Friday, June 22, 2012

Sputnik moment, revisited

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

I wrote this comment on a site just after Ofailure said we need a Sputnik moment. What a schnook. Here are the facts about the Sputnik and Explorer spacecraft and other socialist junk versus the excellent equipment created by freedom.

Socialists have to be first, not best. It's part and parcel of the propaganda. Remember the Soviet space program?

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite, but complete garbage. It died in about 20 days because it used dry cell batteries and gave no meaningful scientific data except in the negative. Read this from Wikipedia:

1) Apart from its value as a technological first, Sputnik also helped to identify the upper atmospheric layer's density, through measuring the satellite's orbital changes. 2) It also provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere. 3) Pressurized nitrogen in the satellite's body provided the first opportunity for meteoroid detection. If a meteoroid penetrated the satellite's outer hull, it would be detected by the temperature data sent back to Earth.
Let's go through those. 1) So if it's orbit didn't change then nothing would be found. Dumb. 2) Maybe. You can bounce radio signals from the Earth through the ionosphere and get pretty much the same info. 3) IF...a meteroid penetrated the satellite. What if the skin was too thick to allow penetration by smaller particles that might be significant scientifically? Ooops! And it had to penetrate the satellite's hull! What if a meteroid penetrated the hull and caused the orbit to change? Wouldn't that screw up the first test of checking the atmospheric density? Wouldn't an external grid be a better way to test for these impacts? If there was no penetration, there was no data. Once again, just typical socialist crap.

Vostok 1 was the first manned satellite to orbit the Earth but the spacecraft was so crappy, it didn't have it's own parachute; the pilot, Yuri Gagarin, had to eject and parachute to safety, in violation of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale rules which stated the pilot had to take off and land with his craft. So, according to the rules, Gagarin was NOT first. But the socialist French overlooked that and gave him the record anyway.

The first space walk, again by the Soviets and a near disaster. The cosmonaut, Alexey Leonov, almost didn't get out of the craft. They had to deflate his pressure suit to get out and then it was reinflated per normal use. But when he tried to get back in, he couldn't and they had to deflate it again, but this time it was deflated to almost zero pressure because he couldn't fit through the hatch. It damn near killed him.

Now, let's put these three up against the effort of the United States.

Here is the Explorer 1 info, again from Wikipedia:

The scientific instrumentation of Explorer 1 was designed and built under the direction of Dr. James Van Allen of the University of Iowa containing:

Anton 314 omnidirectional Geiger-Müller tube, designed by Dr. George Ludwig of Iowa's Cosmic Ray Laboratory, to detect cosmic rays. It could detect protons with E > 30 MeV and electrons with E > 3 MeV. Most of the time the instrument was saturated;

Five temperature sensors (one internal, three external and one on the nose cone);

Acoustic detector (crystal transducer and solid-state amplifier) to detect micrometeorite (cosmic dust) impacts. It responded to micrometeorite impacts on the spacecraft skin in such way that each impact would be a function of mass and velocity. Its effective area was 0.075 m2 and the average threshold sensitivity was 2.5 × 10−3 g cm/s;

Wire grid detector, also to detect micrometeorite impacts. It consisted of 12 parallel connected cards mounted in a fiberglass supporting ring. Each card was wound with two layers of enameled nickel alloy wire with a diameter of 17 µm (21 µm with the enamel insulation included) in such way that a total area of 1 cm by 1 cm was completely covered. If a micrometeorite of about 10 µm impacted, it would fracture the wire, destroy the electrical connection, and thus record the event.
Electrical power was provided by mercury chemical batteries as opposed to the dry cells used in Sputnik. This from Wikipedia again:

Mercury batteries powered the high-power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days. Explorer 1 stopped transmission of data on May 23, 1958 when its batteries died, but remained in orbit for more than 12 years. It reentered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on March 31, 1970 after more than 58,000 orbits.
Please don't tell me you think Sputnik had any scientific impact compared to Explorer. Also, Explorer 1 found the Van Allen radiation belts. What did Sputnik find? That socialist crap burns up in the atmosphere just like good American spacecraft. Big deal.

The Mecury spacecraft was much better than Vostok. Not the least of which was it had it's own parachute to allow for a safe landing. The pilot didn't need to exit the spacecraft unnecessarily while it was hurtling through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour, as with Vostok.

When Ed White became the first American to walk in space during his Gemini 4 flight with Jim McDivitt, there was no issue with pressurization. The only problem was that the hatch was momentarily stuck. The pilots got it unstuck in short order and everthing went fine.

Technology produced by socialism — unmitigated shit. Technology producted by freedom — the best in the world. Or even out of this world!  


Thursday, June 14, 2012


Matt Cain, right handed pitcher for the San Franciso Giants threw a no-hitter last night against the Houston Astros! Cain is the elder statesman of the Giants having been with the team since 2005, the longest of any current Giant player.

But this wasn't just any no-hitter. This was a perfect game! Not one Astro batter reached first base. The reason this is historic is because it is the first perfect game thrown by a Giant pitcher, in the 129 year history of the club! Even the umpires knew it was special.

It took some outstanding defense in the 7th and 9th innings to secure the win. In the 7th inning, right fielder Gregor Blanco made a diving catch on a deep ball hit to the warning track in Triples Alley. In the 9th inning, Third Baseman Joaquin Arias handled a tough ground ball and made a great throw across the diamond for the final out. One of the best outs was the third out in the 7th inning. Astro shortstop Jed Lowrie, batting left handed, swung and missed on the third strike, lost the grip on his bat and it landed to the left of home, then he spun 180 degrees and gave home-plate umpire Ted Barrett a high-five! You can see all 27 outs here.

Cain got 14 strikeouts, 7 swinging and 7 caught looking, to match the previous strikeout total in a perfect game by Sandy Kofax. Congratulations, Matt! I can't think of a pitcher more deserving of a no-hit perfect game. And thank you for the memories!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


My kitty kat Raider playing on our porch. Click the picture for a larger version. Should I enter this photo in our county fair competition?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Great Crusade

Today is June 6th. Sixty-eight years ago, on a very bleak and windy Tuesday morning, Operation Neptune, the code name for the naval invasion of Normandy, started as thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen began the Allied liberation of Europe. The overall operation was called Overlord and was scheduled to last until D +90. At that point, the Allies believed they would be on the south side of the River Seine with the Germans holding the north side. From there, the breakout would happen and Eisenhower's broad front strategy would slowly consume the German army in the west. Of course, it didn't happen that way.

There were five invasion beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword, running west to east along the Calvados Coast. The Americans came ashore at Utah and Omaha, while the British used Gold and Sword with the Canadians at Juno. British paratroopers dropped behind Sword Beach to secure vital bridges over the River Orne. American paratroopers dropped behind Utah to secure vital causeways off the beach and to take the important town of Sainte-Mère-Église. At Omaha Beach, the German's had the entire landing area zeroed in and the casualties were high. Eventually, in small groups, sometimes as small as one or two men, the 1st and 29th Divisions moved inland and secured the Omaha beaches. The invasion went much smoother at the other four beaches with the Canadians at Juno advancing the farthest on that Day of Days.

The Germans reinforced the area around the city of Caen and British General Montgomery failed miserably in his bid to take the city on D-Day. Eventually having to destroy the town to take it, Montgomery's men had most of the German armor facing them while the Americans under General Bradley had to contend with the Norman hedgerows. After nearly two months of brutal fighting, Bradley unleashed Operation Cobra. The Army Air Forces would carpet bomb an area near St. Lo, and the ground troops would rush through the shell-shocked Germans. At that point, General Patton took over 3rd Army, General Hodges took 1st Army from Bradley, and Bradley moved up to command 12th Army Group. Patton replaced the infantry spearheads with armor spearheads and broke out into the flat country south of the Cotentin peninsula. Patton swung his forces west to take the Brest peninsula and also east on a rampage that would end up with 3rd Army helping to seal off the German army and take bridges over the River Seine. Less than a year later, in May 1945, the Germans surrendered and the Great Crusade was over.

One of the finest books on the subject is D-Day, by Stephen E. Ambrose. If you haven't read it, do so. It details the details of the invasion. The most fascinating detail to me was the order in which every unit had to hit each specific beach. On a floor in Allied HQ, thousands of 3x5 cards containing information about each unit were placed in the order of when they would hit the beaches. If any data changed for a unit, someone had to go retrieve the card, make the change, and then put it back. These cards were shuffled to and fro until the commanders were satisfied. All of that without the aid of any computer. Amazing! And the most amazing thing was that they were able to keep the invasion secret. The Germans never knew it was Normandy, even with thousands of little 3x5 cards floating around.

For those that put themselves in harm's way to keep us from harm — Thank You.