Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poem-ing on a Saturday Night

Here I sit on a Saturday night,
to do nothing instills me with fright.
Shouldn't I be out sitting at a bar,
or cruising the Loop in my car?

Doing laundry and sifting memories,
I hear voices of people recently visited.
Nice to have had these earlier soirees,
Consoling to know I wasn't always alone.

Work and preparation and phone conversations
left me feeling rushed, harried, overwhelmed...
Travel and dining out and pleasant inclinations,
partaking in comfortable close companionship.

After it ended I wonder where it all went,
how could the fun times enjoyed go so fast?
Yet at times a person has to stop, catch a breath,
take stock and take measure. Life isn't all pleasure.

So I resolve to count my blessings and tally the
score of fun encounters, incrementing by one.
Another Saturday passed and it was lots of fun.
The swift stream work week will take me soon enough,
memory's growing fields savored at break time once again.


- end

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amazing Amazon Link

Annnnd, here is the Amazon link for my new collection of short stories:

https://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Nine-Stories-Mike-Wilson/dp/1546705414


Thanks for taking a look.


Modern Mess

Twitter spews characters a-plenty,
Facebook spreads our humorous feces;
Clickbait advert crap clutters the web,
“Newspapers” pump videos full of ads.

What happened to the old days,
when information appeared as
monochrome text that actually
meant something besides “buy!”
????????????????????????????

Seems they are gone forever,
thoughtful discourse discarded
in favor of instant-moment blips
of entertainment flash and fluff.

Everything changes,
nothing stays the same,
If I worry about it,
will drive myself insane.

Just shrug and say “Oh well,”
life in these modern times.
Check twitter feeds again,
for latest presidential gibes.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Hope y'all can have some fun.


-end

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another year, another book...

Feels soooooo good to get another collection finished.    Hope you like it.

https://www.createspace.com/7171487


Monday, May 15, 2017

How soon to Impeachment

Blustering through press releases and twitter blasts.   Firing an FBI director on some imagined affront or other.  And now, today we hear he is giving away sensitive intelligence to the Russians.   Can you say   "loose insane cannon in the White House" ?   Someone needs to take the reins, even if it is Mike Pence.   The Trumpster is gonna run us so far into the ground we'll never dig our way out.   Still thinking I should wake up from this mess and find that the election went the other way - but that is too much to hope for.

Even the Republicans need to get a leash put on him - they stand to lose a lot more than us peons, who don't have a lot to begin with.  Very dangerous times.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Changed Right Before My Eyes

Back in the late 70s when I was young,
Momentous events were occurring in Des Moines.
A new Civic Center planned, Botanical center too.
Then gleaming skywalks to link it all together.
A new Marriott hotel to host the expected tourists.

Nollen plaza, Civic Center, modern art, water features.
Bob Hauser, Rich Wilkey, Mayor Olsen, John Ruan -
The big movers and shakers moved and shook.
Riverfront area got cleaned and landscaped,
They even paved a recreational trail to Saylorville.

Such excitement for a twenty-something to
witness firsthand, as he delivered documents
as a messenger, all over this bustling downtown.
Welders and cranes made the city glow and hum.

The young man got wanderlust, and moved on to
other metropolises, promising more excitement.
But he returned and fell into a new routine.
One day he woke up and was approaching 60!

The old names had long since retired or died,
only one former congressman surviving into his 90s.
A new crop of leaders had taken the helm,
and made a lot more happen: A new Sculpture Garden,
Riverwalk and Pedestrian Bridge, ballpark renovation.

Miles and miles of new bicycle trails, all over
Central Iowa, including a high trestle over the river.
Enhanced bus service, and a new bus terminal.
A copper-and-glass sheathed library,
riverfront parks and pedestrian walkways.

The city continues to evolve and grow,
the new condos downtown fill up,
more are planned, even as historical
landmark structures are lost to demolition.
Older gent now feels sad to see the legacies go,
and amazement at the fresh structures coming in.

Ingersoll avenue transformed from a dilapidated
area to a sleek modern shopping avenue.
Downtown gaining two new skyscrapers,
as well as more condos and skywalks.
Whatever else could be said about Des Moines,
no one can ever say it had stagnated or stood still.
The old guy is pleased to have witnessed it all.



Thursday, May 04, 2017

Space Colony advocate SSI turns 40

    It has been around 40 years since some big ideas were first floated about the feasibility of large, orbiting space colonies. The L5 society, and the Space Studies Institute both came up with ideas and plans for large, orbiting colonies of many thousands of people. L5 would place theirs in the no 5 Lagrangian point in space where the Earths and moon's gravities cancel each other out – a stable point to place a large colony. The SSI had similar plans, and even came up with a prototype mass driver. Those could be scaled up, and used to 'ship' large quantities of ore from the Moon's surface, to be smelted in orbit, and used for colony construction. Studies were performed that validated the technologies involved. (http://ssi.org/about/history/) The plans seemed grandiose, and expensive. But thanks to several years of effort by Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill and others at Princeton University, the idea of a High Frontier space colony certainly seemed possible. The idea being, “We landed on the Moon 8 years after setting out, so just think what we could do in a few decades.”

     So here we are in 2017, 40 years after the founding of the Space Studies Institute. We do have a large orbiting (research) space station, with an international crew. We are performing life sciences experiments, partly on how humans can endure long-duration stays in weightlessness. It seems like we are steadily working through some basic problems of life in orbit around the Earth. But to get from here to a huge colony that spins itself to obtain artificial gravity, and houses millions of people comfortably, still seems like a huge undertaking. Many intermediate steps are obviously called for.

     First, we need to build larger habitats. These could contain from dozens to hundreds of visitors, scientists, or tourists. The first experimental spin-gravity systems should be tried out. Some habitats could be single-purpose based, such as astronomy modules, or asteroid mining facilities. Once more of the bugs are worked out with closed-cycle environmental systems, ever larger facilities could be constructed. Recreational habitats could pay their own way with exotic entertainments. The dot-com billionaires currently investing in launchers could certainly lead the way here.

     Nowadays, in a larger office building, maintenance personnel have a full-time job managing the HVAC systems necessary to keep office workers comfortable, including lighting, air flow, and odor issues. These include dehumidifying systems need to drain off water, and humidifying systems need to use it – all to make the surrounding air comfortable, or tolerable, to work in. Space habitats will present greater challenges in some respects. To be fair, Earth weather does lend itself to wide swings in temperature and humidity.
      In Space, you deal with heating and cooling depending on Sun exposure, interstellar radiation exposure, and gravity or the lack thereof. In some cases it seems the variations are simpler, yet in others, especially radiation, the problems become immense. But these will have to be closed-cycle systems, since one cannot vent dirty air, or take in clean air, from the surroundings. Current experiments being carried out on the International Space Station are furthering our knowledge in this area.
       In any private space habitat, the founders will need deep pockets and loads of patience. But if everyone can remain committed, the problems can be worked out. And the resulting payoff to the human race promises to be immense. Limitless materials available in the form of asteroids and water ice. Living room for the ever-increasing amounts of humanity that just keep coming. New technologies and new vistas to discover. And of course, the distant possibility of meeting up with another civilization somewhere out in space, and all of the intrigue that will mean. The rewards are definitely out there.

The ISS and private space efforts are laudable. But to really make Space pay off, we need to keep thinking bigger, and pushing further out. The future will be amazing, and we can decide who will lead the way there. Thanks for reading.

Further reading:
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_colonization

http://www.nss.org/settlement/space/

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/deep-space/a11351/how-we-could-actually-build-a-space-colony-17268252/





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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Let's see, what to write about

Terry Branstad is going to China, making this
Iowa's first governor to become an ambassador;
US-China relations are crucial for many issues...
But there isn't much to write about today.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin chatted
on the phone about Syria, while SpaceX launched
a NROL recon Satellite to orbit. North Korea
attempted another ballistic missile launch. But
there really isn't that much to write about today.

Prolonged two-year drought on the Horn of Africa
is causing starvation in local tribes – children are
catching many diseases due to weakened immune
systems from starvation. Water is being trucked in,
but there is seemingly never enough. But
there is very little to write about today.

A 1.1 Trillion budget was passed by the US House
today – there are key compromises throughout.
Funding will not be cut for many important things,
and funding will Not be provided to build a border wall.
But there is not much on the radar to write about.

But I heard Caitlyn and the Kardashians got into a big
catfight – lots of screeching, scratching and screaming.
Makeup smeared, wigs pulled off and thrown,
lipstick hurled about like so many deadly missiles.

Now I have something important to write about...

Let's see.....

The Kardashians go Nuclear: Caitlyn hits the ground hard!
Even Paparazzi not safe in lipstick-hurling melee!
Strangulation by wig attempted – last-minute intervention
saved the life of someone or other!

The keys are warming up nicely now.
Time to write a few thousand words
of meaningless bon mots and snide asides.

Stay tuned :-)