Awesome video of STS-130

Some folks at JSC put together a rocking video with tons of the ascent imagery from one of the recent Space Shuttle flights. Cool, eh?

There are only four more Space Shuttle flights scheduled before they shut the program down!

NASA OIG: $368 Million Cost to Make Constellation Metric Compliant – NASA Watch

This is unbelievable.

NASA has a standing policy to use metric (SI) units for all projects. Unfortunately, much of American industry, including the DoD, still uses English units. The Constellation program decided to use metric units two years ago, and how they want to switch back to English units, saying that it costs over $300 million to re-tool and re-draw all the hardware they would be re-using or modifying from older programs, like the Space Shuttle.

Think about that…over $300 million. That’s more than many satellites cost for design, build and launch. And people wonder why companies like SpaceX can do launches cheaper…

Just today, I had several conversations about units at work. For the same project, two different groups of modelers were doing analysis. Once it recently became time to merge or combine the models, lo and behold, we discover that one group used metric and one didn’t. Bleh…

The engineer in me just wants the U.S. and the U.K. to just get over it and switch completely to metric. Then I think about baseball and golf and milk and gasoline and everything that would have to change…

NASA – New Coming Attractions Trailer Shows an Exciting Webb Telescope Mission

Perhaps in time with the new Hubble 3D Imax movie coming out, NASA has a beautiful HD video previewing the James Webb Space Telescope.

JWST has been in development for a long time and is due to launch in 2014. They’ve really been pushing the envelope in a lot of areas, including tech development and simulation analysis. It’s all pretty impressive, and this movie is a fun and gorgeous show. Check it out!

137 Years of Popular Science Archives!

According to Wired News,

Gadget nerds: Prepare to lose the rest of your day to awesomeness. PopSci, the web-wing of Popular Science magazine, has scanned its entire 137-year archive and put it online for you to read, absolutely free. The archive, made available in partnership with Google Books, even has the original period advertisements.

This is awesome! I can check the advertisements for 100 years ago in the archives. The cover images are priceless.

Nepomuk and Strigi hogging resources

I upgraded to KDE 4.4 the other day and enabled the Strigi desktop indexing for the first time. As a result, my computer has been churning for over 3 days now. It doesn’t completely peg the CPU, but it takes a whole chuck.


I don’t know if it’s the Strigi indexer, or the Virtuooso backend (version 6.1) or something in Nepomuk for KDE 4.4. But this is ridiculous. I haven’t used my computer much in the last couple of days, so I just let it go, thinking that eventually it would finish indexing or something.

But no, it’s still slowing down the whole desktop. This is on an AMD X2 64-bit dual-core 2.1 GHz processor. I guess I’ll stop it here at some point and just disable file indexing again.

Prophets of Wine and Beer

My Dad has started blogging! He’s been writing some commentary on the Heidelburg Catechism at a blog which he co-authors with some of his church members at New Covenant Presbyterian in McComb, MS.

His post today notes the language used by Micah about prophets of wine and beer. Dad ends with

May God save us from the Prophets of Wine and Beer and from a mindset that is satisfied with anything other than God’s truth as given in Scripture!

Anyone that quotes Sherlock Holmes about space…

Lionel Windsor has a post over at the Sola Panel talking about God, the universe and all that. Kinda fun.

Well, you could point out that weather and tide and climate predictions need detailed solar, lunar and planetary modelling. You could also point out that car engines need modern mechanics, which is all based on the laws of motion formulated by Isaac Newton, who used the orbits of planets to calculate and build his theories. Or you could point to the humble GPS satellite navigator, which relies on Einstein’s theory of relativity and orbiting satellites. Of course, astronomy is useful; after all, it helps us to work out whether it’s raining, and how to drive quickly to the cricket and back without taking a wrong turn!