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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. Apparently "Thermonator" is the trade name for the flamethrowing "dogs" in Fahrenheit 451.  Available now for <$10k, free shipping included.

    1. Animedragon


      That's interesting, but the question that occurs to me is why would anyone want a flamethrowing robot dog?

      It would be a perfect gadget for a hi-tech pyromaniac. 😱

  2. TGIF!

    1. Animedragon


      TGIF ??

      But today is Saturday.

    2. efaardvark


      Now it is.  :)

      Don’t rush things.. it’ll be Monday too soon as it is!

    3. Animedragon


      This is true.



      (I was going to make a different comment, but it would have been mean, and I'm not a mean person)

  3. I considered making Frieren my new favorite kuudere, but I think she's beyond dere, kuu or otherwise.  I'll keep Korone as my number one.. for now.  :D


    Frieren joke:

    Q: What sort of dere is Frieren?

    A: Legendere.

    (I will accept no other answer! :)  )

  4. Saw the rocket trail from yesterdays F9/Starlink launch when I went to move my car.  They’re doing a lot more Starlink launches from Vandenberg these days.  Probably filling in the more polar orbit slots.


  5. It's that time of year when my car starts looking a bit like a Rose Parade reject.  (Those white specks are flower petals from a nearby tree.)


    1. Animedragon


      I had that problem, but my car was white and the leaves on the tree were maroon and when they got wet the colour washed out, so I had a white car with maroon spots all over it!! ☹️

      I got though several tins of T-cut cleaning it because a normal wash didn't touch the spots.

    2. Bulletje76


      Well it is always better than the dutch pigeons

  6. The question was posed by one of the younger crew at work today, "Why do they call it 'spam' anyway?".

    To which I of course replied, "well, you know that Monty Python sketch?  That's where it comes from."

    To which he replied, "what's Monty Python?".


    Oi.. don't they teach kids anything in school these days?!

    1. Myouya


      I had no clue that was the origin of the word, fascinating

    2. Animedragon


      Education in some subjects is sadly lacking in today's schools.

  7. Still employed.  Know of a couple people who aren't.  Still working through it all but one thing I'm sure of at this point is the US Congress is made up of self-centered, irresponsible idiots.

    1. Animedragon


      Sadly, I think a lot politicians and government members are like that whichever political party they belong to.

      Anyway, I'm pleased to hear that you still have a job.

  8. Seems the other shoe has dropped at work.  Employees have been instructed that the Lab will be physically closed and everyone should plan to attend a virtual meeting with management where they'll discuss the (lack of a) federal budget and what that means for NASA centers like JPL.  Afterwards around 600 employees will be let go.  (That's ~10% of the Lab's total workforce.)  This all according to an email from Lab management earlier today.


    1. Animedragon


      I hope you're not affected by this sad news. It always amazes me the lengths employers will go to to avoid using the "R" word, they use terms like "let go" which makes one wonder if they've been holding on to people. Then there's the wonderful phrase one of my former employers used "we're offering you the opportunity to take early retirement".

    2. efaardvark


      @Animedragon Thanks.  We got an informal pep-talk from our "group soop" (group supervisor) after the official email from upper management came out.  The soop said he said that he doesn't think that the DSN (deep space network) that I'm affiliated with will be hit too hard.  We've taken cuts in previous years and we're already at our limits.  Any more and we'd be cutting bone.  We also have a lot of customers and commitments, including with high-profile ones like JAXA and ESA.

      The counter argument to that is that a Mars sample return has been at or near the top of the planetary scientists' wish list in NASA's decadal survey for literally decades yet that has been one of the programs hit the hardest.  This is all driven by DC politics too, so logic need not necessarily apply.

      Well, I'll know later Wednesday afternoon.  One way or another.

  9. I almost have to LOL whenever someone uses the term "based" these days.  It's one of those overused words or phrases that swaps its slang meaning between generations.  To my generation (graduated HS in the early 80s) the term "based" came from the term used for someone who was addicted to freebasing cocaine. These were typically wild, irrational people who would do anything for another hit and were typically about a half step from killing themselves with their addiction.  🤣  

    1. Animedragon


      I often have trouble understanding what teenagers are saying because they use words to mean different things to the meaning they had when I was their age.  When I was a teenager saying someone was "sick" or "wicked" was a derogative insult or a negative comment about their attitude, now I'm led to believe it's a compliment.

  10. Had to go out to Studio City a while back & on the way back I saw the Warner Bros. tower.  Which of course made me think of the Animaniacs:D   I had to look it up but that was early 90s!  30 years ago!  Now I feel old.  🙀


    1. Animedragon


      Things like that get you don't they.  I had a Christmas card from some friends with their Christmas letter and in it they said that in 2023 they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, that made me feel old as I was an usher at the wedding.

  11. Got some (probably) bad news today at work.  According to Laurie Leshin, JPL's director, next year's budget for NASA - and therefor the lab's - will be around 10% less than expected.  One of NASA's flagship missions, the Mars Sample Return has had its budget for next year slashed to around $300M from $800M to $900M.  Ouch.  Other missions are in a similar predicament.  "It is also becoming more likely that there will be JPL workforce impacts in the form of layoffs, and the way such JPL workforce actions are implemented means that the impact would not be limited to MSR", according to an email Leshin sent to the Lab's employees this afternoon.

    I say "probably" because all this is due to the Fiscal Responsibility Act passed a few months ago by the US Congress and the management is still recalculating and rearranging the budgets for FY 2024 and 2025 based on the mandates contained therein.  We don't know the details yet, but the broad outline is pretty clear.  Some layoffs have already happened.  Others are likely as the details are worked out.

    Happy New Year!

    1. efaardvark


      I found out today that the day after that email came out the lab did actually let about 100 contractors go.  Very abruptly from the sound of things.

      Meanwhile the "leaders" in Congress are complaining that NASA should have waited for... something.  Waiting for Congress to deliver a final budget is a non-starter because they'll no doubt argue until the last minute.  (Or later!  And if they can't agree then across-the-board cuts automatically kick in that would be even deeper than what's been proposed.)  When you're told next year's budget will be between 30 and 90% of what you had planned for then you need to get started NOW.  The FRA passed in July.  Since then all Congress has done is go on break for the holidays.  What's NASA management supposed to do?

  12. Of course the first video played from space was a cat video. 🤣😹



    1. Ohayotaku


      Only right that the aliens be made aware of who the true rulers of Earth are


  13. Best compilation I've seen so far.  Gotta say, after the pretty wild first test this one went much, much better.  Not perfect of course, but that's fine at this point.  Gives me hope they might someday actually get 'Ship working as intended.  That would make the next couple decades so amazing!  It was only 13 years between the Wright Flyer @ Kitty Hawk and the first commercial cargo (mail) delivery after all, and only ~30 until the Boeing 247, the first commercial airliner.


  14. Yesterday was one of my twice-yearly trips to the middle of nowhere in the California desert.🌵 


    1. Animedragon


      it looks like a very interesting middle of nowhere in the California desert.

  15. Got a short weekend this week, courtesy of OSIRIS-REx delivering pieces of Bennu to Earth.  24 hours on-call the day before then 10 or so hours on-site Saturday leading up to the reentry of the capsule containing the sample.

    1. Animedragon


      At least it's a short weekend because of something interesting happening.

  16. 100F temps lately means replacing the A/C air filter in the car gets top priority on today's todo list.  Having to choose between breathing oven-temperature air or air that smells like moldy socks is not a choice one should have to make.

    1. Bulletje76


      where are you living?


    2. efaardvark


      @Bulleje76  Sunny Southern California.   Only it wasn't so sunny today.

    3. Sakura


      Neither of those options sound very good. Hope you are staying cool though, heats been awful. 

  17. Totally me..


    1. Ohayotaku


      Quite relatable.

      There’s also this problem spacer.png

  18. dandelionswillbeback.jpeg

    1. Animedragon


      Weeds are often more resilient than flowers.

      So being called a weed could be a compliment.

  19. Up way past my bedtime on-call for the (successful!) Chandrayaan-3 launch.

    1. Animedragon


      Some things are worth staying up for.

  20. Cool APOD (astronomy picture of the day)

    Who needs fantasy when we have stuff like this in real life?


  21. Reincarnation.  Isekai.  Separately or together, I don't care.  Just make it stop.

  22. Couple of meetings today to discuss testing for JAXA’s LEV for their SLIM mission.

  23. Mostly done but for the last-minute rushing around to finish before the open house this weekend.IMG_2273.thumb.jpeg.afb151288aa6485860a9c08c3a5f3a70.jpegIMG_2272.thumb.jpeg.93f495ff58431d04e479df2ccb3e3200.jpegIMG_2269.thumb.jpeg.7a7920a1126f00c01f73896e7e289499.jpegIMG_2268.thumb.jpeg.e72fc02f024f19aa80bcbf315ba22b16.jpeg


  24. We're setting up for the annual open house at work.  This weekend!  Saw a Mars Sample Return vehicle mockup already unpacked as I was leaving & by the end of the week I'm sure they'll have models of all the rovers and a number of spacecraft set up as well.  All part of the (somewhat) controlled chaos that is public outreach.

    Hope it isn't super hot this weekend.  A few years back before the covid shutdown we had a weekend with over 40,000 visitors!  Parking was a nightmare and the temperatures got up over 100F, provoking real health concerns since the JPL campus simply isn't set up to accommodate so many people.  (Normal employee count is more like 6000.  Even less now that a lot of them are still doing the work-from-home thing post-covid.)  We had to start requiring tickets to limit the visitor count for safety reasons.  Tickets are free but limited in number and tied to specific times to keep the visitor count at any one time from getting out of hand.




    1. Animedragon


      That sounds really interesting, but it's a bit too far away for me to visit.

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