BMW R65 by Ed Turner (Karl Renoult)

BMW R65 by Ed Turner (Karl Renoult)

Perfect motorcycling weather down in SC this winter.

Environment Dictates Action

This has been a big mantra of mine over the last few years. From Invite Media to WHAM Labs to Liberty or Death to personal projects, the first task I tackle before starting any work for any organization is ensuring that my environment (at an office, home, or elsewhere) is optimized for executing.

Your environment constantly changes, so you have to constantly optimize, but DAMN can you tell when the configuration is right. Things just get DONE. Over and over and over again. You get in a groove and grind through task after task.

The professional term for this get-things-done state is Flow, and there’s a fantastic book of the same name that you should read if you want to experience the flow state more often. 

Blake Richardson is a beast. 

NYTimes Sandy Timelapse with a Cinematic Orchestra Soundtrack

Happened to be listening to “That Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra when I clicked over to the NYTimes’ webcam timelapse video of Sandy. Lots of memories from the greatest city on Earth flashed through my head as I watched. Thankfully no close friends were harmed during the storm.

Song and video go together so well, I’m posting them here for others to try. 

  1. Start the video-audio track on Youtube at That Home by The Cinematic Orchestra.
  2. Jump to the NYTimes webcam video and watch.

Godspeed NYC. 

Musk: Version two of Dragon, which should be ready in three years, should be able to do it. But really, if humanity is to become multi-planetary, the fundamental breakthrough that needs to occur in rocketry is a rapidly and completely reusable rocket. In the absence of that, space transportation will remain two orders of magnitude more expensive than it should be.

Anderson: Really?

Musk: Imagine if you had to have a new plane for every flight. Very few people would fly.

Anderson: Isn’t the fuel a huge portion of the expense?

Musk: The cost of the propellant on Falcon 9 is only about 0.3 percent of the total price. So if the vehicle costs $60 million, the propellant is maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars. That’s with rocket propellant-grade jet fuel, which is three times the cost of normal jet fuel. That’s using helium as a pressurant, which is a very expensive pressurant. A next-generation rocket could use cheaper fuel and also be fully reusable.

Anderson: Are you making an announcement right now?

Musk: I hope we might unveil an architecture for that next year. I’d like to emphasize this is an aspiration for SpaceX—I’m not saying that we will do it. But I believe it can be done. And I believe that achieving it would be on a par with what the Wright brothers did. It’s the fundamental thing that’s necessary for humanity to become a space-faring civilization. America would never have been colonized if ships weren’t reusable.

Anderson: Wasn’t the space shuttle reusable?

Musk: A lot of people think it was reusable—but the main tank was thrown away every time. Even the parts that did come back were so difficult to refurbish that the shuttle cost four times more than an expendable rocket of equivalent payload capability.

Anderson: It’s like sending Columbus’ ships out and bringing the lifeboat back.

Musk: We’ve begun testing reusability with something called the Grasshopper Project, which is a Falcon 9 first stage with landing gear that can take off and land vertically.

Anderson: A huge rocket, landing on its feet? Holy shit.

Musk: Yeah, holy shit. The stages go to orbit, then the first stage turns around, restarts the engines, boosts back to the launch site, reorients, deploys landing gear, and lands vertically.

Anderson: It’s like something out of a movie or my old Tintin books. It’s the way space was supposed to be.

Musk: Exactly.


DARPA’s Pet-Proto Robot Navigates Obstacles (by DARPAtv)

The engineers should affix an Arnold Schwarzenegger mask on the top for future test videos.

nonlocality: the idea that the two objects are actually still a single quantum system, even though they may be far apart. That idea is uncomfortable to many people (including most famously Albert Einstein), but it preserves the principle of relativity, which states in part that no information can travel faster than light.

New Anberlin album “Vital” is out, and it has lived up to expectations set by the first two singles. The rocking tracks are heavy and rhythmic, the softer tracks are vibrant but not sappy (a trap Anberlin has frequently fallen into in the past). This track “Desires” is currently my favorite on the album.