atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4970: Space, and other stuff

If you ever wondered how they make huge telescope mirrors, wonder no longer. A rotating furnace, that's how. The best part of this article is the slideshow demonstrating the construction of large mirrors for optical telescopes.

* * *

Both Democrats and Republicans agree, on principle, to allow space mining. I say "on principle" because, so far, no one's doing it.

Also, notice that the bill helps foster space industry by keeping the FAA the hell out of everyone's faces unless there's a major accident (that is, I assume, one in which there's a fatality).

As long as NASA is hiring four people out of six thousand applicants for astronaut, though, this law is completely moot.

PLus side: There's a new space race between Boeing and SpaceX and I'm rooting for SpaceX. Boeing is too big, and their only real interest here is not having any competition for government contracts. Absent SpaceX et alii they wouldn't care about this at all.

SpaceX was founded specifically to make cheap access to space a reality and to get people to Mars sometime before the sun enters helium fusion (and, it must be said, to make scads of money on both...but this goal is not mutually exclusive with the others, nor does it somehow taint them).

* * *

Betamax is over. The thing about Betamax is, it's technically superior to VHS; the format has higher video quality. That's why broadcasters liked them; the tape length problem doesn't matter when you're not watching a movie or trying to record a week's worth of I Love Lucy reruns at best quality.

But Sony was stupid about how they marketed it. Notice please that they learned their lessons well, and that when BluRay faced off against DVD-HD, BluRay won.

* * *

Michael Flynn wonders whatever happened to embryonic stem cells? Why has their replacement with induced stem cells not been heralded as a breakthrough for science the way fetal stem cells were? "It's almost as if," he concludes, "the point had always been to find a reason to use embryos."

* * *

The USSR knew how to speak using language the islamic savages are capable of understanding.The post links an article which explains:
...[T]he Soviets did not bother negotiating with Hezbollah through Nabih Berri, Lebanon's justice minister and leader of the Shiite Amal militia.

Instead, the KGB kidnapped a man they knew to be a close relative of a prominent Hezbollah leader. They then castrated him and sent the severed organs to the Hezbollah official, before dispatching the unfortunate kinsman with a bullet in the brain.

In addition to presenting him with this grisly proof of their seriousness, the KGB operatives also advised the Hezbollah leader that they knew the indentities of other close relatives of his, and that he could expect more such packages if the three Soviet diplomats were not freed immediately.

The message was a lot more extreme than Ronald Reagan's vague allusions to using "Rambo next time," but the swift release of the three remaining hostages indicated that the Hezbollah big shot couldn't handle having terror shoved back in his face.
Here's the thing: we know that the savages don't understand anything but violence, and that they mistake forbearance for weakness. We could stop international terrorism and all the other horseshit dead in its tracks if we simply fought back against the savages using tactics they understand.

"We'd be just as bad as they are!" No, we wouldn't. For one thing, our guys operate in uniform and don't hide behind schools and hospitals.

I want to point something out, here: in 1986, having found that Libya sponsored the terrorists who had bombed a night club in Germany, killing some American servicemen, Ronald Reagan ordered that Tripoli be bombed. In that raid, one of Moammar Qaddafi's children was killed.

We never heard a peep from him again. Never. And when the world learned we were fixing to go into Iraq in 2003 because we were concerned about Saddam's stockpile of WMDs, Moammar very hastily told us, "Hey, just so you know, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Libya. Okay? Okay???"

That happened because the US pointed out to Moammar--in language he could understand--that if he sponsored terrorism against the US we could hurt him for doing so...and he also understood the converse, that if he left us alone, nothing bad would happen to him. The raid demonstrated to him that just because we don't do it doesn't mean we cannot.

And in fact the very next time Qaddafi became a problem for us was, oddly enough, when Obama decided he was a problem that had to be dealt with. That was not because Libya had done anything to the United States, but because Obama was more interested in "Arab Spring" than stability in a notoriously unstable part of the world.

"And this is the language the Hezbollah understand," concludes the article that's linked by the post I linked to.

* * *

I agree with Karl Denninger; the iPad Pro may be a nice tablet but it is not going to replace the PC. Microsoft's Surface Pro is also a very nice tablet, and it's not going to replace the PC, either. Some people may be able to use a Surface in stead of a laptop, but not all; and for what a Surface Pro costs you can get a fantastic gaming computer with more memory and storage than the Pro can ever have. And a bigger screen to boot.

But it's expected for Apple CEOs to make outlandish claims about how their latest-and-greatest will transform the industry. It happens only seldom, but it does not prevent their boasts.

* * *

Yesterday, I worked my ass off. Ran errands, cut grass, cleaned the patio, changed the oil in the Jeep; helped my wife with some washing and cleaning in the house, even.

The back patio looks fantastic without all the lawn furniture and stuff cluttering it up. When I changed the oil in the Jeep yesterday--well after dark--I was able to pull the front end of the Jeep into the garage, where I had plenty of light to work by and was sheltered from the wind. It was an easy and quick job, marred only by spilling oil on the floor (had to run inside for some kitty litter to sop it up).

If I have my druthers, sometime before the end of the year we'll dig into the remaining morasse and chuck some more junk, thus freeing more floor space and letting us store a vehicle inside. It won't be easy but for at least half the job we could leave the main door closed, needing it open only for the "drag this crap to the curb!" phase.

There is not a lot left in there which can be summarily jettisoned. I do intend, however, to jettison it posthaste, and then make enough sense of what's left that it can be stored efficiently.

After that's done, the basement...and won't that be a job. *sigh*
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