The Weekend without Mom


Mom went on holiday, leaving me with the baby. No, this wasn’t some trauma, she had an offer and I thought she should go. Four ladies in a van for 12 hours and a couple days in a hotel. She had a good time. I will do road trips, but not with a baby.

The baby and I took some time to play. I don’t mean to demean anyone, but I’m a master at “staging work.” As soon as the baby is asleep, I moved a door upstairs and assembled it, patched a couple of dry wall screw holes, and re-hung some curtains. So, when the baby was awake, I could devote my weekend to her.

Some folks figure that I should work on Engineering things, like blocks, Legos, and screwdrivers, when I have the helm but she’s 3. I think the core educational issues are reading, using the potty, drawing with chalk, and running around in circles. We hit those hard.

Being the dad of the Worlds Cutest Baby (C) is a big responsibility, but I’m a fighter.


The Future of Space Flight

The other day, on Facebook/Twitter, I reposted a snarky comment.

“It’s amusing seeing NASA try to use The Martian to build support for their Journey to Mars. Using hard sci-fi to help sell fantasy…”

Why can’t NASA launch a manned mission to anywhere?

  1. Because it is a bloated bureaucracy
  2. Because “safe” space travel is nearly impossible, and politicians don’t waste their precious vote capital on anything but sure things.
  3. Because it takes 10 years to do a mission. Presidents only last 8. It makes no political sense to make your predecessor a hero. Obama cancelled Bush’s Constellation, whoever comes next would cancel Obama’s mission priorities…if he had any.

JPL runs a tight ship, so I’ve been told. They put instruments on planets. However, deeply unsexy. They tried hard to sell New Horizon, I doubt anyone heard about the Pluto fly-by that didn’t have a space-geek in the family. The last popular mission was Mars, Spirit… landed in 2004. It has been a decade since “normal people” downloaded space images from the internet.

SO, NASA needs a road map that is unsexy and can be followed without glorifying the name of any sitting president, meaning cheap as well.

  1. Get to Low Earth Orbit, LEO


I love space planes. Get them up to MACH 9, hit the outer limits of the atmosphere, release the cargo. The cargo is traveling at escape velocity, a little bit of thrust and it docks with the ISS.

There is a bit of trouble with space planes, they need to be going about MACH 3 before the Scramjets will kick-on.


SO, we build an accelerator which gets them up to speed on the ground. (I prefer a 10 mile linear, but the ring is an easier picture.)

Do able? yes. Cheaper than rockets? considerably. Further, they fit into the skillset we currently have, not the one we wish we had. We know all about airplanes, we know very little about space travel. We’ve been working with balloons, gliders, and powered air vehicles since the 1700’s, rockets are new-fangled in comparison. We have MILLIONS of hours of air travel, considerably less in space. Work with what we know.

This is only step one, more soon.

Dragon Con 2015 – After Action Report

I was going to add a big “Wrap Up” article for Dragon con, but I haven’t really been inspired. I loved my panels, but I can’t think of what I’d like to add to them right now. Maybe later.

If you want copies of any of the panels, email Hawk at Madscientist dot name. I’ll send you any of the power points that I have. Mars radiation went extremely well, Space 2050 went well. Space 2050 was the last panel of Dragon Con Space Track, ended at 3:30 Monday Afternoon.


People waited in line to get in, and it got stuffed to the gills.

The science panels were so full that people were left outside. Very Sad. Heck, the only panel that didn’t fill the aisles was “Fighting and Writing” and there were over two hundred people in the room, at 11 pm on Friday night.

I went to a couple panels that had space left. Sadly enough, the Atlanta Radio Theater show was 1/2 empty. Folks, If you have never been to ARTG, go. It is an experience worth having. I go every year. This year was Passion of Frankenstein. I’m buying that next year.

I also got in a swordfight. It cost a fortune to mail my armor to the ring and I’m still getting my son to mail it back, but that’s life.


I will pay extra to have a swordfight. These ladies aren’t just cheesecake, lovely as they are, both are experience fighters. I heard that one of them was running up the ranks, but had decided to help today instead of fight. I much appreciated the water and cheesecake.

Heck, some of the best conversation was during the Scotch tasting at Baen Barflies. I was sitting with a fellow who worked at Fermi Lab. We argued over some basics of physics, I got schooled in triggering for beam detectors. It really was interesting. I’m not sure it all means what he think it means, but I understand the beam-physics researchers point of view a bit better. I may someday get convinced there is a Quark-Gluon plasma. (Heck, I might believe in dark matter, dark energy, and responsible budget processes.)

You all have fun and keep in touch. I’ll try to be responsible about updating the blog.