Aug 312014

I had Vegemite once, long ago. I think it was while in college, so that’d be going on a quarter century ago. As memory serves it tasted like salt and sadness, so these reactions seem familiar.

[youtube igeUz4cjB5w]

“It tastes like someone tried to make food and failed horribly.”

“This was strange and horrible.”

“Weird and acidy and gross and makes you want to barf.”


 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Aug 302014

Fort Hood shooter writes to ISIS leader, asks to become ‘citizen’ of Islamic State

Nidal Hasan, the Jihadi terrorist traitor who went on a shooting spree at Ft. Hood in 2009, deserves to get his wish. And then the Army can, in a joint mission with the USAF, load him into the payload shroud of a Minuteman III missile and send him to his new homeland.

I find it interesting how popular ISIS is becoming with westerners who want to go and joint the jihad. ISIS was booted out by Al Queda because they were excessively extreme and violent even by AQ standards. ISIS revels in creating and distributing videos showing them carrying out horrific acts of pure evil. And this makes them *more* popular with the jihadi-wannabes. This is, I believe, rather telling about the wannabes: there is something about them that makes them want *more* evil and violence.

 Posted by at 6:42 pm
Aug 302014

Say howdy to the next memecat to dominate the interwebs: Tucker, currently up for adoption (nope… just adopted) at Purrfect Pals, a cat shelter near Seattle, Washington. Tucker has a genetic anomaly that makes her face droop and her skin real thin.

Like Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub, Tucker is visually interesting because she’s, well, deformed. And like Grumpy Cat, the owners of Tucker can probably work things out so that she becomes a valuable resource. But Tucker seems to be especially “special needs,” so one hopes that proper care is taken.

tucker-smile2  tucker1


And because why not… here, have another Chemistry Cat:

2014-08-30 chemcat



 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Aug 302014

Refugees protest against ‘monotonous’ Italian food

Several dozen refugees in the Veneto province of Belluno, Italy,  have been protesting the fact that they are being given the food of the land they are currently inhabiting.

Sam, a migrant from Gambia who has been staying at a centre on the outskirts of Rome for almost a year, told The Local that the food, which mainly consists of pasta, “is not good” and that some have started making their own meals.

“We need the diet from our country,” he said.

It seems to me that a solution presents itself. Two solutions, in fact:

1) Go back to “our country.”

2) If you want to stay in Italy, accept that *Italy* is “our country.”

 Posted by at 12:03 pm
Aug 302014


[youtube nyveRd36FR8]

Tested at NASA-MSFC, a LOX/LH2 rocket of 20,000 lbs thrust with a 3d printed injector head.

Using traditional manufacturing methods, 163 individual parts would be made and then assembled. But with 3-D printing technology, only two parts were required, saving time and money and allowing engineers to build parts that enhance rocket engine performance and are less prone to failure.

I can see pluses and minuses here. The obvious plus is that a printed part can be hideously complex, geometrically, and thus performance can be high and weight very low. But the parts count thing *might* work against it. Especially if the goal is a reusable engine. Because if there’s any damage… well, ya gotta toss the whole thing.

Years ago I designed and tested a series of increasingly capable liquid rocket engines that used off the shelf spray nozzles in the injector. Weighed more, sure. But the injector head itself was, eventually remarkably simple to design and machine out of simple aluminum, and the injectors could be simply threaded in and out. Easy.

But had I been able to simply 3d print a regen-cooled nozzle and/or combustion chamber… wow, would that have been handy!

 Posted by at 2:50 am
Aug 292014

An RCA concept from some time in the 1960’s for an astronaut maneuvering unit that was to use voice controls. This would negate the need for hand controls, but it seems unlikely that 1960’s technology was quite up to the task. Image from HERE. Note that while the backpack is depicted in some detail, the Apollo spacecraft in the background is quite inaccurate and minimally detailed.


 Posted by at 11:55 pm
Aug 292014

OK, this one probably wouldn’t separate people based on personality type, but on age:


And yes, I laughed. And then I felt old. But there’s nothing really new there. Well, except for the laughing.


Who else gets it?

 Posted by at 10:29 am
Aug 292014

Fingers looking down upon me with all the concern and fascination I’ve come to expect:


And because why not, here’s a bonus Chemistry Cat:

2014-08-29 chemcat

 Posted by at 10:23 am
Aug 292014

For a long time – centuries, really – people have noticed that sizable rocks (the so-called “sailing stones“) sometimes slide across Death Valley leaving long “racetracks” in their wake. But nobody had actually seen this happen. It was a mystery as to just what was going on… theories included the rocks being shoved by wind after the playa had been rained on and, of course, ghosts and spirits and aliens and all the other nonsense that people like to invoke for anything not immediately explicable.

A series of tests involving rocks with built-in GPS locators and long-duration fixed cameras have finally solved the mystery.

At rare times in winter, shallow ponds will form. The dirt and salt and whatnot that gets dissolved into the occasional rainwater doesn’t flow away, but is simply left behind when the water evaporates; this results in a very flat, uniform “floor.” When a pond forms, the water will be broad but very shallow. And if it’s cold enough, it will of course freeze on the surface. During a thaw, the ice will break up, first into large sheets. These sheets will be thin, just a few millimeters, but very broad, and the wind can use the low, broad sheets as sails to push on any rocks projecting above the dirt.

Nothing magical or supernatural or even that conceptually difficult. It’s just that since the population density is so low, apparently nobody was actually there to see it before until recently.

[youtube uyHcs7B27Zk]

 Posted by at 10:05 am