6 posts • joined Wednesday 13th June 2007 23:01 GMT
Perhaps Prof. Hawking can give Sheldon tips...
...on how to butch up.
You can't write stuff like this...
Go all Graustarkian on the Russian space program like that in a story submitted to any science fiction mag and if you're LUCKY you'll get a polite "Thank you for your interesting story which does not meet our present needs.. wait till we get bought out by Murdock before resubmitting" letter.
And the reason Phobos-Grunt's trajectory insertion burn didn't happen ought to be obvious. Bunch of cowboys playing at rocket scientist, with most of their budgets being siphoned off evenly between Vlad Putin and the mafiya.
@GumboKing re: incoming text charge
Boost Mobile (CDMA - they're basically the "HipHop Marketing Division of Sprint" in the US) just decided to lay an incoming text charge on us, too. But yes, if we want to, we can get one of several "limited Unlimited Time Plans" for an exorbitant monthly charge ($40 - $90 US) and text all we want. Makes no difference to me, my cell is my "if my car breaks or I have a case of Ebola while at the steering wheel call help" device - I chose Boost because the local Target store had them for sale for $10 apiece during a closeout sale.
AT&T are pushing their GSM laptop modem line hard, and if I went across the Atlantic more than once every ten years, I'd think about it. Otherwise, GSM coverage here in the States is so sporadic that it's not even a selling point here. Even Sprint's coverage map down New Mexico way is spotty enough that finding a location say, around Taos with decent signal strength is like geocaching.
@Jay Daley - Vint Cerf has Al Gore poop on his nose
After "inventing" TCP/IP, Vint Cerf has muddied the waters by trying to validate Al Gore's absurd claim to have done something apart from having the US Government write a few purchase orders for big servers to help advance the Internet. ARPANET had its origins in the late 1960s, about the time Al Gore, Jr was still sending out for room service from his dad's (the previous Senator Gore) hotel suite.
Big business did Gore claims to have done, anyway - look at how private enterprise is totally funding new undersea fiber optic cables across the world - two competing systems, at that. That process began before Gore got his hands on the US economy and re-invented government by selling off our Defense Department to the Communist Chinese.
So what we have is someone who has crippled capitalism every chance he got while in the Senate claiming credit for a massive achievement which began before Gore hit puberty, made by that military-industrial-academic complex Gore's buddies hate so venomously.
A few little-known facts on railguns
1) "I wonder how long a barrel is needed to impart mega joules to a pellet via EM attraction alone... "
Los Alamos National Laboratories has a railgun tube small enough to fit inside/on the gun turret on an M109 SP artillery piece. Power provided by unholy large capacity capacitors charged by onboard electric generator.
2) "You need a pellet tight enough so it is accurate but loose enough so it doesn't friction weld to the barrel..... "
Railgun rounds actually resemble a shotgun or tank sabot round, with a plastic outer surface specifically to prevent undue abrasion from/welding to all-metallic rounds;
3) "We talking smoothbore or rifle here?"
Angular momentum can be supplied to the round by the same electromotive force that propels the round out of the tube. 'Rifling? We don' need no steenkin' rifling!"
4) "Errrm they do know that the sea "moves a bit" don't they ? Precision ballistics at sea?"
Never seemed to bother the sixteen-inchers on the Iowa-class battleships. And until they were pulled out of mothballs for the Middle East War Games in the 1980s, those sixteen-inchers were aimed not electronically, but by ballistic calculators which applied analog computing methods (i.e., "clockwork mechanism") to work out firing solutions, along with gun-laying radar.
Scuttlebutt was that BUORD tried fitting Radio Shack Model 100 computers (those book-sized things with the three by eight-inch LCD display right next to the keyboard - and a real keyboard, at that!) to replace the old clockwork ballistic computers, but that they couldn't take the shock of repeated firings of the big guns.
Solution - find surviving WWII and Korean War vets who were trained to fix the clockwork computers on the sixteens, hire them as "tech reps" and get the old gear working until someone could build a small computer tough enough to handle sixteen-inch gun recoil.
By comparison, the shock to the surroundings during a naval railgun firing ought to be minimal. The sixteen-inch shells weighed about the same as the Japanese compact car of your choice, and it took bags, and bags, and bags of powder to send them on their way.
Speaking out of near-total ignorance about the specifics, the delay between shots as the power circuits on a railgun re-charge might not be much longer than the delay while a sixteen-inch gun's breech is swabbed out (to prevent a turret explosion if hot material from the last shot touches the powder for the next shot), reloaded, re-aimed, etc.
It wouldn't surprise me, either, if the rounds for the new naval railguns included a tiny little GPS chip, a tiny little computer to store the target coords, a tiny little radar to acquire and track the target, and pop-out steering vanes like the Copperhead SP artillery round, so that while Captain Ivan is trying frantically to escape his doom, the railgun round is tracking his every move. Just enough time to pipe "Sweepers, man your brooms!"