Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

h1

Maybe this one is THE one…

October 21, 2013

aeromobil

This pretty little thing is called the Aeromobil, and it was designed by two Slovakian gentlemen. This is supposed to be version 3.0, and the current flying version is 2.5. You can see it flying at this link.

Is it cooler-looking than the Terrafugia? Yeah. Than the next iteration the Terrafugia folks want to build, by 2020? Yeah, probably so. But not by much:

tfx v03 cityliftoff-WM

 

And this one will be an electric hybrid, and will pretty much fly itself. We’ll see how things shake out. At least the technology has progressed to a point where a “roadable aircraft” can really be built…

 

Advertisements
h1

Falcon 9 v. 1.1 launch a success

September 29, 2013

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. - An upgraded Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada blasted off from a newly refurbished launch pad in California today for a key test flight. The company is developing the rocket to  fly cargo and crew to the International Space Station for NASA, carry commercial and non-U.S. government satellites into orbit at a cut-rate price and break a monopoly by Lockheed Martin and Boeing's United Launch Alliance partnership for the U.S. military's business. Vandenberg AFB CA. Sept 29,2013. REUTERS/Gene Blevins  (UNITEDSTATES)

The updated version of the SpaceX Falcon 9, with extended fuel tanks and redesigned engines, successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB today. It put a Canadian weather satellite into a polar orbit, along with five other small satellites. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage from the Pacific if possible, paving the way for developing a completely reusable stage that will soft-land vertically. There is a beautiful graphic on the SpaceX site that shows the redesigned vehicle, including some very cool-looking fairings designed to hold the landing legs that later models will have. As you might imagine from the company headed by the same man that heads Telsa Motors, the new design including the fairings looks very aerodynamic, in a new-Star Trek-Enterprise sort of way. From the blue LED lighting inside the Dragon spacecraft to these fairings, SpaceX is doing what it can to make commercial spaceflight not only viable, but stylish.

 

h1

iOS7 thoughts

September 22, 2013

I updated both my iPhone 4s and my third-gen iPad to iOS7, and everything worked fine. I think the default typeface is pretty light, making it a bit more difficult for those of us with older eyes, but it is a kind of a refreshing change…although it tends to look more “Windows-8-like” than I expected from Apple. But the apps seem to work fine. I’ve encountered no problems or speed hits.

But, I have one issue not really related to the update: I am going to move up to a new iMac soon from my aging Mac Pro. I’ve done the research on how to back up the iPhone first, and all of that, but the process still seems very tedious and fraught with potential disaster. Does anybody have a good, simple way to do this?

h1

Starbuck’s twitter controversy over gun safety

June 11, 2013

Katee-Sackoff-Joins-Female-Expendables

Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck on the great reboot of Battlestar Galactica) recently commented on Twitter, advocating gun safety after a four-year-old accidentally killed his father with a gun. Reports said that she lost half her Twitter followers – about 10,000 – due to a debate that ensued about gun safety versus gun control.

Nothing I read made Katee sound nutty. She just realistically stated that gun control, at least the way it is discussed today, isn’t likely to happen in the US. But as we know, a lot of folks are crazy over gun control, for a variety of reasons.

And apparently Katee actually gained followers – about 10,000 – during the tempest in a Twitter teapot. And that she really has over 100,000.

I didn’t have to post this. I had two points – first, that gun control advocates can be pretty rabid. (If gun advocates were as rabid, they would be shooting things up all over the place.) Second, that Katee Sackhoff is pretty damn cool. (Currently she’s starring in Longmire on A&E.)

h1

…and now we’re back to normal…

April 29, 2013

After my post about the unusually large number of spam and bot hits this blog received recently, the number of hits have dropped off even from the average before the assault started. Sorry, bots, if I said something to annoy you…

h1

Spam! Spam! Spam!

April 17, 2013

I’ve not been posting for a while because of parent medical issues. However, Monday, April 15, the site got about five times the usual number of hits for any given day. Thanks, spambots! And some spam comments are sneaking through the filter. Where are these people? What makes them want to create spam messages? If they are that good, wouldn’t they want to use their skills for something better?

My gmail account has been receiving a lot of variations on the old Nigerian money scam messages lately. Like, a dozen a day. The spam filter is catching them (thanks, Google) but sheesh! I guess if you can get to a billion email accounts and only a very tiny fraction click on the thing, that still could be tens of thousands of idiots waiting to be sucked in.

Oh, well. First world problems, I know. Anyway, I don’t have much to contribute right now. I’m not watching much news or politics, and nothing else has struck me lately. I’m sure that y’all have been hanging on every word…

Later.

h1

This is how it’s supposed to work!

March 1, 2013

SpaceX-Dragon-Docks-With-ISS_photo_medium

 

The launch of the second ISS resupply mission by SpaceX today went off without a hitch, but there was a propellant valve problem in the Dragon spacecraft that appeared after launch, disabling several of the thruster pods. The SpaceX team worked the problem and got all four thruster pods functioning again – all since the launch this morning!

This is the way space technology should be – there will be problems with hardware and software once it is really used in space, and so far with both of the resupply missions the SpaceX folks have shown they can solve problems under pressure.

I think this is especially difficult because of the number of naysayers that keep popping up, speaking negatively about commercial space.

I’ve said it before…all space hardware is commercial space hardware. NASA doesn’t build rockets, or satellites, or hardware for the space station. Rockets and such are all built by companies. Maybe the government is paying for it – and in this case, they are paying SpaceX for the resupply missions, and a bunch of grants up front to develop the hardware.

Chrysler built the Saturn V first stage. Practically every piece of hardware we have flown into space was created in the private sector, except perhaps things like experiment packages. (Space probes from JPL don’t count. I don’t really known how JPL is funded, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now.)

I think part of the difference here is that while NASA had oversight in the development of Dragon and the Falcon launch vehicles, they didn’t have design input – at least, not like they did in the old days. The Merlin engine and Draco thruster were designed by SpaceX, not in Houston. There were parameters set by NASA for what they wanted if they were to buy services (I personally think they were still too intrusive) but the design and construction were SpaceX.

So once again SpaceX has successfully solved a problem that could have not only kept the mission from success, but would have ignited a lot of glee from the chattering classes who think government is the only way to do anything. Good job, folks. I hope the docking goes well also.