Cheeseburger Gothic

Lego Spaceman. In space

Posted December 9, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Can't recall where I found this fellow but I've been meaning to show him off for a while. Andreas Mogensen, Denmark's first astronaut took twenty Lego spacemen up to the ISS and sent one out on a space walk. As his little plastic crewmate floated past the window he got this shot.

13 Responses to ‘Lego Spaceman. In space’

Sudragon mumbles...

Posted December 9, 2015
Immediately after this was the angry sound as someone steps on a wayward Lego brick.

In space, no-one can hear you scream, but they can hear you muffle a few choice swear words.

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Sparty would have you know...

Posted December 9, 2015
Sub Commander X'Zarn of the Rh'Holian Hegamony gloated as he looked down on the conquered earth- and then had his smile literally wiped off his face as the lego brick smashed through his head, penetrating his helmet with the kinetic energy of a 50 calibre roudn fired by a Barrett 50.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robotic lego is awesome by the way -I made a Aliens style sentry gun with working autonomous radar and IFF fire control - its not for kids!

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 10, 2015
Cindy Lou stared at the green goop leaking from X'Zarn's head. Trixie did a little more. The faint odour of ethanol stirred her loins. She lapped at the green goop until it was all gone. The Improbability Drive started blinking."How the fuck did I get here?" Cindy Lou exclaimed.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted December 10, 2015
Well, that is just awesome.

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 10, 2015
That photo shows the windows of the Cupola. A little observation module they added to the Space Station in 2010. Interesting to read about it in Wikipedia.

SZF reckons...

Posted December 10, 2015
ICB. It's clearly the cockpit of a TIE Fighter.

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted December 10, 2015
OMG!

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted December 10, 2015

This what contributed to the collision in 'Gravity'.


Lulu would have you know...

Posted December 10, 2015
There has to be a Lego version of Gravity somwhere on the interwebs, surely?

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted December 10, 2015
There is a trailer at least.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted December 10, 2015

and in breaking News the U.S navy has announced the first of the new Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers will be commanded by James A. Kirk.


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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted December 11, 2015
LIKE

Everything IS awesome!

Sudragon puts forth...

Posted December 11, 2015
Until someone inhales a lego piece

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Just the tip

Posted December 8, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

A couple of years ago I stared using an email app called Mailbox. It was simple, elegant, powerful, intuitive, all the things Apple’s Mail.app wasn’t and isn’t. The feature I really liked was the swipe. Mailbox were the guys who came up with the idea of triaging your inbox by swiping left or right, Tinder style.

For a couple of years I didn’t bother opening Apple’s baked in mail app at all.

Now Mailbox is dead. Acquired by Dropbox, they were left to rot and now they’re being buried. This makes me sad, and perhaps even a little unhinged, because this very morning I have installed Outlook on all my iThings and my desktop. The Verge tagged it as the best mail client for Apple users, which would be weird, expect Satya Nadella has been red hot on providing Office as a service for both iOS and Mac (mostly for iOS, because of the big spending demographic on offer).

Word on the iPad is simple, elegant, powerful… well, yeah, you get it. I don’t have any Windows kit in the house but I hear the iOS versions of Word in particular are nicer than the native flavour. And, since I already have an Office 365 subscription for editing manuscripts in Word, I figured I’d just go with the Verge’s advice and let a little bit more of Satan’s Own software suite onto my shiny preciousesss…

Just the tip. Promise

14 Responses to ‘Just the tip’

pitpat puts forth...

Posted December 8, 2015
Having been a long time worshipper of the dark side let me welcome you. I have been recently torn however betwixt and between. The new shiny things look so tempting and now that they run Orifice ... I might just dip my toe in the golden waters of Job's tears. Maybe just a mini so I can run Garageband and Dragon Dictate, google Earth(?). The heart says yes , the head says no.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted December 8, 2015
Go with the head

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted December 8, 2015
Makes you wonder what the software wars will look like in 20 years?

Therbs would have you know...

Posted December 9, 2015
You ain't seen Terminator?

Barnesm asserts...

Posted December 9, 2015
or perhaps The Machine vs Samaritan a la Person of Interest - the plucky indie software team being hunted and out-resourced by the agents of Apple.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted December 9, 2015
"Mr Anderson - We're willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All we're asking in return is your cooperation"

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted December 9, 2015
Agent Smith still creeps me out in that scene.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted December 9, 2015
Agent Granny Smith

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted December 9, 2015
If I was drunk enough to exercise I think I'd be dead.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted December 9, 2015
there is nothing better after a hard days work out in the sun clearing up 5 acres than to go inside when you are finished and imbibe in a nice fresh cold beverage of an alcoholic nature. I endorse this study.

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Another John has opinions thus...

Posted December 9, 2015
Have you tried Google's Inbox yet?

Albion Love Den reckons...

Posted December 10, 2015
Concur. It's the shit.

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DarrenBloomfield reckons...

Posted December 14, 2015
Dropboz killing off "Carousel" photo app too. Less bothered by that since Google photos, but still...

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iToaster

Posted November 18, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Jony Ive's design bestie, Marc Newson, has made a toaster for Sunbeam.

As it happens, I have a toaster shaped hole in my kitchen at the moment.

Toast is the internationally recognised survival food of the writer on deadline.

I am on deadline.

This was meant to be.

11 Responses to ‘iToaster’

Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted November 18, 2015

And I see it has a big red button. Does that make it go faster?

Rofl.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted November 18, 2015
Of course the big red button makes it toast faster. That is the turbotoast button.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 18, 2015
I see on the Sunbeam site it says that the toaster is 'Crafted to be intuitive'. I had no idea how special I've been coping up until now.

Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 18, 2015
Perhaps it's like the Talkie Toaster (tm) on Red Dwarf?
A vid to prod the memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRq_SAuQDec

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insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted November 18, 2015
Did he also design the iKettle that looks like a curling stone? I know curling isn't really a go to sport(?) so there are probably about 5 people who know what they look like, but does he think he can get away with it, or is the Call of the Fruit too strong?

she_jedi mutters...

Posted November 18, 2015
Ah! Curling stone! When I saw that kettle my first thought was that it looked like one of those whatchamacallits, and you solved it for me. Thank you.

GhostSwirv swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 19, 2015

George Lazenby came unstuck on a curling stone - too dangerous for 007.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 18, 2015
Whoa, $200 for a toaster?? How much toast do you eat?

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 18, 2015

Saw a real curling stone in a Toronto restaurant some years ago. (Canoe? I think that was the name ... elevated location with a good view of the city).

Tried to pick it up. It was seriously heavy. Wouldn't want to be in front of it as it slid down the ice - broken toes would be the minimum level of injury.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 18, 2015
Link button test

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TeamAmerica has opinions thus...

Posted November 19, 2015
itoaster? Does it have wifi or nfc?

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Comparative analysis of the Rebel Alliance & US navy combat aircraft

Posted October 22, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Just what it says. By Eamon Hamilton

Both organisations were operating with different strategic priorities 30 years ago compared to what they are today. When Return of the Jedi hit cinemas in 1983, the Nimitz-class carriers were sailing with no less than four fixed-wing fighter/strike aircraft – the F-14 Tomcat for air superiority, the A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair in the strike role, and the S-3 Viking as an anti-submarine/surface warfare platform. Also operating was the EA-6B Prowler, a variation of the A-6, which was optimised for electronic attack.

Likewise, the Rebel Alliance went into the Battle for Endor with its own four dedicated strike/fighter platforms, albeit with no electronic attack variant (it seemed the Empire had the upper hand in the electronic warfare spectrum that day) [Editor’s note: or that electronic warfare just isn’t a big part of Star Wars]. Leading this charge were the T-65 X-Wing in the space superiority role, joined by fellow Yavin-veteran, the Y-Wing bomber. Also deployed were two newcomers – the high-speed A-Wing, and the B-Wing bomber, whose primary role was to attack capital ships.

It’s a safe assumption that the role of a Carrier Air Wing is much like that of the Rebel Alliance’s Starfighter squadrons fighting ‘A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away’. Fundamentally, they both need to defend a home base, and are important tools for force projection in pursuit of wider campaign objectives.

6 Responses to ‘Comparative analysis of the Rebel Alliance & US navy combat aircraft’

Lobes reckons...

Posted October 22, 2015
"Force projection"

AKM. would have you know...

Posted October 23, 2015
I didn't see what you did there, but I felt it.Disturbing,

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 22, 2015
Hmm.

Is now a bad time to admit that I wrote a term paper in high school for Advanced Composition which was a comparative analysis of the Macross VF-1 Valkyrie Fighter vs the F-14 Tomcat?

If only I had kept a copy of the paper.

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Shifty Tourist mutters...

Posted October 22, 2015
X-wings, Y-wings, whatever, all just targets for the blasters of my Advanced Tie Fighter... rebel scum!

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted October 23, 2015
Is that the upgraded Tie Fighter that Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik described the basic design as an eyeball sandwich?

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted October 22, 2015
Actually Rebels do use Ion Cannons - pretty much an EMP.
Always felt the Y wing was a Bristol Blenheim and the X-Wing more your multi role Mosquito..
But I suspect for the Rebels you "got what you got" ie French Spads , I mean Corealean Y wings.
But what the Empire clearly lack is TopGun pilot training - that and playing off duty Dodge ball (rather than Volleyball) to help pilots get used to dodging things (if you can dodge a spanner you can dodge and asteroid).

I'm more worried about Viper Mk 7's / F35s having a software bug / hack that instantly leaves them vulnerable to the Cylons / Chinese

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My precioussss

Posted September 25, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I preordered the new shiny – 6S+, 64gig, space grey – as soon as it became available on the store app. I dips me lid to Orin for reminding me to tick the in store pick up box. I saved a day of waiting around to get carded by the courier imp, and I got to enjoy lording it over the long line of lesser sheeple who foolishly decided to try their luck on Launch Day.

It's just Thomas and I at home this weekend, the ladies having decamped for points south. I woke early, walked the hound, and we drove over to Carindale early for breakfast. The line outside the store was already stretching around the corner as we strolled past on our way to bacon and eggs (and mushrooms, and hash browns, and grilled tomato and toast and a sausage).

I find it hard to believe anyone still does this (lining up, not having big fatty breakfasts) but the line was even longer when we emerged from feasting and meandered over to EB Games to pick up a couple of titles for the school holidays. (The Witcher and a HALO collection). There was some poor woman standing at the very end of the line rocking a kid in a pram back and forth. I hope that kid's a sleeper because they're gonna be there along time.

The were only eight or nine people in the preorder line, all of them insufferably smug. Your correspondent most of all. An Apple genius moved up and down the line, offering peeled grapes and foot rubs. A few metres away, in another world, those whose fruit love had proven wholly inadequate were randomly bashed with hessian sacks full of early model Samsung tablets. I joined the back of the little queue, swiftly made my way to the fore, was greeted by a servator drone and whisked inside to procure my shiny precious. Switching up from my old 5S we swapped out the SIM and I was done.

The actual transaction, including the wait time, took seven minutes.

10 Responses to ‘My precioussss’

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted September 25, 2015

"There was some poor woman standing at the very end of the line rocking a kid in a pram back and forth. I hope that kid's a sleeper because they're gonna be there along time."

That's an awesome character backstory. Brought to the back of an iPhone queue as an infant, growing up among the endlessly forward-shuffling consumers, learning their ways and becoming steeped in the myths of the Before Time when Jobs Himself trod the earth beneath his sneaker-clad feet. Left the only survivor after the apocalyptic arrival of the OUT OF STOCK sign, she must venture out into a strange and confronting world of demonstrably less rich user experience, to reunite her tribe into a force that can avenge their lost years and take what is rightfully theirs.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted September 25, 2015
I have heard the British comedian Lenny Henry describe a similar feeling of smugness when he orders a pizza over the phone but goes to pick it up.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 25, 2015
This made me laugh.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted September 25, 2015
Lots of people down here at the bureau received their pre-ordered shinies today. Meanwhile on George St outside The Store it looks like a casting call for a zed flick.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted September 25, 2015
Did you see the robot lady?

Therbs reckons...

Posted September 28, 2015
Didn't hang around, weather was too Melbourne-esque.

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KreepyKrawly asserts...

Posted September 25, 2015
Dropping into the Telstra shop tomorrow to pick up 3 non fruity phones (1 Win and 2 Android). Wonder if they'll still be lined up...

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damian would have you know...

Posted September 25, 2015
The sack would more likely be full of returned 16GB iPhone 6's and 6S's. It is the case that if you spring for one of these, then change your mind about the "lean" thing and sensibly realise you need the 64GB*, you can swap, with the only cost being the difference in price. Well that and the price of any screen protector you might be discarding with the "old" handset. We asked what happened to the ones that were traded in... the genius insisted they are not refurbed and resold, instead they are stripped for spares or something. We really didn't need to know.
* It could happen to anyone!

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pi is gonna tell you...

Posted September 26, 2015
So tell me JB.... which device were you playing 'the witcher' on?

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MurcanDownunder ducks in to say...

Posted September 27, 2015
- The iPhone was invented in 2007.
- iPhone 6 is released.
- Turnbull becomes sixth Prime Minister since 2007.
- Not one Prime Minister has been re-elected since the iPhone was invented.

Apple hates Australia.

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The future of war is the distant past

Posted September 24, 2015 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Further to my review of Ghost Fleet a while back, I came across this interesting note on Motherboard.

Last year, the Naval Academy made two distinct changes in how it operates—one that’s a natural progression in cyberwarfare, the other a clear response to how thoroughly we rely on that technology.

“First, they've created a cyberwarfare center and created the first class of midshipmen who will be cybersecurity majors,” cybersecurity and military expert Peter W. Singer recently told me. “Second, they required that every midshipman learn how to do celestial navigation like they did back in the 1700s. We're preparing both for a world of cyberwarfare and, ‘oh my goodness, what if I have to go back to navigating by the stars?’”

I can imagine a situation where even a limited war in space or cyberspace ends up trashing civilisation because we've come to rely so much on this stuff. You blow up enough sateillites, for instance, and you can forget about launching any more for hundreds of years because it's just a debris field up there.

I probably should have made more of this in AoT.

29 Responses to ‘The future of war is the distant past’

Rob reckons...

Posted September 24, 2015

The debris field is in Wall-E . The spaceship takes off and sucks its way through a myriad satellites. I liked that bit as a visual image, the reality however is really grim. High speed junk field and its the asteroid belt from Empire Strikes Back. I do like how they plan to bring the mess in space down. Lasers to move the debris and make it fall to earth and burn. Because lasers. I can just imagine the calls from the Captain when the satellites go down 'does any one here know anything about stuff? ' everyone looks at their now bricked smart phones 'No?, Ok, well we might have to go find a book on how to do stuff'. 'Do we have books on stuff?' 'the library got turned into a gaming & internet lounge, so No sir!'

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Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted September 24, 2015
It's the premise you see come up in SF every so often - all the brilliant futuristic uber-weaponry gets so good at cancelling itself out that everyone ends up jabbing each other with sharp sticks again.

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Halwes is gonna tell you...

Posted September 24, 2015
I've been thinking about a concept where a human's life is credited at birth with a 90 year life span. Throughout that life though you could sell life credits back to the state for an easier existence or hedonistic pursuits. This would be, on the surface, done to conserve earth's resources. For example one life credit might get you a night with Amanda Vanstone while 50 life credits might get you a night with Elle Macpherson. You get the drift. The concept would then move on to how the rich and the state corrupt this scheme at the expense of the masses. A man wakes up at 45 and realises he's sold the next 44 already etc. My question is have I read this or seen a movie of it and then adapted it as my own like all my other "original" ideas!

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted September 24, 2015
There's a Justin Timberlake movie called 'In Time' which has a vaguely similar premise. IMDB describes it thus: "In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system."
But your idea is original and different enough to be worth considering.

Rob puts forth...

Posted September 24, 2015
THX1138 has a credit number counting down during the film. By the end of the movie, the main guys credits hit 25 after going on a non-drug crime spree. as he leaves the underground city, the cop warns him his credits have been used up and the cop can no longer help him (or pursue him)

pi has opinions thus...

Posted September 26, 2015
Halwes, an interesting idea, and I don't think I've ever read that as a concept in anything I've read before.

pi is gonna tell you...

Posted September 26, 2015
Halwes, an interesting idea, and I don't think I've ever read that as a concept in anything I've read before.

What would be cool is what particular angle of the characters you might want in order to tell the story. Anti-hero? Good people? People who wind up feeling like they've been cheated? As one of the cheaters? Or as of one that was of the cheated?

If I was capable of writing a detective novel...

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted September 24, 2015
Further to Ghost Fleet, Ive just spent a week on Oahu during which time I was reading the book. It was a great experience being able to read chapters set in places I was visiting daily. The Outrigger Moana, Ward Street and Ka'ako Park are all much larger in my mind thanks to the confluence of holiday reading and holiday. No real corrections to report other than the fact the authors dont seem to have the surf breaks dialed in as well as they do the dry land locations.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted September 24, 2015
The U.S. Army, I believe, still makes privates learn the basics of land nav with a compass and a topo map. As one progresses in their career they get to do more such land nav without all of the high tech bells and whistles.
OTOH, we did ditch bayonet training. Go figure.

JG reckons...

Posted September 24, 2015
Interesting idea, Halwes, if somewhat a dystopian vision. Could mix it up with notions of euthanasia, the right to live and/or die, elitism and power, human overpopulation and the strain on resources.

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Sparty mutters...

Posted September 24, 2015
1st five minutes of the new season of Doctor Who (UK) sums up the whole "the next war will be fought with nukes, the one after, with bows and arrows" scenario perfectly.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted September 24, 2015
RE: the orbital debris. Field understates it; bogeys are not inert on a 2 D Plane. they have vectors & inertia + two gravity wells + spin + interactions with micro debris too small to detect = Impossible to model past a very short time frame.

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spokey mutters...

Posted September 24, 2015
Which bring the question of what analog books to have on hand for when we're back to sticks and stones?

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted September 24, 2015
I have kept my Melways.....what ya gunna do with no fkn sat nav!. ! Its a great read JB, not Clancy, but not fkn bad. I now have the Kindle e readerfor the Ipad. WENT FKN NUTS IN THE BOOK STORE THOUGH!

Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted September 29, 2015
I've always found the Melways to be a pretty dry read myself...

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stevetheh mumbles...

Posted September 24, 2015
Old school nav-by-topo saved my broken leg in a Bluies canyon.
PLB triggered at roughly same time fellow canyoner left to do walk out and called 000 with grid ref approx 1.5 hrs later.
Guess which helped chopper find me first? He was most pleased (as was I) that position was within +/- 100m (according to chopper crew).
Handy hint - if you want to be seen quickly on a bright day, use a space blanket, the scatter shows up much better to air/eyeball search than even a signal mirror.
Good to see someone else believes in proper nav skills.

dweeze puts forth...

Posted September 25, 2015
Proper manual nav skills, spelling without spellcheck, arithmetic without calulators, opinions without shockjocks, talking to your (real) friends in person - I do hope that enough of us remember the basics WTSHTF.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted September 25, 2015
"I probably should have made more of this in AoT."

Not too late to do so.

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TexasTeaserPony has opinions thus...

Posted September 25, 2015
What Boylan said.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted September 25, 2015
Please make royalty cheque out to: Boylan, Diablo & Associates. 3 HellMouth Business Park. Davis Ca. 95618

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted September 25, 2015
& apropos of nothing, Yolo County? Yolo? As in You Only Live Once? Mind blown.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted September 25, 2015
Mere coincidence? Of course not.

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robW asserts...

Posted September 25, 2015
Using a slide rule to calculate orbitals like the astronauts did on Apollo 13: Now there's a lost skill set.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted September 25, 2015
While I think I could manage to navigate my way round on Earth with a compass if necessary, I would be toast if I was out in space with only a slide rule.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted September 25, 2015
Depending on the slide rule you have, you would be in fine shape. I bought me a really cool digital slide rule with amazing battery life - just in case civilization crumbles and we can't use computers.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted September 25, 2015
That's right about the slide rule and space travel, because at work Astronaut Larry Hagman used sometimes get the slide ruler out on I Dream of Jeannie.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted September 26, 2015
There is a really terrific B sci fi film called Queen of Blood (starring John Saxon, so it must be good) that came out in 1966 with this initial IMDB description:

The year is 1990. An alien species makes contact with Earth through
radio transmission, notifying of an imminent visit. Alien ship crash
lands on Mars, and a rescue team is sent out from Earth.


After blast off, and off the cuff, the astronauts do all the math necessary to get to Mars using a slid rule, paper and pencil.

Such wonderful child-like optimism. Even though the alien woman ends up eating all of them during the flight back to earth. But their math was spot on.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted September 26, 2015
Volkswagen Vehicles are being fastly adopted by Military s all over the world. The VW leaves behind a think particle bloom as a result of its HIGH and UNLAWFUL level of emissions, this masks things in the bloom from IR/Thermal imagining. They are still trying to work out though, how to stop the HIGH emission levels from killing shit in the masked plume

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damian mumbles...

Posted September 29, 2015
Actually I've an issue with characterising celestial navigation as a thing of the "distant past". It's like when people refer to "ancient times" and you discover they actually mean the Victorian era. Celestial navigation only emerged as useful a method to determine longitude in the late 18th century, about the time the invention of accurate clocks made it redundant. A cheap Casio watch and a stash of batteries for it would serve pretty well (though I suppose to be fair the sun shots you need to take to make use of this look like "celestial" navigation to the uninitiated). The other thing you need is a nautical almanac and ephemeris covering the time period in which they are to be useful for navigation or a computer with software that takes the place of both.
All forms of pre-GPS navigation are useful skills for seaman officers anyway and I'd be really surprised that any significant navy ever stopped teaching them. From landmark bearings in coastal navigation through to "moons of Jupiter", there is knowledge about position and the forces acting on it that you need to have to be the responsible adult in charge of a vessel larger than a houseboat on Lake Eildon.

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