Dec 262017

There are a lot of “fail” videos on YouTube. A *lot.* Many clearly document failures, but some show what might look like a failure to a layman but isn’t to someone who understands what’s actually going on. Such as the video below. It shows a Russian 9K22 Tunguska mobile anti-aircraft gun firing on what I presume to be a testing ground. For most of the video the gun is shooting off towards a target off towards the horizon; the tracer rounds seem to have a lot of dispersion, and a lot of them bounce off the terrain or the target and fly off into the sky. Anyone who has seen enough firearms testing knows this is pretty normal, but it might look like a “fail” to a layman. So I was underwhelmed with the failtastic nature of the video. Until about the last ten seconds or so, when the pucker factor went up to 11 and then ripped the knob right off.


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 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Dec 262017

This piece of art depicts the McDonnell-Douglas “Drawbridge” orbiter staging off the manned flyback booster, showing the wings still folded against the sides of the fuselage. The wings served no purpose during ascent; they would only be used after-re-entry. Of course, in the event of a mission abort shortly after launch, the wings would need to deploy fairly quickly. There are no doubt numerous abort scenarios where the orbiter would be left intact after separation from a presumably stricken booster (or after a main engine failure on the orbiter stage), but would nevertheless still be doomed due to inability to get the wings deployed in time.

I’ve uploaded the high-rez version of this artwork (5 megabyte 3951×2121 pixel JPG) to the APR Extras Dropbox folder for 2017-12, available to all APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in accessing this and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.



 Posted by at 3:19 pm
Dec 252017

Some celebrities claim that they are actually nerds… because being a nerd is, at least for the moment, kinda cool, or at least a way to pretend to connect with a certain portion of the market. And then some celebrities can actually *prove* that they are nerds with video evidence…

Seth MacFarlane: livin’ the dream.


 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Dec 252017

If you were wondering what the current limits in 3D-printing resolution are… check this out:

Lithuania sends Pope Francis ‘world’s smallest’ nativity scene for Christmas

So how small is it? Overall diameter is 0.3 mm, and the baby Jesus figure is smaller than a human cell.

Details are sparse, such as what the figures are actually made of, but presumably it’s some sort of resin. I wonder if hard limits are close… not only the wavelength of the laser used, but perhaps even limitations of the material itself. At some point you’re down to molecules, but limits might kick in even before then. How is the resin layered up? Or is the laser focused to an insanely precise point within the resin?



 Posted by at 2:45 pm
Dec 242017

If you search for “Last Jedi” reviews on YouTube… well, there are a *lot* of them, and there seems to be a consensus that Disney has destroyed childhood. Most of the reviews are basically just people ranting… meh. But some are insightful and, more importantly, entertaining. This one, for instance. Slightly NSFW language here and there.

The bulk of the complaints certainly seem valid. But I have serious doubts about whether such criticisms will have any impact. So long as the billons keep rolling in, there’s no incentive for the Kathleen Kennedys of the world to *not* use the property as a delivery medium for their weird political idologies.

The comparison between “heroes-journey-Luke” and “Mary-Sue-Rey-For-Pay” is particularly interesting. Luke took three movies to be anything but a schmuck, while Rey showed up fully powered right off the bat and thus incapable of growth.



 Posted by at 9:50 pm