September 30, 2007

A US Fram?

The Norwegian vessel  Fram is one of the most famous research ships of all time and pioneered the modern icebreaker hull form. It was designed by the talented Norwegian naval architect Colin Archer to to the specifications of Frijtof Nansen an oceanographer of worldwide renown. The ship was launched in 1893.

Interestingly I just stumbled across this US design from 1884.
US Chief constructor Melville designed the vessel to take account of all the lessons he learned learned during the ill starred Jeannette expedition.
This vessel also has a round bottom and a very similar layout to the Fram.

This was an official USN design (unbuilt) so it's not really likely that the design was pilfered, Archer and Nansen were very talented men after all and they likely didn't go rummaging through USN secret files, but the design is intriguing in that the US did in fact design a vessel nearly 10 years earlier that was very similar to Fram.
Anyway here are pictures of the design.


And here is one of the most important oceanographic ships in history.

Fram is preserved in Oslo Norway.

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Well The Sister was Successfully Married

No casualties were incurred.

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September 29, 2007

First Nukes in 30 Years!

A  member of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us this Energy Blog post on NRG's application to build the first nuclear power plant in 30 years. Most astounding is the speed with which they expect to get the thing online, just 8 years from now! As James Fraiser points out, this may be due to the new streamlined rules the current administration has put in place recently,but it may also be because the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor lends itself to ease of construction (and has proven this capability in Japan and Taiwan).

  The comments in the Energy Blog post are interesting. I agree with Fraiser and Kirk Sorensen that thorium reactors are a better idea in the long run as they handle the waste issue better, but the the ABWRs are proven (and safe) designs that can be brought online quickly.

Atomic Insights has related thoughts here.

"Science Babe" is, of course Emma Skye from Capcom's Phoenix Wright game.

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September 28, 2007


   Satellite photos show entire villages  now gone. Before and after pictures here.

The fist is coming down hard. Via Richard Fernandez comes this report from Yangon Thu...

Then, we called this monk in Yangon, whom my whole family admire, a monk known to be supportive of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to check on how he was doing. He said to my mom "Da khar ma gyi, we are staring at death in the eyes. They might come for me tonight. I think it is my turn." What am I supposed to say to something like that? 

  Japanese photographer Kenji Nagai was gunned down while covering the crackdown. As one can see from this picture of the last seconds of his life....

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Next on List....

Japanese test (done)
Math test (done)
Biology test (done)
Make up Biology lab (done)
Asian History paper  (done)
Cut lawn (nope not yet)

what else...what else...

oh yeah ....





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Why Adventure Games Have Passed On

Via Twentysided comes this completely believable explanation for why Adventure games are pretty much extinct (which features dry but maddening exposition by Frances the talking France).

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Dismaying Incincerity

The Anchoress has a typically  thoughtful piece up on the authenticity deficit in our politics which seems more sorely felt than usual this year.

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Brickmuppet Blimp....

Colleen Doran has opened a Cafe Press shop....

...go check it out!

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Geneon Folds

Via Astro comes the unwelcome news that Anime distributor Geneon is closing up shop.

This well and truly sucks.

Don puts this into some perspective.

One of my favorite recent series, Black Lagoon, will now apparently not be finished. While dubs are not the first thing I look at in these shows, Geneon's were far and away the best. Black Lagoon had one of the best acted and directed dubs ever.

This was a quality outfit and it is very sad to see them go.

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September 27, 2007

NASA's Orion Logo Animation

Hat Tip: A Babe in the Unuverse

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September 25, 2007

Water Wars : Warm and Cold

Apropos this earlier post, Canada is building a fleet of 8 armed icebreakers (more here)to patrol its rapidly thawing northern frontier and protect its territorial claims from things such as the recent Russian announcement that the Polar sea belongs to them (which Eaglespeak looks at in depth here). The Canadian vessels are reported to be license built derivatives of Norway's excellent Svalbard class icebreaking patrol vessels.

Note that these are not full fledged icebreakers like the Russian Arktika the USCG's Polar class or even the new but less capable Healy, but they are ice strengthened and can deal with moderate ice. The Norweigian vessels are moderately armed but are fitted for rapid installation of a near frigate level armament suite. They are slow but so are most icebreakers, as they require torque rather than speed and hullforms that don't lend themselves to great speed.

The other nations challenged by this Denmark has ice strengthened frigates with similar weapons potential  (Thetis class)  and the USCG has the 3 polar rollers. 2 are rather old (though quite powerful icebreakers) and none are armed with anything larger than crew served weapons (though the old Polar class is designed to carry an armament suite in wartime). This makes sense in their current role as science ships particularly given treaty restrictions applicable to Antarctica, but  IMHO their successors should  be  designed at least with something like the Danish Stanflex system in mind....and for that matter...designed period. It might behoove us to reorder the remainder of the National Security cutters as icebreakers.  The new medium endurance cutters (at least 25 planed !) should be adequate for our non-ice-breaking big ship needs, epecially if we get more patrol boats and perhaps a know....airships

In related news......
On the other end of the world the UK Guardian breathlessly reports that the UK is asserting its sovereignty over its EEZ around The Falklands, Ascencion Island and Rockall. With Regards to the South Atlantic claim one should pay close attention to this paragraph.....

".... earlier this year Buenos Aires scrapped a 1995 agreement with the UK to share any oil found in the adjacent waters - the first formal application from the UK is likely to centre on Ascension."

Perhaps an ill thought out policy on the Argies part...

The north Atlantic negotioations between the UK Ireland, Iceland and Denmark are unlikely to be terribly acrimonious but the south Atlantic saw spilled blood between the involved parties about 25 years ago.

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The Dark Side of Lucky Star

Few people are aware that while Konata is watching Anime, the other girls are engaged in rather less benign activities....

Grand Theft Auto: Doremon Devasatation
Quite possibly the most awfulest thing I've ever linked to.
Hat Tip(and blame): Chizumatic

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No really....Rent-A-Cow.

Yet more Rent-A-Cow.

Raging against the Rent-A-Cow!

Japanese Rent-A-Cow.

Swiss Rent-A-Cow.

I love the Volokh Conspiracy......

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September 23, 2007

Some Space Linkage

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babestm reports on several posts from around the 'sphere regarding the development of the final frontier....

Clarke Lindsay does a nice sum up of critical infrastructure technologies that are under development and seem likely to come to fruition to fruition in the short term.

The lists big missing technology bit of course, is any real push for space nuclear power. There is some work being done for the Prometheus Project but that is now a fairly low key program.

For what it's worth, I strongly agree with the sentiments of John Goff and others regarding the importance of developing orbital-propellant transfer technologies. This is absolutely vital to moving forward in space.

Via Colony Worlds comes this link to an article on NASA's current Moon buggy plans. It provides the below picture of a proposed NASA lunar buggy, which is really a mini mobile base. 

The external mounted suits are interesting. They seem to be designed towards minimizing the astronauts exposure to lunar dust. This is a problem that has been getting some attention of late. The suits would "dock" with the habitat and the astronauts would enter and exit through a rear torso hatch minimizing dust entry.

In the long term given extensive infrastructure a vastly superior Bio-Suit might be worn under coveralls but this affords very good dust protection.

One idea for shielding early explorers from cosmic rays and solar flares is to put shelters in caves. NASA has now discovered some on Mars (or at least rrrreelly deep holes).

Regards safety, space ships need space lifeboats, but given that spacecraft today are rather minimalist affairs, an escape system carried by them will tend to be more so....HERE is a selection of wacky, but possibly workable ideas from the '60s regarding how to get to Earth from space in a pinch...If any of the non capsule ideas work, I predict thrill junkies will be doing them voluntarily in 20 years

Regards current explorations, the Babe in the Universe posts on the recent flyby of Iapetus and links to Sir Arthur C. Clarke's video presentation commemorating it. Sir Arthur is one of the true greats of both science fiction and science fact.( I'm ashamed to say that I'd not realized until this that he'd been stricken with polio.)

Here is a .gif of film taken the little moon during the flyby.

Finally, the latest Carnival of the Space Geeks is up with lots more links to space related stuff.

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All That and a Bowl of Grits

Well a few weeks ago in that narow window just after I returned and just  before things got hectic, I managed to see the first 4 eps of Sayonara Zebutso Sensei.

It has lived up to its considerable hype. (hype-hype)

The story revolves around a high school teacher, his intense despair, his suicide attempts and his efforts to come to grips with  his homeroom class....which has representative cases of several mental illnesses....some rather less benign than others (ranging from total introversion to....optimism).

This is one of the best, most original comedies I've seen in awhile.The minimalist art, the superb soundtrack and quirky animation mesh perfectly with the short sketches. It is very densely written and as literate as it is twisted.
The show sometime takes at least 2 viewings to get most of the gags (and plot points).
 It is delightfully morbid and the humor is often quite black, so if your tastes don't run that way, be warned.

 However,  if your a twisted, poorly socialized geek like me you will enjoy this.


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Irony and Comeuppance...

...but no Rod Serling.

Two cheating spouses find their true loves online.
They sneak away to meet ( far away from the prying eyes of their hated spouses).
Both are shocked and appalled to find they have been carrying on an affair...with their spouse.

Despite having proven that they can light the fires of creation within each other,
they are getting divorced ...seeing as how the other one cheated on them...

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September 22, 2007

Prime Main Fire Pumps....

.....Fire as You Bear.

 The Cruiser USS Normandy and the Dutch "Frigate" HNLMS Evertsen unleash full broadsides in an intense super soaker skirmish off the Horn of Africa.

There actually IS a meaningful story here, but you'll have to go to EagleSpeak to get it.

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September 20, 2007

Well I'm glad SomebodyElse Remembered....

And there are no inbound hurricanes either....a double win!

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September 19, 2007


I fear that I be indebted to ye.

Me ship was dismasted, adrift and had no borders or footers, and you saved the day as surely as if Old Neptune himselfe'd taken mercy upon me.

To celebrate, I'm careenin' the ole girl an' overhaulin' her from stem to stern.

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