atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5729: Do they realize 2020 is in three years?

Company wants to bring Moon rocks back to Earth in 2020. They're talking about doing everything robotically, with an engine which has not been flight-qualified yet, and of which two have been manufactured.

I'm not going to say they can't do it, but I'm going to say that I'm skeptical they will. More power to 'em if they make it.

* * *

Related: there is commercial space business going on in New Zealand. And their engine is fascinating, using electric pumps to deliver fuel and oxidizer rather than turbopumps.

With conventional rocket engines, you usually have two things going on at once. You have a reaction of some kind to drive the fuel pumps for the engine, and then you have the engine itself. Like the turbocharger on a car, a turbopump is driven by escaping gas under pressure.

There's a myriad of ways to do it. Some systems use high-pressure helium or nitrogen. Some use a combustion process. Regardless, until now, all liquid-fueled rockets that used pumps to deliver fuel to the engines used turbopumps, which is why there was always so much plumbing involved, and liquid-fueled engines are a rat's nest of pipes that all operate at different temperatures and have to be insulated from each other and-and-and.

This seems simpler. Simpler means cheaper and lighter, too, by the way--and if they can make that work, and it really does turn out to be simpler, within a few years everyone will be doing it that way.

* * *

Just watched a YouTube video about people refurbishing tires, and how dangerous and "illegal" it is.

The thing is, 90% of the actual video shows tires being factory retreaded, something which is both legal and safe. When you retread a tire, the carcass is inspected to make sure it's in good shape before the outer layer is ground off, and a new outer layer is bonded to the tire. Basically it's replacing all the outside rubber and vulcanizing it onto the old carcass; the result is not as durable as an all-new tire but it's reasonably safe and economical to do it.

But while that's what the video is showing that is not what the video is talking about. The video is talking about the shady practice of shaving the tread on a used tire to make it look like new, when no part of it is. The person doing this cuts new tread into the worn surface and treats the tire to make it look new. This frequently brings the wear surface perilously close to the belts or plies in the tire, which is extremely dangerous.

...and I've never heard of anyone doing this. What I have heard of is people selling retreads as new tires, and I've heard of people taking blemished tires (ones that can't be balanced, or have other issues), grinding off the "BLEM" embossed in it, and selling them as good tires. (Esp. in heavy trucking, you might use a blemished tire for a trailer or low-speed applications such as a yard mule that never gets out of 2nd gear.)

* * *

Public transportation officials are refusing to inform the public of the dangers of using public transportation. Last thing they want to have to do is to put police on the trains, because it'll cost them money they'd rather use for plush offices.

* * *

The rich do love to remind the middle class that they're not rich, don't they?
American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, "You are not welcome here."
It was ever thus. Whenever you hear someone complain about the riffraff, for example.

* * *

Some time this morning the weather alert radio went off, but I simply rolled over and went back to sleep. After getting up, I saw that the warning indicator was flashing, and what's the alert? Flash flood warning.

We did have thunderstorms roll through this morning--a couple rumbles woke me up--but I didn't see what kind of rain we got, nor did I really care. It's about time we had a rainy day, though; the grass is starting to turn brown.

Anyway it's not hot out, but it's uncomfortably humid. Just as well I don't have anything pressing to do outside.

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