Friday, February 27, 2015

Ion Thruster

A gridded ion thruster uses electrical energy to create, accelerate and neutralize positively charged ions to generate thrust. The discharge chamber is responsible for the creation of ions when neutral atoms and electrons collide while the magnetic field containing the electrons increases ionization efficiency.

The screen and accelerator electrodes accelerate the ions to extremely high speeds using electric fields. The neutralizer provides additional electrons to balance the overall charge being ejected from the thruster and keep the spacecraft electrically neutral.

Live Long And Prosper

Spock returned to his home planet for the last time this morning.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gold Under NYC

The world's largest stockpile of gold can be found five stories underground inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's vault and it holds 25% of the world's gold reserve (540,000 gold bars). While it contains more gold than Fort Knox, most of it belongs to foreign governments. At least, we think it's there. The head of the Federal Reserve will not allow an audit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Failure Keeps An Industry Profitable

Since the American drug war has been such a demonstrable failure, why does it continue to be so strongly supported by the American political and legal establishment?

One glaring reason is corruption, in both the moral and legal sense. It is the corruption that comes from political pressure - with its rewards and punishments - and the corruption that comes from hard cash.

For example, the Drug Policy Alliance notes that the war on drugs includes a $9 billion prison economy, not to mention more billions in homeless shelters, healthcare, chemical dependency and psychiatric treatment, etc. Each one of these industries - as well as the employment of cops, judges, probation officers, etc - would be severely hurt should America decide to give up the so-called war on drugs. This doesn't justify the madness but it is important to remember that we have created a multi-billion dollar economy based on our failed drug policies.

Beneficiaries of the drug war include prison architects and contractors, corrections personnel, policy makers and academics, and thousands of corporate vendors who peddle their wares at the annual trade-show of the American Corrections Association - hawking everything from toothbrushes and socks to barbed-wire fences and shackles.

Multi-national corporations run the show by winning tax subsidies, incentives and abatements from local governments -- robbing the public coffers and depriving communities of the kind of quality education, roads, health care and infrastructure that provide genuine incentives for legitimate business. The sale of tax-exempt bonds to underwrite prison construction is estimated at a whopping $2.3 billion annually.

Corporations that appear to be far removed from the business of punishment are intimately involved in the expansion of the prison industrial complex. Prison construction bonds are one of the many sources of profitable investment for leading financiers such as Merrill Lynch. MCI charges prisoners and their families outrageous prices for the precious telephone calls which are often the only contact inmates have with the free world. Many corporations whose products we consume on a daily basis have learned that prison labor power can be as profitable as third world labor power exploited by U.S.-based global corporations. Both relegate formerly unionized workers to joblessness, many of which wind up in prison. Some of the companies that use prison labor are IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, and Boeing. But it is not only the hi-tech industries that reap the profits of prison labor. Nordstrom department stores sell jeans that are marketed as 'Prison Blues,' as well as t-shirts and jackets made in Oregon prisons."

Far more serious, however, is the role that illegal corruption plays. If one is to believe the media and scholars, it would appear that the drug industry - by UN estimate a $400 billion global business - is the only commercial sector in the country that doesn't buy politicians. In other words, the drug trade is the only honest trade when it comes to politics.

Of course, this is nonsense, but try to find the news story that even raises the possibility that some, if not many, of our politicians are beneficiaries of the drug trade either directly or through well laundered sources. To be sure, there are periodic reports of cops on the take, but any suggestion of political involvement is absent.

Further, the collateral beneficiaries of the drug trade - of which money-laundering banks would be a prime example - are exempt from examination as well, unless their misdoings occurred in some foreign land like Mexico or Colombia.

To cover such a story is exceedingly difficult and rarely rewarding. When the Review tried to report some of the connections between Bill Clinton and the Arkansas drug trade we discovered that even many journalists just didn't want to hear about it. It was so much easier to describe the story as "just about sex," one of the biggest media myths of the 20th century.

Mike Rupert, a detective turned writer, gives one example of the stories begging to be covered with the same energy as, say, the misdeeds of Jason Blair. In an interview, he was asked, "Who benefits most from an addicted inner-city population?"

Rupert's reply: "It's not just who benefits most; it's how many people can benefit on how many different ends of the spectrum. We published a story in my newsletter, From The Wilderness, by Catherine Austin Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary of Housing [and Urban Development]. She produced a map in 1996, August of 1996 - that's the same month that the Gary Webb story broke in the San Jose Mercury News. It was a map that showed the pattern of single family foreclosures or single family mortgages - HUD-backed mortgages - in South Central Los Angeles. But when you looked at the map all of these HUD foreclosures, they were right in the heart of the area where the crack cocaine epidemic had occurred. And what was revealed by looking at the HUD data was that, during the 1980s, thousands of middle-class African American wage-earning families with mortgages lost their homes. Why? There were drive-by shootings, the whole neighborhood deteriorated, crack people moved in next door, your children got shot and went to jail and you had to move out. The house on which you owed $100,000 just got appraised at $40,000 because nobody wanted to buy it and you had to flee; you couldn't sell it, so you walked on it. And what Catherine's research showed was that someone else came along and bought thousands of homes for 10 to 20 cents in the dollar in the years right after the crack cocaine epidemic."

HUD, easily the second most corrupt government agency next to the Pentagon, is an extraordinarily comfortable ecosystem for would-be collateral beneficiaries of the drug war, but these days it's hard even to get the legal things at HUD covered in the press.

There is, of course, a rousing business in corruption at the lower levels. For example, Drug Facts reports that half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were caught for drug-related offenses. But far more significant corruption remains buried.

One way to get a hint of how the drug trade may have corrupted our political system is to look at other countries. For example, the UN Drug Control Program reported in 1998, "In systems where a member of the legislature or judiciary, earning only a modest income, can easily gain the equivalent of some 20 months' salary from a trafficker by making one "favorable" decision, the dangers of corruption are obvious." An World Bank survey in 2002 found that bribes are paid in 50 per cent of all Colombia state contracts. Another World Bank report estimated the cost of corruption in Colombia at 60 per cent of the country's debt.

Marijuana plays a central role in the cruel and corrupt fantasy game called the drug war because (a)so many people use it and (b)it takes up more space than other drugs. Thus there are plenty of criminals and stuff to go after to give the appearance you are actually doing something. In contrast, all the cocaine America needs in a year could be stuffed into a few 18 wheelers. You can't have a profitable war on drugs with such a tiny target.

The war on drugs is, in fact, a war to sustain the drug industry and its collateral beneficiaries. America's drug czar is also the country's biggest drug lord, because without his phony battle, the artificial economy of prohibition would collapse and with it the industry he falsely claims to be fighting.

While clearly, many of the drug warriors in politics and the law are driven by myopic, infantile evangelism, we must bear in mind that for many others, fighting drugs is as much a business as dealing them, a cash business never reported to the IRS. It is long past time to discover who amongst our leaders are merely stupid and who are themselves drug war criminals.

In large part, this article was taken from an article by Sam Smith at The Progressive Review.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Wrecking Crew

If you're a music lover of that great era in pop music from the 1950s through the early '80s, then you've heard from a loose affiliation of musicians that played on a majority of hit records in the '60s. They were called the Wrecking Crew. That's what drummer Hal Blaine named the group of studio and session musicians that played anonymously on many records in Los Angeles, California, during the 1960s. They backed dozens of popular singers, and were one of the most successful groups of studio musicians in music history.

Each were musically versatile but typically had formal backgrounds in jazz or classical music. This group of professionals were used on practically every style of recording including television themes, film scores, advertising jingles and almost every genre of American popular music, from The Monkees to Bing Crosby. Notable artists who employed the Wrecking Crew included Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vee, The Partridge Family, The Mamas & the Papas, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, John Denver, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, The Grass Roots and Nat King Cole.

Record producers most often associated with the Wrecking Crew are: Phil Spector, who used the Crew to create his trademark "Wall of Sound"; and Beach Boys member and songwriter Brian Wilson, who used the Crew's talents on many of his mid-1960s productions including the songs "Good Vibrations", "California Girls", Pet Sounds, and the original recordings for Smile. Members of the Wrecking Crew played on the first Byrds single recording, "Mr. Tambourine Man", because Columbia Records did not trust the skills of Byrd musicians except for Roger McGuinn. Spector also used the Wrecking Crew on Leonard Cohen's fifth album, Death of a Ladies' Man.

Two of their members, drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, were among the inaugural "Sidemen" inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, while the entire Wrecking Crew was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2007.

According to Blaine, the name "The Wrecking Crew" was derived from the impression that he and the younger studio musicians made on the business's older generation, who felt that they were going to wreck the music industry. Prior to that, in the late 1950s the small group headed by Ray Pohlman was often referred to as "The First Call Gang," since they were the musicians many record producers would call first. With home base being Hollywood's "General Service Studios," this early group consisted of talented musicians such as Earl Palmer, Mel Pollen, Bill Aken, Barney Kessel, and Al Casey. Many historians consider this small group to be the actual origin of "The Wrecking Crew," or "The Clique" as they were sometimes called.

Wrecking Crew performing live.
Members of 'The Wrecking Crew' included:

bass: Max Bennett, Chuck Berghofer, Jimmy Bond, Red Callender, Carol Kaye, Larry Knechtel, Joe Osborn, Bill Pitman, Ray Pohlman, Lyle Ritz
conductor/arranger: Jack Nitzsche
drums: John Clauder, Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, Earl Palmer, Jeff Porcaro
guitar: Bill Aken, Doug Bartenfeld, James Burton, Glen Campbell, Al Casey, Jerry Cole, Mike Deasy, John Goldthwaite, Rene Hall, Carol Kaye, Barney Kessel, Don Peake, Bill Pitman, Ray Pohlman, Howard Roberts, Irv Rubins, Louie Shelton, Billy Strange, Tommy Tedesco, Al Vescovo, P.F. Sloan
harmonica: Tommy Morgan
keyboards: Al De Lory, Larry Knechtel, Mike Melvoin, Don Randi, Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John), Mike (Michel) Rubini, Leon Russell
percussion: Frank Capp, Gary L. Coleman, Julius Wechter, Joe Porcaro
saxophone: Gene Cipriano, Steve Douglas, Jim Horn, Plas Johnson, Jay Migliori, Nino Tempo
trombone: Lou Blackburn, Richard "Slyde" Hyde, Lew McCreary
trumpet: Bud Brisbois, Roy Caton, Chuck Findley, Ollie Mitchell, Tony Terran
vocals: Ron Hicklin Singers often performed backup vocals on many of the same songs on which The Wrecking Crew had played instrumental tracks. Though not an official member, Sonny Bono did hang out and contribute to sessions recorded by the Crew.

Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell later achieved solo fame as a singer-guitarist in the 1960s and 1970s, and Leon Russell and Mac Rebennack (as Dr. John) both went on to be successful songwriters and had hit singles and albums. Also, Nino Tempo with his sister Carol (under her stage name April Stevens) had a U.S. #1 hit song in 1963, "Deep Purple". Otherwise, the best-known 'members' of this unofficial group are bassist/guitarist Carol Kaye, one of the few female instrumentalists to achieve success in the recording industry at the time; and drummer Hal Blaine, who has played on tens of thousands of recording sessions, including Sinatra's, and is believed by some to be the most recorded drummer in history. Among his vast list of recordings, Blaine is credited with having played on at least forty U.S. #1 hits and more than 150 Top Ten records.

Al Casey worked for many years as a session musician. Jim Gordon also drummed on many well known recording sessions and was the drummer in the group Derek and the Dominos. Gordon also toured with Frank Zappa on the Grand Wazoo tour with Jay Migliori. Ray Pohlman doubled on both bass and guitar, and started heading sessions in the 1950s with a regular group of musicians including, Mel Pollen, Earl Palmer, Bill Aken (aka Zane Ashton), Al Casey, and others. Pohlman would also become the musical director for the TV show Shindig!, while Aken became musical director on "Shock Theatre," both shows being nationally televised. Aken was the musical director on the critically acclaimed syndicated radio show "The Country Call Line" in the mid-1980s and also conceived, arranged, and produced the music for the very first 'Farm-Aid' radio special in collaboration with Willie Nelson and LeRoy Van Dyke.

Jim Keltner would go on to a successful career as a session drummer for much of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, playing with Ringo Starr's All-Starr band, and playing drums on both albums by the supergroup Traveling Wilburys, (where he is credited as "Buster Sidebury.")

Carol Kaye
The Wrecking Crew worked long hours and 15-hour days were not unusual, although the rewards were great — Carol Kaye has commented that during her peak as a session musician, she earned more per year than the President.

The Wrecking Crew were featured in the 95-minute 2008 film The Wrecking Crew directed by Tommy Tedesco's son, Denny Tedesco. The film has screened at several festivals and was featured on National Public Radio, but it has not yet been commercially released due to the numerous song rights and the legal difference between merely showing a film and actually manufacturing it for sale.

The Wrecking Crew, or at least part of it, was the house band for 1964's The T.A.M.I. Show. During shots of the right side of the stage, one can often spot musical director Jack Nitzsche, drummer Hal Blaine, electric bassist Jimmy Bond, guitarists Tommy Tedesco, Bill Aken, and Glen Campbell, upright bassist Lyle Ritz, pianist Leon Russell, saxophonist Plas Johnson, and others.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Etruscans

I'm sure my readers are dying to know something about the Etruscan language and just who the heck were the Etruscans anyway? My friends, you've come to the right place. The Etruscans lived in Italy in the region of modern Tuscany, in an area bound by the Arno River on the north, the Tiber River on the southeast, and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west. At one time the Etruscans controlled most of an area extending south from Milan through Marzabotto and Sarsina to the Adriatic Sea north of Ancona, and to the southwest extending as far as Capua, Naples, and Pompeii.

The best guess is that they were at their height in Italy from the 8th to the 5th century BC. Herodotus (c. 450 BC) reports, as a theory of their origin, that the Etruscans came from Asia Minor. Recent work on DNA in cattle suggests Herodotus may have been right, although some still consider the Etruscans indigenous to the Italic peninsula.

The Etruscan economy was based on agriculture, trade (especially with the Greeks and Carthage), and mineral resources which is really not too revealing about their ethnic identity. Herodotus says the Etruscans came from Lydia, in Asia Minor, as the result of a famine around 1200 BC, like the Irish coming to the U.S. as a result of a potato famine in the 19th century.

The Etruscan language is known chiefly from epigraphic records originating in the Tuscan area and dating from 7th century BC to the first years of the Christian Era. There are some 10,000 of these inscriptions, mainly brief and repetitious epitaphs or dedicatory formulas, as well as votive or owner’s inscriptions on paintings in tombs and accompanying engraved figures on small artifacts such as metal mirrors. There are, however, some remarkable exceptions to the general brevity of the inscriptions, and there are important differences in their origins. The longest single text, of 281 lines (about 1,300 words), now in the National Museum at Zagreb, is written on a roll of linen that had been cut into strips and used in Egypt as a wrapping for a mummy; a clay tablet found at Capua contains some 250 words; a stone slab from Perugia has two adjacent sides elegantly engraved with an inscription of 46 lines (some 125 words); a bronze model of a liver found at Piacenza, which probably represents the Etruscan microcosm in a form used for instruction in divination, has some 45 words; and a heavy rectangular block found on the island of Lemnos in the northern Aegean has an engraving of what is probably a warrior with one inscription of perhaps 18 words surrounding the head and another of 16 words in three lines on an adjacent side. In 1964 two inscriptions on gold tablets, one in Phoenician and the other in Etruscan, were unearthed at Pyrgi.

Despite many attempts at decipherment and amid some claims of success, the Etruscan records still defy translation. While the possibility always remains that an imaginative conjecture or a brilliant inference will suddenly provide the key to the mystery, this now seems remote. The etymological method of investigation, which ultimately depends upon the recognition of presumed cognates from related languages, seems to have failed because no clear and certain relationship between Etruscan and any other language has ever been established. The procedure, sometimes called the combinatory method, appears to be the most efficacious if not indeed the only useful one. It requires, first, that note be made of anything unusual in the provenance of the object on which Etruscan writing is found (such as that the mummy wrapping came from Egypt and the Lemnos inscription from the Aegean) and likewise of anything unusual in the object itself (e.g., that it is a bronze replica of a liver or the representation of a god or mythological figure). Finally, each word and phrase and formula is compared with every recurrence of the same element or elements elsewhere, and all variations in the physical and the linguistic contexts are recorded. By this means it has been possible to assign some words to grammatical categories such as noun and verb, to identify some inflectional endings, and to assign meanings to a few words of very frequent occurrence.

The problem of Etruscan origins is insoluble until the language can be translated. While nothing at all is certain other than the existence of Etruscans in Italy, some Etruscan writing in Egypt, and an Etruscan inscription on Lemnos, the weight of all the evidence seems to favor a non-Italic but certainly Mediterranean place of origin. It is unlikely, therefore, that the Etruscan language is genetically related to any language or language family existing in an area remote from the Mediterranean. On the other hand, it does not follow that Etruscan must be related to a language or language fragment that can be found in the Mediterranean area.

Etruscan is written in an alphabet probably derived from one of the Greek alphabets. It is of very great importance that Etruscan is written in a recognizable alphabet related to the Greek and Semitic because sound values can be assigned with some degree of precision to each symbol. Etruscan writing proceeded from right to left and in earliest times had no word division or punctuation. In about the 6th century BC a system of points, or dots, consisting of four, three, or two dots inscribed vertically, was introduced to mark word boundaries and, in some instances, apparently, to indicate syllables and possibly abbreviations.

Among the continuing mysteries of Etruscan are the reasons why the Etruscans left no written records of their great civilization other than inscriptions and occasional texts and why the Romans, who knew the Etruscans intimately, transmitted little or nothing to posterity about either Etruscan literature or their language, which must certainly have been spoken, or at least preserved, by some families in Rome long after the period of Etruscan greatness had passed.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Erin Go Bragh

The phrase "Erin go Bragh" or "Erin go Braugh" means "Ireland forever." It's the anglicized version of the Irish phrase. The correct spelling in Irish is "Éirinn go Brách," or "Éireann go Brach."

Today, the standardized spelling would be "Éire go Brách"; however, "Éirinn" (which survives as the dative form in the modern standard) is the form historically used by native speakers, and is the source of the Anglicized "Erin." This linguistic shift (dative forms replacing nominative) was common among Irish nouns of the fifth declension.

Also, redheads from Ireland have commonly been named Erin. Because of this, the phrase "Erin go Bragh" holds a special part in most Irish lassies' hearts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slender Man

The Slender Man is an alleged paranormal figure purported to have been in existence for centuries, covering a large geographic area. Believers in the Slender Man tie his appearances in with many other legends around the world, including; Fear Dubh (or, The Dark Man) in Scotland, the Dutch Takkenmann (Branch Man), and the German legend of Der Großmann or Der Grosse Mann (the Tall Man).

Slender Man is a being (male in appearance) who looks like a man with extremely long, slender arms and legs. He also appears to have 4 to 8 long, black tentacles that protrude from his back, though different photographs and enthusiasts disagree on this fact, and therefore it is theorized he can 'contract' these tentacles at will.

He is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, his victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them.

He is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk on in a similar fashion to Doctor Octopus. The superhuman stretching ability could also be seen as a similarity between himself and Mr. Fantastic.

Whether he absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodies or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.

His face is pale and slightly ghostly, and almost appears to have been wrapped in a type of gauze or cloth. his facial features are also an object of debate, and many people believe that his face looks different to each person, if it is seen at all.

He sometimes is portrayed wears a hat, which is sometimes a bowler, a fedora, or sometimes a tophat. He may also be seen wearing a long flowing necktie or scarf, which is either red or grey.

He often keeps his long, pale hands crossed politely behind his back or hanging loosely at his sides. His suit is black, sometimes portrayed as pinstripe in artwork, a common misconception thanks to the very similar Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas. He has long coattails which he lets flow proudly. He wears long dress shoes, which are always shined a perfect, gleaming black.

Much of the fascination with Slender Man is rooted in the overall aura of mystery that he is wrapped in. Despite the fact that it is rumored he kills children almost exclusively, it is difficult to say whether or not his only objective is slaughter.

Often times it is either reported or recorded that he can be found in sections of woods, and these generally tend to be suburban. He also has been reported seen with large groups of children, as many photographs portray. It is commonly thought that he resides in woods and forests and preys on children. He seems unconcerned with being exposed in the daylight or captured in photos.

It is often thought as well that he enjoys stalking people who become overly paranoid about his existence, purposefully giving them glimpses of himself in order to further frighten them. For this reason, it seems like Slender Man very much enjoys psychologically torturing his victims.

He also often appears to float or drift around rather than walk, which suggest the possibility of him being an ethereal being rather than a creature or a man. This would also explain why he is able to remain mobile in spite of his poorly proportioned body.

Even though Slender Man was fabricated on SomethingAwful forums (or was he?), some people have already claimed sightings. He is seen mostly at night peering into open windows and walks out in front of lone motorists on secluded roads.

His main intentions appear to be kidnapping children, as when he is seen near them in photographs, they usually disappear shortly afterwards. The Slender Man has also inspired many stories such as those of Marble Hornets.

In the end though, his purpose remains unknown. Booga-booga, boogeyman!

Latin Comes In Handy

Monday, February 16, 2015

Islamic Terror And The Great Deception

Puzzled by the headlines? Go here for an explanation.

My Greek Feet

Some people say you can tell your heritage from the shape of your feet, so look at the picture above and compare it to your waffle-stompers to determine where your ancestors originally came from.

Skeptical? Here are some facts that may support the feet shape/roots relation.

1. The human genome determine several physical factors as skin, hair and eye color, shape of body and limbs, and so many more from baldness to disease tendencies.

2. Human Morphology is heritage dependent. (anthropometry)

3. There are other studies that revealed endemic tribal / family characteristics, like lack of fingerprints (adermatoglyphia) E.g.: in an outstanding number of Basque peoples.

4. We must consider mixed origins, since almost all races have mixed along the past 500 years. Very few and rare are the supposed “pure” lineages.

According to Jane Sheehan, author of “Let’s Read Our Feet,” your feet indicate more than your origin.

“It’s all about analyzing the structure and texture and imbalances of the feet to understand someone’s emotions and personality,” she says.

“When you are angry, how do you walk? When you are happy, how do you walk? When you are depressed, how do you walk? Each of these emotions has it’s corresponding walk. Over time you can see their impact on the feet.

“Of course, it’s not just about emotions – each of these walks also has a physiological aspect too. But I’m most interested in emotions and personality.”

So, if you have a...

Long second toe, you have leadership qualities. Rulers from ancient Egyptian and Hawaiian royal dynasties all had long second toes. You need to be in charge.

Last joint of third toe at an angle, you have the natural ability to deceive, as well as the propensity to be misunderstood. Frequently to be found in spies.

Extra-small little toe, then you most likely have a childlike nature, with a playful sense of fun.

Second toe on left foot leaning towards big toe, then you are of a sentimental, nostalgic nature. Shared by Hollywood actor Reece Witherspoon.

Little toe pointing at an angle, then you have an unconventional nature. Being able to waggle your little toe indicates restlessness and a need for constant change.

Project Daedalus

What with all the war, lies, and politics, sometimes you just want to leave the planet. Well, here's one way.

Project Daedalus was conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) with a mission to design an unmanned interstellar spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use existing or near-future technology and had to be able to reach its destination within a human lifetime. Alan Bond led a team of scientists and engineers who proposed using a fusion rocket to reach Barnard's Star 5.9 light years away. The trip was estimated to take 50 years but the design was required to be flexible enough that it could be sent to any other target star.

Daedalus would be constructed in Earth orbit and have an initial mass of 54,000 tons including 50,000 tons of fuel and 500 tons of scientific payload. Daedalus was to be a two-stage spacecraft. The first stage would operate for two years, taking the spacecraft to 7.1% of light speed (0.071 c), and then after it was spent and jettisoned, the second stage would fire for 1.8 years, taking the spacecraft up to about 12% of light speed (0.12 c) before being shut down for a 46-year cruise period. Due to the extreme temperature range of operation required, from near absolute zero to 1,600 K, the engine bells and support structure would be made of molybdenum TZM alloy which retains strength even at cryogenic temperatures. A major stimulus for the project was Friedwardt Winterberg's inertial confinement fusion drive concept for which he received the Hermann Oberth gold medal award.

This velocity is well beyond the capabilities of chemical rockets or even the type of nuclear pulse propulsion studied during Project Orion. According to Dr. Tony Martin, the only suitable propulsion method for the project was the nuclear pulse rocket. Instead, it was proposed that Daedalus would be propelled by a fusion rocket using pellets of a deuterium/helium-3 mix that would be ignited in the reaction chamber by inertial confinement using electron beams. The electron beam system would be powered by a set of induction coils trapping energy from the plasma exhaust stream. 250 pellets would be detonated per second, and the resulting plasma would be directed by a magnetic nozzle. The computed burn-up fraction for the fusion fuels was 0.175 and 0.133 producing exhaust velocities of 10,600 km/s and 9,210 km/s, respectively. Due to scarcity of helium-3 on Earth it was to be mined from the atmosphere of Jupiter via large hot-air balloon supported robotic factories over a 20-year period, or a more abundant source like the Moon.

Click to enlarge.
The second stage would have two 5-meter optical telescopes and two 20-meter radio telescopes. About 25 years after launch these telescopes would begin examining the area around Barnard's Star to learn more about any accompanying planets. This information would be sent back to Earth, using the 40-meter diameter second stage engine bell as a communications dish, and targets of interest would be selected. Since the spacecraft would not decelerate upon reaching Barnard's Star, Daedalus would carry 18 autonomous sub-probes that would be launched between 7.2 and 1.8 years before the main craft entered the target system. These sub-probes would be propelled by nuclear-powered ion drives and carry cameras, spectrometers, and other sensory equipment. The sub-probes would fly past their targets, still traveling at 12% of the speed of light, and transmit their findings back to the Daedalus' second stage mothership for relay back to Earth.

The ship's payload bay containing its sub-probes, telescopes, and other equipment would be protected from the interstellar medium during transit by a beryllium disk, up to 7 mm thick, weighing up to 50 tons. This erosion shield would be made from beryllium due to its lightness and high latent heat of vaporization. Larger obstacles that might be encountered while passing through the target system would be dispersed by an artificially generated cloud of particles, ejected by support vehicles called dust bugs, some 200 km ahead of the vehicle. The spacecraft would carry a number of robot wardens capable of autonomously repairing damage or malfunctions.

Click to enlarge.

Overall length: 190 meters
Propellant mass first stage: 46,000 tonnes
Propellant mass second stage: 4,000 tonnes
First stage empty mass at staging: 1,690 tonnes
Second stage mass at cruise speed: 980 tonnes
Engine burn time first stage: 2.05 years
Engine burn time second stage: 1.76 years
Thrust first stage: 7,540,000 newtons
Thrust second stage: 663,000 newtons
Engine exhaust velocity: 10,600,000 m/s & 9,210,000 m/s
Payload mass: 450 tonnes

A quantitative engineering analysis of a self-replicating variation on Project Daedalus was published in 1980 by Robert Freitas. The original non-replicating design was modified to include all subsystems necessary for self-replication. It was suggested that a probe could be used to deliver a seed factory, with a mass of about 443 metric tons, to a distant site. The seed factory could replicate many copies of itself on-site in order to increase its total manufacturing capacity, then use the resulting automated industrial complex to construct more probes, with a seed factories on board each, over a 1,000-year period. Each REPRO would weigh over 10 million tons due to the extra fuel needed to decelerate from 12% of lightspeed.

Another possibility is to equip Daedalus with a Magnetic sail similar to the magnetic scoop on a Bussard ramjet to use the destination star heliosphere as a brake, making carrying deceleration fuel unnecessary, allowing a much more in-depth study of the targeted star system.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tomorrow Never Knows

When The Lawless Make The Laws

by Bob Livingston

Natural man fears chains more than he fears propaganda. But propaganda is the far greater despotism.

When men are in chains, they are aware of their slavery. But few understand the superior power of deception. Most people can be persuaded to do almost anything to their own detriment.

What we believe and act upon we consider our own free will. Nothing could be further from the truth. We as a people and a nation are subject to massive and continuous propaganda. So programmed are the masses that they become hostile to truth.

Democracy is a mask, a front for total power of an oligarchy ruling via forced persuasion. Such a system might be tolerable if the oligarchs had the people’s best interests at heart. But the focus of forced persuasion is to channel all social, economic and moral law to the federal establishment. The stated altruistic justification is the perpetual utilitarian argument that the majority can require and force the minority to self-sacrifice for what the establishment-created majority has determined to be the greater good.

But altruism is a farce and a ruse. Altruism is the very foundation of statist propaganda and power that the individual must place his interests, including his property, beneath the “need” of the collective (state). In our time this is called “in the public interest.”

The term “public interest” translates into the government interest always. Therefore, the army of federal judges and politicians claim to act in the “public interest,” and they would tell you in a minute that they do everything in the “public interest.” This is a deception that few unravel mainly because of the self-deception of altruism. As long as an individual believes that he is obligated to share his property and produce for the “common good,” he is in reality no longer an individual but a part of the collective slaves of the state. Altruism motivates people to self-sacrifice. This is why altruism is at the root of all governments. Governments must instill self-sacrifice to solidify political power.

Unmasked, democracy is a study of power attained through persuasion instead of physical conquest. Think how many have died for this farce.

The nature of government is to perpetually grow. And the nature of politics and politicians is to seek wealth, power and aggrandizement. They represent government, not you.

Governments and politicians mask their agendas and create illusions to deceive and misrepresent. Governments, bureaucrats and politicians look upon the public as a herd that should be deceived and led for the benefit of government and the elite.

The public has been trained to think in terms of what is legal and what is illegal. The politicians and their elite bosses operate above the law and outside the law. This is contempt for the people.

Politicians, bureaucrats, judges and their friends are untouchables. Yes, occasionally one or two are sacrificed on the altar in the name of “justice,” but it is nothing more than a ruse that keeps the system in place.

The saturation point is coming, and it can’t be stopped. Sociopathic political behavior self-destructs over time. Satan rends himself. Ethics and decency in politics are anathema. A politician is not a statesman, and a statesman is not a politician.

Politics is power, and politics creates predators. Money has surpassed self-worth and dignity. Politics in America is incest with the government. Do we hear politicians warning Americans that the money creators are destroying their savings, their retirement and their purchasing power, as well as that of future generations?

The system is now beyond resolution. We are in the final stages of economic, social and moral collapse.

Investment banks have made billions while destroying America. They create financial products that are designed to fail, market them to the unsuspecting and then take short positions against them. They are a show-me-the-money culture, and the system protects them in their financial crimes. The great recession is their handiwork.

The word “conspiracy” is an establishment word used to imprison multitudes of nonviolent people (who are not in favor of the power structure) and confiscate their property outright without due process and under a feigned color of law. The politicians know this.

This is no different from the old Star Chamber motivated by the word “treason” (today it is “conspiracy”). Then came the thumbscrew and the rack to extract confession and an excuse to hang the victim. So what’s the difference today?

There are clearly privileged classes in America, those in political power backed by illegal police power. They act against the people outside the law and the Constitution. My friends, it has become so obvious.

While we slept, the political regime has shifted the “burden of proof” to the defendant. One is entrapped, charged and prosecuted under hundreds of laws and statutes he didn’t know existed. The “justice” system with its never-empty purse is brought to bear against the “defendant,” who often has seen his assets frozen even without a conviction and has been separated from his livelihood, rendering him unable to mount a defense.

This is the new democracy. Democracy is rule of the rabble by the elite.

Global domination through applied inactivity.
The possibility of reform has passed. The point of saturation of the full measure of disgust is near. Sparks can trigger revolution.

Morality has collapsed. Politicians, federal judges and prosecutors will eat their young for fiat money, power and aggrandizement. They all have a lawyer Ponzi mentality.

The soul of America has been penetrated with toxic greed. Political rigor mortis is everywhere. The state is collapsing of its own corruption.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dark Matter

Most physicists will say that dark matter is little more than a weakly interacting particle and that it is a particle which doesn't interact much with any other type of particle. However, it could be that dark matter is more complicated than that and cannot be explained by the standard Lambda cold dark matter model.

First, a little review is in order. There are three good reasons mainstream cosmology was forced to accept the concept of dark matter. Cosmologists don't know exactly what dark matter is, but they know the reasons something like it must exist.

The first is that dark matter has something to do with the rotation of galaxies. When astronomers attempted to measure the velocity of matter rotating around the disk of a galaxy they found something very strange. Based on our understanding of gravity and motion, the rotational velocity of matter should decrease with the distance from the center of the galaxy. In other words, objects further out from the center should be orbiting the galaxy at a slower velocity. However, observations tell us that the velocity essentially stays constant right out to even the most distant objects! This observation indicates that there must be a lot of invisible matter we can't see in the galaxy and it is distributed differently than visible matter.

Click to enlarge.
The picture above shows the predicted rotation curve vs actual observed rotation curve for a real galaxy. The flat rotation curve is not possible unless the galaxy contains a substantial amount of hidden mass that we can't directly see. If this extra hidden mass did not exist, the galaxy would not be able to hold its self together and would fly apart due to the high rotational velocities.

In order to explain the flat rotational curve, we find that the dark matter must be in the shape of a sphere, unlike the visible matter which is a flat disk shape. This sphere of dark matter must extend much further out in space than our galaxy, meaning the visible part of our galaxy is engulfed in a huge ball of dark matter which scientists call the "dark matter halo".

The second reason we believe some sort of invisible mass must surround most or all galaxies is because we can use a phenomena called gravitational lensing to actually measure the mass contained in a distant galaxy or galaxy cluster. Mass curves space, right? Therefore, it can alter the path of light. When light travels close to a galaxy its path will be bent. Thus, large objects in space can actually act like a magnifying glass due to the way they bend and distort the light which travels around to them. By measuring the intensity of gravitational lensing around an object in space we can actually determine how much mass that object must contain. However when we do this for galaxies and galaxy clusters we run into another problem.

When we compare the amount of luminous mass in the galaxy or galaxies being measured we find that it's much lower than the mass determined by measuring the gravitational lensing. Got that? This means the object must contain some non-luminous matter which doesn't interact with light and therefore doesn't reflect light and as a result we can't directly observe it like normal matter. Hmm, dark matter?

The third reason is that dark matter is crucial to our understanding of how galaxies evolve and the overall structure of the universe. Our simulations are heavily reliant on dark matter to produce the properties and distribution of galaxies we see today. Cosmologists often remark that dark matter is the scaffolding which holds the universe together and allows it to grow.

Well, many people don't like this idea and they invoke concepts such as Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), which alters the laws of gravity in order to explain the flat rotational curves of galaxies. The problem is that it doesn't explain the excessive gravitational lensing. As a result MOND has been rejected by the scientific community in favor of weakly interacting particles.

Maybe dark matter simply is a type of invisible particle. Well there is a reason some scientists seek out alternative explanations such as MOND. In recent years, the standard theory of dark matter has failed to explain many weird observations and these observations strongly suggest that dark matter is composed of something we don't yet understand. Stay tuned. The research on dark matter will continue. After all, we're talking about 96% of the universe!

More on dark matter found here and here!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We Are Not Helpless


A very cool astronomy site.

Evel Knievel: Una Vida Loca

Evel Knievel was born on October 17, 1938 and died November 30, 2007. His real name was Robert Craig Knievel and he was primarily known as an American daredevil. In his career he attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, and in 1974, a failed jump across the Snake River Canyon in the Skycycle X-2, a steam-powered rocket. The over 433 broken bones he suffered during his career earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of "most bones broken in a lifetime". Knievel died of pulmonary disease in Clearwater, Florida, aged 69. According to the British paper The Times writing his obituary, Knievel was one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s. Additionally, Knievel was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

Knievel was born in Butte, Montana in 1938 and raised by his grandparents. After watching a Joie Chitwood auto daredevil show as a child, he took to jumping using a pedal bike, later moving on to motorcycles. Knievel ended high school after his sophomore year and got a job in the copper mines with the Anaconda Mining Company as a diamond drill operator. However, he preferred motorbiking to all this "unimportant stuff", as he put it. He was then promoted to surface duty where he drove a large earth mover. Knievel was fired when he made the earth mover do a motorcycle-type wheelie and drove it into Butte's main power line. The incident left the city without electricity for several hours. Without work, Knievel began to find himself in more and more trouble around Butte. After a police chase in 1956 in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. He earned his stage name after occupying a jail cell next to a man named Knofel, leading the jailer to refer to the pair as Awful Knofel and Evil Knievel (Knievel later changed the spelling of the first name to Evel).

In addition to stunt riding at local shows, his early life included a spell in the United States Army at the behest of a magistrate, as well as jobs as a hunting guide and an insurance salesman, while also becoming an ice-hockey team owner. Knievel notably staged an exhibition match against the Czechoslovakian hockey team ahead of the 1960 Winter Olympics. After moving into sports full-time, he had moderate success on the motocross circuit.

Knievel moved into the entertainment business in 1966 by setting up his own touring daredevil show, initially using a variety of performers and later converting it to a solo show with his jumps as the centerpiece. He came to national attention when he persuaded the owners of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to let him jump their fountains on New Year's Eve 1967. After a failed landing, which was caught on film, Knievel spent 29 days in a coma. After his recovery, he continued to make high profile and lucrative jumps, and began lobbying the government for permission to jump the Grand Canyon. Unable to obtain permission, he settled on a jump over the Snake River in Twin Falls, Idaho, which he attempted on September 8, 1974 in the X-2 Skycycle. The parachute deployed immediately after launch and the vehicle crashed just a few feet away from the river's edge. Knievel suffered minor injuries and avoided drowning. Knievel then traveled to Britain, and on May 26, 1975, attempted to jump 13 buses in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, again crashing and sustaining severe injuries. His longest completed career jump came at Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio on October 25, 1975, jumping 14 buses, marking his peak television audience.

In 1977, Knievel served six months in jail for the assault of promoter Shelly Saltman. After this conviction, Knievel's career stalled, causing him to declare bankruptcy following a nearly $13 million award for damages to Saltman. After cancelling an attempt to jump a tank full of live sharks in Chicago after injuring a cameraman during a practice jump, Knievel eventually withdrew from doing major shows. He instead concentrated on touring with and training his son Robbie Knievel, also a daredevil, eventually making his last jump in March 1981.

Knievel's nationally televised motorcycle jumps were four of the twenty most-watched ABC's Wide World of Sports events. He became a celebrity, recognizable for his use of a Stars-and-Stripes red, white and blue V-shaped set of motorcycle leathers and cape. On the back of this fame, Knievel gained endorsements from Harley-Davidson and a toy line by the Ideal Toy Company. A 1971 film Evel Knievel starred George Hamilton as Knievel, and he starred as himself in the 1977 film Viva Knievel!. Knievel later said of his career that he had "earned $60 million, and spent $62 million".

Always looking for new thrills and challenges, Knievel participated in local professional rodeos and ski jumping events, including winning the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men's ski jumping championship in 1959. During the late 1950s, Knievel joined the United States Army. His athletic ability allowed him to join the track team where he was a pole vaulter. After his army stint, Knievel returned to Butte where he met and married his first wife, Linda Joan Bork.

The Butte Bombers, 1959.
Shortly after getting married, Knievel started the Butte Bombers, a semi-pro hockey team. To help promote his team and earn some money, he convinced the 1960 Olympic Czechoslovakian hockey team to play the Butte Bombers in a warm-up game to the Olympics. Knievel was ejected from the game minutes into the third period and left the stadium. When the Czechoslovakian officials went to the box office to collect the expense money the team was promised, workers discovered the game receipts had been stolen. The United States Olympic Committee wound up paying the Czechoslovakian team's expenses to avoid an international incident. Evel Knievel also played with the Charlotte Checkers of the Eastern Hockey League.

After the birth of his first son, Kelly, Knievel realized that he needed to come up with a new way to support his family financially. Using the hunting and fishing skills his grandfather had taught him, Knievel started the Sur-Kill Guide Service. He guaranteed that if a hunter employed his service and paid his fee, they would get the big game animal they wanted or he would refund their money. Business was very good until game wardens realized that Knievel was taking his clients into Yellowstone National Park to find prey. The Park Service ordered Knievel to cease and desist.

In response Knievel, who was learning about the culling of elk in Yellowstone, decided to hitchhike from Butte to Washington, D.C. in December 1961 to raise awareness and to have the elk relocated to areas where hunting was permitted. After his conspicuous trek (he hitchhiked with a 54-inch-wide (1,400 mm) rack of elk antlers and a petition with 3,000 signatures), he presented his case to Representative Arnold Olsen, Senator Mike Mansfield and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. As a result of his efforts, the culling was stopped, and the animals have since been regularly captured and relocated to areas of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

After returning home from Washington, Knievel decided to stop committing crimes. He joined the motocross circuit and had moderate success, but he still couldn't make enough money to support his family. During 1962, Knievel broke his collarbone and shoulder in a motocross accident. The doctors said he couldn't race for at least six months. To help support his family, he switched careers and sold insurance for the Combined Insurance Company of America, working for W. Clement Stone. Stone suggested that Knievel read Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, a book that Stone wrote with Napoleon Hill. Knievel credited much of his success to Stone and his book.

Knievel was successful as an insurance salesman (even selling insurance policies to several institutionalized mental patients) and wanted recognition for his efforts. When the company refused to promote him to vice-president after a few months on the job he quit. Wanting a new start away from Butte, Knievel moved his family to Moses Lake, Washington. There, he opened a Honda motorcycle dealership and promoted motocross racing. During the early 1960s, it was difficult to promote and sell Japanese imports and the Moses Lake Honda dealership eventually closed. After the closure, Knievel went to work for Don Pomeroy at his motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. It is here where Jim Pomeroy, a well known motocross racer, taught Knievel how to do a "wheelie" and ride while standing on the seat of the bike.

While trying to support his family, Knievel recalled the Joie Chitwood show he saw as a boy and decided that he could do something similar using a motorcycle. Promoting the show himself, Knievel rented the venue, wrote the press releases, set up the show, sold the tickets and served as his own master of ceremonies. After enticing the small crowd with a few wheelies, he proceeded to jump a twenty-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Despite landing short and having his back wheel hit the box containing the rattlesnakes, Knievel managed to land safely.

Knievel realized to make any amount of real money he would need to hire more performers, stunt coordinators and other personnel so that he could concentrate on the jumps. With little money, he went looking for a sponsor and found one in Bob Blair, owner of ZDS Motors, Inc., the West coast distributor for Berliner Motor Corporation, a distributor for Norton Motorcycles. Blair offered to provide the needed motorcycles, but he wanted the name changed from the Bobby Knievel and His Motorcycle Daredevils Thrill Show to Evil Knievel and His Motorcycle Daredevils. Knievel didn't want his image to be that of a Hells Angels rider, so he convinced Blair to allow him to use Evel instead of Evil.

The debut of Knievel and his daredevils was on January 3, 1966, at the National Date Festival in Indio, California. The show was a huge success. Knievel received several offers to host the show after their first performance. The second booking was in Hemet, California, but was canceled due to rain. The next performance was on February 10, in Barstow, California. During the performance, Knievel attempted a new stunt where he would jump, spread eagle, over a speeding motorcycle. Knievel jumped too late and the motorcycle hit him in the groin, tossing him fifteen feet into the air. He was placed in the hospital as a result of his injuries. When released, he returned to Barstow to finish the performance he had started almost a month earlier.

Knievel's daredevil show broke up after the Barstow performance because injuries prevented him from performing. After recovering, Knievel started traveling from small town to small town as a solo act. To get ahead of other motorcycle stunt people who were jumping animals or pools of water, Knievel started jumping cars. He began adding more and more cars to his jumps when he would return to the same venue to get people to come out and see him again. Knievel hadn't had a serious injury since the Barstow performance, but on June 19 in Missoula, Montana, he attempted to jump twelve cars and a cargo van. The distance he had for takeoff didn't allow him to get up enough speed. His back wheel hit the top of the van while his front wheel hit the top of the landing ramp. Knievel ended up with a severely broken arm and several broken ribs. The crash and subsequent stay in the hospital were a publicity windfall.

With each successful jump, the public wanted him to jump one more car. On May 30, 1967, Knievel successfully cleared sixteen cars in Gardena, California. Then he attempted the same jump on July 28, 1967, in Graham, Washington, where he had his next serious crash. Landing his cycle on a panel truck that was the last vehicle, Knievel was thrown from his bike. This time he suffered a serious concussion. After a month, he recovered and returned to Graham on August 18 to finish the show; but the result was the same, only this time the injuries were more serious. Again coming up short, Knievel crashed, breaking his left wrist, right knee and two ribs.

While in Las Vegas to watch Dick Tiger successfully defend his WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 17, 1967, Knievel first saw the fountains at Caesars Palace and decided to jump them. To get an audience with the casino's CEO Jay Sarno, Knievel created a fictitious corporation called Evel Knievel Enterprises and three fictitious lawyers to make phone calls to Sarno. Knievel also placed phone calls to Sarno claiming to be from ABC-TV and Sports Illustrated inquiring about the jump. Sarno finally agreed to meet Knievel and the deal was set for Knievel to jump the fountains on December 31, 1967. After the deal was set, Knievel tried to get ABC to air the event live on Wide World of Sports. ABC declined, but said that if Knievel had the jump filmed and it was as spectacular as he said it would be, they would consider using it later.

Knievel used his own money to have actor/director John Derek produce a film of the Caesars' jump. To keep costs low, Derek used his then-wife Linda Evans as one of the camera operators. It was Evans who filmed Knievel's famous landing. On the morning of the jump, Knievel stopped in the casino and placed his last 100 dollars on the blackjack table (which he lost), stopped by the bar and had a shot of Wild Turkey and then headed outside where he was joined by several members of the Caesars staff, as well as two showgirls. After doing his normal pre-jump show and a few warm up approaches, Knievel began his real approach. When he hit the takeoff ramp, he felt the motorcycle unexpectedly decelerate. The sudden loss of power on the takeoff caused Knievel to come up short and land on the safety ramp which was supported by a van. This caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles and a concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days.

The Caesars Palace crash would represent Knievel's longest attempted motorcycle jump at 141 feet. After his crash and recovery, Knievel was more famous than ever. ABC-TV bought the rights to the film of the jump; paying far more than they originally would have had they televised the original jump live. Ironically, when Knievel finally achieved the fame he had always wanted, and fortune now a distinct possibility, his doctors were telling him that he might never walk without the aid of crutches, let alone ride and jump motorcycles again.

In a 1971 interview with Dick Cavett, Knievel stated that he was uninsurable following the Caesars' crash. Knievel said he was turned down 37 times from Lloyd's of London, stating, "I have trouble getting life insurance, accident insurance, hospitalization and even insurance for my automobile…Lloyds of London has rejected me 37 times so if you hear the rumor that they insure anybody, don’t pay too much attention to it." Four years later, a clause in Knievel's contract to jump 14 buses at Kings Island required a one-day $1,000,000 liability insurance to the amusement park. Lloyd's of London offered the liability insurance for what was called a "laughable $17,500". Knievel eventually paid $2,500 to a U.S.-based insurance company.

To keep his name in the news, Knievel started describing his biggest stunt ever, a motorcycle jump across the Grand Canyon. Just five months after his near fatal crash, Knievel performed another jump. On May 25, 1968, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Knievel crashed while attempting to jump fifteen Ford Mustangs. Knievel ended up breaking his right leg and foot as a result of the crash.

On August 3, 1968, Knievel returned to jumping, making more money than ever before. He was earning approximately $25,000 per performance, and he was making successful jumps almost weekly until October 13, in Carson City, Nevada. While trying to stick the landing, he lost control of the bike and crashed again, breaking his hip once more.

Click to enlarge.
 By 1971, Knievel realized that the United States government would never allow him to jump the Grand Canyon. To keep his fans interested, Knievel considered several other stunts that might match the publicity that would have been generated by jumping the canyon; ideas included: jumping across the Mississippi River, jumping from one skyscraper to another in New York City and jumping over 13 cars inside the Houston Astrodome. While flying back to Butte from a performance tour, Knievel looked out the window and saw Snake River Canyon. After finding a location near Twin Falls, Idaho, that was both wide enough, deep enough and on private property, Knievel leased 300 acres (1.2 km2) for $35,000 to stage his jump. He set the date for Labor Day (September 4), 1972.

On January 7 and January 8, 1971, Knievel set the record by selling over 100,000 tickets to back-to-back performances at the Houston Astrodome. On February 28, he set a new world record by jumping 19 cars with his Harley-Davidson XR-750 at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California. The 19 car jump was also filmed for the movie Evel Knievel. Knievel held the record for 27 years until Bubba Blackwell jumped 20 cars in 1998 with an XR-750.

On May 10, Knievel crashed while attempting to jump 13 Pepsi delivery trucks. His approach was complicated by the fact that he had to start on pavement, cut across grass, and then return to pavement. His lack of speed caused the motorcycle to come down front wheel first. He managed to hold on until the cycle hit the base of the ramp. After being thrown off he skidded for 50 feet (15 m). Knievel broke his collarbone, suffered a compound fracture of his right arm and broke both legs.

On March 3, 1972, at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California, after making a successful jump, he tried to come to a quick stop because of a short landing area. Knievel suffered a broken back and a concussion after getting thrown off and run over by his motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson. Knievel returned to jumping in November, 1973, where he successfully jumped over 50 stacked cars at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. For 35 years, Knievel held the record for successfully jumping the most stacked cars on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 (the record was broken in October 2008. His historic XR-750 is now part of the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Made of steel, aluminum and fiberglass, the customized motorcycle weighs about 300 pounds.

Although Knievel never attempted to jump the Grand Canyon, rumors of the Canyon jump were started by Knievel himself in 1968 following the Caesars Palace crash. During a 1968 interview, Knievel stated, "I don't care if they say, 'Look, kid, you're going to drive that thing off the edge of the Canyon and die,' I'm going to do it. I want to be the first. If they'd let me go to the moon, I'd crawl all the way to Cape Kennedy just to do it. I'd like to go to the moon, but I don't want to be the second man to go there." For the next several years, Knievel would negotiate with the U.S. government to secure a jumping site and develop various concept bikes to make the jump. However, the U.S. Department of Interior denied him airspace over the Grand Canyon. Therefore, in 1971, Knievel turned his attention to the Snake River Canyon.

Snake River Canyon launch site.
The launch at Snake River Canyon (42°35′50″N 114°25′23″W / 42.59713°N 114.42292°W) was on September 8, 1974, at 3:36 p.m. MDT. The steam that powered the engine was superheated to a temperature of 500 °F (260 °C). The drogue parachute deployed even as the Skycycle was leaving the launching rail, causing enough drag that even though the craft made it all the way across the canyon to the north rim, the prevailing winds caused it to drift back south, into the canyon. By the time it hit the bottom of the canyon, it landed only a few feet from the water on the same side of the canyon from which it had been launched. If he had landed in the water, Knievel would have drowned due to a jumpsuit/harness malfunction which kept him strapped in the vehicle. Knievel survived the jump with only minor injuries.

After the Snake River jump, Knievel returned to motorcycle jumping with ABC's Wide World of Sports televising several jumps. On May 26, 1975, in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London,[28] Knievel crashed while trying to land a jump over thirteen redundant single-deck AEC Merlin buses (the term "London Buses" used in earlier publicity had led to the belief that the attempt was to be made over the higher and more traditional Routemaster double-deck type). After the crash, despite breaking his pelvis, Knievel addressed the audience and announced his retirement by stating "ladies and gentlemen of this wonderful country, I've got to tell you that you are the last people in the world who will ever see me jump. Because I will never, ever, ever jump again. I’m through." Near shock and not yielding to Frank Gifford's (of ABC's Wide World of Sports) plea to use a stretcher, Knievel walked off the Wembley field stating, "I came in walking, I went out walking!"

After recuperating, Knievel decided that he had spoken too soon, and that he would continue jumping. On October 25, 1975, Knievel successfully jumped fourteen Greyhound buses at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio. Although Knievel landed on the safety deck above the 14th bus, his landing was successful and he held the record for jumping the most buses on a Harley-Davidson for 24 years (until broken by Bubba Blackwell in late 1999). The Kings Island event scored the highest viewer ratings in the history of ABC's Wide World of Sports and would serve as Knievel's longest successful jump at 133 feet (although the Caesars Palace jump was longer, it ended in a crash). After the Kings Island jump, Knievel again announced his retirement.

Again, his retirement was short lived and Knievel continued to jump. However, after the lengthy Kings Island jump, Knievel limited the remainder of his career jumps to shorter and more attainable lengths. Evel jumped on October 31, 1976, at the Seattle Kingdome. He only jumped seven Greyhound Buses but it was a success. Despite the crowd's pleasure, Knievel felt that it was not his best jump, and apologized to the crowd.

In the winter of 1976, Knievel was scheduled for a major jump in Chicago, Illinois. The jump was inspired by the film Jaws. Knievel was scheduled to jump a tank full of live sharks and would be televised live nationally. However, during his rehearsal, Knievel lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a cameraman. Although Knievel broke his arms, he was more distraught over a permanent injury his accident caused to the cameraman (who lost his eye). The footage of this crash was so upsetting to Knievel, that he did not show the clip for 19 years until the documentary Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story.

Afterward Knievel retired from major performances and limited his appearances to smaller venues to help launch the career of his son, Robbie Knievel. His last stunt show, not including a jump, took place in March 1980 in Puerto Rico. However, Knievel would officially finish his career as a daredevil as a touring "companion" of his son, Robbie, limiting his performance to speaking only, rather than stunt riding. His last appearance with Robbie (on tour) was in March 1981 in Hollywood, Florida.

Knievel briefly used a Honda 250cc motorcycle, using it to jump a crate of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions, which was his first known jump. Knievel then used a Norton Motorcycle Company 750cc. He used the Norton for only one year during 1966. Between 1967 and 1968, Knievel jumped using the Triumph Bonneville T120 (with a 650cc engine). Knievel used the Triumph at the Caesars Palace crash on New Year's Eve 1967. When Knievel returned to jumping after the crash, he used Triumph for the remainder of 1968.

Attempting his stunts on motorcycles without modern suspension was a primary factor in Knievel's many disastrous landings. The terrific forces these machines passed on to his body is well-illustrated in the super slo mo of his Caesars' landing.

Between December 1969 and April 1970, Knievel used the Laverda American Eagle 750cc motorcycle. On December 12, 1970, Knievel would switch to the Harley-Davidson XR-750, the motorcycle with which he is best known for jumping. Knievel would use the XR-750 in association with Harley-Davidson until 1977. However, after his 1977 conviction for the assault of Shelly Saltman, Harley-Davidson withdrew their sponsorship of Knievel.

On September 8, 1974, Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon on a rocket propelled motorcycle designed by former NASA engineer Robert Truax dubbed the Skycycle X-2. The State of Idaho registered the X-2 as an airplane rather than a motorcycle.

At the tail end of his career, while helping launch the career of his son, Robbie Knievel, Knievel returned to the Triumph T120. However, he only performed wheelies and did not jump after retiring the XR-750.

Knievel would regularly share his anti-drug message, as it was another one of his core values. Knievel would preach an anti-drug message to children and adults before each of his stunts. One organization that Knievel regularly slammed for being drug dealers was the Hells Angels. A near-riot erupted on March 3, 1971, at the Cow Palace when a tire-iron (or Coke can according to the Hells Angels) was thrown at Knievel during his stunt show, and Knievel and a majority of the spectators fought back, sending three of the fifteen Hells Angels to the hospital. The plot to his only motion picture as an actor, Viva Knievel!, centers around Evel foiling the attempts of drug lords smuggling narcotics into America from Mexico.

Knievel was a proponent of motorcycle helmet safety. He constantly encouraged his fans to wear motorcycle helmets. The Bell Star helmet used in the Caesars' Palace jump is credited for saving Knievel's life after he fell off the motorcycle and hit his head on the ground (following the Caesars' Palace crash, each of Knievel's full-face helmets had the slogan, "Color Me Lucky"). As an ardent supporter of helmet use, Knievel once offered a cash reward for anyone who witnessed him stunting on a motorcycle without a helmet.

In 1987, Knievel supported a mandatory helmet bill in the State of California. During the Assembly Transportation Committee meeting, Knievel was introduced as "the best walking commercial for a helmet law." Evel claimed the main reason he was still alive and walking was because he was wearing a helmet.

Knievel was married twice. He and his first wife, Linda, were married for 38 years. During their marriage, the couple had four children. Of the two boys and two girls, the oldest child Kelly and second-born Robbie are the boys and Tracey and youngest child Alicia are the girls. Throughout Kelly's and Robbie's adolescence, the boys performed at Knievel's stunt shows. Robbie Knievel continued into adulthood to perform as a professional motorcycle daredevil. After Evel's death, Kelly has overseen the Knievel legacy, including developing Knievel-related products and assisting Harley-Davidson develop a museum exhibit. Knievel's courtship and marriage to Linda was the theme of the 1971 George Hamilton movie, Evel Knievel. Linda and Evel separated in the early 90's and were divorced in 1997.

In 1999, Knievel married his girlfriend, Krystal Kennedy of Clearwater, Florida, whom he began dating in 1992. The marriage was held on November 19, 1999, on a special platform built on the fountains at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip (site of Evel's jump New Year's Eve 1967). Long-time friend Engelbert Humperdinck sent a recorded tribute to the couple. The couple were married for two years, divorcing in 2001. Following the divorce, Krystal Knievel was granted a restraining order against him. However, Krystal and Evel would work out their differences, living together until Knievel's death. According to the investment magazine, Registered Rep., Knievel left his entire estate to Krystal.

Between 1972 and 1977, Ideal Toy Company released a series of Evel Knievel-related merchandise. During the six years the toys were manufactured, Ideal claimed to have sold more than $125 million worth of Knievel toys. The toys included the original 1972 figures, which offered various outfits and accessories. In 1973, Ideal released the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. After the release of the Stunt Cycle, the Knievel toys were the best selling item for Ideal.

During the next four years, Ideal Toys released various models relating to Evel Knievel’s touring stunt show. The models included a Robbie Knievel doll, the Scamble Van, a Dragster, a Stunt Car, and the Evel Knievel The Stunt World. Additionally, Ideal released non-Knievel-touring toys, including a Chopper Motorcycle, a Trail Bike, and a female counterpart, Derry Daring.[45] The last item before Ideal Toys discontinued the distribution of Knievel toys was the Strato-Cycle, based on the film, Viva Knievel!.

While Knievel was healing from his latest round of injuries, the book Evel Knievel on Tour was released. Authored by Knievel's promoter for the Snake River Canyon jump, Shelly Saltman, the book painted an unflattering picture of Knievel's character, alleging that he abused his wife and kids and he used drugs. Knievel, with both arms still in casts, flew to California to confront Saltman, a VP at 20th Century Fox. Outside the studio commissary, one of Knievel's friends grabbed Saltman and held him, while Knievel attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat, declaring, "I'm going to kill you!" According to a witness to the attack, Knievel struck repeated blows at Saltman's head, with Saltman blocking the blows with his left arm. Saltman's arm and wrist were shattered in several places before he fell to the ground unconscious. It took numerous surgeries and permanent metal plates in his arm to eventually give Saltman back the use of his arm. Saltman's book was pulled from the shelves by the publisher after Knievel threatened to sue. Saltman later produced documents in both criminal and civil court that proved that, although Knievel claimed to have been insulted by statements in Saltman's book, he and his lawyers had actually been given editorial access to the book and had approved and signed off on every word prior to its publication (see fine print). On October 14, 1977, Knievel pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to three years' probation and six months in county jail, during which he publicly flaunted his brief incarceration for the press.

After the assault of Saltman and time served in jail, Knievel lost most marketing endorsements and deals, including Harley-Davidson and Ideal Toys. With no income from jumping or sponsorship, Knievel was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy. In 1981, Saltman was awarded a $13 million judgment against Knievel in a civil trial, but never received money from Knievel or Knievel's estate.

During the 1980s, Knievel would drive around the country in a recreational vehicle, selling works of art allegedly painted by him. After several years of obscurity, Knievel made a significant marketing comeback in the 1990s, representing Maxim Casino, Little Caesar's, Harley-Davidson, and other firms.

On April 1, 2007, Knievel appeared on the television program, Robert H. Schuller's Hour of Power, and announced that he "believed in Jesus Christ" for the first time. At his request, he was baptized at a televised congregation at the Crystal Cathedral by Pastor Schuller. Knievel's televised testimony triggered mass baptisms at the Crystal Cathedral."

In the late 1990s, Knievel was in need of a life-saving liver transplant as a result of suffering the long-term effects from Hepatitis C. He contracted the disease after one of the numerous blood transfusions he received prior to 1992. In February 1999, Knievel was given only a few days to live and he requested to leave the hospital and die at his home. En route to his home, Knievel received a phone call from the hospital stating a young man had died in a motorcycle accident and could be a donor. Days later, Knievel successfully received the transplant.

Evel Knievel died in Clearwater, Florida, on November 30, 2007, aged 69. He had been suffering from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for many years. A longtime friend reported that Knievel had trouble breathing while at his residence in Clearwater, but died on the way to the hospital. "It's been coming for years, but you just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?" In one of his last interviews, he told Maxim Magazine, "You can't ask a guy like me why [I performed]. I really wanted to fly through the air. I was a daredevil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an ass not to be scared. But I beat the hell out of death."

Knievel was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in his hometown of Butte, Montana, on December 10, 2007, following a funeral at the 7,500-seat Butte Civic Center presided over by Pastor Dr. Robert H. Schuller with actor Matthew McConaughey giving the eulogy. Prior to the Monday service, fireworks exploded in the Butte night sky as pallbearers carried Knievel's casket into the center.