Tag Archives: space

COULD THIS BE THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR-POWERED AIRLINER? (NO.)

On January 5, 2011, I wrote the following:

“Designer” is a dangerous term, because it usually means some crazy person with ridiculous ideas who then makes CAD drawings or actual mock-ups of his crazy ideas and yet, for some goddamn reason, I appear to be the only person to notice that said idea is crazy.

That was 65 months ago, and it still holds true. “Designers” with no actual science knowledge or reality filter of any kind are the bread and butter of this blog, whether it’s a transparent toaster or a whole bunch of bullshit cooking tools or a pedal-powered submarine or magnetic roads or a rocket that doesn’t exist or a redesigned bicycle or concept cars or a fridge that tramples every law of physics it comes across like a hormonal bull in a sexy china shop. And that’s like a third of the total posts under my “design” category.

But people take these seriously. People write newspaper articles breathlessly extolling the virtues of a moon elevator or solar panels in space or a rocket that will take us to Alpha Centauri, powered only by kale, even though the crackpot that thought it up has no qualifications other than being able to make pretty 3D renderings on his computer.

And that brings us to this.

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There’s an old adage that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with a “no.” That’s not going to change here. Let’s dive in.

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THREE REASONS THIS ROCKET WON’T SEND US TO MARS

Ever been to the website Elite Daily?  If you haven’t, don’t bother.  Home of such journalistic masterpieces as “Zayn Malik Isn’t Worried About Leaving One Direction Because His Fiance Is Hot As F*ck” and “Man Given 18 Months To Live Says Cannabis Oil Cured His Cancer,” it’s a long-running stream of feel-good drivel that’s generally harmless.  Sometimes they veer out of the world of hot-button cultural issues like “Starbucks Is Coming Out With A S’mores Frappuccino In Time For Summer” and into the realm of science.  Like this headline here.

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SIX REASONS WE’RE NOT GETTING A MOON ELEVATOR

A while ago, several news outlets of varying degrees of reputability reported on the intentions of a company called Liftport to build a space elevator, but not on the Earth where it’d be accessible by human beings.  They want to build one on the moon.  But first they have to figure out if it’s possible.  And before that, they have to do some stuff with balloons.  It’s complicated.  I’ll explain.

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THE MOST AWESOME THING IN SPACE (IF YOU HAVE THE MATURITY OF A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD)

There’s a lot of science that’s kind of boring if you don’t understand it or its implications. I get that. But there’s also a lot of stuff that’s awesome in the world of science, despite being almost literally unbelievable when you first hear about it. This is one that I was perusing recently that, upon further thought, is hilarious if you have a dirty mind. I’ll show you.

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DEATH FROM THE SKIES! OR SOMETHING.

First of all, the first sentence of this post’s title is taken from Phil Plait’s book of the same name, which is awesome.  It looks like this.

You should buy it and read it, and then make all the people you know do the same thing.  It’s a really good book and Phil is really cool and here is his website also, from which I will be drawing heavily for this post as well.  Be internet friends with Phil Plait, is what I’m saying.

ANYWAY, I assume by now that you’ve all stopped crapping your pants over the recent spike in falling-space-object-related news, so I thought I’d offer you a quick recap of what happened, why it happened, and the likelihood of it happening to you.  And stuff.

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