "cuisine" for six months, or however long it takes to send up their replacements.

Meanwhile, in news we missed, back in July, astronomers discovered a tenth planet orbiting Earth. It is currently named "Xena" and in early September, astronomers at Hawai'i's Keck observatory found a moon orbiting Planet Ten, naming it Gabrielle. (No word on whether Lucy Lawless will play the planet in a made for television film.) Professor Michael Brown says of his discovery, "Having a moon is just inherently cool - and it is something that most self-respecting planets have, so it is good to see that this one does, too."

We expect the lamers at the international astronomical body that provides names for celestial bodies and claims theirs are "official" are going to replace the name Xena in their catalog. And, being great fans of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension we are just as likely to call it Planet Ten. Xena is in a highly elliptical and highly inclined orbit, roughly 45 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. This very high inclination explains why Clyde Tombaugh would have missed it in his sky searches during the 20th Century. Xena is now about 9 billion miles from the Sun, roughly 97 astronomical units out.

Xena is slightly larger than Pluto with a diameter of about 1,700 miles. It is one of a great many Kuiper Belt objects which have stable orbits, far beyond Neptune. Whether astronomers decide to consider it a planet or not is fairly significant, since Pluto is basically the same sort of object, roughly the same size, also with moon (Pluto's moon is called Charon, after the mythical demigod who ferries the dead over the river Styx).

NASA delenda est.

SpaceDev closed at $1.55 on Tuesday 4 October 2005. It is five cents up from our first suggestion.

We discussed shorting airline stocks. Delta Airlines down to $0.79. America West doesn't seem to be trading. LCC is $22.16, up about a dollar from last week, presumably because oil has moderated a tad. JetBlue is down a penny to $18.10. It's hard to see where the pull back in oil prices is going to last very long.

Launch Technology

      "We wound up killing two birds with one stone - it had been decided that it would be more crowd pleasing to fly the vehicle with the conical aeroshell, so we changed our mounting for the cone to be robust enough to handle a tether catch on a dropping vehicle, and tethered it from the top of the cone, as we had done in the big peroxide vehicles."

      - Armadillo Aerospace web site 24 September 2005

John Carmack is doing very impressive things with Armadillo Aerospace. His team is practicing short hops and vertical landings with their rocket system. They plan to demonstrate their skills at the X Prize Cup in Las Cruces, New Mexico later this month.

The Armadillo team is using liquid oxygen and ethanol, good inexpensive fuels pioneered by Robert Goddard and used in the old V2 rockets. The development program seems to emphasize off the shelf parts, low cost development, building operational experience, and incremental improvements.

NASA delenda est.

New Country Developments

The problem with not having any particular ethics is blowing in the wind. Everyone in politics seems to "Have no conviction, if that's what you mean; I blow with the wind," to quote the prefect of police from "Casablanca." Eritrea is just one great huge example of how the USA has no fixed ideology in its halls of power.

On the one hand, secession is bad. A million and twenty thousand men shed their blood on the field of battle, and the Union armies massacred civilians, raped, starved, pillaged, looted, and burned everything from Louisville, Kentucky to Charleston, South Carolina. The purpose of this great effusion of blood was to establish that secession is bad, wrong, and not to be tolerated.

On the other hand, secession is good. Secession is a fine thing. Panama seceded from Colombia, because that whole Panama canal project pretty much required that the USA have firm control over a puppet government. Secession is good.

But, in standard ten-tentacular squid-like fashion, secession is bad. Vietnam tried to secede from French Indochina. It was such a bad thing that Mandell House wouldn't let Ho Chi Minh visit with Woodrow Wilson, so the Soviets got his attention, and the rest is history - with quite a bit of blood soaking into the soil in various parts of the world.

Secession is good, though. South Korea seceded from North Korea to form its own country. South Vietnam seceded from North Vietnam. Clearly, on these occasions, secession had to be supported. But, secession is bad if Hungary or Czechoslovakia want to secede from the Warsaw Pact, so Eisenhower had to turn a blind eye while the Soviets put a stop to those secessions; similarly with Russia and Chechnya today. Similarly, based on the same underlying ethical value, secession is good if Eritrea in 1993 wants to separate from Ethiopia. And, oh, by the way, provide some military airbase of enormous size to the USA. (Remember, secession is bad, so Somaliland cannot be allowed to secede from Somalia, even though there is no government of Somalia.)

The good news is that the USA has really picked a winner here. The government of Eritrea is dominated by the Eritrean People's Front for Democracy and Justice, which, as the name suggests, is a successor in interest to the Eritrean People's Liberation Front and is, you guessed it, hard line Marxist-Leninist. The constitution of Eritrea is not much worse than that of the USA, nor is it in any greater effect. The dictator is Isaias Afewerki who has intermittently scheduled and cancelled elections. In 2001, presumably having read the text of and taking seriously the ideas behind the USAPATRIOT act, Afewerki closed down all of Eritrea's privately owned media, arrested and tortured outspoken critics of the government, held them without trial, and proceeded to rampage on religious persecution. Unrecognized religious groups are not registered and prevented from worshipping; recognized religious groups are forced to submit personal information on each member of their congregation, register with the government, and allowed to worship under tightly supervised conditions.

So, it's all good. Dictatorship. Marxist-Leninist political leadership. Wars with Ethiopia. No free press. Dissidents imprisoned and tortured mercilessly. No freedom of religion. Naturally, the USA sees fit to support this very nice regime with endless humanitarian and military aid.

And, of course, there is light at the end of the tunnel, says John Bolton. No tar pit here. The endless suffering of "peace forcers" as Neil Smith so delightfully identifies peace "keepers" is to be reserved for USA forces in Iraq. In Eritrea, there will be an end to the fighting with Ethiopia, oh, any day now that the war is over 12 years old. Just to show everyone who is boss, the dictator of Eritrea has banned the UN from flying helicopters to its troops along the disputed border with Ethiopia. Yeah, that peace deal is working super well.

Presumably, any acts of secession in or from Iraq would be classified as terrorism, no matter how enthusiastic Kurds or Sunnis are for the literature of America's founding fathers.

Longevity

    "Our study adds to growing evidence that pomegranates contain very powerful agents against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. There is good reason now to test this fruit in humans - both for cancer prevention and treatment."

    - Dr. Hasan Mukhtar, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The image of Dr. Mukhtar testing pomegranates "in humans" for treatment of prostate cancer does make one wonder how the fruit is to be...applied. In any event, we owe a debt of gratitude to the deparment of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin. Prostate cancer is the most common invasive malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA.

The fruit of the Punica granatum tree is the pomegranate. It has strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. An extract of the fruit strongly exhibits anti-tumor-promoting effects in mouse skin. The extract is also anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic. So, it inhibits proliferation and promotes spontaneous cell death in cancer cells.

The study, released at the end of August 2005 shows cancer preventive and therapeutic effects against prostate cancer for pomegranate juice. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels were reduced among mice who had human prostate cancer cells injected into them and received pomegranate juice; tumor formation was significantly delayed in mice receiving the juice.

FDA delenda est.

Legislatura delenda est.

Here's how our stock suggestions in the nanotechnology and life extension sector look right now (morning Wednesday 5 October 2005).

Company Symbol US$ delta
CytRx CYTR 1.04 0.14
Accelrys ACCL 6.99 .38
Dendreon DNDN 6.81 1.49
Elan Corp. ELN 8.41 1.18

Alright, everything we've suggested is going well. That can't last, and it must indicate some timidity on our part. It is isn't speculation if there aren't some risks. On the other hand, nanotechnology is having its heyday.

We casually mentioned the idea of shorting Pfizer and other major drug makers at the end of May. Pfizer was $25.40 on the 5th, down 10.4% since our suggestion. Merck is off 15% in the same period.


Publication Note: Closing in on the schedule.

Consider encouraging your friends to sign up for The Indomitus Report. We are prepared to pay a 10% finder's fee to anyone who brings in a trial subscriber or annual subscriber.

Gratuitous example of bizarre legislation: Everyone is making methamphetamines in Colorado. Lab seizures there have increased from 25 in 1997 to 464 in 2002. According to legislation proposed by Colorado legislator Judy Solano, a Democrat from Thornton, it should be illegal to buy cold medicine if you need more than three packages, so try not to have big Mormon-style families, with lots of sniffly nosed kids at the same time, m'kay? Cold medicine should only be sold to people 18 or older because there has been an infestation of meth labs run by 14 year olds (exactly zero). The proposal requires that buyers show a photo identity paper ("papers please") and sign for each purchase, with names entered into a state database. Authorities would be alerted if someone makes multiple purchases, and evidently Solano eagerly anticipates drug raids on houses where flu epidemics are being handled by individual initiative. Solano was not quoted as saying that she hates all human beings and wishes they were squished like vermin, but several Colorado residents were heard to express similar thoughts about Solano.

We've added ... to our collection of essays.


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