A piece of NASA art (a photo from eBay, with an attempt at correcting parallax error), likely from 1962-63, depicting current and forthcoming space launch vehicles. Of note, rather obviously, is the “Nova” launcher at far right. But also noteworthy are the “Thor Agena B” and the “Atlas Agena B,” both of which are depicted with the Agena upper stage & payloads blacked out. This could be due to security concerns over the Agena configuration… or perhaps the Agena was not yet well defined, and by blacking them out, the artist would not have to depict them (and yet they could be given an air of mystery). It would not surprise me if there is another version of this artwork with the Agenas shown clearly.

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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist

It has been a few days since I posted about public school teacher and (apparently craptacular) amateur sci-fi author Patrick McLaw getting arrested and disappeared for writing an (apparently craptacular) sci-fi novel. And there doesn’t really seem to be any news since then. And that alone is news. If there was a valid case against this guy, you’d think the local police/prosecutors would be touting their case. Instead… nothing.


A Bell Helicopter title block from a layout diagram of a tiltrotor aircraft meant to transport business executives and the like:

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Some cell phone photos from a few days ago:

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I had Vegemite once, long ago. I think it was while in college, so that’d be going on a quarter century ago. As memory serves it tasted like salt and sadness, so these reactions seem familiar.

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“It tastes like someone tried to make food and failed horribly.”

“This was strange and horrible.”

“Weird and acidy and gross and makes you want to barf.”


Fort Hood shooter writes to ISIS leader, asks to become ‘citizen’ of Islamic State

Nidal Hasan, the Jihadi terrorist traitor who went on a shooting spree at Ft. Hood in 2009, deserves to get his wish. And then the Army can, in a joint mission with the USAF, load him into the payload shroud of a Minuteman III missile and send him to his new homeland.

I find it interesting how popular ISIS is becoming with westerners who want to go and joint the jihad. ISIS was booted out by Al Queda because they were excessively extreme and violent even by AQ standards. ISIS revels in creating and distributing videos showing them carrying out horrific acts of pure evil. And this makes them *more* popular with the jihadi-wannabes. This is, I believe, rather telling about the wannabes: there is something about them that makes them want *more* evil and violence.

Say howdy to the next memecat to dominate the interwebs: Tucker, currently up for adoption (nope… just adopted) at Purrfect Pals, a cat shelter near Seattle, Washington. Tucker has a genetic anomaly that makes her face droop and her skin real thin.

Like Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub, Tucker is visually interesting because she’s, well, deformed. And like Grumpy Cat, the owners of Tucker can probably work things out so that she becomes a valuable resource. But Tucker seems to be especially “special needs,” so one hopes that proper care is taken.

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And because why not… here, have another Chemistry Cat:

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Refugees protest against ‘monotonous’ Italian food

Several dozen refugees in the Veneto province of Belluno, Italy,  have been protesting the fact that they are being given the food of the land they are currently inhabiting.

Sam, a migrant from Gambia who has been staying at a centre on the outskirts of Rome for almost a year, told The Local that the food, which mainly consists of pasta, “is not good” and that some have started making their own meals.

“We need the diet from our country,” he said.

It seems to me that a solution presents itself. Two solutions, in fact:

1) Go back to “our country.”

2) If you want to stay in Italy, accept that *Italy* is “our country.”

Ex-US Navy officer who spied for Soviets dies in prison

John Walker Jr. finally keels over. The man did a *lot* of damage; he basically made US Navy communications transparent to the Soviets in the 70′s and early 80′s.


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Tested at NASA-MSFC, a LOX/LH2 rocket of 20,000 lbs thrust with a 3d printed injector head.

Using traditional manufacturing methods, 163 individual parts would be made and then assembled. But with 3-D printing technology, only two parts were required, saving time and money and allowing engineers to build parts that enhance rocket engine performance and are less prone to failure.

I can see pluses and minuses here. The obvious plus is that a printed part can be hideously complex, geometrically, and thus performance can be high and weight very low. But the parts count thing *might* work against it. Especially if the goal is a reusable engine. Because if there’s any damage… well, ya gotta toss the whole thing.

Years ago I designed and tested a series of increasingly capable liquid rocket engines that used off the shelf spray nozzles in the injector. Weighed more, sure. But the injector head itself was, eventually remarkably simple to design and machine out of simple aluminum, and the injectors could be simply threaded in and out. Easy.

But had I been able to simply 3d print a regen-cooled nozzle and/or combustion chamber… wow, would that have been handy!

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