New Year's Eve is upon us, and I just want to wish all of you a happy New Year. By this time of the year, pretty much every year, I'm sick of the "year in review" shows on TV, so I'll just post a little about my year in review. It's customary to start the New Year with a reference to the Roman god Janus - his name is where the month gets its name - who could look both backward and forward at the same time, so we can do the same thing.
My biggest change of the year was surgery I had in January for my hiatal hernia, and the implant of the LINX device that got me completely off the heartburn medications I'd been taking for nearly two decades of acid reflux. My surgery was January 26th and at my second post-op followup in early March I was told I can just stop taking the Prilosec I had been taking, so I did. I can't tell you how surprised I was to not need heartburn medication that night. I think in the nine months since then, I took Tums twice. I haven't gone that long without Tums in, well, so long I can't remember not having some on me all the time.
I'm still bothered by my umbilical (belly button area) hernia. That keeps me from doing pretty much anything to strengthen my core muscles, which inevitably leads to weakness that makes the hernia hurt. Homey recognizes a positive feedback loop when he sees one, but there appears to be some magic incantation or diagnosis in this case that makes it get offered as option more acceptable to the insurance companies, the real power in that system. Hey, gotta have a theme song, right?
This is gonna sound weird but, thankfully, the negatives of the year were mostly things breaking and either being fixed, in the case of the Exploder, or replaced in the case of air conditioner that died in the workshop. Family is all well. Our cat Mojo, who had scared us last year, has had a good year. We give him an oral steroid pill every night and after a few attempts to cut his dosage to every other day, we've settled on one a day and his blood counts stay normal. He's better at taking pills than any cat I've ever had. Since we adopted him in 2010 we're not exactly sure of his age but he's at least 16, could be 17, and could even be pushing 18.
As for looking toward the future, my crystal ball is cloudy. I'm a real money guy and the gyrations of the central bankers have had me expecting economic collapse Real Soon Now since about '06 - certainly before the '08 collapse. I had seen talk of the subprime crisis developing in '06, before it started and led to the '08 collapse. I've written so many times about economic collapse that haven't come true that I've stopped believing in myself - or my ability to predict it. I've also written about the collapse of technological civilization, the "new dark ages" so many times that the same conclusion happened. When we see the DIE mind virus pushing into STEM colleges and programs, when competence, hard work, and attention to detail are derided as "white supremacy" or whatever, will you ever feel safe crossing a bridge or riding a commercial jet? So few people actually know how to design the critical parts in the essential electronics we take for granted, if the fabrication plants were suddenly gone - intentionally or by some natural disaster - could they be recreated?
I think it's going to happen, I just don't know when.
On the stuff we watch the closest here: space exploration, I expect this is the year that Starship reaches orbit, quite possibly on the third launch. This fall, I read Liftoff, Eric Berger's biography of the early days of SpaceX; the first successful launch of the Falcon 1, the introduction of the Falcon 9 and the early days of the company. (I recommend it to anyone interested) The Falcon 1 took four launches before they got to orbit successfully, but they weren't fighting the FWS, the FAA, the petty lawsuits, and the totality of the Federal behemoth. Can something as ambitious as Starship reach orbit in fewer flights than the vastly simpler Falcon 1? On the other hand, they do know vastly more than they did about making orbital spacecraft back then, but something as ambitious as Starship has never flown.
I'm fairly confident Vulcan Centaur will fly - maybe even both Certification missions. I'm rather less confident that Boeing's Starliner will fly, and about the same level of confidence New Glenn will fly.
Let me leave it there, along with a wish for a very Happy New Year to everyone who stops to read here. May it be healthy and fun for all.