A few recommended books, movies, games, and albums. If you want to look for more recommendations, feel free to look at the larger selection over at Amazon or my Amazon Store with more recommendations.

  • Cryptonomicon
    by Neal Stephenson
  • DreamCypher
    Dancing Ferret
  • Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Walt Disney Records
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    by Robert A. Heinlein

Entries from August 1, 2005 - August 31, 2005


It's Spaceship Three

Not really. What's resurfaced in a press release and is being discussed at slashdot is that Spaceship Three, from Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic (no lack of ambition evident in that name...) is intended to be an orbital craft. While I agree that SS1 can't simply be scaled up to an orbital vehicle without significant work in materiel and engines (among other things, the total thrust is significantly higher to get into orbit, as well as the deceleration and heat), it will still be interesting to see what the X-prize model of development will bring forth from SC and other competitors.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane.....

An article from the University of florida about an engineer who has developed an RC-model based drone with wings that change their actual shape in flight (as opposed to extending flaps, etc) from a F4U coarsair-like inverse gull to the opposite.

The intended usage is for highly maneuverable drones that can be operated even in a city.

An MPEG of the wing in action is available here.

It would take some work to scale this up to human-carrying aircraft. One of the reason plane wings are relatively stiff is that to build the wing strong enough to carry what we would call a decent load would make the wing unreasonably heavy if it had to have all the parts and supports required to make it bend like a bird's wing. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how far this can be pushed, and more maneuverable, cheap drones are also a good thing, with any number of applications, many of them civilian.

Comparable Worth

If you have a bureaucracy that is responsible for determining who makes how much for what job, what happens when you need to create a job position that hasn't existed before because you've created a new product, a new way to make things, or your business model requires your employees to combine aspects of existing jobs in new ways? I can imagine few better ways to stifle innovation and job creation than to make it nearly impossible to create new types of work.

More on Competition

While I was gone, it seems that Cringely has written an article echoing some of my earlier concerns here in response to a recent court decision. Again being discussed is competition in the ISP marketplace, how the court decisions affect it, and what has that meant for those of us stuck in out of the way places like Charleston (which incidentally, applies to both Cringely and I).

Took a Couple Days Off...

...(as if that affects my posting, or lack therof), and headed to the mountains in Tennessee. It was some well-needed downtime from all of the programming and other projects I had been working on.

Here's some sample pics:

In the Greenbrier section of the park is an easy access road leading to a few apparently real good trails that we did not have the time to try. This road follows along the Little Pigeon River at first before splitting off. This island is in the middle of where two different streams feed together.

This photo was taken from the the observation tower atop of Clingman's Dome in the Smoky Mountains National Park. At 6643 feet, it is the highest point in the Appalachian Trail, and affords you a view of Newfound Gap and many of the surrounding hills. On a clear day you can see for many more miles than we could in this photo. As it is, it's odd to be inside the cloud raining on you.

On the NC side of the park on the way back down and home from Clingman's dome, we took this photo, after the weather had already cleared up.

The entire park is incredibly lush. It may not be, technically, a "temperate rainforest" like the coastal areas of the Northwest US, but it is constantly humid and rains nearly daily.