Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Space debris is still there...for now.

Back in January of 2006 I posted about the massive amounts of debris that is trapped in orbit around Earth.  I
commented that it would be the taxpayers of the United States that would end up paying for it all.  Well 4.5 years later and there's still no movement on the project.

There is a group called Star, Inc that has plans to collect the waste and either sling it back to Earth in such a way as to burn it up OR just recycle it in space for some use on some kind of space station.  I'm not talking Death Star here.
"Star, Inc. president Jerome Pearson...contends that a fleet of garbage-collecting spacecraft, each equipped with approximately 200 nets, could -- over the course of seven years -- meander through low Earth orbit (LEO) and ensnare thousands of dangerous objects. Star, Inc. believes it is able to dispose of the captured trash by chucking it down to Earth's radiated nuclear waste-dumpin the South Pacific, flinging it in a trajectory so that it eventually erodes in Earth's orbit. If that fails, Star proposes to actually recycle the trash in space for use in galactic construction projects."
space waste
Here is a new image of what the amount of low orbit debris looks like.

Nets? Really?  I suppose I can't think of a better way off the top of my head.  I still think we could just send the junk to the Sun.  Good ole' Sol will burn that stuff up real nice.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

After 2 years SteelSeries still sucks

It's been over 2 years since I posted about my sucky SteelSeries 5H v2 headphones and I'm still getting comments about it.

Here's the original post.

I'm sure that SteelSeries is making better products now but I still have a bad taste in my mouth.  Hope you all are having better luck.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I'm all over the place here.

I just took a gentle stroll through my blog here and came to realize that I'm all over the place as far as topics go.  I'm going to add another topic in the form of genealogy.  I've been really into it recently and have had some great experiences that I wanted to share with everyone...even though no one visits this site.  Oh well.  *I* think it's fascinating so *I'm* gonna talk about it :P

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey ladies, want to swim in a lake of liquid diamonds?

Diamond Oceans Possible on Uranus, Neptune : Discovery News

"Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus..."

That's a remarkable statement. It's not a strange comment with recent news pointing out 5 planets discovered that all have surfaces of molten lava and one of them has the density of Styrofoam. The thing that makes this latest statement conceivable is that there is real science behind it. Real science meaning they conducted experiments in labs to see if their theories are correct.

"Eggert and his colleagues took a small, natural, clear diamond, about a tenth of a carat by weight and half a millimeter thick, and blasted it with lasers at ultrahigh pressures like those found on gas giants like Neptune and Uranus.

The scientists liquefied the diamond at pressures 40 million times greater than what a person feels when standing at sea level on Earth. From there they slowly reduced the temperature and pressure.
When the pressure dropped to about 11 million times the atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth and the temperature dropped to about 50,000 degrees, solid chunks of diamond began to appear. The pressure kept dropping, but the temperature of the diamond remained the same, with more and more chunks of diamond forming.
Then the diamond did something unexpected. The chunks of diamond didn't sink. They floated. Microscopic diamond ice burgs floated in a tiny sea of liquid diamond. The diamond was behaving like water."
Since they could prove it in a lab I have more faith in their statements.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Net books aren't all bad.

As an "IT Guy" I spend a bit of time on blogs reading about technology and what's new and what's good.  I've seen a lot of news about netbooks.  A lot of the new is good but there are a few bloggers that hate netbooks and feel they shouldn't exist.  Reasons for this include weak processors and small screen sizes.  Both are true but I think there definitely is a market for netbooks.

I recently acquired a netbook during the holidays and I have to say I'm very happy with it.  Before I got it (as a gift) I understood the limitations of netbooks so I wasn't completely disappointed.  With only 1.6GHZ processor and 1 GB RAM you can't run Google SketchUp with some of the serious drafting that I tend to do at work.  But it works perfect for a portable media center.

First thing I did was install free VLC so I could watch all the DivX-ed movies and shows I have.  I already had 65+ movies compressed for a portable format which kept the file sizes low.  But with 250 GB HDD I wasn't too concerned.

Next was to install Boxee.  This really helps my netbook look and feel like a media player.  I had to do some renaming of video files so they could be understodd by Boxee but it was worth it.

I then copied all my eBooks (which are mostly in PDF format) to the netbook and installed free Foxit Reader.  This is an attempt to use my netbook as an eReader of sorts.  I open the PDF file, rotate the document 90 degrees clockwise (or counter) then hit F11 to go fullscreen.  BAM!  eBook reader.

Next move will be to copy all my audio books to it.

I would instantly recommend a netbook to anyone who's looking for a lightweight (physically and processor-wise) media player.  The battery life for the netbook I have is well over 8 hours.  I've not fully tested the capacity while watching movies back to back but so far I don't have to recharge it very often and I use it all the time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Post Avatar Depression.

I have to admit I've not seen Avatar yet but I hear from almost EVERYONE who I know that has seen it that it is a very good movie.  Sure the plot seems to be a cornucopia of several other movie plots but that's not what I'm hearing is the aspect worth going to see it.  It's the special effects.  I hear it's simply amazing.  Sure I'll see it but I think I'll rent it on Blue-Ray when it comes out this summer.

I also don't care to see it in 3D.  i don't want to get a headache and more importantly I don't want to be a part of this:
"Avatar" is on track to be the highest grossing film of all time, but some viewers say it leaves them depressed.

Aside from making 1 BILLION US dollars in 17 days and heading on track to take over Titanic as the highest grossing movie of all time it seems that there are some people that just can't see fantasy and art for what it is.  FAKE!

Here are some recent headlines from

Chicago Alderman Declares War On 'AVATAR' .... Makes Marines Look Like 'Lunatics'...
Which marines?  Real marines living on Earth in the present time?  Get over it.

Vatican says no masterpiece...
"Why on earth do we care what the Vatican has to say about this?  Avatar isn't trying to corrupt the minds of the people that see it.  It's a STORY about a fantasy world on another planet.

Audiences experience 'AVATAR' blues; depression and suicidal thoughts...
We can do without these people. If their lives are so pathetic that they need to kill themselves because they can never get to Pandora then I suggest we just let them. But I'm sure there are a lot of therapists that disagree with me.

Friday, January 08, 2010

New planets discovered.

I can understand that we can see other planets. I can understand that we can know how far away they. What I can't understand is how scientists can tell me with certainty that a planet light years away has "surfaces hotter than molten lava" or "a planet with the density of Styrofoam" thats larger than our own Jupiter. How about "two inexplicable planet-sized objects that for some reason are hotter than the stars they orbit."

Can anyone show me the math?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

You wont' find these on Mars

This is one of the many reasons I can't understand why there is such a push to get to Mars. There's nothing there but dust! Yet Earth's vast majority of oceans and seas are undiscovered by man. It seems like every day scientists are finding new animals and plants that have never been seen before.

You just can't get that kind of excitement on Mars.


Strawberry crab discovered off coast of Taiwan | Mail Online

Monday, January 04, 2010

Just might be coldest winter.

A little while back I posted that I doubted the prediction by scientists that this may be one of the coldest winters on record.  Looks like I'm eating my cold, cold words.

Here's some recent headlines on

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Star Wars Poker Chip Set

Yet more crap allowed to be sold so that George Lucas can get richer.

ThinkGeek :: Star Wars Poker Chip Set

True Love

Friday, December 18, 2009

My take on climate change.

Daily Express | UK News :: Climate change is natural: 100 reasons why

"2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history."

This alone should be proof enough. It's like dropping a single drip of oil in the ocean and saying that all living things in it will die in a week.

What's MY take on climate change? Simple. It's nature and there's nothing we can do about it. We could all leave our cars running forever and it still wouldn't make a difference. That's because the earth has a way of balancing itself out. According to Blue Planet there are enough trees in Northern Europe alone to clean 1/3 of the entire planet's air annually. And what about all that tree harvesting in the rain forests? We could cut down trees at twice the rate and still take hundreds of years to wipe trees off the planet! There are more trees in Canada and Russia than we know what to do with.

Climate Change in politics?  Too easy.  We all know that politicians are liars.  What does Al Gore gain from his climate claims?  Do you think he's doing it for the planet?  For the children of the world?  For poor nations around the planet?  No.  He's doing it for money and fame.  He got the Nobel Peace Prize for his "film" An Inconvenient Truth and with that came a truckload of money.  Now he's seen as the global expert on climate change.  He gets to travel the world in his private jet, charge huge sums of money to lecture and ignore people's questions that try to point out his flaws.

Hilary Clinton wants to the US to help give 100 BILLION dollars "to address the climate change needs of developing countries".  Apparently this includes China as a developing country.  China?  Really?  Aren't they communist?  Don't they have plenty of money? And if they didn't, wouldn't a communist government simple take what it needs from it's people?  Why doesn't she donate a couple of million of her own to help out instead of wasting taxpayer dollars?

This also begs the question "what gives us (the United States) the right to demand any other country to do what we say?"  We don't own the planet.  We don't own the air.  We don't own the oceans.  We don't own Guam.  How can we demand that Guam cut it's carbon emissions when we don't own Guam OR the air they are polluting?  Do you think the people of Liberia are really concerned with air pollution?  Do you think they would rather have food and medical supplies?

This also comes down to money.  Let's say that the major countries decide to put a "global law" into effect that would force all countries to limit amount of carbon emissions.  What are the penalties for going above the limit?  I'm willing to bet that there is a monetary fee for such a transgression.  So who gets the money?  The US?  The UN?

I think in the end it's all about power.  Why is the US Govt trying SO hard to push the need to this "crisis" on the world?  What do they have to gain?  They have more power to gain.  And power is all that matters to them.  Find something that gets people's emotions involved, exploit that and cash in.  It doesn't matter about facts and research to them.  It's all about getting the glory and power no matter how you get it or who you have to step on to get it.  I'm sure it's easy for a "world leader" such as President Obama to not really think of Guam or Liberia as places of importance.  But to the people that live I bet it's very important.

So I suggest we stop lying to ourselves that we are the cause of climate change and focus on spending "global money" on things that we can actually make a difference about.  How about we find a cure for cancer, help 3rd world countries get food and medical supplies, stop funding governments that treat their people like dogs, focus on local issues, stop throwing money away at NASA who's trying to find water on planets light years away and countless other issues.

How can I believe this?

Water World Found Just Around the Corner - Water World - Gizmodo

Excuse me for being skeptical but how am I supposed to believe that we can detect water on other planets LIGHT YEARS from us when it took near 40 years to find water on our own moon which is only days away!?

And this is supposed to be a lake on Cassini?? For all we know it's a giant Solar Panel Array built by it's inhabitants!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gates of Andaron: Is it Good or Lame?

I've been looking for a good FREE mmo to play.  I was really into Luna Online so I could play with my kids but they lost interest and so I stopped playing.  I've played LOTR Online, Lineage II, Guild Wars, Rappelz, Cabal Online, FFXI and many others.
So do I enjoy online gaming?  Yes.  Yes I do.  But now I want something that I can keep with for more than a month.  I thought I found that when I discovered Gates of Andaron.  At first it looked great.  3 races with 6 classes.  The gold system is like World Of Warcraft and there are plenty of people online.

However, once I hit level 15 with my main character (Warrior) I discovered that there really is no depth to the game.  There are a TON of quests and plenty grinding but that's all there really is.  I made another character (Night Walker) just to see if I missed something.  I've got that one to level 20 and still no real game play. It's all  grinding for meager quests.  And once you leave the main area for noobs (lvl 20 and under) everything is agro so you're almost forced to party.  I don't mind to party but sometimes I want all the loot and XP.

If you've had a similar or different experience please leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tiger Woods: 2009's Biggest Disappointment.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More Star Wars Crap that George Lucas approved.

Warning: Wearing These Star Wars Baseball Caps May Be Dangerous for Your Health - Star Wars Baseball Caps - Gizmodo


Friday, November 20, 2009

What is going on here?

Reid's Government-Run Health Plan Requires Monthly Abortion Fee...
Obama rewards big donors with plum jobs overseas...
'Climate change pushes poor women to prostitution'...
CALIFORNIA ON THE BRINK? UCLA students protests 32% tuition hike...  
Arkansas cop tasers 10-year-old girl--at mother's direction...
Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Global Warming happening?

I don't think so.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Interesting connections.

I got an email from a friend who saw my face posted in the Fans section on FaceBook's FarmVille fan page.  The funny thing about this is that this friend of mine and I have never met face to face.  He lives in the state north of the one I live in and is 15 years younger than me.  So how are we friends and why on earth are we even emailing each other and sending video messages through Tokbox?  It's a fun little story.

Back in 2005 (I think) I discovered the world of MMORPGs through my brother-in-law MaTT.  He said that he had some friends on there who played and they would all help me level my character quickly so we could all do some dungeon parties together.  Lineage II was the game and i got sucked in fast and hard.  Anyway, we all had TeamSpeak connections so we were talking while playing.  So for about a year there were just the four of us; MaTT, BD, Ian and me.

Then BD discovered a new game called Rappelz and so we started playing that.  Then I got my brother "Tweeter" hooked.  Soon there were about 8 of us playing but I had only met in real life 2 of them because I was related to them.  Anyway, when we were 8 members strong I was introduced to John.  I liked John from day one.  Even though we were on TeamSpeak and I could only hear him I could tell he was a laid back/fun loving kind of guy.  And he always laughed and made the rest of us laugh.

Now John wasn't the only person that I met through this group that I still keep in touch with.  In fact I am friends with John, MaTT and another (Alex) through FaceBook as well.

Anyway, Rappelz didn't last long enough.  Some of the group had to go back to school (college with 1 high school) so the attendance got thin and soon there were only a few of us playing daily.

For some reason we have all stayed in contact even though we rarely (if at all) play together any more.  In fact John says he's not even playing games at all and has taken up fly fishing and focusing on his new marriage.  Admirable!!  We still share, through emails, links and update each other on what's going on in our lives.  It's very cool I think.  I just wished we all lived closer so we could hang out more.

It's very interesting how life and people can bring new people into your life.  Had I not spent too much time playing Lineage II I would not have met these good men.  Men that I wish I could hang out with even though I've never actually met them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009 Winter "could" be the coldest one of the decade.

I'm posting this because I love to see where scientists end up wrong.  I've always had an innate disbelief in scientists.  I think it comes from my faith in God and not man.  I know being wrong is part of learning but I just have a hard time with predictions they make based on their mortal knowledge.

Northeast U.S. May Experience 'Coldest Winter in Decade'...

“It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade,” Rogers said.

Now, I'm hoping to remember this post in about 6 - 8 months to see if it really was the coldest winter or if the season isn't as strong as predicted.  We shall see.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are personal blogs a thing of the past?

As you may or may not know I used to post a lot of articles here. It was great for a while. I could link to other sites that I thought were cool or important and hope that some people would check it out and comment. The problem with that is that you can't really MAKE people took at your stuff. This results in low hit counts to my blog which effect self esteem.

Then I got on Facebook and kind of forgot about my blog.

Facebook is great to share information, thoughts, feelings and links because it broadcasts to all your friends as opposed to a blog where people decide if they want to spend the time at your site. I think this has had an incredible effect on the personal blogosphere. I know that my wife's personal blog has not seen a new post in months. I've not posted a whole lot here in the last year compared with previous years. It's just easier to keep current in one place.

So have you seen a decrease in your personal blog visits and activities due to Facebook or MySpace or even Twitter?

Been a while

Bored with the Blog thing. Facebook is better. I've got some thoughts on blogs but I can deal with that later.

In the meantime I see interesting headlines on This week we are hosting the G20 joke and there also happens to be some serious arrests involving terror plots.

And how do things like these happen??

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Solar power toy shows us the way to the moon.

This new little gadget is six toys in one.

From the sales website:
This ‘do it yourself kit’ is a great beginners introduction to solar power technology and the end result is your very own little robot. There are 6 different ways to build it, so you could have a robot dog one minute, or a boat for your bath the next! If either of those don’t do anything for you then why not build your own little plane (moving or still), windmill or solar powered car!

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in robotics to start with, or have to try and figure out which screw is A678b and how part D456 slots into F9097a!! The diagrams are big and very easy to follow, there are only 25 parts and no screws are involved!

Sounds great so far, but what if you live in the UK, like us, which hardly ever see’s the sun? Well, this eco friendly robot can also be powered by a 50 halogen bulb (or brighter).

You can build:
1 - Robotic Dog
2 - Boat
3 - Moving Plane
4 - Car
5 - Windmill
6 - Desktop Plane
This just helps prove my point that it's possible to have a rover that can be more than one thing. There's no reason why a robot can't be programmed to attach simple connections and such.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My isues with Peek.

For those of you who don't know what a Peek it you can find out here.

I got the Peek because I wanted to connect to my email accounts and replace my cell texting all for the monthly price of $20. At first I liked it. It was new and exciting. I got on the message boards and learned a lot about it and some things it can do. For example I can update my Twitter AND Facebook status at the same time if I send a message to

Basically, i never sent it in to get the latest firmware update from 1.04 to 1.08. I just didn't want to be without it for a week while it was in New York. I also didn't want to pay for shipping.

Then the outages came. You see, once you set up your accounts in your Peek, Peek Corporate acts as a middleman. They monitor or ping your email accounts (with version 1.04) every 5 minutes, grab the emails and send them to your Peek. Version 1.08 is supposed to have PUSH technology and be much more "instant". Well the servers went down and people weren't getting upset that they weren't getting their info. This is the main, if not only, reason I didn't want to get a Blackberry.

This is the straw the broke the camel's back. I get an email from my wife at 3 pm in my gmail account. Since I'm at my desk all day I read sent email, reply and forget about it. At 4:13 pm my Peek beeps informing me I have new emails. I'll give you ONE guess concerning which emails I get. Gold star for you!! The exact emails I got from my wife over AN HOUR AGO.

Version 1.08, or Pronto as they call it, is supposed to let me see attached jpgs and PDFs and such but is it really worth it?? I don't think so. PLUS, now I have to carry around TWO gadgets instead of a single cell phone. I think I'm gonna sell my Peek on eBay and go back to cell texting.

End of rant.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mars rover is stuck...

This is another reason why sending more than one of something is a better idea. If one of my rovers got stuck it could be rescued by other rovers. 2 heads are better than one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Transmitting power without wires!

My best friend (after my wife of course) MaTT just found a GREAT treasure on

From ThinkGeek:
Just plug the Wireless Extension Cord (WEC) base unit into a standard wall outlet, and plug whatever you need into the satellite unit. The WEC uses microwaves in the 7.2GHz range, so it won't interfere with wireless networks, Bluetooth components, etc. Now, all you need to do is adjust the antennae on the two units so they are aimed at each other. Turn everything on and you have the power! The distance the WEC units can broadcast differs from situation to situation (due to interference of such things as walls, power lines, and microwave ovens), but we've beamed power over 300 feet! The future is wireless - and the WEC's are your ticket to the future.
This could be VERY handy on a rover. I would put on one each rover in case it gets stuck or too far from a charging station. It sends out a signal of where it is and that is needs power. Charging station can locate the rover and adjust the sending panel and transmit power to the power hungry rover.

MaTT was also the man to bring the Powerpad to my attention. This is the actual site he gave me... See how the technology works here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rover recharging.

I found this article while trying to find a site that I found the other day. Powerpad could be used to recharge rovers.
An early design of the technology resembles a thick rubber place mat. Metal "connectivity points" span the pad's surface and deliver power to the charging contacts on a compatible notebook, cell phone, or other device that is laid on the surface. A single pad can power or recharge various compatible devices at once, accommodating as many as will fit on the pad, according to company representatives. Each unit will contain the intelligence to identify itself and its specs to the pad.
This could EASILY be modified to charge dying batteries for my rovers. Using this method of charging alleviates the need to be very precise when connecting to a charge station.

According to the article this was made to be released in 2003 so I'm sure there have been some advances in this technology.

Battery powered motorcycle made from junk!

This guy got laid off from work and decided to build a motorcycle from junk he found to run on batteries.

You can watch the video here...
or visit his website here...

The point to this post is to show that if some random person in Nebraska can build a motorcycle (from junk) to run from batteries and be charged with solar (from junk) or wind (from junk) with NO foreknowledge about how to build these things (from junk) then NASA should be able to do the same thing but about 100x more efficient.

Here is a picture of the bike with wind generator and solar panel.

I should get a basic parts list of what it could take to get one of my rovers built. I bet it's well under $2,000. Wonder what a single Spider-bot would cost.

Rovers: the technology is available.

I found this article today about a guy who designed "a mobile robotic platform, started more than a year ago. Desktop software (originally created in .NET C# and then ported to Flex/ActionScript) communicates with the mobile platform, can monitor its surroundings via a mounted webcam, operate it remotely and activate autonomous mode."

You can get more detailed information at the creator's web site.

This guy is on the right track. With this kind of technology there is no reason a lunar rover can't run on it's own to do simple tasks. Or complex ones. I say give this guy a job at NASA to help me get my rovers to the moon and beyond.

Where else could we send my rovers to explore? Make them wateproof and drop them in the ocean. Give them the ability to surface and recharge with solar panels. While it's surfaced transmit it's data back to base. The idea may be without limits.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lunar Rover: more scenes.

Here we see an updated version of unloading materials and supplies.

Here are 2 rovers changing a tire on a third.

This is the VERY basic concept of the power connectors. The silver circles are the magnets to hold them in place. The brown circles are the connection points. It's very simple. The only thing that would interfere is dust. I've updated the main rover with a row of these along the long sides. You will see these in the 2 above pictures.

Click to enlarge.

Lunar Rover Updates.

I've redesigned the rover a little. I've decided that the simplest way to allow for multiple modules to be added and moved is to make the main floor out of bars. This correlates with my idea of adding "claws" to the bottoms of each module.

Here is an example "scene" of something that may happen. The smaller rover in the bottom left has been fitted with 2 HD cameras and a solar panel. This will allow the rover to basically roam wherever it wants to taking pictures. The main action here is the 3 larger rovers. The middle one is carrying 3 garden pods (containing lettuce) and is flanked by 2 other rovers who will be lifting each pod. The larger rover on the right has also been fitted with 2 solar panels to help charge it's batteries and help them last longer.

As you can see there are many scenarios where this method can be utilized. This is the main thought on my mind recently so there will be more updates on this.

One large hurdle to figure out is the universal connectors that should connect the modules sitting on the rover sled to the computer on the rover. I like the idea of the power connector on Macbooks. Magnetic and easy to connect and disconnect. I also like the concept of a USB plug and play method. More to come...