September 23, 2017

Aerospace Projects Review

Well, I got one of those status E-mails from Patreon bearing the distressing news that Scott Lowther is sending plain language calls for asistance in advertising. Without an increase in sales he has to consider hanging up the slide rules and calipers on one of the best internet resources for aerospace history out there. 



 
It seems that his sales are running about 50 copies apiece, and considering that his prices are astoundingly reasonable and he's running all over the country to do research, he can't really justify this. 

He's not giving up yet, but he's asking for help in marketing his wares. 


And they are awesome wares indeed.

Now I know that some of my readers self-publish and know people who are masters of the ins and outs of self publishing, web-presence and web-marketing.  Can we get this fellow some advice, contacts and maybe a link storm?

 I've bought most of the available issues of his magazines and have been sufficiently impressed that I've mentioned this fellow before, but it's hard to do justice to how unique this publication really is.

Here...click on this here link, scroll down and browse. The individual issues contain exactly what they say on the tin. If you don't find those topics transcendentally awesome...you are wrong. 
A random sampling of articles:
Northrop ST-38 Space Trainer: a rocket-powered T-38 for trips to space
"Have Sting:" A General Electric design for a gigantic orbital railgun 
JPL Thousand Astronomical Unit probe: A spacecraft into interstellar space 
Integrated Manned Interplanetary Spacecraft: A Boeing concept for a giant spacecraft to Mars and Venus 
Convair Inflatable Spacecraft: an early spaceplane concept 
One Man Space Station: A 1960 McDonnell concept for a tiny space station 
Astroplane: A lightweight aircraft for the exploration of Mars 
Reactor-In-Flight Test: A Lockheed nuclear-powered stage for the Saturn V 
Project Orion, USAF and NASA 10 meter designs. This article presents many never before published Project Orion technical diagrams.
ROMBUS/ITHACUS: the Douglas concept from 1963 for a million-pound payload SSTO, and its stablemate that could rocket 1200 fully loaded US Marines anywhere in the world 
Convair Mach 4 Seaplane Bombers, by George Cully 
Convair's flying submarine.

I gather that his Patreon will soldier on regardless ( that is separate from the magazine and he's doing fiction there as well).

Given that each issue runs between $6 and $10 bucks and tend to have 80 to 140 pages of aerospace might have been goodness you all should probably run on over and start buying before it's gone.

With a little better marketing, it will not come to that, there is no way that there are only 50 people on the internet willing to spend 9 bucks on the stuff in this publication.


Said stuff includes actual designs for space battleships powered by atom bombs.


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September 22, 2017

This Did Not Suck

The Orville does not seem to be high art, but it's solid. I've seen two episodes and I'm tentatively optimistic.  




I was (pleasantly) surprised that its not a typical Seth McFarlane 44 joke a minute comedy, but rather a very Star Trekesque show done largely straight with a sitcom side-plot and a fair amount of snark. 

One thing I do like is that this is not the United Federation of Planets Planetary Union flagship/hottest, most cutting edge starship, but a mass produced 5th rate scout vessel whose captain and several of his crew have had...chequered...careers and this is their last chance to avoid being cashiered. They have this chance due mainly to a severe fleetwide crew shortage due to the recent massive expansion of the Union. This is, however, a small ship, with routine duties, so how much trouble could these spacers possibly get into?

Oh.

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Something That Reassuringly Bucks the Gestalt of the Age

Here's a right-winger and a left-winger who disagree on much, having a rational and friendly conversation about the issues of the day.

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Puerto Rico: It Keeps Getting Worse...

In addition to the island being basically shaved by the hurricane, a dam has now burst, adding to the Commonwealth's woes. 


The island is expected to be without power for months, and the U.S.V.I. is in the same pickle

It looks like the U.S. doesn't have enough skilled tradesmen to repair the damage from three storms in a timely fashion. 

Think about what will happen if a bunch of transformers get blowed up via EMP from a nuke or solar storm. I'm sure that there are unsavory individuals making note of this. 


One somewhat bright note: there has finally been word from the Arecibo Observatory, where the scientists sheltered in place. One Astronomer was able to get a message to NASA via short wave today and reported that the 96 foot dish suspended over the crater dish has blown away. There is substantial damage to the  main (crater) dish and the stand alone dishes are gone, but the observatory and main dish appear to be repairable. 

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Transliteration Bleg

My Kanji dictionary is not handling simplified Chinese well (seeing as how it's Japanese and all). Typing in via Kana isn't working for the same reason and Google translate is giving me completely different runes for what I think this says.




Anyway, I'm trying to see if this snuff fantasy from a naval journal for killing between 125 uhhh... ten thousands of people and 265 er...ten thousands of people,  is referring to 5 yield units or 20 (I don't think the units are megatons as I know the kanjis for that 百万吨 CS & 百萬噸 TC)  

Communism just sucks!

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September 20, 2017

Direct Hit at Cat 5

The U.S. is certainly making up in sheer destruction for our last several years of luck regards hurricanes.


155 mph winds, and it looks as if the eyewall is going to pass over the whole island of Puerto Rico.

It must be especially harrowing in Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I.

In most of the U.S. if a hurricane is incoming, you can just drive to Montana if you want to, but on the states and territories that are islands there's nowhere to run. 

Even more frightening is that we're not the worst off. In addition to the other Caribbean islands that were flattened by this series of storms, the U.S.M. has been getting nailed from above and below, with multiple high magnitude earthquakes  and a tsunami adding to their recent hurricane woes. 

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Jose' Go Home. You're Drunk!



Yeah...when the cone's a circle, they've really got no idea.

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September 19, 2017

That Thar Be Odd

The previous post be cursed. 

Probably by sea monsters.


"Avast!"
(Art by Bubuzuke)

UPDATE: Well, it appears that the epic formatting issue in the previous post has been fixed and that sea monsters were not responsible in any way. We apologize for the hurtful, unwarranted and irresponsible speculation. 

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Arrr....

Avast ye scalywags! 

We've purloined ourselves some treasure. Unfortunately the sea-chest we made off with had nary a dabloon init', and instead was filled with various pieces of artwork...which we obviously cana' bury due to the lack of proper climate control in desert island sand. 

So... while we keelhaul the scurvy dog what grabbed the wrong chest, we'll be displayin' our latest booty.


more...

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September 11, 2017

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

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We Will Not Forget

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September 08, 2017

Jerry Pournelle Has Passed Away

Word is that Jerry Pournelle has passed away quietly at his home. 

Few have had as big an influence on Science Fiction as Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Best known as a fiction author he was also a veteran who fought in the Korean war and an engineer of some repute. He worked in the government developing advanced defense technologies in various capacities during the Cold War , he was tasked as well with various strategic studies and was very involved in civil defense issues as well. After Civil Defense was placed on the back burner by the government in favor of a more top down approach exemplified by F.E.M.A. , he helped to start the preparedness movement in the 1970's. (It should be noted that many of his views on civil defense have been spectacularly vindicated in recent weeks by the response to Harvey.)

With the late Max Hunter, he helped develop the DC-X a vtovl rocket test rig for a proposed re-useable spacecraft. It was, unfortunately, cancelled despite a succsessful test run.

Dr. Pournelle received numerous awards for fiction and nonfiction work, including the  Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award for a lifetime achievement in promoting the goal of a free spacefaring society. It was well earned as making humanity a multiplanet society was a passion for him as was individual liberty.

I have read nothing of his, that was not enjoyable, inspiring or both. If you have not read his books, then you need to start with A Mote in God's Eye.

He left unfinished several works including an update of his earlier The Strategy of Technology, a nonfiction policy oriented essay which I particularly recommend.


I did not know Dr. Pournelle, however the dozen times or so that I interacted with him,  he was a perfect gentleman, respectful, professional and kind. 

His life was long and has to be judged successful. He went above and beyond though. His daughter is an archeologist and his son is a naval officer and in addition to blessing the world with such worthy progeny, he gave joy to millions through his prodigious quantities of fiction and hope for humanities future through his vision and wisdom.

May we be worthy of his legacy. 

We have truly lost one of the greats. 



UPDATE: Sarah Hoyt remembers Dr. Pournelle..
There is a silence after a giant falls.  We’re all concussed by the sudden loss.

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This is an Unexpected Addition to my Film Queue

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September 07, 2017

Any Word About Ubu?

While people are preparing for the probable calamity that is Irma, it should be noted that one of those affected by the Harvey disaster has dropped off the radar. Though he rode out the storm and its initial aftermath well, the last we heard of Ubu, he was glad he didn't live in Beaumont. That was a week ago. Shortly after that, there was a report that parts of Houston were forcibly evacuated due to a dam breach. Shortly before that, news reports and Ubu's own blog indicated that he was at risk from fire ant's, chemical leaks, telemarketers, and alligators.


Has anyone heard anything? 

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This is one of those Black Swan's Isn't It?

This could have all kinds of political ramifications!





Image via the Daily Mail

For some reason, #10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace have as yet declined to comment.  (VIA)


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September 06, 2017

Ewww




This is looking to be a very bad thing, especially, if, as expected, the thing peters out over Kentucky and the Virginia panhandle. Hurricane levels of rain on the towns in those mountains valleys will be a nightmare. Worse, a lot of the folks there don't have an appreciation of these storms, there may not be good flood maps to direct evacuations, and the topography makes evacuation something of a crap shoot except over very long distances. Furthermore, it is fiendishly difficult to predict exactly where one of these beasts will drop their rain. A lot of people may be caught in this. 

In other news, we may well loose the VAB

It looks like St. Martin got crushed. The governor of the U.S.V.I. was just on the news and mentioned that the damage is severe with the hospital on St. Thomas badly damaged. (It should be noted that he also went to great lengths to say that the widely reported story of his ordering the confiscation of everyone's guns in the territory is bogus.)

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September 05, 2017

Well Then...

The answer to the question "will they do more of these?" is yes. 


Pro-tip:
Never judge a society by its mean girls. 

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No!No!No!No!No!


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September 04, 2017

The "M" is for Monster

Irma ain't looking good. It appears to be taking the path of maximum mayhem through the islands and it's likely that somewhere between Corpus Christi and Nantucket, next week is going to utterly suck.







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Info Bleg

How DOES one embed a You Tube video cued up to a certain time?

Does anyone have any anime recommendations this season?

What Pad /Tablet would you recommend for non-gaming applications?

What is a frn and when is it invalid

(Note: Picture is unrelated to text of post)


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