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So am I the only one to get sucked into “The Expanse?” May 25, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology, Uncategorized, watch.
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Regular readers know that we haven’t got any cable or satellite, but I’m not completely dead to the culture, yet.  I still hear about things through blogs and news sites.  I heard about the SyFy network program The Expanse several months ago and quickly got sucked in.  Enough so that after I had exhausted the first season episodes available free on Amazon Prime, I waited a few months but finally cracked and bought the second season.  The show is by no means perfect, but it is very, very good.

One warning.  I guess the broadcast standards have really collapsed because the show has all kinds of cuss words in it.  It’s not really gratuitous, the situations generally call for such language, but the show features such dire situations so frequently the language does tend a bit blue.  And another warning – one unfortunate failing of the production was the inclusion of totally gratuitous sex scenes in the first episodes of both seasons.  This is such a sop to the sick and fallen culture it’s really sad to consider, because neither of these scenes is even remotely necessary for plot advancement or character development.

But aside from that there is very much right with the show.  The Expanse is set in the late 23rd century, a time when man has colonized much of the solar system, with Mars a heavily populated independent power and a huge population scattered on myriad asteroids and moons of the gas giants.  The Earth is still the greatest power in the solar system but Mars is rising and seeks to ultimately displace Earth.  There are lots of cold war-type tensions and then a radical new discovery literally changes everything.  The fight to gain control over this discovery and weaponize it for advantage drives much of the plot in the first two seasons.

The thing I like best about the show is that it is relatively realistic, as Sci-Fi goes.  It’s not quite 2001: a space odyssey, but it’s close.  They show real weightlessness, they show the effects of “high-G burns” when the interplanetary spacecraft must impose huge G-loads on the crew to do certain maneuvers, they show mostly realistic weaponry (but no anti-missile missiles is a pretty bad miss), long-range ship-to-ship, missiles, nuclear warheads, point defence guns, interplanetary guided missiles, etc.  It’s a quite fully realized universe and one that is enjoyable to watch.

The third major party in the series are the “belters,” souls who live among the asteroids and many moons colonized on the outer planets, people who have been in low-G and low-oxygen environments for so long their physiology has changed and they can no longer live on Earth.  They also have a unique language developed for the show, which to me sounds a lot like Afrikaans (and the English they speak is spoken with a South African accent).  The belters view themselves as outcasts who are preyed upon by the “inners” and violently punished whenever they “get out of line.”  This is another major story arc through the series.

The production values and CGI are top-notch.  There are some errors, like spacecraft with voluminous empty spaces serving no purpose (but they look pretty on TV) and crazily sped up transit times between, say, the rings of Saturn and the asteroid belt (which even at 5 million miles per hour – a speed the ships in the series regularly attain – could take many days or even weeks).

The acting ranges from fair to superb.  Shohreh Aghdashloo is brilliant as a leading Earth politician Chrisjen Avasarala.  I love Cas Anvar’s Martian of Indian-descent who speaks with a Texan accent, Alex Kamal.  Dominique Tipper has grown on me.  I think the dude playing James Holden is just OK.  Most of the others are serviceable but overall the acting does not bring the show down at all.

What really carries it along is the plot and the very well-realized universe.  The story is gripping and tends to draw you in.  They are dealing with end of the world solar system type scenarios quite regularly (hence, the language) but the scenarios are not utterly implausible.  Once you accept the MacGuffin that drives everything along it all flows very sensically.

If you like sci-fi it’s a definite must-see, provided you can get past the language and the two brief but gratuitous scenes in the first episodes of series 1 and 2 (fortunately you have a bit of warning for both and can easily skip past).  If you like good drama with a healthy amount of action, you’ll also probably enjoy it. If you think this culture has absolutely nothing to offer anyone and prefer a good book to anything broadcast, you’re probably wiser than I.  But sometimes my ‘ol noggin’ wants a break and this one wasn’t too bad.

Season 3 will air sometime in the first half of 2018.

Early Flighline Friday: DeHavilland Vampire Obliterates Runway at Halfpenny Green May 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in error, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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Halfpenny Green being a former WWII airfield still used for private and commercial aviation. Apparently the runway surface was not jet rated because this WWII-vintage DeHavilland Vampire ripped it to shreds:

Good grief. That exhaust is really close to the ground, but the Goblin engine powering the Vampire only made 3400 pounds of thrust.  The same as a Westinghouse J34.  Are they related?  Maybe so, many early US jet designs were based on British originals, and both are relatively rare centrifugal flow units.

I’ve never seen the like before.

Shock! Obama Official Admits Manipulating Climate Data for Political Purposes April 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, cultural marxism, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, Francis, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, technology.
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As if we didn’t know this already, but it’s nice when the miscreant confesses to the crime:

A former member of the Obama administration claims Washington D.C. often uses “misleading” news releases about climate data to influence public opinion.

Former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told The Wall Street JournalMonday that bureaucrats within former President Barack Obama’s administration spun scientific data to manipulate public opinion.

“What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin said, referring to elements within the Obama administration he said were responsible for manipulating climate data.

He pointed to a National Climate Assessment in 2014 showing hurricane activity has increased from 1980 as an illustration of how federal agencies fudged climate data. Koonin said the NCA’s assessment was technically incorrect……..

……..Press officers work with scientists within agencies like the National Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and NASA and are responsible for crafting misleading press releases on climate, he added.

Koonin is not the only one claiming wrongdoing. House lawmakers with the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, for instance, recently jumpstarted an investigation into NOAA after a whistleblower said agency scientists rushed a landmark global warming study to influence policymakers.

Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee’s chairman, will “move forward as soon as possible” in asking NOAA to hand over documents included in a 2015 subpoena on potential climate data tampering.

Yeah, but nothing will come of it.  It never does.  There is one set of rules for the cultural elite (that is, no rules), and one increasingly onerous and repressive set of rules for the rest of us, especially the lowest class, Christian conservatives.

So what do you think of Trump so far?  He’s over 3 months in, that 100 day mark is about to pass, and he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, has he?

Mind you, I never thought he’d be a super-conservative, I hoped he might mean what he said about the wall, but so long as Hillary wasn’t elected and he nominated some solid judges, I was prepared to be satisfied.

Still, he’s given occasional glimpses of being capable of doing much, much more, but his administration seems to be sinking slowly into the swamp L’Enfant had our nation’s capital built upon.  I don’t know if one man, even a spectacular man (which I’m far from sure Trump is), can overcome the entrenched interests of the always left-leaning, always self-serving deep state.

Even Reagan failed to achieve much in the way of reducing the size of the federal government.  Most of his achievements were in the realm of foreign policy, or tax cuts (which gave us unprecedented deficits).  The last president to significantly reduce the federal budget was Eisenhower. But that was a different country, wasn’t it?

I should add, for completeness sake (and because someone will invariably bring it up in the comments), that the Catholic bishops have by and large accepted the cult of climate change uncritically.  Francis of Rome released an encyclical that indicated full-throated acceptance of this most dubious of theories, and the US bishops have certainly done the same.  What a wound it will be to the Church when this theory is finally debunked, which it eventually will be.  But I won’t hold my breath waiting for the USCCB to roll back some of its advocacy in this area in light of this report, they’ll pretend it doesn’t exist.

Flighline Friday: Lazy Edition March 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology, Victory.
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Consider yourself lucky, I’m at home.  This may be a lazy Flightline Friday, but it’s better than nothing.

Two videos showing some very early Tomcat footage.  Some of the earliest Tomcats built are in the first vid, the first 30 or so ships built had only the ALQ-100 ECM antenna under the forward fuselage where later appeared first an IR sensor, then an electro-optical telescopic camera, and finally both.  The development of the F-14’s “chin” is shown below:

The first video is a Northrop production hyping their involvement in TOPGUN:

The second is from Grumman and is an obvious – but very early – PR effort for the F-14:

The kids are home, so that’s all you get.  Whether it’s better than nothing is wholly debatable, but you get what you pay for………

Scott Adams Explodes Cult of Gaia, Reveals Falsehood of Climate Models March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in attachments, cultural marxism, error, foolishness, fun, huh?, It's all about the $$$, persecution, Revolution, silliness, Society, technology.
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Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, who has been revealing himself to be quite the anti-leftist of late, attacks the cult of gaia-worshipping climate activists who have been telling  us constantly for over 40 years that Mother Earth is doomed, DOOMED, unless – surprise! – their favorite political platforms are enacted.  And these same people tell us how terrible it is for Christians to influence politics with their religious views.  What about YOUR religious views, sunshine?

At any rate, this is pretty good, just how many climate models turn out wrong, for just one to be right?  Is it 50?  100?  5000?  How many that might be right, today, were right 20 years ago, or will be in another 20 years?  I can tell you the answer: none.

This is a sort of Occam’s Razor logic that is deadly to fantasists:

I will bet anyone $1 million dollars that I can come up with a climate forecast model that ignores C02 and still predicts the temperature 30 years from now to within half a degree. Does anyone want to take that bet?

Obviously there is a trick involved, so I won’t accept your bet for ethical reasons. But let’s see if you can figure out how I could win that bet every time.

I am 100% confident I can build a climate prediction model, using my current skill set, that will predict the measured temperature in 30 years to within half a degree.

Furthermore, you can pick whatever measurement type and place you want for the bet. My trick does not depend on doing anything clever with the measurement itself.

I can also build an accurate climate prediction model for any local geography. I can do it for the ocean or the air. And in each case, I have a 100% chance of getting the right answer to within half a degree.

Would you take the bet?………

……..how I could make a climate model that is right every time?

All I need to do is make a hundred different models, each producing output that is half a degree apart, until I have at least one model that fits every possible outcome. My models would look like this:

Model 1: Current Temp + .5 degrees

Model 2: Current Temp + 1 degree

Model 3: Current Temp + 1.5 degrees

Etc.

And I’d include all the temperatures below the current temperature too, just in case we start to cool off. In 30 years, one of my prediction models will be correct by chance. I’ll throw away all the loser models and collect my $1 million bet.

Now keep all of that in your head and take a second look at this headline. Does this model still look impressive? I’m guessing there were quite a few prediction models in the past, and lots of them now too. One of them will be more accurate than the others in 30 years.

Does that really tell you anything?

My point here is that I don’t care how many climate models are accurate if you don’t tell me how many were wrong. If 99 out of 100 climate scientists create models that are wrong, and one gets it right, would you bet on that winning model to stay right in the future?

Flightline Friday: The Best Book on the ATF Program and YF-23, Ever February 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, reading, sickness, technology.
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I did a Flightline Friday about a year and a half ago discussing, among other things, the YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter prototype produced by Northrop.  The Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program was initiated in the 1980s by the USAF to produce not just an F-15 replacement, but a fighter that could finally and decisively sweep the skies over Central Europe during an all-out conflict with the Soviet Union.  It was designed to be the most comprehensively advanced and dominant air combat aircraft ever produced.

The program evolved over the course of the 80s.  From many disparate concepts from a whole lot of companies – very few of which exist anymore – the program was eventually narrowed down to a competition between a team led by Northrop (with McDonnell Douglas) and Lockheed (with General Dynamics and Boeing).  Northrop produced the YF-23 (and this was ALL Northrop, McAir had almost nothing to do except some cockpit layout and providing the landing gear from an F-15), and Lockheed the YF-22 (here the situation was entirely different, GD contributed TONS to the Lockheed design and may have saved their bacon.  Lockheed massively redesigned their aircraft proposal in 1987-8, requesting 6 additional months from USAF to do so, because the original concept had so many problems).

At any rate, history shows, for reasons that are still inexplicable to some, that USAF preferred the ugly, block-like YF-22 to the graceful YF-23. Both aircraft had advantages over the other – the YF-23 was faster, in most respects stealthier and had superior supersonic maneuverability, while the YF-22 was better in the close-in, subsonic fight and carried substantially more missiles internally.

Even though the aircraft were designed nearly 30 years ago, much data on them has remained classified.  Particularly classified has been concrete data on the production aircraft proposed by Northrop for the F-23.  The actual production F-23 would have differed significantly from the YF-23, for a variety of reasons, though not nearly so much as the F-22 has wound up differing from the YF-22 (of course, USAF had a great deal to do with that, and details on Lockheed’s original engineering and manufacturing development version of the YF-22 – basically their vision of the production aircraft – have been even harder to find than those of the F-23).

Also somewhat limited has been extensive detail on the numerous other submissions made over the early phase of the ATF program from companies like Grumman, North American (Rockwell), McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, etc.

Well all that has ended, as former Northrop Chief Test Pilot and YF-23 lead pilot Paul Metz has now, in conjunction with Steve Ginter, produced THE seminal book on not only the F-23 but the entire ATF program. And this thing is an absolute gem. I was up way past 1 last night because I could not put the book down.

Just a few of the highlights:

  • Loads of never-before seen photos of ATF submittals and YF-23
  • Incredibly detailed construction drawings of YF-23
  • Extensive sections of the F-23 EMD submittal (upon which the USAF judged the winner of the competition – again, this was the manufacturer’s plan for final production design, maintenance, operations, etc) are repeated
  • Incredibly detailed construction drawings of the F-23 EMD design.  There has been one of these outted before but Metz adds several more
  • Detailed history of YF-23 development including key players involved, like Yu Ping Liu, who designed the aircraft’s stealth characteristics
  • Detailed history of Northrop’s internal design progression towards a stealthy air combat fighter over the years 1971-1986. The YF-23 design was basically fixed by late 1985 (!!)
  • An unprecedented amount of material on the Naval ATF version.  During the late 80s, it was planned that the Navy would buy a navalized version of the ATF winner to replace the F-14.  The end of the Cold War killed that idea.

The book is brand new (hit shelves Christmas last year) and a bit high (~$38).  It’s not real long but it is jam packed with information.  One of the things I have noted from those involved in the YF-23 program is the fact that it was a labor of love, the people working on it really loved each other and the amazing product.  That really shows through in this book, even though Metz eventually went to work for Lockheed and became chief test pilot on the rival F-22 team (after Lockheed won the competition), I get the sense from this book that his heart was always with the F-23.  As well it should have been.  It is still, as of this writing, conceptually the most advanced and capable aircraft ever produced.

A quick addendum: I noted in the post linked in the top some deficiencies with the YF-23 design that may have helped inform USAF’s decision to prefer the F-22 concept.  Because we knew so little about the F-23 EMD proposal, it was assumed some of those problematic features would have remained the same. No more.  The F-23 EMD corrected both the engine fan blade viewing problem and, for the most part, the shortfall of internal carriage of AMRAAMs compared to the F-22 (still would have been one short, but that’s a pretty small difference).  The F-23 EMD was MUCH different from what people thought based on the limited info that was out there.  If anything, it made the aircraft even more attractive.  If only they could have gotten rid of that canopy brace……

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If you have anything more than a passing interest in the F-23 or F-22, get this book.

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Flightline Friday: F-35 Debuts at Red Flag February 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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Red Flag – the world’s premier and most realistic air combat exercise – 17-1 began last week at Nellis AFB, NV.  As usual, participants are many and varied – F-22s from the 1st FW at Langley AFB, VA, B-1s from the 28th Bombardment Wing at Ellsworth AFB, SD, and marking their operational debut, F-35s from the 414th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS), 388th TFW, Hill AFB, UT.

Everyone knows, it’s been a long slog for the F-35.  I have certainly never been a big supporter of this badly compromised design.  From a standpoint of aerodynamic performance, it will always be a very middling performer.  Crippled by the Marine requirement for STOVL capabilities, it will be badly hamstrung in the visual air-to-air arena.  In addition – and also because of the Marine requirement – it’s internal storage volume, required to maintain low-observability – is also badly limited.  It can only carry two air to air missiles internally when engaged in the high-end fight.  This wouldn’t have been a big deal, had Obama and Gates (who also destroyed the Boy Scouts), not crippled US air superiority by capping F-22 production at 187 aircraft.  The F-22 has turned out to be all that was promised and more in the air-to-air arena, but there simply are not enough of them. As such, should disaster happen, like a war against a near-peer competitor in China or Russia (God forbid this should happen), the US would be badly  underequipped in the air supremacy regime and F-35s would likely be pressed into the fight be default.  This is not something it was designed to do.

Having said that, however, in the air-to-ground role for which it was primarily designed, the F-35 is finally starting to come along.  The sensors and sensor fusion of the type are simply amazing.  Once the real meaty software comes out later this year – Block 3F – the type will have extremely impressive capabilities in finding, fixing, sharing, and prosecuting all manner of ground targets. In addition, the aircraft will have very advanced means to avoid both ground-based and airborne threats, all projected instantaneously on the pilot’s all-important helmet visor., with the threats appearing as 3-D volumes to be avoided. Thus far, capabilities are limited but all reports are that the F-35 will take visual spectrum, infrared, ultraviolet, and radio-frequency sensors, and the fusion of all the above, to the next level.

Whether all this will be enough to overcome its fundamental aerodynamic limitations, the shortfalls in other areas of US airpower, and to deal with the rising Chinese threat remains to be seen.  Whether it is worth the (falling but still) astronomical cost is infinitely debatable.  But, unfortunately, due to policy decisions of three different presidential administrations, it is now the only game in town (whereas, had the F-22 been kept in production, as it should have been, the types could have been competitively evaluated and the best – the F-22 – chosen) and it would be 10-15 years, minimum, to field a replacement.  If it turns out to be a turkey, we’ll be stuck with it.  Cancellation really isn’t an option at this point, the Marines and Air Force are nearly utterly dependent on this type.

More than likely, what will happen is that US crews will make it work, and work well, warts and all.  It’s just what they do.  And hopefully sanity will prevail and the F-35 won’t ever have to come up against a serious competitor.

Now for airplane video pr0n.  Check out how much the F-35 resembles the F-22 on approach:

I don’t know what the Air Force was thinking with these new velvetine looking crew sweaters.  They look awful.

Taking off.  That 43,000 lbst engine makes terrific noise:\

As I said, Red Flag brings a wide variety of participants. There are Navy and Marine F-18s and EF-18s and British Typhoons from a squadron I am hoping someone will identify. Video courtesy 99th ABW PAO:

See what I mean by those velvetine sweaters?   WTH?  As if people in other branches didn’t make fun of Air Force softness enough, now they have to look like a stuffed animal?

And now for something a bit different – an awesome 360 degree video from inside the cockpit of the Boeing T-X entry’s first flight.  External view in the second video.  I wish it had come out with more F-23 in it as originally planned.  Looks more like a shrunken Super Hornet.

I like Boeing for the win in this large program.  The only real competition left is Lockheed since Raytheon has already bailed and it seems Northrop Grumman isn’t real serious about it.  Lockheed’s only advantage might be price, but will a Trump administration buy hundreds of new jets largely fabricated in Korea?  Doubt it.

That’s it.  Enjoy your much belated Flightline Friday.

This Stinks: Gene Cernan dead at 82 January 16, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Four Last Things, General Catholic, history, manhood, sadness, Society, technology, Victory.
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The old Apollo guys are going to their reward one by one.  Who is left at this point that walked on the moon?   Buzz Aldrin, Al Bean, Dave Scott, John Young, Charlie Duke, and Jack Schmitt.  All are in their 80s.

But today the last man to walk on the moon died.  Gene Cernan, who lived outside Kerrville, was 82:

Gene Cernan, an early NASA astronaut who was the last man to set foot on the moon, died Monday, NASA announced in a tweet. He was 82.

Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972 – the last lunar mission and one of the final Apollo flights. When Cernan stepped out from lunar module “Challenger” he became the 11th person to walk on the moon. His lunar module pilot, Jack Schmitt, was the 12th. But as commander, Cernan was the last to re-enter the module, making him the last person to walk on the lunar surface.

Cernan had previously served as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 10 and was a pilot on the Gemini IX mission.

Cernan logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space, of which 73 hours were spent on the surface of the moon, according to NASA.

Cernan was one of only three men to travel to the moon twice.  The other two were Jim Lovell (still alive) and John Young.

There was a big row in NASA in the first half of 1970 when Nixon foolishly decided to gut the Apollo program (although, in his defense, most all of NASA management wanted it gutted, too).  After it was announced that Apollos 18-20 would be cancelled, even though the hardware was already almost entirely built (everything but the LMs for Apollo 19 and 20), the scientific community got all fired up because the then-current crew rotation would mean that no scientist would fly to the moon if Apollo 17 was the last mission.  The first scientist scheduled to go was Jack Schmitt to the Tycho Crater on Apollo 18 with Commander Dick Gordon.  No Apollo 18 meant no scientist on the moon.

But not so fast.  The science guys raised a big enough ruckus that NASA management was “encouraged” to change the crew rotation.  Gordon and Schmitt had been training together for 6 months at that point so Gordon hoped the entire crew for 18 would just replace Gene Cernan’s crew for 17.  That would have left Cernan out in the cold.  But instead, the awesomely skilled former X-15 pilot Joe Engle was bumped as LMP from Apollo 17 in favor of Schmitt, and Dick Gordon had to watch his chance to be the somewhat famous last man on the moon go up in smoke.

Gene Cernan was a bit of an anomaly among early Apollo astronauts in not being a test pilot.  He was an attack aviation guy in the Navy, flying Skyhawks, when he found out he had been accepted into the third round of astronaut selectees.  Cernan was generally viewed as a competent straight shooter who perhaps had the flaw of being a bit aggressive in his self-promotion.  There was quite a bit of that among the Apollo astronauts, of course.  After his time in NASA and almost de rigeuer collapse of his first marriage, Cernan became a bit of a sad creature, a sort of a caricature of his salad days version of himself, always Captain Cernan, always the former astronaut, not Geno or Gene anymore.

Still, they rarely make men like this anymore.  We’re much too soft to produce such steely eyed missile men as those who flew to the moon in a delicate, lowest-cost government-run contraption.  Engineering was done on slide rules back then, with no 3-D solid modeling and with less computing power in the entire NASA basement than one smart phone today.  And yet they did it, and the engineers of back then were probably far, far better than those of today, man for man.

Gene Cernan was at least a nominal Catholic most of his life.  Not sure if he died one.  I pray for the repose of his soul.

Few know Cernans’s most dangerous mission was not Apollo 17, was not on Apollo at all, but was on Gemini 9A.  During the mission he was to perform only America’s second spacewalk, the first since Ed White briefly flew outside Gemini 4.  What most people did not know at that time, is that White barely made it back inside the spacecraft.  His inflated pressure suit did not want to fit in the cramped capsule and he and commander Jim McDivitt struggled mightily to get it closed. As a result, White got quite severely overheated.

Well, White’s walk lasted perhaps 20 minutes, whereas Cernan’s was scheduled to last several hours.  However, he also ran into problems with inadequate cooling in his spacesuit, especially when in the 250 degree temperatures on the sunny side of the world.  Physical exertion, of which there was plenty, made him sweat profusely.  Then, when the capsule went around the night side of the earth, all that moisture inside his suit froze.  His visor was almost completely frosted over and Cernan was blind.  He barely managed to make it back inside the ship, and probably had a heat stroke trying to get the hatch shut.

Cernan and Stafford repeated their two-man team on Apollo 10, when another accident could have killed them both.  An incorrect setting on a guidance computer caused their Lunar Module to tumble out of control while practicing the landing maneuvers that Apollo 11 would perform on the first lunar landing.  The telemetry showed the LM “Snoopy” doing three 360s before Stafford flipped the switch to go from backup abort guidance to the Apollo Guidance Computer.  That fixed it.

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Non Sequitur But Awesome: Massive New Oil Discoveries in Texas November 17, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, fun, It's all about the $$$, non squitur, shocking, Society, technology, Victory.
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Two massive new oil discoveries in West Texas, to the tune of nearly 30 billion barrels, have now increased Texas’ likely recoverable reserves to around 100 billion barrels, putting the state in the same ballpark of recoverable reserves as such petrochemical giants as Iraq and the UAE.  Massive recoverable deposits in shale beneath the already heavily produced Permian Basin are coupled with a new find in an area long considered unsuitable for oil fields, the Davis Mountains region of far West Texas.  That’s great news for a part of the state that has long been economically depressed and very sparsely populated.

Anyhoo, good news for the oil patch, which always has a spillover effect on the entire economy of the state.  There will be  – God willing – a lot of very good paying jobs and careers opened up by this, for the people most ignored and left behind in our free trade manufacturingless economy; blue collar whites, the same people largely responsible for electing Trump:

The US Geological Survey said Tuesday that it assessed what could be the largest deposit of untapped oil ever discovered in America.

An estimated average of 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids are available for the taking in the Wolfcamp shale, which is in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin. [But reserve growth may see this find exceed 20 billion barrels by a large margin, if it is economically recoverable]

Based on a West Texas Intermediate crude oil price of $45 per barrel, those deposits are worth about $900 billion.

US oil exploration companies have flocked to the superrich Permian Basin in recent years and used shale-drilling technology to create an oil boom that simultaneously helped trigger a price crash two years ago. The count of active oil rigs fell with prices, but has risen over the past few months, mostly in the Permian. Bloomberg noted that the Wolfcamp, where this deposit was found, has been one of the primary targets of shale drillers.

“The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program, said in a statement.

The other find, from last September:

The Houston oil exploration company Apache has made one of the biggest U.S. oil and gas discoveries in years, finding the equivalent of more than 15 billion barrels of oil in a relatively unknown quadrant of West Texas’s Permian Basin, the company said Wednesday………

………..Apache said it’s new field holds more than 3 billion barrels of oil – nearly the equivalent of an entire year of U.S. crude production – and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it the company’s biggest U.S. discovery ever and one of its most important worldwide. The field, which sits in the western subsection of the Permian known as the Delaware Basin, surpasses Apache’s gas finds in British Columbia of more than 50 trillion cubic feet in 2012 and of about2 trillion cubic feet in Egypt’s Qasr field in 2003.

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Man, that is literally middle of nowhere, Texas.  Between Fort Stockton and Van Horn is one of the most sparsely populated regions of the entire lower 48.

This is also potentially extremely good news for US energy independence.  While we presently import very little oil and gas from the Mideast, we do import quite a bit from other sources.  That’s a huge outflow of money, and always a potential security risk.  Fortunately, our number one oil provider, Canada, rarely gets frisky.

A nice, long, 30 year oil boom would surely be a wonderful thing for lots and lots of people.  At least with Obama leaving office and no Shillary we won’t have to worry much about an EPA-induced termination of fracking, which is behind all these discoveries.

Late n’ Rare Flightline Friday: The World’s Worst Carrier, Kuznetsov October 24, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, asshatery, disaster, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, non squitur, pr stunts, silliness, Society, technology.
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A lot of folks apparently got excited last week when, for the 7th time in its nearly 30 year history the broken down, way too small, horribly designed (and only) Russian carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov put to sea to ostensibly conduct combat operations off of Syria.  If the carrier makes it to the Eastern Med – which is by no means certain, given its deplorable history – Kuznetsov will take party in combat operations for the first time with its tiny fixed wing fleet of 16 Su-33 aircraft.

But first she (or, as the Russians say, he) has to get there.  And that’s been the problem in the past.  Even when Kuznetsov made it to Eastern Med, she was generally in too poor condition to actually do anything remotely military.  Her freshwater condensers constantly crap out, meaning they can’t run the turbines, meaning the ship has to be towed back to port.  Why else do you think the Russians never let Kuznetsov put to sea without the world’s largest tug as escort?  Does the US Navy do this, with their carriers?  The Japanese?  Italians?  Spanish? Even the Brazilians? No, no they do not.

Kuznetsov was a product of two disastrous characteristics: inexperienced, frankly incompetent design, and late-Soviet-era build standards.  Coupled together, and you have one of the most poorly designed and built ships ever to slide down the ways.  Her horrific design and shoddy workmanship are legendary.  The phased array antennas on the island? – they’re concrete ballast, as the real radar was never made functional.  The plumbing is worthlessly rusted out in half or more of the ship.  Basically half of the ship is unlivable.  The ship is only marginally large enough to handle the huge Su-33 tactical aircraft, and can only carry a handful of them, really barely enough to protect the carrier (if that), let alone project power anywhere. And her power plant…….a large steam unit……….has always been her most pronounced weak point.

It appears to have gotten even worse.  While passing through the English Channel, Kuznetsov belched forth such hideous, thick plumes of smoke from her oil fired engines that I seriously doubt she could conduct flight operations under such conditions.  See, carriers, when they do flight ops, always turn into the wind.  Pilots trying to land on Kuznetsov would be rendered almost totally blind by these clouds of incredibly dense smoke emanating from the ship and flowing straight into their approach path to land.  And this was while cruising at a leisurely 7-8 knots, not the 25+ generally required for flight operations.  I would wager she can’t come close to that speed with engines in such dire shape*.  If she can, her pilots will probably be splattered all over the round down trying to land.

Wow.  They are either using incredibly dirty, unrefined oil, or those engines have unbelievable problems.  Likely a bit of both.

This is not made up stuff.  How to deal with carrier smokestack emissions prior to the advent of gas turbines and nukes was a huge issue. That’s one reason US carriers wound up with their islands so far back, which generally prevented the gasses from spreading so much they seriously affected visibility.  On earlier Essex class carriers, with islands roughly midship, this was much more of a problem.  The Japanese, on their WWII carriers, actually vented the boiler gasses downward, below the level of the flight deck, to try to deal with this.

Of course, US and allied pilots go through the training hell of learning to make night traps using only mirror, ball, and the screams of the LSO.  Those landings are dang near blind, so it was generally less of a problem for US naval aviators even when we still had oil-fired carriers (which, we don’t.  The last were retired nearly 10 years ago).

So don’t get too worked up over Putin’s latest bluster.  This one is much more show than go.  That’s all any combat operations conducted from Kuznetsov will be, if there are any – show.  And it will be another hellish cruise for her crew, which despises the ship to the extent they mutinied a short while back.  This is a ship that has spent over 95% of her 30 year career tied up pierside or in drydock.  She’s a floating disaster, and the Chinese were probably suckers to gain most of their carrier knowledge, and their currently only operational carrier, from the incompleted hulk of Kuznetsov’s sister, now finished and called Laioning by the Red Chinese.  She has all the same engines and other design flaws of the original, and to date hasn’t put to sea very often at all, by Western standards.

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I loved the jokes on Ace: the world’s first wood-, or possibly peat-, burning aircraft carrier.  I don’t think Lexington put out that much smoke after taking multiple Jap torpedoes at Coral Sea.

*- In fact, Kuznetsov has apparently never come close to her design speed of 29 kts