The Three Amigos

  The Three Amigos (Written at 3:33am) Three friends go to play in the Park.  Starting in The Matrix they spend most of their time talking about Red Dwarf and planning hijinks. One of the three has a way to communicate with a friend (the fourth Amigo) who works for the Park.  They run from agents, and plan to break into West World and rob a bank, until one day an Agent dies… for real. This Agent is controlled by the mother-in-law of the female CEO. She's old and demented but she loves to jack into The Matrix, and she's good at keeping thieves out of the Park. While chasing one of the Amigos down a spiral ramp she wraps herself in a cord and spills water on herself. It's a known flaw of that old deck. The Amigos learn about the tragedy on the subway. They discuss it in a hushed conversation. Two wants to leave - the game is over, he didn't want to kill anyone for real - but Four tells The One that they'll be arrested and charged as soon as they're out - and she

Learning to weld

Ten years ago I got the welding bug. After doing a vocational training course I discovered my aptitude was essentially zero and on-the-job training was considered essential to improvement. Not actually having a welding job in order to be trained on, I did the best I could, assigning myself simple tasks and destructively testing my horrible creations. This involved buying my own welder, which was an education in itself. After about a month of ruining perfectly good scrap metal I got to the point where I was able to reliably produce all the welds I had learnt - without defects. My next purchase was a bucket pump so I could pressure test a range of creatively welded bits of steel. This a really cheap piece of kit that you can get just about anywhere, and it completely humbled me. My first attempt was two square bits of scrap welded over the ends of a very thick pipe. It was immediately obvious that all my previous welds had been of insufficient depth, spraying water everywhere at very

Mars on Earth: The Long Tick of Elon Time

We've all heard the joke. Elon says they're going to fly Commercial Crew in Q1 2020, so add Elon Time - that's mid-to-late 2020, right? 😂😬 You gotta admit, he's consistent - he always tells you the best-case situation; Subtext: if nothing goes wrong... but has that ever happened? If you count how many nods Elon makes while he answers that question and which way his eyes are pointing you can see how sure he is... How much he isn't telling you. How much you have no right to know, damn it. Let the man work! That's how you make a following. Guard your playbook, and move. Never stand still, lest they believe you've fallen over. What would have happened if 2 years ago Elon said "Look, nothing is going to happen at SpaceX until we see what the NASA Admin is going to do, so just spin your wheels and don't do anything. I'm going to work on Starlink." Probably everything we've seen in the last 2 years. Gradual improvement and - da

Space Colonial Life - What's It Like Living In An Offworld Industrialization Facility?

In this blog we take a deep dive into the world of offworld rigs, focusing on what you can expect in the way of living conditions when taking a job in the offworld industry. OFFWORLD RIG FAST FACTS There are around 1,470 offworld industrialization rigs scattered all over the solar system, which means this role could take you anywhere from the Moon to Mars or even the asteroid belt or Mercury At any one time you will find nearly 200 people living and working on a rig You’ll rarely find a window inside Be thankful we’re not in the 1960s anymore – Before onboard wifi, engineers were restricted to just one personal phone call a week, and even that was capped to just six minutes Offworld engineering jobs require travel to some of the most remote places in the solar system, including industrialization rigs in the middle of deep space. You'll work hard offworld but be well rewarded for it - for a start, there's no cooking or cleaning to be done... What job-related t

Why I Don't Write About Space Anymore

No-one asked, but I know a few have wondered. It's been about 2.5 years since I wrote anything about space on this blog. Why? Simply, I don't see anything changing. SpaceX and Boeing have full funding for commercial crew, and nothing has changed. Reusable first stages have arrived, and nothing has changed. Blue Origin has crossed the Karman line, and nothing has changed. More and more people are launching cubesats, and nothing has changed. Google invested a billion dollars in SpaceX, and nothing has changed. Suborbital tourism still doesn't exist. Nothing has changed. I'm still interested. I'm still engaged. I just have nothing to say. My hope goes out to those working hard to change things. Good luck.

Disabling OS-X Device Removal Warnings In Yosemite

If you're anything like me you've probably seen the Disk Not Ejected Properly message so many times that you've forgotten how annoying it is.. despite the fact that you never even wrote anything to the usb drive that you're yanking out of your Mac the operating system insists that you remove it "correctly". You're supposed to click the eject button. Why? I dunno, Apple seems to think that if you can write to it then the operating system might have written to it - and being Apple, they probably have. Well ya know what? Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me. Note: this will not fix your external drive disconnecting when your Mac goes to sleep. For that problem try disabling "put hard drive to sleep when possible" in both the Battery and Power Adapter tabs of the OS energy saver settings. What appears below is a dirty hack for deliberately removing a warning that Apple insists on showing you every single time you yank out a usb stick.

Getting to Mars With The Reusable Falcon 9

Isn't it a bit odd that the most promising reusable launch vehicle under development today is being build by a company with a proclaimed love for heavy-lift launch vehicles? As the Falcon 9 Reusable approaches the cusp of operations, with a successful demonstration of first stage reuse expected sometime next year, SpaceX is already moving on to a methane engine - Raptor - four times as big, for a rocket - MCT - with a much larger core size. This, we're told, is Elon Musk's strategy for going to Mars and it's so much warmed over Bob Zubrin - Mars Direct, Mike Griffin - Apollo On Steroids, cargo cult of the Saturn V, stuck-in-the-1960s thinking. If you have an operational reusable launch vehicle, as SpaceX says it is their goal to have, then there's much more sensible ways to get to Mars. Come on boffins, get the lead out, let's do the math on this one. According to the best public numbers I can find , the second stage of the Falcon 9 v1.1 has a dry m