Aug 292014

The aurora is, according to, doing it’s thing tonight, so I went out to see if I could photograph it. No such luck, though… doesn’t seem to be getting down this far south. But I did get some other halfway interesting night shots.

These two vertical panoramas were taken sequentially and differ only in one being somewhat longer than the other, and by having different white balance. The top one was balanced for incandescent lighting; the bottom one for sunlight. The cause of the orange overall glow in the bottom one is the vast light pollution put out by ATK, not filtered out in the lower shot.

2014-08-29 pano 2a

2014-08-29 pano 1a


These were taken looking off to the north, hoping to glimpse aurora. No aurora visible, but there is a slight greenish airglow, along with farm lights *miles* away.




And looking west across the neighborhood:


 Posted by at 12:59 am
Aug 282014

A 500-round backpack for the M240 machine gun:

[youtube laqGgPWyp4k]

A few ideas promptly suggest themselves. First, integrate this into the LockMart HULC exoskeleton:

[youtube KU95h6YCUuM]

And then replace the standard M240 with a Knight’s Armament Chain SAW:

[youtube W2H2peoX174]


 Posted by at 1:07 pm
Aug 282014

In the innumerable CAD diagrams I’ve created and will – presumably – continue to create, I often include a simple human figure to provide a sense of scale. But the same figure, repeated over and over… well, that’s kinda boring. So, who has alternates? I’m looking for simple line drawings (DWG or DXF or some other vector format would be easiest, but GIF/JOG/whatever would be fine too) of human figures that would look good standing next to aircraft, spacecraft, launch vehicles, ordnance, etc. Please feel free to post pics and links on the comments.

 Posted by at 8:32 am
Aug 282014

I’ve posted another “PDF Review” over at the APR blog, this time on a 1967 Convair publication on the Atlas family of launch vehicles. This document was originally found on NTRS… but it doesn’t seem to exist there anymore. I’m guessing it was a victim of the March, 2013, lobotomy that NTRS underwent.

PDF Review: “Advanced Atlas Launch Vehicle Digest”

I have the full PDF file available for download over yonder. If this proves of interest and/or value, please consider participating in my Patreon campaign.

YUNoDonate “Only people who hate cats refuse to donate to the APR Patreon. You don’t hate cats… do you?”

 Posted by at 8:09 am
Aug 272014

There’s either a *lot* missing from this story, or something *really* wrong is going on here…

Cambridge Mace’s Lane Middle School Teacher on Administrative Leave

In short: a middle school teacher wrote and self-published two sci-fi books, set around 900 years in the future. The first one involves a school shooting that kills a whole bunch of people (the Amazon description is HERE). And at least as the article describes it, the fact that he wrote these books was enough for the Maryland police to swoop in, scoop him up, *disappear* him, sign him up for a psych evaluation and ransack his home looking for guns & bombs (of which they apparently found none).

From the Amazon description, the writing seems… well, “not so good.” But if you can get tossed just for writing crappy fiction at the age of about 20, I shudder to imagine what the future holds.


He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.

 Posted by at 7:08 pm
Aug 272014

OK, this ain’t a fashion blog. For the most part… really, who gives a damn? Does it even matter if your socks match? I don’t see what practical difference it makes. Still… words mean things, and when companies like The Gap decide to just redefine words willy-nilly, it can be confusing, to say the least. I saw this while surfing CNN to check up on the latest on Will Hayden, “star” of the reality show “Sons of Guns” who has gotten himself arrested – and his show promptly cancelled – for allegedly repeatedly raping a child. Dude. No. Just… no.

Is this model ‘curvy’? Gap sure thinks so


“Curvy?” Well, I suppose insofar as any line that diverges from absolutely mathematically straight is by definition curved, this model and her pants are “curved,” but really… no. And worse: they’re seventy bucks. I would lay good odds that the jean I buy have *way* more material in them than these, require roughly the same amount of manufacturing processing, cost more to ship due to added weight, and might even be somewhat more rugged, yet they cost only a fraction of the $69.95 Gap wants for these “curvy” narrow denim tubes.

Now, all that said, and because I’m assuming I know my audience and what “curvy” actually looks like… here’s a topless photo of Christina Hendricks:


And here’s a photo of Kat Dennings without pants:


And because why not, here’s Chemistry Cat:



 Posted by at 5:04 pm
Aug 272014

Both sides build lots of rockets. One side builds crappy rockets used to randomly attack civilians, the other side builds these:

[youtube _e9UhLt_J0g]

[youtube x_89139WKho]

Iron Dome is just plain impressive. The rockets are fairly small, though *far* from the smallest anti-missile guided interceptor (I was aware of but not involved in the abortive development of an interceptor system to be mounted on vehicles to protect them from RPGs and anti-tank missiles and the like… the missile wasn’t much bigger than a softball, with an intercept range of *yards*). They are cheap, as such things go, and apparently quite effective… Israel could make  a ton of money by selling this system to allied nations. Bump up the capability some, make them better at intercepting missiles built by enemies more advanced than Hamas, then mount ’em on ships and boats. One wonders what the *smallest* boat is that could carry a complete system; small speedboats could spread out and form rings around aircraft carriers and the like.

MILITARY: Israel’s Iron Dome rocket shield

 Posted by at 1:06 pm