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About KSK

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  1. KSK

    The Dungeons & Dragons Thread

    I used to do quite a lot of roleplaying but then I took a D20 to the knee, went to university. And, whilst I wouldn’t have had any problems finding some like minded people there too, there was also a bunch of other stuff to get involved with, so I never got around to pen and paper gaming again. Favoured systems back in the day - mainly Iron Crown stuff: Middle-Earth Roleplaying System and Rolemaster. Fast-forward a decade or two and I’m finally back into another game! As in, the first session was last night, the party has just met up and we’re all (GM included) kinda fumbling through the rules (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, new edition) and getting into the swing of things. And it’s an absolute blast! Good GM, a solid story (not that we really got through much of it) and some very interesting characters in the party. Speaking of which, whilst it’s not quite up in the ‘getting involved in a land war in Asia’ ranks of Classic Blunders, ‘handing a character sheet to a wannabe writer with a penchant for backstories and world building’ surely counts at some level. Yeah - I may have gotten a little bit carried away with my character biography. Last night’s tale of fire and fish also turned out to be a fun writing prompt and as the OP was asking for stories if anyone cared to share...
  2. I’m about to get some sleep after a very long day but just wanted to thank @Snark for the second data plot! Looks interesting but further comment will need to wait till I’ve got half a functioning brain. G’night folks.
  3. That large brown square in the middle seems to suggest otherwise. But in any case I was thinking more about the comparatively small number of posts to the Daily Kerbal, Announcements, anything Making History related and, to a lesser extent, Welcome Aboard. In other words, the sub forums at least notionally associated with news from Squad, new players and new official content. It would be interesting to see a similar breakdown of posts from 2018 only but regardless, I was quite startled by the volume of posts to the off-topic or mod related sub-forums.
  4. Very interesting but ouch, that bottom right corner. And that's an impressive number of posts on the two sub-forums that are explicitly set aside for non-KSP stuff.
  5. KSK

    Non-Kerman surnames.

    I thought it was, hence the rebuttal. As for Kerman being meaningless? *shrug* It makes sense in my headcanon, other folks have suggested some interesting alternatives here - that’s good enough for me. I particularly liked @MedwedianPresident‘s idea of ‘von’ as an honorific denoting an older Kerbal!
  6. Practice does that. I wouldn’t like to comment on anyone else’s writing but I’ve certainly noticed the changes in mine over time. I think they’ve been changes for the better but others might reasonably disagree. But back on topic, since folks have been kind enough to mention me. There’s a few reasons why I haven’t been around as much lately and thinking about it, they all kind of feed off each other. The main one is that I haven’t actually played KSP for ages and I don’t really have much of an urge to pick it up again. For me, the fun was in the learning to play - it turns out I’m not as into the sandbox elements of the game as I thought I’d be, which limited its replayability once I got to a certain level of competence. I’ve tried career mode several times but that’s never really clicked for me either. Making History seems to be largely aimed at players who enjoy the forum Challenges and those who like building replica craft. Neither of those are aspects of the game that have really appealed to me. So it goes. It’s been fun, I regret nothing, but nothing lasts forever either. Not playing the game has made it that bit harder to engage with the forum in general and, on a number of topics, I think I’ve said everything I want to say anyway. Plus, regrettably, there have been a number of threads which I’ve found personally depressing and which, to me, exposed an uglier side to the community which I don’t like or wish to engage with. That’s a personal opinion only of course and this certainly isn’t the place to elaborate or name names. Finally, my personal life over the last couple of years has been rather stressful for a number of reasons and, as you’ll probably have gathered by now, KSP hasn’t really been my game of choice for unwinding with of an evening. Hence the urge to ‘pick it up and give it another try’ hasn’t really been there. Edit: And last but not least, I’ve also seen the forum change and players that I had a lot of respect for and/or enjoyed what they brought to the community, have now gone. That takes its toll after a while too.
  7. Even in these more enlightened times... this we do not speak of.
  8. I see what you did there. Nice interlude though - and only on your particular Kerbin would you find mountaineer-dudes!
  9. KSK

    Buoyancy rockets!?

    Not sure if it’s exactly what you had in mind but this sounds a bit like supercavitation. From the Wikipedia article, it’s been shown to work with torpedoes and in principle could be used on larger vessels too. I don’t think it would be practical for vertically launched buoyancy rockets, simply because you run out of water too quickly at the speeds needed to sustain the supercavitated bubble. But the basic idea of using a bubble to reduce drag is sound, so far as I know.
  10. Oh definitely. The Mars simulant they used was also chosen for chemical similarity - there's no guarantee at all that its microstructure (which is quite important here ) will bear any resemblance to actual Martian soil. On the other hand, you can just imagine the conversation over the radio from the first space travellers tasked with doing the actual surface experiment: "Negative, Capcom. We're not building a sandcastle - we're running an extended version of the In-situ Construction and Building Material Evaluation Experiment." Maybe cosmonauts can haul themselves up by their own bootstraps?
  11. It's not that hard to look these things up you know. Early space suits featured leather boots and leather-palmed gloves. More interestingly, the Strizh-ESO suit was apparently intended to have a leather outer layer. The Strizh suit was intended for Buran pilots and I think it's safe to say that the Strizh-ESO suit would have been used by particularly badS Buran pilots since the leather layer was intended to "protect the pilot from the enormous heat generated during a supersonic free-fall from the stratosphere." On the other hand, leather isn't particularly elastic, so I wouldn't imagine it would be much good for making the inner, pressure maintaining layer of a spacesuit.
  12. From the actual publication rather than the pop-sci articles: “Upon a high-pressure compression, Mars-1a particles form a strong solid at ambient, with resultant flexural strengths exceeding that of typical steel-reinforced concrete or many in situ resource utilization (ISRU) created materials formed by adding binders.” So I’m guessing it’s as strong in compression and bending? No idea about tension but if you want to dig into the details, the article is here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-01157-w Or search for Martian brick nature.
  13. Speaking of stone masonry... https://phys.org/news/2017-04-simple-no-bake-recipe-bricks-martian.html TL: DR. Making small test bricks which are stronger than reinforced concrete by moderate compression of simulated Martian soil (as in pressures created by a decent blow from a hammer). Popular Mechanics has a similar article pointing out a number of caveats. If it does work though, I think there's something rather appealing about using one of our oldest construction techniques to build Mars habitats. Not to mention its potential simplicity - it really doesn't get a lot simpler than hitting dirt with a hammer. And from the same site: https://phys.org/news/2016-03-tomatoes-peas-harvested-mars-moon.html#nRlv Again, some obvious caveats, and currently the crops being grown are thought to be inedible due to heavy metal uptake. An interesting work in progress though, given some of the commentary on this thread!
  14. Speaking of one of those happy few, I concur.
  15. Short answer Why not both? At our current technology levels neither growth nor recycling alone is going to be a one size fits all solution to a Mars colony's needs. Longer answer Expanding consumes space and energy too. As does replacing anything that you're not recycling. It'll be a balance for the colonists - recycle nothing and they'll be using time and resources to replace their losses that could be put into expanding. Likewise, if they try to recycle everything, they could end up devoting too much time and resources that could be more usefully spent on replacing their losses or expanding. As a deliberately stupid example, consider a hypothetical air maintenance system. Oxygen is produced from water by electrolysis. Carbon dioxide is absorbed using lithium hydroxide canisters. Every second week, someone replaces the spent canisters with fresh ones and chucks the spent ones out of the airlock. In principle it could work. But you (the colonists that is - not you personally) are using up water to make new oxygen and using up lithium hydroxide (plus whatever other materials are in your canister) to make new carbon dioxide scrubbers. You're also wasting a lot of carbon by locking it up as lithium carbonate and throwing it away. Unless you're obtaining your new canisters from off-world, you're also spending time and resources in digging up and processing new raw materials (which may not be particularly abundant or easy to obtain) to make them on-site. Given all of that, it would seem more sensible to figure out a way of turning carbon dioxide back into oxygen (or at least using it to make something useful) than to set up an elaborate and inefficient lithium carbonate production line. Conversely, as a more interesting example, consider the paper that Kerbiloid linked to on the use of bacterial proteins to get rid of perchlorates. My first thought was that using the bacteria themselves (cultured on Mars) would be more efficient than using purified protein. But it may well not be, certainly not in the short term. Culturing bacteria on Mars requires resources and may not be particularly easy - not all bacteria are amenable to culturing. On the other hand, a kilogram or two of purified proteins would last an awful long time (the proteins are catalysts so aren't used up directly during the perchlorate treatment reactions, although they'll degrade over time), and a kilogram or two of protein isn't too much mass to ship out from Earth. Likewise, manufacturing those proteins on Earth isn't dirt cheap or trivial but neither would it be a ridiculous cost in the context of setting up a Mars colony. Thinking about it in more detail, I'm not at all sure what the better answer is here. As I said, it'll be a balance. It'll make sense to recycle some resources, no sense to recycle others, and others you could make a case for either way. That balance will also shift as the colony expands and develops. My gut feeling is that recycling will eventually prove to be more efficient for most things, your gut feeling seems to be that expansion will be the better option. There, I think, we'll have to agree to disagree. Edit: First paragraph corrected to 'neither growth nor recycling alone...' Hopefully this was clear anyway.