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Ok, so more of an explanation than an excuse. Work changed the security settings and now blogging is impossible. Sure, impossible means I could figure something out and cheat, but I won’t. They clearly don’t want us blogging from work. Blah. I just spent the money to extend this website for 2 more years, so I’m just going to have to get a better interface at home.

Sorry for the long absence.

Camp Nanowrimo

So, everyone knows (or ought to know) that I am a major failed writer. I’ve not been published by most of the big names out there. I have a regular spot in the nanowrimo competition, which I also fail at.

I do have a book waiting for a read at BAEN, but it may be a century before the editor actually looks at it. Slush piles ain’t fun. So, I recommend everyone give up. (that should lessen the slush pile enough that I can get another book in.)

Nanowrimo is a book writing challenge in November. Camp Nanowrimo is in July. Not exactly the same challenge, but a good one. I’m planning on knocking out some good chapters, cleaning up some of my interludes, building a good book II to my unpublished book I.

I’d appreciate some help, comment. Maybe an edit or two. Mostly, just comment on here if you want to play with words. Set up a nanowrimo account and we go from there.

Oh, and don’t overthink it.


That bit of content is from XKCD.COM

Pandagators – The long joke I promised you.

So, the Pandagator joke takes a good long while to unwind, and no pictures, so relax and sit back. Several years ago, we had an “Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow, whether you like it or not” panel at Dragon Con. For those of you who have never been…why are you reading this? … it is a lot of fun. If anyone has pictures, I’ll post them, but I don’t have any at work.

First, imagine down at the bottom of the hill of Dragon Con, 2pm on Saturday in the Hilton Atlanta, downstairs in the Crystal Ballroom, 600 people in the audience, four guy up on stage. There was a range of personalities on the stage, but I was the regular, Dr. DNA was a regular, everyone else was there for a few years. We had a flock of assistants in lab coats making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, my big DOOM Box in the corner, flashing sparks and smoking lightly, JonnyX and his cattle prod. People screaming. It was a hell of a show.

On that year, we had a PhD Neuroscience guy (Evil Brain), a PhD Bio Chemist (Dr. DNA), a PhD Physicist (Evil G), and a Nuclear Engineer of no particular merit. (Me). Pardon me if I don’t get everyone’s degrees right, I can never remember my own, much less everyone else’s. Just remember that they’re much smarter than me. The fun of an hour variety show was that we each had a time slot where we took over the panel, did a few power point charts, some comments, a joke or two.

Well, to get to the joke, we had talked the previous year about “evil plots to take over the earth.” My plot, I think, involved black holes. Evil G was using a beam of charm quarks directed at your hometown.

“If the effects are good, send me money, I’ll keep it up. If the effects are bad, send me money, I’ll quit. If you’re not sure, I’d advise sending me money anyway, as it couldn’t hurt.”

So, for his presentation, Evil G brought it up again. He had a slide show for this year’s work.

“SO, Last year I talked to you about taking over the world using a beam of Charm quarks. I have since decided that using physics to take over the world is too hard. I’m using something easy this year, DNA Splicing.”

The two guys with PhD’s in biology, head desk simultaneously. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I wish I had his power point. It had a variety of predators made by sticking together pictures of animals. an example is the EEL gle – an eel head with eagle body. The Apex Ambush Predator was the Panda Gator – Looks innocent from the bush, but when it jumps you, its got a big bite.

Vacation: I got hit by a tornado

Gulf Wars 2016, Lumberton Mississippi

Ok, it sucked. I got in one war point, some nice fighting there, but then we got hit by a tornado and pretty much folded the show. Sucked. Water everywhere. Horizontal rain. Plastic tents were all blown down, many destroyed. Most of the heavy canvas ones did well, but may need repair/dried out. Rough week.

I drove 2000 miles and spent a thousand bucks to sit under a damn tornado. well. maybe better luck next year.


Historical Space Flight – Soviet Era Soyuz

I’ll get back to my future of space flight next time, but I got distracted by a funny story, so I’ll tell you all one. This is a story about a Soyuz, a Soviet era manned crew vehicle that astronauts and cosmonauts have used to get to the ISS, Mir, etc.


Figure 1. From the top, the escape rockets, the Soyuz capsule, the Soyuz spacecraft, the other 90% is rocket.

Someone was talking Russian disasters yesterday. So, as a rocket boy, there are a couple sweet disasters in the Russian program. My “favorite” is the miss-launch of a Soyuz capsule.

Figure 2. A perfectly good landing of a Soyuz Capsule

So,there were two Russian cosmonauts on-board the Soyuz Spacecraft on top of the big Soyuz-U rocket and they launch with nothing obvious happening. They ride the candle up, pulling just shy of 4 gs for about a minute, heading east out of Star City. That means that each astronaut laid on their couch weighing a bit under 700 lbs. Somewhere over the Ural mountains, they had an engine failure. Not to let the Capsule get blown up with the rocket, ground control ejects the capsule then disintegrates the rocket.
So, this is planned for, but you can imagine that it is probably the most frightening few seconds of your life. You go from sitting on top of a giant rocket to sitting under one. The emergency escape rocket is in front of the capsule, above it, so if there was a window, you’d be lying in your couch, looking up at the exhaust. Three seconds later, you’re a kilometer away and the there are explosions behind you, you just wish you had a selfi stick. ‘Cause everyone looks cooler standing in front of an explosion.
The Soyuz capsule has two ways of getting to the ground, a parachute and three retro-rockets on its bottom. The parachute doesn’t let it drift, they’re going down at something like 50 miles an hour. They can’t do a pretty landing like a SciFi novel, (or Duck Dogers in the 24 and 1/2 century) but when the “brick” detects ground, it fires the rockets for a second. You get a 1-meter deceleration at 10 gs, which gets cosmonauts to the ground relatively unharmed.
Except. The design is based on a desert landing, which has at least one major difference from the Ural mountains. The word “FLAT” does not have a horizontal meaning in the Urals.
Again, you can imagine being a Cosmonaut, congratulating yourself on surviving another of Mother Russia’s attempts to kill you. The parachute has you in a nice elevator fall, you sink back in your seat to wait for the 1 second bone jarring smack…and you encounter terrain at a 45 degree angle. The rockets roar and you go flipping and spinning down the side of a mountain. To add insult to the broken legs and arms, it takes two weeks for the helicopters to find you, despite the three mile long path of devastation.

Gleissberg Solar Minimum – Global Warming (cooling)


I was looking at Watts Up With That and saw the article. Let me clarify something – We know very little about the sun. Also, we know very little about how the sun affects the Earth.

Yes, I’m aware of sunlight, magnetic fields, etc. I’m an expert, so unless you’ve got some years in the field, don’t interrupt.

The general opinion of a few years ago was that 99.99% of the solar effects on the Earth was from sunlight. Then they allowed that maybe 1% was particles, but since there was little direct correlation between 12-year solar cycles and temperature change, it probaly wasn’t important.

Ok, so now they are coming to recognize what most people “in the field” know. The sun is complicated. Correlation between sun spots and solar activity isn’t 1 = 1. Sure, low numbers of sun spots might indicate low solar storms, but a high density and high velocity solar wind might actually mean the Earth got MORE heating during a minimum. The sun spots are only indicative of 1 type of solar weather.

So pop on over to and get a deeper view of the weather on the sun.

1) how spotty is the surface?

    not very. a few spots. The magnetogram might give a better answer, but really it is hard to tell the difference between big magnetic events and small ones. Comparing to the sunspot chart gives the same answer.

 2) How much pressure is in the solar wind?

 The solar wind runs around 2 – 5 nPa at velocities around 400 – 1000 km/s. Since you square velocity for total energy, velocity can be pretty important. Currently velocity is under 400 and density is under 1. Ok, so the wind is pretty weak right now.

3) magnetic field is usually North or South. I’ll get it backwards again, but the more North it is, the more it sticks to our magnetic field. If the wind is strong and sticky, it’ll have a bigger effect on the Earth.

4) time history is hard to judge, but if you look at the Earth’s Kp, you kind of have a time integral of what has happened the last few days. High Kp, it has been rough winds. Kp less than 4… quiet.

So, we’ve had long periods of very quiet sun, leading to a minimum that is very weak by any modern measurement. Is this an historic minimum. Heck if I know. Hard to judge what no one has measured before. But yeah, I see some resemblance to the Gleissberg cycle here. (among others.) We really won’t know till we have data, the rest is just fortune telling with expensive crystal balls.


Dragon Con 2014

Look, it absolutely stinks that two months before D*Con my website fails.

I am not forgetting Dragon Con, the Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirl party, or anything else.

Updates will occur, this page will soldier on, etc, etc, etc.

(Dr. DNA is bringing tequilla, its gonna be an exciting day.)meow


Sorry folks, It turns out they deleted the old blog. I’m trying to figure out how to get the posts back, but … Godaddy. I’m not pleased right now.