Books, movies, politics, and whatever I want

Monday Book Pick: A New American Space Plan

Monday, May 19th, 2014

A New American Space Plan by Travis Taylor, Ringleader of the Rocket City Rednecks

NASA rocket scientist and self identified redneck, Travis Taylor, has a plan for getting America back into space.

Which is something America really needs right now, for many reason which Doctor Taylor lists in this book.  Here is one that he wrote about, and has come to pass.  The US currently has no method of getting Astronauts to the Space Station and back.   Our current President put the budget for the Orion program on life support.  I guess that is G.W. Bush’s fault, since the program started when he was President, so Barry felt he had to kill it.  His solution was to outsource American jobs to Russia.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, the US government pays Russia to get US Astronauts to the Space Station and back.  Now the Russian are saying Nyet to that.   It’s a good thing that the private sector is stepping up, but this is a problem we didn’t need to have.

Unlike this post, Travis Taylor’s book is mostly upbeat and positive.   It should also be read in American high school science classes.

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Rocket City Rednecks

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

I discovered this show by reading one of Travis Talyor’s non-fiction books, A New American Space Plan.   While this post is about the TV show, pick up this book as well.  It’s a well laid out case of why American should be serious about getting into space again and how to do it.

Also take the time to watch the show, Rocket City Rednecks, either by streaming or on optical disk.   This show is about five self-identified Rednecks from Huntsville, AL, two of which are actual rocket scientists from NASA who actually build working gear.  Really cool gear that works.  OK, it works most of the time, but even when they fail, they learn from their mistakes so then can do it better the next time.  That is really one of the important lessons.  It’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from it.   Most of the gear is built in Travis’ father’s garage.   Charles Travis is a retired NASA machinist who worked on the Apollo program, and one of the five Rednecks who star in the show.

I’ve watched about a third of the first season so far, and they have built some really nifty gear so far.  These include a still in order to build a moonshine fueled rocket, the actual rocket, a balloon based observation platform, a working submarine, a radio telescope array using 18″ satellite dishes, under vehicle armor capable of withstanding an IED blast (they drove the pickup truck away afterwards), and a working “Iron Man” suit, that had armor capable of  stopping 9mm handgun rounds, lifting over 100 pounds with a single arm and fired rockets!

Just to add to the overall coolness of this, most of their projects are done over a single weekend with a budget of about $1000.  Keep in mind that three of these Rednecks are current or former NASA employees.  The two active ones have eight advanced degrees in science between them (Travis has five post-graduate degrees.  For those of you who know me, yes, that is one more than Amy currently has).  Rog (Rednect #4) doesn’t have any advanced degrees, but he does have a genius level IQ, and Michael (Travis’ nephew) is mechanically inclined and studying to be a machinist.   Still, if you know basic work working, basic welding, how to solder two wires together, and some basic programming, you and your friends could try some of this stuff.

Which is kinda the whole idea of the show.  To get kids off the XBox and out there building go carts, rockets, radio sets and other cool gear.

This is the kind of show my dad would have loved.  He was 22 year veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, and would have been out teaching kids how to to build the things the Rednecks are building.

Originally published at Urbin Technology

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Monday Book Pick: Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth by Les Johnson, Gregory L. Matloff and C. Bangs.

A bit of hard science for you geeks and Greenies (real greenies, not watermelons), describing on how to use resources of the solar system for terrestrial benefit. Yup, going to space is good for Mother Gaia. Move your hard industry and power production to Earth orbit and mine the resources of the Solar System.

Monday Book Pick Archive

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The left’s violent war on science continues.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

According to the LA Times, a UCLA researcher isn’t letting death threats from anti-science leftist terrorists stop him from doing his work.

After the latest incident, in which he received a letter containing razor blades and threats that his throat would be cut, J. David Jentsch says he isn’t intimidated.

“We follow you on campus,” Jentsch recalled the note reading. “One day, when you’re walking by, we’ll come up behind you, and cut your throat.”

Activists claimed the razors were tainted with AIDS, though it hasn’t been confirmed by officials. University officials have said the latest threat, confirmed by UCLA on Tuesday, is under investigation by the FBI and UCLA police.

But the 38-year-old professor has been through this before. Last year, he woke up to an orange flash and a car alarm. He ran outside to find his car had been blown up.

Twice a month, animal rights activists in ski masks gather outside his home, chanting “murder.”

These leftist terrorists disregard for science and human life is very, very chilling.

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Quote of the Day

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

“What did you do to the cat? It looks half-dead.” — Schroedinger’s wife

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Avatar spoilers

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

This is a comment I left on a review of Avatar on Dark Worlds blog that raises issues with the lousy science in Avatar:

Then there is the subject of evolution on Pandora. All the animals have six limbs. Four up front and two in the back. All of them, including the Pterodactyl like creatures. Four wings and pair of legs. Four eyes as well. One pair above sightly farther out than the inner pair.

Everything except the Terminator Smurfs. Two eyes, and four limbs.

Radically different biology, yet they could mesh their nervous system with the local animals.
Did the Terminator Smurfs braid their hair to protect the nerve bundle or did it grow like that naturally.

Oh, why did the Pterodactyl like creatures naturally develop stirrups for the Terminator Smurfs?

With all the “scientists” they had on that planet, why didn’t any notice that the Terminator Smurfs obviously didn’t evolve there?

Originally posted at e-Ramblings

Update: One of the comments points out that the story line is remarkably similar to a Poul Anderson short story, “Call Me Joe.” There are also comments about the movie drawing from Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The World for World is Forest.” I would add Alan Dean Foster’s Midworld as well.

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Obama: Billions for ACORN, but not for the Exploration of Space!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As part of our Dear Leader’s porkulus plan, the criminal thugs at ACORN are getting $5 Billion in taxpayer funds.

How many real jobs will that create?  I’m pretty confident that number is right around zero.

Now it is reported that NASA won’t be sending anybody to the moon anytime soon, that would require an additional $3 billion dollars a year.  Taxpayer money which Team Lightbringer would rather spend on a criminal enterprise.

One thing that is clear from the American space program is that it created high paying, high tech jobs that contributed to the health of the American economy and spin off technology that has not just benefited America, but humanity as a whole.  I’m not talking  just Tang and Velcro here folks.  The GPS system and satellite TV just two examples of space program spin off technologies that are still driving growth industries today.  The weather satellite system that makes it possible to produce enough food to make famine obsolete is also a product of the US space program.

Ya, I said enough food to make famine obsolete.  Let’s be honest here people, any wide spread famine on this planet in the last couple of decades has been the result of politics and not the lack of ability to produce or deliver the food.

To recap, an additional $3 billion a year to NASA would once again put Americans on the Moon.  It would also be highly beneficial to the US economy by fueling the high tech industry, putting skilled American engineers back to work and producing a very noticable “trickle down” (more like a monsoon) effect on the industries that support that high tech economy.  It would also spark an renewed interest in the sciences in American schools and universities, and promote a sense of adventure in America in a positive and constructive endevor.

Instead, our Dear Leader and the s0-called democrat “leadership” in Congress would rather pour that tax payer money down the drain by giving it to their political allies who are under investigation for massive vote fraud in multiple states.

Is this the “Hope and Change” you were expecting?

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The Fusion of Rap & Science

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

When you mix Science with Gangster Rap you get some damn funny music!

Check out E=MC Hawkin’s A Brief History Of Rhyme

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Monday Book Pick: Mad Science

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Mad Science by Theodore Gray

Mad fun science experiments that hark back to the day when Chemistry sets had real chemicals in them! Great fun in here, and ya, more than a wee bit dangerous at times.

Monday Book Pick Archive.

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Obama administration plans to destroy the $100 Billion Space Station

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Our Dear Leader’s appointees at NASA use the more PC term, “De-Orbit”, which means letting the incredibly expensive International Space Station drop out of orbit and burn. Any large leftover chunks are supposed to fall into the Pacific Ocean.

The station has cost $100 billion to put into orbit, build and maintain, so far. No plans to replace it with something useful that I’m aware of.

Hopefully, for $100 Billion, it will provide a decent lightshow for US tax payers on the way down.

Look at this way, $100 Billion is only double what the US tax payers got stuck with for BHO’s failed mortgage foreclosure scheme (it was supposed to prevent more foreclosures, instead, the numbers have shot upwards), and it’s only 20% of what Barry claims he can same in fraud and waste in the part of the American health care system that the government already runs. Personally, I’d have more faith in his scheme to inflict a socialist medical system on the American people if he cleaned up the fraud and waste in the current government run system first.

There is actual, real science being done on the ISS, so why is our Dear Leader looking to scrap it? Could it be that there isn’t enough pork for his democrat cronies in Congress to skim off it? As far as I can tell, there are no plans to replace it, even though it is a lot cheaper to go to the Moon from Earth orbit than it is to go from the bottom of Earth’s gravity well to the Moon, or Mars, or…

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