Category Archives: Video

(not) MARS

It’s always wise to test what you are about to do – in advance. If you want want to live on Mars, isolated, create some kind of HAB module on Earth. Test that in advance. ~ Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mars, Episode 5 / Season 1 (13:20)


HI-SEAS (Hawaii)

Apply to be a crew member

Media Kit (PDF)


Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)


Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)

Upload UPDATE | Brothers HD

So … today I decided to run speed tests on my Internet again …

There are two sets of numbers for December 10 (alternating) … 150+ / 11+ and 70+ / 1+

The faster numbers on December 10 are for the 5 Ghz Wi-Fi channel and the slower for the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channel. The 5 Ghz Wi-Fi channel is fast enough to keep up with the native cable modem speed, the 2.4 GHz channel … not so much. I think I knew that, but had not paid attention as I always connect via the 5 GHz channel.

My son confirms that direct wired connection is running at full speed as well.

I am definitely getting a “performance discrepancy” with Comcast that varies throughout the day. Does this reflect bandwidth congestion from other users? Probably.

Will retry the upload now.


Brothers HD


OK – this is perhaps my favorite movie – ever

Unless you absolutely HATE Sci-Fi, you owe it to yourself to see this movie … as many times as necessary to understand it. Absolutely worth seeing in a theater.

This is drama, a love story, a study in inter-species communication, a triumph of problem solving. It has humor and joy and sadness.

It is awesome and awe inspiring.

If you only see one movie at the theater this year – see this movie.

PS: I was not kidding when I said “as many times as necessary to understand it”, although I could have said “as many times as necessary to catch all of the foreshadowing, hints, clues, and twists.” This is a complex movie. 


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.

However Company Seven is not solely a Questar distributor. Their list of products and services reads like an encyclopedia of optics and astronomy.

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.

Click to access 19910003124_1991003124.pdf

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.

If you are in the market for quality optics of any kind, do yourself a favor and contact Company Seven first.

And now for the obligatory Questar YouTube video courtesy of Dave Trott.

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.

Company Seven

Questar Corporation


And now for an entirely different perspective – the modern Apochromatic (Apo) Refracter vs the Questar.

MARS | NatGeo Channel

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.

This is great stuff! Watch it. Seriously. I mean it. 


Hidden Secrets of Money Episode 2

By Mike Maloney (2013)


Seven Stages of Empire
(30 minutes)

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

or at

Hidden Secrets of Money Episode 1

By Mike Maloney (2013)

Money vs Currency (26 minutes)

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

or at

Tiny1 AstroCamera

As a teenager growing up in the 60s … at the height of the space race … I could never have comprehended that we would develop the level of technology that would allow the Tiny1 to exist. Now 50 years later, I am no longer surprised by anything.

If you are a child of the Space Age, love to look at the night sky, or just want to be amazed at how far technology has come, check out Tiny1 on Indiegogo.


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Falcon 9

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!


Patches and her “ball”

Over the last few weeks (months?) Patches has discovered independent play. She is amazingly cute to watch. She is old and either half-blind or cross-eyed but for all of that she really enjoys play.

One of her favorite play times involves my throwing a small crinkle ball to her while she is on our bed. She is quite amazing – either catching it outright with her (badly?) declawed front paws or batting it back to me. If she misses it she then hunts it and bats it about until I pick it up and throw it again. I need to set up a tripod and record one of these sessions, but …

Lately Patches has gotten tired of waiting for me to play with her and has started batting the crinkle balls about on her own.  This past Christmas the Mrs bought an assortment of small plastic ornaments for attaching to packages. Patches discovered them and started batting them around in the kitchen. The ornaments roll well and with the attachment nubbin they roll with just the right amount of randomness.

Patches is not a kitten. She must easily be in her tweens or teens. I wonder if this return to kittendom is a sign of senility setting in? It doesn’t matter. We love her anyway. She is a sweet gentle soul. I am just happy to see her having fun.

Weggieboy Update

I spoke to Doug twice this weekend. He is battling a nasty cold that is going around. Rumor has it that he might get to go home next week. Keep your fingers and paws crossed.


Pickles discovers Arlo

15 seconds at a time…

The Arlo camera was set on motion detection and a 15 second recording window. I merged them with iMovie.

Depending on the amount of light received it is either color or infrared black and white. When Pickles blocks enough light the IR LEDs turn on and the camera goes black and white. Pickles is fascinated by the infrared LEDs. Mmmm … tasty.


See previous post for more Arlo videos.

Release the Kraken

I have decided to call my new toy tool The Kraken, mostly because I love saying “Release the Kraken.”

Below we see the Scooba 450 in action, as filmed by one of my Arlo wireless security cameras. Note the infrared eyes on the front of The Kraken. These are invisible to the naked eye, but detected by the infrared-sensitive Arlo camera.

And now with the camera riding The Kraken … yee haw ride ’em Arlo!

From more info see: