Archive for October, 2007|Monthly archive page

science & engineering – we need both

At the risk of being branded Mr. Obvious (or Mr. Idealist), here’s my mental model of a relationship between science and engineering:

Science & Engineering

Engineers focus on implementation, and improve techniques based on “low hanging fruit” sometimes learned from scientists. Scientists push the bleeding edge, and sometimes rely on engineers for their infrastructure. Symbiotic, not zero-sum.

could Celestia play well with others?

I learned this week that Celestia does not model gravity. So I’ve started wondering if Celestia could be easily modified to defer simulation executive control and simulation clock/discrete event management to an external entity? This approach might lend itself to an architecture where gravity could be selectively modeled outside of Celestia:

Celestia External Control Strawman Architecture

Before reading the above Celestia forum thread, I was also not aware of the Orbiter simulator. It apparently does model gravity, is closed source freeware, but has an API.

sleepy survival instincts

Today, many of us solve a slight pang of “hunger” with a waltz to the fridge or a slight detour to the drive-thru. We spend less of our time meeting basic needs, and more on discretionary activities.

Our next meal is rarely in doubt, and we can easily spend a lifetime without experiencing a true fight-or-flight response for fear of becoming a meal ourselves. So it’s understandable that our survival instincts are dulled. Understandable, but not excusable.

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more is more

An argument against zero-sum game views of space politics:

“[…] they could be summarized as pro-science, pro-human, and pro-private. There is nothing inconsistent with holding all three positions.”

Agreed, and I’d add pro-engineering to this list.

should humans go?

This Mars Daily article tries my patience on many levels, but one quote stands out:

Cosmic radiation, weightlessness, psychological stress — no one knows what it will feel like to watch one’s home planet dwindle into invisibility — all pose serious challenges to any future Mars mission.

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