Google Tech Talk, at last

Skip to first unread message


May 28, 2009, 9:32:53 PM5/28/09
to N-Prize
About 10 weeks late, a Google Tech Talk, given March 3 went up last
night. As of an hour ago, seen 236 times

Am dissapointed with how tired I looked, bad lighting, inaudible
questions, etc, but for first time got to "make the case" The role of
N Prize is gone into about 1/2 way in. It is about an hour long with
questions for a total of 1 hr 11 min.

With help, in furure I will get some 10 min segments up on Youtube,
with updates, better lighting, production.

Something bad is happening at Google, and the Tech Talk preparations
suddenly got backed up--it normally was to take around 2 weeks to
prepare. It was 12 weeks...

So, in this topic, I'll answer some questions, mainly on the aspects
relating to N Prize and how it is now part of my Microlauncher plans.


May 28, 2009, 11:07:44 PM5/28/09
to N-Prize
Forgot the URL for the video:

Charles Pooley


May 29, 2009, 3:53:55 AM5/29/09
to N-Prize
Seeing the Altair 8800 again brought a lot of nostalgia. Its a little
sad and quite frightening when you take a trip to the science museum
with the kids and daddy had to explain that the bits of kit inside the
glass cases were what he used to use. Sniff.

That was a nice, and thoughtfully presented video. How many were in
the audience, were there any external experts in the field there or
was it all Google employees?




May 29, 2009, 10:01:54 AM5/29/09
to N-Prize
Fantastic video, but it leaves me with many questions.
As I'd like to be one of the 1-in-10000, who helps this evolution,
what pieces are missing?

The video makes it sound like you have already designed and built a
suitable engine or was it not efficient enough and needs the turbopump
you are working on?
You mentioned you don't want to go into details of the guidance
system, but is that complete?

I've come to many of the same conclusions that you have but believe
passionately in one that you didn't mention.
I assume that since you have not already taken Paul's money or started
taking ashes to space, that there are missing pieces to this puzzle.
This entire challenge is extremely challenging for any one person or
small group as it requires a breadth of knowledge that few attain.
However individual components may require only single field knowledge
which is easier to achieve.
The internet provides a mechanism that was unavailable to the builders
of early computers.
If the missing pieces needed for small scale space exploration were
quantized, then distributed out as individual interest groups, then
solutions would come quickly.

I believe in the need for the protection of intellectual property, but
do you believe there is room for quantized "challenges" to say for

Build a twin pump system able to provide (P)psi at volumes ranging
from (X1)ml/sec to (X2)ml/sec for the first and (Y1)ml/sec to (Y2)ml/
sec for the second which weighs less than (M)kg including power source
to pump a total volume of (V1)liters of the first fluid and (V2)
liters of the second fluid.

The idea is to actually create valuable intellectual property that
could be traded with others, but informing specialists of the problems
that need solutions. Then connect the motor group with the guidance
group with the communications group with the other groups to create
the rocket. Many of your solutions seem to be available from micro-
airplane interests, maybe others from micro-processor interests, etc.
Maybe all the problems are solved but you haven't talked to the right

I just mention this as if there is any small criticism I would make of
the video, it would be that some people may be left with the feeling
that what is needed is money, which they may not want to part with and
loose interest, but at these scales, solutions could come from getting
people to volunteer their hobby time to participate in a grand
adventure. So ask a home machinist if he can make a rocket that can
orbit the Earth and they will probably say no, but ask them to make a
tiny close tolerance pump that can work on cryogenic liquids and they
may say, sure, that's easy, way easier than the 2 inch long working
V12 gas engine I made last year...

Congratulations, and I hope it is the first of many,
I know I'll be watching this one several more times and look forward
to any more.

Team Daedalus

On May 29, 3:53 am, Pete <> wrote:
> Seeing the Altair 8800 again brought a lot of nostalgia. Its a little
> sad and quite frightening when you take a trip to the science museum
> with the kids and daddy had to explain that the bits of kit inside the
> glass cases were what he used to use. Sniff.
> That was a nice, and thoughtfully presented video. How many were in
> the audience, were there any external experts in the field there or
> was it all Google employees


May 29, 2009, 12:04:56 PM5/29/09
Yay Charles -  Made it at last!  Looking forward to watching it this evening.

Paul H. Dear,
Chief Optimist.

The N-Prize,
PO Box 1133,
Cambridge CB22 3WB

The sender of this email is not responsible.


May 29, 2009, 12:32:37 PM5/29/09
to N-Prize
Have to run, but quick partial reply now:

1. 1/10,000 refers to notion that some tiny fraction of those who hear
of Microlaunchers will like it enough to want to get involved. In
this context, join witgh my entry, more generally, join with my effort
to make flying hardware.

2. Engine types designed in outline form, ready to fab/test when shop
location if set up, not in California.

3. Guidance and other details will be published in more detail than
already in my site. It's called Defensive Publication.

4. Create IP to trade... Yes, upon finding a financial partner, IP
publication may stop or become less technical. Till then, publishing
is a way to seek out potential partneers

5. I can more easily answeer posts if nthey are not so long. And
numbering questions can help if they aqre separate, specific.

6. Isn't your entry #10? If so, why not listed yet?


May 30, 2009, 12:24:13 AM5/30/09
to N-Prize
1. Yes, I know, I'd like to get involved.
2. Why do "you" have to make the engine? If you don't have your own
shop wouldn't it make sense to farm it out to someone who does? Or
spec parts and ask people to make them. Contact a Home Shop Machinist
3. OK, so it is not a missing piece or do you know the hardware
necessary and need programming to complete?
4. I understand, you mentioned that in another discussion, mentioning
something so as to set a date of inception which gived you time to
apply for the patent.
5. OK, I'll try to be brief.
6. We/I are Team #17, and listed as Team #16 on the main site because
Team #10 is missing paperwork or something.

So to be brief I will only ask one question, you are obvious very
serious and very knowledgeable and are looking for funding, so why
don't you create the rocket engine and create nice YouTube videos of
working rockets in test stands listing efficiencies achieved as I
think that would garner more attention and belief in your investment
possibility than anything else. That is why I am doing a high
altitude balloon launch.

Team Daedalus
Message has been deleted


May 30, 2009, 3:22:04 PM5/30/09
to N-Prize
I'll try to answer this, and Monroe's that followed your post and is
similar in ways.

I have to make the engine. It cannot be farmed out because doing that
required a much better level of drawings, multi-steps in the design-
get parts-wait till fabricated on someone else's schedule-recieve and
check for needed changes-sending back if changes needed-and one more
thing: paying for it

The work has to be "in house" that's how the Wright brothers did it;
how Goddard did it; and how most projects like buildonmg a land speed
car project etc. In house has the work "under our nose", with
informal drawings, fab and tryal intimately mixed...
The shop groups is an idea that can be explored when Location-1 is
established (may be Henderson NV). There is no such thing near Mojave
CA. Proximaty is a must. Can't do it with shipping parts from far
away for reasons just given.

Your point #4 re patents: US patents have evolved in the last several
decades. Getting one requires assuming an obligation to defend it--I
know of one who lost his house from trying to sue an infringer and
losing. Also patents are expensive. Best use of a patent is for it
to be a component of a negotiated forming of a business. In mid-80's
I got and owned a patent for a video matrix display and licensing the
patent broght me in as a full partner instead of as an employee.

Since I can't now afford that, I've been, and will til some investor
wants me to stop, use "defensive publication". In us, if I publish
something I have a year to file (no such grace period in other
countries). If the time runs out, it becomes public domain. I can't
patent it, but no one can either. So, for free I have some
protection. This is done a lot.

So far, the turbopump engine design, the mouse optics for a lander,
the tow back recovery in SA-05, the laser data link in the Spacecraft
Desigh part of my site, and in the N Prize presentation the guidance
device, and other things soon.

Team # I now get the confusion re there not yet being a no 10 (except
where the PM lives).

Following that you ask why I don't just build the engine and make
videos of that. I must first acquire the means to do that--setting up

I do presently plan to make, test the stage 3 engine first, as it will
be the least efficient because of small size and low chamber pressure
and that will fix the sise of the launcher. Based on an estimate of
250 sec Isp and 50 gram weight for a 15 N thrust in vacuum, the GLOW
comes up about 60 Kg, small enough for the components to be tested as
amateur rockets--an important factor with the US regulatory system.

Recruiting help: I am looking for some--maybe only one or two to work
with me at "Location-1". Monroe's question in his most recent post re
"letting" people work with me--I am looking for partners, both in the
direct building and financial. I am getting some help from a guy in a
town 80 miles from here with running the spreadsheet trajectory
calculations, some diagrams and soon other things. But the acutal
fabrication must be with help of 1 or 2 living near "Location-1" which
may be Henderson NV, or some other if a financial partner or investor
has a plan to locate elsewhere. Just anywhere in US except CA--regs
and bad business envirenment preclude that.

I really intend to build this (and Microlaunchers) as soon as it
becomes possible.

Charles Pooley

Sage (LMR)

May 31, 2009, 12:09:51 AM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Charles, Monroe, and QED,

Monroe and QED,

You guys need to understand that some of us actually do have the
capability to achieve this "by ourselves" (if such was opted for).
I'm one of those people, and for me, the main allure of the N-Prize is
the extreme challenge.

Certainly, a few people (or a small team) who share in a process can
make for a really fun experience, but what fun is it to take on a
“personal” challenge (such as this) and then have *everyone* else do
it for you?

On a side note, most of the great inventions were created by
individuals or small teams. And today, we benefit from the work of
such others through their products and innovations. So, even when
working "alone" we are not really working "alone" - we are just
working "by ourselves."


Overall presentation content was reasonable, but your delivery was
rougher than what you're probably capable of. I do have a bunch of
comments, but not enough time to get to all of them right now.

Anyway, I ran some of the numbers from your presentation. Most work
out fine but there are a few comments/issues (again, more than I can
cover right now)...

Photon estimates appear reasonable (close enough to my own
calculations), but your aperture and/or beam divergence is
optimistic. To get that 7cm aperture you've probably assumed the
beamwidth approximates wavelength/aperture (~6.5cm in your case).
But, even with an ideal gaussian beam, assuming the divergence is
small and the beam waist is the same as the aperture, you'll get 1.27
x wavelength/aperture, or about 8.25cm.

Not a show-stopper as there's probably enough photons received at the
smaller size, but realize that such a laser would need to exhibit
close to the ideal behavior(some don't do this), or otherwise the
aperture is going to grow (or the devices made more sensitive, etc).

Anyway, you'll need to investigate more when going this route, but
it's certainly viable (when I was working with JPL, there was quite a
bit of attention there being placed on this type of communication for
spacecraft). I looked into this some time ago and real world concerns
(these and others) certainly play into the equation.

Also on the optical link...

You didn't mention point ahead (due to finite light time); maybe you
think it's unnecessary in this case or otherwise simple to implement.

Assuming the 2arcsec (~10 urad), if the relative angular velocity
between the communication points exceeds ~1500 m/s (angle = ~(2*Vr)/
c), your point ahead will actually exceed the beamwidth (and this can
be true in two dimensions). You'll need either less than half this
relative velocity or some point ahead compensation. And, since
relative angular velocity can change, such would require active
compensation (2-axis).

Maybe it can be done in special cases without point ahead, but
probably not in a general sense for general spacecraft.

The hypothetical reaction wheel assembly (at least way it was
presented) could create a torque couple to both the articulated
section and attachment axis, which could pose some problems.

Anyway, I've gotta go... I have more comments about the presentation
and there is also something in your above post which I'm skeptical
about but I'll have to address it later...

> ...
> read more »- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -


May 31, 2009, 6:22:51 AM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Hi Sage

Good to talk to you again, and I'm torn as to whether to debate with
you a little about your first point.

I am almost completely with you about the personal challenge - its the
only reason I'm here (possibly the only reason most of us are here),
but there is a balance to be struck when enlisting external help.

To take an example, I've been building the parts for a single engine
of my own design which has been very workshop intensive - milling and
forming every aluminium, copper and steel part. I have eight of these
to build - all identical - and it would be soul-destroying to find
that the complete engine failed because an accumulation of tolerances
that my little workshop could not avoid.

It makes sense to design and build the prototype, and then farm off
the component parts to get the remaining and manifold identical bits
back as near to perfect as possible. I don't regard this as failure -
merely common sense.

Re-reading your post, you seem to be making points both against and
accepting this viewpoint, so this post may be nugatory.

I guess all I'm saying is that if an individual or small team can
muster enough effort to complete the challenge, then they are entirely


> ...
> read more »


May 31, 2009, 6:45:04 AM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Hi all,

I just watched the Google talk, and congratulations to Charles -
well done mate! Yes, there are certainly points to discuss over the
technical details and over the balance between planning and doing, but
the talk itself was good (at least, from my perspective) and anything
that helps to get the message across is a Very Good Thing. Certainly,
I'm painfully aware that I ought to be doing more to publicize the N-
Prize for the benefit of the many teams who are doing all the hard
work, and for that reason I'm very grateful to Charles and others who
help get the idea out there.

It was (as has been mentioned) disappointing that Google didn't mike
the questions clearly; they are just about audible if you crank the
volume right up. I wonder if there's any way to subtitle or
paraphrase the questions on-screen on a copy of the video?

On another note, I think a bonus point has to go to Peter for his use
of the word "nugatory" in the foregoing annotation.

Charles - well done. May your rivets always fly in formation.

> ...
> read more »


May 31, 2009, 1:53:14 PM5/31/09
to N-Prize

The laser link questions relate only to the escape velocity
Microlaunchers and not to N Prize. But to briefly answer:

You have pointed out to me before my very rough beam width estimate.
It differs from yours by less than a factor of 2 in signal strength.
At this point, it's nit picking. Also, the requirement for data rate
is to be well above zero, and have an evolutionary pathway (remewmbeer
the 1st microcomputers had 4 kbytes or RAM, etc), and frequent
opportunity for people--not just me--to launch improvements.

Point-ahead: Yes, required but of 1st order, very small, and slowly
varying in a predictable way. At 0.1 AU, the round trip time for
ligfht is 100 sec, and if the transverse velocity is 1 km/s (will
usually be less), the look ahead is 100 km. No problem.

Reaction wheel: For telescope deploy and changes in telescope to
spacecraft axis angle. Only during the once only deploy will it be
"fast" and of large magnitude. There is no other net angular momentum
issues to deal with that the solar radiation panels cannot handle.

Again, all this pertains only to escape flights, and the near term is
for N Prize to be the lower threshold path to a launcher as a fact.
There are small hints of the strategy for that in the Space Access
Society presentation.

Tech Talk: yes, much to improve in presentation. I have had very few
opportunities to present, and with more, will improve. The Tech Talk
was given March 3 2009, the one previous was September 2007. Also,
something catastrophic must have happened within Google at the time it
was to be prepared. The usual 2 weeks to format, post ran to 12
weeks. They had dismissed all the outsorces AV people who were doing
these, and 200 or so direct Google people let go. Also, the questions
could not be heard. The questioners were not miked (I should have
thought of that and asked for it)--the questions were of high quality
because of the type of people in the audience--getting the concepts
and asking good questions that showed that. That was why I so badly
wanted a Google Tech Talk.

Live and learn. I may be, with help, making a series of less than 10
minute Youtube videos in house which can be edited, lit properly etc.
Each will be on some narrow topic. Could be like the serialized
version of the Flash Gordon movies.

Charles Pooley
> ...
> read more »

Sage (LMR)

May 31, 2009, 3:00:27 PM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Hi Pete,

Good to talk with you again! I noticed you're making good progress,
looking forward to seeing your engine fired up!

On your response to my earlier post -- yes, I concur with that
assessment... I just wanted to note that some of us here (you and I
for instance, and I'm sure several others) have taken this up as the
"kung fu challenge" – who's got the best kung fu... We have the
capability to do it ourselves. It's not that we couldn't put together
a huge team or farm everything out, it's just that we have chosen not
to because it doesn't fit within the nature of our own reasonings for
taking the challenge in the first place.

On the other hand, even if we work "by ourselves" we can never work
"alone." We can't separate the immense contributions of others
throughout the ages. We use tools, computers, the internet, research
studies, commodity components, etc., and the list goes on and on. So,
each of us has to be comfortable as to what fulfills our own personal
goals, and where we want to take that. And, there are certain guiding
principles present within the gestalt.

Personally, I'm interested in the aspects of the system that haven't
been done (or integrated as such) -- the required innovations to make
this happen. And, this effort is chock full of them; many people
don't even think it's possible. But (for example) I'll be using
commercial electronics components; I could certainly fabricate my own,
but to make a competitive micro-controller from ground zero is more
difficult (in certain respects) than the N-Prize itself. It's not my
goal to do the same thing that's been done, and those components are
already up to the task.

So, noting your example within my context... It wouldn't matter that
much if I fabricated an engine or farmed it out, so long as system
wise, it's my innovations and designs; such fabrication is a well
established trade. However, it would be quicker and easier if I built
the prototypes because there are certain aspects to engine
construction that come from experience in building them. On the other
hand, if I had a special material or engine construction technique,
then I might want to fabricate myself.

In your case you've opted for differential throttling; you feel it's
overall advantageous (at least for your system) to build and manifold
eight engines rather than use gimbals or other methods; that's a
design choice and perhaps it's better for your overall design. As
such, you'll build the engine get it working properly, maybe build few
more and refine them if needed, and then once it meets your criteria,
send the design to a machinist for high-tolerance replication. That
makes sense to me and it's probably the same thing I would do.

On your last point, I would say that any individual or group (whether
small or large) who completes (or even makes a credible attempt) at
this challenge is quite worthy since the challenge is (by design) open
to any such groups. So, we may be competing against larger teams, but
that's fully within the context of which we took the challenge (and
for me, such adds to the allure of it -- I like the idea of having
huge teams trying to compete against one or a few people, it just
makes it that much more interesting).

So don't get me wrong, I (and I don't think many others for that
matter) would say that someone (or some group) 'failed' because they
tapped into existing commodity, knowledge, or infrastructure. On the
contrary, that's exactly what makes all of this realistically
possible! But, all the novel things that make this actually work, the
intricacies in the designs, the mechanical, the electrical, and
software engineering, the physics, certain levels of fabrication, all
of those things and much more... Well, that's the essence of the
challenge itself. For me personally, to split those unique aspects
among tons of specialists is not so much fun, and certainly not
correlative with my reasons for taking this challenge.

Anyway, this is getting really long winded... But, I do want to
comment on some of your (very interesting) work; possibly a bit later



May 31, 2009, 3:13:38 PM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Hi Sage

Yes, I got the impression we were both of a like mind regards
manufacture. I used to be of the 'build-the-electronics-out-of-a-
bucket-of-sand' persuasion until I got older and less patient.

If you want to talk about my work and where its going then it'd be my
pleasure (although I may have to hold back on one or two details
depending on whether its currently vapourware or not!)


> ...
> read more »


May 31, 2009, 3:20:53 PM5/31/09
to N-Prize
Just one more thing, there are aspects of the engine design that I
believe are new, unique and bear protecting for the time being. As
soon as I can get the modelling together to post on the website so
that I can demonstrate prior-art, then I'll be more free to talk about
them publicly - otherwise all other aspects are open for discussion.


> ...
> read more »


Jun 1, 2009, 2:29:28 AM6/1/09
to N-Prize
//You guys need to understand that some of us actually do have the
capability to achieve this "by ourselves"//
Really? I mean Peter has his whole family helping him. :-) Peter,
how old are your kids? Yes, there may be people who could do this
“alone”, (standing on the shoulders of giants) if the legalities can
be conquered or worked around. That is why I said “a breadth of
knowledge that few attain”, and I will stand behind those words. But
maybe I read something into the video that was not there, but I got
the idea that this was more than about winning a contest, but about
changing the “main frame” path to space that everyone has been
following and to create the “fact” of a low cost access to space that
is available to a wider audience. Maybe it’s just me, as that is what
I want to come out of this contest, and I don’t care who does it. My
only fear is that the winner will take a path that is unrepeatable or
unattainable for non-millionaires, i.e. “my first stage is a
proprietary scram jet launch plane which was a offshoot of some
studies my company has been doing…”

Also there are those of us, like me, who at present lack the knowledge
to complete this challenge. Wait, now that I think about it, till
someone does it, we all lack some knowledge that will be needed to
complete this challenge, but I’m sure my lack is greater than most.
Charles does not seem to be lacking in the knowledge department and
has been at this for several years, yet doesn’t seem close to
conclusion. Please, I mean no offense, I am a fan, I mention this as
the reason I offered what I thought were viable ideas to aid his case
and to hear opinions on the path I hope to take.

To me someone has to steer the boat. That person may also cook the
meals, they may not, but they should know that someone is handling the
meals and know what to do if the cook quits. So if you can do it all,
great! Peter seems to be a fine example, but there are other ways.
And yes, many great inventions were created by individuals, but how
many great inventions will be needed to complete this challenge?
Maybe one person invents the perfect guidance system, another the
perfect rocket engine and another the perfect satellite. Each is a
formidable task. As Peter said, you probably won’t be starting with
sand, this is a hard challenge, there is no reason to make it harder.

// but what fun is it to take on a “personal” challenge (such as this)
and then have *everyone* else do it for you?/
The fun of living and knowing that my life had meaning, but hey,
that’s just me. :-) Do it for whatever reason you like. Is this a
“personal” challenge? That’s news to me, but maybe I missed the
memo. I think this is what most things are, they are what you make
them. If this is a personal challenge for you, great!

Team Daedalus
"making wings so everyone can fly"
> ...
> read more »


Jun 1, 2009, 4:36:02 AM6/1/09
to N-Prize

7 and 6 - thanks for asking. I think its close to the best age for
this kind of thing (or 43 is - whatever).


> ...
> read more »
Message has been deleted


Jun 1, 2009, 10:34:30 AM6/1/09
to N-Prize
Hmmm, 7 and 6, so what is that 1st and 2nd grade? No, probably
different since you are in England, though all I know about English
schools are what I learned from JK Rowling, so that may not apply to
your kids. But I am sure they are enormous help, or at least they are
there asking why dad said he was building a rocket but built a lawn
sprinkler. I guess I'm just a little older than you as I will be
turning 44 this week and my daughter will be 2 by the end of the
month, so I can't remember what I was reading back then, but maybe
Verne's "From Earth to the Moon" or Heinlein's "Have Spacesuit - Will
Travel" might be good suggestions.

Even if you know everything about rocketry, I'd be amazed if we don't
need a lawyer... or at least a florist to compensate the wife for time

Team Daedalus

On Jun 1, 9:35 am, Monroe <> wrote:
> Hummm
> I find the idea of doing this alone interesting but unrealistic.
> You never know though.
> It will take brains and brawn as I see it. And guts. And scrafice.
> and it still might be heartake
> But she sure is a hot date.
> I hope she goes all the way.


Jun 1, 2009, 11:08:02 AM6/1/09
to N-Prize

You silver-tongued devil you.


From what I've been able to find out it looks as though our CAA is a
little easier to deal with than your FAA. I've chatted with them a
number of times and they've always gone out of their way to help with
what's needed for various types of launch, radio licensing etc. If I
keep smiling, keep friendly and keep sending in the right paperwork I
reckon I can get away without subsidising some lawyer's opulent life.




Jun 1, 2009, 12:46:14 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize
That is good news! About the CAA.
I so far am doing the same here with the FAA and so far I get the same
result. I'll bet more paperwork though:)
Also so far nothing is really flying! We did get our first Real note
when we launched the first near space expedition so we are offically
in the books now for one launch.

Check this link out! The Laserfire@ system is what I'm refering too.

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted


Jun 1, 2009, 4:40:02 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize
Hey, lighten up dude, what do I know anyway?
Good Luck.

Hell, I admit I may be the least qualified person here.
You guy's are proably all smarter than me, I don't care.


Jun 1, 2009, 6:21:33 PM6/1/09
Hey all,

Just a reminder....we're all trying to do something impossible here (actually, that's not true - I have the easy job, and it's all of you who are doing something impossible).  There is only one best way to do the possible, but many ways to do the impossible.  I'm sure that's a solid basis for some kind of philosophy or another.

Best to all,
On 1 Jun 2009, at 19:28, Sage (LMR) wrote:

Monroe and QED,

I'll repeat myself here:  you guys need to understand that some of us
actually do have the capability to achieve this "by ourselves.”
Simply put, if you are incapable of achieving this, please don't
project that lack of capability on others, especially people you don't

And QED... to your comment: “So if you can do it all, great!”
Thanks!  But, such doesn't mean that I'll 'choose' to do it that way.
Perhaps it might be difficult for you to accept, but some of us (and
I'm mainly speaking for myself but I'm sure there are others) do have
that “breadth of knowledge” you keep emphasizing.


read more »- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
Paul H. Dear,
Chief Optimist.

The N-Prize,
PO Box 1133,
Cambridge CB22 3WB

The sender of this email is not responsible.

Sage (LMR)

Jun 1, 2009, 6:28:38 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize
Monroe and QED,

Let me try putting it this way instead...

I will say that for me, this is a personal challenge; that was one of
the reasons I entered it. You guys have your own reasons (as we all
do), and the challenge for me includes doing it a particular way.
Like solving a Rubik's Cube, I'm interested in 'actually' solving it,
not simply pulling it apart and putting it back together “solved.”
Both achieve the same conclusion, but they are certainly not equal.
I'm interested in solving those multitudes of diverse challenges
required for this prize – that's what I'm interested in. Having a ton
of specialists solve each part is simply uninteresting (at least for
me), given this particular contest.

I tend to have strong opposition towards those who project their own
deficiencies onto other people. For instance, thinking that if they
can't do it, then others can't do it – or, because they lack the
knowledge, others must also lack the knowledge. Or if they don't know
how it can be done, then they proclaim it can't be done. Or the
concept that people must “specialize” in a particular field, thereby
limiting other's scopes of knowledge. There are specialists,
generalists, and those who are both of these to various extents. And
yes, the latter group is more rare, but quite existent.

In any case, whatever the path, the development effort will
(eventually) have to speak for itself. And, I'm interested in
demonstrating that this challenge can be met by an individual or small
group; to me that aspect is one of the most important.


On May 31, 11:29 pm, MisterQED <> wrote:


Jun 1, 2009, 7:18:54 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize
What it appears to me is you keep talking (a lot) about "deficiencies"
that others may have.
That doesn’t change what I said. If you get right down to it you don’t
Know yet, you may be able
But until you do it you don't know for sure and it doesn’t take an
intellectual giant to figure that out.
You may feel like you can but feeling's are not facts. The whole world
practically thinks your nuts
For being involved in this so convince them, you’re preaching to the
choir here.


Sage (LMR)

Jun 1, 2009, 8:43:53 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize

Your first comment is incorrect. I'm not talking about deficiencies
others may have, I am talking about people projecting their own
deficiencies onto others, which I have strong opposition to (as noted
in my earlier post).

Regarding your next comment about “not knowing” it until it's done...
If that were true, then 'nothing' would be 'known' until it was
already done; this hiccup in thought is a big reason why many people
think various things are “impossible” when they're not. Because
something hasn't already been done (and/or people simply lack the
understanding to realize how to do it) does not make such impossible.
This whole line of thought is contrary to the way science and
engineering works – we work within reason and consider probabilities.

For instance, before I build something, I generally design it first
and analyze my design. I know within a reasonable doubt what my
design should do based on my knowledge of physics and engineering (it
was 'designed' that way). The scientific oddity would be the opposite
– that is, if I built something and such “didn't” behave within the
realm of science and engineering (and then I'd really have
something!). In other words, it should behave as expected or science
would become somewhat meaningless as a tool.

Granted, nothing is ever absolutely 100% certain in all contexts, the
Earth might be destroyed by an asteroid before the N-Prize even comes
to fruition. But, barring such extreme circumstances, there is no
significant probability which says I cannot do it. This it is not
confined to a “feeling,” it's physics and engineering.

If I'm preaching to the choir when talking with you it means you're in
agreement (which is great!). As far as “everyone else,” I'm willing
to “convince” anyone who opts to listen. Like I said earlier,
eventually the development effort will need to speak for itself
(hence, the challenge).


Sage (LMR)

Jun 1, 2009, 9:25:18 PM6/1/09
to N-Prize
Hi Pete,

That would be great, and as soon as I can get another break in the
action we'll talk... My limited time on here sometimes gets poured
into tangential philosophies (that I'm not sure are appreciated
anyway). In any case, I would love to hear more of what you're doing,
it seems very ambitious (and it's quite intriguing).

I understand there are details you may want to hold close (whether for
vaporware or IP reasons). I've developed plenty of novel technologies
both for this effort and others (some of which I've applied for
patents on), so I'm with you there...

Message has been deleted

Pete (Nebula)

Jun 2, 2009, 4:05:00 AM6/2/09
to N-Prize
Hi Sage

Ambitious is right, but as I say on the website if I can't do it at
least I'll know why I can't do it - upsetting though it may be. In the
end, I'm not sure that it matters for this particular competition
since I'm pretty sure one of the other competitors has only a few
steps to go before being almost there. When you're ready it might be
best to open a new thread so that its purely technical, otherwise do
please feel free to PM me - I'd welcome the informed chat.


> ...
> read more »

Sage (LMR)

Jun 2, 2009, 1:44:23 PM6/2/09
to N-Prize

Why not give yourself a medal and a crown while you're at it.


On Jun 1, 10:23 pm, Monroe <> wrote:
> Sage
> You are incorrect on all counts now.
> So now I'm sure I'm not the least qualified.
> Monroe


Jun 2, 2009, 1:54:14 PM6/2/09
Hey guys,

     We are, more or less by definition, a rare group of weird people (and I mean that in a nice way).  Of all the people in the world, about 99.999998% are not N-Prize entrants, which makes each you exceptional.  So, let's cool it.



Jun 2, 2009, 2:11:17 PM6/2/09
to N-Prize
You seemed to have deleted your even more ignorant post so I shall
respond to this one, oh Lone Wolf McSage. First if you are going to
respond to posts, you should READ them. I would think that someone
who has earned your nickname would have figured that out, but
obviously the chip on your shoulder has grown to the point where it is
obscuring part of your vision.

This started when I tried to offer supportive suggestions to Charles,
who created a learned Google video from which I surmised that despite
several years of effort, his task seems unfinished, not due to lack of
knowledge, but probably lack of investment. To expedite his quest I
suggested farming out part of the work to the point where videos could
be created that would interest investors in his worthy ideas. I also
mentioned that since he seemed to be looking for a sea change in the
path the world has been following to get to space, he might enlist
outside interests or even hobbyists to build small parts of his
designs as they may volunteer their services and lower his front end
costs to give his venture momentum. Create basic mechanisms where his
real innovations can be showcased. Even if early hobbyist attempts
launch, but fail to reach final goals, as they probably will,
investors may start to see that this task is not impossible but just
needs several innovations which people like Charles can provide.
These are just my opinions and they may be wrong, but

No one projected their own deficiencies on anyone. I mention my own
deficiencies in knowledge as a counter balance to show my statements
are opinions and as a point of self deprecation so I don’t come off as
a know-it-all, for as Socrates stated, “the only true wisdom is in
knowing you know nothing.” Which is not to state that we know nothing
or that nothing is knowable, but that even in topics where you are
near omniscient, there is still more to be learned and accepting that
is part of the path to knowledge.

//Like solving a Rubik's Cube, I'm interested in 'actually' solving
it, not simply pulling it apart and putting it back together

So you are saying, that not only do you consider this an individual
challenge, but that we should also because if not we are cheating? At
this point even you must realize the insanity of this statement, but
if not let me just ask just how “individually” are you completing this
challenge? Are you now or have you worked in the Aerospace field?
Does this or did this provide you with tools that are better or
cheaper than the ones available to other entrants? i.e. Simulation
software, specialize hardware, knowledge unavailable to the general
public, access to specialists in this field who would not answer the
phone for the rest of us? Peter does and I’m sure many of the other
teams do also. I don’t begrudge them it at all, but get off your soap
box. We are trying to do something very hard and everyone needs to
use any and all tools at their command. I think the laws of
chemistry, physics and the Paul's cost constraints of this contest
will keep us enough in line.

Team Daedalus
Message has been deleted

Sage (LMR)

Jun 2, 2009, 3:34:06 PM6/2/09
to N-Prize

You clearly didn't understand (or properly read) my posts. As I
mentioned, one cannot work “alone” just “by themselves” -- if they so
choose. Seems as though you don't understand the concept I was trying
to convey.

Actually, I've spent time giving you informed advice among other
things, but as I mentioned before, it's basically a waste as it's not

Anyway, I think that the tone of communication often gets lost here;
but there's no doubt you're being inflammatory (and if I'm on a soap
box you're screaming from a mountain).

It's not your suggestions I was commenting on, it was the prevailing

You can treat this challenge however you like; each of us has our own
way of viewing it. I didn't say anything about cheating; it's up to
you how you go about doing this challenge and/or how it interests
you. My analogy on the Rubik's Cube was a more general one. If the
task itself is simply putting the Cube back to the solved condition,
one does not have to actually “solve” the puzzle to get there. It
depends on if they are interested in the puzzle challenge or the
goal. Again, you need to read what was written.

As far as your comments regarding “individual” challenge. I've
already expressed my views several times and you can go back and re-
read them to understand the differences that I'm talking about. In
short, we generally cannot separate societal influence from ourselves,
hence we cannot work “alone,” however we can work “by ourselves” if we
so choose. But, as I earlier noted, working in small teams can be a
lot of fun and very rewarding, and I think an important part of this
challenge is that it is met by an individual or a small team.

Please try to understand what is being said before condemning it.


Sage (LMR)

Jun 2, 2009, 3:56:54 PM6/2/09
to N-Prize

I don't have time for this silly back and forth, and out of respect
for Paul, the contest, and everyone here, I'm going to refrain from
responding to your wonderfully flattering comment.


On Jun 2, 12:08 pm, Monroe <> wrote:
>  Sage
> That seems to be your position an obvious insecurity and a definite
> liability. It gets worse from here. How old did you say you were? I
> don't want to traumatize anyone :) but hey I've had enough BS.
> Monroe


Jun 2, 2009, 2:41:19 PM6/2/09
I'm not looking at anyone in particular, but can we take this one to email, please?



Jun 2, 2009, 4:42:24 PM6/2/09
to N-Prize
My apologies to everyone else, and especially Paul, but I guess we all
have our buttons and Sage hit mine.
I didn't see Paul's email till after my post.
I want this forum to be productive and helpful, and my rant has
detracted from that.

Team Daedalus
> ...
> read more »


Jun 2, 2009, 4:54:24 PM6/2/09
No worries (my post was delayed anyway).  It's good that people care enough about this to get passionate, but when the moguls of the international press come to pore over the site in years to come when we're all famous.....

Message has been deleted


Jun 2, 2009, 5:00:57 PM6/2/09