Category Archives: Science/Engineering

Starship prototype

Turns out that Elon Musk’s SpaceX isn’t just about shipping people and goods to NASA’s space station, but, some day, a trip to a nearby star. Not sure why he built this, near Boca Chica in the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas-Mexico border, when we haven’t even gone back to the moon yet, much less Mars.

India goes for Luna

Blast off of an Indian orbiter, a 1.4-ton moon lander and a 56-pound robot mobile rover on the far side of the moon is today, seven months after the Chinese put a lander on the far side of the moon.

These landers are preparation for manned explorations, including establishment of moon bases, however small at first. Trump reportedly is (take that for what it’s worth) angry that NASA isn’t moving faster on putting Americans back on the moon by 2024.

NASA is a biiiggg bureaucracy—with lots of paperwork—which moves at a snail’s pace. I’m betting on the first base being Chinese.

Via Science Alert & PJMedia

Arctic Pearl Harbor

Most of the Internet is not in the cloud but on fiber optic cable spanning the bottom of the oceans—including the arctic circle.

Where Wretchard the Cat says Russia may be working on mini-subs to cut or otherwise interfere with the cable in a digital Pearl Harbor.

Via PJMedia

Celebrate our Energy Independence

Texas leads the way, sez young Aggie engineer:

“The United States – not Saudi Arabia or Russia – is now the world’s largest crude oil producer. This was unthinkable a few years ago, when politicians bemoaned our dependence on foreign oil, without ever offering any solutions.

“In the new energy economy Texas leads the way and is almost certain to exceed 5 million barrels per day, or about 40% of the total American output.

“As if to underscore just how huge a player Texas now is, a company here recently inked a deal to export natural gas – to Saudi Arabia.”

Via PJMedia

Montana glaciers refuse to melt

Climate scientists have been revising their predictions of Montana glacier disappearance regularly since 1941. They have to. The damn thing refuses to pay attention to global warming/climate change. They’ve revised it recently to 2044, “which is almost a century later than the original forecast,” says Tony Heller of realclimatesciences.com.

It’s like the supposed death of the polar bears. Which also hasn’t happened no matter how fat Al Gore’s bank account continues to grow.

Via Ricochet

Chernobyl: More fic than fac

The HBO series, which recently ended at five episodes, plays mighty loose with the facts, according to Forbes enviro writer Michael Shellenberger.

No Soviet helicopter crashed flying over the burning reactor; the firefighter’s wife losing her baby because it absorbed the radiation meant for her never happened nor could it; most of the firefighters survived; and the danger of exposure to radioactive bodies is minimal.

So, if we can believe this critique, the HBO series employed massive amounts of dramatization, i.e. lies. Midnight in Chernobyl is much better, if far less sensational.

Not to be outdone, the Putin government’s Cultural Ministry has set out to televise “the tale of a heroic KGB agent trying to thwart a supposed CIA sabotage plot” at Chernobyl.

Yeah, that’ll show ’em. Combating lies with more lies.

Via Forbes & PJMedia

America’s hottest oil field

It’s, ta-da, Midland-Odessa in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Thanks to Trump. No Dim would have done it.

“Fortunes are being made in this fracking-related gold rush, and money and workers are flooding in. But many necessities in the area now cost a small fortune, creating opportunities for businesses selling everything from dipping tobacco to sand for fracking. It can be hard to get a haircut, grab a plate of good Texas barbecue, or find a table at a popular bar, because demand outstrips supply. Housing is scarce and hotel room prices sometimes rival those of New York City at more than $500 a night.”

Via WSJ