August 2005

They’re both somewhat persecuted nowadays, in a loose sense of the word. I thought that Help! Mom! There are Liberals UInder My Bed! was just a joke, but apparently it’s a real children’s book. Jeez, I never knew how the liberals were out to get all our money for wasteful “causes.” Bleeding hearts, always out to make the world better or some such nonsense. At least that’s what our old friend Niner would say (old inside joke).

Not to stir up another storm in the comments (my conservative, moderate, and liberal friends are very decent people but have strong opinions), but the book just seems weird. I wonder what it is about our society today that divides good people so sharply? It seems like primal forces venting in weird ways.

Forget about this stuff, though. I’m still sniffling over the diesel Vanagon (see previous post).

So it looks like biodiesel is a pretty good alternative. In fact Worley and Obetz are selling biodiesel at the pump in nearby Manheim and in my town any day now.

So I just need a diesel car…maybe a used Jetta Ecodiesel model.

Yeah. A VW again. Cool. I’ll look on Ebay.

Hmm. Not much on Ebay, but…wait! Look-an awesome car! Rebuilt turbo diesel engine, upgraded drivetrain, special car features, more. The perfect car. 28-35 mpg, even for a vehicle its size.

But then I show it to my wife. And she says “If you buy another Vanagon Camper, you’ll be sleeping in it, so I hope it has a good heater in addition to the diesel engine.”

Sniff, sniff. Good-bye, cool opportunity. I was even willing to drive you back from Denver, Colorado.

Guess I’ll have to look further for my renewable-energy vehicle. And all I wanted was to save the environment.

The Jetpack Propulsion Home Project.

Gotta give the guy credit for guts, though. (grin)


The program is in terrible disarray, essentially because budget cuts forced engineers to make shortcuts in designs, which led to shortcuts in safety. It seems that half a space program is NOT better than none.

What a shame that the NASA engineers tried so hard to make things work with inadequate resources. I’ll bet the odds are a thousand to one that the agency will get the proper oversight and funding to recover from the shuttle program properly.

This article has a great retrospective on the program, if you have the time to read it. Here’s a sample article comment on the effect of funding restrictions affecting shuttle design:

“The Soviet Shuttle, the Buran (snowstorm) was an aerodynamic clone of the American orbiter, but incorporated many original features that had been considered and rejected for the American program, such as all-liquid rocket boosters, jet engines, ejection seats and an unmanned flight capability. You know you’re in trouble when the Russians are adding safety features to your design.”