To maintain equilibrium, please call me …

Your royal highness. I figure since the royal formally know as Prince won’t be needing it anymore this should be okay. I want you to all know that I will treat you all in the same way I treat everyone beneath my rank. Don’t expect to be invited to tea anytime soon.

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A Wee Bit of Humour this Late Saturday Night: Scottish Army Ration (MRE)

There is a curious subculture on YouTube of exploring and, sometimes at great personal risk, taste-testing military rations, sometimes from wars fought long before the tester/taster was born.  Big Clive was motivated to contribute to this genre, and posted this taste test of one of the last MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) prepared by the Scottish Army before it was assimilated into the British armed forces.  All of the major food groups a proper Scotsman should require are provided: sugar, alcohol, carbohydrates, nicotine, and plutonium.

... [Read More]

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TOTD 2020-1-18: Buying the President

There was an interesting book called “Selling the President 1968”. Now there needs to be a new book “Buying the President 2020”. Steyer and Bloomberg are pouring money in an effort to buy the office. Bloomberg is even saying he will continue running ads to destroy Trump if he doesn’t get the nomination. This is terrible for the country. I saw a clip of Democrats throwing out their principles because Bloomberg was throwing money their way. They would be up in arms if the rich person was on the other side. I want to believe the electorate are smart enough but I worry. A 100 million here and a 100 million there and you get to be talking about serious money.

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SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test

SpaceX in-flight abort (artist's conception)Tomorrow, SpaceX is planning to conduct what promises to be a spectacular test flight of the crew escape system for their Crew Dragon spacecraft.  If successful, this should clear the launcher for the first crewed flight to the International Space Station later this year.  The launch is scheduled for a four-hour launch window which opens at 13:00 UTC on 2020-01-18.  At this writing, there is a 90% probability of acceptable weather for the test.   Update: Saturday test scrubbed due to high winds and rough seas in the recovery area.  Now re-scheduled for a six-hour launch window beginning at 13:00 UTC on Sunday, 2020-01-19.

If all goes as planned, the flight will be brief.¬† At the moment of maximum dynamic pressure (when the combination of velocity and air density produces maximum stress on the vehicle [‚Äúmax q‚ÄĚ]), the capsule’s Super Draco thrusters should fire to carry it away from the booster, whose engines will be cut by the abort system.¬† This is expected to occur around 84 seconds after launch.... [Read¬†More]

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TOTD 2020-1-16: Beware of the Ides of January

1957 9-county commission recommends creation of BART
1970 An Evil Man is Born
1976 “Donny & Marie” [Osmond] musical variety show premieres on ABC TV
1988 NFL St Louis Cardinals announce move to Phoenix
1991 Operation Desert Storm begins, with US-led coalition forces bombing Iraq, during the Gulf War
1995 7.2 earthquake destroys Kobe, Japan and kills 5,372
2020 Impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump begins in the Senate
Almost all came from this site.

https://www.onthisday.com/events/january/16... [Read More]

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Rice Cookers: They Do it with a Magnet!

Back in May, 2018, we had a post here about rice cookers.  That was about a very high-end unit, but the bottom of the line products often used a remarkably clever means to cook perfect rice every time, regardless of variables such as the kind of rice, altitude, initial temperature of the water, and the exact quantities of rice and water (within reasonable limits) put into the cooker.  Here is a Technology Connections video about how they did it.

... [Read More]

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TOTD 2020-1-15: Impeachment 3.0

America had the first impeachment after the civil war. Andrew Johnson was the answer to the only president who was impeached. This lasted till the 1970s. In my life time this is Impeachment 3.0. Here is the list.

  1. Nixon 1.0
  2. Clinton 2.0
  3. Trump 3.0

This impeachment is for the crime of winning in my opinion. Do you know how many millions of dollars were lost to the Clinton Foundation by that not having Hillary be the First Madame?

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Mars: Communist Propaganda from the Red Planet

Mars series: National GeographicThe television series Mars, produced by National Geographic and originally aired on their cable channel in 2016, is a curious mix of present-day documentary and fictional story of the human settlement of Mars, with the first crewed landing mission launching in 2033.¬† The first season is set in the years 2033‚Äď2037 and chronicles the establishment of the first settlement and its growth into a fledgling base, similar to scientific research stations in Antarctica.¬† The series cuts back and forth between the present and the fictional future, with the present-day segments interviewing figures such as Stephen Petranek, author of How We’ll Live on Mars, upon which the story is based, Robert Zubrin, creator of the Mars Direct mission plan, Elon Musk of SpaceX, Andy Weir, author of The Martian, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.¬† The mission is mounted by a fictional international consortium called the ‚ÄúInternational Mars Science Foundation‚ÄĚ (IMSF), which has all of the squabbling and politics you’d expect for something with such a name.¬† The fictional part of the first season is pretty good, and in line with capabilities expected to exist in the time in which it is set.

The second season is something else entirely.¬† Set in 2042, it chronicles the arrival of the first private venture on Mars, ‚ÄúLukrum Industries‚ÄĚ, aimed at resource exploration and development.¬† Lukrum has negotiated a deal with IMSF in which it will produce solar mirrors from in-situ resources which will be employed in IMSF’s terraforming project, which hopes to warm the planet to release water trapped as ice below the surface.¬† This veers immediately into the ‚Äúcorporations bad, government agencies (especially multinational ones where all of the minions speak perfect English with suitably exotic accents) good‚ÄĚ trope.¬† The present-day segments are almost entirely about human despoliation of the Earth, with a concentration on ‚Äúclimate change‚ÄĚ.¬† This feeds into the fictional future story, where the evil corporation (eventually in cahoots with the Russians, who were too tempting to leave out as villains), is simultaneously thwarting the noble goals of the taxpayer-funded scientists, while using its lucre to manipulate IMSF back on Earth to acquiesce in its evil schemes.... [Read¬†More]

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The Bible and the Final Frontier

My husband and son went to DC this past weekend for a guys’ sports trip – encompassing¬† a college basketball game and wrestling match at son’s alma mater, American U, and hiking around his undergrad haunts in the beautiful spring-like weather.

They went to the National Cathedral for Mass Sunday morning and were surprised and pleased when an unexpected little ceremony took place. The priest introduced to the congregants the Episcopal Bishop of the Armed Forces and the Chief of Chaplains, who came to dedicate a Bible for the newly formed United States Space Force.... [Read More]

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A Feminist View of Guns

Somehow, I don’t think this talk will be pro-gun.

Senior Lecturer Caroline Light, who is Director of Harvard‚Äôs Undergraduate Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will give a historical view on visual depictions of armed femininity and discuss her writings on ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs love affair with lethal self-defense.‚ÄĚ Light refreshments will be served.... [Read¬†More]

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