Mar 312017

Principal suspends half of Pennsylvania high school after rash of unexcused absences

Go on. Try to convince yourself that you disagree with the Principal here.  According to whom: “If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here.


According to the article, this is one of those Bad Schools that’s clearly the end result of decades of spectacular governmental abuse.

Even better, the school superintendent backed up the Principal, and point out the direct opposite of crazy: “In order for us to get different results, we have to do something different. We can’t do the same ol’ same ol’ and then complain about it when we’re getting the same ol’ results.


 Posted by at 11:47 pm
Mar 312017

Star Trek: Discovery: Rainn Wilson to Play Intergalactic Criminal Harry Mudd

I can *kinda* see that working. But in order for a new Harcourt Fenton Mudd to really work like the original, you’d think that the whole world he inhabits would have to be much like the original, and everything that’s come out so far seems to indicate that the people producing and designing the show either ignored TOS or never actually watched it.

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Mar 302017

Two-plus-hour launch window opens at 4:27 PM Mountain time (6:27 PM eastern) tonight. If it is aborted due to weather, another window opens tomorrow at the same time.

This will be a success if it puts the payload into the correct orbit, regardless of whether or not the booster is recovered. But if the booster is successfully recovered, especially in good enough condition to be used *again…* safe to say, we’re in a new era.



Technical webcast:

And then there’s this from a prior landing. NSFW audio:


 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Mar 292017

NASA Spends 72 Cents of Every SLS Dollar On Overhead Costs, Says Report

Yikes. Assuming  the SLS flies on schedule, $43 billion will have been spent on it, the Ares I and the Orion capsule. Of course, if it *doesn’t* fly on schedule, or gets cancelled, $43 billion will have still been spent on it. That’s about half the cost of the *entire* Apollo program, without having actually landed a man on the moon… or even funded the development of an actual lunar lander.

Of the $19 billion so far spent directly on SLS, only $7 billion (“only,” he said, chuckling sadly, imagining what he could do with a tenth of that) has gone to the companies that are actually making stuff.

Whether you like the idea of HLLVs in general, or like the SLS in particular, the costs and inefficiencies involved are really kinda obscene. And in the age of SpaceX and Falcon 9… kinda indefensible.


 Posted by at 12:07 am
Mar 282017

Google has a collection of thousands of photos from Life magazine, including some relatively rare color photos of the Lockheed L-2000 supersonic transport full scale mockup. Sadly the website is set up for lookin’ at, not for easy linking or downloading of the photos. You can zoom in on the images, but good luck on copying the full-rez images.

Lockheed Supersonic Airplane

Lockheed Supersonic Airplane

Lockheed Supersonic Airplane



There are a bunch more if you go searching (search for “supersonic” brings up quite a few), but most are in B&W.

 Posted by at 10:19 pm
Mar 282017

I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. I still haven’t gotten around to “Halo”… the first one. The only video games I really spent much time with now won’t play on my PC because, yay, Windows 7 and above don’t like old 32-bit programs.

So, I’m not a player of the “Mass Effect” games, and I’m not involved in gamer culture. Still, I’ve heard some complaints about the latest “Mass Effect” game. Knowing just how picky nerds can be, I didn’t pay much attention to these complaints. And then I watched this and laughed my keister off. “Cringey” doesn’t begin to cover it.


 Posted by at 4:26 pm
Mar 282017

The trailer for the forthcoming (2018?) Russian movie “COMA.” From what I gather, it’s sorta like “Inception,” but with people in comas rather than asleep. The idea seems to be that fragmentary, incomplete memories of a coma patient are mashed together into a chaotic and irrational  and visually pretty impressive mess.


Dunno if it’ll be any good, but it *looks* good. Chances are that it is, by Hollywood standards, dirt cheap. With the lesson to be learned: if you can make a visually impressive and creative movie on a shoestring budget, Hollywood is starting to run out of excuses for their bloated $200 million disasters.

Another lesson to be learned: the advancec in visual effects make it more and more possible to make a truly impressive and *proper* Lovecraftian cosmic horror movie. After the stars are right and the Old Ones return to claim the Earth, the few surviving humans might see a world akin to what’s shown in the “COMA” trailer. Just with less “wonder” and more “my eyes, they have melted.”

 Posted by at 11:54 am
Mar 282017

So, on Monday SpaceX did a static test fire of their next Falcon 9. This one will, hopefully, launch a payload to orbit next week. But the spiffy thing is that it *already* launched a payload to orbit, a Dragon ISS resupply mission in April 2016.

SpaceX has a pretty good record of recovering their boosters. That’s handy on its own… by recovering a booster, SpaceX can examine it for wear and tear and whatnot to make future boosters better. But the real goal is of course to make them as reusable as a jetliner. Successfully pulling off this next launch and recovery will go a long way towards making that goal happen.

 Posted by at 12:08 am