Early Humans vs. Modern Humans

For as long as people have existed, curiosity about the lights in the night sky has also existed. Early humans looked up and pondered the purpose of the billions of lights but had no hope of understanding what the lights represented. They did not even have the concept of space travel. However, ancient stone tablets and other archaeological artifacts suggest they had contact with beings from one or more of those lights in the sky.

Stories of beings that came from the sky to help or sometimes enslave early humans persist in our history and mythology. They tell of beings that came from the lights and brought with them technological wonders and great power. The ancient peoples were in awe of this and no doubt confused at what they were seeing. Their attempts at explaining what they saw were for years hard to decode until our level of technology evolved to allow some of the pieces to fall into place. 

The stories of what transpired back then are usually considered myths. They sometimes include the reaction of early humans to the superior beings that came from the sky. Ancient humans respected and feared the power possessed by the beings who came from the heavens. This form of respect and worship later evolved into the religions that we have today.

When it comes to technology, we have come a long way since our distant ancestors roamed the earth. The bulk of our technology has only occurred since 1900 and it is accelerating at a rapid rate. Today, we know much more about the universe in which we live, but the wonderment of the lights in the sky continues. Thankfully advances in astronomy are constantly being made that allow us to comprehend just what is out there.

Humankind may be unraveling the mystery of the lights in the sky but perfecting a craft that can take us to those lights is still many years away. It is a good bet that I will not live to that day, but I might live to see the day where some of my fellow earthlings embark on a journey to a planet or a moon other than our own. Mars is the current best choice.

Centuries have now passed since the ancient gods inhabited the planet. It would be interesting to know why they left. During World War II, a significant event occurred for humankind that marked a new beginning for earth-bound humans that could someday allow us to visit them on their home planet.

In the early 1940s, German engineers created a rocket called the V2. Its primary mission was as a weapon of war to destroy enemies at a distance. After the war, it became the key to allow the human race to escape gravity and head into space. We have not yet ventured very far from mother earth, but our baby steps are now turning into bigger steps that will allow us to eventually set out on a journey to the lights in the sky.

So far our space adventures have only been as far as the moon. Our robotic probes have traveled greater distances with one now billions and billions of miles into the cosmos. Until recently, space exploration has come only from governments that could afford to finance the enormous cost involved. maybe that could change?

Strictly speaking, the effort to put a man on the moon was the true beginning of humans venturing into space. That was of course a government undertaking motivated by military necessity but cloaked in the veil of civilian space exploration. No matter what the reason, the need to ensure that the USA was not be left behind in the space race was served. But once we landed on the moon and scared the pants off our enemies the push to space cooled down. It soon ended without a commitment to the next logical step. That left a vacuum, and as Aristotle quite rightly explained, Nature abhors a vacuum.

To fill that vacuum, in 2004 a talented group of people came together in Mojave California to create a project to send civilians into space. Something called the Ansari X-prize motivated them to build a spacecraft to fly to the edge of space and win the 10 million dollar prize. By cosmic standards, this was just a baby step, nonetheless quite significant. I had the good fortune to be there on that momentous day to watch the first non-government space launch that signaled the beginning of a new race to space. I made a video of the event that day in 2004 when Sir Richard Branson saw what Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and Aeronautical Engineer Burt Rutan created. It was not long before he announced that he would create a new spaceship company called Virgin Galactic to become the space component of his stable of products and services with the Virgin name. There were already Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and Virgin Phone services. Now 17 years later Virgin Galactic Spaceways takes its place alongside the other Virgins.

On July 12th, 2021 The Virgin Galactic spacecraft took six people to the edge of space in the first civilian passenger flight. Sir Richard’s dream came true. Soon a robust series of many more flights will follow. These first flights will be more like a carnival ride than anything to do with space exploration. Virgin Galactic reports that over 600 people paid $250,000 apiece for the privilege of taking a one-hour ride to the edge of space and back to earth. That is a lot of money for a flight with no food service–not even a bag of peanuts.

Compared to the NASA flights to the moon, a suborbital flight might seem somewhat insignificant, but it is not. It is a grand achievement on several levels. In addition to paving the way for future space endeavors, civilian space flight is also opening the door to some real-world applications.

The Virgin Galactic flight classified as suborbital means that it did not go into orbit around the earth. It only went up to near space. Offering only a few minutes of zero gravity, the flight glided back to the point of departure. There is an ongoing debate whether it went to space. The debate is fueled by the two men, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos because they continue to trade good-natured barbs about who has the best flight concept. As I write this the flight of the Jeff Bezos Blue Horizon spaceship is just hours away. Sir Richard Branson’s spaceship already went to the edge of space, which is generally recognized as starting at 62 statute miles above the planet. If this space flight was compared to a ship going to sea, it would be akin to wading ankle-deep into the water then announcing that you went to sea. Nevertheless, it is a true technical achievement and a significant milestone for humankind, but is all this just about taking a joy ride into space?

In the near term, a few more of the Virgin Galactic flights will grab the attention of the press and fascinate the public, but at some point, the flights will become commonplace and fall off the front page. Nevertheless, before the echoes of the flights have faded, other companies might join Virgin Galactic and Blue Horizon to generate their front-page news. That will not matter because the future of the suborbital flights has nothing to do with reaching for the stars, so just like our distant relatives, the early humans, we are still looking at the sky with wonder. Albeit we do however have better viewing devices.

If the flights are not about going to the stars, then what are they about? Well, do you need to fly from Los Angles to Australia? Today, the fastest airliner in service takes 15 to 16 hours to travel from the USA to Australia or various other locations in the region. When you go, be sure to take one of the flights that offer fully reclining seats that turn into a bed. But what if you had the option of making that journey in just a couple of hours? Would that not be an attractive option? Yes, it would, and that is why Sir Richard wants to perfect the suborbital flight environment.

It may turn out that what is required for the two-hour flight to become a reality is a cross between suborbital and orbital flight. What would that even be? With the maiden flight of Virgin Galactic, we witnessed the forerunner for that concept. It is not too difficult to understand the concept, but I have no idea what it will ultimately require to make it work as a commercial enterprise, I do know that the tickets must cost far less than the current $250.000 per seat because even first-class travelers would not want to pay anything close to that price.

I was happy to see Sir Richard accomplish his goal. He might have been a few thousand feet short of passing some arbitrary line in the sky, but his flight ushered in a new era for humankind. Had Unity’s pilots kept the engine on for just a few more seconds, it would have easily reached the target altitude. I suspect that they fell a bit short because they did not account for the extra weight of the additional passengers when determining burn time for the engine. No doubt they have already discussed that situation and the next flight will prove that Unity can go higher. I hope that next time when he is giving praise to those who helped him he will include Paul Allen and Burt Rutan. Without them, his flight would have never happened.

Will other countries find a billionaire to jump into the suborbital game? The civilian space effort would be better if they could. However, without a near-term payback, the entry fee might be unattractive even for the rich guys.

No matter what is in store for the future of the civilian space initiatives, we can still look to NASA to fund the esoteric (costly) space exploration projects. We should also keep an eye on China to see the real competition in space exploration hiding in plain sight. They have already been to the moon and have a robust space exploration schedule that no doubt rivals the USA. The sad part for me is that even with no setbacks, and no hiccups, the point at which humankind will finally be ready to venture to the stars will be too distant for me. In the meantime, like my ancestors, I look at the sky with amazement. I use my mind to conjure up visions of what might exist on a planet orbiting one of those lights in the night sky.

It is now less than 12 hours before Blue Horizon will soar to the edge of space. Once that happens, Jeff Bezos will have put the frosting on the civilian space cake and the undeclared civilian space race will be underway.

–Jim

Update:
The Blue Origin flight was a complete success. It was fun to watch but for something so technically demanding it seemed commonplace. In a moment of glory years of preparation paid off. Now two civilian companies have gone to the edge of space. A true accomplishment, and from this day forward the flights might seem like a normal part of our lives. The next milestone is to put paying passengers on the moon and to begin the colonization of Mars.
I look forward to that.

Read about the Virgin Galactic Passenger Flight.

Virgin Galactic Passenger Flight

Wow! Did you watch the longest-running space flight commercial message in history? You might know it as the Internet event showcasing the first passenger-carrying flight by Virgin Galactic. Sir Richard Branson created Virgin Galactic to take people to the edge of space. The spaceship company joins his other established companies starting with the word Virgin.

The broadcast was interesting, but sometimes it was more like an elaborate commercial for Virgin Galactic Airlines. At times Technical glitches did not allow us to see the action so the well-rehearsed talking heads turned the proceedings into a giant commercial message. Maybe that was the plan all along? That would not be surprising because Virgin Galactic is a COMMERCIAL space venture, and blowing one’s horn about one’s product is a smart move. The flight might have fallen short of the altitude goal, but it was a true milestone in human history and worthy of all the pomp and ceremony.

Virgin Galactic is currently taking very wealthy folks on Disneyland style “E” Ticket Rides while looking to the future in developing an exotic airline that will whisk people from the USA to Australia in two or three hours. I hope that they succeed.

Some folks labeled the flight as the beginnings of humankind reaching for the stars. Give me a break. A spacecraft as slow as Unity would take several generations to travel to the nearest star. The flight did not even reach the planned altitude, so stop with the grandiose superlatives.

Space ship Unity does have the capability to attain the necessary altitude to qualify as a space flight, but the additional weight of the passengers will require the engine burn to be longer. I suspect that the pilot shut down the engine based on previous flights with less weight. Simple physics tells us that could have been a factor. I will wait and see what they report was the official reason.

No matter what the reason for falling a bit short of the planned altitude, there is still an open question and an interesting “give-and-take” between Sir Richard and Jeff Bezos as to how high one must fly to enter “space.” Bezos says Branson didn’t make it. NASA has assigned the official altitude of space as 54 nautical miles. That is 62 statute miles, or 330,000 feet above mean sea level. Then there is also the accepted standard called the Kármán line. Click Here to read about that.

The pomp and circumstance of the launch and the flight was quite an extravaganza, but parts of it left me wanting. It should have used a split-screen concept. Spaceship Unity and the mother ship renamed Eve after Sir Richard’s recently deceased mother should have always been in view on the screen. (We have the technology!) Every SpaceX launch uses multiple or split screens. One can see every aspect of the flight happening in real-time. That makes the experience more exciting and educational. Right on Elon!

As lacking as the coverage issue was, the thing that frustrated me the most was when the coverage devolved into a rock concert that seemed to go on longer than the space flight. I tuned in to watch a space flight only to find out that I had to endure what seemed like a forever stage presentation by a Grammy Award Winning artist no less. Well, excuse me! I never even heard of him. I understand that musical tastes vary. Realistically the full implementation of the Virgin Galactic Airline commercial venture will probably mature after I have sprouted wings and I am floating around the clouds playing the harp. (Great visual eh?) The stage presentation was more a case of too long a duration and not necessarily the musical selection. No matter, for me, it detracted from the flight. Whew, I had to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

Several positive offerings made the presentation a special event. One bright spot that stood out was the participation of a real astronaut by the name of Chris Hatfield. His achievements in space have made him a legend. He is larger than life but seemingly as down to earth as anyone can be. Having him as part of the broadcast team was brilliant. Canada should be proud of one of its own. I would welcome the chance to meet him in person.

Speaking of meeting someone in person, I have on two occasions met Sir Richard. Yes, I am a name-dropper, so get used to it, but seriously I want to give credit where credit is due. In both encounters, Sir Richard was courteous and congenial to me and my business partner. This charm combined with his business acumen leaves little doubt why he is so successful, but his journey was not always roses and lollypops. Along the way to making his space company a success, he faced several challenges. One of them was a sad occurrence. He had a major setback when a test flight resulted in the death of one pilot and serious injuries to the other one. However, even despite the accident, Richard persevered. The historic passenger-carrying flight is a testament to his courage and determination. Click Here for the crash story.

As always, the mainstream press dutifully regurgitated the details of what took place. Thank God for press kits. Some news outlets did make it interesting, but others were boring as hell. I think I will vomit if I hear one more broadcaster announce that they would willingly go on a future mission if only their wife would let them. Please, let’s get real, shall we? Some of those talking heads would NOT go even if their wife paid for them to go. Then there are the wives who would pay for a one-way trip. I prefer not to address that issue here.

During my research, I discovered a YouTube presentation that explains the details of the Unity spacecraft flight. It also compares Sir Richard’s project with Jeff Bezos’s approach to suborbital flight. Interestingly, the two billionaires have a very different approach to suborbital space flight. This is showcased in a video produced by Tim Dodd, known on the internet as The Everyday Astronaut. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand everything relating to the current state of the civilian space program in greater depth. He shows how everything works. A link to this fine video is at the end of this article.

My personal belief is that Virgin Galactic has the better approach toward developing rapid near-earth sub-orbital travel. However, the approach taken by Jeff Bezos is better suited to transition into orbital offerings. I bet that is where his ultimate focus lies. The third member of the Billionaire Space Club, Elon Musk, is concentrating on leaving the planet. He has his sights firmly fixed on Mars. That mission excites me the most but taken together, this triad of very wealthy men is creating a desirable future for the dwellers of planet earth. Once the Disneyland aspect of these flights settles down, there will follow an evolution toward the day when the various offerings could serve the whole of humanity.
Jim

Here is the link to The Everyday Astronaut video: https://everydayastronaut.com/new-shepard-vs-spaceshiptwo/ if you want to know the whole story of the civilian space efforts then watch this well-done video. Click Here to read about Tim Dodd.

SOMETHING SPECIAL:
If you want to own a piece of history my Mojave Magic DVD shows the genesis of the civilian space effort and the very beginning of Richard Branson’s Project. It is a personal look at how it all began. I still have some DVDs in stock, so for a limited time, you could own a piece of history. Watch online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05fiRTI0CEE

To own a historic Mojave Magic DVD, leave me a message in the LEAVE A REPLY field below.

Read more about my experience with the space program HERE.

REFERENCE: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489767/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

I leave you with this bit of humor: https://imgur.com/gallery/3SK9yUz
Be sure to click the speaker icon in the upper right corner of the video.

Vaccine Update

I hate it when it looks like we might be winning, but in reality, we might not be winning where it counts. With the announcement of his impending divorce, Bill Gates has opened the door to many related and unrelated virus questions. The revelations about his ancillary activities might overshadow the divorce and take center stage, but when one is super-rich things usually work out in one’s favor.

My original post titled “Funding Taken Away From The Gates Foundation” appears below. My conclusions back then seem to have been slightly altered now. Read what I wrote then read today’s headlines. Bill Gates is one of the protected ones on the planet now. We are not allowed to say that the emperor is not wearing any clothes nor can we say that Bill Gates and what he is doing is something less than wonderful. To do so invites banishment or censorship from one or more social media platforms. Funny how that works.

Archived Post:
FUNDING TAKEN AWAY FROM THE GATES FOUNDATION

It appears that the people finally won one in the courts, and it is a biggie! For years people have been fighting to break free of mandatory vaccines that in many cases have been proven to be responsible for some serious life-altering conditions, especially in very young children. It appears that a small measure of progress has been made toward legally condemning some vaccines. This could lead to the removal of, or the nullification of a few of the draconian laws that require parents to vaccinate their newborn babies, and young children. It might also strike down the need for adults to take vaccines as a condition of employment. Did the people actually win one here? It looks that way, but don’t start doing cartwheels on the lawn quite yet. It will take time and effort to overcome the evil agenda of the Globalists if it is even possible.

UPDATE June 2021:

Around the same time, the coronavirus was released in China, Facebook, Twitter, and Google along with its YouTube subsidiarity joined with other public social media platforms in an organized effort to censor any speech or thinking that did not fit the narrative of those who own and control the platforms. I am speaking of the real owners now and not the figurehead CEOs etc. As a result of this anything that goes against their agenda is forbidden to be publicly shared.

If you click on the “Click Here” link that appears below you will see a classic example of what I am telling you. For years the link connected to this important information was available to all, but not anymore. They removed it so that one cannot see it now.

Censorship is now pervasive in the USA, and in many other parts of the world. The free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution seems to have been superseded now. I read that the same thing is happening in England as well. Actually, England and the USA are common countries separated only by a language.

We now live in a brave new world, and nobody seems to know what will happen next. My feeling is that soon something dramatic will occur to significantly alter life as we have known it. To be sure, that is scary and I hope that my assessment is wrong, but the writing is on the wall.

My belief is based on the fact that the very wealthy among us are making plans to disconnect from what we call normal life. They are preparing island and/or underground living quarters in various locations around the world. I am preparing a comprehensive update on that situation. I will present it in a separate post so that I can go deeper into what is being done.

CLICK HERE to view the YouTube presentation that delivers the good news. If you clicked then you just witnessed censorship in action. This is now happening all over the internet, but now many new platforms are appearing that will never censor anything. Soon all the real news will be available through these outlets.

To be continued…

I am not personally responsible for the content or the execution of any third-party website or third-party presentation.

Is it really the Red Planet?

The Red Planet Mars

The Red Planet

I willing to bet that you have seen several photos taken from the surface of Mars. They show the red landscape that we have all come to expect from a red planet, but is it really that red? The US Space Agency, and Hollywood, always shows Mars as being really red, so we take it for granted that mars has red dirt and a reddish atmosphere.   It is no doubt somewhat red, but is it all red? A few years ago, NASA was accused of false coloring the mars photos, and videos to make them look redder. I believe that they did admit that on at least on occasion, they did just that.  That is interesting, but I wonder why?

The European Space Agency (ESA) Lander did not survive, so now we must wait to see something a bit different than the photos from NASA. The photo below may be an artist’s rendering, or a frame from a promotional video, and NOT a real photo. However, it claims to depict Mars, and it is not so red.  I find it all quite interesting.

the-green-planet-mars

What Happened to the RED Planet?

Click here to go to the NASA Mars picture website

Schiaparelli Mars Mission

On October 19, 2016, the European Space agency (ESA), attempted to land a craft on Mars.  It is called the Schiaparelli Mars Lander.  This type of landing on Mars had been done several times before by the USA, and at least once by the former USSR.  However, for some reason this landing seems special to me. Sadly, it is becoming more apparent that the landing did not go as planned, and the Lander might not have survived.

What happened to Schiaparelli Mars Lander?

As I write this, it is not certain that the soft landing was successful.  Updates are available on the ESA Website.  For up to date information directly from the source, click here

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New Canal-1

After a whirlwind trip to Panama, for the inauguration of the new canal, I am back in Costa Rica. The big day at the canal was clearly over the top. I spent three days in and around the canal in pursuit of the story about the new expanded part of the canal, so ready or not, here it comes.

Along with my partner, Buddy, I attended the inauguration ceremonies at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal–the end of the canal next to Panama City. There was also a full blown ceremony on the Atlantic side as well, but the press bus left at 5:30 in the morning. Our press advisor Monica, said that the festivities on the Atlantic (Caribbean) side were mostly for the folks that worked on the new canal, so I opted to stay in bed a bit longer. As it turned out, that was a good call.

The ceremony on the pacific side was clearly over the top. It was complete with a stage show that reached a crescendo just as the giant ship appeared. The music and fireworks continued as it moved into the lock chamber right in front of the assembled multitude. I have no idea how many people were there, but I am guessing that, in the area of the lock chamber, there were in excess of 100,000 people. I will try to find an accurate figure, but no matter what the number, I can tell you, and my videos will show you, that there were people as far as the eye could see.

During the celebration, I spent most of my time in the press area, but on more than one occasion, I did venture into the sea of humanity that lined that extended the length of the lock chamber. That is about two and a half city blocks long.  I wanted to get a feel for what the average attendee was experiencing. As it turned out, I actually ran into a friend of mine from Canada, and some other people that I knew from my days of living in the Panama Canal. I did a couple of interviews—one in Spanish, and one in both English, and Spanish. I also did an interview in Mandarin Chinese.  That was clearly a one way interview. I asked a question in English, but once the fellow started speaking Chinese, I was totally lost! He could have been making snide remarks about the crazy gringo holding a camera in his face, but I did get an invite to visit him in his native country, Taiwan.  Apparently, I was exhibiting Taipei behavior.

The purpose of the fiesta at the canal was the inauguration of the new locks, and the widened waterway of the canal. It was primarily for the people of Panama, but also for people around the world as well. The Canal is of course a national treasure for Panama, but it also important to the rest of the world, because the Panama Canal is where so much of the worldwide commerce passes. The more efficient the canal, the less expensive many of the goods we buy—at least that’s the theory.

With regard to the worldwide broadcast of the Panama Canal Festivities, much of the world was apparently short changed.  As a result, many people do not know what actually happened. That is a real shame. The dual language broadcast (English and Spanish), was a great concept, but I am told they had some serious technical difficulties and it kept cutting-out. The dual language device that I was using did not work well. It might have been a part of the same broadcast method for the world. Thankfully, I have video of all the important events, which I will share as fast as I can process it.

For those in attendance at the new lock chambers, the moment that the giant ship appeared was dramatic and emotional, especially when the biggest ship to transit the canal appeared. That was no small item—pun clearly intended. My partner, Buddy and I were both impressed with the size of the ship, as well as the ceremony. It was all well done, and except for the President, the speeches were reasonably short. I must admit that I zoned out when the Prez was speaking. A politically oriented speech in my native language of English has me running for the door, in Spanish it sends me to another dimension. My mind wandered, and I followed it, but I digress.

Having a press pass allowed me access to much of the area during the celebration. A couple of times I ventured out into the crowd. Both times I did interviews, but mostly I hung-out with Buddy, and the other members of the media, in the two large press tents. That also happened to be the location of free food and drink, so when there was a lull in the festivities, it seemed like a good place to pass the time.

The press area had two big tents, and three levels of risers that permitted us to be above the crowd.  That gave us an unrestricted view of the area and the important events taking place at the locks. Media from several countries attended, but given the magnitude, and the importance of the event, not near the number of countries that one might imagine. Notably absent were representatives from the USA.  Where was FOX, or CNN? Where was the mainline U.S., or Canadian Media outlets? I am inclined to believe that there might have been some unseen representation from the USA, but I never saw it. Nevertheless, the inauguration was a big gala event, and as fast as I can edit the incredible amount of raw footage that we took, I will start releasing videos of the entire event on my new YouTube channel. (To be announced very soon) Most of the videos will be short, usually about three minutes, or less in length, so it will not require much of a commitment to watch each of them. In addition, Buddy and I also plan to produce a full length video utilizing all the footage from the canal event. We have so much video it will take time to select and edit the best shots.  Having lived in the canal, I am the canal expert on our team, but Buddy will also be offering his perspectives as well.

Stay tuned for the sights and sounds of the gala event, and please feel free to ask me any questions about the canal. I lived in the canal for two years, and over the years, I have made 29 transits from sea to shining sea. That may not sound like much, but just being there has made me somewhat of a canal expert. If I can answer any questions for you, then please do not hesitate to ask. That is what the comment section is all about. If I don’t know the answer to a specific question, I know who to ask to get the answer.

When it comest to explaining the event, my words can only go so far. The rest of the story is in the videos. I will have the first one done and uploaded very soon.  My plan is to upload one video a week until I am out of material…or energy, whichever comes first, so stay tuned, and thanks for your interest.

–Jim (of the bigger canal)

Canal News

The BIG news from the Republic of Panama (in the deep south), is about what will happen on June 26.  That is when the Panama Canal will open the new wider shipping lanes, and bigger locks.  This will allow the majority of the ships that were heretofore too large to take advantage of the famous path between the seas. The dedication of the “new” canal is bound to be a world class event, and I plan to be there to report back to you on this piece of history. There will be film at 11, so stay stewed to be part of history in the making.

That’s the view from my chair,

–Jim

To read more about the new canal, CLICK HERE.

Canal Update – Costa Rica

In a previous post (click here) I listed four factors as to why the likelihood of a canal through Nicaragua is becoming less of a possibility. However, today’s Canal Update is not even about Nicaragua.  It is about Costa Rica.  No, you haven’t been asleep.  There is no canal in Costa Rica–yet, but yesterday, May 22nd, the Interior Minister of Costa Rica announced on TV, that the Government is indeed serious about going forward with plans to build a 320 kilometer inter-ocean “dry” canal across Costa Rica. It will be a rail link connecting a port on the Pacific Coast, to a port, most likely Puerto Limon, on the Caribbean (Atlantic) coast. click here for map.

Feasibility studies are currently in progress by two separate companies.  If the studies show that it is a viable project, the dry canal project has a very good chance of soon becoming a reality.  Should that happen, it will pose an additional problem for the Nicaragua Canal, which is already behind schedule, and facing serious challenges.

The major elements of a dry canal include container loading and unloading facilities at ports located on either side of the country, and a high speed railroad right-of way between the two ports. The ability to load and unload upwards of 18,000 containers a day is a design requirement, and it is expected that trains, each carrying about 440 containers would leave for the opposite coast about every 40 minutes.  Unlike the project in Nicaragua, only a relatively few people will be required to relocate, because some of the necessary railroad right-of-way already exists, and building a railroad  is far less intrusive than creating a giant waterway. Nevertheless, the dry canal will require a wider, and more stable roadbed than currently exists in Costa Rica, as well as new heavy-duty railroad track.  Oh, and they will also need some trains.

The idea for the dry canal actually goes back many years, and people both inside and outside of the government are asking why the building of a dry canal has taken so long to approve.  However, the announcement of the proposed Nicaragua Canal, and the opening next month of the expanded Panama Canal has rekindled interest in the notion that, it just might make economic sense for Costa Rica to have a canal of its own, and two companies have submitted proposals to build it.

While it will take time and money to create the elements needed for a functioning dry canal, the cost will be far less than digging a waterway, and the time to create it will be a fraction of what it would take to create a canal of the type that now exists in Panama. Granted, Costa Rica is not known for building roads in a rapid manner, but undertaking a project like the dry canal in conjunction with private enterprise, would likely be a different story.

What remains to be seen is just how efficient the expanded Panama Canal will be. There is an expectation that, in addition to allowing larger ships to make the transit, the overall efficiency of the canal will also be increased. If that should lead to a lowering of the existing transit fees, it could impact the viability of building a canal elsewhere. The practicality of any new canal, wet or dry, is dependent on many variables, including the current slowdown in international shipping. That may only be temporary, so the need for a dry canal, especially to service smaller cargo ships, might just make sense. Time will tell, but for now, it looks as if Costa Rica is serious about accepting the challenge of building an inter-ocean, rail based, dry canal. They are however, not alone.  Even as I write this, five or six other dry canal projects are also being considered, and did you know that Panama has a dry canal as well.  My-my-my, it is indeed a very interesting situation that exists these days.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Jim

Volcano in my Backyard

Volcano Action

This morning I went outside and saw the cars covered with a fine ash that looked to me like face powder.  I live 22.3 miles from a volcano that erupted during the night.  I believe that 22 miles is far enough away to avoid being affected by the full furry of the volcano should it go crazy, but when the wind is blowing from the east, my location gets a dusting of ash known in Spanish as ceniza volcánica.  If during an eruption the wind is blowing this way, then it might dictate that I wear a dust mask to keep from ingesting the fine ash.  Just in case, I keep several on hand should it become necessary.

CLICK HERE to watch a video of what happened May 12, 2016,