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American Space Program Levels Up

SpaceX’s Dragon module was successfully launched by a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 22, 2012 at 3:44 AM Eastern Time.  The automated module is carrying supplies to the International Space Station, and is set to arrive in three days time.

Many people, me included, have lamented the shrinking of NASA to the point where we are dependent on Russia to get astronauts and supplies into and out of space.  While we always knew the space shuttle program was going to be shut down, and the agency was always working on a replacement rocket/capsule system, the government’s fiscal priorities have shifted away from space, pushing that replacement program onto the back burner.  Luckily, NASA also had plans to support a commercial space sector, something at least one American entrepreneur was dedicated to making a reality.


We are dependent as a species on people of great vision, who have big ideas, and can bring those big ideas to fruition.  Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, is one such person.  Skepticism was many people’s natural reaction when first hearing about SpaceX back around the turn of the century, but those skeptics can do a double-take, now.  SpaceX is on track to deliver on Musk’s vision of building a new generation of rockets and spacecraft to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of space access by a factor of 10.

Government got us into space decades ago.  Now it’s the private sector’s turn to pick up the baton to keep us there.  Today is a great day.

New Earth: Closer Than You Think

According to this article, a close neighboring star system  (only 20 light years away, if you can call that close), heralds the planet Gliese 581d, orbiting a dwarf star in the “Goldilocks zone,” where it isn’t too hot, and not too cold.   Atmosphere, possible water content and evaporation/precipitation cycles likely, Gliese 581d is being looked at as the most likely place where life outside our planet could exist.  From the article:  “A spaceship travelling close to light speed would take more than 20 years to get there, while our present rocket technology would take 300,000 years.”   That’s a long journey.  Even for you cryogenic fans out there–and there’s no guarantee we’d even survive.

So don’t start packing your bags too quickly, we haven’t developed warp drive quite yet.  I mean, have you seen any Vulcans coming to congratulate us?

(photo courtesy AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Think Reno Blows? Wind Turbines May Help.

The City of Reno

According to this Wall Street Journal article, Reno’s trying to see how it can get in on renewable energy.  As you’ve probably noticed, a few strange wind-powered turbines have popped up around downtown.  One at Mira Loma park and the water treatment plant round out the locations chosen.  Nine different models, as it were, all being tried out to see how they fit Reno’s lifestyle, and how the units measure up.   Data reports on how they’re doing can be found here.  That way, consumers interested in purchasing, from companies, to other local governments or individuals, can see how they perform in each situation in town.

Largely an experiment, with wind mapping occurring in town and even some companies willing to donate equipment to help with seeing how wind energy can be implemented, Reno could be a hot-spot for this technology.

Personally, I like the idea of wind-generated electricity provided the units could be deemed reliable.  From what I have seen, most of the downside cost of wind energy is in maintaining the equipment.  These little things can really whip around in the wind, and all of the moving parts, friction, bearings, and calibration of the units are key to efficiency if they’re going to work as a true resource.   I wish them luck, and there can only be improvements if they test the turbines in a place like Reno!

A good Mark Twain (one of my personal favorite historical gents) quote was brought up in the WSJ article:

[The wind of northwest Nevada], “is by no means a trifling matter.”

(image and article content courtesy WSJ)


Narration for Sunday – How Thomas Edison Succeeded

…and no, it isn’t eighteen minutes of “I yanked much of it from Tesla and put some good PR on it; he was nuts anyway.” Tesla isn’t even mentioned, not surprisingly. A good listen. Especially the part of a machine to show votes.

“To be sure of the practical need of, and demand for, a machine, before expending time and energy on it.”

“Is that one of your maxims of success?”

“It is. It is a good rule to give people something they want, and they will pay money to get it.”

If you require silence, a text version is available in a link just below this.

[Excerpted from How They Succeeded (1901). Read from this article, as narrated by Brad O’Connell]

Thirteenth Zodiac Sign???

Well, this is zany.  A new sign on the zodiac eh.  Ophiuchus.


Astrology buffs should be using these dates, reflecting where the stars currently are aligned:

Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18- May 13
Taurus: May 13- June 21
Gemini: June 21- July 20
Cancer: July 20- Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10- Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16- Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30- Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23- Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29- Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17- Jan. 20

Haven’t read my horoscope in a while.  Looks like my sign is getting reassigned.  Certain lucky jerks are going to get to keep their old sign.  *GLARES*

“The next step in the future of masturbation” NSFWish

It has “cutting edge technology” inside it.   :onoes:

Space: 1999 – My Past Like A Rash

I remember fondly… well, fondly in memory, because I barely remember it…my brother probably single-handedly warping me into the fine individual I am today.  I was brought up on a diet of science fiction, British comedy, campy horror, industrial music and stacks of stolen porn (unbeknownst to poor Rick).  Much of what I remember are weird clips of things that scared the dickens out of me or that I found wonderfully cool.

The scene in the old horror flick “Basket Case,” (1982) of the hairy main character running down the street naked was my first disturbing view into full-frontal male nudity, by example.  The other was snippets of this:

I cannot tell you where or why it stuck out in my head, it just did.  Only with the advent of such wonderful services at Netflix was I able to relive and get reacquainted with things my toddler/child mind could not handle or interpret properly back then.

I’d love to tell you I’m a huge fan of Space: 1999, and that I am a huge supporter of the revamping project known as Space: 2099 (in which Retcon Studios is attempting to make relevant the graphics and visual effects around the original recordings and storyline…which I think is a laughable effort to de-camp the ultracamp, but hey, have at it, Retcon) but no, I’m probably going to have to get back into this garbage all on my own.  Kind of a way to find out if my tastes really have changed all that much since I was four years old.

Won’t you join me in rediscovering a three-decade-plus gem?

I hope you will!

I think I read somewhere that SyFy (SciFi) will or has run the Space: 2099 series at some point, but me being the huge television watcher I am (quite the contrary) I probably won’t be catching it there anytime soon.  Netflix does indeed have all the necessary parts required for some absolutely vile television fun with Space: 1999.

As we say goodbye to 1998……

Another teary eyed remembrance of days gone by? NO!

I’ve been observing the continuously stress inducing growth of a de-evolutional mindset that is and in someways, was 1998. 1998 was to many a great time, Clinton was in office, the country was in a state of perceived growth. A Jetta in every garage, an Espresso maker in every kitchen and the “it’s all good” mentality lulled us into a complacent holding pattern. We were safe from each other, because we didn’t need to concern ourselves with each other. Any, and all social interactions could be livened up with quotes from Swingers, or the ever popular Austin Powers. It was a time of celebration, terrible post-grunge/nu-metal; and the birth of the inner-social(*1) self.

If you didn’t see fit to dress nice, Black Flys, flame adorned western wear and baggy jeans could still get you laid! (*2) Go…go…devo! Before we get into the social vacuum that became of the internet, we should probably address REALITY TV. By 1998 eMTV had entered the final stages of strip mining music from its main channel, after realizing that music and culture elicits jealously, and indifference from the end user (waves); in this business paradigm a mirror for the burgeoning ego, is worth two high profile advertisers, and nothing more.

Even in regression, mankind has the ability to adapt. Thus, this unscrupulous cyst, of sociopathic narcissism, subtle in its homogenized safety, reasserts itself via new catch phrases, and the constant casualization of attire. Wife Beaters, and Tramp Stamps at a wedding? We could only be so lucky!

As society reflects this lack of individuality (as a desperate grasp at individuality?), we see gaps forming in the various class structures; based more on the demographics of conjecture, than that of substance, and the fostering of human culture. The coddled entitled child may choose this vacuum, over interaction, and the wisdom gained by introspection. By allowing this separation from reality, we enable a generation of chiefs to sit on their hands. i.e. The goals are easily attainable, at any of these fine retailers, you just have to bring your attitude, and your plastic (ass’d self…).

By reviewing the attitudes, or low-tact reactions of these ‘stars’, we commit to integrating our egos, and stoic opinions, with how people react to and address problems; without ever having to bother with ‘real’ people. Solutions, tact, and compromise take the back seat to entitlement, and audacity. In this, only the self exists (in the state of a hive like mind virus). Without reflection or thought, we are conditioned to victimize ourselves, in order to elicit sympathy, or to piss on someone’s tree because they’re ruining our Pretty Princess Birthday :(

The notion that perception is reality, negates any valid form of logic, and insists upon a vaguely cloaked prejudice of finite portions (see: politically correct), a person is not equal to being a person, due to any variance deemed unnecessary to popular society. One learns to back away from discussions, indifference is next to godliness; “whatever” becomes the neu/neo Bohemian Nihilistic battle cry. The same regressive logic was used to indoctrinate Germany, you were either with the party, or you turned a blind eye to it. To this, 1998; I will leave you with a quote from Winston Churchill.

“we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,”

*1 society devoid of self by the reinforcement of a hive self. see: Nazi Propaganda Technics, Cult of personality.

*2 note to hipsters- we are trying to get rid of this abomination, please wait five or so years after it dies out to bring it back ironically, I’m sure you can trade your fixie, and radiohead cds in for a lifted truck and some Korn cds

NASA Discovers Life Made of Arsenic in Mono Lake

A bacteria which makes its DNA out of arsenic, instead of phosphorous like all other life on Earth, has been discovered in California’s Mono Lake.  This is a big deal, not only because it adds an extra dimension to the definition of life on Earth, but because it offers proof of what some have been saying for years – that if we’re to find extraterrestrial life, we have to imagine that at some point we will find life made out of completely different stuff than what we’re made of.

GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic.                                              Photo credit: NASA

Go read the whole thing.