Saturday, May 12, 2007

Moving : Please Update Bookmarks

Blogger's been twitchy lately. I've lost posts and images and had difficulty signing on.

While the interface is superbly simple and some of the Blogger features are really nice, they are only useful if you can use them and not lose your post.

Thus I'm biting the bullet and moving. After 1021 posts, moving is a bit of a pain (all the blogs that link here are now going to the wrong place) but the above issues and the spamblog problem are making this a chore rather than a hobby.

All is not lost loyal fans! :)

I've been granted asylum in the bloggy paradise of MeeNuvia.

So without further ado here is Brickmuppet Blog 2.0

It's still a tad rough around the edges and is at post #2 as I post this.

Just 1019 to get to where I was.

This site will remain up for a while at least.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spacesuit gloves Space Volcanoes and More!

One of the Brickmuppets' crack team of science babes reports that the NASA glove challenge has been won! Because they must maintain pressure in a vacuum, spacesuit gloves are particularly challenging and NASA has, after millions of dollars never quite gotten them right, however, the Astronaut Glove Competition program put up a prize of $200,000.00 for the best improved design....less than a year later ...RESULTS!! The winning design was developed by an inventor in Maine. :)

Top down central planning approach....wrong way....Capitalism and competition by back yard loons....right way !

Anyway, while we here at Brickmuppet Blog were slaving away on exams, lots of cool things happened on the space front.

In a related story to the one above the Regolith excavation challenge is set for May 12th.
(Hat Tip Clarke Lindsay)

The most Earthlike planet ever discovered was found only 20.4 light years from Earth orbiting Gliese 581, a red Dwarf star. Now given the very narrow and close life zone of a red dwarf the planet is probably tidally locked, and red dwarfs tend to flare a bit, but the planets surface temperature is such that liquid water could exist on its surface. With just over twice the gravity of Earth and its probable vastly different character (being tidally locked) this is not a promising place for human habitation, but depending on the atmosphere, this is a very exiting development! It may well have implications for the Drake equation.

In other news Mark Wade has updated Encyclopedia Astronautica to include a long report on the canceled Navaho and M.I.S.S. programs of the late 1950s. Programs that could have changed history (and in the case of Navajo DID). It is important to remember that even failures cab be the genesis of spectacular success if learned from.

John Goff over at Selenian Boondocks has a long and informative post on the importance of developing in space propellant transfer. This is one of the most crucial technologies for a spacefaring society and it has not gotten the attention it deserves.

The New Horizons space probe took some truly spectacular pictures of the Jovian System as it sped on it way to its rendezvous with non-planet Pluto, including a massive eruption of the Tvashtar volcano on Io.

Note: New Horizons got to Jupiter in 13 months. While it is a light spacecraft that pushes the state of the art, this does show that even with current chemical engines the outer planets can be reached in time frames compatible with a manned mission. Of course uch a mission would be orders of magnitude more challenging. For one thing, beyond simply scaling it up a few hundred times or more to take people and life support, enough fuel to return must be brought too, but it is (just) within the realm of possibility, particularly with the nuclear and ion engines currently under development. Indeed, NASA seriously looked at this in the 1990s . More on that at the end of this previous post.

Damn. :(

An entire town wiped off the map by a tornado.

Comic Book Cabal

Oh noes! Generic crazy conspiracy theorist loon was right!

Just in case there was any doubt that superhero comic books were a Jewish conspiracy....

(Not that that is in any way a bad "Thing".)

There was a minor buzz about this a while back due to a New York Post article a while back (which seems to have gone down the memory hole) but the '76 date on this Kirby sketch should put to rest the notion that this was a recent revisionist development.

Much more on this topic here.

Oh, and it gives me considerable pride (and astonishment) to point out that Superboy and Supergirl are Methodists. (Superman is officially as well but he also practices the "Kryptonian religion" which, given what I know about his creators likely involves the Torah.)

Update: Yes, I know that Ben Grimm's religion is hardly news to FF fans but there seems to be some concern by some pathetic weeaboos that this is PC revisionism.


Friday, May 04, 2007


Does ANYBODY have any source or context for this bleeding-at-the-eyes-loli-harpy-maid?

(Note: this request is primarily to facilitate avoidance)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Republican Debate

"What do you hate most about America?" WTF?

Thompson is doing extremely well.

It seems that Ron Paul is not getting asked nearly as many questions.

Update: McCain is intense but not inspiring .

Big boon for Porkbusters. Lots of anger about Pork all around.

Update: Do you believe in evolution? Does anybody not believe in evolution?
2 or three raised their hands...but the camera was to the side...WHO WERE THESE NUTTERS?

UPDATE: Thomson was exceedingly professional, and generally good right up until the admittedly idiot question about firing people because they were which he inexplicably gave an obligingly idiotic answer. One of the legit roles and functions of government is to protect against theft, fraud and see that people are treated equal under the law. A good argument might be made that the case in point is not a FEDERAL matter and should be handled on the state or local level, but damn....

UPDATE: A surprisingly substantive debate....which given US debates lets the bar low...but still.

UPDATE:McCain seemed passionate but did not come off well, to me anyway. A lot of people are disappointed with Gulianni but he stood by his guns pretty much. He's libertine on a lot of social issues, people know that. Gilmore I liked, he seemed pretty professional, articulate, and he is the only one of these fellows I've met, and as a Virginian I'm slightly biased. The one time I met him he struck me as quite down to earth and competent, he did here too, but likely not enough to give him self a boost in the polls.

Stem cells: I liked the fact that though Gilmore and Romney and one other(?) are not in favor of govt. funding of stem cells, they are not in favor of an overall ban. Several were and I was distracted by an IM, spilled coffee, and a barista during that no meaningful commentary there. Ron Paul made a remarkable pro-life argument for stem cell research on the local radio show here a few weeks back....he flubbed it here, but in fairness was cut off.

General competence: The whole field seemed pretty solid and there was some surprisingly good talk of actual issues. Ron Paul, who I disagree strongly with on the war, is, nevertheless a very smart guy who was not given the opportunity to make his case, in fact he was largely skipped over, or so it seemed. Duncan Hunter came off better than I expected, though his far right social conservatism is a bit off-putting.

Links to lots of rather more informed blather here:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Exam heck is over.
There as a terrible scare when the computer ate both my last paper and the takehome portion of a final exam last night.
There was much furious typing today but both were turned in minutes before the deadline.
The day is saved :)

The rest of the week will be consumed going to a welcome to America/going away for some exchange students.
LOTS of yardwork.
Taking care of some Coast Guard matters.
The long neglected trailer repairs.
...and sleep.
Blogging will become less intermittent by weeks end.

In the meantime, I found this on my hard drive recently, and though I don't know the source....I must say it cries out for captioning.

Have at it kids.
UPDATE: Well, that took no time at all to jump the shark. Yeesh!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bad News...

My grandmother fell on Wednesday breaking her arm.

When asked how badly it hurt, she said..."a little".
Either she is astoundingly tough or she is having difficulties with adjectives.
Her bone splintered and jammed into the shoulder socket, two days on, it was determined that she needed a joint replacement in her shoulder. She's 87 years old.

Fortunately, the surgery went well and the prognosis is that in a month or so she will be able to reach the top of her head with her hand.

Fingers are crossed.

"Man-portable Integrated Laser Assault Rifle":

According to the Danger Room over at Wired, the US ARMY has set forth a small business initiative proposal for, amongst other things, what it calls a "Man-Portable Integrated Laser Assault Rifle".

Well now...

I didn't see that one coming.

Dave Hambling's article has lots of background on this and related projects so read the whole thing.

Note that while I'm skeptical, the big show stopper is, of course power, and given the big strides being made in ultracapacitiors, this sort of thing might be feasible sooner than people think....though that's still a long way off.

Still.... it involves FRICKING LASERS!!! How could I NOT blog about it?

Atomic Rocket, an interesting source page for science fiction authors, has a surprisingly decent overview of the challenges and potential benefits of laser small arms. It's in no way official...but it is quite cool, as is that whole site.

Tales of Futures Past

Paleo-Future just got added to the blogroll! :)

A brand new blog with a really neat collection of future predictions from the past.

Thanks to Rand Simberg for the pointer.

The Muslims That Don't Make the News....

Gates of Vienna has a profile of a Muslim member of the Danish parliament, one Naser Khader.

The term "moderate Muslim" tends to earn at the least an askance glance from many because when it is used it seems to be applied to people who either aren't Muslim or aren't really moderate. PM Khader is both, and is not a windsock meekly keeping quiet out of fear of reprisals from his radicalized fellows.....

We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the “moderate Muslim” in this space, with some contributors and commenters arguing that such a creature does not really exist. But Naser Khader is most definitely a Muslim, and most definitely a moderate.

According to the Danes I talked to, the man is sincere and dedicated. He has put his life on the line by urging Danish Muslims to stand with their infidel countrymen and support freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and constitutional democracy in their adopted homeland.

.....and therein lies the rub. If they're not blowing stuff up, the press ignores them, if they are not denouncing the US the press is averse to their message, if they are quietly getting about their lives like most people...there IS NO NEWS THERE!

Thus the image of Muslims as irredeemable lunatics is perpetuated, along with the notion that any attempt to help them cast off the maniacs in their midst is doomed to failure.

I do not mean to minimize the issues that Islam currently has with human rights in many parts of the world including Europe. It is important to remember however, that one of the Presidents more important positions is that he doesn't want this to be a religious war. We should be discretely embracing and supporting these people, rather than ignoring them because they're not blowing people up.

The lack of coverage of these sorts of people perverts the dialog on both the right and left.

The Left views the lack of news of moderates as meaning "The genuine Muslims all hate America and have no interest in our imposing our views of human rights upon their pristine gaia friendly ancient and noble no-nwestern culture....the radicals are speaking and acting in frustration as they fight the good fight against American imperialism and there is no support for those few false consciousness cases who oppose the will of the majority...(who are represented by the Muslims who do get press)"

The Right looks at the coverage and concludes" Wow! They're all a bunch of feral murderous lunatics!"

This long war requires competent information warfare as much or more than bullets. it requires knowing who or potential allies are and what obsticals they face. It is an intricate, and prescice art for which a broad brush is singularly unsuited.

A 10/0 needlepoint is needed.

On a related note, it should be mentioned that PM Khader is featured in the recently finished, but unlikely to be aired PBS documentary ISLAM VERSUS the ISLAMISTS which, if it ever gets aired, points out the dangers that genuine moderates face in standing up to the violent Muslims. More on this here, here and here.

Anyway, go over to Gates of Vienna and read the whole thing.

Earthquake in the UK?

Radio just said there was an earthquake in the UK and there has been some damage.

Update at 6:22pm EST: It was a Magnitude 4.3, which is pretty minor usually, but Sky News reports that at least 50 homes are now uninhabitable.

The bits damage I can see in the photos are all brickwork, which is not very earthquake resistant.

As of now there is only one injury reported.

More here, here and here.

Update2: Allan Harvey is OK.

A Few Reasons Why We Need a Coast Guard