Saw a pile of these at a store a few days ago. So if you need to prepare yourself for Y2K, here are three hours of instruction on two state of the art audiocassettes, marked down from $20 to the low, low price of only $12.

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In science fiction, things are almost never made of what *we* would make things out of.  Titanium or steel? Nah, Duranium Hull Alloy. Adamantium. Unobtanium. In reality, most of the future will most likely be made out of steel, aluminum and concrete. Sure, better stuff is available, but it’s hard to beat the classics for sheer availability.

On the other hand, some applications really need materials a lot stronger and lighter, or just plain weirder, than what we have today. Huzzah!

Scientists create a ‘Star of David’ molecule — a step towards molecular chainmail

The article is kinda lean on details, but the upshot seems to be that a form of “chainmail” can be built at the molecular level. If true, this *might*lead to molecule-thick sheets that resist tearing and can form really light weight bulletproof armor, maybe parachutes that weight grams, perhaps solar sails.

Benzene-derived ​carbon nanothreads

Basically molecule-width diamond fibers. Just the thing to replace carbon fiber… and perhaps strong enough to begin to think that maybe space elevators might be made to work.

Earlier the Unwanted Blog was running kinda screwy and the Aerospace Projects Review blog was just plain dead. According to Hostcentric tech support, this was due to some database work being done somewhere in Massachusetts. Obviously the Unwanted Blog is back, but the APR blog is still offline. Feh.

On one hand, this looks like a reasonably low-budget kids movie. On the other hand… dinosaur movie.

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Hint: not the US.

 

Two UAE reactors should be operational by 2020 and Saudi Arabia could complete twelve nuclear reactors from 2022-2034

Why is it that the middle east is preparing for a post-oil world… but we’re not? Bah.

I went to the gun show in Sandy today. Not to buy anything, just… to look at stuff. And one thing above all others was worth looking at: an Arsenal Firearms double-barreled .45:

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A wholly impractical firearm, especially considering that the seller claimed to have turned down an offer to buy it for $6000. Still, it looks incredibly entertaining. Ah, well…

One question was answered, at least. While it appears to have two triggers, there’s really only one. The “two” are just forward projections of a single piece of metal. There is a single very wide hammer, so there’d be no choice but to fire two rounds with each trigger pull. How it *doesn’t* qualify as an automatic in that regard, I have no idea. It’s probably just so odd that the ATF hasn’t figured out how to ban it yet.

While the US government is insanely bloated and often just plain insane, it’s worth noting that it’s nothing compare to the Europeans:

Photographic ID card now needed to buy hair bleach under European anti-terror laws

Peroxide blondes must now apply for photographic ID to buy the strongest hair bleach, under little-noticed new European anti-terror rules.

Model car buffs are also hit, as chemicals they use for fuel are controlled under the new scheme, run by the Home Office.

Anyone wishing to buy such materials must pay £40 for a three-year licence, or face two years’ jail. Shopkeepers can also be imprisoned if they do not check papers.

Papers, please…

After a bit of a delay, the September rewards have been released. These include a large-format inboard profile of the North American Aviation F-108 Rapier Mach 3+ interceptor:

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And “Notes on Space Technology,” a compilation of notes by the Flight Research Division of the NACA Langley Research Center based on a space technology course given in the early part of 1958. A hefty 670+pages in length, this covered just about every aspect of space travel as understood in 1958. While I haven’t read the whole thing, it appears to be not only of historical interest, but also useful to get a pretty good general grasp of space travel science, principles and technologies.

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Also included for the higher level patrons are three CAD diagrams:

Boeing Bird of Prey stealth, manufacturing and materials testing prototype aircraft from the 1990′s

Zenith Star experimental space based laser anti-missile system, 1988

Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2, a maneuverable hypersonic glider for missile-launched warheads

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The September rewards are about a week and a half late in being released. Since I hope to get the October rewards out a little earlier than normal, that means that the September releases will probably be available for a short time.

If you would like to access these items and support the cause of acquiring and sharing these pieces of aerospace history, please visit my Patreon page and consider contributing.

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Ha!

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Around 5 billion years from now. at about the time the sun is bloating into a  red giant and eating the inner solar system, the Andromeda galaxy will come stomping up to the Milky Way and tear it to shreds. Andromeda will get badly mangled as well; the two galaxies will throw a fair deal of their mass out into interstellar space, but the bulk will merge into a new more massive galaxy. Individual starts are vanishingly unlikely to collide, though gravitational interactions with close passes will probably disrupt many planetary systems. Entire solar systems will be flung into the depths of interstellar space.  Imagine how a civilization might evolve on a planet circling such a star…  tens of millions of years after the event, the only lights in the night sky would be other planets, moons, asteroids… and one faint smudge that is the combined galaxy. *If* powerful telescopes are developed (and they might well not be, especially if there are no other planets), then the other galaxies throughout the universe might be detected, but it’s incredibly unlikely that they’ll be understood. With only a single star visible, how would these hypothetical astronomers ever even *hope* to grasp what galaxies are?

A computer simulation of the merger.

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