we interrupt these lists to bring you Joe’s review of the ‘Pirates’ threequel

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Note: wherever possible, I will limit spoilers.

I went to see Pirates with pretty low expectations. Given other cliffhanger-based third-time fizzlers (the Matrix trilogy comes painfully to mind), I didn’t have a lot of hope for this new franchise. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. This movie outstrips the second one in many ways; it delivers action, some fairly interesting character dilemmas, an intriguingly bittersweet ending, and a good dose of the piratical humor that was somehow muted in the second movie.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Things that I never ever wanted to see at Cornell

Wednesday, 23 May 2007
  1. Frakking Eastern Tent Caterpillars.

things that we need if we are actually serious about getting to the Moon and Mars and then *doing* something when we get there

Friday, 18 May 2007
  1. A mostly-reusable Earth-surface-to-LEO lifter with a trivial launch cost (compared to the Saturn, STS, or Ares) and a high cargo capacity; i.e. an orbital version of SpaceShipOne with a bigger payload bay.
  2. A system of modules for easily and robustly assembling space structures and vehicles (i.e. space stations and high-capacity, long-duration LEO-to-LMO transit vehicles).  This is where my research could come in.
  3. An Earth-orbit assembly platform/rendezvous station, made out of the modular system specified in (2).  Similar platform modules to be dropped off in LMO.
  4. High-cargo-capacity LMO-to-surface descent vehicles.  Mars surface-to-LMO vehicles with comparable efficiency to the Earth surface-to-LEO vehicles specified in (1).

Take-away message: cut this CEV crap, and don’t fall back to “faster, better, cheaper.”  Sink a good amount of resources into next-gen space technology R&D, and after the initial investment we’ll be able to do most anything for little additional cost.  Note that if we have (1)-(4) above, we could just as easily perform manned exploration of the outer solar system as the inner.  We need real vision to do this.  And we must do it, because we will develop the most complete understanding of the Universe through direct experience of it and we must expand out into the Solar System, at least, to ensure our survival in the event of the worst contingencies.


the way things used to be

Monday, 14 May 2007
  1. Rock
  2. Jetpack
  3. Swiss Army Knife
  4. Garthim
  5. Sun
  6. Swadesh list
  7. Q

successful culinary experiment #4

Thursday, 3 May 2007
  1. Sliced ham (maybe four pieces)
  2. Orange juice (couple tablespoons)
  3. Mandarin orange sections (1-2 oranges worth)
  4. Raisins (handful)
  5. Honey (couple good dollops)
  6. Cornstarch (maybe half a tablespoon)
  7. Nutmeg
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Basil

Put non-ham ingredients in something and mix them up thoroughly, maybe warm them up a little to dissolve the honey. Then pour over the ham and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.