Sep 262014

Back in the day – and almost certainly “the day” was “every single moment from the beginning through now to the end” – Lockheed kept files on what the competition was doing. Some of these files included publicly available info on competitors aircraft. And sometimes it was information that was classified, and that by all rights Lockheed probably shouldn’t have been aware of. But it only made good sense to collect all the intelligence they could. Some of this stuff has started to leak out. Not via Wikileaks… but via eBay. One seller has a number of single-page sheets providing summary data on aircraft from the 1950’s. Ya gotta wonder just how big the whole file on aircraft of the time was.

Here’s the Lockheed summary file on the Martin P6M-1 SeaMaster. Fortunately the seller provided decent photos of the files.

2014-09-24 ebay 10


 Posted by at 8:14 am
Sep 262014

Man beheads woman in Oklahoma, officials say

The story has the traditional level of detail we’ve come to expect (i.e. almost none), but what we get is that one Alton Alexander Nolan beheaded a woman, tried to kill another and then got shot by a deputy (he’s expected to survive). No motive for the beheading was given, nor the circumstances behind it.

If you go elsewhere, you can find some interesting and possibly telling details. Such as these bits from

Who is Alton A Nolen? (note slight difference in name spelling… *might* be a different guy)

Scars / Marks / Tattoos:


ISIS calling for ‘lone wolf’ attacks inside US

Draw whatever conclusions you like.


UPDATE, later in the day:


Vaughan Foods, man beheads woman: Alton Nolen suspected of beheading woman, stabbing another

Nolen recently had been trying to convert co-workers to Islam, Lewis said. “After conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen’s, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert some of his coworkers to the Muslim religion.”

Indeed, huh.  All those of you who saw the very limited information that I posted earlier this morning and drew Certain Conclusions about whether or not there may have been a religious implication to this story should feel very, very ashamed for having correctly surmised the situation.

That said: he had just gotten fired, and it sounds like he was a lifelong scumbag who simply snapped. His violence may well not have had anything to do *directly* with his religion. But it does sometimes seem like a certain type of person is drawn to a certain type of religion, doesn’t it. It’s odd that Nolen didn’t convert to Hinduism or Buddhism or Wicca while in prison.

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Sep 252014

As might have been guessable, for the last week and a half or so I’ve had visitors, and for a while prior to that I’ve been preparing… end result, less blogging. The last few days we took a brief trip to southern Utah, visiting Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Some notes:

1) A whole lot of American tourists. Not really surprising.

2) A sizable fraction of the non-American tourists were, based on accents and language, French.  Isn’t France’s vacation month August?

3) A recognizable fraction were Germans.

4) A lot seem to have been Chinese (possibly Korean… I doubt i could tell the difference). Their children  do not seem to have functional volume control systems, and they’re all stuck on 11. The adults seemed incapable of noticing Americans, like we’re wearing fricken’ cloaking devices. They seem to think that proper elevator etiquette is for people waiting for an elevator should charge in before those in the car can get off. However, they *do* tend to finally notice Americans when the Americans in question are on the car and shove the pushy ones out of the way…

5) Relatively few Brits, though there were a few. I spoke to a few, general shooting the breeze chitchat; a common comment that they tended to come up with is that they were surprised at how friendly and generous Americans have proven to be. That the reality of America did not match the apparently rather crappy image being portrayed Over Yonder.

6) A whole lot of Europeans began their voyaging around the southwestern corner of the US in Las Vegas. I would have guessed LA, but there it is.

7) Arches and Canyonland: holy crap. Not to be missed.

 Posted by at 6:54 pm
Sep 242014

Liberia: Dead Ebola Patients Resurrect?

Two options spring to mind:

1) The “dead” weren’t actually dead, just unconscious. Perhaps not even struck with ebola.

2) It’s basically untrue. A hoax, a lie, a misheard rumor.

But the thing is: either way, in that region over-run with superstitious nonsense, stories of the “dead” coming back to life will be sure to make bad worse. Some will believe that their dead loved ones will come back to them. And then rather than getting rid of the corpse, they’ll keep it around. Others will undoubtedly believe that the dead will return, but not as themselves. Instead, the dead will come back as zombies or vampires or ghouls or revenants. And thus… who the hell knows. But since the situation won’t be viewed accurately, logically and dispassionately but as a source of supernatural horror… well, nothing good ever comes of that.

 Posted by at 6:57 pm
Sep 232014

The Latest Ebola Projections Are Absolutely Horrifying

Dire new estimates show that people who contract the deadly Ebola virus have a 70.8% chance of dying — and the disease is on course to spread even more rapidly than ever. The latest projections propose a worst-case scenario in which 1.4 million new cases will emerge in the next four months.


That works out to 990,000+ dead folk in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Note that these are only those who die directly from the disease. Not counted are all those who will die because they depended upon people who died of the disease. You know… kids and old folk and the infirm and such. And then there are all those who will die because of the cultural freakout that’s pretty much inevitable from an epidemic like this.

And if you get an epidemic killing hundreds of thousands in just a few months, it’s a safe bet it’ll travel.

Of course, this may all be BS, and ebola will burn itself out. Who knows.

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Sep 222014

In science fiction, things are almost never made of what *we* would make things out of.  Titanium or steel? Nah, Duranium Hull Alloy. Adamantium. Unobtanium. In reality, most of the future will most likely be made out of steel, aluminum and concrete. Sure, better stuff is available, but it’s hard to beat the classics for sheer availability.

On the other hand, some applications really need materials a lot stronger and lighter, or just plain weirder, than what we have today. Huzzah!

Scientists create a ‘Star of David’ molecule — a step towards molecular chainmail

The article is kinda lean on details, but the upshot seems to be that a form of “chainmail” can be built at the molecular level. If true, this *might*lead to molecule-thick sheets that resist tearing and can form really light weight bulletproof armor, maybe parachutes that weight grams, perhaps solar sails.

Benzene-derived ​carbon nanothreads

Basically molecule-width diamond fibers. Just the thing to replace carbon fiber… and perhaps strong enough to begin to think that maybe space elevators might be made to work.

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Sep 212014

Earlier the Unwanted Blog was running kinda screwy and the Aerospace Projects Review blog was just plain dead. According to Hostcentric tech support, this was due to some database work being done somewhere in Massachusetts. Obviously the Unwanted Blog is back, but the APR blog is still offline. Feh.

 Posted by at 5:58 pm