January 14, 2017
SpaceX Launch And Landing This Morning
If you don't want to watch the whole thing, start it at 22:25 which may seem a bit early, but I think you'll find it entertaining. There's some great photography on this 100% successful mission that launched from Vandenburg. Cameras on the first stage give you a few glimpses of much of the coast of California (mostly clear everywhere, it seems) as it ascends. You also get to watch the perfect descent from the POV of the first stage. The second stage gets screen time too.
Maybe I've just missed it before, but the speedometer constantly displayed in the upper right is new to me. I notice that the speedometer and the altimeter both have red lines. What happens if it red lines? It's not going to throw a rod. Does it mean it's overreached and achieved escape velocity? Milky Way here we come?
December 6, 2016
Weather Channel tells Breitbart to cut the BS
What is it that right wingers don’t like about the facts supporting climate change? They seem to be okay with a round earth orbiting the sun, the proof for which is more abstract than the proof for climate change.
September 27, 2016
The Voyage To Mars Using Something Smaller Than A Saturn V
May 13, 2016
Vandalism At Devil's Hole
Devil's Hole is a non-contiguous part of Death Valley National Park over on the Nevada side. It's completely off limits to tourists as it is a home to the rare pupfish. It made the news (a little bit) in 2010 when it showed dramatic effects of the Mexicali earthquake hundreds of miles away.
On April 30 three men broke through the fence surrounding Devil's Hole by shooting off the locks. They then proceeded to vandalize the area and actually enter Devil's Hole itself.
One of the men waded and swam in Devils Hole, causing potentially significant disruption to their habitat. The shallow underwater shelf is vital to the Devils Hole pupfish’s survival, providing algae and invertebrates for food and a spawning surface. Video footage recorded this man walking on the shallow shelf, potentially stressing and crushing pupfish, which are slow-moving, docile, and as they have no natural predators, curious by nature. April through May is the peak spawning season for this annual fish, and so the intruder likely crushed and destroyed eggs on the shelf. Many peer-reviewed reports, published scientific studies, as well as a Supreme Court case (Cappaert v. United States 1976) have identified the integrity of the shallow shelf ecosystem as critical to the survival of the Devils Hole pupfish. Any impact to the habitat of this critically endangered species is a concern.
A map of Devil's Hole:
UPDATE: The vandals have been identified, but not apprehended yet, I think.
May 4, 2016
UP Aerospace Inc.attached a lot of GoPros to a rocket they launched last November. One camera is on one of the stages jettisoned from the main rocket. This allowed them to catch clear images of the rest of the rocket just sitting there in space like a 1950s science fiction magazine. Here’s the video.
April 23, 2016
Seeing Clearly Underwater
Here's an article about the children in a Thailand tribe who can see clearly while swimming underwater. The researchers ruled out genetics and have determined that the children learn to voluntarily contract their pupils to their smallest size and change the shape of their lenses. A group of Swedish children learned to do it in one month. The ability disappears in adults.
March 7, 2016
Excavating A Wasp Nest
Pretty interesting, no magic about it. You just have to have a protective suit on that you rely on completely.
March 6, 2016
"you won’t be building a quantum computer and putting it on your desktop anytime soon"
Why does that sound like one of those quotes we'll all be knowingly chuckling over 20 years from now? MIT builds a 5-atom quantum computer. And, oh yeah, the University of Innsbruck in Austria helped.
I predict that with a few more atoms the computer will become self-aware and design quantum computers that anyone can build on his or her own desktop.
February 17, 2016
Drives Right Into A Funnel Cloud
The driver said he didn't see it. You can skip the first 1:15, unless you like sitting in stopped traffic. Florida.
February 2, 2016
Southern California Geology
Brand new: "Roadside Geology of Southern California." And only $22.
Since Mountain Press started the Roadside Geology series forty years ago, southern Californians have been waiting for an RG of their own. During those four decades which were punctuated by jarring earthquakes and landslides geologists continued to unravel the complexity of the Golden State, where some of the most dramatic and diverse geology in the world erupts, crashes, and collides. With dazzling color maps, diagrams, and photographs, Roadside Geology of Southern California takes advantage of this newfound knowledge, combining the latest science with accessible stories about the rocks and landscapes visible from winding two-lane byways as well as from the region s vast network of highways.
Join Arthur Sylvester, an award-winning UC Santa Barbara geologist, and Elizabeth O Black Gans, a geologist-illustrator, as they motor through mountains and deserts to explore the iconic features of the SoCal landscape, from boulder piles in Joshua Tree National Park and brilliant white dunes in the Channel Islands to tar seeps along the rugged coast and youthful cinder cones in the Mojave Desert. Whether you want to find precious gemstones, ponder the mysteries of the Salton Sea, or straddle the boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates, be sure to bring this book along as your tour guide.