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Everything posted by Codraroll

  1. Remember the old adage of this industry: "Any announcement made of an event more than two years in the future might as well not have been made at all." Or in other words, if it's more than two years away, it's entirely up in the air and subject to any change at any moment.
  2. That could also be a side effect of the fumes from rocket fuel.
  3. Metal parts go in the metal bin, plastic parts go in the plastics bin, the fuel probably sorts as "flammables", and the electronics can be returned to any shop that sells electronic equipment.
  4. In Norway, the contest is known as "Melodi Grand Prix". It probably stems from the original official name "The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix", which was in use until 1968. "Melodi Grand Prix" is a nice rhyme in Norwegian that rolls nicely off the tongue, so it has been retained even if the EBU changed the international branding more than fifty years ago. The commonly used abbreviation is MGP, which is much less of a mouthful than ESC.
  5. And blackjack! And ladies of negotiable affection! Actually, forget the tank and the blackjack! Speaking of the Armata, apparently its chief problem is engine-related. Nearly all Soviet/Russian tanks since the 1930's have used an iteration of the V-2 engine (not related to the rocket), but Armata was designed around an entirely different engine. However, it hasn't worked as expected, and since the tank is a different size, they can't just throw in a V-2 variant instead. The tank is built around the engine, and the chosen engine doesn't work. Neither is there a good supply of the necessary microelectronics, and because of the two aforementioned problems, there is no established production line for it, which again makes it prohibitively expensive to produce. It seems mass production of the Armata is still a long way away. It might even be shelved altogether. https://wavellroom.com/2023/02/10/armata-the-story-is-over/
  6. Similar damages to very similar parts of similar craft, in the same general area as each other. The odds of micrometeorites being so selective with their points of impact (and they have all of the ISS to hit, of which the two docked Russian craft comprise roughly a percent of the surface area) seem abysmally small. Could it be damage from fairing separation sending pieces of shrapnel to the same general area every time? Or a rough surface on whatever clamps are used to lift the craft into place for transport/assembly? Because it really seems that something is punching holes in roughly the same area of these craft. Or, well, "holes", maybe just pits, until thermal cycling cause them to finally break through. And as somebody chillingly pointed out in the comments section of the ArsTechnica article on the story, Soyuz MS-23 was loaded with hypergolic propellant before Progress MS-21 started to leak. If the leak was caused by a process on the ground, or related to the integration of the craft somehow, it may not have been discovered before MS-23 had been through most of it already. Before the same thing happened to MS-21, the story was a micrometeorite strike, after all, so they may not have taken any precautions regarding other failure modes. And it's not like a Soyuz can be drained of hypergolics while they go over it an extra time. Apparently, it's a "point of no return", "use it or lose it" milestone in the assembly process. Worst-case scenario, they might have bricked MS-23 before they could find the flaw. Well, now at least they know where to look for it.
  7. Rabbit-holing a little inspired by the most recent XKCD, I found a cool Twitter thread about packing shapes into larger shapes. As anybody with a dishwasher can attest to, it's not a neat business:
  8. No wars? Okay, crime it is. Or crime fiction, to be precise. The classic crime story resolution that "the butler did it!" was used for the first time (in a widely read story) in a 1930 mystery novel called "The Door" by Mary Roberts Rinehart. It was an otherwise forgettable book, apart from introducing the idea of the butler as being guilty of the crime to the public imagination. However, two years earlier than the publication of "The Door", novelist S.S. Van Dine wrote an essay featuring "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories", where he chided the idea of the butler being the murderer as a tired cliché. His words struck a chord, because we still poke fun of the idea today. "The butler did it!" is often quoted as an overused and unimaginative resolution to a detective novel. But prior to Van Dine's essay, only one piece of fiction has been found where the murderer turns out to be the victim's butler, and it was hardly read by anybody at the time. It was a short story titled "The Strange Case of Mr. Challoner" by one Herbert Jenkins, published as part of a detective stories collection in 1921. Until Rinehart's book in 1930, almost nobody had ever read a detective story with the butler as a culprit ... but already in 1928, it was called out for being a poor way to resolve a murder mystery. "The butler did it!" is so cliché that it was considered overused before it was used for the first time. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/dec/09/why-we-think-the-butler-did-it
  9. According to some, that wasn't a war. China tried to invade, got bogged down, realized after three weeks they had no good way of winning, pulled out, declared victory, and then pretended it never happened. If only current leaders were as good at recognizing when their failed invasion has gone sufficiently belly-up that quitting would be the best course of action ...
  10. Then the question is, how different does it look from a hole drilled in error at the manufacturing plant, covered with resin putty, and painted nicely over?
  11. It's not entirely controversial to say that Russia has certain challenges when it comes to quality control and accurate reporting of issues up and down the chain of command. If this is indeed the cause of these two failures, it is worrying. But if Roscosmos has been aware of it and still chooses to blame external factors instead of giving NASA an accurate rundown, we're crossing the threshold from worry into something rather more serious. Because that indicates they are willing to sweep some really serious issues under the rug, and it makes you wonder what else may be lying underneath that rug already.
  12. Not sure whether this belonged here or in the Fun Fact thread, as it's not very closely related to science per se, but I ultimately decided that the subject matter was so decidedly un-fun that the other thread would be inappropriate. Still interesting, though: The seismic waves of today's Turkey/Syria earthquake, passing through Japan: https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1622436401299226626
  13. All fine, if done in their own airspace. But when balloons fly into the airspace of other countries, certain international treaties apply. And when they fly into the airspace of other countries without a warning beforehand, it's an outright hostile action according to most definitions.
  14. A leading theory at the moment is that it was meant to self-destruct, but that the destruction mechanism was faulty, which caused the balloon to drift further than intended. The Americans let it drift along to have a good look at it, and put a big hole in it before it headed out of their airspace. The hissy fit thrown by Chinese diplomats after that suggests it was indeed of Chinese origin.
  15. The way I've heard it explained, is that the biggest hurdle is evacuation of the passengers. The requirement is, if I recall correctly, that the plane must be emptied in a minute even with any two doors blocked. Bit hard to do that on a lifting body design.
  16. I think I've seen a screenshot of those. (source)
  17. Honest translation: "We did it, we don't care, now we want to pretend like we're the victims."
  18. If I'm not entirely mistaken, it's a NOTMAR. NOTAM is "Notice to airmen", NOTMAR is "Notice to mariners".
  19. Make the whole ship out of antimatter. Problem solved. Granted, a few other problems are created instead, but those are outside the scope of the original question.
  20. Are those the Penguin vacuum engines? I remember finally unlocking them and eagerly trying to design all sorts of new ideas with the awesome-looking upper-stage engines, only to realize they barely had the thrust to move themselves, never mind themselves and a fuel tank.
  21. It's approximately the width of each of your fingernails, if you want a body analogy. That also makes your fingernails roughly one square centimeter. But then again, being arbitrary is not a problem, I'd say. The value of a centimeter is not the selling point, it's how it fits in an easy-to-scale system where units fit nicely together in base ten. I could learn to live with inches and pounds if there were simple and easy relations between the various units of length, volume, and mass that make conversions a breeze. Maybe add speed and force to the mix too. But the Imperial system decides to denote some of this in base 12, some in base 16, and some in base 8, or 10 depending on local customs. The common units of length and volume have nothing to do with each other. The more scientific you try to be, multiplying units with each other to work out complex problems, the worse it becomes. Metric is smooth sailing all the way, with the only hiccups arising from the occasional conversion of minutes or hours to seconds. If accuracy is not absolutely crucial, you can even approximate gravity to 10, and density to 1 for most organic substances - it makes a lot of calculations very simple to do in your head. And again, division by fractions is overrated. The value you start with before divisions is rarely a whole number of units anyway.
  22. "Kind of disappointing" is drastically overselling it. Boring as balls, with pretentiousness dripping from every shot. They somehow managed to make space travel monotonous, even while condensing it to the run time of a movie. And that's not even mentioning the various scientific accuracies that permeated the whole movie, of course. It's one of those movies that are more fun to have watched than to watch, because at least then you can find some enjoyment in discussing how much of a piece of crap it was.
  23. To repeat a post of mine from a few years ago:
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