It seems that jihadis in Libya strolled off with eleven commercial jetliners in late August. Now, what would those folks want with aircraft such as that, I wonder? I bet it’s to deliver candy and stuffed toys and antibiotics to poor underprivileged kids. Yup. That’s gotta be it.
“Curvy?” Well, I suppose insofar as any line that diverges from absolutely mathematically straight is by definition curved, this model and her pants are “curved,” but really… no. And worse: they’re seventy bucks. I would lay good odds that the jean I buy have *way* more material in them than these, require roughly the same amount of manufacturing processing, cost more to ship due to added weight, and might even be somewhat more rugged, yet they cost only a fraction of the $69.95 Gap wants for these “curvy” narrow denim tubes.
Now, all that said, and because I’m assuming I know my audience and what “curvy” actually looks like… here’s a topless photo of Christina Hendricks:
Years ago when I worked at ATK on the Ares I and Ares V booster programs, I put forward an idea. It was a simple and, I thought, fairly obvious notion, based on a few facts:
1) Weight growth is generally to be avoided in space launch. However, if the weight gained is on a booster stage rather than an upper stage, the performance penalty is much reduced.
2) Not every flight would make full use of a launch vehicles potential. Given that propellant is essentially free, compared to the rest of the costs involved, it makes sense where possible to carry extra payloads if you can.
3) A secondary payload on the booster stage is, these days, of minimal interest, but would also be minimally payload-impacting
So here was my idea: on launches of the Ares V booster that did not make full use of the launch vehicles potential, carry “parasite” payloads on the solid rocket boosters. The payloads I had in mine? Paying passengers. The idea would be to put a capsule, or perhaps something akin to Space Ship One (fat fuselage with just enough wing to fly and land), on the nose of the booster. Just after booster separation, the capsules would themselves separate from the boosters.
Since they would be very distinctly sub-orbital, heating issues would be relatively trivial. Since the flight duration would be only a few minutes, onboard life support would also be minimal. As a result, the capsules could be spacious, relatively lightweight, and equipped with *big* windows.
If each booster carried a capsule, and each capsule seated ten passengers, and each passenger paid, say, $100,000, then each flight would generate an extra $2 million. Not much considering the probably $1Billion price tag of each launch, but hey… why not? Some launches could charge more, such as historically important flights to the Moon or Mars or such. How much would *you* have paid to hitch a ride alongside Apollo 11, for example?
With the recent cat illnesses, serious dropoff in business and increase in vet bills, stress levels hereabouts have been at near-historic levels. But hey, at least I haven’t yet contracted a life threatening case of bronchitis in 2014 (that’s me, always looking on the bright side). One of the consequences of stress is a decrease in lesser creativity… I might still be able to creatively think myself out of some emergency situation, but art? Feh. Gone.
Fortunately, things are starting to crawl back towards the normal only-slightly-apocalyptic level of DOOM stress, and creativity is starting to slooowly return. So, some updates:
In short, internet smack-talking and lame almost-certainly-nonsensical threats can bring down a massive military response. But not on *you,* on the poor schmoes whose unsecured WiFi you’ve used to post your nonsense.
So, at least two lessons here:
1) Militarized police…. blah, blah, you’ve heard it before.
2) If you have a WiFi connection in your home and you live close enough to other folks that they could use your signal, make damn sure you have it password protected. Not only will other people riding your WiFi slow your connection down, if they are doing something illegal, *you* may well feel the full force of organized government armed troops. Imagine if your neighbor is using your WiFi to download nekkid photos of the underaged. Or ordering drugs. Or buying illegal weapons. Or trash talking the local police.
Hell, one can easily dream up a conspiracy that a sufficiently irritated police force – or a non-police enemy you might have – could use. Let’s say they don’t like you for… whatever reason. But they don’t have adequate cause to raid your home. But then they find that you have an unsecured WiFi. All that’s now needed is a “burner” phone, some smart phone they can use to get online that won’t be traced back to them. Then they simply sit outside your home and post threats, download illegal stuff, whatever. And then let the appropriate prosecutor know just what a horrible person you are and sit back and wait or them to send in the local special forces to break your doors and windows, terrorize your family, stomp your cat, shoot your dog and, while they’re in there, search your home for whatever they might be able to find.
After the recent excitement down in Ferguson, MO, where the twin joys of “Lootie McRioterson” and “Officer Powermad” met up to do a little dance, I thought it was time to sit back, relax, and think about all the good that a government can do when it has power and the desire to improve peoples natures.
Short form: during Prohibition, the FedGuv thought it’s be a smashing idea to denature alcohol with stuff that wasn’t just nasty tasting, but downright toxic. The idea: since booze was illegal, criminals were stealing denatured alcohol (alcohol for industrial use, “denatured” by adding other substances to it that made it nasty to drink) and re-naturing it to sell to drinkers… so, why not denature the booze with something *truly* awful, so the drinkers wouldn’t take the risk? After the first 100 or so deaths, the press noticed and the story went wide; but people being people, they didn’t want to stop drinking their booze. And the government didn’t think that poisoning them was a bad idea, so they kept doing it. Death toll: around 10,000. Many more sickened and blinded.
*Maybe* killing off a few people drinking illegal hootch seemed like a good idea at the time, but keeping the process going after the death toll was hitting the *thousands* seems a bit excessive. One would hope that these lessons would prevent the government from doing something similar today… after all, everybody knows that smoking kills (second hand smoke alone has killed, what, forty or fifty *trillion* babies just in the past five years, plus or minus), and yet smokers continue to puff away.
Another fine story to keep in mind when contemplating the wisdom of arming the po-po with weapons systems adequate to take on Imperial Clonetroopers, or giving them the reigns to the health care system as a whole.
An often-made comment is that the military is always preparing to fight the *last* war. The point is that wars of the future tend to be unlike those of the past, and unless you keep up with what’s going on, you’ll be surprised by and unprepared for future events. Well, the Pentagon has revealed that, once again, they are not preparing for the future.
Fun times in the world of politics: Scottish independence: Voting under way in referendum I gather it’s a toss-up at this point, probably won’t know for another day or so. Maybe CNN will get lucky and the voting will be 200o-Presidential-Level of close, with hanging chads and legal fights. Elsewhere: Australian PM: Public execution terror […]
McDonnell Douglas artwork from ~1970 showing the F-15 late in the design process. While it’s recognizably the F-15, a number of differences are visible, primary being the ventral fins and slimmer nose. […]
This NOAA website is interesting and informative: State Annual and Seasonal Time Series See how the temperature has changed in your state over the past century… mins, means, maxes, annually and seasonally. Not seeing a whole lot of downward trends, sadly. […]
In a sane world, this would be one of the biggest stories in the developed world’s news. But in a sane world, this story would have never happened. British Town Of Rotherham Shocked By Revelations Of Sexual Abuse The ultra-short form: Rotherham had a “ring” of men who trafficked and gang-raped girls for a long […]
There is a photo of the Colombian womens cycling team making the rounds online today. Normally a photo such as this, which simply shows ‘em at some PR event standing side by side wearing their uniforms, would be of minimal interest to me, and of minimal relevance to this blog. The photo is entirely safe […]
Artwork showing the major Dyna Soar/Titan III contractors. The Titan IIIc show here includes the large pitch stabilization fins (and small yaw fins) attached to the solid rocket boosters. Not depicted are the thrust vector control fluid tanks. At the time, the fins were thought needed to counteract the pitch moment that would be produced […]
After the quake, tsunami and reactor meltdown in Japan a few years ago, one feller decided it would provide a morale boost if he dressed up like Batman and tooled around the city of Chiba on a custom three-wheeled “Batpod.” And apparently he was right. [There is a video that cannot be displayed in this […]
So if Scotland decides to split from the UK, one of the issues will be that the British navy’s Trident missile subs are based in Scotland. There are apparently currently no good Trident bases in England or Wales. So where would the subs go? It looks like the US is a distinct possibility: EXCLUSIVE: Send […]