Elon Musk and SpaceX aren’t the only ones with their “eyes on the prize” of replacing the Shuttle for commercial U.S manned space launches. Boeing has unveiled a new streamlined light-weight space suit for it astronauts to wear aboard its CST-100 “Space Taxi”.
See also my post Bras In Space, the story of the Apollo spacesuit
When I told him I was looking for a CHEMEX coffee carafe, my friend in Florida told me I could probably find a used one much cheaper than a new one. He also told me one can frequently find a used one at significantly cheaper cost (than on Amazon) by visiting thrift shops, eBay, etc. He sent me several links.
Days (weeks?) later he told me that while rummaging around in his house he found one. Knowing my friend this is entirely believable. You would have to see his place …
The outer box
The inner box
Digging out the packing peanuts – like digging out rice cakes
But if you try, sometime you just might find, you get what you need
The revolution WAS televised.
BBC live coverage “No one saw this coming” (Yoo-hoo … BREXIT?)
Many of you reading this will turn off now – but if you have not already watched it – please watch Donald Trump’s acceptance video below. This is not the Trump on the campaign trail. This is a very presidential Donald Trump.
The Twitter-verse is awash with angry women and minorities both here and across the world, taking all of this very personally. I have friends and relatives who are very angry now. I have other friends and neighbors here in Texas who never thought this would happen but are relieved and pleased that it did. This was not merely an election – it was a revolution.
Just remember that pre-election rhetoric is just that. What matters now is deeds. I do so hope that Trump can live up to his acceptance speech.
The Questar 3.5 telescope and I go back a long way … 62 years in fact.
The first Questar debuted in 1954, just months after I was born. I discovered it as a teenager interested in astronomy and all things aerospatial in the giddy years of the 1960s moon race. It has been an unrequited love affair ever since. I followed the Questar with great interest during the 60s, 70s, and 80s – sending in handwritten letters requesting their latest catalogs. In college, while other engineering students were thumbing through their Playboy and Penthouse magazines, I read and reread my Questar catalogs. My lust was every bit as real and unsatisfiable as theirs. (Not that I never read their magazines, but I read them solely for the interviews and journalistic content.)
Married in 76 with profession, mortgage, and children arriving on schedule like most other couples, my attention shifted elsewhere. With the arrival of the Internet I had instant access to better astrophotos than the best telescopes on earth much less any amateur telescope. In the late 90s my wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I tell people that I feel more comfortable in hospitals than any non-medical person has a right to feel. So with mortgage company, kids, doctors, hospitals, and big pharma all dependent on my salary – any telescope was out of my price range. Life went on …
Every so often I would google “Questar” just to see if they were even still in business. To my surprise they were. Even more interesting Company Seven had arrived on the scene. But as before, life went on …
Things have stabilized. My wife’s MS and other complications are manageable. I’m not rich, but I’m not broke (yet). In the past few weeks I have reacquainted myself with Company Seven and have been having a very enjoyable and elightening email dialog with Martin Cohen one of the cofounders of Company Seven. I can imagine how busy he must be so I feel honored that he has taken the time to answer my questions personally. Then again he may give all of his customers this personal touch, just one of the many reasons that makes Company Seven special. Company Seven provides a full range of products and services supporting the amateur astronomy community as well as government, security, and corporate customers. They are a fully authorized distributor for Questar (in fact the only one, I believe) and provide a full range of associated products and services. Their online library of current and historical literature is truly amazing.
Company Seven played a key role in the development of the “spectacles” used to correct design deficiencies in the focus of the Hubble Space Telescope primary mirror. They even used a variant of the Questar to quality check the calibration of the optics.
Trust me – if the general topic of telescopes, optics, accessories … and the history of the above interests you – then the Company Seven website will give you hours if not days of reading enjoyment.
Even more impressive (at least to me) is the level of Quality Assurance and Testing they give to each and every product they sell. Their webpage below on testing is both enlightening and entertaining. After reading it I am going to be purchasing ALL of my optical gear through Company Seven – especially my Questar.
Lest there be any doubt, please realize that the Questar is as much an objet d’art as it is a mere telescope. It is a handmade sculpture of engineering excellence. A future heirloom. A “bucket list” item. Proudly made entirely in the USA throughout its 62 year history.
On November 14, the National Geographic Channel will debut the the new mini-series MARS by executive producer Ron Howard. MARS is a novel alternation of fiction and documentary featuring commentary by Elon Musk, Andy Weir, Robert Zubrin, and other experts on Mars and space flight.
But why wait until November 14? You can stream the prequel BEFORE MARS and the first episode NOVO MUNDO right now (below). You can also watch THE MAKING OF MARS with Ron Howard and other short videos – behind the scenes and other related videos.
Episode 2 of a series. These are excellent primers on money, the history of money, and an analysis of where we stand today. At a half hour it is well worth the time to watch. I hope that you will find these as enlightening as I have.
I plan to post the entire series on a day-to-day basis. If you are impatient you can find them on YouTube at
Episode 1 of a series. These are excellent primers on money, the history of money, and an analysis of where we stand today. At under a half hour it is well worth the time to watch. I hope that you will find these as enlightening as I have.
I plan to post the entire series on a day-to-day basis. If you are impatient you can find them on YouTube at
If you don’t read this article your life will be the lesser for it.
Very conveniently, the yellow vessel had ‘Ministry of Defence’ and a telephone number stencilled on it, which was of course immediately called. What happened next was to become the stuff of legend. He was connected to the Royal Navy. “I have found your yellow submarine” said John. “We haven’t lost a yellow submarine” said the Navy. Which was an odd response as the evidence to the contrary was overwhelming.
* Bonus gold must be claimed within 48 hours of opening account by depositing 5 grams or more. BitGold will then credit your account an additional 5% gold up to a maximum of 2.5 grams. Gold price as of 16 May 2016 is approximately $41/g.
OMG I am just a little kid in old man’s body. Tears are running down my cheeks as I watch this. It is like being back in the 60s watching the moon launches or 2001 A Space Odyssey. I have always been very emotional about spaceflight (and music).
Less than four years. I have been blogging on SpaceX since the inception of this blog in 2013.
People of SpaceX and Elon Musk … thank you for a great ride!
The Four Horseman is a independent cinematic feature documentary which lifts the lid on how the global economy really works. Living in the age of consequence unfettered growth and profit seeking have pushed humanity to the brink. Today’s Four Horsemen – socially organised violence, debt, iniquity and poverty control all of our lives. They’re gathering momentum, decimating communities and compromising future generations if they are not arrested the planet will gallop to a logical conclusion.
I just finished listening to Cryptonomicon for the second time. Cryptonomicon, published in 1999, is eerily prescient of the technological developments since then. Written at the dawn of the Internet it presages digital banking, digital encryption, and global telecommunications.
Cryptonomicon is a fascinating mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and techno-thriller. It follows two timelines – one in World War II, the other present day. The World War Two timeline follows the exploits and adventures of real and fictional characters involved in formulating and breaking the Nazi and Nipponese codes used to send vital wartime communications. The present day timeline follows what one quickly learns are the descendants of the WWII cast of characters who are building a data crypt and associated digital infrastructure in the Phillipines and Sultanate of Kinkuta. The past and present are woven together in a fine tapestry.
Neal Stephenson is at his best in Cryptonomicon. It is filled with action, suspense, and humor. A good read and a better listen. This is a must-read book for devotees of Stephenson, WWII, cryptology, and the Internet. I give it four thumbs up.
… some of the background for last nights successful Falcon 9 landing
A lot about how things work in space is counter-intuitive, as all of our intuition is gained from daily experiences where the air is thick, gravity doesn’t seem to change and movement is relatively slow. We do see lots of movies about space, but, unless you’re watching an IMAX documentary, they vary from slightly wrong, like The Martian (good movie!), to mostly absurdly wrong, like Red Planet (don’t watch this, it will hurt your brain), which also doesn’t help intuition.
• • •
In the case of the Falcon 9 rocket, the boost stage is able to accelerate a payload mass of 125 metric tons to 8000 km/h and land on an ocean platform or to 5000 km/h and land back at the launch site. The second one is lower because the rocket is moving super fast away from the launch site, so it has to do a screetching U-turn with nitrogen attitude thrusters, then fire the engines to create a reversed ballistic arc, then reorient again for atmospheric entry and have the engines pointed in the right direction for the landing burn. Since the propellant is liquid, it wants to centrifuge out during these maneuvers, so there has to be a system of baffles and internal holding tanks to keep it in place. It also needs three axis control surfaces that don’t melt easily and work well from hypersonic through subsonic speeds.
For a sea platform landing, the Falcon 9 figure of merit is therefore roughly 300 gigajoules (GJ) of kinetic energy and for a return to launch site landing, the number is about 120 GJ. These are fairly sizable by terrestrial standards. To put it into perspective, the city of San Francisco uses about 1 GJ per second of electricity, so the Falcon 9 booster transfers enough energy to power a city of almost a million people for five minutes.
• • •
Read more about the physics and technology involved in first stage Return To Launch site, plus a short history of SpaceX’s efforts in this regard at:
Both my sister and I have been in contact with James Prince.
James told us that he wants Goody Goodelle to have a bigger part in the play when he presents it in Boston near the original Cocoanut Grove lounge. I have agreed to scan photos of mom (and I) when I was young to include in the lobby to show that she went on to have a happy life after the fire. My sister will be digitizing some of mom’s old records to also play in the lobby. Who knows, depending on the level of hassle, we might even put them up on iTunes (no promises).
This has all turned out to be very exciting and unexpected for my sister and I.
I wish mom were alive to see it, although maybe not as I am sure that the memories were painful.
Last month on the 73rd anniversary of the Coconut Grove fire I reblogged a post about my mom, Goody Goodelle, who saw the fire start and with clear thinking was one of the very few people to get out alive. In the comments section of the original post, James Prince of The Core Theater in Richardson, TX (near Dallas) reached out to me for more information on Goody.
The Core Theatre is taking “Inferno! Fire at the Cocoanut Grove” to Boston. They need your help to get there. More information is available on their Go Fund Me page. Be sure to watch the video.
So I contacted my sister and in an even stranger turn of events she replied
“So, I saw that his theatre is in Richardson, TX. That’s where Jan’s niece, Susan, and her family live. So I sent Susan an FB message and asked if she’d heard of his theater. She tells me he goes to her church and she knows him and that he is very talented. As Susan said in her message back to me . . . mind blown. I will keep you posted.”
I don’t ask for much (OK I ask for a lot at least as far as the Mrs is concerned), but please take a look at the Go Fund Me page and contribute what you can if you find value in the project.
So Ye Olde Kid Sister (YOKS) calls me up this morning to wish me Happy Birthday and informs me that they renamed the street in front of the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub from Shawmut Street Extension to Cocoanut Grove Lane.
In my mind I thought yeah that’s right, I am going to post a blog entry on … November 28 … oh ‘sh1+’. Well with the Mrs in hospital the week before Thanksgiving and the Thanksgiving holiday (where I did all the cooking), I suppose you can forgive me for not getting this out on time.
The Cocoanut Grove was Boston’s premier nightclub during the post-Prohibition 1930s and 1940s. On November 28, 1942, this club was the scene of the deadliest nightclub fire in history, killing 492 people (which was 32 more than the building’s authorized capacity) and injuring hundreds more. The enormity of the tragedy shocked the nation and briefly replaced the events of World War II in newspaper headlines. It led to a reform of safety standards and codes across the country, and major changes in the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims.
It was the second-deadliest single-building fire in American history; only the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago had a higher death toll, of 602.
Official reports state that the fire started at about 10:15 p.m. in the dark, intimate Melody Lounge downstairs. A young pianist and singer, Goody Goodelle, was performing on a revolving stage, surrounded by artificial palm trees. It was believed that a young man, possibly a soldier, had removed a light bulb in order to give himself privacy while kissing his date. Stanley Tomaszewski—a 16-year-old busboy—was instructed to put the light back on by retightening the bulb. As he attempted to tighten the light bulb in its socket, the bulb fell from his hand. In the dimly-lit lounge, Tomaszewski, unable to see the socket, lit a match to illuminate the area, found the socket, extinguished the match, and replaced the bulb. Almost immediately, patrons saw something ignite in the canopy of artificial palm fronds draped above the tables (although the official report doubts the connection between the match and the subsequent fire).
There has been a building boom in the far west Houston area. They must be building for the next boom because oil patch layoffs are at an all time high. All manner of woodlands, grasslands, and former rice fields are being paved over to build subdivisions, apartments, office complexes, and shopping complexes. I am not a tree hugger and am more aware than most that the only constant in the universe is change.
I just passed another area of new construction and this tune started playing in my head. At no time in the past 45 years has it been more true than today.
[cb note: Experimenting with “featured image”. Unfortunately the iOS version (if not all versions) seems to crop the “featured image” in undesired ways. I had to extend the canvas size of Bass Reeves to avoid cropping out his eyes. Even it still cropped his eyebrows. 😦 ]
This is a interesting post addressing many aspects of the Lone Ranger legend, but to me the most interesting part of the story comes at the very end of the post …
Glen Campbell Plays “The #William Tell Overture” (acoustic)
Published on Aug 18, 2015
From September 1974 in New York’s Central Park, Glen Campbell plays an acoustic version of “The William Tell Overture”. In later years he always used an electric guitar for this. Sometime around 1974 Glen recorded an acoustic studio version of William Tell that sounds much like this, but it went unreleased for years until it was accidentally released on the 1997 Razor & Tie 2-CD set “The Glen Campbell Collection”. I say accidentally because the track listing for the compilation lists the live 1977 version with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but what you hear is the 1974 studio acoustic version.
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. Carl Sagan
Perhaps society has always been at war with science. Science challenges belief systems. Science threatens the status quo. Scientific thinking requires one to question everything.
However scientific thought does not grant one the ability to throw out centuries of hard-won knowledge just because the doubter does not “believe” it. The Internet is chock full of blogs decrying the “lies” perpetuated by scientists, NASA, the media, the government. It is truly ironic that the science and technology that made computers, smart phones, tablets, and the Internet possible is the very science under attack on the Internet. So much of the “information” on the Internet is opinion and belief offered up as fact. The Internet gives everyone an equal voice.
Instead of making us smarter, the Internet is making us dumber. Our knowledge is based on “factoids” and “sound bites”. Few people bother to dig deeper. TL;DR
Sadly, I ran across this video on one of those “anti-science”, “we have been lied to” blogs. The author comments:
This is just such a great example of how sometimes the propaganda gets so heavy in it’s shaming tactics that it only serves to show how desperate and panicky the official side is seemingly becoming.
Science = propaganda
Whatever other titles I have held during my professional career …
My first experience in Russian banya was December 1989 in Nadym Western Siberia in the final days of the old Soviet Union. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadym
American and Russian oil men and geologists. Much vodka. Very similar to this story, except this banya did have a shower. The Americans ran naked into the subzero night to cool off in the snow then went back to the banya. The water in my beard froze solid. I experienced many more Russian banya in the following years. One of my fondest memories of Russia.