Sep 262017
 

This… this struck many a nerve. Back in my aerospace engineering days, I had a *lot* of meetings that went more or less like this.

The end result, both in the video and in reality, is for the engineer to just give up and say “yeah, sure, I can do the crazy incomprehensible thing you think you want.” Work from that point forward then becomes an effort not to produce the impossible thing, but to plan out in advance how you’re going to blame who for what.

There were times when I was told to design a component that would only be physically possible in a reality with four physical dimensions. There were *many* times when I had to actually invent something (not just design, but invent, as in come up with a new propellant combination and propellant geometry that had apparently never been tried before, with all the tests and undoubtedly failures and revisions that would require) and I had to tell management in advance how much it would cost and how many man hours it would take, to within a few percent accuracy. There were times when I was told to replace an electrical conductor with a non-conductor, but to make sure that it maintained its conductance. Told to make a rocket motor that performed as well as a standard one, weighed the same, cost the same, but didn’t have a hot exhaust plume. And so on. And every time I made an objection I was told I was being “negative” or was told “that’s your job” or “make it work.”

This also works as an allegory for “a rational man among the social justice warriors.”

 

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Sep 252017
 

So the media is currently ulcerating over Trump suggesting that he’d like to see NFL owners fire players who decide to disrespect the US flag & anthem before games. Here’s the thing:

1: It’s the players right to disrespect the flag, the anthem, the US.

2: It’s any citizens right to say that he’d like to see these people fired.

3: It’s the team owners right to keep them or fire them

4: And it’s the fans right to stop spending time and money on games with players who are over-paid rude jackholes.

 

The NFL gets neither my time nor my money, so the NFL doesn’t care what my opinion is. But when you have an audible fraction of the people in attendance in the stadium *booing* the players behavior, the NFL should probably take some notice. And if you’re one of those fans who watches and/or attends and you’re booing? Stop watching, stop attending. Pretty simple free market stuff.

A few decades ago, professional athletes didn’t get paid diddly squat. Now they get paid more than most CEO’s, certainly more that the vast majority of the STEM majors, cops and soldiers who actually make life not only better but *possible.* They now seem to be an entitled class of dimwitted self-important boobs, paid stupid sums of money to do something fundamentally unimportant. And given how dependent upon politics the NFL is for a large fraction of their vast profits (sweetheart tax deals, getting the military to expend time and treasure for flyovers and the like), you’d think that something the NFL would want their players to be is *non* political, at least on the field.

So if you are a fan who is offended that a lot of the players are disrespecting your country because they are upset that even though black criminals are shot by the police at a lower rate than white criminals, they want that ratio to be tilted even further (that might not be what they *say* their reasons are, but that’s what it comes down to), then there is a simple solution: turn the game off. Stay home. Imagine how much more time and money you’ll have if you’re now going to a stadium to spend several hours watching tattooed millionaires play eleven *minutes* of sportsball and get paid more in that time than you will all year.

If stadiums emptied and the TVs were turned to something else (heck, if you are a “football family,” maybe y’all could play Monopoly or something instead), perhaps the rather obscene amount of money being squandered on this ridiculous pastime could finally be put to some better use. What better uses? Hmmm. Let me think…

The NFL brought in enough money last year to pay for 10 Pluto missions

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
Sep 252017
 

Yes, I’ve posted these before. But I feel it’s important for everyone to maintain a proper level of understanding of the encabulator, the turbo-encabulator and the retro-encabulator.

And of course once you have an encabulator, you’ll need to diagnose it from time to time:

 

 

There have of course been advances in the field of encabulators, such as the micro-encabulator:

 

And the retroprototurboencabulator:

 

OK, the Encabulator is never going to not be funny. But the thing I noticed: in all the variants of it produced over the years, there hasn’t been a whole lot of actual variation. Where are the *all* *new*scripts?

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Sep 242017
 

OK, let’s say your town is plagued by a transdimensional monster that takes the form of a killer psychotic clown. Who would be the best person to try to destroy this menace? That’s right, the goddamn Batman:

 


And because why not:

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Sep 232017
 

A piece of NAA concept art from the late 50’s or very early 60’s depicting a “space taxi.” Such devices were a common staple of space station thinking well into the 60’s, though it’s difficult to tell just how serious of a design this one was. The canopy, for example, seems an odd choice. The shape of the bubble and of the hatch indicates that this was not designed to hold pressure; the fact that the pilot is shown in a full space suit backs that up. It would make it difficult for the pilot to enter and exit the craft. And of course, the taxi is shown without reaction control thrusters, making it rather difficult to maneuver the thing. Very likely this is an artists fantasy done purely for marketing, showing people things they expect to see. Note, for example, that the space station appears to be cribbed directly from the Collier’s series. And if the station was rotating, that door would be in the *floor.*

 Posted by at 1:54 pm
Sep 202017
 

In the footsteps of SpaceX: Chinese company eyes development of reusable rocket

A private Chinese company wants to build a reusable rocket that looks a *lot* like the Falcon 9. Refreshingly, they at least acknowledge that they’re basically copying SpaceX. It uses the same recovery system as the Falcon 9, roughly the same landing gear, same sort of grid fins for stability. Second stage looks pretty stubby, though. It’s a much smaller rocket than the Falcon 9, designed to put dinkysats into orbit.

 Posted by at 3:47 am
Sep 172017
 

Now this here could be all kinds of entertaining:

Mystery Shocks at North Korea’s Sacred Volcano Trigger Eruption Fears After Nuclear Test

It seems that the North Korean undergroudn nuclear test site is really close to the active volcano Mount Paektu. As the article says:

“For an individual nuclear detonation to do serious damage to the volcano, previous research shows, the blast would need to be at least 100 kilotons, which the explosion earlier this month was estimated to be.”

Now, this would be dumb on a couple levels. First off, setting off one of their own volcanoes on their own turf? Dumb. But second off, the volcano is basically also on the border with China, so this *could* annoy the one nation that can actually tolerate the Kim regime.

So one might wonder if further unwise testing may cause the Chinese to finally get off their butts and do something. China could *easily* march right in and take over the joint, or at least take over the Nork nuclear sites and probably install their own puppet. On the one hand… well, good, I guess. But on the other hand, that would not free the people of North Korea, and it would move the Chinese border and military to within just a few miles of Seoul, South Korea. So the Chinese *could* use the wackiness of the nuts in North Korea to further their expansionist, imperialist aims.

 

CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Chinese are popping up the Norks and quietly aiding them in their nuclear programs *specifically* to set up a situation where they can march in and play the hero, and wind up in a strategically superior situation.

 Posted by at 1:45 pm
Sep 162017
 

Venezuela’s dreams are dying

Some basics:

Socialism: the state controls the means of production.

Communism: the state owns everything.

Nanny/welfare state: could be free market capitalist, fascist, socialist, communist.

Venezuela has been pursuing socialism since Chavez; the state nationalized not only Venezuelan oil companies but *foreign* oil companies (and people act surprised when foreign investment dried up). The state has put price controls on things like food and toilet paper… prices *below* the cost of production (and people act surprised when people stopped making and selling those things). The state decided to create a massive welfare state to raise the standard of living of the truly, shockingly poor… by nationalizing everything, confiscating wealth and making enemies of businesspeople and people act surprised that the wealthy and skilled of the Venezuela have been leaving the country in droves).

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:29 pm