Daily Archives: November 23, 2016


Evaluating NASA’s Futuristic EM Drive

NASA has published the article Evaluating NASA’s Futuristic EM Drive.

A group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center has successfully tested an electromagnetic (EM) propulsion drive in a vacuum – a major breakthrough for a multi-year international effort comprising several competing research teams. Thrust measurements of the EM Drive defy classical physics’ expectations that such a closed (microwave) cavity should be unusable for space propulsion because of the law of conservation of momentum.

When it comes to projects like this, science and politics often get entangled.

There are many conjectures about why this EM drive works. The most intriguing one to me that is mentioned in the article is:

On April 5, 2015, Paul March reported at NASAspaceflight.com’s Forum that Dr. White and Dr. Jerry Vera at NASA Eagleworks have just created a new computational code that models the EM Drive’s thrust as a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic flow of electron-positron virtual particles.

I don’t think I saw in the article what principles of physics are used in this computational code. Though, physical principles are not always necessary for computational models which can be built around fitting the model to experimental data without a complete understanding of the physics behind the data.

Well, I suppose that “three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic flow of electron-positron virtual particles” could be considered to be the physics behind this. I don’t know how such a flow could violate conservation of momentum.

Bringing in gravity and the theory of general relativity seems unconvincing to my highly untrained physical understanding. There does not seem to be much mass to induce space/time warping to any significant degree, and to my knowledge nobody has a theory of quantum gravity yet. Unless the Higgs Boson is that quantum theory.

I leave it to Llanda Richardson and Terry Steiner to clean up all my mistakes in physics. Marden Seavy can chime in if he wants to.


Bill Black: Hillary’s Threat to Wage Continuous War on the Working Class via Austerity Proved Fatal

New Economic Perspectives has the fabulous article Hillary’s Threat to Wage Continuous War on the Working Class via Austerity Proved Fatal by William K Black. The article was republished on Naked Capitalism as Bill Black: Hillary’s Threat to Wage Continuous War on the Working Class via Austerity Proved Fatal.

This is a great explanation of what my Politics Blog is largely about. It explains why I am so adamantly opposed to Hillary Clinton and so disappointed by Barack Obama. It explains why I have come to realize just how bad Bill Clinton’s time in office was for this country.

It is hard to select a few excerpts from the article to give you the gist, but the following is my feeble attempt.


Here is the excerpt I should have chosen first.

Timothy Geithner, a proponent of austerity, is famous for remarking that he only took only one economics class – and did not understand it. In the same review of Geithner’s book by Krugman that I have been quoting, Krugman gives a concise summary of Geithner’s repeated lies about his supposed support for a larger stimulus. Jacob Lew, the Rubinite who Obama chose as Geithner’s successor as Treasury Secretary, was also trained as a lawyer and is equally fanatic in favoring austerity. In 2009, no one with any credibility in economics within the Obama administration could serve as an effective spokesperson for [against?] austerity as the ideal response to the Great Recession.


But Romer, Summers, and Bernstein experienced the same frustration as 2009 proceeded. The problem was not simply the Rubinites’ fervor for the self-inflicted wound of austerity – the fundamental problem was President Obama. Obama’s administration was littered with Rubinites because Obama was a New Democrat who believed that Rubin’s love of austerity and trade deals was an excellent policy. Of course, he had campaigned on the opposite policy positions, but that was simply political and Obama promptly abandoned those campaign promises. Fiscal stimulus ceased to be an administration priority as soon as the stimulus bill was enacted. Romer and Summers recognized the obvious and soon made clear that they were leaving. Bernstein retained Biden’s support, but he was frozen out of influence on administration fiscal policies by the Rubinites.
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Final Cautions

Each of the economists speaking on these subjects in Kilkenny opposed Trumps election and believe it will harm the public. Fiscal stimulus is critical, but it is only one element of macroeconomics and no one was comfortable with Trump’s long-term control of the economy. I opined, for example, that Trump will create an exceptionally criminogenic environment that will produce epidemics of control fraud. The challenge for progressive Democrats and independents is to break with the New Democrats’ dogmas. Neither America nor the Democratic Party can continue to bear the terrible cost of this unforced error of economics, politics, and basic humanity. I fear that the professional Democrats assigned the task of re-winning the support of the white working class do not even have ending the New Democrats’ addiction to austerity on their radar. They are probably still forbidden to read Tom Frank.

This information in this article is exactly why I feature a picture on my Facebook page of L. Randall Wray’s book Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems.

image from my Facebook page

Image from my Facebook page