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efaardvark

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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. Scott Manley gives a good summary of the latest Falcon Heavy launch/landing.  As usual...

     

  2. A building literally full of NASA engineers, yet apparently nobody can figure out how to clear and re-thread a jammed roll of paper in the restroom's paper towel dispenser.  smh

     

    IMG_4515.thumb.JPG.971ca098e0787e35d0ce978f712f04d9.JPG

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Even to me it wasn't at all difficult.  (And I am by no means the smartest person in the building.)  The whole process of clearing the jam and re-placing the paper literally takes only a few seconds, including waiting for the gizmo to automatically re-thread the paper when you close it up.  Definitely not rocket science.  People are just being lazy.

      If you want to cheat there's even instructions embossed into the plastic on the inside of the case... not that anyone reads instructions anymore.  :D 

       

    2. Seshi

      Seshi

      Nope.. you lost me at automatic threading.

      Id probably put it in completely upside down and threading would be impossible 

      And if it were my brother, he’d use brute force to break it into submission 🤣

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I'm not sure it is actually possible to do it wrong.  I may (or not) do some after-hours experimentation to check it out, but the way it is set up it looks like the roll of paper can go either "under" or "over".  Either way the end of the paper goes down to the bottom and under that white plastic guide thing that you can see in front there in the pic.  Under the white plastic bit and behind the paper are a couple rubber rollers that actually feed the paper and hold it securely so you can tear off a piece.  To clear a jam all you have to do is jiggle those rollers about a quarter turn or so (using the thumb-wheels provided for that purpose) and the jam will likely drop out on its own.  Then to get the paper going you just tear off enough of the paper from the end of the roll - if necessary - to make it roughly squared-off, lift the white plastic bit, lay the paper against the roller under it, and lower the plastic bit back down so it holds the paper between it and the roller(s).  Then close the case up.  The gizmo inside takes care of finishing the job, threading the paper the rest of the way between the rollers and dispensing the first length of paper to be torn off. 

      They should make one of those GEICO "so easy a caveman could do it" commercials out of the process.  :D

    4. Show next comments  6 more
  3. Got sucked into an old book, The Legacy of Heorot. 

    Dusting can be so .. unproductive.  :)

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Audiobooks are a godsend 😁

  4. zombie-apocalypse.jpg.823601981262dff0a240b826954af25b.jpg

    1. Ohiotaku

      Ohiotaku

      ElderlyThunderousAxolotl-size_restricted

      <cue Working for the Weekend by Loverboy>

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      maybe Coulton's Re: Your Brains ? :) 

  5. Cool liftoff (and booster landing) through the morning fog at Vandenburg for SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch this morning.
     

     

     

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      That third angle facing down at the fog was somehow dizzying. Something about being unable to see the ground makes it feel that much farther away from it... Chills

  6. The universe is now available on Steam...

     

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Thanks for sharing 

    2. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      There's an app for that.

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      You cannot fast travel when there are enemies nearby.

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I don't remember which but I heard a rumor that they wanted to "simulcast" either the E3 or CES keynotes in cyberspace for the VR/AR crowd.  Didn't happen, but I'm sure it is only a matter of time.  The possibilities for mischief are.. significant.  :)

       

    3. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      That could be a possibility in the future if VR continues to pick up in popularity! And yes, then they really could spawn that wasteland beastie on the showroom floor. :P

  7. Updating to Disco Dingo for the new kernel, live patching (don't have to reboot even for a kernel update), app permission controls, general performance improvements, and Mesa gfx lib.  Tracker is also apparently installed by default, which is billed as a Spotlight work-alike.  I doubt it (nothing beats Spotlight and a good system of tags) but definitely worth a look.  Even with the 4.18->5.0 kernel bump 19.04 sounds like a more evolutionary update than revolutionary so it shouldn't be a big deal.  At any rate it has been out since April and I haven't heard of any issues, but if you don't hear from me for a while you'll know what happened.  :D 

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly

  8. There was a young man

    From Cork who got limericks

    And haikus confused

     

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Well where were you for the Haiku contest? 😁 that was creative 

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Not mine.. fortunately?  Unfortunately?  🤔 ( :) )

    3. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      Snaps all sophisticated like.

  9. This video makes me kind of sad.  When I was back in HS and college I used to live in places like Radio Shack that sold basic discrete electronic components.  I would buy electronic gadgets just to take them apart for the parts.  I still absolutely love rendering stuff down and building my own stuff from the pieces.  I would tear through those "warranty void if removed" stickers.  When the 7400 series ICs came out (logic gate arrays) I built my own computer - shifter, ALU, CPU, memory, etc. - out of them just for the heck of it.  (Only 4 bit registers and 45 words of memory, but it could add, subtract, shift, load, store, and run programs.)   When Atmel came out with the AVR series µcontroller I was there with my C cross compiler and an eprom burner connected to my serial port.  This even before "arduino" was a thing.  I am immensely attracted to places like Akihabera that cater to technophiles.  (This is separate to the anime/manga, game, and cosplay culture.  (Anime is fun and entertaining, but electronics/gadgetry is on a whole different level for me.)  If I had seen the wireless LED display I think I would have done the same thing this guy did.. buy it and take it home to take it apart and see how it works.

    Unfortunately here in the US there is no place like Akihabara with its dozens of small electronics parts shops, or more importantly the local customer base and hacker culture to support it/them.  We don't even have Radio Shack anymore

     

     

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      Ah, another strange parts fan I see? The price is crazy though, 200 bucks for what in the end is not much more than a few coils.

      I think a lot of the scene moved online nowadays, when it comes to purchasing as well as community building. It's crazy what potential today's electronics hold and how cheap a lot of things have become (such as small lasers which used to be really expensive, or even drones and 3D printers). I'd say the possible things you can do nowadays has skyrocketed but as you said it's quite difficult to find a community. Unless of course you work in a some kind of engineering field (which I did) but then it moves from doing it for enjoyment to doing it for work which can be a buzzkill.

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      I have put my name on a flag that went up before in 2010. It was really cool. Never saw it again though.

  10. I want this bookmark!  I even have some paper at home.  I might try making one this weekend.

     

  11. Just a couple hours until SpaceX launches 60-satellites on one rocket, weather permitting.  This is the first of many such launches for the Starlink constellation of satellites.  The company's FCC license requires at least  4,400 satellites to be put in orbit in the next 6 years, and the final Starlink constellation is planned to have around 12,000 satellites total.  😮   

    For the math challenged:

    4,400 satellites in the next 6 years is 61 satellites per month every month for the next 72 months. 

    12,000 satellites would be 200 launches of 60 satellites each.

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Long terms this is really another reason to get some industry going in space.  The biggest problem right now is the cost of getting stuff from the Earth's surface to orbit.  The.  Absolute.  Biggest.  The problem has been known about since even before Apollo, and NASA has talked about doing something about it for decades, but what they've come up with have been pork projects like the space shuttle that are really not useful for anything but getting money spent in certain Congressional districts.  Fortunately we now have people like Musk and Bezos with personal fortunes able to address the issue.

      If we could get something like a lunar mining/manufacturing/industrial process going then getting heavier vehicles into orbit would be so much easier in the long run.  Thicker skins, less fragile components, extra redundancy, and more maneuverability due to bigger fuel margins would in turn all go a long way towards both strengthening satellites against damage and enabling the Toy Box option to clean up old debris before it causes problems.

      It is kind of like in the game Kerbal Space Program.  (Bear with me here.)  At the beginning of the game you're just so happy that you can get something into orbit that you don't even care where the spent boosters wind up.  Over time though the old bits start to clutter up the displays in the tracking station, and even once you get better at putting stuff in orbit it still takes a lot of skill and massive rockets to do anything useful, especially when you want to send stuff to other planets. 

      Now, KSP has a "cheat" where you can just delete stuff from orbit from within the tracking station.  Unfortunately that's not an option in real life.  I've tried doing it the hard way, by launching new rockets with missions to physically go collect and de-orbit the clutter, but that takes a lot of fuel and rockets.  It is very expensive, which matters a lot in the career game.

      Pro game tip... build a mining base on Minmus.  Minmus is a small moon of Kerbin, the planet you start on.  The moon has such low gravity that even the weakest, cheapest rocket engines can lift massive amounts of, well, mass.  Most of a rocket's launch weight is fuel.  It is actually far cheaper to manufacture fuel on Minmus, launch it into Minmus orbit, and transfer it to Kerbin orbit than to launch the same amount of fuel from Kerbin itself.  If you can plan on refueling in Kerbin low orbit then the rockets you launch from Kerbin don't have to carry nearly so much fuel along with them and can be much smaller/lighter in the first place.  If you have a way to refuel in space then you can also build more flexible, capable, and durable space ships and reuse them on multiple missions, instead of doing expensive one-shot missions that leave a lot of old, useless hardware laying around cluttering up the place when you're done.

      True, it takes a bit of work to get that first mining base going.  You need to get the mining hardware to Minmus after all, and you need to do it without having the benefit of being able to refuel initially.  It isn't easy either.  I've crashed plenty of times just trying to get the equipment into orbit, or doing the transfer to Minmus orbit.  Or landing!

      Ok, about landing.  Minmus is like the Moon.  It has no atmosphere.  Atmospheres are like extra fuel.  If you have an atmosphere then you can target your orbit to enter the upper levels of the atmosphere and slow down without using fuel.  If you do it just right then you can slow down enough that you can get rid of all that orbital velocity without using a drop of fuel and wind up coming straight down instead of continuing back off into space. 

      That would be kind of a Bad Thing too, except for parachutes.  Having an atmosphere means not only not having to use fuel to come down from orbit, but you also don't have to use fuel to slow down enough to land safely.  Just pop the parachute and drift down.

      Minmus.. isn't like that.  You can put the low point of your orbit 1 foot off the surface and you won't slow down a bit.  You'll just fly by the ground at hundreds of meters per second and continue back up into orbit.  (Pretty thrilling, actually, considering things like mountains.)  If you use a little more fuel to cause your orbit to "intersect" the surface then that's called an "impact" because you'll still be going at orbital velocities of hundreds of meter per second.

      Worse, even if you expend the large amounts of fuel necessary to kill all your orbital velocity and drop like a rock straight down.  You'll still need to expend even more fuel to slow down and land gently.  Parachutes don't help at all if there's no air to inflate them.

      I can't tell you how many times I've crashed trying to land heavy mining equipment on Minmus.  (Or the Mün, which another moon of Kerbin that is easier to get to in terms of orbit, but has a higher gravity, is even harder to land on, and is ultimately less efficient in terms of getting fuel to orbit.)  But if you can do the landing, get the mining equipment set up, and start manufacturing fuel on Minmus then everything for the rest of the game becomes SO much easier.  Even building a reusable/refuelable spacecraft with a grapple to go and grab all those old booster stages and put them on new trajectories that reenter Kerbin's atmosphere and burn up are cheap enough to be feasible within the financial constraints of a career game.

       

    2. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      Man, you really know how to make something sound tempting. I mean I've seen some of your screenshots in the gaming section but never knew the game was so advanced/realistic in a way. I wish I had the time to actually game, but when I get to your age the latest I hope I'll have a steady job and enough stuff figured out that I can indulge myself in gaming again.

      On the cleaning up space debris issue, I think it's kinda weird that you might have to rely on people with their personal fortune, when (at least in my book) it should be part of governments' jobs (either national or through international treaties). But I'm not complaining about SpaceX, more about the lack of ambition from the official side.

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      It should be part of government's jobs, but nobody is doing anything anymore for the country's sake.  They're all doing it for themselves.  If you're a Congresscritter then the money you bring in to your district is almost directly tied to whether you get reelected.  Either it puts "federal money" (someone else's taxes) into your local economy and makes you popular with your voters, or else it channels money to certain special interests whose lobbyists in turn channel a certain fraction of it into your campaign funds.

      It is all short-term too.  Elections typically happen ever two or 4 years.  Anything beyond that is hard to justify, especially since even if it works out then by that time you may have been replaced by your opponent.  Who then of course will claim credit for the resulting benefits.

      The only way to do this sort of long-term stuff is to have your own resources and spend them as you see fit.  That or have a command economy at your fingers, which amounts to the same thing. 

      Of course, the guy at the top has to know how to spend the money and get things done.  Musk clearly has what it takes, and has hired some of the best people in the world.  Bezos hasn't even got to orbit yet, but he has far, far, more money to spend, and has the right ideas and has also hired top talent.  And he did create Amazon after all, so he personally knows at least a thing or two about technology.

      On the "command economy" side,  Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leadership are all quite well educated, with the first two even having engineering degrees (electrical and hydraulic, respectively), and all are proponents of the Chinese "Scientific Outlook on Development".  China is already ahead of the US in many ways.  They're already the most influential economic power in the world, with most of the world's manufacturing under their control, including key industrial resources like rare-earth minerals.  They've got the biggest solar power station in the world, the biggest hydro power station, and they're going ahead full speed with "modern" clean nuclear ideas like molten salt breeder reactors.  (Which they got from us btw.)  They're even putting SpaceX under pressure by duplicating their reusable booster concepts.  The rover they landed on the lunar far side last year shows that they have the technical chops for space and they have credible plans to put a manned base on the moon by the 2030s.  Couple their manufacturing and industrial power with extremely cheap, virtually unlimited electrical power and they'll be unstoppable, not only in space but wherever else they decide to exert their influence.

      Our government .. has Trump.  And Pelosi, and Schumer, and Hillary, and McConnell, and etc.  Career lawyers and politicians all.  Not a single science or engineering degree in the bunch.  :( 

    4. Show next comments  6 more
  12. 60 satellites on one launch??  Holy crap.  Are we talking rockets or buckshot here?  :) 

  13. This.  So much this...

     

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Yes, fair point there. :P Maybe I thought Bezos was implying it was still the case, but rewatching that clip that might be a stretch since he didn't actually make much further comment. Anyway, I'm no less amazed. This really does seem to be a realistic and positive direction assuming we can pull our heads out of our collective asses and start making it happen. 😂

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Bezos and Musk both have huge egos and $Billions of discretionary income.  If there's one thing I've learned to count on it is that the rich people get what they want.  Bezos alone has $150Billion-with-a-b in personal wealth.  That's 10x NASAs yearly budget!  If they want it to happen it'll happen, as long as the physics allows it.  Bezos said he'll be launching his "New Glenn" in 2021.  The next launch window to Mars opens in 2020, and Musk says he'll be sending an unmanned "Starship"/BFR (or two) as a demo/test.  If Bezos comes in on schedule then he and Musk will both be sending missions to Mars at the next window after that in 2022.  That's only 3 years away!

      (Side note:  NASA's Mars 2020 rover - based on the "Curiosity" chassis - will also be heading to Mars through the same window, as will a Chinese rover, and ESA's ExoMars rover.  There will be plenty of interesting stuff happening regardless of what Bezos or Musk does.)

      The thing to realize about space though is that the hardest thing, physics-wise, is getting from the surface of the earth into low earth orbit.  A SpaceX "Starship" or Blue Origin "New Glenn" upper stage can fly to, land, and lift off the moon all by itself if refueled in earth orbit.  Or it/they could land on Mars and be refueled there for the trip back to Earth. The booster/lower stage is ONLY needed to get to orbit from the Earth's surface.  But both Musk and Bezos are talking about infrastructure, reusability, and using robots for deploying/developing manned outposts.  I think that's the right idea(s).

      If /either/ Bezos' or Musk's rockets work, there's plenty of tech waiting in the wings for the right conditions to deploy it too.  There's people who have been quietly working on pieces of the puzzle ever since Apollo days.  Bigelow has huge inflatable orbital habitats, but no rockets to launch them on.  Princeton has a van-sized fusion rocket that can't lift stuff from the surface, but can provide power and thrust to get stuff to Jupiter in a year, Saturn in two, or Pluto in less than 5. (Ad Astra's VASIMR is similar, but needs an external power supply.)  Six such drives attached to one of Bigelow's modules could take people to Mars and back in less than a year.  The European Space Agency has developed and tested a robotic laser gizmo that can 3d-print structures using lunar or martian regolith (aka dirt).  They just need to get it to the moon or Mars.  Even NASA is talking about a lunar "gateway" in orbit around the moon as a staging platform for lunar missions, though I think given NASA's track record Bezos and/or Musk will have them beat.  Once it starts happening, things like permanently-manned outposts can happen extremely quickly.  (As long as politicians stay out of the way.)  True, stuff like Halo structures are far future, but certainly a manned Lunar or even a Martian base could happen within 5-10 years.

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      And today I find this in my inbox from our illustrious leader.  2024?  Pretty ambitious if you ask me, given NASA's last few decades of inertia.  We'll see...
       

       

    4. Show next comments  6 more
  14. Got some swag (medallion and presskit) 503395465_IMG_44012.thumb.JPG.4cbc931ec9a125cb533954100bd3e618.JPG

    and a

    certificate of appreciation 1934780131_IMG_43952.thumb.JPG.39dbcb9a3738a982ef24f63ab2fb9c1c.JPG

    for TESS launch support.  Sweet...

     

    1. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      That's awesome!

  15. Remember the robotic hounds in Fahrenheit 451?  If not, go read the book.  Preferably before the Firemen come.

  16. Jeez.. you people have been busy!  I come back after a week and there's about a hundred* pages of new posts!

    (*not really... maybe only like 80 or so. :) )

    1. brycec

      brycec

      Yeah, post count does seem to up.

      Sadly, not much high-level conversation, but the humorous conversations/exchanges are still fun.

  17. Just added Houkago no Pleiades to my queue at someone's recommendation based on my liking of Rocket Girls.  Looks "softer" (in SF terms) than I'd like, but we'll see.

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Definitely too soft for my tastes.  Not bad, exactly, but much more mahou-shoujo when what I was after was science fiction.

  18. Ever since last week when I searched youtube for Beat Saber clips YT has been "suggesting" more, and dang if I'm not clicking on them.

    Latest find..
     

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I gotta stop clickin..

       

    2. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      Welcome to the cult lol

  19. Ain't THAT the truth....

    calvin-and-hobbes-quote-1-picture-quote-1.thumb.jpg.17609aff2489305d4e94e164759bb3c7.jpg

    1. brycec

      brycec

      We would have enough time if we had immortality and eternal youth though. 🤣

      Sadly, we have not found the key to either.

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