May 282013

The concept of an orbital fuel depot, supplied from Earth in order to fuel missions to Mars and the like, is not especially new. Shown below is a concept from General Dyanamics from 1963, depicting a toroidal propellant depot. A torus is a rather poor shape for such a thing… not only is it heavier than an equivalent-mass spherical tank, it also has substantially more surface area. But the advantage of this configuration is that it would easily pack in excess payload space aboard a partially-loaded Nova launch vehicle. Dimensions weren’t given, but maximum diameter would be less than 70 feet.

 Posted by at 12:05 pm
May 282013

Earth soon to be overrun by gamma-powered Hulks.

WR 104 is about 8,000 light years away and could go supernova anytime within the next 500,000 years or so… including maybe tomorrow. The star appears to be oriented so that it is pole-on to Earth (i.e. it’s north [or south?] pole is pointed right at us), and if that’s the case, when it goes FOOOM  it is expected that a powerful gamma ray “beam” will be emitted from the poles. If such a beam strikes Earth, it probably won’t penetrate to the ground, but it will trash the ozone layer, and cause nitrogen and oxygen in the higher atmosphere to create exciting new chemicals like nitric oxide. Yay, acid rain!

Since gamma rays are simply high-energy photons, the gamma rays will get to Earth at the same time we see WR 104 explode. In other words, no warning.

 Posted by at 9:39 am
May 282013


[youtube LobCDYO78Us]

The fellers who filmed this were able to survive being inside a tornado because they were in this:

The Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV2) is not only armor plated and weighs 14,000 pounds, it also has spikes that shoot into the ground and anchor it. One presumes that if it didn’t before, it now has a special compartment for spare unerwear.

 Posted by at 8:50 am
May 252013

Do You Believe? Holy image appears behind child battling leukemia

In short: a photo of a kid with cancer appears to show an apparition behind said child. People flacking the story assume that the apparition is Mary, of tortilla and burnt toast fame.


Now, the skeptical among you might be tempted to think that this is simply the result of a double exposure, either accidentally or via chicanery, such as has been done many, many times in the long sad history of spirit photography. However, any of you with an ounce of faith will recognize that this is in fact an fylgja, thus proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Odin is  Allfather.

Seems to me it’s a message to the Norse world to pick up a hammer, a sword, a spear and go lay a beatdown on the stupid, strong unteachable monsters.

 Posted by at 6:07 pm
May 242013

A few years back I received in trade a number of diazo “blueprints” (white paper, blue lines). tucked in among ’em were a number of SST diagrams, including two very large & detailed Boeing 2707 layouts… the original 2707 (swing wing) and 2707-200 (swing wing & canard). These were about 3 feet by 8… very big. And as with virtually all blueprints that were actually made to be used, they were folded, not rolled. Having been folded for 40+ years meant that they were a scanning nightmare… the paper was very stiff, and had it been fed through a  large format scanner it would have produced dismal results. The best way to deal with such prints is to unfold them an either compress them (impossible give the size) or roll them up, and leave them to st for several months. I rolled them up. And forget them for several *years.* Just found ’em again. They are fragile, but have “relaxed” from being folded, and are now happily cylindrical.

I think they’d make dandy cyanotypes. They would have to be smaller than the originals, however… 2 feet by 5. Anyone interested? They’d be pretty pricy, on the order of $80-$100. But you’d be the only kid on your block with one…



 Posted by at 10:35 am
May 232013

While the ruling classes continue to try to figure out how to prevent people from arming themselves, the people continue to find not only new ways to arm themselves but also how to improve what’s available to ’em. For instance… not long ago a single-shot 3D printed pistol was demonstrated. It required an expensive high-end printer and could only fire a single shot before the barrel needed replacing. Now, an improved and cheaper 3D printed gun has demonstrated the ability to fire 9 shots before barrel replacement. Still pitiful by standard firearm standards, but still, improvement is improvement. Better still is the fact that this is work done by a different designer. The more designers, the better the designs… and the harder it will be for governments to control. Can’t stop the signal.

[youtube g3eDSGVsLQU]

Additionally, an somewhat less sensibly, 3D printing has been used to make bullets. Specifically, slugs for a 12 gauge shotgun. seems to me this might be fine for making prototypes and master parts for use in casting copies, but 3d printed bullets seem overly expensive.

[youtube PVyLGQUmXcg]

UPDATE: You can buy yo8ur own Lulzbot from Amazon:

 Posted by at 11:54 pm