Neil deGrasse Tyson has a new book out, and is doing the press junket thing for it. I just saw him on the Daily Show, where he knocked it the hell out of the park (when the video is available, I’ll post it). Earlier he was on NPR, where he said:

“I could stand in front of eighth-graders and say, ‘Who wants to be an aerospace engineer so you can design an airplane 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the one your parents flew?’ That doesn’t usually work. But if I say, ‘Who wants to be an aerospace engineer to design the airplane that will navigate the rarefied atmosphere of Mars?’ because that’s where we’re going next, I’m getting the best students in the class. I’m looking for life on Mars? I’m getting the best biologist. I want to study the rocks on Mars? I’m getting the best geologists.”

Damn skippy, Neil!

Apparently this is not the most exciting of domiciles.

Fingers is snoozing on a home-made cardboard bed/scratcher. Such things turn out to be easy to make if you have a good aluminum yardstick, some glue and a bunch of cardboard you were otherwise going to pitch.

This camera phone photo just came in from my artist friend. It’s acrylic, 8″ by 10.” I think it’s pretty snazzy. Comments, critiques, advise and offers welcomed.

Secret £14million Bible in which ‘Jesus predicts coming of Prophet Muhammad’ unearthed in Turkey

Thought to be a “Gospel of Barnabas” that has Jesus saying that the *real* prophet of God would be an Arab feller named “Muhammad.”

Yeah… about that…

If there one thing that people love to make phony copies of, it’s religious artifacts. And even better are hoaxed artifacts that help sell some local religious, political or personal agenda. And so while I’m hardly an apologist for Christian theology, my first thought about a religious text that claims to overturn an entire religion in favor of the local religion works out to:

We’re dealing with a  region of the world with rather an impressive history of religious chicanery. More importantly, we’re dealing with a local culture so deeply entrenched in credulous gullibility that it makes a convention of 9-11 Truthers look like a meeting of the most curmudgeonly skeptics in CSICOP.

From a NASA presentation from November of 2011, some simple concept art of a number of the launch vehicles pondered for the SLS. I’m a bit out of the loop these days, but I’ve heard from several people working at NASA that there is very little faith there that the SLS will actually be built. Not that it’s technically very difficult, but that there’s simply no political will for such a vehicle. There is no current (or foreseen) program that would require this kind of lift capability… no manned moon, Mars, asteroid or new space station programs, so there’d be no political drive to build the launcher. And since there’s no launcher of this size… there’s no political will to have a manned moon, Mars, asteroid or space station program. Neat, huh?

I’m informed that those at NASA who are working on SLS are basically working under bureaucratic inertia. Congress mandated that NASA build the SLS, so NASA started studies; but Congress is flaky.

Another chart shows the baseline SLS compared to other launchers. Interestingly for a NASA chart, shown alongside such staples as the Shuttle and the Saturn V are things like the SpaceX Falcon series, the XCOR Lynx and the Masten XA-1.0.

And because why the hell not, it’s relevant…

In my own experience, stress calculations would have been a whopping improvement over *accounting,* which I got stuck doing for over a year. Gaaaaagggggghhhhh.

Nothing finer than a box to sit in.

You younguns reading along might not believe this, but there once was a time when if you wanted to look at pictures of nekkid chicks you needed to buy this thing called a “magazine,” which was something like a blog, but printed out and stapled together. Crazy, I know, but in the olden days, things were like that.

Seems I’ll have to hunt down a copy of the March issue of “Playboy” magazine. For the articles, of course…

Playboy and Virgin Galactic Dream Up Cosmic Men’s Space Club

The iconic adult-magazine company has dreamed up a vision of a Playboy Club in space — a sprawling sci-fi-inspired depiction of fun and games on a huge private space station – in conjunction with the space tourism company Virgin Galactic. The results appear in the March issue of Playboy magazine on newsstands now.

The images look like a cross between Star Wars and 2001, and not exactly near-term. But hey, if it takes Playboy to get us a hotel in space, I’m all for it.

Now, this being Utah, where does one go to get a girly mag? Hmmm…

This looks potentially fragile – I’m pretty sure it’d be unwise to try this with a material harder than aluminum. Still, pretty neat:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Secret compartments could get drivers busted

A proposed state law, advocated by Gov. John Kasich, would make it a fourth-degree felony to own a vehicle equipped with secret compartments. A conviction would mean up to 18 months in jail and a potential $5,000 fine.

Ummm…

What happened to “it’s mine, and I’ll modify it however I like?”

Years back, I had an unquenchable hankerin’ to get me a high-fidelity replica of the M-41A Pulse rifle from the movie “Aliens.” No, I didn’t really have a good reason for wanting one, apart from “I want one.” Eventually I moved on with life without a Pulse Rifle; largely, the idea of spending enough money to buy a *real* gun for a fake geek gun seemed sufficiently uber-geeky to keep me from plunking down the funds.

But that Pulse Rifle is downright a wise investment compared to the whackjobs going bonkers over a new pair of *shoes.*

Nike Foamposite Galaxy Shoes Causes Riot and eBay Bid of $2,500

I would weep for the future if I wasn’t so busy laughing hysterically like a madman.

Maybe Obamacare will cover getting me one of them Star Trek Assault Phaser replicas?

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