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The Indomitus Report

3 October 2004

Being Sovereign

    "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above a whisper in condemnation of it."
    - Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, 1913

It is time to discuss communications. You should have private communications. If you want to be free, if you want to exert your full potential as a sovereign, you must be able to converse in privacy.

The history of privacy is closely tied to the history of sovereignty. When individuals have found ways to communicate with greater privacy, they have been able to build more, do more, and preserve more of their property and freedom than ever before.

Much of that history of privacy is the history of codes. The study of codes is called cryptology - the study of that which is hidden. It is more commonly referred to as cryptography - hidden writing.

Cryptography has two components. The first is hiding information so that it cannot be found or decoded and understood. The second is decoding the hidden writing so that the intended recipient may read and understand it. Of course, this second aspect of cryptography is also used for the purpose of decoding the hidden writing so that it may be seen and understood by third parties.

Written language has always conferred power on its users. The power of understanding the words of others, including those recently or long dead, is a tremendous tool. Owing to the power of this tool, writing was not always widespread. Often, priests or scribes would jealously guard their power of written communication, forming temples and guilds and putting to death those "unauthorized" persons who dared to learn their secrets. Fortunately, early civilizations such as the Sumerian discovered the opportunities of having literacy be very widespread. More knowledge understood by more people led to innovations and prosperity.

However, the dissemination of literacy also carries with it some difficulties. With widespread understanding of the written word, privacy becomes more difficult. To safeguard their communications, people began to take up writing in code. Famously, men such as Leonardo da Vinci would write backward to disguise their words.

Julius Caesar devised a method of writing out his messages in perfect squares, reading from top to bottom from one column to the next, then carefully transcribing the letters into the normal right to left horizontal orientation. His officers, upon receiving a message of apparent gibberish would immediately count the characters and obtain the square root. (For example, a message of 100 characters would fit into a ten by ten matrix.) Filling the matrix from left to right and top to bottom with the characters from the message, the officer would then read the words that appeared from top to bottom in the leftmost column, and continue reading one column after another until the message was complete.

In the Seventeenth Century, the practice of code writing became more sophisticated, with letter transpositions, alphabet substitutions, the use of numbers to represent letters, and even the adoption of binary encipherment. Mathematics became increasingly important to the cryptographer as various mathematical operations were used to encipher and decipher messages. By World War II, these codes were very complex, often involving machines such as the Nemesis encoding machine for both enciphering and deciphering messages. Digital computers were developed at a staggering pace prior to and during the war in order to mimic the deciphering abilities of enemy coding machines.

Again famously, Japan's naval codes were broken by the American military prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1941. In his excellent book on this subject Day of Deceit, Robert Stinnett, a contemporary author explains that the Roosevelt Administration used its knowledge of Japanese naval codes to monitor the progress of the Japanese government toward war, prompting this behavior with one provocation after another until the Japanese were determined to attack. Then, by deceiving the nation and the military, the aircraft carriers of the US Navy's Pacific Fleet were carefully sent away from Pearl Harbor whose forces were otherwise deliberately positioned to maximize the damage from the attack. With ships and aircraft lined up and various early warnings either misdirected or ignored, the deaths of thousands of American service men and women became the direct responsibility of president Roosevelt.

Since World War II, math has played an ever larger role. In the 1970s, Ralph Merkle and others invented public key cryptography. Using pairs of very large prime numbers, public key cryptography allows anyone with the public key of a key pair to generate an enciphered message. The message can then be deciphered only by the person who possesses the secret key of the pair.

Public key cryptography works with a number of algorithms. The earliest and most famous of these is the RSA algorithm. RSA stands for the first letters of the last names of the inventors: Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Leonard Adleman. More recently, other algorithms such as Diffie/Helman, DSS, Twofish, and IDEA have become available. Phil Zimmerman decided in the late 1990s to package some of these powerful algorithms into a software application called "Pretty Good Privacy." The software has taken the world by storm.

Originally a DOS command line application, PGP has developed into a powerful application for Windows, Macintosh, or Linux operating systems. It has been taken up by the open source community which has developed OpenPGP and GnuPG as open source alternatives, though sometimes without access to copywritten or patented algorithms (e.g., the IDEA algorithm).

PGP is available here. GnuPG is available here. There is also an international site here.

PGP makes use of two approaches to encipherment. It also allows messages to be deciphered. Finally, it allows the sender of a message to sign either a clear text message or an enciphered message so that his signature may be digitally verified.

The simplest PGP encryption scheme is also common to the algorithm Twofish. A password is used to encipher the message. The decipherment is only possible to other persons who know the password. A password can be up to 254 characters, can contain letters, numbers, upper or lower case characters, and even symbols. Essentially, anything in the ASCII character set. So, merely guessing the password can be cumbersome, even for an advanced computer.

The more complex PGP approach to encipherment uses the public key of the recipient to encode the cipher text. The recipient then uses his private key (which is itself secured with a password) to decrypt the message.

Message signing works by using the private key to generate a digital signature. The signature is then verified using the public key.

These ideas are not as complicated as they may seem. Although the DOS version of PGP had some limitations, mostly due to the command line interface of DOS itself, several "front end" software applications were developed which provided a graphical user interface for PGP. Upgrades to PGP adopted the graphical user interface, and all of the open source versions use a graphical interface. So, today it is very simply a matter of downloading the software and using it like other applications.

There are even "plug ins" which work with familiar e-mail programs such as Outlook and Eudora, although these plug-ins often contain limitations about the configuration of PGP keys. (A PGP key may, but need not, include an e-mail address, a photograph, and other information about the user who generated the public key. Some e-mail plug-ins won't encrypt messages except to keys that show an e-mail address identical to the e-mail address of the message recipient. This "safety" feature can prevent valid keys from being used for encryption, and may prevent a user from decrypting messages if he hasn't updated the e-mail addresses for a particular key.)

Since PGP is available in a free version and since the open source applications are free, it is not costly to gain security for your e-mail communications. How secure is it? "Pretty good" is the answer. Assuming you use the 4096-bit keystream feature, and assuming your password is of an appropriate length and complexity, and assuming you use appropriate methods to keep virus and trojan software from your computer, you can generate cipher text that would take the fastest known computers tens of millions of years to decipher. Many fast computer processors working in parallel may be able to decipher messages within a shorter time, though very few people have access to that kind of computing capability.

Which has led to the bear traps. A friend of mine from Wyoming likes to say, "There's always free meat in a bear trap." Well, the Mossad and the NSA have probably set up "free" online e-mail services with encryption systems that work well enough to fool most people, but which are not truly safeguarding your information from either the NSA or other security services.

For various reasons, we believe it is possible that SAFe-mail is a system with backdoors operated by the Mossad. If so, then the information users are sending and receiving would not be secret from the Israeli government, and may be traded by the Mossad for other intelligence information. We have relied on third party analyses and information in identifying this possibility, which we do not state is certain.

Similarly, we have what we regard as reliable information that MailVault was probably developed with coding assistance from NSA operatives who may have been involved in the demise of the Laissez Faire City project. In particular, in 1999, Michael van Notten traveled to Costa Rica for the International Society for Individual Liberty conference held there that year. He learned of MailVault and had then-LFC City Clerk "Jack Freeman" provide him with an account. We learned subsequently that Freeman was reading all of Michael's message traffic. At one point, Freeman replied to a message sent by Michael to yours truly. When confronted, Freeman admitted he had been reading the message traffic and asserted that if Michael wanted privacy he would have changed his password.

We have since been informed that "Jack Freeman" was an alias of Chris Eyerman or Christian Eyerman, a matter confirmed by several sources. We believe Eyerman was a close associate of John Landgraf, and for various reasons we believe Landgraf had close ties to government intelligence agencies. At a 2002 conference in Aspen, Landgraf made statements about these contacts and connections. Eyerman and Landgraf were co-chairs for the next session of that same conference in 2003.

Update: We have subsequently been told by Christian Eyerman (or Chris Eyerman) that he was not the only person to go by the name "Jack Freeman." It is an interesting counter-claim, and notably fails to address the situation with Michael's MailVault account.

So while MailVault and SAFe-mail purport to provide encrypted communications for users, we are not confident in their privacy services. We suggest they may not be the best online privacy messaging services available.

Two other examples would seem to be much better. One is Hushmail.com which uses the Open PGP protocols for their system. Various privacy experts have validated these protocols and we believe Hushmail is a good service which you can use with some confidence. However, because encryption keys are kept by the Hushmail server, a certain amount of trust enters into the equation. It is conceivable that Hushmail messages could be compromised as a result of court orders, though the safeguarding of user passwords may make this difficult.

The other better alternative is Seagold.net. The Seagold system uses password encryption, so that there is no private key stored on the Seamail server. This alternative makes it much more difficult for encrypted messages to be decoded.

Both Hushmail and Seagold have encrypted interfaces. That means that instead of the http you see https, and there is 124-bit encryption or greater in all communications to and from the server. We're familiar with some of the people involved in each of these business operations, and therefore feel confident that their software is safe to use.

So, if you have difficulty with PGP or its open source variants, and if you wish to have someone else do the work for you, Hushmail and Seagold both offer alternatives that are easy to use and not very costly. In both cases, most users will find Hushmail's servers to be in another jurisdiction and most users will find the same of Seagold.net. Thus jurisdictional arbitrage helps you safeguard your data from prying eyes. However, it is always a difficulty when you rely on someone else.

As a result, some of our clients have developed elaborate coding systems of their own. These use random number sets, one time pads, hashes, salting, enciphered password lists, and other tools of the trade to generate various types of messages.

Which leads to the next mantra: shred, burn, stir. When you receive and decode a message, the clear text is stored either on a web server (in the case of Hushmail or similar) or on your own computer. Simply deleting the saved message may not be enough. Computer systems "delete" files by renaming them so that the operating system knows the space is available. But, the available space may still contain clear text information you don't want seen. Various tools, including PGP itself, offer to write over the free space on your computer with random characters. Doing so three or five or fifteen times is generally adequate to safeguard your privacy.

In the world of paper communications, we use a mechanical shredder to turn papers into confetti. We then burn the resulting confetti. We then stir the resulting ash into our compost heap. Why?

The shredded material can be re-assembled. You may recall the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. Iranian "students" took over the American embassy in Teheran. The embassy staff had shredded documents in order to preserve diplomatic and spy communications. Some of the shredding was taking place as the embassy was being overrun. However, the shredded documents were laboriously pieced back together over the next several months and years. Secrets were revealed. Some of these secrets presumably involved human intelligence agents and informants, some of whom may have come to harm as a result.

Why stir? Various tools exist for reading ashes. When paper is burned, the ink and toner used to print on the paper is also burned. However, neither the paper nor the ink nor the toner is fully destroyed. You can try this experiment yourself at home. Simply print a few pages of text. Then burn the pages in a fire place or on a charcoal grill. Make sure you do so where there is not much wind. You'll want to handle the ash carefully, but you should be able to see the printed letters still visible on the page. They may be shrunken, distorted, or faded, but they will often be legible.

Only when you have shredded, burned, and stirred, can you be reasonable certain that the information is gone. When the molecules of paper and ink have returned to their component elements and been randomized, it is very unlikely that the information you've destroyed can be re-assembled.

While the topic of private communications is of tremendous interest and we could go on at considerable length, there is only one further thought we'd like to offer. Hide in plain sight.

Our first introduction to this idea was provided by a sibling. He suggested that a great "hiding place" was the garbage can we each had in our rooms. By putting papers or magazines at the bottom of the garbage can, or beneath its lining, and then putting various items on top including used facial tissue, he discouraged anyone from looking closely at the contents.

If you encrypt only those private communications that are truly interesting to you, then you are tipping your hand. To the extent that you can encourage your friends and correspondents to use encryption, use it for everything. Even ordinary messages should be encrypted. Say "hello, how's the weather" and encrypt that message. By encrypting a full range of messages, and making it your ordinary practice, you do several things. First, you gain experience with encrypting and decrypting message traffic. That's good all by itself. Second, you hide your important messages in a tremendous litter of other encrypted communications. Third, by increasing the number of encrypted messages being transmitted on the Internet, you make the job of those espionage agencies much harder. They have to devote resources to deciphering everything you read and write, rather than just the things you care most about. So, you greatly enhance your privacy and the privacy of others.

The same approach should be used for shredding. When you use PGP wipe or other tools to repeatedly over-write data on your hard drive one time, you have created a sort of anomaly. Your hard drive is now in an unusual configuration, for you. Only the files with working file names are readable. All the deleted files are gone, having been overwritten repeatedly with random characters. If you do so routinely, then your drive is not in an unusual configuration. Plus, you never know when the drive will be compromised or your home or office invaded by security personnel or industrial spies or thieves determined to get at your private data.

When you shred papers, throw in some bulk mail adverts. Shred, burn, and stir, including newspapers and old magazines as well as important documents. That way, if the burning gets postponed and the confetti is seized, it would be much harder to assemble a useful document.

In future reports, we plan to discuss other secure communications.

Free Market Money

    "I hate to make predictions; I'm a speculator, not a fortune teller. But in the crazy environment that's approaching, it's likely all kinds of prices will be extremely volatile. It's not unlikely that the prices of gold and the DJIA will cross again, as they did in 1980, and nearly did in 1933. Neither year was particularly mellow."
    Doug Casey, Gold Newsletter, May 1997

It appears that gold is poised once again to assail the $432 price. That would make three times this year it has tested overhead resistance at that level. Gold is now at $416.60 having dropped a bit in the overnight markets from Friday's close. London is not yet open as we go to press.

Thursday's price rise seems to coincide with the announcement by the IMF that they would seek a lower value for the USA dollar. We've been buying gold very actively since 1999 when the price was at $254. Generally, we anticipate higher prices over the next several years, although a small correction seems to be taking place from $419 just now.

Gold Mining

We put together the following table to help our readers follow the progress of our suggested stock picks.

Company Symbol C$ US$
s
Free Gold ITF 0.32 0.26
+C$0.02
Platinum Group PTM 1.03 0.83
-C$0.08

You'll notice that the web sites for the companies link from the company names; the web site stock reports for the companies link in each case from the Canada dollar value; the Yahoo summary for each company links from the US$ value. There is also something of a tiny arbitrage opportunity involved in the current stock prices in US versus Canadian currency and the exchange rates shown here: XE amounting to about US$0.015 for PTM.

As is evident from the foregoing table, the investor who took our advice on 30 August 2004 and bought 1,000 shares of each stock is worse off by C$60.

Free Market Money

Two interesting items on the e-Bullion.com front. First, e-Bullion has eliminated the 25 cent transfer (spend) fee. So, exchanges between e-Bullion accounts are now free. In doing so, e-Bullion joins 1MDC and evocash in providing free internal transfers.

You can now buy your body armor at BulletProofMe.com using e-Bullion. The site features concealable vests, ceramic inserts, ballistic blankets, surplus vests, tactical armor, canine vests for police dogs and favored pets, briefcase shields, sweat-wicking undershirts, kevlar helmets, ballistic clothing for the ultimate in concealment, goggles and face shields, and ballistic shields. Check out "How to Order" link from the top of each page to see the e-Bullion payment option. So far there is no discount for paying in gold rather than with credit cards (which cost merchants far more to process) but we anticipate that movement is coming.

Meanwhile, if you are serious about your personal freedom, you need to protect yourself. That means not only keeping and bearing arms, but also wearing body armor.

Space Frontier

Did we mention that rich guys love space? Apparently so. And not only do they love it, many of them have been extraordinarily frustrated over the years by the stagnating pace of NASA. Based on some of Branson's recent press announcement for Virgin Galactic, we believe he may be working closely with Bigelow Aerospace, possibly as the other major contributor to "America's Space Prize" which we discuss below under launch technology.

In fact, it appears that Virgin Galactic is positioning itself as a major "space line" similar to the airlines. Bigelow would be the hotelier. Rutan is an odds-on favorite to win the X-Prize and would be a strong contender for "America's Space Prize." His company could become the next Boeing as a "spacecraft manufacturer" rather than as an aircraft manufacturer. (We do anticipate that a Branson involvement in the prize would result in the name being changed. "Anglo-American Space Prize" would be closer to the mark.)

Of course, we have yet to see the corrupt, decadent, and despicable hand of the military industrial complex begin to swat at these newcomers, so the extraordinary progress of recent weeks is likely to be dulled significantly. When NASA gets around to flying (or blowing up) its remaining shuttles, it may conceive itself strong enough to attack and cripple the developing private space efforts. We fully anticipate blithering and outrageous opposition to these projects from NASA.

However inevitable, those developments are for the future. For the moment, we are basking in ebullience resulting from all these amazing private space efforts. It does appear as though some major money is now convinced of the existence of the space tourism market.

Mind you, space pioneer Bob Truax identified the space tourism market about 1977 with his Volksrocket concept. He even identified a first tourist who was willing to pay (reportedly $100,000) for the opportunity to fly into space on what was admittedly a very undeveloped rocket system.

Bob Citron conceived of SpaceHab as a company that would produce a pressurized passenger module for the space shuttle. About 1982 he proposed flying up to 20 passengers in the shuttle bay as a realistic business project. Of course, NASA hated the idea. Today, Spacehab provides small pressurized volume add-ons for the shuttle and somewhat larger modules for the space station. His dreams of spaceflight co-opted by the military industrial complex, Citron is now a minor shareholder in a typical aerospace contractor.

Space tourism was also a major motivation for the Space Travel Services Ultimate Adventure sweepstakes of 1990-91. Although that venture faced horrendous legal challenges, the underlying concept that it would be possible to pay for a Russian rocket ride to Mir was well established.

The late 1990s saw the early X-prize contenders attempting to establish their ability to launch tourists to suborbital altitude. Among these was Harry Dace's MayFlowerRocket.com venture which in 1999 had signed up nearly 60 tourists who had deposited up to $5500 in escrow. Although the venture failed and the deposits were returned, the basic concept was again proven.

Walt Anderson, a centi-millionaire communications industry mover was the next contender. His MirCorp proposed to fly Dennis Tito to Mir for $20 million. In the event, NASA was able to use political channels and enormous commitments of taxpayer dollars to prompt Russia to destroy Mir, so it was another company which arranged for Tito to ride to the International Space Station on a Russian rocket (for the same $20 million, reputedly). NASA threw a hissy fit over Tito being "allowed" on board the space station. It really shouldn't be described any other way. In one of their stupidest moves ever, NASA complained that the presence of a space tourist would interfere with operations of the space station. As if astronauts were not also prone to look out windows and enjoy freefall.

NASA has tried every trick in its dimwitted book, but it has not been able to prevent the development of private passenger launch services and private space station development companies. Although we have every reason, based on nearly five decades of experience, to anticipate further opposition by NASA, it appears that at last, things might be coming together. One of our correspondents says, "It looks like this could be real, indeed, finally!"

It has been a long boring wait. More than merely tedious, it has been deadly. NASA has negligently killed 14 astronauts in the meantime, and still refuses to fly Christa McAuliffe's back-up. The teacher in space and the citizen in space programs were the only programs NASA ever accepted, grudgingly, for allowing non-astronauts to fly in space, and NASA appears again committed to their demise. The second anniversary of the Columbia tragedy is approaching and it appears doubtful that NASA can be dissuaded from blowing up another batch of astronauts.

Readers who bought SpaceDev (SPDV.0B) at $1.50 back in August have seen a nice gain. The price is now $2.30 for a total of $0.80 rise. On a thousand shares, that's $800 profit, more than making up for the lackluster performance of our gold stock picks.

Launch Technology

There's not much more to add on this exciting space prize. With Bigelow committing $25 million to the prize and another sponsor being courted, the opportunity is already much greater than the Ansari X-Prize was when it was first organized many years ago.

When it was first proposed by Peter Diamandis, the X-Prize had no major sponsor and was essentially unfunded. Ansari joined later. In fact, the name X-Prize was intended to convey the idea that the prize would be re-named in honor of its sponsor.

America's Space Prize would be the third launch technology prize. In addition to the X-Prize, there was also the CATS Prize or "Cheap Access to Space" prize sponsored by FINDS, Walt Anderson's foundation for the non-governmental development of space. The Space Frontier Foundation was involved in promoting this project, which, in the event expired without any successful suborbital flights.

Of course, the acronym crazy space crowd will abbreviate everything. "ASP" as it seems destined to be called is noteworthy as the first "passengers to orbit" prize. We have nothing positive to offer on the topic of the prize being partly funded by NASA in response to the prize concepts discussed in the Aldridge commission on exploration. Indeed, having NASA clasp its cold dead fingers to this prize would seem an excellent way to kill any useful value from it.

As we prepare to go to press, the Space Ship One team is preparing for their second launch within a week of their first. If they are successful, they win not only the Ansari X-Prize, but first mover position in the rapidly developing space tourism industry.

New Country Developments

"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a free man, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on Earth."
George Washington, General Orders, 2 July 1776

This week we considered the Baltic states for our topic. After WW2, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were occupied by the Soviet Union until 1991. Thereafter they became independent, again, and their story is of considerable interest to those who follow new country developments. However, this story runs back to AD 1290 and includes tales of the Skipper Duke during the age of mercantilism. We're running late, and it simply won't do to treat such a topic lightly.

So, this week we consider where the new countries of the 21st Century would be located. Here are some of the possibilities:

  • On land;
  • Underground;
  • In the air;
  • On the sea surface;
  • Undersea;
  • In orbit;
  • On the Moon;
  • On Mars;
  • On other planets in our Solar System;
  • Between planets;
  • On comets;
  • Between stars;
  • On asteroids around our Sun;
  • On planets orbiting other stars;
  • On asteroids orbiting other stars;
  • Elsewhere in the multi-verse.

While we feel that's a fairly complete list, it is by no means comprehensive in discussion. Let's take "on the land" first, for example. There are, of course, six continents on Earth. These are Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, and Antarctica, in order of size.

A discussion of the sizes of countries should be significant at some point, but now is not the time. Suffice it to say that with over 600 native tribes in North America, two thousand clan and tribal groups in Africa, and perhaps twice that number in Eurasia, there would be plenty of potential for new countries to arise.

We understand that mining technology has led mankind up to several miles below the Earth's surface. As we begin to consider the Earth as a volume of space enclosed by its atmosphere, we've really just begun to "scratch the surface." Underground living is vital for redoubts, for defense against radiation and weapons of mass destruction, and for surviving some types of natural disaster such as the dropping out of Earth's magnetic field as it prepares to reverse polarity.

Several sites have lately reminded us of the possibility of aerostats, large systems of lighter than air craft which could be the basis for new cities. The JP Aero crew is doing remarkable work in this area.

Ever since spending time with Marshall Savage in 1993-94, we've been interested in sea surface cities. Making new land is not all that difficult, and several entrepreneurs have been in touch. Patri Friedman, of the Milton/David line is working on an approach called Seastead. We previously reviewed Sealand as a new country. Oceania was to be the new country of one Atlantis Project, and there have been several projects of that name. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and other technologies have prompted great interest by various groups over the years. Some of the large ocean liners at sea today are nearly cities unto themselves, and while they are flagged vessels they have significant autonomy while on the high seas. This concept has been developed to its logical conclusion with projects like Freedom Ship and ResidenSea.

Undersea cities were first conceived by Jules Verne in one of the sequels to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. You may recall the television series, "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau." Cousteau was famous for inventing the demand regulator, making scuba diving a more enjoyable hobby. He was also interested, for a time, in undersea cities. Again, several entrepreneurs have been in touch with various ideas for sea bed mining and offshore havens.

We don't expect the first space hotels or large orbiting cities to declare independence, but the experience with Skylab shows it may happen. In his excellent book A House in Space, astronaut author Bill Pogue recounted the decision of the third Skylab crew to go on strike. With overwhelming obligations in their work schedule, the astronauts gave up trying to accommodate all their work and downed tools. While NASA objected, there was little to be done from 200 miles below.

Several groups have already laid claim to the Moon. Other entrepreneurs are quietly working on sending web servers and sample return projects to the Moon. Early residents may be robotic, but there are tremendous prospects for life on the Moon and under its surface.

Mars is a favorite of the Mars Society and our old friend Robert Zubrin. It has an atmosphere, probably has an ocean of permafrost in the northern hemisphere, and is otherwise quite a good prospect. Dr. Zubrin asserts in The Case for Mars that the surface pressure can be raised to about one-third Earth normal with existing technologies applied to terraforming in about 40 years time. Doing so would permit people to wander about without pressure suits, though requiring oxygen masks owing to the low partial pressure of oxygen. Using plants known to be able to survive in the present Mars atmosphere it should be possible to raise the oxygen level within about 400 years; other techniques might shorten this time.

Mercury, Ganymede, Europa, Titan, and Triton represent interesting candidate celestial bodies for future colonization. We can certainly see humans on these planetary bodies before the end of this century.

Gerard O'Neill asked a physics class at Princeton if the surface of a planetary body were the best place for a technological civilization to develop. His class made convincing arguments that it is not. Instead, O'Neill's students and subsequent study groups examined numerous possibilities for artificial habitats. These could be located in Earth orbit or between planets.

If you don't mind the cold, comets are an excellent resource for Earth life. Once we reach the Oort cloud, we are halfway to the stars, and people adjusted to the distances and climate of the outer Solar System would not hesitate to occupy the Oort clouds of other stars. Would we reach that far? These cometary bodies may extend up to two light years or further from our Sun. At ten percent of lightspeed, we could reach those bodies within twenty years.

Asteroids are much like comets, only closer in. There are Earth-crossing asteroids and other asteroids in the Inner Solar System, as well as main belt asteroids. The most delightful book on this topic is Pallas by L. Neil Smith, who really has a grand view of human settlements in the Solar System.

The nearest stars are 4 light years away, in the Centauri system. Whether those three stars have planets or not is unclear, but stars as close as Barnard's Star seem to. We submit that probes will reach the nearest stars in a few decades and mankind may reach the nearest planetary bodies around other stars before the end of this century.

We are just beginning to understand quantum computing and the possible connections to other universes parallel to our own. Whether we would be able to exchange information only or actually travel to such universes is unknown.

How many? New countries on land could easily exceed 100,000 just to satisfy the sovereign individuals among us. New countries on the Earth's oceans might be of roughly the same number. Countries below the Earth's surface or below the waves would, on the basis of volume available to occupy, exceed these numbers. The volume of air is also very great, allowing for tens of thousands of free floating cities, occasionally crossing paths and hooking up for trade and commerce festivals. Earth would easily be home to 500,000 countries within a few centuries.

Earth's Moon could hold ten thousand countries; Mars another 100,000 countries; the other planets perhaps several hundred thousand all told, asteroids and free-space colonies included. The volume of space encompassed by the outer cometary halo might hold five million free countries.

And that's just the beginning. The possibilities are endless. As Freeman Dyson once noted, the universe is Infinite in All Directions and as David Deutsch noted, there are an infinity of universes in the multiverse. Limits exist only in your mind. Break free.

Longevity

    "If you ask me what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress, and tension. And if you don't ask me, I'd still have to say it.
    - George Burns

Stress tabs are a high potency multiple B vitamin complex with Vitamin C. These tablets are found in various forms, among the least expensive of which is "Super B Complex" available at Wal-Mart. B vitamins and C are predominantly water soluble, and the body uses them at a ferocious pace whenever it is under stress. Moreover, these B vitamins and C are useful anti-oxidants, providing relief to a variety of inflammatory conditions brought on by eatin, stress, or illness.

In addition to stress tabs, we've previously discussed melatonin as a hormone essential to good sleep. No doubt the connection between a good night's sleep and reduced stress, worry, and tension, or the greater ability to handle the same, is clear.

Finally, there is stress at the cellular level. Anti-oxidants are important, among other reasons, because they are able to repair the damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals are not the forces for good that freedom-minded enthusiasts are in the political sphere. Rather, free radicals are charged ions which wreak immense havoc. Among other things, free radicals in the body seem to attack mitochondrial DNA, having an accumulative effect.

Each cell has two types of DNA. The DNA in the cell nucleus is the more familiar. Outside the cell nucleus, the mitochondria have their own DNA. Mitochondria may be the "mid-chlorians" of Star Wars fame. In any event, they provide a link to ancient matrilineal DNA and are invaluable in maintaining the health of the cell. Since organisms are also collections of cells, the health of the cells is important to the health of the organism. Given the previously discussed limitations on cell division, the ability to repair damage to DNA or to extend telomeres seems vital.

Fortunately, there is help for this form of stress, as well. Acetyl L-carnitine and lipoic acid seem to be excellent nutrients for the repair of damage to mitochondrial DNA and prevention of further damage. Rather than summarize the material, we recommend the following article.

We'll revisit these issues in future reports.


Publication note: It seems that we're late, again. Gold has bounced hard off $420, currently down to $413 and change. News.Yahoo.com is carrying a front page link to "Rocket Wins $10M Prize for Trip to Space" by Associated Press writer John Antczak, 35 minutes ago. Test pilot Brian Binnie got his astronaut wings today. We fully expect to see Burt Rutan at the controls or in the passenger cabin, soon. Congratulations to the Mojave Aerospace Team, Burt Rutan, Scaled Composites, Paul Allen, and all their admirers and supporters. You just won the Ansari X Prize! You just won first mover advantage in space tourism. Mazeltov. You go, boyz!


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