“A Step Farther Out” 2023 Shows

ASFO airs weekly at 19z00, with occasional bonus shows at 15z00 Tuesdays or Fridays. In this post you will find links to the shows from 2023, along with my attempts to describe each show.

"Man and Atom" logo received in a letter from SDFer eskill

To understand what this show is about, and for the shows from 2021, go here. For 2022 shows, go here.

  • 2023–01–07 Starting off (well, following some technical trouble) with the audio from my contribution to a video–conference event, last month, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17, I proceed to try to generate some hope for the future and forward momentum for the year by discussing the lunar settlement as I envision it developing into Luna City. More of that anon. Also I issue a clarion call for the return of the NS Savannah to service with a modern nuclear powerplant, to serve as a traveling exhibition of civil atomic energy, and a pathfinder for future nuclear merchant vessels in a world eager for decarbonized transportation. You too can read the Draft Agreement between the Department of Transportation and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and e–mail your comment to Senior Technical Advisor Erhard Koehler by the end of January.
  • 2023–01–14 Lützerath is a name the world would have been just as happy not knowing. And the insistence of the German people (the people of the world, really) at being upset when they get exactly what they have asked for in no uncertain terms continues to bother me. Instead of focusing on the primary role that fossil fuels continue to hold in world energy supply, with no real end in sight, I would much rather concentrate on the characteristics which I envision for the early lunar settlement. We need hope for the future, after all.
  • 2023–01–21 In which I announce an Exciting New Initiative, although I’m not yet clear on how to pay for it, and consider non–existent remedies for non–existent maladies, and the question of whether you are really entitled to your own opinion, if you can’t be bothered to inform yourself about the topic. Also… yes, Virginia, reducing the human population of Earth to 2 billion by 2100 would in fact constitute genocide, even if you do it purely by limitation of births. Let’s spend more time on the happier business of the what and how of the Lunar Settlement, shall we?
  • 2023–01–28 Graphite leads me to consider the problem of false mental world pictures, with a detour to boggle at the neologism elementeome. I interrogate just what it would mean for The Singularity to come in seven years. And, having considered “population control” from the standpoint of genocide last week, I look at it from the standpoint of eugenics ― which involves a closer examination of that concept. Also there may be just the slightest smidgeon of cult–starting.
  • 2023–02–04 Power outage? Power outrage! And just like that, I’m back to talking about the Regulated Utility Model for applying private enterprise to furnishing public goods, and trying to examine its potential uses in fields as disparate as pharmaceuticals and housing. With a bonus mention of Jimmy McMillan, the guy who says The Rent Is Too Damn’ High! Also Mail Call.
  • 2023–02–11 A Question, of the type I so love to pose. Also more about that cult I’m definitely not starting, and a brief aside regarding so–called generative artificial intelligence (also referred to as “regurgative AI” or “stochastic parrots”), with a plea to read Reflections on Trusting Trust. And I merely tease a dive into the wonderful world of the Oklo Phenomenon.
  • 2023–02–18 Charles Proteus Steinmetz is a name you should know. For generations Edison was lionized, now Tesla is cast as the romantic hero, but Steinmetz is always ignored. Yet, where would we be without him? Also, what does it mean that India has ordered 470 new large jetliners? The very necessary distinction between “renewable” and sustainable energy, and a reminder of the importance of quantitative thinking. And Mail Call!
  • 2023–02–25 Ice cream is the next frontier of “climate action” as marketing campaign. The delicious flavour of Pykrete! Also, is the Internet becoming a vast Voynich Manuscript? and a reflection on the problem of lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. Note : owing to an error on my part, this show was done several hours late, during the 0300 Sunday OpenMic block on aNONradio. Thanks to SDFer screwtape for recording it.
  • 2023–03–04 Theatre of the Atom! What is it? Even I am not sure yet. Also, Mail Call! And your periodic reminder that something is horribly wrong with the humanity of this planet, and I want off. (This is a short show, because I ran out of time to edit it.)
  • 2023–03–11 Toward a working definition of the “post–human”. Pithy attempts at summing up important concepts, as you expect from me. And commentary on world affairs ― if the German Energiewende is intended to make that country irrelevant in the world, the newest EU policy announcement is a bold step in that direction for the whole bloc. (Minor glitch at the beginning)
  • 2023–03–18 Vive la France! Macron’s government does some good things, some questionable things, and some extremely stupid things. Will revulsion against the bad lead to a wiping out of the good? Can anyone explain why the French Left insists on imitating the German Energiewende, even after seeing just exactly what happens with it in practice? And what would I do, if I were in charge there? (Minor glitch at the beginning)
  • 2023–03–25 In the country of the blind, the one–eyed man is thought mad. The over–arching theme of this episode is “quantitative thinking”, an excercise which is never popular, even though we have to live with its results in the end. Also I introduce the expressive term Goudadämmerung for the prospective demise of the Dutch dairy industry in the face of mounting restrictions on animal husbandry.
  • 2023–04–01 Earth system limits? No, I’m not April Foolin’ here ― it’s difficult to keep ahead of the absurdities of the so–called real world (and anyway I’ve been sick, so my wits aren’t in the best shape). Also, quantitative thinking comes around for another pass or two. Just what are they teaching in the schools, anyway?
  • 2023–04–08 Arising to new life ― what does it mean? Nuclear energy as social energy, or, I try to express a little more clearly a thought I have had about the implications of technology ; and an invitation to join me in Berlin next week.
  • 2023–04–15 The sleep of reason (it has been said) brings forth monsters. Whether that is the shutting down of nuclear power in Germany, or of public lending libraries in the United States of America, it is clear that those monsters are loose in our world. To oppose and overcome them requires being intellectually awake and alive.
  • 2023–04–22 While some people are celebrating “Earth Day”, I prefer to wait until 20 July and celebrate “Get Me Off This Earth Day”. Also, observations on German rural life and Kleingartenanlagen (allotment gardens), and some new thoughts about the “Theatre of the Atom”.
  • 2023–04–29 Space is hard. Everyone admits that. But, for goodness sake, if you will pay close attention to the mistakes people before you have made, you can avoid doing the same stupid thing! This post brought to you by watching someone lose a game of Lunar Lander at the Vintage Computer Festival Europe, when the recent private Japanese lander Hokuto–R appears to have been lost in the exact same way.
  • 2023–05–06 Did I wait in a line for two hours to spend ten minutes in a sewer? Does the world know all too well, and still regret, what happens when Germany enters an open–ended state of emergency? Is there a role for monarchies in a world of democratic ideals? All this, and an actual historical example of something I have repeatedly derided, known as “V2H”. As a bonus, I tell you about a simple one–page Web site I irritated someone into creating.
  • 2023–05–13 How would you even start to regulate tens of millions of household–sized battery packs, if they pose a significant fire and explosion hazard? I make a rough estimate that it would occupy, full–time, about 10% of the electricians in the United States. Also updates on the apparently open–ended emergency in Germany, and some more of my wondering why people should be less interested in addressing the real problems than in making up imaginary ones to get excited over. Not the most coherent of episodes.
  • 2023–05–20 Zeppelin the Musical, and the pathetically inadequate transit arrangements in the vicinity of Füssen (seriously, tourist towns in the USA often do better) caused me to be late in starting, and so that’s what I mostly talk about. I don’t attempt to review the show, but I do talk about the technical aspects, which made excellent use of the extensive facilities of the Festspielhaus. This playhouse, apparently constructed to stage a show about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, faces his world–famous creation, the architectual oddity known as Schloss Neuschwanstein, across a modest–sized lake.
  • 2023–05–27 Hamlet ― yes, the Shakespeare play ― a mathematical concept called the “zero ring”, violence at Target stores, and a long filibuster in the Nebraska legislature… what do these things possibly have in common? Maybe nothing! But they all serve to illustrate one of my major concerns : the intersection of lack of knowledge with lack of understanding. We live today in an enormously complex society, and there is such a wealth of information available that no human mind can deal with it all. As a result, people who specialize in one subject are often totally divorced, both in knowledge and in working methods, from those who specialize in another. Meanwhile, our societies give evidence of being caught in vast eddies and backwashes of ignorance.

Supplementary Shows

  • 2023–01–03 The first Hear Now the Words! of the New Year is occupied with completing Chapter 6, “Success, Failure, and Politics”, of Rockets : The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere (third printing with additional material, January 1945) by Willy Ley.
  • 2023–01–06 Selections from Man and the Moon (1961), mostly the interstitial commentary by astronomer (and frequent Astounding/Analog contributor) RS Richardson, and a more extended piece from him entitled Astronomical Observations from the Moon, as well as a prefatory poem by Adrienne Rich.
  • 2023–01–10 More from Man and the Moon : Development of a Lunar Base by GEV Awdry (reprinted from the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society), and the first part of Richardson’s essay Imaginary Voyages to the Moon.
  • 2023–01–13 Technical troubles at the start again. Then the completion of the Richardson piece, including a synopsis of the movie Frau im Mond and some reminiscences of the production of Destination Moon ; more of the “blurbs” introducing the various excerpts and articles ; and The Formation of the Craters by Richardson, originally published in The Exploration of Mars.
  • 2023–01–17 More from Man and the Moon : The Circular Maria by Ralph Baldwin, a description of the formation of Mare Imbrium which rewards dramatic reading ; and Observations of a Volcanic Process on the Moon by Nikolai Kozyrev, with a prefatory note longer than the article itself, and my own interpretation of the evidence.
  • 2023–01–20 Again from Man and the Moon : two pieces entitled The Other Side of the Moon, one from H Percy Wilkins writing in 1953, and one from Soviet News reporting on the photographs taken by the Luna 3 spacecraft.
  • 2023–01–24 Probably the last reading from Man and the Moon. In addition to the notes by Richardson, I read the whole of Where to Land on the Moon by Wilkins, and the first part of Man on the Moon ― The Exploration by Whipple and von Braun (from the famous 1952 Man Will Conquer Space Soon series of illustrated articles in Collier’s). The idea behind this has been to get a feel for the way people were thinking when serious work on space travel began.
  • 2023–01–27 Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (Finney and Jones, eds) is the proceedings of a conference held at Los Alamos in 1983. And a very interesting volume it is, too! I read the Table of Contents, Prologue, Introduction to Section I Resources : Human, Technological, and Cosmic, and the concluding summary to Solar System Industrialization : Implications for Interstellar Migrations by David Criswell.
  • 2023–02–07 More from Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (Finney and Jones, eds) : Introduction to Section II, Demography and Economics : Growth of the Human Tribe ; Comments on Hodges’ “The Division of Labor”, by the editors (with a very different view of “artificial intelligence” from that exhibited by, say, ChatGPT) ; Introduction to Section III, Migrating Societies ; Introduction to Section IV, Speciation ; and a part of the Introduction to Section V, Is Anybody Home? (stopping at the beginning of the section on the “Fermi paradox”).
  • 2023–02–10 Probably the last I’ll read out of Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (but perhaps you’ll be interested enough to seek out the book for yourself). Fermi’s Question, the Epilogue, and the short biographies of authors.
  • 2023–02–24 “Why Nuclear Power Should be Defended”, address given 1980–03–15 in Los Angeles by Professor Petr Beckmann, author of The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear ― transferred from audiocassette
  • 2023–04–04 Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine by Marshall Brucer MD : №1, What is Nuclear Medicine? A Historical Approach to a Definition, and №2, From Surgery Without a Knife to the Atomic Cocktail (History of Nuclear Medicine)
  • 2023–04–11 More of Marshall Brucer’s Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine : №3, A Herd of Radioisotope Cows (There are 118 Potentially Useful Cow Systems), and №4, The Isotopes : Who and When (Discovery of Isotopes) ― did not archive properly, alas!
  • 2023–04–18 Continuing Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine by Marshall Brucer, MD. №5, The Modes of Radioisotope Decay, An Explanation of a Language, which is quite difficult to read aloud owing to the extensive use of diagrams ; and a good bit of №6, The Modes of Radioisotope Decay, How Many Isotopes Are There?
  • 2023–04–21 Beginning with the “scientist’s prayer” from the novel Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis, I finish Vignette №6, and almost all of №7, Lowell Erf and the New Cure for Leukaemia. As I so often do, I had to stop one paragraph short of the end.
  • 2023–04–25 More from Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine by Marshall Brucer, MD. End of №7, Lowell Erf and the New Cure for Leukaemia (Phosphorus–32), carried over from last time ; №8, The *T3 Test (TBI and Other Procedures) ; and the first part of №9, The Sex Life of the Screw Worm Fly, The Taxonomy of Medical Radioisotope Scanning.
  • 2023–04–28 Conclusion of Vignette №9 ; №10, Sixty–Five Years of Medical Radioisotope Scanning (Which is Clinically Really Only About Five Years Old) ; and the first part of №11, The Rea$on for Radioi$otope$ in Medi¢ine.
  • 2023–05–02 More from Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine by Marshall Brucer, MD : completion of №12 from last time ; №13, The True History of Atomic Energy Revealed, which is quite the piece of storytelling ; and the beginning of №14, $ How Much $ ? — with a break between 13 and 14 to read Nuclear Power is Green Power, an editorial by John Gittus of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, printed in Physics World for January 1989. A mention of this piece in a clipping read in a recent ASFO show led me to inquire of the publishers, the Institute of Physics, who kindly supplied it.
  • 2023–05–05 Completion of Vignette №14, $ How Much $ ?, and all but the very tail end of №15, The Radium Bomb : How it Exploded Into (And Out Of) Nuclear Medicine. How do I manage that so consistently?
  • 2023–05–09 Vignettes in Nuclear Medicine by Marshall Brucer, MD, continues to supply grist for the mill. From last time, the conclusion of Vignette №14, The Radium Bomb : How it Exploded Into (And Out Of) Nuclear Medicine, and the beginning of №15, What Can Happen to a Gamma Ray?, the first of four under the general head of The Interaction of Radiation with Matter.
  • 2023–05–12 Continuing onward through The Interaction of Radiation with Matter, №16, The Attenuation of Gamma Radiation, and a goodly chunk of №17, What Can Happen to a Beta Particle?
  • 2023–05–16 An abbreviated show, because I stayed at a museum until closing time. I finish up Vignette №17, What Can Happen to an Electron? (The Interaction of Radiation with Matter, Part III). Then I use the remaining time to read part of a press release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, reporting a study on the land area occupied by various energy sources, which uncharacteristically takes the form of an impassioned plea for nuclear energy as a way to preserve biodiversity while addressing climate change.
  • 2023–05–19 More from the always informative and usually entertaining Brucer. All of Vignette №18, How Radiation Affects Tissue (The Interaction of Radiation with Matter, Part IV), in which Bertrand Russel appears as an aside, and we learn of the “most commonly repeated statement in the whole history of medicine” ; then a goodly chunk of Vignette №19, The Maximum Ridiculous Dose, exploring the tortured history of radiation measurement and its interaction with the Law. (Unfortunately cut off short, before the end of №18, by some kind of technical problem.)
  • 2023–05–26 Because my previous reading of Vignette №19, The Maximum Ridiculous Dose, did not archive, I start over from the beginning. Then I get partway into №20, Populations, Samples, and Items ― an introduction to statistics, from the clinical standpoint.

Author: publius

Fools! I will destroy you all!!