Category Archives: Science/Engineering

Just another day at the office

The 16th dragon ship to rendezvous with the International Space Station has delivered Xmas goodies and “a team of space-going mice” which I’m sure will outrage PETA if they don’t make it back alive.

The Chariot tank

The things I like about Israel’s Merkava (Chariot) tank are its low profile in defilade and it’s rear exit-survivability. The latter alone is seldom found in the world’s other tanks which are wholly designed to fight.

“Combined with a tiny general population in which even minor personnel losses were felt across society, the Israeli military envisioned a tank which prioritized defensive capabilities and firepower above all else,” read the report, stating that “the construction of an entirely new class of main battle tank by Israel, a tiny country, is certainly a major achievement.”

Of course the rear-exit for the crew means the engine must go in front where it’s more vulnerable. Israel would rather save the crew to fight another day.

Via Jerusalem Post

Tyson has three accusers now

“…Dr Katelyn N. Allers of Bucknell University claimed deGrasse Tyson groped her at an event in 2009. Another woman, Ashley Watson, claimed…she quit her former job as his assistant in response to repeated inappropriate sexual advances he made toward her.

“Both allegations came to light about a year after musician Tchiya Amet claimed that deGrasse Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students. He is yet to comment on the allegations.”

I never liked this guy since he blatantly promoted global warming on his Cosmos television series. He’s too much like Bill Nye for my taste. But, then, my taste runs more to the Mr. Wizard of my childhood.

November cold so far

It usually waits in Central Texas to get cold, cold in December and then only for short periods with quick warmups. January is our winter and by mid-February it’s warming up for good.

Not this year. Freezing nights have already been here and more are expected.

No big surprise, says Martin Mlynczak of Nasa’s Langley Research Center:

Very few sunspots on the sun this year means “it could be about to get very cold very quickly…If current trends continue, it could set a new Space Age record for cold…It could happen in a matter of months.”

Oh, joy.

Via Metro

UPDATE:  We’ve been spared the snow so far. We rarely get snow.

Gab’s back

Thanks to a domain-hosting site in Seattle (of all places). Epik’s CEO blogged their reasoning for picking up where GoDaddy (mine own domain host) left off:

“Although, I did not take the decision lightly to accept this domain registration, I look forward to partnering with a young, and once brash, CEO who is courageously doing something that looks useful. As I reflect on my own journey as a truth-seeking tech entrepreneur, I have no doubt that Andrew [Torba, Gab’s CEO] will continue to develop not only as tech entrepreneur but also as a responsible steward — one that can balance bravado with diplomacy and who tempers courage with humility.”

Good luck weathering the digital censorship  storm Epik, and welcome back  to Gab.

Via GeekWire

Colonoscopy

Finished yesterday my sixth or seventh colonoscopy. Hard to remember as they’ve been coming at five-year intervals. This was the easiest by far, thanks to HyGieaCare, which obviates the necessity of drinking even 12 ounces (with lots of water) of awful, nauseating stuff I can only call motor oil.

An all-around shitty subject this, but a worthwhile alert if you have a first-degree relative whose death was due to or preceded by colon cancer. In my case they were my father and his father. If so, see a gastroenterologist and get on with it.

Five Four polyps were found this time, versus six last time (in 2013), but it’ll be a week or so until I find out if any of them were malignant. Never have found one such so don’t know what the protocol would be. Hope not to find out.

UPDATE: No cancer but two of the four were pre-cancerous so the doc has me down for another test in 2020—two-year interval instead of five.

Houston researcher wins Nobel

“The prize recognizes [M.D. Anderson medical researcher Jim] Allison’s basic science discoveries on the biology of T cells, the adaptive immune system’s soldiers, and his invention of [an] immune checkpoint blockade to treat cancer. Allison’s crucial insight was to block a protein on T cells that acts as a brake on their activation, freeing the T cells to attack cancer.”

A blues mouth harpist who, up to this point, had counted playing backup to Willie Nelson as the high point of his life.

Just a little (3 years on the 22nd) late to help Mrs. Charm. And so far the drugs made from his work don’t treat her non-Hodgkins lymphoma anyway.

Via University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center