Saturday, June 15, 2002 ::: Robert Heinlein, in The Rolling Stones, under Aspects of Domestic Engineeing, describes a rocket engine (after describing the incredible complexity of cars Despite their mad shortcomings, these "automobiles" were the most characteristic form of wealth and the most cherished possessions of their time. Three whole generations were slaves to them) :
... a rocket engine is a the simplest of all possible heat engines. Castor and Pollux [Stone, the twin boys of the Stone clan travelling by rocket ship] might have found themselves baffled by the legendary Model-T Ford automobile, but the Rolling Stone [ship] was not nearly that complex, she was merely much larger.
This is what I love about a simple model rocket engine: While not the nuclear rocket Heinlein describes, it is equally simple, and elegant. You can happily pick up an engine, say a lowly A8-3 and know, "I've got 2.5 newton-seconds of power, and an average thrust of 8 newtons. This must burn for .3 seconds. It will coast for 3 seconds before the recovery charge kicks in..." No moving parts. No programming, just basic, reliable design that you can build your own missles around.
::: posted by Joel at 10:13 PM
New blog - hopefully a log of missle flights from Buford Avenue
::: posted by Joel at 2:09 PM
Just attended some sessions at the annual Chesterton conference - excellent, including a "vist" from GKC himself, on the 66th anniversary of his demise.
Some good SF-ish thoughts from Father Brown:
when he listened again it was again Father Brown who was speaking:
"Reason and justice grip the remotest and the loneliest star. Look at those stars. Don't they look as if they were single diamonds and sapphires? Well, you can imagine any mad botany or geology you please. Think of forests of adamant with leaves of brilliants. Think the moon is a blue moon, a single elephantine sapphire. But don't fancy that all that frantic astronomy would make the smallest difference to the reason and justice of conduct. On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you would still find a notice-board, `Thou shalt not steal.'"
::: posted by Joel at 2:08 PM
Thursday, June 13, 2002 ::: OKAY, Here's a MrKlingon poll:
::: posted by Joel at 3:17 PM
I'm really liking the Java-based Ascii art editor "Jave". You can get it (free!) at
::: posted by Joel at 1:59 PM
Wednesday, June 12, 2002 ::: The Rocket is the Perfect Machine
Hmm ... I need to find the book "The Rolling Stones" by Heinlein and insert his thoughts in this space.....
::: posted by Joel at 4:01 PM
Perfect Night to Blast Off
No question, last night was a great night - no a perfect night for a launch. We were out walking the dog, and I could see that the flags were hanging straight down, the sky was clear, as was the missle field (baseball diamond) by our house.
I was ready to go by myself, but when I mentioned it to my daughter she said sure! So, we grabbed two pre-packed rockets (unlaunched from last year's science fair project). One was a B the other a C(yikes!). This lead to two beautiful launches.... sadly it only lead to one landing.... but there were no crashes, screams, sirens so I assume the C engine rocket rests on a roof top or in a tree somewhere....
::: posted by Joel at 8:31 AM