Monthly Archives: August 2007

Little help, please?

I have never in my life taken a physics course, so this may be obvious to other people who have. Parts of this article explaining relativity using only words with four or fewer words make sense to me and parts don’t. The stuff near the end is really hard for me to understand, but I figure it’s hard for most people to understand. What frustrates me though is the bit about Bert and Dana (when Bert is on the bus). I don’t understand the declaration that, since he’s moving, Bert would see the rocks come down at different times if they appeared to come down at the same time from Dana’s perspective. Maybe it’s true, but I have zero real-world experience of anything like that so I don’t get it. Does that really happen? Is there a way to experience it?

SpaceX rockets update

I’ve been catching up on space things in preparation for the Mars Society Convention next week. Today I ran across an exciting summary of the progress that SpaceX has made toward launching their next Falcon 1 rocket as well as their much larger Falcon 9 rocket. According to the “monster progress update“, the next launch is scheduled for January 2008, with a launch of the Falcon 9 (the one big enough to carry people) in late 2008. They’ve also been doing lots of engine testing and other groundwork, plus they’ve been granted access to Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, bringing their total number of launch sites to 3.

Nicely done all around. I can’t wait to hear what SpaceX founder Elon Musk talks about at the convention.

on keywords and importance

I’ve been looking for a few choice keywords to describe what we talk about here at Global Spin. You know, “science, culture, politics, writing, foolishness” kind of thing. One of the places I checked was Compete, which offered the oddest suggestion yet: “important punctuation.”

So, yeah. I just had to Google it. There on page 2 was an old article on the importance of punctuation. The link was bad and it needed an update, but there it is. Science, culture, politics, writing, foolishness, and punctuation.

aerogel, my new favorite thing

A brick supported by a wisp of aerogelI’m just about running out of awe lately. It’s like awesome things are showering down from the sky, perhaps in an attempt to counteract all the craptacular things that we are usually made aware of.

So you can imagine that I started reading this article about the wonders of aerogel with a depleted awe supply. Yeah, yeah, it’s really light. Great, it was developed by NASA. Sure, it’ll have all sorts of space applications. Fine, it was used as shoe insulation by a mountain climber whose only trouble was that her feet got too hot.

What was that last thing again? Really? And 6mm of it protects against a dynamite blast? Huh. And photos of it look really spooky, like there’s nothing really there. Well, now.

So now I want to get some. You know, just to have. I’m sure I could think of something to do with it…