Apr 262013

Here’s the kind of news story we need to see more of:

US sailor thwarts Dubai bus driver rapist after putting him in strangehold with her thighs and then beating him into submission

Short form: a 28-year-old female US Navy sailor on leave in Dubai boarded what turned out to be the wrong bus. The 21-year-old Pakistani driver drove her to a secluded spot and used a knife to try to rape her; she took it from him, snapped it in half and locked the guy between her thighs.

Let’s hope that:

1) The shame of it all breaks him

2) The story spreads throughout the Middle East: American women will snap you in two.

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
Apr 262013

I’ve been tinkering with vellum. I’ve found to my serious annoyance that the most available vellum, that produced by Clearprint, is damn near water repellant; getting the cyanotyping fluid to soak in has proven to be a challenge that I have so far failed to adequately succeed at. The results are, when I work really, really hard and expend a lot of the fluid, at best “meh.” Another brand, Pacific Arc, which seems to be available solely through Hobby Lobby, is substantially more receptive to the fluid. About half the time, the results are “fricken’ awesome.”  Half the time, “meh.”

Today I finally took delivery of large format transparencies. Included are the masks for the 1/72 Saturn V and Ib diagrams, several V-2 diagrams (an engine diagram for 18X24 and a layout w/profiles for 18X24, and a very large V-2 cutaway), a large NERVA diagram, and a large bit of NERVA artwork that I have doubts about. I’ve successfully made 18X24 cyanotpyes on vellum for the two V-2 diagrams… and all goes well, tomorrow, two trials of the nearly 6-foot-long Saturn V.

Back in the day, cyanotyping was apparently a straightforward process, with machines that would make sure that results were good an uniform and cost effective. I’m still working on trying to obtain uniformity, but I’m getting closer.  Vellum is a lot more challenging in that respect than watercolor paper, but when it all works right, the results can be spectacular.

Those of you who contributed to the “Space Station V/new computer project,” guess what’s coming…

 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Apr 262013

A Grumman alternate Space Shuttle concept with a low cross range orbiter and a trio of 156-inch diameter solid propellant rockets for the first and second stages. The orbiter itself was stuffed with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks; even so, the high density of the solid rockets meant that the vehicle as a whole was remarkably compact.

shuttle 156 in srm

 Posted by at 8:08 pm
Apr 262013

A vintage PR film about Scaled Composites Ares ground attack aircraft from the late 1980s. It was a neat plane, and the idea of a cheap, small, nimble ground support plane sure seemed like it made sense, but the DoD didn’t want it. Why? Well… among a number of reasons both good and bad, take a look at the video when the GAU-12/U 25mm Gatling gun goes off… and throws the bitty lightweight aircraft all over the sky (at 1:48) . Accuracy must’ve been atrocious… which can be seen in the shots showing the target (2:18) with rounds hitting all over the place.

Lightweight and nimble are often good features. However, accurate gunnery with powerful, high-recoil weapons requires heavy and stable… or really, really effective computer-controlled active stability, which adds cost in a hurry.

[youtube zG9LlHcX8lg]

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Apr 252013



Nearly the entire operational staff of the Center for Aerospace Information (CASI) has been sacked. CASI are the folks that create and maintain the NTRS (NASA Technical Reports Server) and the NA&SD (NASA Aeronautics and Space Database). What were they thinking! Mark my words, this does not bode well for those of us who rely on the accessibility of NASA technical information.

It’s a comment, not a press release, so… who knows.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm
Apr 242013

Behold the 2013 Miss Korea contestants:


The claim is that the remarkably uniform nature of the contestants is due to plastic surgery. But they can’t fool me… this is a masterpiece of cloning via 3D printing.

UPDATE: a group photo of apparently the same women… but *without* the magic of makeup. Suddenly the clone-ness seems substantially reduced.


But even so…


 Posted by at 11:06 pm