Monday Links from the Bench vol. DXXV Monday Links from the Bench vol. DXXV
Posts 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    My post count is Majestic

    NickFitz has reached the peak. Play again?

    NickFitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Your local branch
    Posts
    50,594

    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. DXXV

    Two weeks since perihelion and it’s already getting colder. It does work like that, doesn’t it?

    • Operation Backfire - From 1999, Francis Spufford looks back at Britain's post-war rocket programmes such as Blue Streak and Black Arrow, talking to the people involved: ”Men in tweed jackets with leather elbow patches sat in control rooms watching bakelite consoles. The countdown was delivered in regional accents… Real British rocket scientists don’t consider building rockets to be ... rocket science. ‘I don’t think it’s very hard at all,’ Roy Dommett said as I sat on his sofa in Farnborough last year.”

    • About a cat flip video! - Dr. SkySkull, who has recently published a book on the physics of falling cats, explores a recent viral video of a cat flipping itself around in a rather weird way: ”What surprised me about this: assuming that this video has not been altered, and I have no reason to think that it has, we have a cat that is using the cat-righting reflex to do something quite distinct from making sure it lands on its feet! In particular, it is using the ‘cat flip’ to change its horizontal orientation, rather than its vertical orientation.”


    • Dumpster diving is giving crows higher cholesterol—but does it matter? - Crow expert Dr. Kaeli Swift on a new study into the effect of junk food on the health of scavenging urban crows: ”Given that anthropogenic foods can account for as much as 65% of an urban crow’s diet, it seems essential to understand what a diet derived from regularly feasting at McDonalds might do to an animal with 0.7% the body mass of a typical human. Unfortunately, we could do little more than shrug and speculate as to its effects. The data for a more informed understanding just didn’t exist. That is, until today.”

    • Blowing in the Wind: Why the Netherlands Is Sinking - Having already started out with much of their land below sea level, the Dutch now find it’s getting lower: ”The windmills were used for centuries to drain peatland for cattle grazing and agriculture at large, and that draining — these days done by pumping stations — is causing the land in some places to sink at an average rate of 8 millimeters per year, or about one-third of an inch… At a certain point, building foundations begin to crack, sinkholes appear, roads destabilize, and the risk of flooding increases. More construction results in more pressing down of the peat — and more subsidence.”

    • Mosaic Tilemaker - From the Qatar Foundation International, a fun tool for making tile designs of the kind found in Islamic art: ”For centuries, Islamic designers and craftsmen have made geometric patterns just by drawing straight lines and circles with a compass and straight edge. With a click or two, Tilemaker lets you build layers of lines and circles, mimicking their actions. As you experiment drawing different intersections of line segments and circles you will discover new patterns, just as they did!” Here’s my first effort, created in a minute or so with a few clicks, and demonstrating why I’m not a designer


    • How I Stopped a Credit Card Thief From Ripping Off 3,537 People – and Saved Our Nonprofit in the Process - Quincy Larson, founder of freeCoderCamp.org, discovered a horrific situation when he awoke on January 8th: ”Our nonprofit – which operates on an annual budget of less than $400,000 – had just received more than $60,000 in 24 hours - and from thousands of donors… There was only one thing that could cause a surge in donations like this. Fraud. Extensive, programmatic credit card fraud.”

    • How TV Comedy’s Funniest Characters Got Their Names - ”Screenwriters on ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Arrested Development’ and many other comedies share the stories behind instant classics like Frink, Smithers and Bob Loblaw.”

    • How 200 historic Hollywood backdrops were saved from the dumpster - ”There is no more iconic Hollywood image than the backdrop. Backdrops, or backings, are the enormous paintings that make the movie and television industries possible by stretching the confines of a studio set into endless possibility. With a good backdrop, western plains can stretch to the horizon, snowy peaks of mountains create the suspense of dizzying heights, jungles bloom, skyscrapers loom and cities wink through apartment windows.” They tended to be thrown away when they were no longer needed, but now the Art Directors Guild Backdrop Recovery Project is finding new homes for them. This one from The Sound of Music now adorns Sony Studios’ Scenic Art building.


    • Inside the digital clock from a Soyuz spacecraft - Ken Shirriff kicks off the new year with another piece of space-related electronics: ”We recently obtained a clock that flew on a Soyuz space mission. The clock, manufactured in 1984, contains over 100 integrated circuits on ten circuit boards. Why is the clock so complicated? In this blog post, I examine the clock's circuitry and explain why so many chips were needed. The clock also provides a glimpse into the little-known world of Soviet aerospace electronics and how it compares to American technology.”

    • The Haunting Beauty of Snowflakes: Wilson Bentley’s Pioneering 19th-Century Photomicroscopy of Snow Crystals - Maria Popova on Bentley and his pioneering photographic work: ”On January 15, 1880, Wilson Bentley took his first photograph of a snowflake. Mesmerized by the beauty of the result, he transported his equipment to the unheated wooden shed behind the farmhouse and began recording his work… For forty-six winters to come, this slender quiet boy, enchanted by the wonders of nature and attentive to its minutest manifestations, would hold his breath over the microscope-camera station and take more than 5,000 photographs of snow crystals.”



    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

    Godlike

    DoctorStrangelove has reached the peak. Play again?

    DoctorStrangelove's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    7,038

    Default

    Further to the Francis Spufford Black Arrow thing:

    Vertical Empire, A: History Of The British Rocketry Programme (Second Edition): Amazon.co.uk: Charles N Hill: 9781848167964: Books

    Another tribute to Grocer fecking Heath and his merry men.

    Loved the Soviet Clock.

    All those flatpack chips, I don't think I've ever seen that many, most of the space stuff we did was DIL.
    Last edited by DoctorStrangelove; 20th January 2020 at 14:19.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

  3. #3

    Godlike

    Zigenare is a fount of knowledge

    Zigenare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    6,114

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorStrangelove View Post
    Further to the Francis Spufford Black Arrow thing:

    Vertical Empire, A: History Of The British Rocketry Programme (Second Edition): Amazon.co.uk: Charles N Hill: 9781848167964: Books

    Another tribute to Grocer fecking Heath and his merry men.
    If you fancy a little bit of fun, have a look at RAF Spadeadam via Google Earth. You can spot the Rocket Testbeds and if you look really closely you'll spot the dummy runway and aircraft...
    Old Greg - In search of acceptance since Mar 2007. Hoping each leap will be his last.

  4. #4

    My post count is Majestic

    NickFitz has reached the peak. Play again?

    NickFitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Your local branch
    Posts
    50,594

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zigenare View Post
    If you fancy a little bit of fun, have a look at RAF Spadeadam via Google Earth. You can spot the Rocket Testbeds and if you look really closely you'll spot the dummy runway and aircraft...
    Some photos here from a SubBrit visit to the site: RAF Spadeadam

  5. #5

    Super poster

    quackhandle - scorchio!

    quackhandle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Bag End, The Shire, Middle Earth
    Posts
    2,691

    Default

    Great links thanks Nick.

    Enjoyed Op Backfire and the Credit Card one.

    qh
    He had a negative bluety on a quackhandle and was quadraspazzed on a lifeglug.

    I look forward to your all knowing and likely sarcastic and unhelpful reply.


  6. #6

    Nice But Dim

    DaveB is a fount of knowledge

    DaveB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    20,602

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Some photos here from a SubBrit visit to the site: RAF Spadeadam
    El Reg did a full article on Spadeam as well.

    Talking a Blue Streak: The ambitious, quiet waste of the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment • The Register
    "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

  7. #7

    Nice But Dim

    DaveB is a fount of knowledge

    DaveB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    20,602

    Default

    From the Backfire article

    Quote Originally Posted by Typical British Understatement
    You did have to be careful how you handled the stuff. The rocketmen worked in all-over plastic suits when they were pumping HTP – very sweaty on warm days, so some men wore only Y-fronts underneath. It was best to store the HTP in underwater tanks, because if you let the air get at it, evaporation would silently reduce the remaining content of ordinary H2O in the 80 per cent mixture until it became liable to combust spontaneously, without even a catalyst to set it off. Dribbles of HTP left behind after a test in the twists of a pipe assembly would drain out onto the sleeve of the person taking it apart: ‘Instantly the whole sleeve catches fire, pooff, as quickly as that. So everybody worked in twos, with one of them holding a running hose, and you just flicked the hose onto your mate when he was on fire, and he’d go: “Oh, that was a nuisance.” ’
    Same stuff that was in the torpedo that sank the Kursk when it malfunctioned.
    "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •