Jan 312016

I tend to include human figure “scale references” in my CAD diagrams or aircraft and spacecraft. But I’m getting kinda bored of using the same ones, over and over. Anybody know of some good alternates? I’m especially interested in other human figure scale references from aerospace corporation/NASA/USAF/etc. diagrams.


 Posted by at 2:19 am
Jan 302016

Yesterday dealt with some wacky science conspiracy theorizing. Todays… actually matters. Some “anti fascist” socialists in Germany decided to post this to their Facebook page (and then deleted it when someone noticed):



The caption translates to “rather sexually overactive refugees than racist Germans,” but the sign is a bit more to the point. But what these idjits seem to not understand: if they were able to wave their magic wands and vaporize German racists… the rapists they’re importing in seemingly vast numbers will only create *more* racists.

Remember come November that these people have the same basic political philosophy as Crazy Uncle Bernie.

UPDATE: it appears that the posterboard the woman is holding has been photoshopped. It originally seems to have read “Will trade racists for refugees.” The change in text is what, in the best tradition of professional journalism, is known as “fake but accurate.”

 Posted by at 11:05 pm
Jan 302016

Georgia lotto winner gunned down in home invasion

The guy won $400,000, got some publicity, then got a shotgun blast in his home in front of his family from three gentlemen who were apparently after that money.

Now, imagine you were one of the recent Powerball winners, and you’ve just won four hundred MILLION dollars. Yeah, I think a wee bit of paranoia might be called for.

 Posted by at 9:07 pm
Jan 292016

This is interesting: a recent translation of a previously untranslated Babylonian text indicates that the ancients were on the path towards developing the rudiments of calculus, using some mathematical cleverness to predict the path of Jupiter across the sky. This is not an easy or straightforward task, but “the Babylonians did so by tracking Jupiter’s speed as a function of time and determining the area under a time-velocity curve.”

The recognition that the area under a time-velocity curve related to distance traveled did not re-appear until Europe in the mid-14th century; it’d be another three centuries before Newton and Leibnitz invented calculus.

This Babylonian Astronomy Text Changes History

Couple this with the Antikythera Mechamism and the fact that Archimedes was also on the path to calculus, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the ancient world was a lot closer to industrialism that we might have thought. Had science flourished and not been squashed by mysticism, we could well be a thousand to fifteen hundred years further along technologically.

A discussion with a friend today raised an interesting ponderable: how might history have been different if the Moon was seen to rotate, rather than being tidally locked? Assuming that it was at the same distance yet still rotated (thus minimizing issues with tides), I have the feeling that science just might have had a chance to triumph. Plato and the Pythagoreans believed that the heavens were perfect and inviolate; if the Moon rotated, it might have been clear that the Moon was a flawed, imperfect *place,* rather than some flawless celestial crystal or a great mirror reflecting Earth.


 Posted by at 1:40 am
Jan 282016

So there I was, sitting in a classroom, bored out of my mind, when all of a sudden the PA system woke up with a screech. Someone in the administrative offices had a TV on and was watching the Shuttle Challenger launch, saw it explode, and turned on the PA system and stuck the microphone up to the TV speaker. The classroom sorta froze for a few seconds, since nobody knew what was going on; the audio of course started up in mid sentence. When the speaker finally said something along the lines of “the space shuttle has exploded,” several students, myself included, packed up our stuff and bolted from the room, dashing towards the library. A whole lot of other kids and teachers had the same idea, with the result that hundreds tried to pack in to see the one TV in the place.

Boy, did that day *suck.*

Here’s the live CNN coverage. Note that the reporter is speaking when Challenger explodes… and, unlike current news reporting practice, he shuts up. Rather than a stream of unending blather, he lets the story speak for itself for a moment. Granted, he was likely shocked, but still…

Here’s some “behind the scenes at CNN:”

Here’s one hour of CNN coverage, from 11:00 to 12:00 (the explosion is at about 11:38):


And from 12:00 to 1:00:


It’s difficult to say that there was a bright spot in that day, but if there was, it was President Reagan. Originally scheduled to deliver the State of the Union address that night, he instead delivered a necessarily hastily-written address to the nation on Challenger… surely one of the great speeches in American political history.



 Posted by at 10:58 am
Jan 272016

As some may know, I’ve recently been on a high-rez aerospace artwork kick (as always, if you know of or have any such, let me know). And while I’ve been focusing on high quality stuff, sometimes there are low-quality images that are stuff worth of note.

One such is below, a rendering of the Northrop Corporations “SLOMAR” (Space Logistics, Maintenance and Repair) design circa 1960. Numerous companies worked on that USAF study, producing a range of lifting manned entry vehicles (see the General Dynamics version HERE). Northrop designed a vehicle virtually identical to the Boeing Dyna Soar, though a bit bigger.

northrop slomar

 Posted by at 10:15 pm