Archive for the 'Nonclassified Nonsense' Category

My Boys

3 May 2019 at 9:48 pm
by Jonah

Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Precision Driving School

30 April 2019 at 8:06 pm
by Jonah

https://photos.app.goo.gl/f8HE2YgC8LBBb1Dp7

Buran

5 February 2019 at 7:12 pm
by Berck

I’ve always been perplexed that the Soviets bothered to copy our Space Shuttle. The shuttle was a terrible design, it made no economic sense, it was unsafe, unreliable, and a great example of design by committee and execution by democracy.

The Soviets’ version, Buran, was way better than ours. It could fly unmanned and even land itself, something it did on its only flight. Ours theoretically had an autoland system, but the one time it was tried, it was clear early on that it was going to botch the landing, so the commander took over. Buran, although it only ever flew unmanned, had an escape system that could be used at all phases of flight that likely would have saved the crews of both of our shuttle disasters. Not to mention that the Columbia disaster couldn’t have happened to Buran because it didn’t have external foam.

So why did the Soviets bother to build it, and if it was so good, why did it only fly once?

They didn’t believe NASA’s absurd cost predictions (which were obviously false), so they assumed that it was a poor disguise for a military vehicle. Possibilities the USSR considered:
(1) The obvious advantage of the space shuttle was that it could bring things *back* from space. So, maybe the USA was developing a space-based laser missile-defense system that could only be developed and calibrated in outer space. The space shuttle would allow the USA to deploy, test, then recapture these laser satellites.
(2) The shuttle was a first-strike nuclear bomber in disguise. We had a plan to be able to launch the shuttle from Vanderburg and have it land after a single orbit. Our claim is apparently that we wanted to be able to service spy satellites on such a single-orbit mission, but it theoretically had the capability to drop a nuclear bomb on the USSR during that orbit. That would make it the fastest nuclear strike option available to us. It’s also possible that the space shuttle could while in a stable orbit, at the last minute, adjust its orbit, pop into the atmosphere, drop a bomb, and make it home with no warning.

Even more concerning to the Soviets was the possibilities they hadn’t yet considered. They were so worried about this, they decided that they needed to have one just because we had one. When the military advantage we were hoping for became obvious, they’d have their platform all ready. So, they flew it once, proved it worked, and waited to see what to do with it.

It turns out, we did service Hubble with it, which is probably the only thing it did that we couldn’t have just as easily done with a cheaper expendable system. Also, reusability fit in well with the newly-formed religious fervour surrounding environmentalism.

I’m curious to find out if one day we’ll get some declassified documents that show we did, in fact, have some of the very sorts of ideas the Soviets were worried about. It’s not paranoia if they’re out to get you.

The Professor enjoys books.

15 January 2019 at 7:38 pm
by Jonah

6th Birthday

12 September 2018 at 11:32 am
by Jonah

Today is my youngest nephew’s sixth birthday. A week before, I took a box to the dollar store and filled it up with toys I thought he might like. Then I stopped at the post office on my way home from work, proud of myself for planning so far ahead.  I wanted to use the self service kiosk, so I didn’t bother to address the box, since the machine would print out a giant label that would cover up the address anyway. I simply wrote “Happy Birthday!” on the side of the box.

It started pouring rain just as I got to the post office, so I dashed inside, cradling the box to try to keep it from getting wet.  I spent about 10 minutes with the machine, getting ever more frustrated as it wouldn’t accept any of my inputs when I was trying to type in dimensions or the address. Maybe the touch screen was misaligned.  I somehow managed to finally get to the class options, and the only two it gave me were the most expensive: Express Mail (overnight) and Priority (two day).  No parcel post, no first class parcel. I looked over to the counter, and there wasn’t a line.  But I was reusing a box with my own address on it, and I didn’t have anything to cover it up!  I had no option but to try again the next day, which I figured would make my package arrive late.  Furious, I stormed back out to my car.

The next day was sunny and clear.  I’d taped a piece of paper with the address over the old box label.  I arrived at the post office after work to find a long line waiting for the sole clerk. I had a lot of things to do that evening, and standing in line at the post office was not one of the things I wanted to do.

Finally, I was next in line.  The woman in front of me was complaining to clerk that the kiosk wasn’t working.  No kidding!  “Well, there’s nothing wrong with a little human interaction!” replied the clerk pleasantly.  For some reason, that response just made me even more angry.

At last it was my turn.  I threw my box on the scale and wielded my credit card before the machine, ready to pay the postage and get the heck out of there.

“Who’s birthday?” asked the clerk, reading my message on the side of the box.

“My nephew’s,” I mumbled.

Without even asking me, the clerk pulled a sheet of CELEBRATE stamps out of a drawer and started affixing them to box.  “You’re going to be the cool aunt,” he said, sticking six of them on the box and then carefully cancelling them all with a rubber stamp.  Of course, I already AM the cool aunt.  But this wouldn’t hurt.

“Now,” he continues, “Would you like it to get there in 7 to 8 days or Priority mail 2 days for 30 cents more?”

I paid the extra 30 cents.