Category Archives: Science

Space X sticks the landing…

Well…just a shorty on the Falcon Heavy launch I just watched…another great launch and, for the first time, all three boosters landed successfully! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing rocket launches…ever since I was a little kid at the start of the space program, I have always been mesmerized by how we humans can have built these machines…and now a private company is leading the way…okay, with help from the government but still…it was never in anyone’s plans to land and re-use boosters until Space X came along…nice job…one last thing…what’s the deal, space X? My ad blocker has blocked over 350 ads in the 20 minutes I have had the live stream running…that sucks…shame on you…

Cool stuff….

Well…with all of the criminality and idiocy coming out of the right these days, it is nice to think about something else for a change since there is some cool stuff happening. Just Saturday morning, SpaceX launched it’s first Crew Dragon on a test flight to the ISS as part of the certification process that will lead to a manned flight later in the year…and just this morning, the flight was completed with the spacecraft automatically docking with the ISS after a series of maneuvers testing the craft and it’s ability to pace the station and match it’s orbit. I didn’t stay up to watch this launch and landing since it didn’t launch until almost 3 am…but I was able to watch it Sat morning with the videos being uploaded to Youtube from SpaceX…and that just made a thought come into my head….we really don’t have many shared experiences in this world anymore…at least as related to tv, as we did when I was a kid. When the first moon landing happened in July of 1969, everyone in this country and across the world were watching it and could then discuss it the next day….and that made these events even more exciting knowing you were part of a huge community that was participating in something special…not like today where there are other things to do and watch. Now, I’m not going to go on that the “olden” days were better than today…different, yes, but they both have things that made them special…and, I’m glad I’ve lived through them both….

Running on photons…

Well…there are some days that I just don’t even want to think about politics, and this is one of them…that’s not to say that I won’t do a political one later, but my mind wanders around sometimes and it’s like mind cleaner to just talk about something that is fun for a change. Just today, out on the bike, I was thinking about the law of conservation of energy that says energy cannot be created or destroyed but just changed from one form to another….and I have talked about this a bit before…yeah, I am just that geeky at times…but today it went back a little bit farther and it dawned on me that all of the energy that I use on the bike every day starts out as photons from the sun…so, I’m running on photons! Those photons are changed into chemical energy in the form of sugars by photosynthesis in plants, that animals eat and change into other sugars that we eat when we grab that burger or steak. That chemical energy from food I turn into usable energy for my legs that I convert throughout the ride into potential energy that I am full of when I get to the top of the hills and then convert that potential energy into kinetic energy as I move down the hill or ride on the flats…had the really weird thought the other day about this by thinking of cables connecting my legs to the bike to use the energy in them….okay, that wandered off a little but it is still photons, light, that makes my bike ride happen…and that’s pretty cool….

Bitchin’ about Elon….

Well…I am constantly amazed at what people bitch about these days and how the trolls always try to turn something good into something ugly. This morning, when I got up and checked into twitter to see what was going on, there was a meme developing that was attacking
Elon Musk and SpaceX for launching Elon’s Tesla roadster into space…saying that it was a waste of money, that people are starving and Elon is an ass for launching the car. Now, I have my experience with trolls here on my site that I ignore every day, but I marvel at the ignorance of the commenters on many sites that I read every day….let’s get something straight, this launch was not just to send the car into space for a joke, it was to test a new rocket that will be essential to putting the US back in the lead in space travel and give us the capability to stop using the Russians to get to the ISS, along with the future trips to both the moon and Mars. Scientific progress is made when people support the work that goes into that progress, and to launch a car into space and to livestream it so people can be part of it give us a shared feeling of hope that we are progressing…and SpaceX has been visionary in this work…the last thing: not one dime of tax dollars went into this launch…it was a privately financed scientific experiment that immediately drove us forward…I have this to say to the haters out there…where the hell were your comments when the idiot trump spent $100 million dollars golfing…or when he proposed spending $30 million dollars just to fluff his ego? Until I hear that from you ignorant right wingers out there, just shut the hell up…geez….

Oh, and one last thing to remember…Elon is an immigrant from South Africa who, like millions of other immigrants, has made this country better…and the idiot trump tweeted his support for him Tuesday night…I wonder if that would have happened if he was a black South African? Yeah, we all can guess that one….

Falcon Heavy….

Well…just watched the test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket and it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen since the the Saturn 5 launches of the 70′s…I mean, lighting 27 engines at once and having that happen right is hard enough…but to then land all three boosters successfully…with two of them coming down in a synchronized landing at almost exactly the same time…not sure if the booster that was supposed to land on the ship made it since the cameras cut off as the landing started….but the really cool part was at the end of the telecast…I thought that Elon’s Tesla roaster was going to be contained in a fairing of some sort as it goes into orbit but the fairing separated and the car is exposed to space forever…and, it had a sign on the dashboard that said “don’t panic” along with the spaceman with his hands on the steering wheel…it’s nice when there can be a little whimsy in the world…congrats Space X….

The dumbest goddamn student I ever had…

Well…as I sit here waiting for the second half of the Man U/ Liverpool match to start, I thought I’d do a quick comment on a little article I just read over on Kos….one of the idiot trump’s professors at the Wharton Business school (which trump got into by a favor, not qualifications) was talking to one of his friends and the subject of trump’s intelligence came up…and here’s the money quote: “he was the dumbest damn student I ever had”….yep, in an over 30 year career as an educator, trump distinguished himself by being the dumbest student this professor ever had….and his arrogant stupidity is the one thing that people remember most about him…seems that trump doesn’t change…still the same damn moron that he has always been….impeach…

Cassini dies tomorrow

Well…just wanted to do a short one on the end of an era for exploration of the Saturn system and for us as humans….tomorrow morning, the Cassini probe will dive into the clouds of Saturn on it’s last act in a decade long run of exploration and discovery….before Cassini, we really didn’t know anything about Saturn other than from the few fleeting pictures take by the flyby Explorer and Voyager probes…but Cassini opened our eyes to the wonder of this mini solar system…the complexity of the rings, the 62 moons and the possibility of life were all discovered by this wonderful piece of human imagination….and I will be a little sad that it is gone…one of the highlights of the past decade for me was the surprise of new findings and new jaw-dropping photos that were regularly delivered to our computers…one of my favorite photos was done by accident…when Cassini was taking a photo from under the rings and, by accident, a pale blue dot showed up and one of the scientists on the project recognized that it had captured the earth from a billion miles away….and the vastness of space was brought home to me….so, goodbye Cassini…..and thanks to the hundreds of scientists that worked for so long to make the mission a success….

Just a note…

Well…just wanted to note that I am going to lose my internet this afternoon so the second post of the day may be a little late….or I could do it now…okay…I’ll do it now….I don’t think I’ve ever seen 4 hurricanes at a time in the Atlantic and Gulf in my lifetime…and one like Irma…with the water in the Caribbean being warmer than ever on record, there is just so much fuel for these hurricanes that this is what the scientists have been saying was going to happen…that extreme weather is going to become more and more prevalent…and with the two other hurricanes following nearly the same track as Irma, we may see three category 5 hurricanes hitting the US in the span of two weeks…something that has never happened before…I just have this to say to the climate science deniers out there…you are idiots and there are consequences to your idiocy and denial…and it’s name is Harvey…and Irma….and Jose….and Katia….and the next one…geez….

The southwest shuts down from the heat….

Well…you’ve seen me talk about the effect that climate change is having on severe weather events here in the US but I have never seen what is happening in the southwest of the country right now. This afternoon, there will be no flights into or out of the southwest due to the record breaking heat that is predicted…from Phoenix to Las Vegas the temps are supposed to be from 120 to 126 degrees which is above the temperature ceiling of all aircraft that fly today. Yep, it is so hot that the entire southwest will be on lockdown this afternoon and the disruption to lives there will be severe….I’ve talked before about the need to not confuse weather with climate, but this extreme weather is driven by the warming climate just as the melting of the Antarctic glaciers is driven by it…and the rivers that are flowing off the glaciers have never been seen in the 100 years that observations have been taken there….so, the next time you hear a climate denier talk just shut them down with these two little facts…I’m an old guy and I’ve never seen a day when it was too hot for planes to fly…but tomorrow starts the summer and I’ll bet it won’t be the last time…..

Cool science news…

Well….have been getting a lot of stuff done around here and just finished so I thought I’d talk about some cool science news I’ve read about recently…yeah, I’m letting myself read only science news…and some sports but nothing else still…and that is going to last for the next 4 years. The LIGO detector picked up more gravity waves a few weeks back, confirming that theĀ  detector is now sensitive enough to do that regularly….and they are going to upgrade it again the first part of next year. There is a new drug that has been discovered that rids the brain of the plaques that are thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease…which would be good news but there wasn’t any resulting improvement in cognition which has everyone pretty confused since most of the research has been focused on the plaques as the cause…now they may have to go down a new path and start over…not good news….oh, one last thing….researchers in England have discovered a way to mass produce carbon nanotubes that may open up many new ways to use them….this one is 4994….getting to 5,000…