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Comment Re:Greed rules in Corporate America (Score 1) 117

When did this new form of illiteracy take hold?

With the arrival of the Internet. Time was, almost everything you read had passed under the eyes of an English major somewhere in its trip to you. Repeated exposure to edited text reinforced what you'd learned in grammar school. There was only one place where semiliterate morons could transmit text to you...and the Internet is today's restroom wall.

Comment Re:iPad?!?!?! (Score 1) 366

o if tailstrikes are a problem, quit screwing around and put a hardpoint there to protect the aircraft.

It's called a tailskid, and most airplanes have them...but there's a limit to how strong you can make them. A skid that will take a HARD tailstrike would need a prohibitive amount of structure above it, so they're designed to take a comparatively gentle scrape and crumple in a telltale way if it gets worse.

Comment Re:Acronym (Score 2) 83

I often wonder if MST3K was inspired by High Street, a program that ran on a Denver FM station on Saturday nights in the Seventies. They would tell you to watch the evening movie on non-network TV Channel 2, turn the sound off, and listen to a slightly-stoned group of U of Denver undergraduates lip-sync their own sound track. It was claimed to be extemporaneous; they would muddle around a bit until they'd settled on a plot premise, and then they'd run with it.

My most vivid memory is of The Counterfeit General, a WW2 movie in which a sergeant played by Glenn Ford saves a lost platoon from morale collapse by impersonating a general who's been killed. Their new plot involved Ford setting up a drug deal with the Germans.

And what they did to the commercials was really sweet...

Comment Consider the geometry (Score 1) 2

It was flying away from you and gaining altitude relative to the surface, but the earth being spherical and all, the line of sight from you to the bird didn't change much. It's a common visual effect.

If a launch leaves a smoke trail, the latter soon assumes a snake-like shape in response to the variations in wind in different places and different altitudes. Looking at that trail from one end magnifies the wiggles, and you get what looks like a tangle of string -- and the news media sometimes report a "missile launch out of control".

The German V-2 engineers used to call that effect Gefrierenblitzen -- frozen lightning.

You cannot have a science without measurement. -- R. W. Hamming