Feb 222018
 

Quite  number of years ago, AIG ran a commercial that starts off showing rockets failing and ending up with astronauts on the moon. A recitation of bits from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” covers it. The poem itself is a dismal tale of a cowardly paper-pusher, but everything edited together like this comes together really well to illustrate the message of the commercial, “The greatest risk is not taking one.”

It was good in its time, and I felt it personally very affecting. But imagine it redone *now.* Now, you wouldn’t need to splice together old Apollo and ICBM footage to go from fail to spectacular success… everything you need would come from SpaceX.

 

 

 Posted by at 6:27 pm
Feb 222018
 

Now this right here is funny, and insightful:

 

And then Film Theory delves into how the fictional nation of Wakanda is economically doooooooomed due to the combination of having a dictatorship (not to mention they pick their leaders via trial by combat… really, is the guy best able to beat the other guy to death *really* likely to be the best guy to efficiently run a nation?), a command economy, and an economy based on a single resource:

 Posted by at 1:37 pm
Feb 202018
 

From Those Were The Days… currently on eBay is a truly impressive piece:

Douglas Aircraft Co 1960’s Skeletal Wood Model of the C-5 Cargo Proposal LARGE

The Buy-It-Now price is a substantial fifteen grand. It shows the internal structure of the Douglas proposal of the CX-HLS, what became the C-5, at fairly large scale. More pics after the break.

Computer graphics are great. But they would not compare to seeing something like this set up as part of a sales display. Of course, you can’t exactly email this thing as a PDF…

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
Feb 172018
 

There are two things at work here:

  1. Toys have in general improved in artistic quality and detail
  2. The target audience back in the day was 10. The target audience remains the same people, who have grown older and generally more wealthy in the intervening decades.

The Vintage Collection Jabba’s Sail Barge (The Khetanna)

Hasbro has set up their own form of Kickstarter. If they can get 5,000 people willing to pony up $500, they will produce this “toy” of the Sail Barge slight over *49* inches in length. If they don’t reach the goal, those who signed up won’t be charged. As with Kickstarter, this seems like a fair way to test the market for something that could either be a winner or a disaster.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Sail Barge, but I hope they do well. If this works, it seems like they might go to the next obvious step and do a proper scale version of the Millennium Falcon. And if that works… a Star Destroyer. That would only be, what, 293 feet long.

Back when Star Wars came out, *I* was the exact target audience and boy howdy did I want one of the die cast Star Destroyers. And man, those original toys were *garbage* compared to what they’re able to produce today.

 

 

 Posted by at 6:12 pm
Feb 152018
 

If you just so happen to look like a world-famous national leader, go ahead and make of it what you will. If you can parlay it into a source of income… lucky you. If you happen to look like a dictator, though, you might give the idea a bit more thought before you go out of your way to look even more like your doppleganger. And more thought still before going to the Olympics and getting in front of said dictators cheerleaders.

Still, as trolling goes this is fairly epic.

This Fake Kim Jong Un Got An Icy Reception From North Korean Cheerleaders

N.Korea cheerleaders’ reaction to Kim Jong Un impersonator http://ift.tt/2EJg1XK 

 

Apparently it’s illegal in North Korea to impersonate Dear Leader. Who knew?

 Posted by at 5:48 pm
Feb 082018
 

Not the Heavy launched a few days ago, but the previous Falcon 9, launched a week ago and soft-landed in the water.

Air Force Strike Takes Out SpaceX’s Floating GovSat Booster

The booster tested high retrothrust landing. Like a lot of SpaceX’s successful tests, they didn’t expect the booster to survive virtually intact, so they didn’t have a plan in place to recover the thing. Officially that made it a hazard to navigation; boosters like this have carbon over-wrapped high pressure helium tanks and other splodey bits. Unofficially, I wonder if the real reason was a desire to keep the booster from falling into nefarious hands… not so much the likes of United Launch Alliance, but more like Bond villains or the Chinese government (but I repeat myself).

Exactly how the Chinese or SPECTRE would go about snagging a floatign rocket booster is anyone guess. The rational approach would be to pre-position a modified cargo vessel equipped with cranes and such… hardly likely to go un-noticed. Less likely would be to modify a submarine to rise up underneath it, latch on, poke some holes in it, sink and be on its way. Less likely still would be a giant dirigible or seaplane.

These are of course all silly. But then, the CIA paying Howard Hughes to scoop a Soviet ballistic missile sub off the ocean floor was a silly notion as well.

But to the specific topic at hand, I wonder if the strike operation was carried out with laser guided bombs or with gunfire. I suspect the former… a B-1 or B-52 laying waste seems like the sort of excessive drama the situation calls for.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Feb 072018
 

Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this:

Watching those two boosters plummet from the sky and dual land like that? That’s some sci-fi sh!t, right there.

EDIT: And then there’s this one, shot from the ULA Delta IV launch pad at SLC-37. I believe you can see the Apollo 1 launch table in the foreground, which I’ve been to and highly recommend in much the same way I recommend the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in D.C. This video has some subtle sounds that are interesting and important, so crank up the volume to 11.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:45 am
Feb 062018
 

Here’s a shorter video, cropped for your booster-landing pleasure:

And because why not, here’s some recent test flight footage of the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor, complete with some curious blurring of the nacelles for some mysterious reason:

And lest y’all think I’m unfairly focusing too much attention on American achievements today… here’s a map of Europe.

 Posted by at 5:07 pm
Feb 062018
 

SpaceX is currently livestreaming a series of videos being beamed back from the roadster, heading off into space. It’s already a good distance from Earth, with the result being some damn fine images. I do wonder how long this will last. It’s already far further away than I would have thought possible with a  meager GoPro transmitter that they usually use on space launches. Is it battery powered? Does it have solar panels? it would be really interesting to check back in on the roadster every few months to see what the rigors of spaceflight do the the paint and bodywork. Eventually you’d probably see the windshield get pitted, maybe even blown out in meteoroid impacts; the paint trashed by UV and thermal cycling, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, carbon fiber bits turning to mush and fluff.

 

 

 Posted by at 3:39 pm