Meeting #3771, Nov 19, 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Menace of the LASFS

November 19, 2009

Vice President Robert Powell, Presiding

Karl Lembke, Scribe

Meeting 3771 was opened at 20:15:44

Special Orders of Business

Marty Cantor announced that Rob Holstock is in the hospital, having collapsed mysteriously. Rob is a writer, lives in Britain, and wrote Mythago Wood, among other things. He's also an active fan. Latest word is that he's experiencing complete organ failure. The news today, is that they have diagnosed his problem – an E. coli infection. He seems to be holding his own.

Joe Haldeman is cooking, working 4 hours a day on his novel, and is out of the hospital. He's doing much better.

We regret the passing of Phil Castora, who left the planet some four months ago. We also regret that the people he was living with took so damn long to tell us. It seems he was very allergic to something in the neighborhood of the halfway house where he was living. I guess some people will do anything to avoid reading a bunch of old APA-L's.

We had a long moment of silence.

Interestingly enough, Phil passed the same year as his favorite soap opera, The Guiding Light.

The Menace were read and accepted as “No time for Majors”

Patron Saint

Jim Tannenbaum

Matthew Tepper said he's a professional sound engineer, and is of good repute, and has been awarded an Emmy, and a kind and witty person.

Hare: He's been working on Avatar, the James Cameron movie. Ask him about it at TRIPE.

Gizmo amplified, yes, he's a nice guy, and is always willing to talk about Avatar from behind the scenes.

Jim Tannenbaum was given three cheers and a nice string of lights.

(And he's one of the unofficial consultants for Avatar, now that James Cameron has found how much he knows.)

Time Bound Announcements

Brian Wolfe is starting a 4th ed D&D campaign. Kick-off is tomorrow, at the open house.

Marty Cantor announced De Profundis is out next week. 55¢ each. Otherwise, go online and download the PDF.

Committee Reports

Arlene Satin: is now up. Check it out. Tonight's will probably be up shortly. Melina has had her twins. Landon born at 12:42 pm, and Logan, born 12:43, Wednesday the 19th, 2009.

The Registrar announced three guests and a new member. Leif Peterson, heard about us from the Internet. Cadence, a receptionist for a CEF, and Joseph Slovetsky, found us through Google. And our new member is John Cox.

The Science Minotaur announced Karen has received the proofs for two Poul Anderson reprints, so she needs to get them proofread before Loscon. Thus, no science.

Arlene forgot to announce, starting tomorrow, we have a fund-raising thing on Starting tomorrow, we'll have art items in forms like cups, shirts, bumper stickers, etc.

Old Business

Elected to the Board were:

Karl Lembke Bob Null Marcia Minsky Marty Cantor

The Committee to Gouge auctioned off the parking spaces and the Last Soda.

New Business

Sage Break

Jerry Pournelle rose to talk about the importance of the latest find, of water on the moon. The dust on the moon is pretty much the consistency of talcum powder, but gritty talcum powder. We got there, and the moon's dry. A few people thought it would turn out, up at the poles, there would be ice in the craters, shielded from the sunlight. Since the sun never shines there, and never has for the past several billion years, the temperature there is that of the cosmic microwave background of the universe = 2.73K.

And after some discussion, they came up with Clementine, a probe to look into the craters. The craters were dark enough that you couldn't see bottom. And it was evening and morning, the second day. The plume was kicked up, and there was 25 gallons of water in it. “That's like looking for a needle in a haystack and finding 20 sewing machines. One feature of the pole is, the rim of the crater is always in sunlight. So if you want to build a colony, put it near the pole. You have solar power, and you have water.

Next item: The solar wind is going past. If the hydrogen gets into the crater, it hits regolith, which is largely TiO2. Well, one O meets 2 H, and you have water. No one knows how much, but this has been going on for billions of years. Get enough nuclear power, and you can trap solar hydrogen and generate water.

One of the interesting things is, they found interesting chemicals in the plume, and they're not telling what they are. Well, nitrogen, possibly. What else? Uranium? Actinides? Magnetic monopoles?

One puzzle: If you had stuff on the moon, could you get it off the moon without expending reaction mass? Take a tapered kevlar line, a mile long, attached to a centrifuge. You need a girder framework to support it, but the tension is held by the kevlar cable. At the lunar poles, you have a clear path to L1 or L2, and from there, you can send stuff wherever you want to go.

Where Jerry was last week, at Tyson's Corner, VA. There's a company called SAIS. They run studies for government agencies, especially the navy. They ran a seminar for an unnamed government agency, but two of the employees identified themselves as CIA. The conference was a discussion of human augmentation. Types of augmentation are gadgets, drugs, and genes. Of course, you get ethical problems. But someone's trying it. The CIA seems to think several people may be trying it. Who? Well, Colombian drug lords have lots of discretionary income. And one country that's done biological warfare research, the USSR. They say they're not doing that any more. The upshot – we're short to having usable human augmentation in all three areas.

Recommended reading: The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis.

Fannish committee reports


We've had The Prisoner, we've had three episodes of V, and Flash Forward.

Waters of Mars, the new Dr Who is available online. Two new Sarah Jane Adventures are out.

New Tom Corbett Space Cadet comix are out.

Jerry Pournelle notes Heroic Comics has come out with the adventures of Chrissy Claus? She's Santa's granddaughter. Her father declined to go into the business, went adventuring, and met an elf princess. She was raised in Chicago and attends Northwestern U. She turns out to have magic powers and two devoted flying reindeer, and a number of strange powers. He enjoys them, and thinks they're quite good.

CLJII: late late show with craig ferguson, he does the kind of show Steve Allen would have done – with hand puppets. One puppet, Wavy. David Duchovny announced he preferred to be interviewed by Wavy. Wavy the Wavy Crocodile interviewed him, and did a better job than Ferguson.

Tim reported on the committee to reduce the deficit in medieval castles. They've been investigating, and are applying for a franchise to use public parkland to build the castle, but are they a corporation or a nonprofit. But there's a castle in Glendora, called Rubyella. It was made by local people from local stone and junk. It's a private building, but groups of 12 or more can visit.

Marcia Minsky rose to make one final motion, and it was accepted at 22:03:55 and the drawbridge was lowered and we exited.

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