Sep 302011

Been trying to straighten my dump house up a bit lately. As an unintended consequence, I’ve stumbled across some items that I haven’t looked at in more than 16 years, when I graduated college and packed up some stuff. Some things were good to find (yay, large format launch vehicle drawings!), and others… well, sometimes sentimentalism is a pain in the ass. The “class photo” from my time at Space Camp in 1983, for instance. “ ?I looked like *that?* What the hell happened??” coupled with the recognition that back then, the future was clear: I’d graduate with my aerospace degree about 1992, and immediately sign on at NASA… not as an astronaut (damn you, eyesight!), but as the next genius rocket designer. By 1992, of course, the Space Shuttle would either be replaced, or soon would be, so I’d clearly be on the team designing if not the manned mission to Mars, then perhaps the manned mission to Jupiter.


And then I found the letter I’d had taped on my wall for several years cuz I was so proud of it… my acceptance letter into Mensa, with hard objective mathematical evidence that I was special. But I quickly found that that meant precisely *dick.* Go ahead, give it a try: “Hey, baby, I’ve got a measured IQ rating of 153!” It doesn’t work.

Maybe it was my delivery, I dunno.

Maybe I wore the wrong hat.

 Posted by at 10:29 pm
Sep 302011

Back in my college days, I had my share of run-ins with the campus “embrace diversity or else, damnit” cops over cartoons posted to my door. Such radical bits of far-right racist propaganda as Calvin and Hobbes caused all kinds of ruckus, and got me some fun meetings with people who, in a rational world, would have been unemployed. Shrug. Well, it seems that things have *not* improved:

‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus

Short form: a professor stuck a poster on his door showing Captain Mal Reynolds from “Firefly” with the quote “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” And so the local sensitivity gestapo came along, stole the poster, and threatened the professor with *criminal* charges. The professor did the proper thing, and put up a new poster:

And so the same events play out… poster stolen, threats of legal action made.  Professor repo0rted to the university “threat assessment team.”


I just wish that *another* Mal Reynolds quote was the one that actually started this: “You’ve got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people.”

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Sep 292011

A video showing a mostly-reusable version of the SpaceX Falcon 9. It looks reasonably practical, with a minimum of ridiculocity… no wings, scramjets or need for advanced materials. The basic concept is more than forty years old, going back to not only Phil Bono’s Saturn S-IVB stage recoverability concepts, but even further to Chrysler Mercury-Redstone  recoverability concepts. Ditching parachutes entirely is a ballsy move, but if your rockets are sufficiently reliable – maybe Xcor rockets on the capsule – then chutes aren’t needed.

[youtube sSF81yjVbJE]

 Posted by at 12:12 pm
Sep 292011

Texas Congressman blasts N.Y. plan for shuttle

Short form: The shuttle Enterprise was supposed to go to the Intrepid Sea, Air  and Space Museum in New York and was to be located on a specially-built berth next to the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier. Well, that ain’t gonna happen. The museum now wants to put the Enterprise in a parking lot.

They envision converting the lot, which is surrounded by a bagel bakery, a car wash, storage warehouses and a strip club

Oddly, some people are upset about this. Not only the Congressman mentioned in the title, but the Seattle Museum of Flight. They wanted a Shuttle but were locked out; in order to get a shuttle, they went to the bother of building an $11 million facility to house one. The New Yorkers apparently did squadoo, but still managed to score a shuttle.

As the Fark headline puts it:

New York is now planning to put the Shuttle Enterprise in a parking lot in Hell’s Kitchen so the homeless can paint it with urine

 Posted by at 9:00 am
Sep 282011

You can always rely on the Iranian press to make a fairly bland story more interesting. Even though the text of the article seems to be scribbled in some moon-man chickenscratch, it’s liberally illustrated with photos. In this case, photos of Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, together at some press conference or some such. If you don’t know the names, these were the three American hikers of dubious wisdom who were kidnapped by the Iranian government and held for ransom and recently released. What makes the photos interesting? They’ve blurred out her chest. Not because she was nekkid, but because… well, because she’s a woman, I guess.

I can only hope that when the Real War in the Middle East comes, the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will be so far in the past that the US Army will be able to field a battalion of Angry PMS’ing Wiccan Jewish Lesbian Amazons to lead the charge and chase down the mullahs.

Google Translate took a stab at it, but didn’t really clear things up much. As one of the comments (apparently) says…

What are the donkey.

 Posted by at 6:48 pm
Sep 282011

From Fantastic Plastic, the 1/72 Pluto/SLAM model I mastered a while back:

It is available HERE.

And to help with the detailing, don’t forget to pick up your Project Pluto CAD drawings, available to download for $17.




And For Grud’s sake, if you are going to build a Pluto model, you have to download a copy of Aerospace Projects Review issue V2N1 with the ginormous Pluto article…

Available to download for a miniscule $8.00!


 Posted by at 12:15 pm