We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, September 8. 2013
Pic: Just back from his vacation, the big guy feels fresh and invigorated.
As I've noted in past NASA posts, I've been a huge fan of the space program from the beginning, and have watched all of the major launches over the years. When Story Musgrave and his valiant crew fixed the Hubble back in '93, I was hitting the sack at 9 in the evening and getting up at 3 to watch it live.
Then the bad news started trickling in.
The problem is that they've had half a century to deal with the first problem, and that ol' 'treadmill routine' just isn't cutting it. And they're just as clueless — if not just as helpless — with the second problem.
So it's actually kind of sad to see articles like these floating around, misleading people into thinking that whole 'space exploration' business is doable at this point in time:
"Well, we're all blind and too weak to lift a finger — but we made it!"
It was 1973 and I was working at a high-end stereo shop in Keene, NH. Owning a 12-string, I was obviously very intimate with guitar-tuning. This was the dawn of PC chips, remember, and suddenly one came out that could 'read' audio frequencies. It occurred to me that you could incorporate twelve of them to look for a specific frequency and send a plus or minus signal to a mini-servomotor attached to each tuning key, telling it to turn one direction or the other. You'd strum the guitar once and they'd all kick into gear.
He's threatening you.
Since it's Sunday and we're just horsing around, I'll run through his little list, just for practice:
Tornadoes — We're currently at a 10-year low in twister activity — despite an ever-mounting rise of 'killer carbon', CO2.
Hurricanes — Also at an historic low, and some global climatologists are now starting to think that warmer waters reduce the number and strength of hurricanes.
Droughts — Our current drought is nothing compared to the barn-burner of the Dust Bowl 30's.
Coastal Flooding — Ah, you can always tell somebody who grew up in a landlocked state. It's like he's never even seen an oceanside beach. He's picturing the entire surrounding land mass as being at or near sea level, whereupon a few-feet rise in ocean level would devastate everything for miles around. Yet San Francisco, for example, surrounded on three sides by water and obviously one of the first to be washed away, is 15 feet above sea level.
Hold on, this just in:
Where we we? Oh, right.
Wildfires — We have definitely seen bigger and bigger wildfires in recent times, and will continue to do so. And it has everything to do with poor brush management and the poor clearing of old timber and not maintaining a proper airborne fleet and nothing to do with the weather.
Mass Extinctions — As I point out in my own AGW treatise, the funny thing about the "species dying off" meme is that we have absolutely no friggin' idea how many species there are. So, if you don't have a starting number, how do you know when there are "less"?
But the real point is that there isn't any reason to think masses of species will die off simply because it gets a bit warmer. Colder, yeah, but warmer? And for those on the cusp who actually do die out, a lesser species will find the warmer temp a boon and flourish. Nature's real big on that 'balance' stuff.
On a personal note, however, I have to thank the AGW crowd for giving me the opportunity to write the above 6,531-word dissertation, one of my finest pieces. They also gave me the opportunity to create an entire new environmental movement. So thanks, global warming crowd.
I couldn't have done it without you.
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The gravity problem was solved decades ago - just spin the ship.
This Mars trip seems a bit half baked. The GDP per capita sign up fee is supposed to be high enough to make people think about it. US citizens have to pay... $38!!! Even in these depressed economic times, that fee wouldn't require much though and for some, they might figure it a small price for an exciting way to end it all.
The cost for sending the first crew is $6B! I guess they're hoping that the people who are signing up are very unpopular and that a lot of people are anxious to see them go - and never come back.
The payload for each launch is 5000 lbs. That seems pretty light considering that that would have to include the means to produce their own food. They will have to be vegetarians (this is one part that actually makes sense - lefty vegans would probably have the required intelligence to sign up for this), but how much does the equipment and supplies for large scale hydroponic farming weigh? My guess is that some of that 5000 lbs is going to be water and some way to convert waste to plant food at least - but that won't last forever. How long can you reuse that?
I think I'll sit this one out. If I can't have a cheeseburger, I'm not going!
"I think I'll sit this one out. If I can't have a cheeseburger, I'm not going!"
You and I are thinking along the exact same lines. I just skimmed the article and missed that payload number. That seems absurd, and for all the reasons you mentioned and then some.
And then there's this:
"The astronauts will undergo a required eight-year training in a secluded location."
"So, Mr. Jennings, how did your eight-year training session go?"
"Just fine, sonny! Hold on a sec while I go fetch my walker."
And then we have:
"Astronauts will filter Martian water from the Martian soil."
Hum. As far as I know, they don't even know for sure that there IS any water on Mars. There's supposed to be some kind of 'dry ice' in the polar regions, but in the soil anywhere else?
"Well, Mr. Jennings, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that they found water in the polar regions."
"Great! What's the bad news?"
"It's minus 230 degrees there."
Say, I hear Jupiter's nice this time of year.
Well, now, I do admit I used the 'sepia tone' filter to give the picture more of a rustic, authentic feeling, but I'm not sure if that actually fits the heading of 'glamorized'.
And, to be truthful, that's not the hat he usually wears around the farm. It's more of a wide-brimmed straw thing. He's wearing that hat in the pic because I told to dress up so he'd look his best.
The digital guitar tuner would be really neat if it could accommodate pre-sets for all a'them alt-tunings too, but damn, $299.00 is a bit rich. Especially when God gave us ears.
"Especially when God gave us ears."
And tuning forks and Korg electronic tuners. I keep a tuning fork stuck behind the strings above the nut in case I want to tune it on the road, but otherwise use my faithful Korg.
But that's an interesting thought about the alternate pre-set tunings. One for standard tuning, another for open-string, another with the high strings tuned a few cents up to give it that sharp, edgy 'rock' feel, another with a few strings tuned a few cents down to give it that country feel? Given that we're just talking about a PC chip, it shouldn't be that difficult to implement.
When you get the capital together and are ready to fire up our new company, let me know. :)
Here you are Doc. If you haven't read this one it's really good. When Hubble needed some more help in 2009.
Looks great (and long). I'll read it later when I have time. As far as the Hubble needing repair back in '06, I wrote a scathing report on it here. I say, can the whole thing and start over.