Confused Scientist

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About Confused Scientist

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  1. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 14- The New Guys Sunny Kerman took the stage and cleared her throat. "Please, take your seats." Flashbulbs in the audience went off. Jeb, sitting in a chair behind the podium with the rest of the astronauts, held up a hand to shield his eyes. Valentina squinted. "I will count to three." None of the reporters looked at her. "One..." The general din of conversation echoed through the auditorium. "Two..." Somewhere off to the side, a Kerbal News Network reporter and a Coyote News cameraman were engaged in a shouting match with an incredible amount of profanity. "Two and a half..." The Kerbal News Network reporter and the Coyote News photographer both suddenly drew a revolver from their waistband and took aim at each other's heads. "Thr-" Before Sunny could finish, all of the kerbals were in their seats, and the auditorium was quiet. Even the gunfight had been quietly averted. "Thank you. I apologize that we did not have time to have a press conference after Sparkler III, so we're going to be here for a while. First, congratulations to both Jeb and Bob, who made the first two flights of the Sparkler program. The next flight will be an orbital flight, flown by Valentina Kerman. The difference between these flights is incredible; the rocket needs to be twice as powerful and the flight will last for an hour instead of fifteen minutes, enough time for the Sparkler V to make two complete orbits of Kerbin with an uprated Lithium rocket. I will now take questions about the Sparkler III, IV, or V missions." A flock of reporters jumped out of their chairs and began climbing on top of each other and waving their arms to be seen. Finally one wrestled the rest to the ground. "Eh, KBS news," she said. "How did the preflight physicals compare to the ones taken after splashdown on Sparkler III and Sparkler IV?" Sunny nodded. "Well, biological considerations have been a large focus of aerospace study in the last few years. For this reason, there were comprehensive exams before and after each flight. We observed no large, long-term changes as a result of the acceleration or microgravity forces exposed to Jebediah or Bob, who both agreed to have their physical data released to the public. You can request a copy of that in the lobby after the press conference." She took a breath and pointed at a new reporter. "Yes, you, KNN." "Thank you. What dangers do orbital flight provide that were not present in the flights that have already been launched?" "Well, the main ones are deorbiting and reentry. In orbital flight, there is nothing to slow the capsule down once the booster is detached. For this reason, the single critical piece of equipment is the retrorocket module, which houses three small solid motors. Any one of them is capable of deorbiting the capsule by itself. After this, an orbital reentry is much fiercer than a suborbital one, although the g-forces aren't quite as high." "What modifications were necessary to the Lithium rocket to place the Sparkler into orbit?" "There is a small upper stage beneath the Sparkler, and the escape tower has been reconfigured to pull the capsule off of the rocket for the final orbital insertion." Another crowd of reporters leapt up from their seats, but Sunny waved them off. "Jebediah Kerman has an announcement." The room quieted as Jeb stood up from his chair and walked towards the podium. "There are four more flights in the Sparkler program," he began. "At the moment, we have only two astronauts that have not yet flown, so they will fly Sparkler V and Sparkler VI. If we kept it going on like that, the training schedule would be unbearable. Instead," he said, "let me introduce to you, the new astronaut candidates of the Kontinental Startup Program!" They walked in from the wings. "All seven of them have been picked right out of the top of the Air Force," Jeb continued. "We have Ilda Kerman, Franxie Kerman, Alice Kerman, Mermon Kerman, Hansted Kerman, Boblock Kerman, and Hardbrett Kerman." "One of them will walk on the Mun."
  2. Confused Scientist

    NASA SLS/Orion/Payloads

    Today I learned about (the semi-whimsical) "Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design". I have included a few that are relevant to SLS: 11: Sometimes, the fastest way to get to the end is to throw everything out and start over. (I see NASA has interpreted this as "throw away the reusable SRBs and the limited-supply liquid fueled engines.") 17: The fact that an analysis appears in print has no relationship to the likelihood of its being correct. (Also applies to SpaceX Elon-time). 39: Any exploration program which "just happens" to include a new launch vehicle is, de facto, a launch vehicle program. 39 (Alternate formulation): The three keys to keeping a new human space program affordable and on schedule: 1) No new launch vehicles. 2) No new launch vehicles. 3) Whatever you do, don't develop any new launch vehicles.
  3. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Good question! I have chosen to gloss over this massive unaddressed plot hole by pointing out that a careful re-reading of the intermission on page two will suddenly show that all of those other mistakes were made much later.
  4. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 13- Jeb Sells his Soul for a Rocket The sun rose over the cape and the engineers gathered in an all-new, shiny control room with silver dials and gauges and microphones. This time, however, they were not part of a literary device and Jeb was buttoned up in the rocket, with two minutes left on the clock. He thought back to the morning. Valentina shook him awake three hours before sunrise and dragged him out of bed to the breakfast table. For the first time since arriving in the past, Jeb hadn't slept in Gene's cabin; instead, he reluctantly spent the night in the brand-new crew quarters so he would be ready to begin donning his spacesuit as soon as possible. He poked at some eggs with his fork before Gene came in. Jeb looked up. "Ready?" Gene shrugged. "I've been up for hours. The weather is go, and the news vans are here." "News vans?" Gene opened the shade. Jeb looked out across a sea of flashbulbs, microphones, and film canisters and felt fear for the first time he could remember. Even the sight Interplanetary Authority ships bearing down on a collision course with the Kraken's Spit hadn't been a sight to make his face pale, but dying wasn't as bad as messing up in front of all of the reporters. "I didn't know there would be so many." Jeb turned to see Sunny and Wernher walk in. "We've already made a fortune just from network deals to cover this launch," the reporter said. "This is the most interesting thing since the war. There's a lot of money-" "Did someone say money?" Mortimer asked as he entered the mess hall. "All of the profit from this goes right back into your R&D budget. That way the KSP- by the way, I think we should change it to Kerbal Space Program- gets to be recognized as a nonprofit with all of the tax benefits that go along with that." After a few more minutes of Mortimer fanatically listing profit margins for the new Juno-powered plane, which was being marketed as the Klonkorde, Jeb shoved his plate away. "I'll order one of those Bloated Burgers from the Route 77 Diner after I get back," he announced. "Valentina? I think it's time to begin the prebreathe." Valentina nodded as Gene started towards the door. "It's time for me to get back to the control room," he announced. "Jeb, best of luck." And he was gone. Wernher and Valentina accompanied Jeb to the suit room, with Sunny tagging along behind. Jeb sniffed pure oxygen for a few minutes, and then he gestured to Valentina. Then he nodded and went to help them retrieve his pressure suit from its cabinet. When they had first showed it to Valentina, she was shocked by how hot and stiff it was. She quickly improved it with some of her knowledge of EVA suits from the future and gave Jeb the new version. As usual, it was painted orange, and soon Jeb looked like a big Jack-O-lantern swaddled in rubber. Then he tied on his black boots, laced them up to the ankles, and put on his gloves. When he tried them on for the first time, he had thought they were a little slippery, so Bob went to the store to find some gecko-rubber, whose existence Bill doubted. With the new gloves and the new pressure suit on, Valentina helped Jeb to strap on his parachute, and then all that was left was the helmet. Wernher came up from behind and carefully lowered it onto its ring and snapped it shut. Then Sunny helped to connect some of the life support tubes, and Jeb was dressed like a true astronaut. "I have to admit," Valentina said, "a good deal of the modifications I made were suggestions by Sunny to make it look like a true spacesuit. The capsule probably won't lose pressure, so we wanted it to have a second purpose: eye candy." And so Jeb gave the suit its most important test by walking out into the sea of reporters. All at once flashbulbs went off and a thousand voices rose above the peninsula, but gradually they were silenced and the night was quiet except for the crickets and Jeb reached the truck for his ride to the pad. He stopped at the door with his air conditioning unit in his left hand and, turning, looked out at the cameras. Then, slowly, he grinned, and waved at the crowd. They screamed. The reporters surged forward, but the path to the truck had been blocked off by some thoughtful engineer the night before. Jeb hurriedly sat down in the truck, with Valentina running up behind him and Sunny getting in shotgun, with Wernher behind the wheel. The ride to the pad passed in silence, the first time that anybody could remember Jeb didn't have something to say. He was thinking, though. He realized that even though he had lived most of his life in space, he was about to fly the first-ever space mission. The awesome responsibility took its toll- if he messed anything up, everything in the future that he'd liked would disappear instantly: Station One, the Number Nine Shuttle, Munbase, and- worst of all- the Kraken's Spit. What if all of that went away? Then Jeb realized: They were already there in the future, so this mission was guaranteed to be a success. All of the rockets after this one might blow up, and Jeb and his friends could die tomorrow, but this first flight would be flawless. Knowing this, Jeb grinned, and he knew that he could enjoy his unique place in history: on top of a rocket. At this point the truck pulled up to the pad, and Wernher waved to Jeb. "I'm off to check the LOX inlet valve," he announced. "Good luck to our astronaut." Before Jeb could reply, Sunny was gone, too, chatting with some reporter by the fence around the pad. Then Jeb turned and he saw that Wernher was already halfway to the base of the Lithium. All that was left was Valentina, and Bill and Bob at the top of the launch gantry. They were the closeout crew. Jeb and Valentina climbed up on the narrow staircase, passing hissing fuel lines and humming cables until they reached the White Room. "Let's go!" Bob announced, with his back to Jeb. "The gantry leaves the rocket in thirty minutes!" Valentina tapped him on the shoulder. "They made me pad leader," Bob said. "I like my hardhat. It's got some red highlights." "Mine's just got yellow," Bill sighed. Together they walked to the hatch of the capsule. "Well," Jeb said, "I'll see you after splashdown." Then he took one last look at the faces of the three best friends he had ever known and pulled himself into the claustrophobic confines of the Sparkler III. Bill and Bob got to work swinging the hatch shut, but Valentina crouched down before they were done. "I realized that there's no way this flight can fail," she said. "You see, all of that stuff we had in the future-" "Yeah," Jeb said, eyes wide. "It's pretty cool." Valentina smiled. Her smile was not like Jeb's wild grin, but a more confident one, less reckless- much like the difference between Jeb and herself. "Happy landings," she said, and then stepped back as the hatch closed. Jeb closed his faceplate. From now on, he would only breathe canned oxygen and talk to the voices in his helmet. In the truest sense, his first flight had just started. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "About two minutes to go, Jeb," Bill called. "How's the ride so far?" "It's a lot less exciting than the simulations," Jeb replied. Bill laughed. "Escape tower armed," he added, almost as an afterthought. The last minute of the countdown passed uneventfully and then, on hundreds of thousands of television sets across Kerbin: "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, ignition!" Right away Jeb tried scanning the instruments with all of the vibration and found it quite easy. The close confines of the capsule and the rugged acceleration reminded Jeb of his ascent from Eve. About ten seconds in and two kilometers up, Jeb called mission control. "Everything good here," he said "...and waiting for burnout in about two minutes." "We copy, Sparkler, approaching Max-Q... Max-Q. The Lithium III is through the sound barrier." The ride settled down after that, with the noise of the engines a distant roar in Jeb's ears. The sky outside his window quickly lost its color and, as the rocket passed the maximum altitude of Jeb's K-37 ride, stars came out during the day. Jeb, being used to sights like this, was more focused on how different his craft was from the Kraken's Spit, which in itself was somewhat obsolete without very many digital displays and only a rudimentary autopilot. Still, it had more room and a computer, and that was what- The engine shut down all at once and Jeb was thrown forward against his straps. There was a loud bang as the escape tower came off and then a quiet hiss as the Sparkler was thrown free of the Lithium. "Control... I am in zero-g. Affirm landing in ten minutes?" "Roger. Try the joystick controls." Jeb slowly twisted the control column. "Yaw... okay. Pitch... okay. Roll... is a little sensitive." The capsule began to spin faster and faster as the stars began to blur outside. "I think we've got a stuck thruster!" It'll be okay, I'll survive this flight, I have to... A spontaneous burst from the pitch thruster started Jeb tumbling head over heels with the capsule falling over the ocean. As Jeb looked out the window he could see the edges start to glow with shock heating from the air in front of him. He had ten seconds, tops, before he was reduced to a puff of hypersonic smoke. His head was being whipped around- And then he heard Wernher's voice in his helmet. "Jeb. Listen to me. Don't talk. Just listen to me. Take your left and and turn the gauge, the control mode one, change it from 'Manual' to 'SAS'." "What's SAS?" Jeb yelled. "Sickness Avoidance System... more professionally known as the Stability Augmentation System. But you don't need your control movements augmented, do you? Anyway, just flip that switch." Jeb reached out, but the g-forces were really building. He missed on his first attempt and threw some circuit breakers- Probably nothing important- and then tried again. This time, he got a hold on it, but the spurious forces were about to throw his hand free. Jeb clamped down harder, digging in with the gecko-rubber, and depressed the switch. All at once the spinning stopped. The heat shield was facing down, and Jeb was pressed back into his couch. Keeping his eye on the altimeter, he rode the capsule down to five kilometers before overriding the parachute deployment to make the main chute come out early. Then, barely twelve minutes after leaving the cape, the Sparkler III splashed into the ocean like a ton of bricks and all of the reporters went home.
  5. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 12- Groundhog Day, But With Rockets The sun rose over the cape and the engineers gathered in an all-new, shiny control room with silver dials and gauges and microphones. The night before, they had put one of their rockets on a truck, drove it over to the pad, propped it up, and filled it with kerosene. "T-minus two minutes and counting." Jeb sat in his cockpit, calm and eager to get the launch started. With nothing better to do, he keyed his radio. "How's it going?" "Good," Bob replied. "The rocket still looks good and we've got about a minute and a half left on the clock... we're all waiting to see how this turns out. Good luck." Jeb nodded and resumed scanning his instruments, nodding to himself when everything seemed normal. Not normal, he reminded himself, nominal. I've gotten out of practice. Before he could keep thinking about how long it had been since he'd flown in space, the turbopumps on the Lithium I started up, sending a fine vibration through the rocket. Flame belched from the engine bell, and then all at once the black and white tube rose from the launchpad and began steering out over the ocean. Jeb was pushed back in his seat as he began a rapid ascent over the ocean. The sky turned to black outside. Inside mission control, Wernher studied the engine pressure gauges. "Looking good..." he murmured. "Wait... what's that?" All at once the needle spiked and the rocket disintegrated, spinning out of control for a brief moment before being torn apart in the slipstream. The escape tower, due to some flaw in its wiring, fired off the nose of the capsule without taking it along. The command pod did separate from the top of the Lithium but it was quickly struck by some debris, which tore through the hatch and pulverized the acceleration couch, reducing the pressure vessel to a twisted mess of metal which began a long, arcing fall into the sea with no hope of recovery. Gene shook his head. "I hoped it would have done better." The wreckage of the capsule slammed into the ocean without any parachutes trailing behind it. Wernher stood up and looked over his team. "I know this was a setback," he said, "but we can get past it. The escape tower issue seems simple enough, and the problem seems to be isolated with the engine. Valentina was flying chase for the rocket, but as soon as she lands she can help you all with the problem. It'll be all hands on deck-" "Hey," came a call from one of the chase planes. "If it's all hands on deck you'll want me, too." "...Oh, right. I forgot about you, Jeb." Jeb nodded and turned his K-37 jet back towards the space center. "I think the flaw was a surge of LOX sped up the turbopump too much... but we'll have to look at the data afterwords. I'll see you in the hangar twenty minutes from now." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ After three days playing doctor with a rocket, the KSP engineer team brought out another Lithium to the pad. This one made it up to twenty-five kilometers before the engine mysteriously shut down, but the escape tower jerked the capsule free. It splashed down beneath nylon chutes, and Wernher led his team to make the final modifications to the liquid oxygen inlets. There were five Lithium boosters left, and Mortimer was eager to put them into widespread production after the kinks had been worked out. The capsule on the third rocket was also different- it had a small package of solid kicker motors under it; Gene called them firecrackers. Valentina, hearing that, decided to call the capsule Sparkler. Sparkler I lifted off with Bill and Bob flying chase with full afterburners for as long as they could keep up, until their engines stalled and they fell back into the troposphere and lined up for landing. Meanwhile, everybody in the control center watched tensely as the engines on the Lithium shut down and the capsule drifted free. A computer program, rudimentary by Valentina's futuristic standards, flipped the capsule a hundred and eighty degrees just as it passed seventy kilometers' altitude. Then the firecrackers went off and the Sparkler I began its fiery plunge into the ocean. The navy, who had offered to help out in exchange for three Lithiums courtesy of Kontinental Aerospace, had a small aircraft carrier there, and they hoisted the capsule aboard, scorched but intact. Everybody on the whole space coast cheered- with one exception. Jeb was too busy reading checklists for Sparkler II to even notice that the test flight had succeeded.
  6. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 11- Drawing Straws A few new buildings has sprouted up near the launchpad- a large hangar, a small shed with a radio, a more permanent mission control, and the very beginnings of a crew quarters. Gene was surprised when Mortimer had added the construction of the last building to the budget, asking why they couldn't use that money on more rockets. "Because," Mortimer explained, "if we're thinking long-term, the engineers will need a place to stay so they don't have to drive from Juno's Landing every day, and if we need more pilots they can stay there, too. At some point I also want a runway. As for the money, this research project seems surprisingly profitable and I expect that soon we can afford a state-of-the-art R&D department on-site." At this point Gene nodded, and speaking quietly, said, "Let's show him the hangar." Jeb, Bill, Bob, Val, Wernher, Gene, Sunny, and Mortimer walked inside Hangar 7 and were greeted by the small but enthusiastic team of engineers that had been supplied from the normal stock of Kontinental workers. "Hey, boss!" one of them shouted, and Jeb smiled. With the history of a century of spacefaring stored in his mind, he was confident that he didn't need a team of hundreds of engineers. Gene and Val and all of them preferred a small, close group of workers, but they knew that if they wanted to achieve their visions of spaceflight they would need lots of boosters and lots of manpower. Luckily, Mortimer had come to their rescue again. "The R&D team at the KSP can try new things," he explained, "like a new booster or a capsule, and then once they get good at it we can hand it over to the production lines at Kontinental Aerospace." Now the same R&D team was greeting him from inside Hangar 7, and around them were rockets. Sunny gasped. Mortimer grinned. "These seven Lithium rockets," Wernher explained, "are able to lift an improved Jumping Flea capsule to above seventy kilometers- the Karman line." Turning to face Sunny, he announced, "Within two months, kerbals will become an all new species, one that is capable of leaving the only planet it has ever known. The risks will be great, but not insurmountable. We have invited you here to witness the selection of the astronaut. Sunny? Are you ready?" Sunny nodded. "Have you got a camera? I want a picture with the article." Bob ran over to a shelf and returned with a camera and a spare flashbulb. Sunny snapped a few pictures of the rockets lying in the hangar and then turned back to the group. "Okay, ready." The engineers crowded around as Gene took a breath. "This drawing is for the pilot of the first astronaut. They will fly a ten-minute subortibal flight, up and straight back down. We have four pieces of paper. The one with the black dot represents the pilot. Then we take out one paper without the dot and the three other candidates draw; the winner of the second drawing is the backup. The backup pilot will fly the first orbital flight. Wernher?" Wernher brought over an army helmet with four folded scraps of paper. Jeb reached in, then Val, and then Bill and Bob. Jeb smiled, looked around at his crewmates, and then opened his paper. It was white through and through. All at once, everybody turned, and Valentina was holding her paper open, with a black dot marked in the center. She was grinning, Jeb was grinning, and everybody was smiling. Sunny took a picture, and Valentina spoke. "You know, all of this is really thanks to the engineers. They built the rockets, and I with we could take them with us into space." The head engineer spoke up. "We couldn't have done it without you, Val. I don't know how you did it, but whenever we had a problem you and Jeb and Bill and Bob would come right in and you just knew what to do, almost like you were from the future-" Jeb nearly passed out. "-and you already knew what we needed to do." Gene clapped and then cleared his throat. "We still need to choose the backup pilot. Jeb, Bill, Bob- ready?" They nodded and chose their papers. And it was there that Jeb opened his slip and saw a single black dot, marked with a heavy drafting pencil from Wernher's desk. Jeb smiled. "I do think that Valentina was the right choice for this flight... I know that she thinks an hour in the future, and I only think two minutes ahead. I solve problems as they come up, but she avoids them. And that is exactly why she is the right choice for the first-" "-orbital flight," Valentina interrupted. "Jeb is right. I am good at decision-making, but Jeb is good at solving problems. For a ten-minute flight, two minutes of foresight is just about right. There are lots of problems that might happen really fast, and I think Jeb is good at solving things like that. On the more leisurely pace of an orbital flight, decision-making is important, but for this first flight, problem-solving is what we need. For this reason, I would like to trade places with Jeb." Sunny took more pictures and ran off to the offices of the Juno Telegraph with her story. She painted a bright picture of a future full of exploration and told the story of the fearless pilots that would lead the expedition to the new horizon. Her word choice was exquisite, and she spent an entire paragraph describing a weightless astronaut peering out the window of their spacecraft at a Mun that was brighter and closer. Two days later, her story had been sold to every newspaper in the country, and the reporters swarmed on Juno's Landing. Jeb was on his way to the doctor's office for the first of many preflight physicals, but he had arrived in town early for lunch at the Route 77 Diner. He paid for his meal (he hated counting out money and dearly missed credit cards; maybe he would invent them in his spare time) and walked out the door, to be suddenly greeted by twenty reporters from all over the continent. They all had questions, but the one they asked most often was perhaps the dumbest one: "Are you Jeb Kerman? You're really him?"
  7. Confused Scientist

    My first (edit: not a real) Kraken, wondering how bad it was

    I'd say that a good definition of a Kraken is an error that occurs when the game suddenly changes state- for example, after a quickload, savefile edit, or EVA, so by that definition I'd call this a Kraken.
  8. Confused Scientist

    My first (edit: not a real) Kraken, wondering how bad it was

    This might be something else, as the "official" terminology of the Krakens is controlled by the Internet, so it's not very consistent. Compare to this great (read: scary) list of other krakens.
  9. Confused Scientist

    Don't Click This

    The kind of computers at my school can't handle that, so it goes in a spoiler.
  10. Confused Scientist

    Making a Dollar or Two- BOOK TWO

    Part 10- New Thriller Star Progress with the rocket testing was good, and it was measured in explosions. Bill tested out a new stretched version of the Trashcan, that Valentina called the Jumping Flea, and christened it the Hammer, because he "dropped a box of hammers on it by accident and it didn't break." All four members of the Kraken's Spit crew took a ride in it, and Mortimer realized that his startup program was even more profitable than he had thought. Even paying a team of twenty engineers to work on Wernher's newest project, just a few Hammer flights were enough to pay nearly a year's salary with prize money alone. "Where does it all come from?" Jeb muttered, surveying another briefcase full of cash. "Who pays for the Kerbin World-First Record-Keeping Society prize money?" "They sell the data to the Kuinness Book of World Records," Mortimer told him. "People go crazy for those books, even though it's pretty much the same every year. So they have some money to spare." However, the real money-maker for the KSP was a development of the Junkers Jello engine, which Mortimer had shown to the engineers at the Kontinental Motors division before yelling at them and giving them a deadline for the scaled-up version, which he called the Juno. This new engine had promise, so he quickly built an all-new, high-altitude, high-speed passenger jet, which he was eager to sell to Kontinental Airlines which, as the name implied, was also owned by Mortimer. When Kongress heard this, they were planning to, as they called it, "bust the trust." Even though no one knew what this meant, one of Mortimer's top executives ran a campaign and got elected, and vetoed the bill by sliding it underneath a desk, and just in time too, because the first airframe was ready for testing. "I don't like this suit," Jeb said. "Shut up," Valentina grunted. "I don't either, but this is what... ugh... commercial pilots wear." "Bill and Bob don't have to wear them." "They're flight engineers." "Hmm." Jeb looked around the cockpit. "Where's the stick?" "There isn't one, just a yoke." "What! Why did Mortimer put us in this thing?" Valentina shrugged. "You want to go to space, don't you? When Sunny gets to tell everybody that astronauts were flying the new jet, we'll be flooded with support." "Really?" Jeb's eyes widened and he started grinning. "Oh, no," Valentina said. "I know that grin." She keyed the intercom and said, "Jeb's grinning. Strap in." Bill and Bob looked at her from the jump seats in the back of the cockpit. "Why are you using that? We're right here." ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jeb was still grinning as he brought down the gear for the final approach. Bob was more worried. "I think some people might think these new Junos are too fragile," he said. "What if they don't trust jet technology?" Valentina nodded. "They might think that this new plane isn't good enough- WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JEB?" "What does it look like I'm doing?" he asked. "I'm selling planes." "But you're selling them upside-down?" "Not just upside-down," Jeb replied. "The rudder is also extended all the way to the right." "So it's a barrel roll. Much better." Jeb came out of the roll and pulled up hard on the stick. "How's our glideslope?" "Perfect, somehow," Bill said. "Good. How's our intercept on ILS?" "Looks like the roll pushed us back on course... even though we were already on it beforehand." "Okay. Preflare... radar altimeter?" "Fifty," Valentina called, "forty, thirty, twenty, ten, five... touchdown." "Reverse thrust, spoilers out." "Main gear coming down... touchdown." "Full brakes... slowing down... and we're stopped." Jeb, Bill, Bob, and Val were still used to all of the extensive postlanding checklists of a spacecraft, so they were pleased when a staircase was rolled up and the met Mortimer at the bottom in just a few minutes. He looked at Jeb. "Well, it worked," he said. "Trans-Pam Airlines put in forty orders after your stunt, and Kerbfleet United and Dispirit Airlines were trying to take each other's places in line. But I have one request, Jeb." "What?" "The next time you try something like that, tell me so I can have an ambulance waiting!"
  11. Confused Scientist

    KSP Weekly: The Lunar Greenhouse

    Yes. SQUAD has not met my expectations. Why do we need a dessert airfield when Minnmus is already made entirely of dessert?
  12. Confused Scientist

    Thread to complain bout stuff

    They're harmless, they just smell like vinegar. Also, it's vinegaroon, with an "n".
  13. Confused Scientist

    The Ctrl+V thread!

  14. Confused Scientist

    Thread to complain bout stuff

    No, those are what the websites call themselves. Every single one of them has had some error with Flash that was ultimately resolved by trying again in some other browser. That wasn't really so bad... in fact, our class pet the vinegaroon was pretty fun. Less so was the day when he showed us the dead bird that he kept in his freezer. The worst part was when we spent a month drawing a single Goliath beetle (we had to show the shading from the picture even though we were only allowed to work in ink), so we had to learn about Animalia in all of two weeks- I remember the lesson on fish being conducted during the second half of the Tuesday before school ended. We might have got a little more done if he hadn't chosen to spend one day before spring break singing a song that he'd written himself about getting sunburned the Mississippi River Valley.
  15. Confused Scientist

    Thread to complain bout stuff

    My science teacher often takes us to ancient "interactive cyber-sites" from 2002 to supplement out lessons. Today the URL took us to a Discovery Channel volcano simulator that "required Adobe Flash Player." Okay... I don't see any prompt to enable Flash... maybe I can use the taskbar to figure this out? Two minutes later I'm on Microsoft Edge (ugh) trying again, because Flash is "bundled with Edge" which is, of course, bundled with Windows 10, which is irreverent, because I already have Flash installed. Microsoft Edge recommends using nonexistent symbols in the right-hand corners to enable Flash... and then I right-click there, scroll down, and see this button: "Open in Internet Explorer" I can't be that desperate, right? I didn't know that Explorer was even bundled in Windows 10. Thirty seconds later I open IE for the first time in four years, and Norton immediately opens my password manager twice. I move my mouse up to the (ugly, obsolete) search bar and enter the URL... and it works! I see a eleven-year old animation of a stratovolcano eruption. So, moral of the story: Any day after March 2014 that starts off with you opening Internet Explorer is not a good one. My science teacher from last year has a twenty year-old laptop with Windows 98 (I hope) that he keeps around just so he could keep a bird database on abandonware. The problem was, it would occasionally crash during the bird identification test... in which case the entire class would have to take it again the next day. I'm not sure the laptop could even operate without a power and internet cord attached, it was so old. In addition, the teacher (who once felt sorry for a yellow jacket because it died after stinging him next to the eye) would use his new laptop to sing along to Hall & Oates in class. He was bitten by several cottonmouths (but not the rattlesnakes that live around here) and once brought a skink to class which bit the snake that he had also brought in addition to biting his finger.