Rolling stones ability to gather moss is underrated

Even ignoring the lack of moss on non-rolling stones (see below), I have serious doubts about the accuracy of the old saying “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss”. How long will a stone roll for anyway? All things considered, it would be hard for a stone to roll for more than a few hours. Furthermore, when the average life of a rock is considered, this would be a rather small percentage of a stones life. Even given a short life of 10,000 years, and a rolling time of a week, this would be only a mere 0.000001916% of it’s life. I feel that the saying was just some made up to discourage people living a nomadic lifestyle, or perhaps to discourage change. Obviously too little effort was put into its creation, and no thought was given to the image of stones in general.

Stone A
Stone A was given to my daughter who rolled the stone around for a week. No moss gathered.

Stone B
Stone B has been in my garden for a few years and in that time no moss has been detected.

Stone C
Stone C was left next to a pond for a month to attract moss. No moss has been noticed but there might be some under the frog. Further tests will be conducted.

Shuttle Birthday

Today (depending on perspective) is the anniversary of the completion of the first Space Shuttle launch, 29 years ago. Sadly this is the last one she’ll have as the last flight is planned for the September 16, this year. Aside from the massive loss of capability that the retirement will bring, this (combined with other cuts at NASA) will result in 10,000 jobs being lost. This works out as roughly of their staff. Will the grand plan of outsourcing work? Many doubt that it will.

As Larry Niven once said, “The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don’t have a space program, it’ll serve us right!” yet here goes the USA going down that path in the name of budget cuts. Obviously they don’t agree with the sentiment.

Right now US Astronauts are doing great work in orbit; even the loss of their Ku band antenna didn’t stop them. They just docked without radar! Could a robot do this? No. Could a commercial company do this? It’s hard to be sure, but I doubt it.

Fusion in my lifetime?

The 4th last Shuttle Mission (and the second last for Discovery) is in orbit leaving me feeling rather down about the future of the US space program. But today I read about a bright new possibility; fusion! I’ve been feeling down about that that too; all of the science seems to be pointing towards it not being possible due to the world supply of tritium being insufficient.

Count Gregory, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne

But this method is different. Instead of a deuterium–tritium reaction, this method uses hydrogen (not a rare isotope!) and boron-11 ignited by a laser. The end result is far more controllable than fission or deuterium–tritium fusion and produces virtually no radiation. The best thing is that the researchers feel that this could be “close at hand”. At this stage they only have computer models, but maybe in 5 years they’ll be able to demonstrate this; the lasers needed are being built right now.

(I’ll be using this as the “official” fusion method for De-Classic-Space from now on! It’s a far more practical method than what I envisioned and better still the research is being led from Australia!)