Shutdown: X-15


Putting the X in space way before SpaceX put it after.

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A Launchpad Gets A New Owner


Above, Columbia sits atop Launch Pad 39A in preparation for STS-1, the first space shuttle mission. This wasn’t the first time LC-39A would see the flames of rocket motors. It has been around since the Apollo days. In fact, the first unmanned, manned, and Saturn V launches of the Apollo program left earth from LC-39A.

Today, according to Click Orlando, LC-39A has a new owner. Well, technically NASA still owns LC-39A, but SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease with the government for the rights to LC-39A. SpaceX plans to launch it’s first Falcon Heavy rocket from the historic launch pad next year. If they are granted a NASA contract to provide manned flights to the ISS they plan on launching those flights, with their Dragon crew module riding atop their Falcon rocket. This would mark another first for the pad — the first time a private company has launched a manned mission to ISS.

It’s a changing world we live in. A world where private enterprise is rising up to a challenge and showing that man does still yearn for the boundlessness of space.

Bizarre Powerplants

Sit Down and Drive

A radio controlled toilet–Japanese style. After all, it’s Saturday! “It’s actually designed for fun, and probably would not be a very ideal place for you to do your business. Just a thought.”

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Covet Thy Neighbours' Swag

Sometimes Free Stuff Isn’t Worth It


Spring seems to be in the full swing of all its springy goodness, swinging from nice warm sunny days to storms and snow (not where I live, but I mean, so I hear). It also brings with it the joys of being motivated to clean out such fun locations as the garage, and perhaps unload some stuff you haven’t used in awhile. For us here at SFSIWI, that mean prime time to get a hold of some of that free stuff, courtesy of the internets! Last week, $kaycog showed us a highly customized mattress, such a find it couldn’t be topped! Nice job! There is a picture even, so check it out if you missed it, and let us see in the comments what you find this week!

Airborne Awesomosity

The Blimp is Dead: Long Live the Zeppelin!

On March 14, Goodyear announced the completion of its newest “blimp”, and the craft had her maiden flight March 18. To sort of celebrate the occasion, Goodyear has released a time lapse of the ship’s construction, which you can find conveniently located after the jump. But as for the real question, why is “blimp” in quotes, well, let’s have it straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Assembly of the new blimp began in March 2013 at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake hangar. An international team of engineers and technicians from Goodyear and Germany’s ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik worked side by side to complete the build project. Parts such as the tail fins and gondola were built in Germany and shipped to the U.S. for assembly. The balloon-like body of the airship – the “envelope” – is made of polyester with an innovative film from DuPont™ called Tedlar®, surrounding a semi-rigid internal structure, which differentiates this airship from previous Goodyear blimps.” (Goodyear)

Semi-rigid? That’s no blimp! But, well, I don’t suppose it is technically a Zeppelin either, since they are more so full rigid. So, semi-blimp? Bleppelin? Zeppelimp?
Continue reading The Blimp is Dead: Long Live the Zeppelin!


Something Better: Vacuum Cleaners


There has been a mild discussion, perhaps debate even, if you will, in the house of Hyco recently. Our semi-acceptable vacuum divested itself of some plastic bits that turned out to be integral to its successful operation. As such, the question of what sort of new vacuum to try has come up again. Bagless vs. bagged, canister vs. upright, expensive vs. cheap and disposable (or expensive and disposable for that matter), etc. It really comes down to the fact that here we live in the future, and yet we are stuck with 100+ year old tech involving a big motor spinning a fan to create suction, and trying to somehow encourage that suction to lift up the dirt and dust from the floor. Why don’t we have something better? Lasers somehow, or a way to electro-statically charge the dirt particles and attract them to a collector, or, I don’t know, dust repellent floors that slope just slightly and drive the dirt down to one side of the room and trapped.

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Shutdown: Little Teapot


Here is my handle, and here is my spout. And here are my four windshields.

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Shutdown: Snow Globes


In opposite land.

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Free Range Technology

A Nerdy Weekend Filled With Success and Resounding Failure

Xubuntu Laptop

This last weekend I decided to tackle a couple of tech projects I’ve been meaning to do for a while. The genesis of all of this was the fact that I have a detached garage with no connection to the innerwebs. Having access to the tubes that carry the World Wide Web while working on a project out there without having to run inside and muck up the desktop’s keyboard with dirty or greasy hands would be quite convenient. So, I developed a plan. As we all know, the best laid plans fall apart as soon as the first shot is fired.

Continue reading A Nerdy Weekend Filled With Success and Resounding Failure

Quixotic Quantum Quandary

Q³: Hold On!


Welcome once again to Quixotic Quantum Quandary!! Thanks to the mysterious nature of life itself, this feature has been missing (and surely missed, no doubt), but we are back! And mysterious as ever! And by that I do mean of course grainy and close cropped.

I had the experience recently of buying and old Q-Jet carb at a yard sale for $10. Was it, is it worth $10? I am not entirely sure, that seemed somewhat reasonable to me, and I did end up taking it home. I only bring this up because of the nature of the bargaining at said yard sale. There were several folks running the sale, it looked to be a family-got-together-and-cleaned-up-grandma’s-house sort of sale, and so I asked the group what they wanted for that old Q-Jet. Mostly I just got blank stares, so I had to clarify, ‘that old carburetor over there.’ The lady says I need to ask the men, the men say, what do you think it’s worth, or what would I pay, some such as that. So I say that I don’t know, $5 maybe? This resulted in scoffs and comments of it being worth at least $20-30, to which I was not too receptive, being that I don’t actually own a vehicle that could utilize said carb, and, well, I am sort of cheap. We came to an agreement, thanks to one of the fellows running the sale convincing the other guy that since I didn’t need it, and they really didn’t need it, how about $10? The high valuer didn’t ever seem really convinced, so, was this just a clever negotiating tactic, or what? Why ask me what I think it is worth, surely assuming I will lowball, then scoff at my response?! Just give me a starting point with which to begin the negotiations!

Continue reading Q³: Hold On!