Semi-OT: The Future
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Semi-OT: The Future (by S i d [MO]) Apr 12, 2019 5:23 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by NE [PA]) Apr 12, 2019 5:25 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by David [MI]) Apr 12, 2019 6:08 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 12, 2019 6:38 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by NE [PA]) Apr 12, 2019 6:41 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by S i d [MO]) Apr 12, 2019 7:05 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by David [MI]) Apr 12, 2019 7:10 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 12, 2019 9:16 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Moshe [CA]) Apr 12, 2019 9:53 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 12, 2019 10:04 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Apr 12, 2019 2:30 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 12, 2019 4:28 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Apr 13, 2019 3:40 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by livethedream [AZ]) Apr 13, 2019 10:15 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Apr 13, 2019 12:05 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by livethedream [AZ]) Apr 13, 2019 1:07 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 14, 2019 7:00 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 14, 2019 7:02 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Salernitana [CA]) Apr 15, 2019 8:32 AM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Pmh [TX]) Apr 15, 2019 2:07 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Pmh [TX]) Apr 15, 2019 2:12 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 15, 2019 2:31 PM
       Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 15, 2019 2:44 PM

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Semi-OT: The Future (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 5:23 AM

Sometimes we worry ourselves silly thinking, "The USA is going to heck in a hand basket." I'm guilty too of getting swept up in the day-to-day cycle of "if it bleeds it leads..." Then I see something like this and realize there are amazing people working on projects like this, and my mind is set at ease.

Yesterday, SpaceX (Elon Musk's company) launched their second flight of Falcon Heavy, a 27-engine, three-rocket lift package designed to carry large payloads into orbit, and one Mars.

This is the first time they successfully landed all three rocket boosters. Last year was the first launch of Falcon Heavy and they were able to land 2 boosters back then. One engineer described the process of successfully recovering a rocket booster as, "throwing a pencil over the Empire State Building and having it land on the other side, perfectly balanced on its eraser."

Simply amazing! I wonder how much those guys pay in rent? ;-) Happy Friday!

Tip: The first 2 minutes and then around 7:30 are the best parts!

Semi-OT: The Future (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 5:25 AM

Pay in rent? They probably sleep at the laboratory.

Semi-OT: The Future (by David [MI]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 6:08 AM

Yup, agree with NE, the cost of living in Silicon Valley is so ludicris, I can definitely see a lot of them saving thousands by camping out at the office. --144.250.xx.xx

Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 6:38 AM

On a related note--

I didn't even know that Israel was launching a lunar lander until a friend of mine posted in his FB feed that it had crashed on the lunar surface-- a combination of loss of contact and uncontrolled descent.

It seems there was a small flurry of news articles back around Feb 14th/21st/22nd talking about the upcoming launch, but I must have blinked and missed them. You'd think something like that would have gotten more coverage-- a country being sophisticated enough to attempt a lunar landing. China and India are both attempting further lunar landings later on this year.

(Hint: Except for Chang'e 3 in 2013 and Chang'e 4 in 2019, there have been no soft lunar landings in my lifetime, although there have been about nine intentional crashes.)

I know Mars has been the big thing for the last decade or two... but the US is planning on bringing a manned mission back to the moon by 2028, and there's a number of private industries who are wanting to get into space mining. Space is the new Wild West, except the covered wagons aren't as easy to obtain... :)

(Side note: Happy Apollo 50th!)

Semi-OT: The Future (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 6:41 AM

I wasn't really thinking that they camp out at the office due to the cost of rentals in that area. I think it was more along the lines that they would camp out there, at least some of the top scientists, due to the fact that they probably wouldn't even want any outside influence in their thinking. I would imagine a mission like this would require so much laser focused thinking that this would be all that you would do. I think it would be deserving of dominating all of your thoughts all the time. --174.201.xx.x

Semi-OT: The Future (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 7:05 AM

I agree that it's expensive to live in Cali, and from what I could find online engineer salaries range from $70K-$112K...not exactly a princely sum given the high cost of real estate and taxes. No doubt one of the main reasons folks work there for relatively low pay is they get to design and fire rockets into there's some cache' to working at a bleeding edge tech company.

Regardless, I doubt Musk can afford to pay them much more anyway. His Tesla company has been plagued with turning a profit and can't build cars fast enough to meet schedules, and they were burning thru cash at a phenomenal rate. I hope he can turn the tide, because some of the stuff he's doing with batteries, solar panels, cars & rockets is amazing. He just needs to figure out how to properly monetize it like he did with PayPal. Every successful launch give him more credibility, so hopefully that can quickly turn into a large revenue stream and maintain the other business.

But let's not lose sight of the forest for the trees....the terrain is America is on the cutting edge of technology that will transform the human race, but sometimes we get distracted by the latest tenant who won't pay rent or brings in a pit bull. There are amazing people doing amazing things. We sometimes forget, or like Deanna said, we don't even hear about it because our heads are buried down in the weeds. My purpose in posting this was to shed light on something that probably 90% of the population doesn't pay any attention to. One day, they're going to wake up and say, "What, a US company is landing a rocket on Mars today?" They'll have missed 10-15 years of leading up to it. I want to stay in touch reasonably well, because it's just too darn cool to ignore!


Semi-OT: The Future (by David [MI]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 7:10 AM

There are lots of stuff being done, but the space stuff , like that picture of the black hole, gets the media attention because it's flashy and easy to make visuals for.

I do think it's funny that some people missed that we went to the moon already over half a century ago ;) --144.250.xx.xx

Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 9:16 AM

Isn't it strange that we supposedly went to the moon in the 1960's without near the tech and landed perfectly and came back with no casualties the first shot. Today with all the tech and supposed experience it seems we can't do it. They bring the idea up and talk about it for a brief moment and then silence. Crickets...

Semi-OT: The Future (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 9:53 AM

There are a lot of issues involved in these posts.

" America is on the cutting edge of technology "

1. Well, America is losing its edge, because Americans are stuck in thinking that we own the world, while other countries are catching up and surpassing us. In particular, our education system serves the lowest common denominator, while other countries have schools that serve their own particular clientele. As a graduate of the US space program, I point out how many of us are foreign born.

2. How much do they pay in rent?

My properties are located close to Silicon Beach, the newest high-tech enclave. I have had tenants, fresh out of college in Computer Science who make $200,000, and are only interested in a place to crash between girlfriends, a new sports car, and a steady supply of marijuana. They don't cook, they eat out all of the time, and still have habits from home, like not sending too much on rent. But as they grow older, find a steady girlfriend and get married, they buy their own home. But there's another tenant born every minute.

3. The bulk of new ideas in the space business come from the military space program, which is different from the civilian space program run by NASA. The military program is managed by Air Force Space Division in El Segundo, CA, but the research and development is carried out by private contractors. Since the beginning of the space program (a military effort in the beginning), the military has had an oversight contractor called The Aerospace Corporation, a corporation with one share of stock which is owned by the department of defense, which is the brainpower behind the US military space effort. The private sector is on its own.

4. SpaceX (Musk's company) pays pretty well. They took over the old TRW campus in Redondo Beach and hired a lot of the old, experienced spaceniks in the area, including a lot of retirees who were bored and whose wife's were tired of having them in the way. These guys all own their own homes in Palos Verdes Estates plus owning a fair amount of rental properties. Musk has a policy of hiring talented and creative engineers, instead of just any old engineer from any old engineering school, like Lockheed, Boeing and Aerojet did, and to get them, the are very competitive in pay.

4. Keep in mind that the Israeli effort involved a contract with SpaceX to boost the Israeli-built package, including launch, orbital insertion and providing personnel to perform on-orbit operations. The Israeli contribution was construction of the payload package. I don't know exactly what caused the failure of the Israeli landing mission, except that I heard that it was loss of an engine on the package or what appeared to be an engine loss, since they lost contact with the package before it landed. The engines are part of the Israeli contribution, but I have been unable to find out if they were store-bought or manufactured in Israel.

So, there are still exciting things going on in the world, including in America. Keep in mind that Elon Musk is South African born and educated, and his team has A LOT of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and other immigrants.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 10:04 AM

re: returning, it's mostly been political/budgetary reasons getting in the way, rather than a lack of technology or desire.

The US military gets about $600 billion... in comparison, NASA just got a boost to $21.5 billion to do everything it does. (In the last 15 years, it's been more in the $15-$18-$19B range. FEMA's budget is $18.4 billion. It's almost 3 times ICE's budget, which is $7.6 billion. ) NASA was 4% of the federal budget in 1965; for the last 40 years, it's been less than 1%, and for the last 15 years, it's been more like half a percent of the federal budget. Likewise, if you're dealing with stuff you need to plan for 10-20-30 years in advance, how many presidential terms does that represent? And what happens if a succession of presidents/congresses don't maintain the support of space exploration/space travel as a priority? Hence why a lot of private entities are coming forward-- they have a degree of continuity that a governmental agency doesn't necessarily have.

Voyager and Viking launched back in the 70's. The 80's were full of the shuttle program and things like Galileo. The Hubble Space Telescope went up in 1990, Cassini was launched, etc. Pathfinder/Sojourner landed on Mars in 1997. The ISS has been continuously inhabited since November, 2000--- about 18.5 years. Curiosity roamed around Mars from 2012 until recently. There's a nice list of solar system probes on Wikipedia, because while those were high points, there was definitely a lot going on.

So NASA's been pretty busy-- but their focus has been on other places besides revisiting the moon.

So just like we ended up scrapping the shuttle program, and relying on Soyuz to get astronauts back and forth to the ISS, there's talk about needing to scrap the ISS program before we're able to do another manned lunar mission. And that would be sad in its own way.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 2:30 PM


There were casualties on the manned moon mission.

Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died on the launchpad in Apollo 1 during a plugs out test when their pure oxygen-filled capsule suffered an electrical short and that spark ignited a fire.

All the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were tests to answer unknowns that they needed to solve to safely get an American astronaut to the moon and back. The final missions starting with Apollo 11-17 were missions with planned moon landings. All of those final missions resulted in successful moon landings except for Apollo 13 which suffered an explosion in the command module while traveling to the moon. Through skill, experience, and training, Mission Control was able to safely get them back home.

But, I agree, it's amazing to think that my iphone has more computing power than all of Mission Control at that point. And to think such accuracy could be performed by slide rules and hand-written mathematical calculations. I doubt engineers of that caliber are in existence today.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2019 4:28 PM

I remember being told in the early 90's that a regular automobile had more computer power than the first space shuttle did. :) It really is amazing.

There was also Nixon's famous backup speech, in case the Apollo 11 astronauts ended up stranded on the moon, unable to return to earth.

"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

"These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

"These two men are laying down their lives in mankindís most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

"They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

"In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

"In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

"Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Manís search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

"For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."

Fortunately, it never had to be delivered.

Semi-OT: The Future (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Posted on: Apr 13, 2019 3:40 AM


seeing a rocket launch is on my list after reading from someone that says it is spectacular and must be on anyones list

Semi-OT: The Future (by livethedream [AZ]) Posted on: Apr 13, 2019 10:15 AM

Sadly these days you can't find anyone capable of making a bed, much less building a rocket that works.

My dad was the senior metrologist (precision instrument engineer) on the Apollo program for 12 years. He designed or had a hand in designing most of the instrumentation on the capsules.

Which if you ever see inside one wasn't much. Toggle switches from Radio Shack, modified aircraft altimiters and pressure guages. They didn't have gps (well until later, when he helped develop that too.) LOL

The early days gps was a military secret. I remember in the late 80's talking to him about the cool new navigation aid for boats that could peg your location to about 60 feet. He was like, "Oh yeah, we have one at the lab that does it to 3 inches."

He also built the dash panel for the replica of Lindbergs plane for the Jimmy Stewart movie. He was a real American space pioneer. In my home office I have pictures of him working in his lab in the 60's with his crew cut, white shirt and pocket protector full of pens. And I have his slide rule in a display case in the den.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: Apr 13, 2019 12:05 PM


Dad's slide rule... what a fabulous object to have of your fathers. It's so symbolic of what he did and what he achieved. Just think of the history made and the mysteries solved on that slide rule. I'm glad such a special object is appreciated and preserved. No telling how many memories and stories that object brings to mind.

Semi-OT: The Future (by livethedream [AZ]) Posted on: Apr 13, 2019 1:07 PM

LLOTF - Thank you. What's cool is my spouse still occasionally uses it. I have a chest of my dads precision and machinist tools. Micrometers and such. Some date to the 40's.

Our home is almost a museum to my ancestors. It is important to remember and acknowledge our past, and to build for a future. Too often in recent years we have forgotten this as a species. Instead of focusing on the stars, like my dad, we seem focused on killing each other over how someone thinks, or what hat one wears, or who a stranger loves.

I think we can do better. We MUST do better. If we DON'T do better, the dream is over.

Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 14, 2019 7:00 AM

LLOTF, thank you for clarifying.

LTD, thank you for sharing the neat story.

Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 14, 2019 7:02 AM

Deanna, thank you for sharing as well. Where did you find that speech?

Semi-OT: The Future (by Salernitana [CA]) Posted on: Apr 15, 2019 8:32 AM

S i d, I notice that space exploration and interesting inventions cross your radar in a good way. My hope is that more and more of the dreamers who start up these cutting-edge projects and companies will settle in areas where rent isn't so high. An extremely creative cool genius who hailed from St. Louis supposedly returned to MO after graduating from Stanford; I always hope that he's thriving in whatever company that he founded, boosting the local economy.

I once met a guy who worked at Tesla who didn't have many wonderful stories, but I'm sure that he loved his salary. Usually software engineers at least in Silicon Valley/SF have starting salaries well above $100k, and some swank companies serve "free" snacks, soft drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some also will give money monthly for communiting and/or an exercise membership and will offer free laundry/dry cleaning services.

LTD, your posts in this thread blew me away, especially your last one. I never knew that you held such thoughts, and thank you for your eloquent message.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Apr 15, 2019 2:07 PM

I still have the slide rule I used for math & physics . I have it on my desk & use it as a hiring screening tool. the ones who ask me how to use it go to second. the ones who donít care what it is do not get called back. I hire thinkers. they may not know everything but if they ask how it works then I know they are who I want. on side note: google the pix of people living in campers in the sides of the roads in CA silicon valley cities who make 100ís per year but can not afford a place to rent/buy......

Semi-OT: The Future (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Apr 15, 2019 2:12 PM

Sid: the future of electric cars was 100 years ago. many of the first cars were electric. did you know that ? there is a reason they did not last then. the electric for todayís cars comes from....coal & gas & oil fired plants...the only reason Tesla has lived so long is bc of tax rebates & subsidies. there is always a price for thinking you are doing something socially correct. there are oil reserves that will continue for hundreds of years. we are not running out anytime soon.

Semi-OT: The Future (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 15, 2019 2:31 PM

William Safire wrote it, 6x6. It's in the Nixon Presidential Library-- here's a scan.

Semi-OT: The Future (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 15, 2019 2:44 PM

thank you Deanna

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