Archive for October, 2003

Squirrel Tag

October 27, 2003

Here. (Via The Corner).

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This Just In . . . Mars Is Cold And Dry

October 25, 2003

That’s what this article basically says.
If you drill deeper into the article, though, you realize that the presence of large deposits of olivine on the surface of Mars only indicates the lack of recent liquid water. Since Mars’ atmospheric pressure is only 0.06 bars, there shouldn’t be any appreciable liquid water on the surface anyway.
I am more curious about the search for subsurface water, preferably close enough to the surface that settlers can drill for water without too much effort. Certainly other reports from Mars indicate the possibility of water close to the surface, if not on it.
With NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers, the ESA’s Mars Express, and the Japanese Nozomi all due to arrive next year, I am looking forward to a “flood” of new data.

I Would Move, Too

October 24, 2003

But you have to wonder, didn’t they have some kind of clue about their street name when they moved in?

How Do You Write “Delta Clipper” in Kanji?

October 24, 2003

It looks like the Japanese continue to pursue the concept first demonstrated with the DC-X.
(Here are some photos from an earlier test of the Japanese vehicle).

No Posting Tonight

October 21, 2003

I picked up the Rush in Rio DVD today and have watched the first half of disc one.
I will be watching the rest tonight, so no more posts. (Thanks to some alphabetical serendipity, I picked this DVD up today, too!)
I see that Alan K. Henderson is in the spirit of the day.

Coherent Light. Incoherent Policy?

October 21, 2003

Developments in solid state lasers may lead to practical battlefield applications in the near future according to this article.
What are the implications of being able to shoot mortar and artillery shells out of the air? To knock ballistic missiles out of the sky before they can deliver their payloads? What about soldiers equipped with nano-surgeons
that radically improve a soldier’s chances of surviving a battlefield wound? Is it a good thing for our military to become, effectively, invincible? I part ways with many fellow libertarians in my support for the overseas war on terrorism and my wholehearted agreement with Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz’s proposed “cure” for terrorism outlined in his September 13, 2001 comments.
But I occasionally grow concerned about the long term health of our republic in the face of a quasi-imperial and essentially invincible military, a theme expanded upon by Jerry Pournelle here.
Of one thing I am sure: we cannot stop developing improved military technologies (and we cannot surrender our nukes voluntarily) unless we are willing to surrender sovereignty to an illiberal hegemon like China.

Science Fiction Soundscapes

October 20, 2003

Since music and science fiction are among my strongest passions, I would be remiss if I did not point out this site. (Link via Hobbyspace).
You will find there recordings of soundtracks inspired by science fiction. I am currently listening to the nine billion names of god, based on the story by Arthur C. Clarke.
Give it a listen.

Beanstalk Blog

October 20, 2003

Rand Simberg points to a fairly new blog on space elevators.
If you haven’t run across this concept before, a space elevator is essentially a cable stretching from the equator to a counterweight/station located in the geostationary orbit above the ground station. Read this for more detail.
Arthur C. Clarke first popularized this concept in his Fountains of Paradise. Kim Stanley Robinson took the concept to Mars and graphically described its vulnerability to terrorism.
Until very recently, space elevators have been purely speculative, as no known material is strong enough to bear the cable’s predicted loads. But because of advances in carbon nanotube fabrication technology, science fiction authors are no longer the only ones talking about the idea. Now scientists and researchers are starting to advance the idea that this concept is technically feasible.
Professor Hall was all over this topic when it was hot about a month ago, and provides links to more information.
Be sure to check back here periodically for further developments.

The Oaks Are Just Too Lofty

October 19, 2003

According to this report, size matters.
Based on their analysis of four large-scale studies (three in the USA and one in the UK), Professors Timothy Judge and Daniel Cable will report in the Spring 2004 issue of Applied Psychology that each additional inch of height yields, on average, an additional $789 in earnings per year. Good news for me, at six inches above the average male height stated in the article.

To Serve Man: Reverend Baker in Fiji

October 16, 2003

According to this article (available in pidgin here), the chief of the Nubutautau tribe in the remote Fiji mountain village Tui Navatusila has invited the descendants of the Rev. Thomas Baker to Fiji to offer them a traditional apology. The islanders, you see, ate Rev. Baker when he touched the head of the chief of the village some 136 years ago. They left nothing but his boots, one of which is on display in the Fijian museum in Suva. Reverend Baker went to Fiji as a member of the London Missionary Society, a non-denominational body founded in 1795 to spread the Christian faith throughout the world.
As far as I know, Baker’s descendants have not sued the village for reparations. Instead, it seems the tribe would like to lift a curse they have been under since they roasted the Reverend. Apparently, the tribe are now Methodists. I wonder if they will invite Rev. Baker’s descendants back to their village for dinner.