The Cats Trying to Kill Curiosity

I was delighted, as were millions, by the successful touchdown of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. It was a monumental achievement, of equipment working right (thanks to tremendous engineering and science) despite nearly a year’s exposure to extraordinary conditions and extremes in rapid succession. But as Sam Rayburn (48th, 50th, and 52nd Speaker of the House) notes, “Any jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a real carpenter to build one.” We’ve seen NASA in the role of “real carpenters” here. Who’s the “jackass”? […]

Mars the Record of Nuclear Power

Tonight — 10:31 Pacific Time Sunday, or 1:31 AM Eastern on Monday — the Curiosity rover will hopefully touch down safely on the surface of Mars. The events actually take place about 14 minutes in advance, but we cannot know the results until the radio communications get from Mars to Earth. The vehicle is big. While the two famous rovers Opportunity and Spirit were roughly grocery-cart sized, this one is more like an automobile. It has tremendously greater science capability — and it is too big, and needs too much power, to operate from solar panels. So it does not: Curiosity is nuclear-powered. […]

The July 9 DNS Changer attack

Many news outlets have been talking about a virus and July 9. This connection is a bit peculiar: The virus doesn’t take effect then, but a government “patch” that has been supplying service will be removed that day (tomorrow). This is a bit complicated, but you can check quickly to see if you have a problem by clicking here: […]

The Space Shuttle: It was time

President Obama decided to uphold the Bush plan to end the Space Shuttle’s operations. This was an Obama decision that I fully supported, though many conservatives were critical, and I wrote “In Praise of President Obama” as a result. […]

The 1932 Duesenberg Model

There’s an email floating around about an extraordinary 1/6th model of a 1932 Duesenberg SJ. I’ve added some information to it, from various sources. The original email is at the end: […]

The Stratolauncher and the Soviets

The Stratolauncher was announced a few months ago. It is an innovative design funded by Paul Allen (Microsoft’s other founder) and is a joint project of Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with other companies making significant contributions. The project, under way for more than eight years in secrecy, looks like this: […]

LJ Archive Fixed!

This is good news, and solves a problem that’s been annoying me for almost a year. The LJArchive utility, that did an excellent job downloading LiveJournal entries and comments into a searchable form, broke last year. LiveJournal had made some changes internally to deal with DOS attacks, and the downloader for LJArchive would no longer work. […]

The End of General-Purpose Computing

Some years ago I wrote a near-future story in which computers had fallen into disfavor. Not in the manner of Dune, but somewhat related to that.

In our own lives, the last few years have seen computers becoming increasingly present. On Christmas day, I watched as several young people present sat with their devices, absorbed […]

China plays “America the Beautiful” for rocket launch

I thought this was amusing. And ironic, considering the stunt pulled at the White House before.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Facebook Scam: Islamic Friends

Because of my long-time use of email — same email address for more than fifteen years — I get a lot of spam.  One type that has surged in recent days is a peculiar Facebook/LinkedIn scam.  The email purports to be from Facebook, informing you that “<Islamic/Arabic name> wants to be friends.”  While it’s identified […]