Jan 272016

Start gathering your pennies, DeLoreans will apparently be made available in 2017. These won’t be strictly speaking “new” DeLoreans, but rather approximately 300 “replicas” assembled from vintage spare parts. They will have updated electronics and some as-yet undefined new engine; this is good, because the original DeLoreans suffered from some pretty lame engines.

So if this sounds good to you… they’ll be sold for the truly affordable price of only $100,000.

The DeLorean Is Coming Back Thanks To This New Law, Will Have 300-400 HP

 Posted by at 7:35 pm
Jan 272016

A video describing the Mars Automatic Pistol, an early, failed attempt at marketing a semi-automatic pistol. Like many early automatics, this gun was ridiculously over-complicated;  dirt, dust, water, mud, blood and sunlight all would have no doubt caused it to seize up in the field. It is noteworthy in having been just about the most powerful semi-auto handgun for many decades, firing the proprietary .45 Mars Long round.

It took quite a while for firearms designers to really figure out practical, powerful semi-auto pistols. John Browning nailed it with the M1911 which, more than a century later, is still the basis for most modern automatics. The parts count reduction alone…

 Posted by at 4:26 pm
Jan 272016

A couple things:

Ukraine set to liquidate world famous aircraft manufacturer Antonov

I’m literally angry with rage! No more AN-124’s or 225’s (not that there were going to be any more of those anyway). And in unrelated news:

Denmark passes controversial bill to seize assets and valuables from refugees

On one hand, this makes sense: the refugee-colonists flooding into Denmark and nearby nations are costing those welfare states a *lot* of money, so having them pay for themselves makes sense. On the other hand… how the hell is this supposed to actually work? How do you rifle through all the colonists stuff and figure out what to pawn?


The two stories are unrelated on almost every level. However, I can see a link… and a solution to some problems. Antonovs problems are due in no small part to Russias war of territorial conquest against Ukraine, with the economic damage that has resulted. As a result of that war, a good-sized chunk of Ukraine has been chopped off. So… here’s my solution: Europe accepts Ukraine as part of the EU, based on pre-war borders. Europe then sends the Syrian refugee-colonists to Ukraine, who then settles them in Crimea. Assuming that the Russian-backed paramilitary forces on the ground try to prevent the colonists driving across the border, the EU funds Antonov to crank out a bunch of new cargo planes with which to darken the Crimean skies with parachuting  colonists and their stuff.

Everybody wins!

 Posted by at 3:34 pm
Jan 272016

I can’t honestly tell if this is funny, but it certainly pegs the meter on the weirdometer. Some NSFW language.

Someone with a little bit of skill, the right tools and a whole lot of free time was able to visually mangle “The Shining” into something about chickens. It’s obviously done as a joke, but a side benefit is that it shows that someone else with the same skills, same tools and *more* free time, perhaps even a budget, could re-work another film into something else entirely, perhaps for serious effect. As another example, “Hell’s Club” from some months back:

Hell’s Club was a bit more of a straight mashup, taking bits and pieces from existing movies and expertly putting them together, while “The Chickening” does far more with adding all-new stuff.



 Posted by at 11:49 am
Jan 262016

Some recent panoramas of the local area. Dates in the filenames.

2015-12-03 pano 3 2015-12-03 pano 2 2015-12-03 pano 1

Below: The field across the street here in Thatcher.

2015-12-31 pano 1

Below: two views from a hill overlooking Bothwell (Thatcher off to the right in the distance, Tremonton to the left). Most of the time the winter skies are overcast and the air is a dreadful brownish color due to inversions, but yesterday it cleared up for a bit. The sad state of affairs of the high population density can be seen. Hopefully after the zombie apocalypse wipes out the dystopic humanzoos of Chicago and LA and New York colonization expeditions will set out to resettle those areas, and the severe overpopulation of *this* area will abate somewhat.

2016-01-25 pano 2 2016-01-25 pano 1 2016-01-03 pano 2 2016-01-03 pano 1

 Posted by at 7:24 pm
Jan 262016

Residents evacuated from seaside homes teetering on the brink as California cliffs crumble into the ocean amid violent El Nino storms

Take a look at the glorious photos at the link showing many, many homes built right at the edge of cliffs in California.

I grew up not far from the Mississippi river in Illinois. Seemingly every year the Mississippi or one of its tributaries would bloat out of its banks, flooding numerous homes. My question then as now was “who thought it was a good idea to build a house someplace you *know* will try to kill you, sooner or later?”

Thing is, a lot of the houses along the banks or the Rock River were built on stilts three or more feet high. This was enough to lift them above century-level flood stages, though of course every now and then a 500-year flood would come along and make a mess of things. But flooding is something that cane be seen coming, and the damage is, while often devastating, generally not very dramatic. But the ground on which your home is built simply crashing into the sea a hundred feet below? That’s hard to top. River floods rarely come out of nowhere; when the heavy rains come, you can have hours to day to gather your bits and git. But an earthquake comes out of nowhere, and a house built on a cliff can simply vanish into a cloud of dust and a pile of rubble.

Additionally… back home the houses down by the river were often not much better than a van down by the river. But in California, houses costing millions seems to spring up like shrooms on the edges of cliffs and on the sides of hills made out of mud. Madness.

 Posted by at 10:55 am
Jan 252016

After the Delta Clipper came the X-33. And before the decision was made to award the project to Lockheed, McDonnell-Douglas was in the running, basing their X-33 on their Delta Clipper.

When they lost X-33, the Delta Clipper idea and design faded into extinction.

‘Cept it seems to be back now:

New player Masten eyes Space Coast for launches, research

Some notable changes in the design, of course, but the heritage is obvious.

I kinda wonder about the future. It seems reasonably obvious that from the NASA/national point of view, the future of manned spaceflight is pretty damn bleak. The Orion capsule is a useful space taxi… but to where? NASA has no real plans on going *anywhere.* And come January 2017, the new President could sweep what little planning there is away. But from the point of view of private companies, from SpaceX and Blue Origin to Virgin Galactic and Masten and Xcor, things seem remarkably hopeful. It’s been distressingly obvious for some years now that, despite my earlier hopes and dreams and training and work and career, I’ll play no part… but it’s good to see that chances are good that *someone* will.

Anybody need a used, factory-second and obsolete aerospace engineer?

 Posted by at 2:07 am
Jan 232016

USSP #04

US Spacecraft Projects #04, the Lander Special is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #04 includes:

  • GE Electrically Propelled Cargo Vehicle: A lunar lander with a nuclear reactor and ion engines to reduce the cost of lunar logistics
  • Douglas LASS: Landing an S-IVb stage on the moon
  • Convair PLAME: VTOL crew return with jet engines
  • North American Mars Excursion Module: the iconic conical Mars lander
  • Martin-Marietta Ballistic NIMF: A nuclear “hopper”
  • Early LEM: One of the first recognizable designs, by Maxime Faget
  • ROMBUS: probably the largest lunar lander seriously proposed
  • Boeing Lander Module 2: A recent Mars crew lander

ussp04ad1 ussp04ad2

USSP #04 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $5:



USTP #05

US Transport Projects #05 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #05 includes:

  • Boeing Model 820-100: The B-52 can haul more than bombs…
  • Lockheed Nuclear Tug: Want to tow two C-5s across an ocean?
  • Martin Super Ocean Transport: A WWII-era design for a post-war giant passenger transport
  • HOT EAGLE: 13 Marines to Benghazi in minutes
  • Sikorsky SST: An early supersonic transport concept
  • Lifting Body Cargo Airplane: A wartime design for a multibody design with a separate cargo module
  • Resource Air Carrier: A giant “flying pipeline” to haul petroleum
  • Boeing Model 763-165: A side-by-side New Large Airplane design

ustp05ad2 ustp05ad1

USTP #05 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:



 Posted by at 7:31 pm