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Notably Awesome Space Adventures

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Launch of STS-135

I am a child of the shuttle.

The final extended mission series to be launched by the United States was Apollo.  Apollo 17 launched on December 7. 1972, slightly before my time on earth began.  The final manned launched before the shuttle program was for SkyLab, which occurred shortly after my time on earth began.  The only thing I have ever really known is shuttle.

Growing up with shuttle, I never really appreciated the complexity involved in launching a space craft.  Really, I can’t say now that I fully appreciate it, other than I know it’s hard.  As with most things, if something has always been around your whole life, you tend not appreciate it as much.  In the last year, I have started to study the shuttle program and I am in awe of what it entailed and what it accomplished.  It was the most complex machine humans have ever built and had the most complicated launch profile of any space mission.  Literally millions of tasks and checks had to be performed in the final nine minutes before launch and a failure at any level would result in an aborted launch.  What is truly remarkable is that a failed launch was rare.

My favorite part of shuttle is the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs).  Here are a few facts:

  • The SSMEs burn cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen for fuel
  • The fuel pumps on the engines could drain an average size swimming pool in 25 seconds
  • The engines burn 350 gallons of fuel per second
  • The combustion chamber in the engine operates at over 6,000 degrees fahrenheit, hotter than the boiling point of iron
  • The reason the engines do not melt at that temperature is because  the cryogenic fuels are used to cool the engine before they are burned
  • The engines produce 418,000 pounds of thrust at lift-off

When I first read about the SSME combustion temperatures being hot enough to turn iron into a gas, I believe my initial reaction was something along of lines of WTF?!

Each shuttle mission was coded as STS-x (Space Transportation System, the original name of the shuttle program).  A total of 135 missions were flown, with two missions ending in the loss of the orbiter.  I have a vivid memory of the loss of both Challenger and Columbia.  It brought focus back to how dangerous it was to hurl 4.4 million pounds into space.

Now that shuttle is retired, we have gone back to the drawing board on how to replace it.  I’m eager to see how the final product preforms.

In closing, here is my favorite launch video, from STS-51c (sound on, please):

Notice how the entire launch assembly rocks back and forth when the SSMEs are ignited.  Awesome.

I also encourage you to watch the shuttle tribute that shows up in the video window during the launch.

And so it goes.




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It’s fail time!

For the past few years I have been using an app on my phone called Fail Blog.  It is a series of pictures that show a ‘fail’.  A fail is when something is obviously wrong.  Take this picture:

Here are a few more:

This is what is called an ‘oddly specific’ fail.  Notice the cow falling among the rocks:

I don’t understand tattoos…

A probable math fail.  Should be 22%

For every fail there is a win:

Yahoo Answers provides excellent fail fodder.  Sometimes you have to wonder if these are real.

Wildlife fail:

This is a failing at fail.  The commentary on this was keyed on the word ‘discriminating’, as if to mean that racists drink coke.  A little education can go a long way.

Teaching fail:

I know where this place is!

Personally, I would have chalked this up to a win:


It took this one:

This is a perfect fail.  Auto ads are famous for putting related ads next to stories.  In this case it’s pretty funny:Another failing at fail.  The commentary on this was ‘Grammar fail’.  Actually, it’s correct.

Stranger win!


My favorite!

This is a response win, husband fail:

Back to editing school!


How to protect your elf:

I don’t really know what to say….

Criminal stories a common fails:

I knew there was a link!


U-haul.  I don’t think so!

Oh, kids:

Perfect fail.  So perfect that I have to think it is a joke:

Failing at fail.  I am pretty sure that who ever put ‘age fail’ didn’t see the ‘month’ under the 18+:



I like this one:


But five burgers don’t stack as well as six:

I see what they mean, but still:

This is clearly a win:

Again, a little context changes this.  The ‘No Pets Allowed’ sign is probably for the patch of grass where the sign is located and it is pointing to the dog way down the way:

Wahlnacht Lachen

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The other day I put youtube mobile on my phone.  When I opened it up, it suggested a video called, ‘Hitler Finds Out That Scott Brown Won The Massachusetts Senate Seat’.

I fired it up and it was a scene from The Downfall with new subtitles.  I had seen this same gag a few years ago covering the real estate bubble:

The first thing I noticed was that there were all sorts of the parodies.  The include:

  • Someone stole Hitlers car
  • Hitler Reacts to Notre Dame’s coaching
  • Hitler gets banned from Xbox live
  • Hitler gets a margin call
  • Hitler goes to McDonalds
  • Hitler Is a Jedi
  • Hitler plans burning man
  • Hitler gets scammed on ebay
  • Hitler wants Burger King

And so on…

I haven’t watched most of these, but I would imagine that some are funny and some are not.

It really amazes me sometimes how the internet can be used to turn one history’s greatest monsters into a gag reel for expressing outrage at both non-trivial and (mostly) trivial things.

And in case you are curious as to the Scott Brown video…

And so it goes.


My Sunburn

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I have had several request for updates on MS SUNBM.  Here it is:

(If you don’t know about MS SUNBM, click here)

This all happened two weeks ago, Friday.  I was preparing the children for school.  We were going through our usual routine of brushing hair, washing faces and the like.  I glanced at the clock and observed that it was nearly 7:15.

‘What are you looking at dad.’ asked Noelle.

‘Well,’ I replied, ‘It is about time for MS SUNBM to drive by.  I guess I am little apprehensive about it.’

‘Don’t worry, dad.  We have not heard her for several weeks.  I am sure she is gone now.’

‘I sure hope so.  It has been pleasant, not having to worry so much about the honking.’

Just then, HONK HONK.  I don’t really remember exactly what happened next.  Something in my head just snapped.  Before I knew it, I was up and running towards the door.  Casey called to me, but I didn’t register it.  I nearly jerked the hinges off the front door as I opened it.  Keys in hand, I flew to the car and took off after her.

I think she saw me coming before I was even in the car.  She accerlated with tremendous force and was flying down the street.  I laid into the gas and was able to catch up with her after about a minute.  We both ignored both stop signs and pedestrians as we played our deadly game.

Once we were both on the main road, I flew past her and was able to cut her off.  I slammed on my brakes, hoping that she wouldn’t ram me outright.  She tried to swerve around me, but her tire caught the island and she had to stop.  We both jumped out of our cars to face each other.

‘MS SUNBM!’ I roared at her.  ‘What do you torture me like this!’

MS SUNBM laughed haughtily, ‘Torture?  You don’t know the meaning of torture!  You were never terrorized by the Honker of 1975.  That was torture.  What I am doing is not torture.  It is just child’s play.  I am merely getting you ready for what is to come.  You should be thanking me, not chasing me down.’

‘I don’t care what happened to you,’ I replied.  ‘I just want you leave me alone.  We have done nothing to you, yet you honk and honk.  It is driving my poor wife mad!  She is afraid to leave the bedroom before 7:15.  That is no way to live life.’

‘ ‘No way to live life?’ ” she spat.  ‘You’ve growth soft in you dotage.  You need me just to keep yourself in the real world.  But don’t worry, this will end soon enough.  Soon the Honker will be released from prison and you will be begging me to come back and take his place.’

‘Released?  There is no way he will be released!  The judge who put him there said that he would stay in the darkest pit of the worst prison for this actions.  He will never get out.

MS SUNBM regarded me calmly for a moment and when she spoke there is was a hint of steel and more than a hint of self loathing and abasement.  ‘You don’t follow politics do?’ she asked.  ‘You probably don’t know about ABX 14, do you? If you did you would know that the Honker is 60 years old now.  He is eligible to be release into home custody because he is permanently medically incapacitated.  He coming home.  And when he gets there, all hell breaks loose.  And I will help him.  I have sold my soul to that monster.  I must do what he tells me.’

I scoffed at her claim.  Sure, ABX 14 will allow that to happen, but if he is permanently medically incapacitated, what harm can he do.  I pointed that out to MS SUNBM.

‘You’re an idiot.  Yes, he will be confined to bed in his home.  But it is his home that scares me.’

‘What do you mean, ‘his home’.’

‘Don’t you get it?  He lives in a Winnebago.  The evilest motorhome around.  It has the windshield from Bonnie and Clyde’s car, the rear bumper from Hitler’s staff car and the gear shifter from Martha Stewart’s minivan.’

‘So, just shove a potato in the tail pipe and be done with him!’

‘You can’t.  It has an electric motor from Ed Begley Jr’s concept car.’

I inwardly shuddered as I began to grasp the magnitude of what has happening.  The Honker driving around at will in his Winnebago.  She was right.  I hadn’t seen anything yet.

‘But now you know too much.  You must die.’ said MS SUNBM.

She stood their with a look of concentration on her face.  The clouds above me began to boil, the wind began to shriek around me.  I suddenly felt the oppressive weight her mind upon me, trying to crush out my sanity before I could act.  I slowly inched towards her as she began to speak, her eyes mad with an unholy pleasure.

‘It’s over,’ she cackled, ‘I have won!’

Ten feet.

‘You will finally know my pain!’

Six feet.

‘Prepare to perish!’

Three feet.  Her eyes were now totally mad.  Bits of spittle foamed in the corners of her mouth and she did not even seem to care that she had come with in range of my fornortner rod.  I easily cast it forward with a flick of my wrist, just like dad taught me.  It seemed so easy.  The rod disappeared into her chest like a stick into water.  I could feel her faltering heart beat thrilling up the rod to my hand.  She looked at me in total surprise.  Then her lip curled back to a sneer and plucked the rod out of her chest as it nothing had happened.

‘I will return.  You have not seen the last of me!’

She made a curious gesture with her hand and the earth opened up underneath her.  She stood their over the gaping pit as if the air under her was solid.  Without another word she dropped and the earth closed up around her.

It was over.  Trembling with exhaustion, I lowered myself to the ground.  I admit I wept silently for a time, just trying to process what had happened to me.  She will return?

So now I wait and abide against her return, ready for whatever I must do.   I just need to be ready to defend my family when the time comes.  If it comes.

And that is exactly what happened.

And so it goes.


Laugh Out Loud Cats!

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Before I start with the main show, an update:

The Mrs. is now gainfully employed again, working as an SLP for SJUSD.  I say ‘gainfully’ because taking care of children isn’t real work, which is why you don’t get paid for it.  (That’s a joke people).

The Alpha child and the Professor are now in 2nd grade and kindergarten, respectively.  ME and LJ are also attending school and very happy about it.  At least I think LJ is.  She seems happy if she can just cram her foot in her mouth.

I continue with my CFA studies and am happy with my progress.  Now that the kids are in school I am hoping that I can write more and attend to all those little things I don’t have much time to do anymore.  Like drinking and bloging.

Now, on with the show….

I tag all of my posts with some standards, lolcats being one of them.  There is no single tag that brings more traffic to my blog than lolcats.  Sadly, I don’t feature many cats because they are incredibly stupid, sophomoric and inane.  That being said, they should be right at home here.

Being a man of delicate conscious, I feel that I owe my loyal random readers a few lolcats.  Just to add to the legitimacy of using those tags.  Of course, I also use Hanna Montana and Miley Cyrus and I have no intention of blog about that.  I also use porn and its cousin pron and I certainly will never blog ab0ut that, expect to talk about how demeaning it is.

I am using a lazy format to post pictures.  I don’t know if I like it, so I probably won’t use it agian.  And now, to fulfill my inconsistent conscious, lolcats:

And so it goes.


p.s. One of these cats is not like the other.  Can you tell which one?

I Am Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds

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Today marks the 64th anniversary of the start of the atomic age.  At 05:29 on July 16, 1945, the very first atomic weapon was detonated in the Jornada del Muerto in New Mexico under the code name Trinity.

I have always been fascinated by this event.  Several years ago I started to learn what I could about the origin, development, testing and use of nuclear technology.  I collected videos and articles from the very scientists who developed the methods that made nuclear fission possible.  It was clear from their writings that they both loved and hated what they were doing.  The end result of their labor could only have one possible outcome, yet they pressed on.  From some, it was the thrill of finding the answer first.  For others it was a very strong feeling that this secret was going to be cracked sooner or later.  Better it be ‘us’ than ‘them’.

The single most fascinating item I learned was that this whole race was essentially kicked off in Germany, where scientists there had split a Uranium atom.  The implications of that discovery were obvious to a few key scientists.  Given the aggression of Germany, they felt that action needed to be taken in order defeat Germany before they created the weapon above.  In the long run, it was discovered that Germany was nowhere near developing a bomb.  Where have I heard that before?

The single most frightening thing I learned was just how easy it is to build a bomb like the one featured above, at least on a conceptual level.  Given enough time and enough leeway, any country could develop the technology and means to produce a crude atomic weapon.  The plutonium implosion weapon featured above would be considered highly primitive and it still has the explosive power of twenty thousand tons of TNT.   (Just to put that size into perspective, the largest weapon detonated by the US was Castle-Bravo.  It came in at fifteen megatons, or fifteen million tons of TNT.)

There is a family story about my Pop, my maternal grandfather, who owned a saw mill in northern Kentucky.  During the War, materials were very scare and he needed some parts to keep his mill operational.  A friend of his told him to go do the dealer and tell him the parts were for the Manhanttan Project.  The next day he had the parts.

I withhold judgement on whether or not the United States should have gone down the nuclear path.  I leave that question for people far smarter that myself.  It is of little difference to me what we did or did not do.  The history of the development and use of this weapon is far, far more complex than most people realize.  The players who brought this scene to life were both egotistical and humble, both madmen and saints.  I do not envy the leaders who were faced with the decisions leading up to this event.  I can only say that I hope that I am never in a place where I would be faced with such a terrible choice.

The title of this post is from the Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad GitaDr. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific leader of the Manhattan project, later said during an interview that this quote went through his head as the bomb detonated.  The director of the Trinity test, Kenneth Bainbridge, had a more colorful remark: ‘Now we are all sons of bitches’.

And so it goes.


Phloging the LOL Cats II

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Hi kids!

Well, I decided that it is time to devote a post to the craziest of crazies, the looniest of loonies.  The thing that boggles my mind more than any other Internet phenomenon.  (Well, I won’t go that far.  I really don’t get this Rick Astley thing).  Yes, it is time to revisit the LOL cats.

Disclaimer: I just grabbed random LOL cat pictures that I have saved over the last year or so.  Some maybe repeats from my first LOL cats blog, but I really couldn’t tell you.  I’ll go through the work to link to it, but not the work to look at it.   
























And my all time favorite:


And so it goes.