Mail 745 Monday, October 08, 2012
Now THIS is how to do it right: SpaceX confirms Falcon rocket suffered engine flame-out
SpaceX confirms Falcon rocket suffered engine flame-out:
And still made it to orbit. THIS is how to do it right.
The objectives of the SSX (a scale model of which became the DC/X) were: Savable. Reusable. Then fly higher and faster. Savable was the first criterion. Clearly SpaceX took such matters seriously. As you say, do it right.
I recall this discussion in about 1988 when the Citizens Advisory Council discussed what the next major X Project in space should be. Max Hunter was a big advocate of SAVABILITY. Plan for something going wrong and be able to continue.
Best of luck with the Mohs procedure. I have had it done twice: once on my right ear about 30 years ago (I was considered rather young to have a basil cell carcinoma at that time), and once on my right upper lip back in 2003.
Both times were followed by reconstructive surgery; so, if they haven’t scheduled you for that, you’re probably going to be OK. No problem with any recurrence; they cut until they get it all! I had some difficulty getting the surgeon back in the ’80s to tell me on average how many times he had to cut during the procedure. He was suspicious that I was asking for a guarantee of the number. I had to prove to him that I understood what an average was before he answered "twice". When he came back to cut for the fourth time, I knew I was in trouble!
My right ear is flattened as a result, but not unlike Steven Colbert’s, so I can’t blame my lack of media fame on that aspect of my looks. But, even in the worst case, you could adopt a noble lineage by emulating Tycho Brahe!
Let’s hope mine is average… Thanks. I have to say that knowing they’re going to chop cancer out of your nose is distracting, and makes it hard to concentrate. I think I got more work done back when they were using xrays on my head to get the Lump out than I have in the last week. Of course I had less reason to believe that the brain cancer would end with a good outcome; I have every reason to believe that the Mohs Job will be successful and I’ll still have a nose when it’s done. Thanks.
Our schools in action
I am certainly relieved public education is focusing on how much candy and energy drinks the students consume instead of trying to actually teach them stuff.
The best thing that could happen to American education would be the abolition of the Department of Education and repeal of all Federal Aid to Education grants and laws and the rest of it; with the single exception that the Congress can do as it will with the District of Columbia school system. But it cannot order, bribe, or compel the states. Let the states compete. It worked for a long time: the Russians destroyed the American school system with Sputnik. They didn’t even mean to do it…
Steyn: Sesame Street Nation
Or as J. Scott Gration, the president’s special envoy to Sudan, said in 2009, in the most explicit Sesamization of American foreign policy: “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes . . . ” The butchers of Darfur aren’t blood-drenched machete-wielding genocidal killers but just Cookie Monsters whom we haven’t given enough cookies. I’m not saying there’s a direct line between Bert & Ernie and Barack & Hillary . . . well, actually I am.
And Big Bird?
A New Kind of Novel.
This is precisely the sort of thing you’ve been talking about with regards to the new possibilities e-books open up:
Luck is the residue of opportunity and design.
– John Milton
I expect that ‘enhanced’ digital works, a term I used thirty years ago, will be common one day. That doesn’t mean that the old words on screen or paper won’t continue to be popular, but at some point most eBooks will include a lot more maps, charts, virtual walkthroughs… It all seems inevitable to me.
Humans in space
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I thought you would appreciate this little short story.
I don’t see much SF like that any more. Hard science, sweet, to the point, a zinger at the end. I’ll have to see if there isn’t more of it around.
Not ‘The Cold Equations’ but logical…
Thank you for your service, jerk:
Johnny Ramsey, the 79-year-old Korean War veteran who collected and sold junk to pay for medications for his ailing wife, said just minutes before court Thursday evening: “If I have to go to jail, I guess I am ready.”
An hour later, Ramsey left a Clover courtroom in shackles – sentenced to 30 days in the York County jail for not cleaning up his yard eight months after a judge ordered him to get rid of the junk.
Clover Town Judge Melvin Howell ruled after a contempt of court hearing Thursday that Ramsey had refused to comply with court orders to both clean up his property and pay a fine for contempt.
The sentence will be served on weekends, but it started immediately after court was finished Thursday night.
Clover Police officers handcuffed Ramsey – whose nephew is a sheriff’s deputy, whose son is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to war – and walked him outside the court building and put him in a police car.
I’m sick of seeing veterans get treated like crap by a system that would not exist without our service. Takes that whole "god and country" nonsense out of serving, doesn’t it? My recruiter told me "god and country" are the wrong reasons to serve and if you sign up for those reasons you will be severely disappointed. He had a more pragmatic approach to national service; I will pass that approach on to my son.
Joshua Jordan, KSC
No comment required. Or rather a great deal more than I have time or room for. Machiavelli has appropriate commentary.
The whole thing about the entitlement discussion that bothers me is that if you look at it in the “big” picture, the amount of money spent on pure entitlements is fairly small compared to the amount of money spent elsewhere. I know you know this, but I’d suggest that the focus on bunny inspectors diffuses your message. I’ve been reading you for 20+ years now (I think its been 20+ years…I think we first corresponded pre-Compuserve).
Compare military budget and Medicare/Medicaid vs the various “entitlement” programs. When the US is spending more than the next 20 nations spend on the military there is something amiss. We refuse to do something meaningful about Medicare/Medicaid spending and I watch Romney and Obama “debate” and I say “This is the best we can do?”, holy shit.
I do understand that one gets spending creep with bunny inspectors leading to and then leading to and then leading to….and I get that you’d like to make this a “state” responsibility (I shudder at California, btw).
But why not push to have 12% cut from military spending and 9% from health programs and so on down the line.
Did you see this clip making the rounds:
Apparently, it is from some TV show or another. Some truth there….my God, we are better than this….
Actually the focus on bunny inspectors is intended to point out the futility of trying to do a piecemeal job on entitlements. They need to be returned entirely to the states and taken out of the Federal pork picture. If we can’t eliminate bunny inspectors, we can’t eliminate anything – and we can’t eliminate the bunny inspectors.
The size of the military budget is entirely dependent on the missions we expect the military to accomplish. If the job is to assure energy at a reasonable price is available to the people of the United States, then we need only protect our energy sources – and it’s often cheaper to develop them here and defend them here rather than become involved in territorial disputes in the Arabian peninsula or Southeast Asia. Or Europe.
If we limit the Federal government to Federal matters, the States can compete on entitlements, and we may have a chance to limit government.
Declassified at Last — Air Force’s Supersonic Flying Saucer Schematics:
One wonders about the prototypes.
Actually I saw something like that – perhaps those very pictures – when I was editing Project 75. They were included in the Project Forecast report on the future of air systems. Like flying wings, saucers do not seem to have a predictable future in aerospace technology without real breakthroughs in propulsion technology…
First it was the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, not it’s the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field!
Another picture to relieve us of the silly season.
The Hubble team that did the Ultra Deep Field has added another 2 million seconds to the field picture and they have imaged an additional 5,500 galaxies.
Press Release: <http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/37/image/a/>
"….The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe’s birth in the big bang.
Before Hubble was launched in 1990, astronomers could barely see normal galaxies to 7 billion light-years away, about halfway across the universe…."
Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
‘As I’m fond of saying, Edwin Land was both Steve Jobs *and* Steve Wozniak.’
Ancient Rome on Google Maps.
Tell me again…why are K-12 teachers no longer respected?
"[During an approved uniform free dress-down day] Samantha Pawlucy, a sophomore at Carroll High, said her geometry teacher publicly humiliated her by asking why she was wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt and going into the hallway to urge other teachers and students to mock her."
"During the incident, Samantha Pawlucy said the teacher told her that Carroll High is a “Democratic school” and wearing a Republican shirt is akin to the teacher, who is black, wearing a KKK shirt."
"The teacher then allegedly called a non-teaching assistant into the room who tried to write on the t-shirt with a marker. She allegedly told to remove her shirt and she would be given another one."
Directing a non-teacher (or anyone for that matter) to write on a person’s shirt sounds remarkably like assault to me.
Yet one suspects that there will be no real consequences.
Ice cores in Greenland indicate an increase in greenhouse gases (methane) corresponding with the heyday of the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty.
Of course, one also thinks of the social conditions which resulted in a return to normal…
I have not seen enough evidence to quantify the human contributions here: what is cause and what is effect? Warming is generally economically desirable, or at least that’s an acceptable argument. Perhaps not, but perhaps a warmer Earth is more productive, meaning surplus food, disposable income, investments…
‘Despite that, Congress is unlikely to pull the plug. That’s because, whether or not it stops terrorists, the program means politically important money for state and local governments.’