Prediction: McCain will Win US Presidential Election

There is definitely risk in this prediction, but this site is predicting that John McCain will win the 2008 US Presidential election.

The polls are very close to even between Obama and McCain, with some showing McCain leading and others showing Obama. The bettors still have an edge for Obama.

The prediction was wrong. McCain lost and Obama won. McCain did a little better than some of the polls were showing. The financial crisis and McCain’s inferior performance was his undoing. McCain needed to indicate that “I have been lifelong campaigner for small government and deregulation except in a financial crisis of this nature when IMF and other studies of similar financial problems in other countries show that financial plans do not work other than direct injection of capital into banks.” McCain probably should have voted against the $150 billion of pork added onto the bailout that was passed. “A bailout is necessary but one without pork.”

As noted the prediction was predicated on no substantial deterioration in the US economy. Substantial deterioration happened.

The site is expecting that the US economy will not deteriorate substantially between now and the November election.

Oil prices will be in the $90-110 range over this time.

Most of the presidential and vice-presidential debates over the last two decades have not been events that majorly altered the courses of elections. Sarah Palin is predicted to perform adequate to good in her debate with Biden.

This site will also predict a majority government election win for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in Canada for the recently called elections. [This is a far less risky call with polls strongly running in Harper’s favor.]

The prediction of a majority government for the Conservatives in Canada was wrong. They won a stronger minority government.
The McCain victory prediction is looking like a failed prediction, but there is still a few weeks left. The original caveat was that the US economy would not deteriorate and that failed to happen with the credit crisis.

This site correctly called Palin as the Republican Vice presidential pick on June 4, 2008. This site was wrong about Hillary Clinton being the Democratic Vice Presidential pick at the same time. The mistake was more Obama’s in that a Hillary Clinton pick would likely have won the presidential election for the Democrats.

This site correctly predicted the 2008 Taiwan presidential election in May of 2007.

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Tom Craver said...:
Luna-made aluminum rods for reaction mass, mechanically pulled into an electric smelter (or directly heated by the arc ) would seem less wasteful, and more sustainable for the long term.

Oxygen has a much lower molecular weight than aluminium and is equally plentiful on the moon. It would be a much better choice. Carbon dioxide could be used on Mars as reaction mass, albeit with crap isp.


You can find most of the Bussard article regarding IEC fusion applications for space flight at

Also, various articles by Tom Ligon, including the slides from his presentation quoted in the post can be found there.

3" REL="nofollow">the water truck concept of Anthony Zuppero mentioned by qraal" REL="nofollow">A related 13 page paper by Anthony from 2005" REL="nofollow">More of anthony zuppero work

Btw: thanks qraal


Hi Brian

The Liberty Ship's gas-core has some serious problems with heat management before I can take it seriously - the quartz nuclear light-bulb is clever, but the active cooling it will need hasn't been adequately studied.

As for water - as Anthony Zuppero has demonstrated very simple steam rockets can supply water in multi-thousand ton payloads from the Near Earth Objects that are obvious inactive comets. A 1900 K NTR can both propel the water-tankers and liberate the water from the dead comets. There's billions of tons of water available in the NEOs alone.


The most effective way to transport LOX from the moon to LEO would be to roughly triple the reaction mass capacity, to enable a full LEO/LLO round trip.

Ferry tanks up from lunar surface to a tank depot in several trips, so that the rest of the design can stay about the same - i.e. one fusion engine.

The depot would also provide the mass for the lunar "soft landing".


Water was probably chosen because it's cheap on Earth and easy to store for extended periods in space.

Carrying H2 to the moon in liquid form would certainly cut costs. More of the payload would go to cryo tanks and H2 losses or recovery equipment, so the overall benefit is probably more like 6x rather than 9x. At that ratio, it'd cost about the same in both directions.

But LOX is pretty cheap on Earth, and could be produced in volume on the moon and Mars - so it probably makes sense to just use LOX for reaction mass. Cost from Earth to LEO would be a bit higher, but Moon to LEO would be much lower.

And LOX could be hauled from the moon to LEO cheaper than from Earth - if the cost of building the colony isn't included.


For reaction mass use, they probably should look at some other material if water is scarce at a particular location. If they bring hydrogen then they can react with oxygen in the regolith. Only need to haul one ninth of the weight.


The colonists can and should do a lot of recycling of water on the Moon. Mars has a lot of water and some atmosphere.

The shortage of water supplies on the moon could indicate the need for:

1) getting near earth objects with water or asteroids with water moved to the moon.
2) Using more robotics and fewer people on the moon
3) Look at more colonization of places with a lot more water. Mars, Titan, Europa, Ceres


In the "System Technical and Economic Features..." paper, Bussard does note that the water for reaction mass from LEO to Luna must be delivered to orbit, and that this will increase the cost beyond the $24.2/kg quoted. He rolls in a factor of 5.14x for payload delivered to LEO to account for this.

While not broken out in the paper, reaction mass water plus payload to LEO would cost 5.14x$27/kg-payload = $139/kg-payload, plus the cost to Luna of $24.2/kg-payload, or a net of $163/kg-payload Earth to Luna. Not bad! Still, the figures on the slides give the inaccurate impression that it'll only cost about $51/kg to Luna.

The reliance on lunar water looks like a big potential hole. Just sending all 4000 colonists home each year would take about 8250T of water.

Even if water is available on the moon, it's likely to be scarce - and to make up the 8250T/year for trips home, the colonists would have to mine ~23T/day (23000 liters, or about 23 cubic meters) beyond whatever they need for their own use.

If water has to be delivered to the moon for return trips, at $163*145T for 35T of return payload, that boosts the Luna-LEO cost to about $700/kg payload returned to Earth, or about $350000 per person instead of just $12000 - 29x higher.


the cost estimates were from the papers and slides which I link. They were written by the emc2fusion people (including Robert Bussard before his death).

The paper describes the assumptions that were made.


Looks like your numbers assume lunar ice for water reaction mass supply? Else the LEO to Luna ship would have at least 4x the cost/kg, due to bringing all reaction mass up from Earth.

Is the same true for the Mars mission scenarios?

Luna-made aluminum rods for reaction mass, mechanically pulled into an electric smelter (or directly heated by the arc ) would seem less wasteful, and more sustainable for the long term.



I have some coverage of NERVA ships and its descendent designs.

The liberty nuclear ship is something that could be built now.

Likewise the mini-mag orion and Orion nuclear pulse propulsion ships could be built


Hi Brian

Excellent summary of a fusion-enabled space program. Makes current efforts look downright feeble.

But it was not inevitable that space became so anemic - look at von Braun and his Mars Base architecture from 1968-1969. He would have used NERVA-derived NTRs to propel reusable Mars vehicles to the red planet and back, enabling a temporary base by 1986 and a orbital+surface base with 72 people by 1989. All using reusable NTRs not much different from the inter-orbital Moon freighters planned at the same time.

I can see eerie parallels between the current Constellation program and post-Apollo...


Yes, I will add the credit


Shouldn't you be crediting Tom Ligon who gave the speech and made the slides?