Archive for April, 2011


Henry Rearden’s speech from his trial

April 13, 2011

I don’t know who the narrator is for these excerpts from “Atlas Shrugged,” but the creator of the videos references the Blackstone Audiobook. That one is done by Scott Brick and this is NOT Scott Brick, who¬† does, in my opinion, just a fair job of performing the book. This narrator does an excellent job with this excerpt. Listen carefully. While Rand is criticized often for being wordy, this speech is very clear. Segments like this are why the book took Rand most of a decade to write.



Here’s a great advertisement for “Atlas Shrugged – Part 1”

April 13, 2011

I don’t watch “Mad Men,” but apparently this is from the show.

The film comes out this weekend.


SpaceX imitates von Braun

April 12, 2011

Artist's conception of the Falcon 9 Heavy

I’ve mentioned this before, but a recent article in SpaceFlight Now talks a bit more about the timeline SpaceX has planned for launching a Falcon 9 Heavy from Vandenberg.

Yup, from Vandenberg, in California, not from Florida, or from the South Pacific, which is where they were banished to for their first Falcon 1 tests. This beast is about half the size of a Saturn V, with twice the lift capacity of the Delta 4 Heavy or the Shuttle.

Yeah. Twice the lift capacity. A monster.

How? By using the same Merlin engines that power the other Falcon launch vehicles. This is the SpaceX-designed  engine, the first new liquid-fueled engine designed in decades. The first stage is three Falcon 9 cores. Each has 9 Merlin engines, so the first stage has 27 engines firing at once! Instead of designing a mega-sized engine like the F-1 that powered the first stage of the Saturn V, SpaceX has just imitated the thoughts of Wernher von Braun Рuse a lot of smaller engines.

Back in the 1950s, von Braun didn’t have the technologies to build high-pressure engines that would burn LOX and liquid hydrogen. instead, in designs like the ones he did for Disney and for Collier’s Magazine, he opted for less-powerful non-cryogenic propellants, like nitric acid and hydrazine, and up to 52 engines in the first stage!

One of von Braun's proto-shuttle designs from the 1950s



What Yuri Saw

April 12, 2011

A very interesting re-creation of Yuri Gagarin’s first orbital flight, 50 years ago today.

Happy Yuri’s Night!

CGI version of Vostok 1

And then there is this bizarre story concerning Yuri Gagarin and his friend Vladimir Komarov, who died in the landing of a Soyuz in 1967.