Time Travel Tricks

T-Bolt has a little time travel scenario: A time machine capable of taking you as far back as 1820. You can take six $20 gold pieces. What do you buy in the past to be rich in the future?

I’d do it a little differently. I wouldn’t have to go all the way back to 1820. Just to the 1880s to meet my great-grandfather shortly after he arrived in America. Give him the gold, and advise him on what eventually-to-be-very-valuable land to buy up. Maybe a few stocks tips.

Family gets rich on real estate speculation, I become a trust fund baby, become a spoiled liberal snot instead of…

Oh. Wait.

Never mind.

Troll: Grandmaster Level

Folks are going nuts over Trump’s tweet yesterday:

Yeah, it’s basically the Star Fleet seal. I see screams about copyright infringement, royalties, law suits…

Pretty much everything but the fact that he tweeted this on his personal account, not the official POTUS account. There’s nothing about it anywhere on the White House web site.

Nor is the seal on the actual Space Force web site. No seal, no press release, no news links. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Trump just trolled the world. Again.

If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP bills, and general life expenses. And the rabbits need feed. Click here to donate via PayPal.
(More Tip Jar Options)

“Space Satellite”

Did you hear about the space satellite that crashed on a Michigan farm?

I first heard about it when I failed to check the URL before clicking a link, and ended up at New York Daily News. The reporting was as bad as you’d expect from NYDN

Yeah. No.

Not a satellite. That’s the payload package from a high altitude balloon. Specifically, it’s one Samsung launched as a “Space Selfie” advertising campaign.

Those balloons typical reach altitudes between 18 and 37 kilometers. I believe the current record is 53 kilometers. Space starts at the Karman Line; 100 kilometers. So much for the “space” descriptor. Anyone participating in Samsung’s campaign might want to check the fine print; if they say “space,” you might hit them for false advertising.

Possibly Samsung found someone smart enough to specify “near space,” the region in the atmosphere above which a human requires a pressure suit and oxygen to survive but below the Karman Line.

A satellite is an object in a gravitationally curved trajectory around another body.* A balloon floats in atmosphere. Scratch “satellite.”

ABC also ran with the “space satellite” story, but invented the term “pseudo satellite.” Presumably because they couldn’t spell “balloon.” Or maybe Cathey confused an airborne balloon with a terrestrial pseudolite.

Wonder of wonders, NBC managed to get the story almost right.

“It looked like a satellite.”
[…]
“No injuries occurred and the balloon was subsequently retrieved,”
[…]
The device reportedly included a high-altitude balloon…

So close. And then…

…and was supposed to remain in space until Oct. 31.

“Space.” See above re: Karman Line, Stelloh and Samandi.

Ah, well. What else can you expect from an industry that believes in semiautomatic assault rifles and carbon as a deadly poison that will wipe out life on Earth?


* There are also “Non-Keplerian orbits” in which the trajectory is modified by thrust. That would included the boost phase from low Earth orbit to a final geosynchronous orbit for a communications satellite.

An extreme example is a hypothetical polar stationary satellite, which would remain high above the rotational pole balancing on constant thrust just enough to counter gravity. I don’t if it’s ever actually been tried, but the proposal pops up occasionally as a way to provide comm coverage to polar regions largely outside the reach of equatorial geosynch satellites.

Amusingly, two of my books (Bargaining Position, and an unpublished draft) have lighter-than-air vessels (dirigibles) that do go into space. The concept is that they float/drive high into the stratosphere, then fire main boosters to blast out of the remaining atmosphere and up to orbital velocity. Reentry is the opposite; fire engines to come to a virtual stop and rather gently drop into the upper atmosphere. Perhaps Samsung would like to license my idea.

If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP bills, and general life expenses. And the rabbits need feed. Click here to donate via PayPal.
(More Tip Jar Options)

Redneck Credentials Renewed

The last few years, I’ve been doing stuff like computer repair, web site administration, graphic design, and — of course — a bunch of writing.

The other day, I noticed my sister’s barbecue grill was rusting out, so this afternoon I set out to repair it.

  • snare wire
  • hardware cloth salvaged from an old rabbit hutch
  • metal support straps from some old benches

And done. Grill should be good for another year or so.

I think that renews my official redneck card.

If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP bills, and general life expenses. And the rabbits need feed. Click here to donate via PayPal.
(More Tip Jar Options)

So much better than “Gun-Free Zones”

Jacksonville, Florida has solved its “gun violence” problem.

So… shooting everywhere else is cool?

-psst- Mayor Curry, this was supposed to be satire.

If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP and web host bills, and general life expenses. And the rabbits need feed. Click here to donate via PayPal.
(More Tip Jar Options)

And suddenly all the ARs vanished quietly into the mist.

I tweeted about this, but it’s funny enough in its gross stupidity that I must mock them further.

The emphasis added below is mine.

Good Riddance: Colt Pulls the Plug on Producing AR-15s in the Consumer Market
The day many of us thought we’d never live to see has finally arrived.

In recent years, while mass shootings have dominated both headlines and cemeteries, calls for gun reform have escalated to deafening levels. As frustration and fears mount, and as organizations like the NRA have kept a stranglehold on maintaining the status quo, an unlikely hero has arrived in the form of Colt—the gun manufacturer responsible for producing the AR-15 assault rifle.

Ordinarily, I’d call them out for referring to the semi-auto AR-15 as an assault rifle, but that’s not the best part. The bold face emphasis above was a clue. Continue reading