First Issue 15 May 2004
B M S LT N L
The Indomitus Report
30 August 2004
"Freedom arises from within the individual;
In our first issue we discussed the concept of jurisdictional arbitrage. Since some things that you want to do are legal in some places and other things you want to do are legal in other places, why not have the best of these places? We reviewed the concept of five flags as an idiom for jurisdictional arbitrage and we discussed the possibilities for permanent travelers having more freedom.
Now it's time to discuss some specific places. Do you like to drink alcohol? Well, not every place has the same rules about it. You'll find that many Islamic countries are opposed to alcohol in ways that would make Carrie Nation quite happy. In Dubai, we're told, you must have a liquor license to consume alcohol, rather like a driver license. In Texas you are required to have a liquor license to sell alcohol, so the state can take a cut of your earnings.
Some places are unpleasant about cigarettes. Smoking is forbidden in many public places in California. You are expected to go outside, you aren't allowed to smoke in restaurants, many public places ban smoking by ordinance. Somalis seem to love smoking, drinking tea, and chewing a mild stimulant called qat (or chat where the "ch" is pronounced glottally like in chutzpah).
Gambling is increasingly legal, though it seems everywhere to be licensed and taxed. The USA thinks that it has the authority to prosecute gambling over the Internet, though there is little evidence of effective prosecutions of individuals who do so. While many credit card companies now refuse to provide Americans with online gambling funds, free market money including e-gold and Neteller have made strides in this market. While Americans are welcome to buy lottery tickets from their state governments with horrible odds against winning, they are supposedly prevented from gambling from the comfort of their own homes at much better odds online. On the other hand, Amsterdam, Nevada, and an increasing number of sovereign Indian nations are providing casino gambling. Costa Rica, some Caribbean islands, Malta, and a popular resort off the coast of Venezuela are venues for various online gambling enterprises.
Prostitution is forbidden in many places. However, rural Nevada and Amsterdam both accept that the oldest profession will have participants. Prostitution is licensed and to some extent regulated in both places, with various health inspections enforced. Condoms are included in the price. Femdoms, a novel form of prophylactic we encountered in England, are largely unknown in the pay for service market.
What do we mean by rural Nevada? We mean outside of Clark County, the county in which Las Vegas is located, several counties have licensed prostitution. Yet, if you've visited Las Vegas recently you've encountered dozens of street promoters flapping all kinds of literature at you. These people advertise escort services and private modeling. The implication seems to be that prostitution is legal in Las Vegas. It isn't. Be on your guard and don't agree to anything without exercising due diligence and caution. You may be encountering an undercover police agent who would be delighted to arrest you and thereby enhance the revenues of the county. On the other hand, escort services are a legitimate business in many places. Escorts may be men or women, are likely very happy to accompany you to events or dinner, and may be amenable to other activities with the right person. Naturally, if you are looking for a prostitute and you call an escort service in a jurisdiction where prostitution is illegal, you should be circumspect in your requests. Don't act like an undercover cop if you aren't one.
How about drugs? We found lots of places in Amsterdam where marijuana and hashish were being consumed. Hashish parlors are licensed and regulated there. You'll also find licensing of heroin addicts and certain provisions for their drug habits. Pharmaceuticals that are only available by prescription in the USA are available from pharmacists in many countries, notably Mexico. Some Internet pharmacies have been successful in selling prescription drugs into the USA with a doctor in their country providing the approval, but there is evidence this may start to be curtailed.
Horrified yet? Booze, smoking, gambling, prostitutes, drugs? Aren't these universally considered bad things? Evidently not. Some people believe that what they choose to do with their bodies is their own business. Others believe that exchanges between consenting participants are acceptable. Some even believe that God was serious when He said in Genesis 1:29 "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
If King David drank wine, who are we to object? Whether you find these activities ethical or not is up to you. We certainly don't ask that you partake. If you feel that these are dangerous activities, then don't participate. If you feel that others shouldn't participate, either, do your best to persuade them with reason or emotion. But don't try to short cut the process or take an easy way out by having the state coerce people into behaving the way you feel is best. All you can hope to do by making these behaviors criminal is drive them underground, increase the stakes, and make it more likely that coercion will be involved rather than consent.
A discussion of jurisdictions would not be complete without considering new countries. The good thing about new countries is that there are a great many from which to choose and more all the time.
At the beginning of the 20th Century there were about 113 countries. You can find them listed in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica which is still kept by many of the finer libraries as a compendium of what things were like back then. Many of the places you think of as separate countries were, at the beginning of the 20th Century parts of various European empires. France, Britain, Italy, and Germany had most of Africa; Belgium had the Congo; Japan had colonies in parts of Asia; Russia's empire extended across Siberia and would soon expand under Soviet rule to include many other countries. Even the USA had an empire with its occupation of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and at various times Cuba and other parts of Latin America.
At the beginning of the 21st Century there are 198 nations recognized by the United Nations, a dozen or so observer nations and as many separatist groups with some official recognition. There are even more separatist groups advocating secession or independence from one country or another. We aren't commenting on the methods used by Basque separatists or various opponents of the American Empire. If all these efforts were successful tomorrow, there would be hundreds of new nations. There are also 600 North American Indian nations, several dozen in South America, some 2000 ethnic and clan identity groups in Africa, and even more in Asia.
Nor does it need to end there. Scotland used to be a patchwork quilt of clan territories, Highland and Lowland. Every island in the world may become a nation some day. Any individual with wealth or ambition might form a new country. And the Earth is not the only planet in the Solar System. Within a few decades there may be thousands of countries; in a few centuries there may be millions of countries.
So if you don't like the country you've got, make a new one. Like your neighborhood but not your government? Start a secession movement. Re-make your country through politics or economics to suit your tastes. Who says you have to love it or leave it? Why not show a little initiative, take on a bit of leadership, and fix it? Not interested in fixing things for other people or running their lives for them? Run your own life from your own country.
A good place to start is How to Start Your Own Country by Erwin Strauss, available from Loompanics. While not up to date, it tells some of the interesting stories. For example, the story of Roy Bates and his son Michael taking over "Rough's Tower" in the pirate radio era of the 1960s and subsequently declaring it the sovereign nation of Sealand - now complete with a sound economy built on the data haven concept.
Starting your own country is nothing new. Grimaldi went in disguise into the fortress monastery of Monaco and took the place 900 years ago or so. His family has ruled it ever since.
Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Lots of new countries are nothing more than personal projects of their founders. Some are serious micro-nation efforts to provide postage stamps, passports, and other regalia. Others are scams seeking to separate fools from money in a time honored tradition of shearing. Some new countries claim to have territory where other countries have established claims. So, if you've decided to invest in a new country, check Scamdog.com or send us an e-mail.
Free Market Money
E.C. Riegel wrote in June 1947 that, "…it has not dawned upon society that the political monetary system that prevails in every nation is fundamentally socialistic. To point the finger at conscious socialists is self-deceiving, for it implies that others are not socialists. The finger should be pointed as well at the professing individualists who accept the socialization of the monetary system and are naïve enough to believe that we can have a free enterprise system in spite of it (Escape from Inflation, published 1979)."
He also wrote, in April 1952, in a letter to Ludwig von Mises, "The economy functions by means of verbal and written contracts, and under a monetary system, these contracts are all expressed in terms of the monetary unit. Hence the meaning of the monetary unit is the meaning of the contract. With the state’s power to change the meaning of the monetary unit, it holds complete perversive power over the economy. To admit this all pervasive intervention while objecting to collateral ones is to swallow a whale while gagging at minnows (Ibid.)."
We like Platinum Group Metals, Ltd (PTM on the TSXV and PTMQF on the OTCBB). Their new War Springs platinum project is about 10.5 miles South along the trend of the Platreef contact from an existing open pit mine with reserves of 315 million tonnes at 2.66 grams per ton for platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold. They just announced increased drilling at an accelerated schedule owing to similar near surface lithologies and mineralization that compare favorably with those of the Platreef. See their web site at platinumgroupmetals.net for details.
We're not sanguine about the politics in South Africa, where the War Springs project is located. However, to cover some of this political risk, the project is 70% held by PTM and 30% held by two black economic empowerment companies, exceeding the 10-year target of 26% black economic empowerment. PTM has active exploration programs in Canada as well, which further reduces the risk through jurisdictional diversification. PTM is one of the largest mineral rights holders in the area surrounding Canada's only primary platinum and palladium mine near Thunder Bay, Ontario; PTM has an active joint venture with Anglo Platinum near Sudbury, Ontario; PTM is completing a drill program on the Lakemount Nickel Copper PGE project near Wawa, Ontario. Refer to their web site for contact info, phone numbers, and disclosure statements.
Prices fluctuate of course and often fluctuate more with thinly traded issues. We saw a TSXV price of C$1.11 on the evening of 24 August 2004 with a last buyer of Rogers and Partners Securities; last seller Canaccord Capital Corp. We like a price of C$1.60 or less as a buying opportunity. A 52-week high of C$1.95 suggests good room for the upside. (Note, all prices on the Toronto Stock Exchange will be in Canadian dollars. Visit xe.com for exchange rates up to the moment.) PTM has growing assets, with both cash and mineral properties expanding quarter over quarter. Their earnings per share are still negative, though revenues are up and operating and well as other losses are down compared to the quarter in 2003.
We like Freegold Ventures, Ltd (ITF on the TSX). These folks are engaged in exploration in British Columbia near the More Creek and Kinaskan Lake area. Their Grew Creek project West of the Ross River in Yukon is a low sulphidation epithermal gold source. Drilling there should commence end of this month. More details at their web site freegoldventures.com along with contact info, disclosures, disclaimers, and the like.
Political risk with ITF is less given their location in the USA and Canada. Assets are growing, revenues are growing with some seasonal variation, and losses are dropping, again with some variation by quarter.
Where are established mining companies going to get new production as demand for metals heats up? One of the obvious ways of obtaining new production is to buy junior exploration and development companies. Or buy their assets in proven reserves. The supply trap in gold and other metals is very real. Prices were depressed for many years, roughly 1996 to 2003. With new higher prices, exploration is gearing up, but it will be years before new exploration produces metal on the market. To expand their proven reserves and produce more metal to meet demand, the majors will be merging and acquiring the juniors.
ITF is trading at C$0.28. A fifty-two week high of C$0.68 shows good upside potential. The stock is recovering from its low of the same period C$0.23. We like it at prices below C$0.35.
Free Market Money
Something wonderful has happened. The good folks at e-Bullion.com have moved their servers to Switzerland. Check the IP addresses for yourself. Why is that important? Return to our earlier issue in which we discussed the five flags model. Switzerland is a great jurisdiction for storing both data and gold. The e-Bullion gold and silver is already diversified across several continents. Now the data is safely out of the USA.
Let's review the major sources of free market money.
Founded 1996, e-gold.com offers online metal money or "e-metal ™" in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Excellent online statistics, good details on inventory, scores very poor on the audits which are required in their contract. Their digital warehouse receipts represent metal stored in London, Zurich, and Dubai, so high marks for geographical and jurisdictional diversification there. Their databases are in the USA, a terrible jurisdiction for Americans, something of a tax haven for foreigners. Something over 1.5 million accounts exist, something like 400,000 of these seem to have significant value in them. Based on their reported velocity statistics, about $1.3 billion flows through their system each year. Allows for micro-payments and macro-payments. An excellent shopping cart interface and other effective automation systems are available. Log-in security is high quality with SRK for password input and Acc-Sent for validating users. We like their anti-spam policies, and their due diligence team does heroic work. Storage fees of 1% per year; "payment receive" fees capped at about 0.05 grams of gold under the new fee schedule. No spend fees.
Founded 1998, LibertyDollar.org offers metal, paper, and digital monetary alternatives in gold and silver. Their Liberty silver pieces are stunning, well designed, and have a useful face value so that circulation is encouraged. Their Liberty gold pieces are also excellent. We like their paper warehouse receipts for both printing quality and security features. Their audits are excellent. We give them low marks on bullion storage, though, as they have chosen Idaho for this service. No geographical or jurisdictional diversity here, and the USA does have a history of stealing gold from its citizens (e.g., 1933). Their e-Liberty is an effective online currency. Data seems to be stored in Indiana, again low marks for that choice as far as jurisdiction. About $6 million in circulation. No statistics we're aware of regarding velocity or account holders. Probably around 50,000 users nationwide. We have no comments on shopping cart or other automation interfaces.
Founded 2001, e-Bullion.com is affiliated with one of the largest coin and bullion dealers in the Southwest, Gold Finger Coin and Bullion. They have bullion storage on several continents, including allocated storage with the Perth Mint Depository. They offer gold, silver, and a dollar transfer e-currency. Log-in security is top-notch with their CryptoCard system. We also like their newest automation interface. Corporate governance is being re-vamped with their move to Switzerland. Some 275,000 users worldwide. About $8 million in value stored. No statistics on circulation.
Founded 2001, GoldMoney.com offers online gold. Last we heard, the gold is all stored in London, though plans are afoot to add other storage locations. Servers are on the Channel Isle of Jersey. High marks for corporate governance and audits. Good quality log-in features, with secure certificates for added gusto. Around $25 million in value now in storage, about 12,000 users. Very limited statistical data. Automation interface is excellent. There is a complex storage fee embedded within the spend fee.
Founded 2002, 1MDC.com offers online gold. Their gold is stored with e-gold. Their data is stored on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. No fees for storage, receiving payments, or spending. No information on users, gold in storage, or audits. Log-in features are well programmed and highly secure.
Founded 2002, Pecunix.com is the flagship of Pecunix Venture Holdings which has been around for quite a few years. Data stored in New Zealand, gold in Switzerland. Pecunix is amazingly secure, with PGP features integrated throughout. We are delighted by their automation interface, their web site, and their customer service. You can pay their spend fee, split it with your merchant, or have the recipient pay it all, and this feature can be altered in the automation routines.
Who stores your data offshore? Switzerland for e-Bullion; Jersey for GoldMoney; New Zealand for Pecunix; Anguilla for 1MDC. The grandfathers of the industry, e-gold and LibertyDollar seem to be stuck in the USA. What's your best bet? Diversify.
"Create ships and sails capable of navigating the celestial atmosphere and
We like SpaceDev. Founder Jim Benson is an incredible entrepreneur, who has really made SpaceDev something different in commercial space. Earlier this month, the company reported its sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth. Better yet, it looks like quarterly losses may be turning into quarterly profits, judging by their latest report. Their OTCBB symbol is SPDV. See their web site at Spacedev.com for details.
Some of their interesting projects: NEAP, CHIPSat, SeaLaunch, NRO, Mars Sample, Lunar Dish Observatory, and SpaceShip One.
NEAP is the near Earth asteroid prospector, conceived in 1997 and now a 200 kilo microsat to be launched as a secondary payload by Ariane 5. It would be the first privately financed deep space mission. The NEAP could lay claim to an asteroid, plant a radio beacon, and possibly recover a sample.
CHIPSat is the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer mission for the University Explorer program. Launched in 2003, it was highly innovative in spacecraft bus design providing for impressive cost savings. The CHIPSat development is a demonstration of the skill of SpaceDev at producing low cost satellites. Its 3-axis stabilized design was highly innovative. Its low cost paves the way for more low cost space projects.
SeaLaunch involves the development of a secondary payload adapter for the Sea Launch system. Last we checked, Sea Launch was using Russian rockets launched from an ocean platform for optimal orbital insertions at any desired latitude (orbital inclination). SpaceDev understands the need for low cost launches and has designed satellites for various specific launch vehicles.
NRO is the National Reconnaissance Organization which is the spook agency for satellites. SpaceDev received four contracts for hybrid rocket engine design and development, including test firings, and prototyping of their orbital Maneuver and Transfer Vehicle (MTV - we think music videos, but the space biz is acronym rich and alphabet poor). If purity is your thing, these guys do military contracts with the Air Force and DARPA, so handle with care.
Mars Sample is a subcontract from Boeing to participate in the Mars Ascent vehicle concept study for NASA's JPL. The Mars sample return mission would be a very exciting scientific and technical accomplishment. It would also lead to other Mars missions.
Lunar Dish Observatory is an unmanned mission to put a small dish antenna near the Moon's South pole. The polar location will provide near-constant sunlight for solar power. Multiple wavelength astronomy should be possible, along with some very long baseline work coordinated with terrestrial dish antennae. Lunar Enterprise Corporation funded the study. Steve Durst is the founder and director of Lunar Enterprise. Durst is a name to conjure with in the space business arena.
SpaceShip One is the brilliant manned space system that Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites developed to put men in space. Earlier this year, SpaceShip One was launched on its first manned flight into space, which earned astronaut wings for its pilot, Mike Melvill. SpaceDev is the propulsion contractor for the uppermost stage, the rocket engine. Their hybrid rocket engine burns Plexiglas™ using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as oxidizer. The motor is small, powerful, and safe, with the ability to go from 0 to 3000 miles per hour in less than four minutes. Riding atop this motor, Melvill became the first man in space who got there without taxpayer funds.
We found SPDV selling at $1.50 in the early morning hours of Wednesday 25 August 2004. The stock has been at a high of $2.38 in the last 52 weeks, as well as a low of $0.75. We like to buy below $2.
Scaled Composites is a fantastic company. Of course, they've designed and built nearly three dozen concept aircraft, including the SpaceShip One project and the Voyager around-the-world-on-a-tank-of-gas high endurance project. Whether they will be producing SpaceShip vehicles for general use depends on whether the FAA will get out of the way on the $200 million certification and licensing process. Probably not, says Burt Rutan, the company's founder. If it happens, look for a spin-off company to run the space tourism and possibly another spin-off to build the space ships.
Scaled.com is their web site. As you can see from their press releases, Paul Allen (vulcan.com) is a major investor in Scaled Composites for their Tier One manned space program. The SpaceShip One vehicle will make a late September try for the Ansari X-Prize (see xprize.org for details on this competition). We think Scaled plans to continue as a privately held company. Does that mean there are no opportunities for investment or profit? Clearly there are opportunities, or Allen would not have been able to invest. We don't expect Scaled to become a publicly held company in this era of government regulation of all that is publicly held, but we do expect other new projects from Scaled.
"We must reach the stars and possess them."
– Bill Sprague
The Ansari X-Prize is a ten million dollar prize for suborbital manned spaceflight. The conditions for winning are to put three people to 60 nautical miles altitude, recover them safely, and do it again within two weeks. Obviously, this contest may result in the development of several new launch systems that would bring down costs. It may result in the development of a large scale space tourism industry. And as an old friend Carlos Perez once said to another friend Bob Noteboom, "A sugar cube in orbit is inherently a good thing." So the X-prize contestants are doing good even if they do nothing but put a few people in space for brief visits.
Here's a quick list: American Astronautics; Acceleration Engineering; American Advent; ARCA; Armadillo Aerospace; Bristol Spaceplanes; Canadian Arrow; Da Vinci; Fundamental Technology Systems; High Altitude Research Corp.; Interorbital Systems; ILAT; Micro Space; Pablo de Leon & Associates; Rocketplane; Scaled Composites; Space Transport Corp.; Starchaser Industrial Ltd; TGV Rockets, Inc; Vanguard Spacecraft. We'll review about half of these this week, the rest next week.
American Astronautics is an American outfit led by Bill Sprague, with operations in Oklahoma and California. They've been a competitor since early 2003. Their Spirit of Liberty vehicle has a capacity for seven passengers. It launches with ignition at Earth's surface using high test kerosene and liquid oxygen. No information on test flights. Their site at americanastronautics.com was unavailable as we went to press.
Acceleration Engineering is led by Micky Badgero of Bath, Michigan. His Lucky Seven launch vehicle carries three passengers and burns liquid methane with liquid oxygen. He entered the contest in 1996. No information on test flights. There seems to be no web site or current contact information.
American Advent or Advent Launch Services was the brainchild of Jim Akkerman and Harry Dace. Dace is no longer involved in any space projects. Akkerman operates from Houston Texas with a web site at ghg.net/jimakkerman His concept vehicle takes off in the ocean and lands horizontally on the sea surface, burning liquid methane with liquid oxygen. The team has been registered since 1996. For several years they were accepting deposits for passenger flights.
ARCA or Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association was founded in 1999 and is led by Dumitru Popescu. His team registered with the X-Prize in 2002 and has announced an upcoming test in September 2004. Their four-engine vehicle carries three people and burns hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) solid propellant in hydrogen peroxide. Their web site is acraspace.ro and offers a good quality English version. (No doubt the Romanian language version is also excellent.) Their web site clearly demonstrates that their team is active and pursuing development and testing activities. Nice rocket pictures of their Orizont vehicle. The list of sponsors includes various Romanian companies and organizations, a German web site shirtcity.de, and a Rotary club chapter. These guys seem like dedicated entrepreneurs who are "bending metal" in the great tradition of rocket enthusiasts.
Armadillo Aerospace is the brainchild of John Carmack, who has brought the world such excellent video games as Castle Wolfenstein (1992), Doom, and Quake. Carmack has put together an excellent team with a go-get-'em attitude in Mesquite, Texas. The company was started in 2000 and registered for the competition in 2002. Their Black Armadillo has one engine burning a hydrogen peroxide and methanol monopropellant. (Presumably these chemicals are hypergolic or spontaneously combusting on contact.) Their web site is armadilloaerospace.com and everything one would expect from a top-notch computer professional like Carmack. Their 8 August 2004 update indicates some successful rocket tests together with a total loss of a test vehicle. Delightfully, they market the scrap metal from their rocket failures as "Armadillo Droppings" on their paraphernalia page for $125 per piece with authenticity certificate. (Gary Hudson should have done that with Percheron - probably would have recovered the whole vehicle cost!)
Bristol Spaceplanes is based in Bristol, England and was formed in 1991. Team leader David Ashford has worked on Concorde, the DC-10, the Skylark sounding rocket, and various naval missiles. His team registered in 1997 to compete in the X-prize. Their Ascender vehicle has three engines. Two engines are Williams-Rolls FJ44 turbofan engines and one is a venerable Pratt & Whitney RL 10. All three burn hydrogen in liquid oxygen. Their web site is bristolspaceplanes.com and shows their Ascender vehicle under the projects directory. The Ascender is a hot looking jet aircraft which has a top altitude of 100 kilometers. We didn't find a lot of news about test flights or development.
Canadian Arrow is led by Geoffrey Sheerin from London, Ontario, Canada. The team has an excellent two stage rocket based on the old German V2 "I just send up the rockets, who cares vhere dey come down" von Braun design. The vehicle has a payload capacity of three passengers. The first stage uses alcohol and liquid oxygen with one large engine. The second stage uses four engines burning a solid fuel made of perchlorate, asphalt, and "special oils." Secret spices, perhaps? The vehicle is recovered by parachute. Their site at canadianarrow.com is excellent. Their vehicle is very real, their crew capsule just went through a drop test, and they are preparing for a launch pad abort test of the crew escape rocket system.
Fundamental Technology Systems is the developer of the Aurora space plane. Led by Jim Toole, the team is based in Orlando, Florida. They've been a competitor since 2000. Their horizontal take-off and landing system is based on thrust vectoring engines burning kerosene in hydrogen peroxide. We found their web page at funtechsystems.com to be filled with computer generated 3-D images of their Aurora space plane and flat images of their research rocket plane. Actual hardware photos of their Flight Navigation Unit are excellent, and show a very impressive navigation, guidance and flight control data system - so impressive that it is in actual operation on the Scaled Composites White Knight and SpaceShip One vehicles. While it seems doubtful the Aurora will be winning the X-Prize, their hardware has already flown in space on the manned SpaceShip One.
GoldenPalace.com Space Project: Powered by the Da Vinci Project is a Toronto, Canada project led by Brian Feeney. His team's Wild Fire rocket is to make its maiden voyage on 2 October 2004 from a high altitude balloon to be launched from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Canada (see kindersley.ca). The balloon is a sort of first stage, carrying the vehicle to 80,000 feet altitude (much as Rutan's SpaceShip One is carried up by an airplane, the White Knight). The Wild Fire uses two gimbaled, pressure fed rockets burning kerosene in liquid oxygen. Their parafoil and ballute landing system is GPS guided for a soft landing. Web site is davinciproject.com and shows plenty of links to key sponsor GoldenPalace.com, an online casino licensed by the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, Canada. Sun Microsystems and other companies are sponsors.
High Altitude Research Corp. began as a spin-off of the High Altitude Lift Off (HALO) project of the Huntsville, Alabama L5 Society - one of the last remaining L5 chapters on Earth. My old friend Greg Allison is involved in engineering, quality, and safety. HARC is still based in Huntsville, the old stomping grounds of Werner von Braun and other rocket pioneers. (The National Space Institute founded by von Braun in 1976 merged with the L5 Society founded by Keith and Caroline Henson in 1975 to form the Nationalist Space Society now headquartered in Washington, DC.) The two main rocket engines burn kerosene in liquid oxygen. The escape tower is powered by a hybrid engine. Their web site is harcspace.com and shows their hot Liberator in action on the home page. Orion Propulsion and ChromAddict design are corporate partners. The Liberator capsule and its escape tower are on display at their test facility along with a single engine booster. Their engines were developed with a $3 million research project and include several unique technologies. Best of all, they are seeking investors. Contact them at email@example.com for details.
For next week: Interorbital Systems; ILAT, an Israeli company; Micro Space of Colorado; Pablo de Leon & Associates of Argentina; Rocketplane of Oklahoma; Scaled Composites of California; Space Transport of Washington state; Starchaser Industrial Ltd; TGV Rockets, Inc; and Vanguard Spacecraft.
As you can see from the above analysis, there are several teams with reasonable prospects for competing. The Scaled Composites team is favored by many to win. Other near term candidates for manned flights are Armadillo Aerospace, Canadian Arrow, Golden Palace/daVinci, and HARC.
Some of these companies will become space tourism leaders. Others will be involved in launch vehicle development for years to come. Several are also vaporware companies with conceptual designs at best.
New Country Developments
"There were some who greatly preferred the porcupine
– from "Hollow Woman" by L. Neil Smith in Rational Review
The Free State Project began after an editorial by Walter Williams appeared in September 2000 in World Net Daily. Entitled, "It's time to part company," the editorial suggested that people with similar views on individual liberty, self responsibility, and private property should congregate in one or two states and secede. Unfortunately, recent experiences suggest that Dr. Sorens, the leader of this project, is not someone who respects private property or individual liberty.
After a special announcement was sent around to project list subscribers announcing that pork barrel politics had gained a defense contract for a company which planned to re-located 150 or so jobs to New Hampshire, Dr. Sorens enthused that he was "thrilled…absolutely" by the prospect that the federal government would build next-generation death machines in New Hampshire and possibly provide jobs for "IT types" among the free state migration crew.
When his comments were challenged in an e-mail message circulated to several discussion lists where the project comes up from time to time, Dr. Sorens chose to respond, rudely, by private e-mail to the author. When the author asked that Dr. Sorens stop sending e-mail, Dr. Sorens continued. A second warning resulted in a further reply. It seems clear that Dr. Sorens has a distorted view of whose property belongs to whom and what his obligations are to not trespass on someone else's property when he is asked to desist.
These two issues: the lack of clarity about the nature of military contracts and the lack of respect for private property combine with the recent published threat by one Free State Project principal to file a lawsuit against the leader of a Wyoming splinter project should his version of events disagree with the secretly tape recorded version of a conversation (see The Libertarian Enterprise) suggest that the FSP may not be for anyone who views initiatory force as wrong. As the entire project hinges on moving voters to a state and having them vote, the whole context of majority rule and voting as a vehicle for change should be examined closely.
Given that New Hampshire is one of two states in which the Libertarian Party candidate for president won't be on the ballot in 2004, it is a wonder that anyone has chosen that state as a leading location for freedom.
Several new projects are currently in the works that may lead to significant new country developments, but are at a very preliminary stage. We'll examine several of these in the next weeks.
"I don't want to live on in my works.
– Woody Allen
Both Alzheimer's disease and arteriosclerosis are associated with senile dementia. Some patients with symptoms of senility have both disorders. Obviously, the desire to live a long life is not much of a prospect if the mind goes away. A drooling fool unable to recognize his own children is hardly the result most longevity enthusiasts seek for themselves.
Memantine™ is a product available in the United Kingdom which was to receive FDA approval for sale to Americans - by prescription only - this year. Some pharmacies in the UK have shipped product to the USA, though whether this practice will continue is unknown. The chemicals in Memantine™ appear to have the effect of assisting the brain's cells in replacing certain neural impulses or information transmissions using magnesium instead of calcium. For various reasons, patients with either Alzheimer's or arteriosclerosis seem to have difficulty processing neural interactions that depend on calcium, but are able to replace these calcium-dependent signals with magnesium-based signals.
Memantine™ appears to reverse the degradation of memory and mental functioning in some patients, and appears to slow the degradation in others. Its effects may be time limited. Earlier diagnosis may assist in making this treatment more effective.
Galantamind™ (also Galantamind Plus™) from Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw's® Life-Enhancement.com is a supplement containing vitamins B3, B6, B12, C, and E, along with folic acid, turmeric root, green tea extract, galantamine hydrobromide extracted from Galanthus nivalis, and lithium carbonate. It is used in combination with Omega-3 Heartfelt™, a product containing essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, and Memory Upgrade II™ which contains choline and taurine.
The galanthus herb or "snowdrop" was known in the time of the ancient Greek poet Homer. He describes Odysseus using it to "banish forgetfulness." The chemical galantamine hydrobromide is also found in daffodils and spider lilies, among other plants. It is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme which blocks the effects of the natural neuro-transmitter acetylcholine. By inhibiting this enzyme, galantamine supports normal brain function and blocks the age-related breakdown of the acetylcholine neuro-transmitter while also enhancing nicotinic receptor activity associated with memory and intellectual function.
The turmeric and green tea extract polyphenols have a set of anti-oxidants which work together to further support brain function. The other vitamins and minerals in Galantamind Plus™ have various anti-oxidant effects and can reduce the jitteriness sometimes associated with choline. The Omega-3 Heartfelt™ contains essential fatty acids (marine lipids EPA and DHA) and various tocopherols or Vitamin E. These chemicals seem to reduce the likelihood of arteriosclerosis, which has been observed in connection with effects such as senile dementia.
The Memory Upgrade II™ contains choline, taurine, glycine, zinc, chromium, copper, B vitamins, and flavoring. It is a drink mix designed to encourage the formation of acetylcholine which is useful in both neural function and muscle tone. Owing to the way in which choline is treated by the body when consumed with other proteins, it is recommended that the drink mix be taken away from food, perhaps 2 hours after a meal and 45 minutes before another meal. It may be mixed with fruit juice or a small amount of honey to improve the flavor. The drink mix should not be exposed to prolonged heat, such as the trunk of a car for several days travel, but stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
Next week we'll look at DHEA, melatonin, and other chemicals associated with prolonged life.
As always, you understand that we don't sell pharmaceuticals, prescribe them, recommend them, advise you if you are in the USA, suggest that you take them without consulting a physician, or otherwise agree that we've told you anything about them. The FDA would be mean to us, so please be nice.
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