* Posts by Tom

6 posts • joined 21 Aug 2008

Apple punts batterylicious MacBook Pros

Tom

So the 'macbook' line is looking rather empty

And that white plastic model is the only non-aluminium mac left. Anyone else reckon there's sometihing coming to fill the gap?

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US spaceflight review suffers attack of the Twitters

Tom

Mr Pringle

There are currently no alternatives to rocket engines for achieving orbital velocity outside of the atmosphere. Acceleration within the atmosphere is severely limited by atmospheric friction. Even with fancy hybrids, the vast majority of acceleration happens in a vacuum, and that means rockets. A cylindrical tank with engines on the end is the simplest way to do this.

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Research: Airliners can be more eco-friendly than trains

Tom

I'd like to see

A plane that can run on nuclear power. Rail may be beat by planes in plain CO2 count, if you count it in a particular way, but railways can take advantage of any improvement in electricity generation. It's the same argument as electric cars. While contemporary electricity generation is 'dirty' gas/oil/coal shortages and the green movement will force future generation to 'clean' sources. Railways will adapt to this transition much easier than planes.

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Flexible displays bend towards reality

Tom

The important question is:

What's the minimum radius you can bend these things to? The flexible OLEDs I've seen demoed before can be flexed a bit - so you won't snap the screen if you sit on it. But there's no way you'd roll one up or fold it clean in half. Something tells me that sort of flexibility will be hard to make robust.

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US airforce looking at winged-rocket booster 'X-plane'

Tom

Sounds nothing like...

...the Dynasoar, which was a lifting-body orbit and re-entry craft. It had a detachable 2nd-stage boost module and the whole lot would have sat on top of a Titan rocket for launch. The shuttle has shown that re-using 2nd stage/orbital craft is complex and expensive. A reusable 1st stage is much more simple and the weight constraints are much more relaxed. This is a *good* plan.

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NASA's Ares V may crush Kennedy crawlerway

Tom
Alert

So...

The Ares V is too big, and the Ares I is too small (having trouble lifting a fully kitted out Orion capsule).

Solution: Instead of 1 huge and 1 small, why not launch 2 large? That way, you don't have to rebuild the infrastructure, and you only have to design one launch vehicle.

www.directlauncher.com

Designed by NASA engineers, but blocked by NASA management.

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