Travels and Images
WEEK 2 2007
Mon- Tue- Wed-
Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday 13 January
- they are repairing
the undersea cables near Taiwan in the far east, after the
big earthquake of a few weeks back. It reminds me that in 2005 I
read an interesting book about the first Transatlantic cable,
A Thread Across the Ocean,
and the current article indeed traces the technology back to the
1850's. The technology has evolved - now it is a glass fiber optic
cable passing lasers, not
copper for electrical telegraphy & sheathed in gutta
percha, but they still use
grapples to fish up broken
the solo sailor, Ken Barnes,
that did a 360 capsize near
Cape Horn. He's abandoned the attempt, and I think he scuttled his boat
before leaving. Odd, it doesn't look
too damaged in pictures - not low in the water or anything. Dismasted,
and the engine was flooded, but that seems repairable. It at least one
picture you can see that the foremast is still there, though hanging
over the side. She was a Robert Perry steel
hull design, according to Ken's web site, with waterproof
compartments. Perhaps a somewhat shallow draft for those seas, but not
an unreasonable choice - there isn't any such thing as a perfect boat
(though we sailors' keep looking).
Book #3 was Constructional
Steelwork Simply Explained, by John Faber. A page turner.
Actually, not a bad review book for someone who hasn't thought about
eccentric column loading of I beams in twenty years or so...
Book #2 is Enders
Game, by Orson Scott Card. A good book. Rumor has it that
there will be a movie
We'll see. I'm not sure that Hollywood is capable of making a movie
true to that book (though that possibility has never stopped them before).
Here is a picture from NASA of the extended
Quiet Spike in flight.
The size of the spike is hard to evaluate sometimes - look at the
pilots' head and torso to get an estimate of the booms' real diameter
and length. I've had a similar picture for weeks, but couldn't post it
before NASA and Gulfstream released it to the public - the size and
shape of the boom is Gulfstream proprietary stuff. Given
and position of the spike - all the way forward - we've been extending
the flight envelope very
carefully. Hence my busy fall, in part, anyway.
evil twins. What will they think of next? Jeez.
Friday 12 January
- no flight. It didn't snow and the weather was
excellent. But there were some other problems, so, no flight.
Oh well, plenty
of work. I read most of a (admittedly small) book on
structural steel frame analysis - an odd thing for an
aerospace engineer to be doing, but that's why
I like the job. It changes a lot.
It is supposed to be cold, cold, cold tonight. I put a bag over the
exposed sprinkler lines in front, at the manifold, just a bit of
prevention to avoid splitting the pipes.
Heh. I was watching a bit of Jake 2.0 on
SciFi, and there was a
throwaway line: "And your safehouse in Berlin is: 221b
NASA kill life on Mars? Yeah, the old Viking Lander question,
popping up it's ugly head. All I can say is: don't change the rules of
the game after it's started. As I understand it, the positives gotten
by the lander would have qualified as "signs of life" under the
original protocols. But the investigators got cold feet and changed
their mind. OK, maybe it was a little more complicated, but the general
idea is sound I think: go with your first idea. Einstein got burned by
inserting the 'Cosmological
Constant' into general relativity, for example. If Mars turns
out to have life
those Viking guys who were to scared to announce, well, they'll be hating life.
But I've always felt that life on Mars would show some visible signs -
like plants or trees or moss - or something. In my personal memory the
telescopically observed seasonal
changes that we now know are just weather related were thought to
possibly be growth related - branches falling from notional Martian
tree's and the like. But it's just dirt and rock, and now,
occasionally, flowing water.
I suppose I'm agnostic about the whole thing.
11 January 2007
- The wind is howling and they're predicting a chance of snow showers.
Pretty neat. Nonetheless, there is a flight scheduled for tomorrow
I've been trying to see the
in the evening sky, without luck. It's been cloudy or I've worked too
late all week. I think it's going to vanish soon, in conjunction with
the sun. Then perhaps it'll reappear as a morning object.
I'm tired. I think I may have even nodded off in a couple of meetings
today - or at least done the "head bob" thing.
not to build
The Argentinian mountain is only 23,000 feet high, not 28,000. Whew, I
was worried for a bit.
Wednesday 10 January 2007
- well, I managed to finish
make progress on a couple of items, so I feel good about the day.
Of course, it was a long day, and the house reeked of cat pee
when I got home. I don't know where or what got soused, but I suppose
I'll find out eventually.
I finally got an answer to why shock waves off an aircraft coalesce:
the air is heated slightly after passing through the first shock, so
the shock waves behind it move slightly faster in the warmer gas, and
catch up with the leading shock. Hmm. I had thought that maybe the
shock wave angles were slightly different - but today's answer sounds
like a better solution, and since it's from someone actually involved
in shock wave research it's probably correct.
Tuesday 9 January
I took the Explorer over to Scott's for a new thermostat and serpentine
belt. The idea was that I'd put the bicycle in the back of the
Explorer, drive the SUV to Scott's, ride the bike home, go to work in
the Probe, come home, ride over to Scott's and take the bike home in
the back. But...just in case I was delayed at work...there being a
flight...I put the bike in the back of the Probe so I could punt if
something went wrong. Well, with one annoying thing and another I didn't
get to Lancaster until about twenty minutes before Scott was to close.
So I parked near Scott's, in the well lit library parking lot (his shop
is in an old rough area), and took the bike out of the back and... the
rear tire was flat. So I walked
the mile or so to Scott's in twenty minutes, drove the Explorer home,
and hitched a ride back to the library, and finally drove the Probe
So, I got some exercise.
Which may be a good thing. I was talking to a fellow engineer at work
who just came back from Argentina where he'd been attempting
climb a 28,000 foot mountain - and he asked if I
wanted to go next year. Hmmm. It's like Mt. Whitney, more of a hike
than a climb, just another 13,000 feet higher. ( Just about double.) He
went to 20,000, but his fellow hikers fell ill and he didn't want to
attempt it alone. Wise man - it takes some good sense to tell yourself
"no" after the time and expense of preparation for something like that.
Those Oregon folk could take lessons.
Monday 8 January 2007
- back at work. Four test flights this week. Worked with the Pro/E
tutorials. Went to a crew brief.
Sunday 7 January
- hmmm. Not a lot to say. Went to lunch with some friends, went by
their house in the evening and wrestled with the VKB virtual laser/bluetooth
keyboard, for the PDA. Not entirely successful in setting it
up, but it was
a pretty cool gadget.
Swapped PC's - I'm now on the "new" PC, which is the 3.2Ghz I bought a
couple of years ago. My old 2.4Ghz Northwood was getting a bit long in
the tooth, so I wrestled with cables and dust bunnies, and am (sort of)
up and running on the new PC. I still need to move a lot of files over.
I did put a DVD burner on it, since it had nothing, and a
(minimal, so as not to mess up existing s/w) set of burning s/w.
It's got the Canon Elura software on it, so I need to download some
video from the Parade of Lights and my Xmas trip, and burn it to DVD.
Maybe send a copy up to my Dad, and my brother. At any rate I can burn
some of the old stuff, that is using vast amounts of space on my hard