Mar 312011

If you thought that your brain was permanently damaged by Nimoy singing about hobbits or The Shat’s take on “music,” then… behold: Serene Branson “sings” the Bubble Bobble theme:

[youtube 8wMvhsByDJQ]


And then there’s this:

[youtube fEjKmEXQX58]

 Posted by at 7:33 pm
Mar 312011

A NASA-Goddard concept (circa 2006) for a giant space telescope to be built in orbit using robots.  Where Hubble looks fairly solid, this looks relatively gossamer… which is perfectly appropriate given the environment. It would be built in the Earth-Moon L2 position, and then transported to the Sun-Earth L2 position. Robots would provide servicing at the Sun-Earth L2 position, but it would be brought back to Earth-Moon L2 for major servicing. Launch would require three heavy lifters like the Ares V, or a single launch of a greatly uprated vehicle (4 5-segment solid rocket boosters, a large upper stage and a total length of 415 feet). Mass of the scope is about 200 metric tons.

As far as capability, a scope like this – operating in the UV-through-visible-to-near-IR wavelengths – could resolve individual Sun-like stars as far out as the Coma cluster (321 million lightyearsaway), or spot exosolar planets out to 100 parsecs.

It was big.

The foil-based sun shield was big enough that photon pressure would produce a noticeable torque on the structure, so the scope was given a solar sail “tail” to counteract this.

 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Mar 302011

A few days back, I saw this in the parking lot of a local restaurant. I’ve never seen this piece of military hardware before, so I took some photos. As I was doing so, the truck driver came out and I asked him about it; he said that he was told it’s an “M90 High Speed Tractor.” Googling finds no reference to such a thing. Anyone know for sure what this is?

UPDATE: Thanks to the very first comment, this is, in fact, an “M9 ACE (armored combat earthmover).” I guess the driver misheard M9 as M90.

It’s clearly an earthmover, but it’s an odd one. It has a small bulldozer-like blade up front for scooping dirt, but right behind that is a large bin to hold the dirt. It also has scrapers on the underside. The thing was slowly settling… the driver said he had to ratchet down the chains every few dozen miles since the hydraulic suspension was slowly lowering.

If I’d had more time/been paying better attention, I would’ve gotten a closer shot of this:

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Mar 302011

From out of Britainland:

Farmer’s warning to shoot the next dog who attacks her sheep

Short form: a neighbors dog chased around after a bunch of sheep, causing a sheep to collapse. The farmer threatens to shoot the next dog that gets onto her turf and chases her sheep. Police are called, it gets press.


About a year ago. my neighbor to the west (who raises sheep) shot the dog of my neighbor to the east, because the dog was chasing after the sheep. The police were called. I talked to ’em, largely cuz I was stuck between two antagonistic naeighbors (yay, fun). The police response? “Keep you dog under control.” Around here, the law is quite clear: the owner of livestock is well within his rights to plug *any* critter that is pestering the livestock. And while I can see how it can cause all kinds of trouble, I can also see how it makes all kinds of sense. Sheep are just about the *dumbest* mammals on the planet; being chased by the most playful, least ill-intentioned little fishbait dog will cause sheep to freak out, panic, stampede, spontaneously abort, have heart attacks and die. They are just not well-engineered. But they *are* the farmers property and livelihood.

Fortunately, cats are ignored by the sheep and welcomed by the farmers. While dogs might chase after sheep just for giggles, cats don’t stoop to such childish behavior… but the do help keep rats and mice from gnawing on the sheep-chow. Many’s the time I’ve seen cats nonchalantly strutting among the herd of sheep, ignoring and being ignored by the sheep.

 Posted by at 7:13 pm
Mar 292011

Let’s face it, YouTube is the pinnacle of human civilization.

“At-At Day Afternoon” (I was sure I’d posted this before, but I couldn’t find it):

[youtube -CVYOCMpJRY]

Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain.

[youtube HU2ftCitvyQ]

Dating tips with Worf

[youtube zweQgrLjh_s]

If this doesn’t harrow your very soul, I don’t know what will… “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins:”

[youtube XC73PHdQX04]

OK, maybe *this* will fill your soul with eldritch horror, “Rocket Man as Interpretted by William Shatner:”

[youtube DvQwXOCKNLY]

 And here’s William Shatners butcherment of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” transformed into Epic Win by way of an awesome video:

[youtube D-yy2URAYqU]

500 impersonations in 2 minutes:

[youtube xpsfDTbzKwM]

Which all leads inevitably, and finally, to “Star Trek in 47 Seconds:”

[youtube RKOGnV2Iasc]

 Posted by at 11:17 pm
Mar 282011

Winter was pretty anemic around here this year, but it’s having trouble letting go. A few days back a snow storm blew through; but the ground was well above freezing and nothing stuck. Here you can see the tail end of the storm smacked up against the Walls of Mordor (AKA the Wasatch Mountain Range), as seen from Compton’s Knoll of the Salt Creek Wildlife Management Area.

 Posted by at 8:06 pm