Ivor O’Connor

January 31, 2013

Boeing Should Take Musk’s Offer!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 1:12 pm

I’m reading https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/elon-musk-boeing-787-battery-fundamentally-unsafe-381627/ and see this quote from Boeing’s chief project engineer Mike Sinnett:

“I design a cell to not fail and then assume it will and the ask the next ‘what-if’ questions,” Sinnett said. “And then I design the batteries that if there is a failure of one cell it won’t propagate to another. And then I assume that I am wrong and that it will propagate to another and then I design the enclosure and the redundancy of the equipment to assume that all the cells are involved and the airplane needs to be able to play through that.”

Kind of like saying “I never make mistakes”. Obviously if Sinnett’s designs are so lofty yet have empirically proven so bad there is a big big problem. Boeing needs a shot of good PR whatever the truth might be. Accepting Musk’s help would go a long ways in that direction. It would put the 787s back in the air in the shortest amount of time possible and give American ingenuity a good name. And it would shine a very bright and lasting spotlight on batteries, engineering, and technology in general. I wish Boeing would reconsider and take the help, whether or not they really need it, and be successful.

January 29, 2013

First Interview Of Elon Musk In 2013. (By Popular Mechanics)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:00 am

Elon Musk Panel BTA 2013-01-28. There has not been much out lately that has been interesting. So this YouTube video is a delight:

Topics included in the talk:

  1. SpaceX
    1. What is yet needed to transport astronauts.
      1. Ascent phase
        1. Launch escape system
        2. Upgrades to rocket for more fault tolerant or test the living daylights out of those parts that can not be fault tolerant.
        3. Payload margins 40% above expected flight loads.
        4. Abort capability all the way to orbit using the Dragon’s engine.
      2. Descent phase.
        1. Version 1 of dragon, parachutes to water landing
        2. Version 1.5 parachutes to land landing in 1 to 2 years
        3. Version 2 or 3 landing with thrusters currently being tested with eight thrusters which are redundant with even redundant parachutes.
    2. Laser Radar scans the space station on approach and makes a model used for docking
    3. Advantage of liquid rockets are they can be turned off.
    4. 46 missions currently under contract of which 12 are from NASA. So economically stable even without NASA.
    5. Bigelow wants to do a private space station. Hmmm.
    6. He maintains private control of the system so he can take the long view on decisions and make big technological changes.
    7. What a Mars resident would do on the typical day.
  2. Tesla
    1. Super chargers giving 6 minutes of driving for every minute of charging. These being free throughout California currently and being built across the nation. The charging will be free but if you had to pay it the cost comes out to 30 miles per dollar of electricity.
    2. 3,500 people working high quality jobs doing all manufacturing in the USA and exports power trains to the rest of the World via Mercedes and Toyota. Tesla will financially break even in 2012-02. Tesla’s market worth is about three billion dollars.
    3. Talk about why the gull wing doors are good.
    4. The future of battery and capacitor technology in very general terms.
  3. Philosophy to motivate new engineers. Think of things by first principles, fundamental truths, with good feed back loops that include negative feedback from friends. Despite pointing out obvious physics expect not to be always understood. (He should have used Mitt Romney as an example here.) Instead solar panels in space is used and you can see how Elon reacts when frustrated.

January 26, 2013

NASA Wasting Time And Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 8:27 pm

Science Daily came out with the following article today.

World’s Most Powerful Engine Blazes Path for Space Launch System Advanced Propulsion

Jan. 26, 2013 — To help develop the nation’s future heavy lift rocket, NASA resurrected the world’s most powerful rocket engine ever flown — the mighty F-1 that powered the Saturn V rocket– and test fired its gas generator today at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

There are also youtube videos of these rockets being fired. I have to wonder why they are doing this since SpaceX already has plans of producing rockets twice as powerful at 1/1000 the price. And SpaceX’s rockets will be much safer.

I like science and technology such as produced at NASA much more than spending money on anything else. It sure beats wasting it on war, politicians, police, firemen, and teachers. Yet let us be a bit frugal. There is no need to throw money duplicating SpaceX. NASA needs to work on things that are not going to be done by SpaceX. NASA needs to lead the way and do ground breaking R&D that can later be used by SpaceX and the others.

January 23, 2013

T-Mobile Complaints

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:38 pm

I was reading this article and all the responses “How to Cancel & Get Out of a T-Mobile Contract without Paying the Early Termination Fee”  which I got to from “WikiCancel Is a Collection of Guides to Closing All Your Accounts“.

A few days ago I was seriously thinking of signing on with T-Mobile for two years to get their unlimited 4G. What was I thinking! These carriers are out to steal from anybody who is stupid enough to play their game. I must remember never ever take a contract. Phones are a service that you should pay as you go. When a confidence “entity” says “trust me” you should run the other way as fast as possible. Or shoot them. There is never any need to have to trust anybody.

Makes me think about other contracts like “marriage”, “insurance”, “military” and “employment”.

January 19, 2013

Linux Still Lags Behind Windows

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:19 pm

I tried to download music to my phone. So I plugged the data cord into the Linux Mint laptop and much to my chagrin the device was not seen. I then googled to discover Mint/Ubuntu/Debian/Linux does not automatically mount Androids as a storage device!  WTF?! So I followed some guides to mount the file system. They seemed to work. I could now view the information. Moving data from laptop or even withing the Android though was spotty. After fooling around with it for an hour I gave up and plugged it into my Windows 7 laptop and everything worked fine.

I had no idea Mint/Ubuntu/Debian/Linux was still so backwards.  (When it comes to being used as a consumer.) How many years will it take until we can watch NetFlix and hook up our Androids to Linux boxes?

I’m still quite pleased with my SDD hard drive light never flashing. I doubt I could ever run everything and my work out of ram drives on Windows unless I had 60GBs of RAM! (Certainly not with just 4GBs though.)

Switching To T-Mobile/StraightTalk From AT&T/Net10

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:07 pm

Had to order the SIM card via Walmart’s website. The installation of the card was simple and took only a few minutes to get up and running.

My main problem with AT&T/Net10 was their lack of features. They could not change the number of rings before they would assume the call was not going to be answered. Worse yet it would immediately pick up the call if the phone was off. In addition there was no way to forward the call to another phone if the battery went dead.

T-Mobile/StraightTalk though might allow the call to never be picked up. I know T-Mobile does not allow this but Verizon/StraightTalk does. If however StraightTalk is limited by the carrier they are using then I will not be able to change the pickup time to more than about 25 seconds. However I will be able to forward the call to another number rather than the cell phone shorting out the connection immediately like AT&T/Net10 does.

Since I route the incoming phone calls to multiple lines it is crucial to have a rich set of features. Or at a very minimum act like an old fashioned phone that will ring and ring and ring until the caller hangs up.

So far the data connection has been spotty. The telephone line came up immediately. I’m assuming the data connectivity will take a few hours? UPDATE: The data connection part finally turned on. So far I’m getting green in the surrounding areas according to rootanalytics.com. It’s been so long since I’ve seen anything but the worst possible speeds I have forgotten what it is like to have G4 speeds. Good riddance AT&T! (Now I have to figure out how to cancel AT&T/Net10.)

UPDATE 2013-01-20:  I was looking at the T-Mobile plans and they offer a $70 unlimited data at 4G speeds. No throttling ever. Even if you are an American and watch three to seven hours of TV a day! (Really Americans do watch this much TV. I just looked it up. And I’m using their low stats. Figure in game playing and taped shows stats and they might as well be kept in a matrix pod.) So I ordered two SIM cards since T-Mobile is selling them with activation for $1 a piece. I’ll give their prepaid direct a try and if it works I may try their $70 unlimited with a two year shackle. They assure me there is no difference in features between the prepaid and the two year slave package except the unlimited 4G. Since I went through 1/2GB yesterday just testing the service via rootmetrics I figure it’s important to get unlimited quickly.

January 16, 2013

Why 2013 Could Be The End Of The U.S. Postal Service?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:30 pm

Why 2013 Could Be The End Of The U.S. Postal Service

Oh my oh my! You mean there is a chance I will not have my mail box filled with adverts any longer? That the little slips saying nobody was home when indeed somebody was home might come to an end? That I will no longer have to wait hours inline to pick up the packages they should have delivered may become a bad bad memory?

When you talk to these fat people behind the counter they give you a form to fill out. Tell you that management has cut staffing and it is not their fault. To please fill out the forms and have your friends complete them too. And then I remember how the vast majority of packages were never delivered over the past few years. How the slip they leave behind says nobody was home. That despite reporting this they still don’t deliver. And I start simmering.

I have no idea where the problem is but if we could end the USPS once and for all everybody would be happy.

Is it too good to be true? Please end the postal service NOW! No more USPS. Please!

Japan To Add The Equivalent Of One Nuclear Power Plant

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 7:42 pm

Japan to build world’s largest offshore wind farm

The interesting details:

  1. It “will generate 1 gigawatt of power once completed”. Probably this is the max it is capable of producing and the average wind will generate  only 1/3rd that?
  2. The ocean floor is 200M deep making anchoring expensive. Instead the turbines will be moored to each other in a grid fashion and the grid itself somehow tied to the ocean floor. Will this be the way of the future?
  3. The 200M high turbines 16KM off shore is within international waters but will be visible to all on clear days. To hide objects 200 to 400M high behind the horizon would require the turbines to be 3x to 4x further away and though outside of territorial waters still be considered within their economic zone.
  4. Typhoons, tsunamis, and seismic activity will not be a problem. (I imagine no power will be generated during any typhoon resulting in days or weeks of no power?)
  5. The Turbines will attract fish resulting in a “marine pasture”. Hmmm…..
  6. NO MENTION of costs…

Best wishes to them.

Elon Musk has said if PV panels covered the areas currently policed off for security surrounding nuclear powerplants throughout the world… That nuclear power plants could be switched off. (Charge up the Tesla batteries with the excess daytime power and use that at at night?)

Why Throw Money Away?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 4:23 pm

Rebuilding in NYC area seems very akin to building sand castles on the beach. Or playing Russian Roulette. It’s like not funding the levy reconstruction in New Orleans and knowing full well at some point in time a Katrina will hit.

Why is America paying for the rebuilding of this area? It’s exactly the same as asking for $5,000 to rebuild another sand castle that will be wiped out on the next high tide. Only it’s billions if not trillions of dollars and the time is measured in decades rather than days. Surely somebody has the balls to stand up and say what the scientists have been saying for decades. I’m not expecting our country to be proactive and make dikes to ensure the safety for 1000 years like they are in the Netherlands but totally ignoring reality is akin to throwing money away. Maybe people just expect our Government to always throw money away stupidly? I’m sure if we had Gary Johnson as president he would look at the science and layout the financial facts with no regard to being politically correct!

House OKs Sandy Relief Bill After GOP Delay

The House has approved a $50 billion package for the victims of Superstorm Sandy after failing to pass the measure before the previous congressional term ended last month. Republicans had come under wide criticism after delaying the vote, forcing millions of Sandy victims to continue waiting for federal aid. Tuesday’s vote was approved over the objections of 80 Republicans who demanded that any spending on Sandy relief be matched by an equal amount in cuts to government spending.

January 14, 2013

SpaceX Reusability Plans

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:39 pm

I noticed these two inspirational videos about SpaceX. The first is an artist’s CGI showing the end result of SpaceX’s reusable plan. The second is a video of the latest SpaceX test lifting a ten-story rocket twelve-stories and then gently landing it. Every few months SpaceX will expand the envelop until they have the total solution seen in the first video. The next launch might involve going up a mile and returning…


The first video can be found directly at https://spacex.com/assets/video/spacex-rtls-green.mp4.

Elon Musk has said he can reduce the cost to 1/100th of his current pricing by making them reusable. (He already is the least expensive LEO space transport solution at a little over $1,000/lb, the largest in the USA, and soon the largest and most reliable in the World.) His current Falcon-9’s have replaced the old Space Shuttle. They deliver about the same weight and size as the old shuttle at about 1/10th the price. His next rocket scheduled for later this year, the Falcon-Heavy, will lift about half the size and weight of the largest Soviet and American rockets back in the late 60s. Or two to three times more than the Falcon-9 or Space Shuttle. The next generation rocket after the Falcon-Heavy, already under design, will lift four times more payload than the Falcon-Heavy. More than double anything in history. However Elon has said making the rockets reusable will roughly cut in half the payload of each flight. So a Saturn V payload at only $10/lb to LEO! I suspect when reality comes a knocking the prices will really be somewhere around $100 a pound. (I’d like to by less cynical.)

By 2016 there is a chance all SpaceX rockets will be reusable and the CGI video can be replaced with real video!

I said the safest because unlike other rockets SpaceX’s designs allows for redundancy. Kind of like a RAID-6 storage system on a computer. They can handle two failures on almost everything. So a circuit or monitor could fail but it is backed up by two. A rocket or two could blow up but the main cargo will still make it. Not all of the cargo though. They file three flight plans and have three or more separate contracts. If one rocket blows there is a plan on which satellites will not be placed in their original orbits. If two rockets fail then more cargo does not make the preferred orbits. If however three rockets fail then nothing makes the desired orbit. The capsule carrying the humans have at least two options. The first option involves a clean separation and landing via its reentry rockets. The second less attractive is the eject option similar to all past rockets. There is a chance expensive cargo can be returned safely in the dragon capsule and put on the next rocket!

All-in-all these solutions are only possible because the government got out of the way. Though not fully. Apparently the military has governmental mandates requiring them to use cold war era companies which have very bad, limited, dangerous, unreliable, and expensive solutions. SpaceX is another fine example of a private industry being thousands of times more efficient than government yet not allowed to compete with government. Though it is just a matter of time. Imagine a huge spy telescopes with a few thousand smart bombs that can be dropped on whim accurately within two minutes and resupplied as needed. The military will be demanding this from Elon soon because it is much much cheaper than drones.

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