A View From The Deplorable Culture

Starbucks, always much in the news and on the lips for the wanna be elites prides itself as the gathering place where the elite meet to transact business over burned and expensive coffee as a vehicle for sugar delivery.

I have spent my time meeting a certain class of clients at such places, usually off the rush hours. It has all the aspects of a tribal place, with the common rituals and intonations.

My current clientele is more oriented to construction trades and manufacturing. Their place to meet seems to be the ubiquitous Golden Arches.

I had to meet my excavator in Chapter 11 client today to exchange data and a review of upcoming contracts he is bidding. He chose the usual place and I pulled up in my F150 around 10am. It seemed the parking lot was about 90% similar Fords, Rams, Silverados, all fairly new with a variety of racking rigs.

Inside it was guys and gals in jeans with laptops, blueprints and folders of bids and RFQs, all reviewing stuff with a serious eye over black coffee and egg mcmuffins.

McDonalds even had a hostess who walked around refreshing coffee and greeting the patrons.

I looked out at the Starbucks across the parking lot and wondered if the cultures would keep moving farther apart, like galaxies after the big bang.

One parking lot full of Beemers, Priusi and Volvos, the other Pickup trucks.

Heck, at least the coffee is not burned beyond recognition at the Arches, and still a dollar a cup with free refills.

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Weekend Reconnection

After a high anxiety week with court, vendor fraud, and such, coupled with virtual popcorn munching at the deep state stuck in the rat trap, it was time to get away.

We took the F150 Travel Cruiser and decided to see the sunset over the Pacific.

Continue reading “Weekend Reconnection”


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Inspiring Falcon Heavy Launch

During these times, when uplifting inspiration is in very short supply (my current motto is “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up”), the launch of Falcon Heavy literally brought tears to my eyes. Through the things I have learned from other ‘Burgers, I have a sense of the magnitude of the engineering work which has sent the business end of this creation into an elliptical solar orbit which will intersect with that of Mars. It is the human ingenuity and collaboration behind the launch which I find so inspiring. The event was followed by three exclamation points, in the form of the upright landings of the three booster cores.

The payload, a red (purportedly Elon Musk’s) Tesla roadster with a glorified crash dummy in a spacesuit, is whimsical to the max. It is accompanied by  the latest and greatest data storage disc, one designed to endure, to tell of human achievements and to be sent wherever we eventually go in space. Lest we be badly misunderstood by an errant E.T., I hope it explains that the red car is not really a human space conveyance.

Seriously, I was very moved by this event. Again, thanks to the understanding gleaned from members of this site, it makes the success of the Apollo program – using materials, methods and computers (don’t laugh at them even though you have a more powerful one in your pocket) from the technological bronze age – perhaps even more incredible in retrospect. I am savoring having a few moments in which I can feel upbeat. I suspect it will soon pass. Actually, it just did. You see, I just caught a glimpse of Charles Schumer on TV out of the corner of my eye. He is speaking… (gloom). There may or may not be life in space. I am poignantly reminded low forms of life surely exist here on Earth and crawls out with some regularity from beneath rocks.

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Falcon Heavy

SpaceX Falcon Heavy

The first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is currently scheduled for Tuesday, 2018-02-06, with a two and a half hour launch window which opens at 18:30 UTC and closes at 21:00 UTC (since this is a test flight which need not enter a precise orbit, the launch time is not critical).  If the launch is postponed, the same launch window will be used on successive days, subject to availability of the range.  The Sunday weather forecast predicts 80% probability of favourable conditions for launch during the Tuesday window.

Falcon Heavy consists of three first stage cores derived from the existing Falcon 9 first stage.  The centre core is specially strengthened to accommodate the structural loads of the boosters and heavier payload, and to attach the two side boosters, which are slightly modified Falcon 9 first stages (in fact, the two boosters to be used on this flight have previously flown on SpaceX Falcon 9 missions).  The three cores ignite simultaneously on the launch pad, with a total of 27 Merlin 1D engines, nine on each core, providing liftoff thrust of 22,819 kN (5.13 million pounds of thrust).  This compares to the 34,000 kN thrust of the Saturn V moon rocket, and 30,255 for the Space Shuttle (main engines plus solid rocket boosters).

But what matters isn’t thrust, but rather a launcher’s ability to deliver payload to where the customer wants it.  Here, the Falcon Heavy, if it works, will become the heaviest lift launcher in service.  Here, I’ll compare payload to low Earth orbit (LEO), since that’s the fairest comparison of launchers: regardless of the ultimate destination, any rocket must first achieve orbital velocity.  The Saturn V could put 140 tonnes into LEO, while the Space Shuttle had a maximum payload of 24.4 tonnes (the reusable orbiter itself weighed 78 tonnes, but does not count as payload).  Falcon Heavy can launch 63.8 tonnes to LEO, more than twice the payload of its closest competitor, the Delta IV Heavy (28.79 tonnes).  Russia’s Proton M+ has a payload capacity of 23 tonnes, while the European Ariane 5 can deliver 21 tonnes to LEO.

This test flight will not carry a payload for a customer.  Many things which can only be tested in flight, particularly the structural loads and aerodynamics of the three core first stage at max Q and separation of the two side boosters from the core (which runs at reduced thrust from shortly after liftoff until separation, and then throttles up to full thrust for the remainder of its burn), and customers who require this kind of lift capability aren’t likely to risk their payloads on a first flight.  Instead, Falcon Heavy will be carrying a car.

Falcon Heavy payload

This is Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster with its Starman test dummy on board, attached to the Falcon Heavy payload adapter.  It will be enclosed in the payload fairing for launch and, if the mission is successful, injected into an orbit around the Sun which will venture as far from the Sun as the orbit of Mars (but will not approach the planet).  The payload serves only as a mass simulator, but has a lot more style than the usual steel or tungsten dummy payload carried on inaugural flights of other launchers.

The three first stage cores are intended to be recovered.  After separating from the centre core, the two side boosters will return to the landing zone at Cape Canaveral for near-simultaneous landings.  The centre core will fly downrange and land on the drone ship in the Atlantic.

The second stage is identical to that of the Falcon 9.  Once the side boosters separate, a Falcon Heavy mission is essentially identical to that of Falcon 9; the white knuckle part will be from liftoff through booster separation.

You can watch a live webcast of the launch attempt on the SpaceX Web site.  Coverage usually starts  around 20 minutes before the scheduled launch time.


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Toyota COMS EV

There is a Meals on Wheels service over here. The company usually uses a three wheeler with a trunk on it to delivers the meals to elderly people. Then it happened. I was driving and saw one of these. (I found a picture of a 7-Eleven one.)

I was wondering who made the thing? How fast and how far on a charge? I tried to search on the Internet but couldn’t find it. So I decided to go to the Meals on Wheels company parking lot and check it out further.  Here’s the info.

Toyota COMS EV

Price:  About $10,000

Range:  31 miles

Max Speed:  38 mph

Charging time at 100V: 6 hours

Cost per charge: $1.50

I was hoping for better specs but what do you expect for $10,000.

Here is some more info.

 

First Vehicle

I put vehicle in the title to allow for motorcycles or boats. Stu who is from Canada might put up sled. I think a Member is from Africa so elephants will be allowed.

My first car was a white Chevy II. It had a flat six and I think the same basic model became known as a Nova a few years later. The two things I remember about it was. It took twice as many turns of the steering wheel to turn a corner and it had a generator rather than a alternator. Oh, there was one more thing. In the Owner’s Manual it said I could start the think on a dead battery by putting it into Neutral and getting the thing up to 40 mph.

http://img.favcars.com/chevrolet/chevy-ii/chevrolet_chevy-ii_1962_pictures_1_b.jpg


How about you? What was your first ride?


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