May 30, 2014

Dragon Mark 2



Two of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes react to the awesomeness that is unveiling of The Dragon Mk2 capsule by SPACE-X founder Elon Musk. 

If it works as advertised it will be a huge advance on all previous space vehicles in a number of areas. 



While it lacks the shuttles cargo bay, it can cary just as many astronauts (7). and looks surprisingly roomy. It can land anywhere as opposed to the two or three airports the space shuttle could use and it is designed with very quick turnaround times in mind. This is significant as the shuttle, while technically resuseable, had to be rebuilt after each flight at great expense. Indeed, refurbishing the solid rocket boosters cost more than simply making disposable ones, and contributed to the O-Ring design that doomed the crew of Challenger,  

Of course reusing the capsule offers limited cost savings if the booster is thrown away. At least one Gemini capsule was flown in space twice and that did not make it a viable commercial system. To that end SPACE-X plans to reuse the first and second stages of Falcon 9 boosters it will use to boost both Dragon capsules and unmanned satellites into space. 

The boosters will cary enough extra fuel to soft land at the launch point, the second stage actually doing one full orbit. This is wasteful of fuel, and reduces payload but makes up for it in preserving the hardware (kerosene is cheap). 

We've covered the tests here before, but a few months ago the Dragonfly Grasshopper test vehicle made the last of its many flights, reaching an altitude of a kilometer. 



Future versions will have retractable landing legs for streamlining during high speed tests and Falcon launches starting with the one this past April,  are being fitted with the retractable legs to work out any bugs before the full up re-useable tests begin.

This is a logical and step by step approach that has as much likelihood as anything of succeeding. In a decade or so we may finally have the space hotels, moon bases, asteroid mines and Mars missions we were promised in our youth. 


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Oh Good Grief

Apropos the previous post, it seems that the internet is just mocking me now.


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May 29, 2014

It's Not Like a Bike At All

With no one in the house to disturb, I've started practicing the piano again for the first time in 15 or 20 years. The first obstacle to overcome was the lack of any sheet music, but I scrounged up an old hymnal. My first indication of how daunting the task ahead of me is was wasting a moment remembering what the squigglypoo and the backwards C were called. Upon starting to play beat upon keys I realized that my basic hand coordination had atrophied BADLY. I've got a lot of work to do.

I used to be decent at this, but, it appears that playing Senbonzakura is rather a bit farther off that I had hoped.





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May 27, 2014

Limping Back

As I mentioned in the update to the previous post, my parents met with multiple calamities in the Gulf. They made it back to Key West and my father determined that the damage is not fixable in the short term  They are going to attempt limp back to Portsmouth where we can work on it at a more leisurely pace and where professional assistance is much cheaper. 


Of course with the steering out Dad has to set up the tiller and they don't trust the engine not to spew oil into the bilge again to use it for extended periods. They got their bilge pumped in Key West and have lots of oil pads but the danger of leaving a sheen is too great to have the bilge pump on automatic, so they're coming back, using the sails, a tiller and a sextant. The last two will give no trouble but dad is not particularly experienced with sails so this has the makings of an adventure. 

At least they will be traveling with the Gulf Stream. On the down side the boarders of the  Gulf Stream is a playground for waterspouts. 


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May 26, 2014

Enjoy the Holiday, But Forget Not Why You Have It.

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May 25, 2014

Well then,


That succinctly explains why those songs are rarely translated.

However, it can be done.... 
more...

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ANNND They're Off! (This Time Fer Sure) UPDATED::


Below the fold is a status update regarding this bloggers banal existence. For those who are justifiably disinterested in such Walter Mitty-isms, we have provided some conciliatory cheesecake. 




more...

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May 24, 2014

About 6 Weeks Left To Go



I see the twins are back. (I just wasted ENTIRELY too much of my evening crawling through that with the pause button).

UPDATE:
The arm reversal between her and Jaune  compared to the season 1 OP is a nice touch. It looks like JNPR are indeed going to be the duteragonists.
Velvet's team certainly looks interesting. 
I find it interesting the CRDNL is included.


Wow. The Rooster Teeth eye catch is really irritating. 

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May 23, 2014

On This Day In Aviation History

On May 23rd 1908, John Morrell prepared to conquer the skies in an airship of his own design. At 450 feet long, and filled with about 500,000 cubic feet of illuminating gas, the vessel was actually longer than any of the German Zeppelins that had flown. It was also a much more powerful ship as well, with five engines against the two in the German craft. 



In front of 15,000 citizens of Berkley California, the ship was made ready for flight. The crew of 15 boarded the vessel and manned their stations. 4 photographers were along as well to record the historic event.  With everything secured, the mooring lines were set loose.



 Morrell and his crew then sailed into aviation history.

Not only was this the largest airship built up to that time, the 20 people it took aloft were by FAR the largest number of people that had flown in single aircraft. One might note that 15 + 4 does not equal 20, but that is because the ship had another aviation first. An Australian aeronaut, a Captain Penfold, had somehow managed to sneak on board,  conceal himself (somehow) and thus became the first stowaway in the history of powered aviation!





The mighty dirigible began to cruise over the city at an altitude of 300 feet. The airship undulated regally for a while, as Morrell and his crew began to perform maneuvering tests. However,  as if to reinforce the unfortunate imagery,  after an unsatisfyingly short time, there emanated from the bow, an  Earth shattering "POP!". 





The forward end of the envelope burst open and deflated, beginning a rapid decent, while the stern remained aloft. Those in the bow had a remarkably gentle landing....for a brief moment....






...until the rest of the crew...and the engines fell  on them as the gangway became vertical. The engines equipment and crew coalesced into a modernist sculpture  of metal, blood, expletives and compound fractures.



Miraculously, although there were a LOT of broken bones, no one was actually killed. Morrell himself sustained a dislocated hip, broken leg and internal injuries. Capt. Penfold , the stowaway, was drug from the wreck with two broken ankles. 



The stern remained inflated and partially aloft for some time as a mute, Freudian testimony to the truly epic level of ignominy that Morrill and his intrepid crew of dildonauts had achieved....on this day in aviation history.

 

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May 20, 2014

Godzilla 2014

 
This is a thoroughly entertaining popcorn flick.
More than that, it is a very good Kaiju flick. The people who did this movie seem to have a great appreciation for the genre and how it works. 
Most impressively...this is a good GODZILLA film, which is not quite the same thing. That they got so much right rather surprised me, though it probably shouldn't since at the insistence of director Gareth Edwards, Legendary Pictures hired Toho's Yoshimutsu Banno (who directed Godzilla VS Hedorah) as executive producer, additionally Japanese A-lister Ken Watanabe  plays Dr Serazawa.

In this age of CGI, special effects are hardly exceptional but this film has some splendid visuals that are uncommonly well used to convey scale and menace. The pacing builds up steadily to the climax and there are quite a few surprises along the way. 

 
I don't think the Japanese are going to be re-naming this one.

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