Nov 162017

There are certain actors, actresses, actrons and acting units who you know aren’t *really* *good,* as such, but they’re just damned entertaining to watch nonetheless. Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock,” is one such… largely because you can tell that he’s generally having a blast doing whatever goofy thing he’s doing.

The forthcoming “Jumanji” movie looks like it’ll be one such entertaining flick. But perhaps even more so, the movie “Rampage,” due out in April and based on the old arcade game and directed by the director of Johnson’s disaster extravaganza “San Andreas,” looks like a hoot and a half. The addition of Neegan to the cast sure can’t hurt either.


 Posted by at 6:59 pm
Nov 162017

The top and middle engine loops are basically done and detailed. The bottom engine loop has been resculpted, but needs detailing. Once that’s done I’ll head back to the hull to start working on more details. The shuttlebay will almost certainly be modeled closed as at 1/1400 scale it’s really, really small. However, I’ll probably still work out the basics of it… because I want to get a 1/350 version milled out.

 Posted by at 6:49 pm
Nov 152017

There’s a spaceship on the screen. It is therefore a nerd-priority to determine *everything* about it, starting with “just how big is it?” Of course this exercise could be quickly negated by a simple mention of length on screen or off. But lacking that, we can logic ourselves into a rough estimate.

First up, the internet provides two photos that show canon illustrations of the ship, diagrams that appear on display screen on the bridge of the Orville:

The first shows an inboard profile of the main hull with the engine loops; the second shows a top view of the whole ship with a closer view of the cross-section of the main hull. For scaling purposes, that cross section is what we’re after. however, it must be noted right up front that the cross section, canon and used repeatedly on-screen as it is… is WRONG. it must be an earlier iteration of the designs, since there are some meaningful detail differences. The bridge, for starters, is shown further aft that it actually is. And there are lounge “bumps” fore and aft that do not appear on the final design. So it *may* turn out that the interior arrangement could be equally erroneous. However, at this time this is what we got.

Also note that the full side-view marries the 2D-drafted interior profile with what looks like 3D rendered engine loops… loops that are shown not square side-on. So, that’s also less than entirely helpful. but again… it’s what there is to work with.

OK, so how to use these images to determine scale? “The Orville” clearly hearkens back to TNG-era Trek for much of the styling. But the Orville is not a major capital ship like the Enterprise was, but a smaller vessel… like Treks Voyager. Fortunately Voyager has been well defined. There are a large number of “master systems display” inboard profile diagrams of the Voyager to pick from, including this one:

The Voyager MSD clearly shows the decks. The Orville “MSD” also shows its decks:

It’s by no means certain that the Orville uses the same spacing between decks that Voyager did… but again, it’s the best assumption that can be made at this time. So, the thing to do is to take the decks of the known-quantity-Voyager and scale the decks of the Orville to line up, like this:

Once you’ve scaled the Orville diagrams to match the deck-scale of the Voyager diagram, everything lines up looking like this:

And what this results in is the Orville being *really* close in length to the Voyager… 337 meters  for the Orville, 345 meters for Voyager. I don’t know if this was intentional on the part of the shows producers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an in-joke here that the Orville is supposed to be exactly the same length as Voyager.

So for now, and until I see something better, I’m going with a length of 337 meters for Orville. Given the lack of a “secondary hull” the Orville thus seems to have substantially less internal volume than Voyager, so probably a  smaller crew. But interestingly the Orville is *much* faster than Voyager. In the episode “Pria” it is claimed that Orville can fly at 10 light years per hour. If it was suddenly dumped 70,000 light years from home as Voyager was, it could fly home in 7,000 hours… 291 days. “The Orville” could thus copy the “ST:V” model by having the ship tossed to the other side of the galaxy – say, a season finale – and could wrap things up entirely within the next season. When the Orville gets back to Earth, rather than being met with celebrations, it’s met with “where the hell have you been? You’re late.”

Sanity check – a comparisons of the lounges and shuttlecraft between the two ships:

Looks about right.

 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Nov 092017

In all the stories, the robots rise up and try to wipe out mankind because they’ve been treated poorly. So you’d think that mankind would learn from a century of literature, movies an TV on the subject. But NOOOOOOO.

So a self-driving shuttle bus service starts up in Las Vegas, and what happens? Within a day a human driver plows into the thing.

And so it begins.

Human at fault in accident with Las Vegas driverless shuttle

 Posted by at 9:16 am
Nov 062017

Theoretical evidence suggests that the fusion of two quarks could be a substantially more energetic event than the fusion of two hydrogen atoms.  Two “bottom” quarks release 138 million electron volts when fused to create a nucleon, while the fusion of deuterons/tritons to produce helium nuclei average out to about 18 million electron volts.

That’s cool and all, but the problem is that the lifespan of a free-roaming bottom quark is about one picosecond, while a halflife of tritium is 12.3 years. This means you can’t actually build up any of the stuff. If you posit some near-magical advanced technology that can crank out a kilo of bottom quarks in much less than a picosecond and mash them all together, you’ve probably posited a technology that can make a bigger bang without going to the bother of fusing the quarks… just the process of turning barionic matter into a pile of quarks is probably damaging enough (imagine if the Death Star didn’t just fire a boring old laser beam, but emitted a magical field that converts the baryons that make up a planet into free quarks).

Still, it’s always interesting when science comes up with new stuff that allows science journalists to kinda freak out a bit and produce clickbaity article titles…

The Subatomic Discovery That Physicists Considered Keeping Secret

 Posted by at 11:27 am