Feb 272015

A few years ago, people started realizing that 3D printers and small CNC mills were going to revolutionize not just general manufacturing, but firearms manufacturing in particular. How can the government regulate firearms, when you can simply print one – or a dozen – up in your own home?

Well, a way to throttle innovation has been implemented: fear.

FedEx And UPS Refuse to Ship a Digital Mill That Can Make Untraceable Guns

A small CNC mill, designed expressly to be able to mill out AR-15 receivers, is a perfectly legal device. It’s just a complex power tool. You don’t need to have any sort of license to own or operate such a thing. But FedEx and UPS have decided to chicken out on shipping them because they are afraid that they will be set upon by the government.

Couple this with the Obama administrations recent realization that while it cannot infringe on the freedom of the press it can ban ink, things are starting to look interesting in the world of organized gun-grabbing.

 Posted by at 1:29 am
Feb 262015

What’s dumber than a western political leader calling for government funded homeopathy and astrology? How about a pack of Surt worshippers trashing their own cultural heritage? Gentlemen… behold:

And on top of trashing a museum full of artifacts, the Islamic State representatives did this:

Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul’s libraries

Remember, kids: you’re a racist if you think some cultures suck.

 Posted by at 6:21 pm
Feb 262015

This is neat… a photographer took some shots of the original Star Trek USS Enterprise filming model (currently removed from its gift-shop dungeon for some much needed restoration and improved displaying) and used those photos to replace Movie Enterprise in various scenes. And… it’s pretty awesome.



More/bigger/better images at the link.

 Posted by at 5:57 pm
Feb 262015


Bright Spot on Ceres Has Dimmer Companion


Note the two bright “specks” within a single crater. Almost certainly the extremely bright appearance of the specks is due to the overall dim nature of the surroundings… something doesn’t need to be too terribly bright to look *blindingly* bright compared to dark surroundings. I’d bet a nickle that we’re seeing ice at the bottom of the crater.

 Posted by at 11:33 am
Feb 262015

This very, very impressive-looking display model was auctioned off way back in 2008:


I much prefer this sort of display to even the most detailed computer rendering printed out onto foam core.  Perhaps as 3D printing gets better & cheaper we’ll see a return to this sort of thing. Imagine if you could print off aluminum & plexi large-size models like this for a few bucks worth of raw materials and electricity…

 Posted by at 10:42 am
Feb 262015

A PDF pieced together from scans found on the Secret Projects forum of Senate testimony on the AIM-95 Agile air-to-air missile. Agile was, as the name might suggest, a close-in “dogfighting” missile, an attempt to incorporate the hard lessons learned by the USAF and USN getting their tails kicked in the skies over Viet Nam by scrappy Russian dogfighters pilots by scrappy Vietnamese pilots. The main advantage that the Agile provided over the Sidewinder was that the infra-red seeker was capable of looking further off boresight… in other words, you didn’t need to point the plane at the enemy before the missile could get a lock-on. While the AIM-95 Agile apparently worked just fine, it was simply cheaper to upgrade the Sidewinder.

The AIM-95 would be steered via vectoring the nozzle rather than aerodynamic control fins. Initial targeting was planned to be done by having a sight integrated into the pilots helmet.. where he looked, the missile looked. The AIM-95 was intended for use by the F-14 and then the F-15 as well, but it never entered service.

The PDF file is HERE.


Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 2:06 am
Feb 252015

Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP

level of stupid

He criticised the BBC and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox for taking a “dismissive” approach to astrology, and accused opponents of being “racially prejudiced”. …

“I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.


“Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart.

“And, yes, I have helped fellow MPs. I do foresee that one day astrology will have a role to play in healthcare.”


I looked this dumbass up on Wikipedia. Apparently he’s for real. And apparently his interest in BS “alternative medicine” is real and not new:

Tredinnick supports alternative medicine including homeopathy and chiropractic.[9] In October 2009, he told Parliament that blood does not clot under a full moon; a spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons of England warned his colleagues would “laugh their heads off” at the suggestion.[10] In the same debate, Tredinnick characterised scientists as “racially prejudiced“.[9]

Health journalist Victoria Lambert has interpreted Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s call for traditional Chinese medicine to be available on the NHS as an endorsement of Tredinnick’s call for integrated alternative healthcare. Tredinnick claims that “herbal medicine is not quackery”, is cost-effective and, unlike Western medicine, has been used for thousands of years in China.[11]

In July 2013, Tredinnick sponsored an Early Day Motion congratulating a farmer for his decision to use homeopathy.

Ye gods. And I thought American politicians trended towards derp.

 Posted by at 6:16 pm
Feb 252015

The National Air and Space Museum is, at last, working on restoring their Ho 229. The 229 was an interesting flying wing jet fighter built in Germany during WWII; it had great potential, but as with most such things its legend has been blown far out of proportion, with recent years seeing claims that it was designed as a radar-stealthy fighter (it almost certainly wasn’t) and that it was the source of the postwar Flying Saucer mythology (difficult to envision since none seem to have survived the war in flyable condition).

A website has been set up to document the restoration of the Ho 229. The plane needs a lot of work… construction was of welded steel tubing covered with plywood. The years have not been kind to the plywood.

 Posted by at 10:54 am
Feb 242015

A friend of mine is looking for a story she remembers reading in something like second grade… would have been in the late 1970’s. As she remembers it, there was a steel mill or ironworks or foundry or some such. In it worked a man made out of iron or iron ore. He *may* have been named “Bill,” but that’s uncertain. One day the place encountered some sort of trouble… ran out of iron at just the worst possible moment. If they didn’t get their work done, Very Bad Things would result. So, “Bill” apparently sacrificed himself to save the factory by tossing himself into the furnace, or something. Yay, hasta la vista baby.

The lesson seems obscure at best, dubious at worst, but if anyone knows the story, please advise.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm