Sep 302015

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s

Some studies have shown that if similar people today and in the mid 1980s ate the same and exercised the same, the people from today would still be fatter than their predecessors. Theorized explanations include the changes in artificial sweeteners and other dietary chemicals, the increased use of antidepressants and the like, a higher percentage of meat in the diet, changes in gut biota.

Translation: I dunno.

 Posted by at 8:23 pm
Sep 302015

Another heavily illustrated “2001” book is due out in November:

The 2001 File: Harry Lange  and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film

Another book that *looks* promising ( I haven’t seen it myself), ut here’s the description:

The Holy Grail
Harry Lange’s complete unseen archive

This stunning tome is a previously unseen look behind-the-scenes at the making of this most legendary of science fiction classics. It is an in-depth examination of the complete, largely unpublished archive of art director Harry Lange’s designs, concepts, roughs and photographs.

Lange’s strikingly realistic designs created an extraordinary vision of the future. By releasing this unpublished archive and explaining its significance, the book takes the reader/viewer on a journey deep into the visual thinking behind 2001, for the first time ever – visual thought that might actually work.

The book is about the process, as well as the finished product. It examines how Harry Lange’s experience with NASA fed into the innovations of the film. It includes rejected designs, concepts and roughs, as well as the finished works. It reveals how the design team was obsessed with things that actually might work. The book illustrates several innovations that were science fiction in the 1960s but have since become science fact, including a ‘newspad’ designed by IBM, which bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s iPad. The remarkable designs for 2001 created a credible vision of the future.

ISBN: 978-0-9572610-2-0
336pp; Hardback; 600+ illustrations
290 x 245mm / 11.4 x 10 in.

According to Amazon, it’s due out in mid November… just in time for you to buy a few dozen copies for your friends for Saturnalia or Christmas or whatever. If’n you don’t see the standard Amazon ad link below, you should be able to get there through THIS TEXT LINK

The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film

 Posted by at 6:36 am
Sep 292015

Some months back someone had a contractors model of the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System up on ebay. These photos might be handy if you have or are working on another Phalanx model, as one does.

2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 3 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 10 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 1  2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 11 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 7 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 8 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 9

 Posted by at 10:06 pm
Sep 282015

I’ve been pondering the Casaba Howitzer weapon system for a decade now. When I re-issued Aerospace Projects Review V2N2 some years back I published a few images of what I thought it might look like; since then I’ve done some rethinking. As to the weapon itself, and exactly how it worked, and how well it worked… I’ve got no data, and no good idea of how to make it work, so that hasn’t changed. But the control systems for the weapon? Those have evolved in my thinking.

Here’s an overall view of my idea for a Casaba Howitzer preparing to fire:


And here’s a layout drawing of the same:

PAX-0004 Casaba 1st gen-Model

Feel free to discuss.

The full-rez version of the layout drawing is available in the second Pax Orionis installment. If interested, check out the Pax Orionis Patreon.


 Posted by at 7:50 am
Sep 262015

Humans have spent the last several million years evolving to be bipedal long-distance runners on flat plains. It’s been quite a number of millions of years since our ancestors were swinging through branches, and *none* of our ancestors ever flew or even glided. Yet, with no evolutionary basis for the human body being capable of flight, some of us can do this craziness:


 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Sep 252015

ISIS is like a pack of savages, capable of little more than cheap thuggery on a large scale. But they seem to have some long term dreams and goals involving nuclear annihilation:

Nuclear TSUNAMI: ISIS wants to wipe hundreds of millions from face of the earth

This is no doubt just the insane dreaming of a bunch of rabid knuckleheads, but it is instructive as to the mindset. Where would ISIS actually get nukes, though? They won’t be stealing them from the Israelies, and the Iranians probably wouldn’t want them to have nukes. The Pakistanis, perhaps. Fortunately, the one source that ISIS *could* have tapped for nukes, the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, was finally and permanently dismantled in 2003.

Imagine a world where the ’03 invasion of Iraq didn’t happen (perhaps Gore won in 2000). So by 2005 or so, the inspection regime ends; the Iraqi nuke program recommences. By 2015 the Iraqis have themselves some nukes… as do the Iranians and the Saudis. Saddam kicks the bucket in 2016; Iraq falls into civil war, with the Saudis pushing in from one side, the Iranians from another, perhaps the Syrians from a third side. A pseudo-ISIS forms, this time armed with Iraqi nukes and Iraqi nerve gas and Iraqi bio weapons. Let the chaos begin!

 Posted by at 2:57 pm
Sep 252015

A graphic showing the relative footprints of nuclear, solar and wind facilities for the same approximate power output.

Solar plants could improve substantially in efficiency, perhaps gaining two or three times as much energy per unit area. Wind, though, is probably about as efficient as it is going to get. Nukes could potentially get smaller.


 Posted by at 1:21 pm