Our War with Russia & Risk of World War III

We are at war and we’ve been at war for several months now. It may not be a declared war, but it’s a war nonetheless. There’s the physical war fought by Ukrainians, who are defending their right to exist as a sovereign nation. Their success on the battlefield would not be possible without our continued support. 

Russia may have threatened the USA & NATO with its nuclear arsenal to keep us out of direct conflict, but make no mistake, we are at war. Ever since the Soviets- er… Russians invaded Ukraine:

  • America is providing funds, materials, and weapons to help Ukraine fight our enemy (Russia).
  • America is waging economic war against Russians, by imposed sanctions. 
  • American weapons are killing Russians. 

Our economic and military support of Ukraine continues to increase as the war drags on and escalates. The USA recently escalated our material support by providing technologically advanced anti-air defense systems.

Keep in mind this is a nation we don’t have an official alliance with, so the aid isn’t being sent there out of the kindness of our heart. Either by economic or political gain, the US government will expect a return on our investment after Ukraine wins the war. Heck, it could be argued that we already are benefitting from the aid sent to Ukraine. From one point of view, Ukraine is a mercenary force the USA is paying and equipping to attack an enemy (Russia).

If any nation imposed crippling sanctions against the USA and supplied money and arms to an enemy we’re actively fighting, we’d be getting ready to fight a war with them. Now I’m just a simple American writer, so what do I know. Anyone possessing the sense God gave a cockroach should realize that powerful Russians see our military and economic support to Ukraine, as acts of war and are pissed. A sensible person should be concerned with how they are preparing for that inevitable conflict and when their counterattack will happen.

As the war in Ukraine drags on and Russia becomes more desperate to turn the tide, possibly with unconventional weapons, I can’t help but think of the interconnected alliances which helped spark World War I. The USA is part of a large military alliance of nations, specifically designed to counter the Soviet Union (now Russia). If any one of our NATO allies is attacked, it will start World War III.

Russia and China have been in an implied military alliance for over two decades. While they have their own agendas, they both share a historic animosity against the USA. If China makes good on its threat to invade Taiwan, it’ll open up a new front for us to deal with and start a global conflict.

And now, the damn North Koreans are escalating tensions in response to the most recent USA-South Korea joint military exercises. North Korea has a famously long history of military cooperation with China and currently has a friendly relationship with Russia. They have a long hatred of the United States and our alliance with South Korea, which stems from our intervention in their almost complete conquest of the south back in 1950.

There are many hot-spots in this Neo-Cold War with the most powerful totalitarian/authoritarian nations on the planet. All those “Presidents”, who hold the power of absolute monarchs, are escalating tensions and all it takes is one fuck-up to spark a hot war. A war we are ill-prepared for because:

  • Most of the world’s attention focused on Ukraine.
  • Most of our NATO allies’ weapon stockpiles are depleted as they support Ukraine.
  • Most of those allies are reluctant or unwilling to spend money and resources to replenish those stocks.
  • Most of those allies won’t be able to lend much support and may even back out of the treaty when called to fulfill their treaty obligations. Turkey in particular is a concern because of its close ties to Russia and animosity with other NATO members and prospective members.

We are at war. It’s a cold, proxy-war which our weapons are killing Russian forces in droves. This war can easily escalate out of control to become an active “hot” war, which will quickly turn into a global conflict as our ideological enemies flex their muscles and strike out against us.

I fear that’s a conflict we will ultimately lose.


A Comment Regarding My Support of Ukraine

I recently had an internet troll attack me for showing the Ukraine flag on my Facebook profile pic. This was in response to a post I made to one of the many “prepper” groups. I responded to the bunker-dweller by stating a lot of people show the Ukraine flag because they support the country and their fight against our ideological enemy… if not outright enemy (recall that Russia has hired mercenaries to kill our troops in the past).

I display the Ukraine flag to show my support for the country’s struggle against Russia. But it’s also a symbol that I’m not a Russian sympathizer or a traitor to the USA, our allies, and democracy & free speech.

The troll didn’t have a response and blocked me 😉

Opinion: Nord Stream Probably an “Inside” Job

Most media sources have elaborately described possible scenarios on how the Soviets- er, Russians could have sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline. Most news sources are amazed at the scale of the attack, and how it was executed without anyone noticing. All media sources I’ve seen focused on how it could have been done externally. The scenarios currently presented involve the use of: a submarine, drones, mines, torpedoes, and even deep-sea divers.

Nobody (yet) has considered how easy it is to sabotage the pipeline internally.

“Inside” Job Explained

It’s easy to destroy these pipelines without anyone noticing… from within.

I’m not talking about sending someone inside the pipe to destroy it James Bond-style. Not only is the internal space less-than 4 feet wide[1], but that’s a claustrophobic journey over 500 miles from the Russian side of the pipeline!

Think of how oil/chemical companies maintain pipelines. I once worked at a major oil company and underwent cross-training to better understand how the company maintains pipelines. According to the training, internal inspection and maintenance is performed by devices commonly called “pigs”. Most pigs are propelled by the flow of product, but self-propelled models have been used for years to maintain stagnant pipes and do detailed investigations[2]. More extensive inspections can be done using self-propelled robotic drones, which come in handy when the pipe is stagnant.

All someone needs to do is attach explosives onto these devices and send them down the pipe on a maintenance run. Pigs and drones have tracking devices built-in to allow operators to monitor them as they move down the pipe. Once they reach the desired location, all it takes is a few key-strokes and…


You sabotaged a pipeline!

Recall that I mentioned the distance was over 500 miles? If the pipeline was pressurized, a pig could make the trip in about a day (depending on flow-speed). Since the pipeline was supposedly shutdown, it would take a self-propelled drone or pig 1 week to reach the sabotaged locations. Maybe 2 weeks given the explosive nature of such a mission.

What if it wasn’t sabotage?


  • How, given the current situation between Russia and the western world?
  • How is it possible for a spontaneous and incredibly localized earthquake to rupture the pipeline at so many locations?
  • How can a maritime accident do the same?
  • How could such leaks happen at different locations, simultaneously (according to most media reports)?

I’d sooner believe that terrorists from Skyrim[3] sabotaged the pipeline. Imagine a bunch of Nords yelling:

“This pipeline BELONGS TO THE NORDS!”


I’m just an average guy who paid attention and remembers the training received working at an oil company, so take my “expert opinion” with a grain of kosher Himalayan salt. With all this talk about covert military sabotage, I can’t believe nobody thought to ask anyone who worked in the oil/chemical, or natural gas industry how it could have been done internally.

[1] 4 ft Wide: Offshore Technology. (2022, March 1). Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, Russia and Germany. Retrieved from Offshore Technology: https://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/nord-stream-2-pipeline/

[2] Pressure/Self-Propelled Pig: Since the Nord Stream pipeline hasn’t been in service, The Russians would have needed to use a self-propelled pig. Otherwise, the pipeline would need to be temporarily pressurized for maintenance to allow the flow to transport a pressure-driven version.

[3] Bethesda Game Studios. (2011, November 11). The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda Softworks.

Holographic Will

I’ve worked in several fields of law over the years[1] and learned many legal terms which haven’t aged well. Jargon of this sort may sound funny to modern ears, especially when examined from a different perspective. As a life-long fan of science fiction, I always thought a “Holographic Will” sounded funny.

I grew up seeing holograms in Star Trek and Star Wars, so every time I hear someone mention holographic Wills, I can’t help thinking of the holograms depicted in science fiction. Think of how funny it’d be to arrive at court to prove up a holographically formatted Will. How might a probate judge react to such a Will?

  • Would he or she be offended at the clever use of technology which makes fun of a dated term?
  • Would the attorney or representative of the estate be chastised for contempt of court?
  • Would such a Will be seriously evaluated based on its merits?

But, how could such a Will be legally recognized as valid? I’ve drafted and managed the execution of several estate planning documents, and understand what makes them legally valid. It may require a lot of effort, but it shouldn’t be that hard to make a real holographic Will.

Making a Holographic Will

A holographic Will is a Last Will and Testament which is handwritten and signed by the testator. Holographic Wills aren’t the best method to convey property upon death because they lack the verification and witnessing process enjoyed by most standard Wills. In Texas, the entire document must be written in the handwriting of the person making the Will (testator).

Based on the current requirements, you cannot have a valid holographically formatted, holographic Will. The reason is because the court must be able to verify the handwriting on the original document. If a hand-written document is converted into a digital format, the copy (hologram) isn’t legally enforceable.

However, you can draft a digitally holographic Last Will and Testament and execute it in a way that makes it valid. This is achievable using the technology we have today[2].

What You’ll Need[3] 

  • Portable holographic projector
  • Typed Will
  • Notary with digital stamp credentials
  • Two disinterested witnesses
  • All parties need a digitally secure signature to sign the PDF.

Theoretical Process

  1. Buy a portable holographic projector. You’ll need it for a functioning holographic Will. Several are available on Amazon with an average starting price of $180. They appear to render images well and should be more than sufficient for this purpose.
  2. Get your Will drafted. Most people recommend having a probate attorney do this for you, but there are templates of simple Wills available online. A probate or estate planning attorney will be immensely helpful because of the unique nature of a holographically formatted Will. 
  3. Find a Notary and schedule an appointment for the signing. The hard part is finding a Notary who has a completely digital notary stamp, and is willing to use it to notarize a Will[4]. If you’re working with an attorney, they may already have a digital stamp or know someone who does.
  4. Corral two disinterested witnesses to participate in the signing[5]. This won’t be difficult if you’re working with an attorney because most offices use their staff as disinterested witnesses. 
  5. Make certain all signatories have a secure digital signature. This can be done using a recognized execution service like DocuSign[6]
  6. Assemble the parties and sign. The notary will verify your identity and those of your witnesses. Initial and Sign everything in front of the Notary and witnesses. There’s a section for the witnesses to enter their names and sign as well.
  7. The Notary notarizes the Will. The Notary will apply a digital stamp verifying you have satisfactorily executed the Will.
  8. Save or upload the executed Will. Once the Will is saved to your computer or SD card, plug it in and test it out. Be aware that you may need to convert the file formats to work on certain projectors.

A Few Things to Consider

This process can be done in person or via teleconference. However, there are more benefits to assembling all signatories in the same office.

  • Having all parties physically present makes it easier for the Notary to verify everyone’s identity.
  • Being in the same office reduces the chance of an error happening, and makes troubleshooting easier if one does occur.
  • If all parties are in the same office, it can’t hurt to print a physical copy of the unexecuted Will and perform the execution process the conventional way. Doing so will ensure there is a standard version of the Will in case your family experiences complications during the probate process.

Other Types of “Holographic” Wills

While writing this article, I thought of a couple alternative methods to creating a “holographic” Will. I’m pretty sure the following types of Wills won’t be recognized as legally valid because they are technically uncertifiable copies, and/or the processes involved alter the document enough to ruin its legitimacy. I mention them because someone may think it’s a cool idea to replicate, and I’d like to see the idea given form.

Holographic Printing[7]

There are a few methods to printing a “holographic” Will, but require a specialized printing company. The Will is copied onto special embossed “paper” or a sheet of glass to provide a 3D effect. The process may produce an optical illusion of floating text, and the company may be able to make the signatures and notary stamp appear more prominent.


If you want to go big, and I mean really big, you could have a 3D crystal[8] engraving company turn your Will into a different type of “hologram”. This process is very expensive and requires a huge block of glass to legibly fit all pages of your Will (simple Wills average 10 pages). 

If you have money to burn and know you aren’t going to alter or amend your estate plan, this type of Will can do double-duty as art. You can proudly display and brag that your final wishes are set in stone (actually, glass). And once you’re gone, it’ll serve as an everlasting monument to your legacy. 

This type of Will may be perfect for a wealthy person who hates their family and/or wants to leave everything to a pet… or 20-year-old lover. Such a person can take great pleasure knowing the Will serves as a huge middle-finger to the family. 


When all is said and done, a Will outlines your final wishes regarding your corporeal assets. If you’re a trickster at heart, you could pull one final joke on the system by creating a holographically formatted Will. It won’t be of any official use until you die, but when that day comes, you can rest easy knowing you’ve played one last prank on the system.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way! 

[1] Legal Disclaimer: The author of this article has worked in law for over a decade, but is not an attorney. The information or materials available in this blog or website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. The laws of one governmental jurisdiction (i.e. city, county, state, or territory) may not apply to a different jurisdiction.

Readers of this website and article should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader or user of this website should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein (and your interpretation of it) is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.

Use of or access to this website and/or article do not create any type of professional-client relationship.

[2] Document Validation: Our courts are making great strides to modernize, but some jurisdictions may be slower than others at accepting new techniques. The processes posed in this article may not work in all courts now, but nothing can truly stop progress. It’s just a matter of time.

[3] Ingredients of a Will: Please remember that different states and counties may have different laws and requirements.

[4] Notarizing Wills: It’s hard to find a Notary who will notarize a Will. I’ve written my own Will, but can’t get anyone to notarize it. I’ve gone to banks and notary offices, and they’re all too scared to notarize it.  


All they have to do is say the magic words, and watch me and the witnesses sign.

[5] Disinterested Witness: A disinterested witness is a person who does not benefit from your estate. In Texas, a witness must be over 14 years of age and of sound mind.

[6] DocuSign: Some legal entities or medical organizations shun eSignatures. They sometimes require a “wet” or hand-written signature. This practice doesn’t make sense when you have a legitimate 3rd party service, recognized for secure document execution. 

If I can use DocuSign to execute multi-million-dollar contracts between major corporations, we should be able to use it to execute a multi-thousand-dollar estate.

[7] Holographic Printing: This section is intended to be an “honorable mention” of alternate methods of making a “holographic” Will. I have seen printed 3D or “holographic” images, but the science and technique is too complex to deeply explain beyond the basic theory of how it can be applied to make a Will “holographic”.

[8] 3D “Crystal” Engraving: The block used in the 3D engraving process is usually made of glass or a special plastic.

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Bubblegram. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Bubblegram

Rage Against Greenhouse Gas

Preface: WordPress’s word of the month for April 2022 is “Green”. Dark-green happens to be one of my favorite colors, yet I can’t think of anything I want to write specifically about the color. Earth Day was just a few days ago, so I’ll write about greenhouse gases..


Winter no longer happens during the months we’ve historically recognized as “winter”. When I was a child, autumn started alongside school, in late August. Winter arrived after Halloween and lasted until Groundhog Day. Basically, it was expected to be cold from November through February.

This expectation held true even in humid, Southeast Texas.

At least, that’s the way it was in the good old days. 

For the past decade, our winter weather has been expressed in frontal waves, and doesn’t have the staying power it once had. We get a few days of “winter” here and there in Texas. Sometimes, we get “winter” all at once in January or February, as has happened these past couple years[1].

This alarming pattern is seen in many of the Northern states as well. My family recently went north for a more traditional winter holiday, but was slightly disappointed by the lack of ice and snow.

What’s causing this to happen? 

I’m not an environmental expert, but the basic science we’ve been learning in school for decades has taught us these changes are caused by human activity. Our media, which may be sponsored by major businesses, spotlights natural sources of global warming gases such as: volcanic activity, subterranean gas, or gas trapped in ice. 

I tend to agree with the theory that human activity bears most of the blame for the changes happening to our planet, but who’s to say this isn’t part of a natural extinction cycle the earth goes through. For all we know the last ice age may have been caused by a long-dead civilization who tried to fix global warming. 

Alternate Theory:

For all we know, an intelligent species or ancient race of humans may have experienced the problems caused by greenhouse gasses and developed non-carbon producing technologies to help the planet heal. They may have captured CO2, methane, and other gasses to store in permafrost ice sheets. They may have thought storing those gases in ice that never melts was a sufficiently permanent fix, because, surely, nobody would make the global warming mistake again.

Perhaps that civilization’s efforts worked too well and caused the last ice age.

That civilization either died off or left the planet…

And then comes humanity, with no prior knowledge of what caused the ice age. Humanity was born burning resources and makes the same mistakes with carbon-emissions. Maybe we’re inadvertently releasing all the stored greenhouse gases as our modern pollution heats the planet and melts those ancient ice “warehouses”.

I pose this alternate theory to show it doesn’t matter who’s to blame for global warming.

It doesn’t matter if certain nations are more at fault than others.

It doesn’t matter which generation is more negligent.

It doesn’t matter how much money is spent redirecting blame.

What does matter is how we respond to the problem we’re faced with. Are we going to stick our heads in the dirt like a cartoonish depiction of an ostrich[2]? Or, will we stop burning gases and develop new energy solutions to fix the problem? 

Wind is a natural resource found pretty much everywhere on the planet. Large-scale wind energy is expensive when you factor in the cost of the unit, transporting parts, construction, and then regular maintenance over the years. However, small home turbines can be purchased as low as $150! Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to connect the generator to a battery bank, much less the grid.

Solar is another resource available everywhere on earth[3], and photovoltaic solar panels don’t require complex maintenance like wind generators. But going solar is prohibitively expensive. Each large panel can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Add installation, and you may end up paying around $20,000!

I think solar is the way to go from a practical point of view. All that’s needed after installation is to keep the panels clean and clear of obstructions, and maybe replace a damaged unit over the years. It’s truly much easier to go solar and forget it.

If only we could develop better and cheaper solar technology to make it accessible to people of all incomes. If we can solve that problem, we may buy the planet enough time to recover. 

But won’t that ruin certain industries?  

No, it won’t. The mighty corporations we worship and get a pitiful allowance from will survive. Even the major oil companies will be just fine. Most oil and chemical manufacturers have a broad range of products they sell besides gas. They make additives and other materials which are used in everyday items like: cosmetics, lotions, soaps, household cleaners, plastics, some clothing materials, and much more[4].

The only people who’ll be ruined by such an economic shift are the cartels who extract the base-product, and the citizens of those oil-producing nations. The Middle East has been at war or angry at everyone else throughout human history anyways, so will we notice if there’s even more unrest in that region?


We may never agree about what’s causing global warming and casting blame is irrelevant. Greenhouse gases are heating the planet and melting the polar ice caps, and may be driving the extreme weather patterns we’re experiencing. What’s relevant is what we do to fix it.

Our species has repeatedly met the challenge of physical threats. So why is the threat of extinction not enough incentive to give up our addiction to wealth-at-any-cost? Someone needs to have an intervention with our leaders[5] and remove toxic industrial influences, so we can ween ourselves off “easy” money.

I fear our species doesn’t have the strength to go through that rehab program.

[1] Winter, all at once: Can you believe The Weather Channel started naming winter storms? We used to only have to worry about named hurricanes, but now they’re naming winter storms.

[2] Ostrich: According to a Zookeeper I overheard talking to a group of kids at the Houston Zoo, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand when scared. However, they will try to blend in by laying on the ground.

[3] World-wide Solar: You can count on light from the sun to be available everywhere on the planet except for the polar regions of the planet. Both the north and south polar regions experience months of darkness because of the Earth’s axial tilt.

[4] Petroleum Products: I once worked at a major oil company and learned what we sold and how it’s used in everyday things.

[5] Violence Disclaimer: I would like to remind my readers that I do not condone violence, criminality, or rising up and overthrowing your legitimate government.

State Inspections are a Sham

It’s that time of year again when pretty much everyone needs to visit the nearest registered State Inspector to pay our annual bribe or “tax”. This is a necessary bribe that allows car owners to display a permit showing we have permission to use the car we already paid a hefty sales tax on. I guess the over 20% in hidden taxes that go into our $3-ish per gallon of gas isn’t enough to support the services our government provides[1]

What is the annual state inspection and why is it necessary?

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (Tx DPS) website, an annual inspection is required to ensure compliance with safety standards. The website lists 20 or, depending on how you look at it, 21 items the state inspectors need to certify as functional[2]. The website also states that emissions testing is only required in the state’s 17 most densely populated counties (basically, the areas around: Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, and El Paso)[3].

And that’s pretty much it.

Why are state inspections a sham?

There’s a few reasons why I think state safety inspections are a sham. First, there’s no proof these required inspections make cars safer, and it only seems to be an extra tax imposed on drivers. Then, if you read the language of the inspection process, it becomes very apparent that one industry in particular stands to benefit from these inspections (and from pretty much every single traffic stop in the state[4]). And finally, it’s too obvious that Texas half-asses emissions testing.

Despite several attempts to drop the state-mandated safety inspection, Texas is still one of 15 states in the country that requires them. The last real and widely publicized attempt to remove the requirement was passed in the Texas Senate in 2017. But since I’m writing this article today, it means the bill didn’t go through[5].

Supposedly, the purpose of the annual inspection is to ensure that 20 listed safety mechanisms on a vehicle are functional or comply with the state’s safety standards. But before the list even starts, the inspector is required to check for evidence of “Financial Responsibility” (also known as insurance). Financial responsibility is better known as “proof of insurance”, because most people can’t afford the $55,000 bribe to the state Comptroller or County Judge where the car is registered[6].

That means the Inspector won’t look at your car unless you have proof of insurance, which also means you can’t pass the inspection.

Now I’m just a simple American writer, but it sure seems like one particular industry has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and holding our ability to drive hostage. Which also ensures the over 22 million registered vehicles in Texas are insured by a paying customer[7].

In Texas alone, that’s at least $11 billion every year.

Another official part of the test is to ensure general conformity of the federally mandated clean air requirements. However, out of the 254 counties in Texas, only 17 require emissions testing. Which explains why we see vehicles, that obviously can’t pass an emissions test, continue to belch black smoke on the road.

If the state wants to refute my claim that the annual safety inspections are a sham, then they should require emissions testing across all counties in the state. If they do that, the fact they’re fleecing drivers for more money will be less obvious.

And the environment may thank us too.

But state-wide emissions testing won’t happen because Rednecks from across the state will go up in arms when they find out those muscle cars and trucks won’t pass inspection. They will demand a change, and/or they’ll vote someone else into office. With that scenario, we’re more likely to see our politicians ignore the insurance lobbyists and do away with the annual safety inspection altogether. 

Now, I’d like to describe how different my first and second inspections were.

I bought my first car 2 years ago and when it came time to renew the inspection, I made the mistake of going to a scummy shop. The inspector claimed my gas cap failed the emissions test, but I can easily fix it by purchasing a new cap from a nearby AutoZone.

I had no knowledge of the gas cap emissions test and what it actually did beyond the inspector telling me my cap didn’t pass the test. I didn’t care all that much about buying the gas cap. I simply didn’t want to waste any more time on this needless inspection, and was willing to jump through any hoops to get it over and done with.

While driving to buy a new gas cap, I brooded over how this whole inspection stinks of a scam. There’s no way a gas cap can determine what emissions are coming out of the car. Gas goes into your tank and the cap keeps contaminates out and prevents fuel from evaporating into the atmosphere. 

If there’s something wrong with any residue on the cap, then the state needs to go after the gas manufacturers for producing low-quality or contaminated gas. Or, the “Inspector” is getting a kickback from AutoZone for sending customers to buy gas caps or some other unnecessary part. 

When I returned with the replacement cap, the inspector told me the new one didn’t pass. I couldn’t believe what I just heard.

This is a brand-new cap! How the Hell can it fail the test?!

I must have given him one of my “gay fury” expressions, because he tested the new cap again. After a couple attempts, he handed it back and said it barely passed. He also said I may need to have the fuel filler examined in the future, but I didn’t care. I was overjoyed my car passed and I didn’t have to waste any more time on this damn inspection.

Fast-forward one year…

While doing research for this article, I learned a few things about the fuel cap test:

  1. There’s no official or technical information available online about them or what they do[8]. The most informative website I found on the subject is Amazon, and that’s only because the site needs to describe the product to sell the testers (by the way, the average price is about $1,000).
  2. They are called Fuel Cap Pressure Tests, and they check a fuel cap’s ability to hold pressure.
  3. The testers come with several adaptors to fit different makes and models of cars.

Now that I know more about the test, there probably wasn’t a problem with my gas cap to begin with. I could swear the tester being used at that shop was corroded. Either that, or the guy wasn’t using the correct attachment.

Regardless of what shady business happened last year, I was determined to get this year’s inspection done at a different business. The business I went to didn’t even do the gas cap test. All he did was ask for my insurance (of course), plug my car into the computer[9], and test my lights and horn. 

I was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

Now, all I need to do is pay for the sticker which tells police that I paid my annual tax/bribe. The easiest way to do that is to log into the state website and pay online, but I’ll have to pay a $2 online payment fee…

[1] U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2021, March 2). Gasoline Explained: Factors Affecting Gasoline Prices. Retrieved from US EIA: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/factors-affecting-gasoline-prices.php#:~:text=Taxes%20add%20to%20the%20price,of%200.1%20cents%20per%20gallon.

[2] Safety Standards: The website has a list of 20 items to inspect, which includes:

0. Proof of Insurance, 1. Horn, 2. Windshield Wipers, 3. Mirror, 4. Steering, 5. Seat Belts, 6. Brakes (system), 7. Tires 8. Wheel Assembly, 9. Exhaust System, 10. Exhaust Emission System, 11. Beam Indicator, 12. Tail Lamps, 13. Stop Lamps, 14. License Plate Lamp, 15. Rear Red Reflectors, 16. Turn Signal Lamps, 17. Head Lamps, 18. Motor, Serial, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), 19. Gas caps on vehicles, 20. Window Tint.

[3] Texas Department of Public Safety. (2021). Vehicle Inspection Program Overview. Retrieved from https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/vehicle-inspection/vehicle-inspection-program-overview

[4] Every officer doing a traffic stop asks/orders us to show our “driver’s license and proof of insurance.”

[5] Texas Senate Bill 1588: The bill was passed by the Texas Senate, but never made it to the House floor before the session ended.

[6] Texas Transportation Code, 7, Subtitle D. § 601.122 & 601.123 (1995). Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/docs/TN/htm/TN.601.htm

[7] Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. (2022). About Us. Retrieved from Tx DMV: https://www.txdmv.gov/about-us#:~:text=Currently%2C%20there%20are%20more%20than,’%20highways%2C%20roads%20and%20bridges.

[8] No Information: There may be some official or scientific information about them available online. But I spent about an hour tearing the internet apart using various search parameters, and I think it’s safe to say there’s “no information”.

[9] Computer: We don’t know what data is being recorded when the inspector plugs the analyzer into your car’s computer. Supposedly, it’s monitoring emissions and running a diagnostic, but I wonder is what else is being collected and saved. Keep in mind this this device is plugged into the same port Progressive’s Snapshot uses.

Travel Security

This article was inspired by a multi-pronged adventure I recently took. I flew out to Chicago, took a train ride to Seattle, and then flew back to Houston. I was shocked at the varying levels of security I had to go through for each leg of my journey, and I pondered the other journeys I’ve taken in the past. In essence, the security protocols and requirements are different for the various modes of transportation either by: plane, train, bus, ship… and car.


Air-travel requires the most extensive security out of all modes of travel. My first encounter with airport security was with a not-so-nice TSA agent who acted like I was a waste of his time for not knowing every single post-Covid security protocol.

Before Covid took over the planet, I considered myself a veteran traveler and was shocked when this agent chastised me for wearing my facemask in a crowded line. 

Can you believe that?!  

Actually, he needed to see my face to verify my identity and chastised me for not using a 3rd hand to take off my mask fast enough for him to keep his part of the line moving efficiently. Unfortunately, my first hand was giving him my ID and my second hand was placing my barcode on the reader. Naturally, I should have evolved that 3rd hand to pull my mask down to reveal my true identity. 

After you get through the ID guy, you need to get your luggage scanned. Not only that, but you need to take your shoes off to be scanned… thanks to Richard Reid (aka the “Shoe Bomber”). But that’s not all you need to put into a tray to get scanned, you must also take every electronic device out of your bags. That means: phone, Bluetooth keyboard, tablet/Kindle, Switch or other mobile devices[1].

While your stuff is getting scanned, you need to get scanned too. You now need to step into a booth and place your feet onto yellow foot prints, while trying not to think about catching a foot fungus as you raise your hands above your head.

You somehow manage to get through the security checkpoint and are putting your shoes on, when you see an armored officer walk a drug/bomb-sniffing dog. That dog is the last part of ground-based airport security, but there’s a couple more layers of security to keep in mind while you’re up in the air. While you’re in the plane and flying over the country, the pilot is safely locked behind a bulletproof bulkhead, and there’s a possibility a Sky Marshal may be flying with you to thwart any pesky touristic-terrorist. 

That’s 6 layers of security at our airports. Airports must truly be the safest and most secure locations on the planet.

Let’s see how other modes of transportation match up.


The last couple times I took the train, there was literally NO security at the train major stations I’ve boarded the train on. Your luggage does not get scanned at all. Amtrak reserves the right to randomly search your bags, but I’ve never seen it happen. 

Most often there’s no security either. Some of the major stations will have a drug-sniffing dog run through randomly. Other than that, it’s up to the maintenance people to kick out homeless or violent people[2]

So basically, you may get a K-9 unit and a janitor as your security guard… and the janitor is definitely not getting paid enough to double-duty as security (so be thankful). 

Do you truly need more security while traveling on a train? Meh… I guess not because you can’t fly a train into a building. But consider how anyone can easily sneak a weapon on a train. I mean, the worst that can happen is a mass gunman kills a bunch of people while the train moves 65 MPH on the track, out in the middle of nowhere.

Nice knowing you, Grandma.


Traveling by bus is no different than by train. If there’s security present at the station, it’s at the stations where crime is high and homeless are swarming the streets around it (like the walking dead). 

Greyhound is the largest passenger bus service provider in the country. They do not inspect your luggage unless asked to do so by another passenger, and sometimes not even then. 

You are more likely to get your luggage “inspected” if the employee thinks there’s something of value in there. If there are valuables in your luggage, and you don’t keep your eyes on your bags at all times, expect those valuables to be confiscated for security purposes… or maybe a homeless person managed to sneak in and steal your stuff. 


Going on a cruise is the only other method of travel which requires passengers to go through pre-boarding security. While boarding, passengers must show an ID or passport, and walk through a metal detector while your bag gets x-rayed.

That’s surprisingly robust security for something which is limited to water and that barely travels 20 MPH, but there’s a reason for this, because security is responsible for managing the safety of about 2,000-3,000 passengers[3], [4]… unarmed.

That’s the size of a village or small town!

It’s in the cruise line’s best interest to remove lethal weapons from the equation before all those people set sail and become drunken sailors.

Too bad security can’t keep passengers from getting each other sick.


Can you truly trust yourself… or your family? Perhaps you should pat down that baby carrier for something other than a stink-bomb. 

When you drive, you are your own security and everyone else’s worst nightmare. 

If you’re not careful, you can be the cause of one of the average 18,500 crashes each day. If you’re a terrible driver, or are criminal enough to drive drunk, or are so old you should have been medically barred from driving years ago… you may contribute to the 3,700 fatal crashes that happen each day[5]

Needless to say, this last part is mostly a joke.


In closing, there’s a dramatic difference between security at the airport and every other method of travel in the country. The country’s leaders are so worried about being held accountable by the next jet-powered civilian missile, they don’t care if your poor ol’ granny gets mugged or killed on a train or bus. 

[1] Electronics: And is the TSA going to replace any of this equipment if it’s damaged or stolen while in their custody (on the conveyor belt)? 

Nope! Most claims are denied.

[2] Train Stations: Most tourists get on stations at major cities, but I’m not mentioning the various rural stations trains service daily, which have absolutely no security beyond the ticket checker. Rural areas are where most of the domestic religious fanatics live, so we should be very concerned about this… but, we aren’t.

[3] Security: Shipboard security not owned by the government. The staff is privately owned by either the cruise-line or a third-party contractor

[4] Passenger Size: 2,000-3,000 passengers is the average guest population of cruise ships before Covid-19.

[5] Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (2019). Motor Vehicle Safety Data. Retrieved from U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: https://www.bts.gov/content/motor-vehicle-safety-data

An Ally Against China?

Who do you think would be a great ally in a future war against China?

England? Sure.

France? Ha! They’ve been more of a burden than a true ally in almost every modern war.

Germany? They’ve been a great ally for decades, but they need to focus on Europe right now.

Japan? With their Self-Defense Force? Maybe if they’re hiding the SDF-1[1] under the ocean.

India. Yes.

Aust- Wait what?

India?! Really? How can a 3rd world country famous for spices, tea, outsourcing, and telemarketers help us in a modern war?!

Here me out.

The population of China is about 1.4 billion, and the US has about 330 million people[2]. That means the Chinese horde outnumbers us by at least 4 times in population alone. They can easily overwhelm us by attacking in swarms. We need a human swarm of our own… India.

India has a population which almost matches China, and we can use that uncontrolled population growth to our advantage. There already are several points of contention between the two nations, some are cultural and ancient. But more importantly, is the fact their militaries have had deadly border clashes in recent years. 

Yes, the US and India have very different cultures. Yes, most Americans despise Indians because we can’t understand them over the phone, and all our administrative service jobs are being outsourced there.

But, despite those minor annoyances, both nations are democracies with elected officials. Neither of our nations has had conflict in the past. The United States was quick to recognize India when they broke from the United Kingdom (aka Britain). And we both have concerns about an increasingly aggressive totalitarian nation.

This is the perfect recipe for a military alliance.

While we’re fighting a sea battle to defend the Pacific nations, the Indians can take advantage of the situation by invading from the west. The Chinese will be fighting a war on 2 fronts and when the tide turns, the allied nations will be in a better situation to bottle up the dragon of the orient.

Unless the Chinese cheat and go nuclear…

[1] SDF-1: Super Dimensional Fortress, from the 1985 Robotech anime series.

[2] The World Bank. (2020). Population, total. Retrieved from The World Bank: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL

Why is France mad about AUKUS?

Author’s Note: This article is meant to be a unique description of the AUKUS pact by addressing the reaction, and by describing the reasons why the USA is a better partner than France. I’m a US citizen, and this article may be a bit biased for the pact, and against France’s reaction to it. Because of this, I claim “author’s prerogative.”

Someone is throwing a fit over the new AUKUS security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The name, AUKUS, is an acronym of the spliced abbreviations for each signatory to the treaty. It involves the sale of nuclear submarines to Australia, increased collaboration with cybertechnology, and possibly includes stationing US subs to the country as part of the strategic defense of the area.

Australia warned France about concerns they had with the contract and the quality of the submarines months in advance to AUKUS. Instead of proactively negotiating to ensure they can provide a better deal, France did nothing. They claim the loss was a complete surprise to them and AUKUS is a stab in the back. In a fit of rage, the country recalled their ambassadors to Australia and the United States. They threw such a tantrum, the US President had to have a phone call with his French counterpart. Late last week, we were shocked to hear the breaking news that we “normalized” our relations with France.

How could our relationship have deteriorated so badly over a simple agreement? It’s not like one of our warships attacked France, so why do our relations need normalizing?

I wasn’t aware that France had a “Nouvelle Révolution”, reinstating their monarchy and placing a queen on the throne… a Drama Queen.

Let’s evaluate the merits of the pact.

Sale of Nuclear Submarines

Australia cancelled their 90-billion-dollar contract with France to build 12 French subs[1]. That’s about 7.5 billion dollars per sub. Compare that to the average cost of 3.4 billion dollars to build a Virginia-class nuclear submarine[2].

That’s less than half the price!

It makes perfect sense to buy a state-of-the-art submarine at half the cost. I don’t know what the final price for each unit will be, but it’s still a great deal even if we apply a 50% retail markup! So, who in their right mind willingly buys over-priced products?!

US Deployment to Australia

I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to have a strategic defense alliance with a nation, France would be the last “major” country I’d consider. France has historically performed poorly in most of its wars during the 20th century. Germany conquered a lot of French territory in World War I, but lost it to the coalition. During World War II, France got conquered outright and had to be liberated by the Allies.

After the Second World War, most of the wars France emerged as the victor include: coalition efforts, and/or conflicts against non-national opponents (uprisings, insurgents, terrorists). Since World War II, France has participated in about 30 conflicts, and individually was the victor of 3 conflicts[3]. Of the 2 conflicts the country fought 1-on-1 with another nation (excluding revolts) France barely has a 50% win-rate.

That’s not a good track-record.


The pact allows for closer collaboration with technological development. France doesn’t have a related agreement in place, and likely won’t have one since they lack the necessary infrastructure necessary to provide meaningful contributions to cyber-related technological developments. The AUKUS agreement is a good decision to enter into with the US, because we have the infrastructure and know-how. Another inherent benefit is the common language the three nations share which will make the relationship run a lot smoother.

Plus, when most people think of France, we tend to think of: wine, tourism, the language of love, beautiful sprawling cities, art, overpaid and underutilized labor, and riots over pretty much anything including: labor, immigration, violence or killings, labor again, news from the middle-east, wealth disparity, labor (yet again)…

Information technology and Cybernetics are the last things I’d associate with that country.


Why is France so upset over the AUKUS pact? Is it truly because they lost out on selling overpriced submarines to Australia? Yes. Losing 90 billion USD means they’re missing out on almost a fifth (20%) of their annual trade[4], [5], [6]. I’d be pretty pissed if I was their leader.

I too would have thrown a tantrum if:

  • It means that businesses in my country are going to miss out on that large amount of money.
  • It means my people are going to suffer job cuts.
  • It means my country will be on international news because of the next inevitable labor riot.
  • It means my chances of getting re-elected are going to plummet since I couldn’t prevent this terrible loss.

Yes, they have reason to be upset. However, the pact includes services they cannot reliably provide. Nor did they do their due-diligence to ensure they were competitive enough to keep the submarine contract, especially when warned their customer was dissatisfied with the price and quality of the product.

It’s business, not romance.

[1] Shields, Bevan et al. (2021, September 18). France recalls its ambassadors to Australia and United States amid submarine fury. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/france-recalls-its-ambassadors-to-australia-and-united-states-amid-submarine-fury-20210918-p58srt.html

[2] Wikipedia. (n.d.). Virginia-class submarine. Retrieved from Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia-class_submarine

[3] Wikipedia. (n.d.). List of wars involving France. Retrieved from Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_France

[4] The United States export value is about 3 times that of France, meaning the subs account for about 5% of our outgoing trade.

[5] NationMaster. (n.d.). Economy Stats: Compare Key Data on France & United States. Retrieved from NationMaster: https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/France/United-States/Economy#

[6] WITS. (2019). France Trade Statistics: Exports, Imports, Products, Tariffs, GDP and related Development Indicator. Retrieved from World Integrated Trade Solution: https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/FRA

Post-Apocalypse Markets

How will we operate businesses and trade after World War III, or if a catastrophic attack or disaster befalls our country? The local economy is going to have to focus on producing or trading products needed for survival. That means the most important products and services are going to be things that can immediately be used for everyday household needs, and probably won’t stray too far from that. 

Where will you find a market to trade goods? The surviving malls of the old civilization have been turned into palaces for highway barons and their minions[1]. Most supermarkets have been looted and damaged so extensively that it’d be impossible to secure your inventory. So, what does that leave us with?

Flea markets!

After everyone abandons the major cities and metroplexes, after the initial chaos settles, and when communities start coming together, the once forgotten flea market is going to become the new mall or trading hub. Why?

  1. They exist out in rural areas, which aren’t going to be targeted by a foreign enemy.

I mean, come on! Who’s going to waste a nuke on Woodville, Texas, or a small village called Swartout?!

  • There won’t be any reliable electricity, and these places with outdoor pavilions are going to be perfect to serve as the malls of the post-apocalyptic future. Some of the more upscale flea markets are wired for electricity, and a generator can be hooked up allowing the market to operate at night. 
  • Most flea markets are structured in a way that makes them easily defendable. The rent and protection fees vendors will be forced to pay landlords will help fund the market’s security.
  • Plus, it shouldn’t be too hard to convert some of the stall-pavilions into make-shift housing for vendors and security personnel. 

The only problem I can see is getting products to that market. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 21 million horses in the United States[2]. Nowadays, horses, donkeys, and other draft animals are endangered here in the USA. According to Pete Gibbs[3], a Texas A&M University animal science professor, the Houston area has one of the highest concentrations of horses in the country, with a population between 150,000 and 200,000. We’ve become so dependent on the almighty car, we don’t have the draft animals to produce the “horsepower” needed for agriculture or transportation.

There’s a reason why automobiles are advertised as having varying amounts of horsepower.

I always liked a scene in Things to Come[4] when the Airman lands and the community leader arrives on a convertible car being pulled by horses. I thought it was funny the first time I saw the movie, but that odd sight may very well be the stagecoach of the future. We will need to return to using animals to power our new agrarian society and to bring those products to market. 

Dollars will be worthless.

The new economy will be based on barter. If you want a certain product, you’ll need to trade something of equal or greater value… and more often than not, you’ll need to trade with greater value.

Inequitable trading is to be expected. Recall that a centralized economy doesn’t exist anymore. There is no reliable currency, so it makes sense people will want to trade their products for greater value because of this unreliability.

Whatever you do, do not accept any immaterial currency as trade. Currency only works in an insulated environment controlled by someone who has power to enforce the stated value. It also needs the faith of people who believe in the inherent value of that currency. None of that exists any more.

You may be able to trade currency with one person, only to find out it’s worthless to another. It’s also easy for that same person you originally traded with to turn around and say they aren’t accepting cash or currency as legal tender anymore. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who’s as gullible as you to accept that currency in turn when that happens. 

Recall that I previously mentioned currency only works in an insulated environment? In this new world, you may encounter specialized currency at a sealed market. In this situation, you trade goods the community needs for a posted amount upon entry and receive a locally accepted form of currency, which can only be used inside the borders of the market. Expect the person issuing you the new currency to take a cut of your trade as a fee. (The local government has to make money too.)

If you encounter this type of system, you need to make sure you spend all of this new money immediately. If you have any cash left over, use it to buy something that has a stable value, like non-perishable food.

Nothing is certain anymore. A change of leadership could happen, or counterfeiters could flood the market. Whatever the cause, the accepted form of payment can change overnight and you’ll be left with nothing of value to trade the next day.

I’m pretty sure food will become the new unit of account for currency, akin to what the “gold standard” used to be. If the new markets are smart, they will base the currency on the common knowledge of caloric count. and may give special dispensation, or increase in price, to foods which provide a boost to certain vitamins and minerals. An example would be bananas, which are high in potassium. If you’re operating a distillery in the post-apocalyptic future, it’d be beneficial to grow bananas as well as distill alcohol. You could resell the bananas as a hangover remedy[5]

What’s going to be sold at these markets?

Food will be the most important products being sold at the market, and you might not find much else until the local economy gets stronger.

Eggs and live chickens are light and easy to transport, and will be the first proteins or meat to be traded. I emphasize that chickens will be traded alive, because there won’t be power to refrigerate and preserve butchered meat. The best way for the new markets to cheaply “preserve” meat for days is by selling it live.

I don’t think many hens capable of laying eggs will be sold at the market. It doesn’t make sense for the farmer to sell something that’s making money or ensuring the survival of his or her family.

Livestock will be another early addition to the market. Horses and donkeys will cost a fortune because they can provide transportation and power to work the land. You may be able to find goats at the market too. Demand for goats milk and cheese will plummet. Most Americans don’t have a taste for either, and storing the dairy products will be next to impossible without electricity. Farmers will need to sell off or cull their stock when it becomes apparent they can’t feed all the animals on the farm. You can buy them for the meat, or if you can get a male and female, purchase to start your own farm.

You may find the same situation with pigs. There will be too many mouths to feed and no way to quickly preserve the meat. Both pigs and goats can eat pretty much anything, so feeding a small number of these animals won’t be much of a problem for a survivalist farmer. If it does get too hard to feed them, then it may be time to host a meat-lover’s party.

Fuel may show up at the market at some point. I’m not sure when it will appear though. Most people with petroleum gas or propane may try to hold onto it to power farming machinery or generators. Barring hoarding for personal use, I’m pretty sure fuel will get confiscated by local governments to power emergency vehicles, or possibly provide a dramatically scaled down form of public transportation.

A Word of Caution

What if you want to start a business and open a shop? That’s very enterprising of you, but drill this into your head now:

Don’t set up shop at home!

You’re basically inviting people to come to your house and look at what you’ve got. The majority of your shoppers are probably honest, but you need to expect that with every 10 customers, there’s probably 1 thief scoping out your home to rob later. If the “business” gets burglarized, so does your family.

It’s much safer to sell things at a market. Yes, you’ll have to pay rent on your stall and you may have to pay a security surcharge on top of that, but it’s worth it in the long-run.


Money as we know it will be worthless after a catastrophic attack or disaster befalls our country. So, how will we conduct business and trade? Our redefined economy will be based on barter and locally defined currency exchanges. Flea markets will be the perfect foundations to establish markets to buy, sell, and trade goods.

Check my blog later for the next part of this post-apocalyptic series. I plan to describe what you might do for a living after the collapse.

[1] A wise slum-lord will take over a mall with a jewelry store, and use the gold, diamonds, and other precious metals as a form of currency to pay an army of desperate soldiers.

[2] ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance. (2007, September). The Educational Programming Guide for Going Places. Retrieved from Park City Museum: https://parkcityhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Teacher-Background-Information.pdf

[3] Crowe, R. (2006, January 18). Riders rearing up over new horse restrictions. Retrieved from Chron: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Riders-rearing-up-over-new-horse-restrictions-1889342.php

[4] Menzies, W. C. (Director). (1936). Things to Come [Motion Picture].

[5] I’m sure there’s a Ferengi Rule of Acquisition related to this.

What do we call space travelers?

The SpaceX Inspiration4 all-civilian flight landed this past weekend and there’s been a lot of speculation as to what we should be calling these space tourists now and in the future. We can’t call civilian space travelers “tourists” forever, because tourism will not be the only reason why civilians travel to space. If we’re lucky, these early space flights will be the start of even more civilian trips into space for science, exploration, and general business.

But what do we call these civilian space travelers?

A couple names have come to the forefront of this debate, including: Amateur Space Traveler and Astronaut/Cosmonaut.

I heard someone propose “Amateur Space Traveler” in the news last week as a potential name for civilian space travelers. Those who support this name use the first definition of the noun, amateur, which is: one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession. However, the second definition is truly what most people associate with that term: one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science[1].

Some people want to call them “Astronauts”, same as the few people who earned the lofty title in NASA. As you can imagine, there’s push-back against this because NASA already uses the title for the few Astronauts they send up to space. There’s a fear that as more people go into space and become “Astronauts”, it will diminish the historic achievements made in the past by the early pioneers of space.

Arguments for Astronaut or Cosmonaut

I’ve already made my opinion clear about that terrible idea of calling future space travelers amateurs. So, for the moment, let’s focus on why “Astronaut” and “Cosmonaut” are appropriate names.

Purely based on the definition and origin of the names, both are appropriate. Astronaut is the combination of 2 Greek words: Astron, meaning star, and -naut[es] meaning sailor or traveler. Similarly, Cosmonaut is a combination of 2 Greek words: kosmos, meaning world or universe, and -naut[es] meaning sailor or traveler.

Just because NASA and the Soviet Union invented the words and used them for over 60 years doesn’t give them a monopoly on the word or title. For starters, you can’t patent a word. This has been the case for decades and everyone knows it, but let’s give this idea the benefit of the doubt… and then shoot it down.

Patent law gives the inventor a 20-year monopoly, which has long-sense passed. It could be argued that the word can be trademarked, but that can only happen if it identifies with the organization or product. Fortunately, there are certain words which cannot be registered like: names & titles, or generic terms (like astronaut)[2].

We should also consider the likelihood we’re going to see classically employed astronauts achieve historic goals in the future. Let’s not kid ourselves here, there’s no future in manned space exploration and exploitation with the existing government-controlled space agencies.

Yes, I just pointed out the increasingly obsolete elephant in the room. Come fight me NASA!

Better yet, prove me wrong[3].

Anyways, the fact remains that the only publicly announced manned project NASA has in its sights is a vague goal to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. Aside from NASA’s pie-in-the-sky goal, no other space agency has anything planned. Although, does anyone outside of China know what the Chinese are planning[4]?

Which should we use: Astronaut or Cosmonaut?

While both Astronaut and Cosmonaut are correct terms to use, we can’t use both names. That’ll cause more confusion in the long run. So, what do most people think of when they think about space travelers or people in space? To answer this question, I asked the greatest tool to find connected indexed information… Google.

  • What are travelers in space called?
  • What is a space worker called?
  • What is a space tourist called?

I ran several Google searches asking variations of the above questions, and the results all point to the same answer: Astronaut.

Other Names for Space Travelers

I think Astronaut sounds appropriate, but I’d like to propose a few potential names for future space travelers: Spacers, Private Astronauts, Citizen Space Travelers, or Space Citizens. I have 2 preferences out of these names, and will describe the reasons why I think they’re good.

I like the term “Space Citizen” because space is so vast, people will need to live in space no matter what their profession is. The minimum amount of time it takes to get anywhere is counted in days, and that’s just to reach a destination near Earth’s orbit. It will take months, maybe even a year, to reach destinations further out in the Sol system. These space workers probably won’t have close associations weighing them down to the planet. Nor does it make sense for these citizens to maintain homes on Earth either, unless they left behind family[5].

If we’re lucky, people will eventually be born in space, and probably to multi-national parents. Think of the citizenship complications that will cause.

I have a strong preference for the term “Spacer”, and think it has a greater likelihood of being used in the future, even over “Astronaut”.

  1. It’s simple. The word can be said in 2 syllables and is easier to use in a sentence, and it can’t be acronymized all by itself.
  2. It has universality (pun sort-of intended). People are Spacers if they live and work in space, no matter what they do. They can be a: space miner, engineer on a spaceship, doctor in a medbay, security officer on a ship or station, and even a child whose family lives in space. “Spacer” has the quality of being appropriate for all those roles.
  3. I think people who live in space will be called “Spacers” collectively. Their identities may be further defined by their profession, but not likely as a citizen of the nation they were born to.
  4. It sounds cool! I love science fiction and can’t deny the appeal the term “Spacer” has when I think of people living and working in space.


What should we call future space travelers? “Astronaut” and “Cosmonaut” are technically correct, but may be outdated. “Private Astronaut” seems like applying a band-aid to answer the question. I think “Spacer”, or some other designation inspired by science fiction, may be the best option now and in the future.

I don’t know what we’ll end up calling them, but I do know it won’t matter if we don’t get our act together.

In the 1960s, we were making rapid advances in space technology and engineering. We were making so many new innovations, it seemed like anything was possible. One of the most realistic science fiction books published around that time, 2001: A Space Odyssey, predicted that we’d have several things by the new millennium. We should have had a massive space station in orbit, an outpost on the Moon, and the ability to travel between the planets.

Those developments in that science fiction novel were very achievable and should have been realized by the 21st century, but history or politics had different plans. We can’t let that happen again.

Since the established space programs are at the mercy of fickle governments, which lack the will needed to reliably follow through with large-scale projects, we need private enterprises to take the reins.

I’m willing to accept the risk of letting private enterprises take the lead into space, if it results in greater technological developments and exploration into space. Especially, since such advances can only help ensure the overall survival of our species.

[1] Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Amateur. Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur

[2] There are other phrases or words that cannot be trademarked, but I only focused on those relevant to this subject.

[3] Space fight: Russia, please stay out of this fight. I prefer my tea to be free of radioactive ingredients.

[4] I fear that only a national embarrassment or a “Sputnik moment”, like China establishing a permanent outpost on the Moon, will motivate the United States government to invest the time, money, and resources toward projects in space.

[5] Earth-based families: For the purpose of this article, let’s not consider the statistical fact that most long-distance relationships fail. Let’s assume that all partners will remain true to their loved ones and ignore all other sexual and emotional prospects that physically manifest, both on Earth and in space.