Well you may have noted less output here from me, and less interaction. I’ve been doing some thinking.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that the cultural Left might just have a point.
As a white heterosexual male, I truly can have no idea what it’s like to be a person of color, I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes and seen first hand they way they are treated. No, not every white, but enough, treat them with obvious contempt and many just have a bias they are blind to. This does lead to a systemic sort of racism, and similar mechanisms exist with sex and sexual preference.
As such we simply can’t understand the level of offense Trump has committed by using Stormy Daniels then discarding her and then offering a relative pittance to her to shut up, thus devaluing her just because she is a woman and (of course) exercising his white, cis, hetero male privilege. Not only that he had the infernal gall to pay this small amount of money out of monies he shouldn’t have used for that purpose. He richly deserves whatever punishment the New York courts mete out.
Now you may want to argue with me about this, but first I’d like you to spend some time in introspection, to be sure you can truly say you don’t have an unconscious behavior pattern that could be causing issues.
But before you do that, scroll to the top of the page and read the damned date.
F*ck Donald Trump
Note: for purposes of just this one section, I’ve redefined the word “f*ck” to mean “heap tons of blessings on as a just and inadequate reward for all that he has done.”
But I had to write a headline that wouldn’t just give away the April Fool’s joke.
Oooookay, with the joke now over, (and the English language now reset to its normal values) we can proceed.
Joining The Herd Of Lemmings
I’ve had cause to consider a few things. Maybe we’re going about it the wrong way, and we need to ditch Trump
Trump all the way! Why? Because being hated by the people who hate him is a sign of impeccable character, that’s why.
The haters can go fuck themselves with rusty twelve gauge bore brushes. I’d prefer ten gauge but that’s kind of scarce, so…I’m willing to compromise.
The RINO’s Dilemma
The RINOs who who have burrowed in and taken over most GOP organizations, from the state down to local organizations, have quite a dilemma on their hands, and most of them have their heads too far up their asses to realize it.
OK, I’m not talking about the liberal in a Republican area, who knows they’re in the wrong party, but is there because it’s the only game in their town; they hope to capture a nomination someday, at which point they’re guaranteed to be elected…otherwise, they never will be. These people are a hazard in any heavily conservative area.
No, I’m talking about the guys who are a little bit conservative and want to do some good by going into politics, and they’re in a closely matched area, closely enough that they can join the party they are most aligned with and still have a chance. They think the Democrats…particularly the ones who end up running for office…are nuts.
They don’t think much better of the Deplorable types, either. A bunch of bumpkins whose hearts are in the right place, mostly…OK a bit extreme. But they think Deplorables can’t understand that first you have to get elected, then work within the system to change things…a slow process. They genuinely want many of the things Deplorables want…just not as much. The government is spending too much. Or they need to spend money on highways instead of welfare for illegal immigrants. But they want to work within the system to get these things done.
Or maybe they think things are pretty close to ideal right now, and they want to nail it in place.
The problem is, that means they don’t stand for anything in particular. And it shows. They’re about as unappetizing to the electorate as a puddle of dog vomit. The folks in the middle, who they think they are appealing to because they themselves are not extreme, would honestly prefer a clear-spoken radical to someone who qualifies everything they say to the point where they sound like they don’t believe anything at all.
The problem these “Mild RINOs” have, is they just can’t see that. And the reason they just can’t see that, is their entire sense of self-worth is tied up in not seeing that. In their minds, they’ve worked tirelessly for their party, to keep those crazy Democrats out…only to have to constantly fight with a small number of crazy Republicans–who are only liabilities if they end up as candidates. They’ve fought the good fight, and if they can just find the right candidate, someone with some charisma, they might stop the crazies…without being too beholden to the OTHER crazies. In the meantime it’s not working. What’s a responsible guy in politics to do?
They simply cannot understand that the Republicans can’t succeed as the party of nothing in particular. Not really in the past, and certainly not today when people are starting to realize that no matter what they do in the voting booth, the country is still about to fly off a precipice. If they did see it, they’d suddenly have two choices: Go away and let the GOP succeed, or stay and fight. But “go away” isn’t really an option, because what’s the point of having a party now owned by the crazies, win?
Well, they have a dilemma…and WE, therefore have a problem. And we would have that problem even IF they realized that they had a problem…that they were the problem.
No one ever thinks they are the bad guy. Even Epstein probably thought he was the good guy. Right up to the moment where he didn’t kill himself.
So if you ever wonder why these unappetizing dufuses cling on even when their fingernails are being left behind…that’s why. They don’t understand no one wants them, and can’t imagine that no one should want them. And oftentimes their greatest pride is in all the hard work they’ve done for the party. They’re not going to give that up; it’d be psychological suicide.
If you’ve worked with these people, there’s a good chance you like them and consider some of them your friends. But even if so…we’re going to have to give them a good, hard shove. Because America is more important than those milquetoasts’ egos.
Justice Must Be Done
The prior election must be acknowledged as fraudulent, and steps must be taken to prosecute the fraudsters and restore integrity to the system.
Nothing else matters at this point. Talking about trying again in 2022 or 2024 is hopeless otherwise. Which is not to say one must never talk about this, but rather that one must account for this in ones planning; if fixing the fraud is not part of the plan, you have no plan.
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Poltical correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. Zeroth rule of gun safety: Don’t let the government get your guns.
5. Rule one of gun safety: The gun is always loaded.
5a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
6. Rule two of gun safety: Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
7. Rule three: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
8. Rule the fourth: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
Spot (i.e., paper) Prices
This week, 3PM Mountain Time, markets have closed for the weekend.
Apparently some (still) solvent bank decided to help bail out SillyCon Valley Bank, so the dollar strengthened and gold dropped a bit. But gold is still firmly in the upper $1900s as of the middle of the week. Silver meanwhile moved up quite a bit this week. I guess “they” were so busy suppressing gold they forgot about silver.
Fuck Joe B*d*n
Due to complaints about foul language, I’ve censored the most objectionable word in the title of this section.
B*d*n, you don’t even get ONE scoop of ice cream today.
(Please post this somewhere permanent, as it will continue to be true; the SOB will never deserve a scoop.)
A few weeks ago I explained how most three (or more) body problems require a lot of iterative computation to solve and that such solutions must necessarily be approximate, even if initial conditions are known perfectly. (Which they never are.)
This isn’t that big a problem today; I know that an old Intel 80386 (even without a 80387 coprocessor), a reasonably up-to-date computer in the early 1990s, could do work like this. (The coprocessor just made it 20-30 times faster.) But back in the 50s, 60s and early 70s computer time was expensive. And the machines were a lot slower too, so they couldn’t just run the numbers as quickly as my bright shiny new 80386 did just a few years later. Thus you couldn’t just plug things in on a whim to see what would happen. Not if you were NASA and had other things for those computers to be doing.
So if you’re brainstorming missions, how do you get a sort of rough idea what can be done?
One method is called “patched conics.”
Let’s say you’re planning to land on the Moon. There are multiple steps involved: 1) Get off the earth. 2) Get into an orbit that will take you out as far as the moon’s orbit (you’ll have to time it so when you get to the moon’s orbit, the moon is actually there at that spot in its orbit instead of the other side of the earth). 3) Settle down into orbit around the moon. 4) You then send down a landing craft, and let it come back up, but in the meantime your main spacecraft stays in lunar orbit. 5) You break out of lunar orbit into one that returns to Earth. 6) Land on Earth.
We have Earth, Moon, and spacecraft. (Let’s give it a snappy name like, say, “Apollo.”)
Three body problem.
But…remember we’re just doing an approximation here, to check feasibility; once they decide they like the idea enough to really spend time on it, they will shove it through their expensive, stone-knives-and-bearskins computer. So we can treat it as three separate problems that can be solved readily.
First, the trajectory from Earth to Moon. That’s either an escape orbit, or a highly elliptical one. You just need to get to a certain point in space…the point where the moon’s gravity is stronger than Earth’s. And it’s straightforward to compute the spacecraft’s velocity at that point (pretending for a moment that there’s no moon there). Note that that is both a speed and a direction of motion, in Earth’s reference frame.
Now, leaving that velocity fixed, put the moon there. But also note that the moon is orbiting the earth too, and it has a velocity in Earth’s reference frame as well.
But now you change reference frames. You subtract the moon’s velocity vector from the spacecraft’s velocity vector, and get a new velocity vector, the velocity of the spacecraft in the Moon’s reference frame.
Now you ignore the earth, and pretend it’s a spacecraft-Moon two body problem. You’ll probably find that your spacecraft is in a hyperbolic (escape) orbit with respect to the Moon, so you’ll need to fire your thrusters to slow yourself down and drop into a nice, tidy lunar orbit. Note how much you have to change your velocity; that’s an absolutely key bit of information since that ultimately determines the rocket fuel you must bring with you (and if it’s too much, you’re not going to be able to do this mission). This process of slowing down and getting into a “regular” elliptical orbit is the process NASA used to call things like “Lunar Orbital Injection” but it has nothing to do with clot shots.
Coming back is the reverse process.
So note: 1) You can break a complex problem down into smaller pieces to get an approximate answer, and 2) Each piece works in the frame of reference of one large “primary” body.
So now maybe you’re getting a glimmering about why I ranted about Galilean relativity last time. Groundwork.
OK, let’s do another one. Let’s build a spacecraft named…hmmm…Pioneer 10 and send it on a flyby past Jupiter. If we put it on a big honkin’ rocket and make the probe as light as possible, we can put it into an elliptical orbit whose far end is a bit further than Jupiter’s orbit (but not as far as Saturn’s orbit). Now we just time it so it gets there when Jupiter is there and fly by, take a bunch of pictures, and radio them back to Earth.
Now we can alter the timing just a little bit and either aim for just ahead of Jupiter, or just behind it, as we cross Jupiter’s orbit. Either way, we’re close enough to take pictures and make a bunch of other observations at other wavelengths.
But let’s fly behind Jupiter and see what happens. And let’s do it in Jupiter’s frame of reference.
Note that our elliptical (non-escape) orbit about the sun, in Jupiter’s reference frame is a classic hyperbola, a Jupiter escape trajectory.
Jupiter’s direction of motion is shown in purple, left to right (but that’s kind of a misnomer in a diagram that’s in Jupiter’s frame of reference, where Jupiter is not moving). Pioneer 10 came in from the upper right, and exits, state lower right. All motion is counter-clockwise (including Jupiter’s motion when we look in the Sun’s frame of reference).
Here’s an animation of the same thing, showing all the Galilean satellites’ motion as well. If you watch the timing you’ll see it got fairly close to three of them, Io (red), Europa (blue), Ganymede (yellow), and not so close to Callisto (cyan)
You’ll note that when the spacecraft leaves Jupiter’s little mini-solar-system, its velocity is in almost the same direction as Jupiter’s velocity, left to right.
Which means when we switch back to the Sun’s reference frame, we’ve now added Jupiter’s velocity to Pioneer 10’s velocity.
Let’s see that in the Sun’s reference frame…which is slightly rotated with respect to the other diagrams, as you’ll see Jupiter isn’t heading nearly horizontally across this diagram but is instead moving a bit upwards as well at the time of the encounter.
Pioneer 10 just got a speed boost…a big one. Notice that just before the encounter it’s moving at 10.4 km/second relative to the sun, just afterwards it’s doing 23 km/second.
That’s enough to escape the sun, and in fact Pioneer 10 is the first object we’ve ever managed to send permanently outside of our solar system.
Now you might have noticed, in the Jupiter-centered diagrams Pioneer 10 comes in from the upper right, but in the Sun-centered digram it looks as if it’s coming in from the upper left. But again, notice that Jupiter is moving faster than Pioneer 10 at that point…so it’s catching up to it, and from Jupiter’s point of view therefore it comes in from the upper right.
Just like that slow moving asshole in the left lane on the Interstate, as you’re driving east, appears from your point of view to be moving west; first he’s east of you, then he’s west of you.
Pioneer 10 will likely pass by a faint red-dwarf star named HIP 117795 in about 90,000 years (at a distance of 0.75 light years…not terribly close!), but we won’t be receiving any data from it; it was powered by a nuclear battery which appears to have died. The radioisotope that powered it has decayed away. (It still kicked the Energizer bunny’s ass all over the solar system.) Our last successful contact with it was in 2003, at over 80 AUs (over twice the distance to Neptune).
(“Why didn’t they just put a solar panel on the thing?” someone asks. Are you kidding? At 12 billion miles from the Sun? Go stand in the corner and write “solar panels only work 1/6400th as well at 80 AUs and couldn’t power even so much as a light bulb the size of my brain” 100 times.)
OK, let’s have some real fun. Let’s time it really carefully, so that on its way out the solar system after getting kicked in the butt by Jupiter, it then flies past Saturn.
Well, that’s Pioneer 11.
We actually timed that one in such a way that Jupiter sent Pioneer 11 back closer to the sun, on its way to Saturn!
Also note we got it out of the plane of the planets’ orbits a bit; those white lines show you how far above and below the plane Pioneer 11 got.
Here are Jupiter and Saturn centered animations. Note that Pioneer 11 also got timed perfectly to get some really close shots of three of the Galilean moons (all but Europa).
The same trick was done by Voyager I in the 1980s, and Voyager II not only went past Jupiter and Saturn, it went past Uranus and Neptune! FOUR gravity assists! So far it’s the only spacecraft to visit either of those two ice giant planets.
Voyager I is right now the farthest manmade object out there, it passed up Pioneer 10 in 1998. Pioneer 10 is still second-farthest, though…except that sometime this month Voyager 2 will pass it as well. (They’re in completely different directions, so they won’t be waving “Hi” to each other.)
We’re expected to lose contact with these other spacecraft in the next few years, just as we have with Pioneer 10. Again, the radioisotope that powers the spacecraft is decaying away.
Note that in all of these cases, we just had to get the spacecraft to Jupiter; gravity assists did the rest of the work. And back then, getting to Jupiter was all we could manage without those assists.
As far as Uranus and Neptune are concerned, they have to be lined up just right to be able to benefit from these multiple assists. We just happened to luck out and have this happen just as NASA was figuring out second-generation deep space probes (the Voyagers are much improved over the Pioneers). The alignment is very infrequent, less than once a century (Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the sun, it will have to orbit for more than that to “lap” Neptune again, because Neptune is in a 165 year orbit.)
But there is one other spacecraft on an escape trajectory, and that’s New Horizons, which did a flyby of Pluto. (We went from having very fuzzy, pixelated pictures from Hubble…to having razor sharp pictures of Pluto in a matter of weeks. Before Hubble Pluto was literally a dot on a black and white photo. That’s what I saw as a kid; now I have an actual globe of Pluto. Astounding!) In this case, the spacecraft was light enough that we were able to launch it directly into a solar escape trajectory. We could have sent it directly to Pluto, however we decided to use a gravity assist from Jupiter to cut five years or so off the travel time. (Ironically, we got more data from New Horizons on its flyby of Jupiter than we did from its Pluto flyby.)
But I am going to pause here to emphasize a key point. To speed up you pass behind the planet. In doing so, the spacecraft pulls backward on the planet, slowing it down just the tiniest, tiniest bit…giving the momentum to the spacecraft. This isn’t free; the planet is being ransacked of momentum. But the planet is so much larger that we’ll never be able to measure the difference. (It’s another one of those femtometer type things.)
What happens if you pass in front of the planet? Well, the spacecraft slows down. And this is useful if you want to visit the inner solar system. Mercury can be just as tricky to get to as the outer planets, because in order to drop the perihelion of a spacecraft’s orbit, you have to slow down, a lot. And if you want to go into orbit around Mercury and study it for a while, you need to bring along fuel to do the orbital “injection” which means you need a bigger rocket…or you need to do some gravity assists.
The Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury, of course, used a gravitational assist from Venus to get to Mercury. More recently, however, MESSENGER was sent to orbit Mercury, and used no less than six gravity assists to get itself slowed down enough to do so, one of Earth, two of Venus, and three of Mercury itself. That took seven years of travel time.
Hold onto your hats. The speed of this one is the same as the others…but Mercury orbits a LOT faster than Jupiter:
And we’ve also used inner planets to go to the outer planets. The Galileo probe was sent to orbit Jupiter, but first it got an assist from Venus and two from Earth; it even sent us pictures of Earth as it flew by. Cassini, which orbited Saturn, got assists from Venus, Earth, and (of course) Jupiter. Juno, another Jupiter orbiter, got an assist from Earth.
And of course we’ve now sent probes to the Sun…well we can’t get too close to it, but Parker Solar probe has done five assists off of Venus with two more to come.
A lot of NASA and the ESA’s space achievements, particularly orbiters around other planets, would simply have been impossible without these gravity assists. As computing power increases, we can plan more and more elaborate combinations of gravity assists to do things we couldn’t have before. Who would have imagined a Saturn Orbiter way back when?
But why? Why do we have to do such ridiculous amounts of hoop jumping to do these things? Why not just build a bigger dang rocket?
Obligatory PSAs and Reminders
China is Lower than Whale Shit
Remember Hong Kong!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
China is in the White House
Since Wednesday, January 20 at Noon EST, the bought-and-paid for His Fraudulency Joseph Biden has been in the White House. It’s as good as having China in the Oval Office.
Joe Biden is Asshoe
China is in the White House, because Joe Biden is in the White House, and Joe Biden is identically equal to China. China is Asshoe. Therefore, Joe Biden is Asshoe.
But of course the much more important thing to realize:
Joe Biden Didn’t Win
Qiáo Bài dēng méi yíng !!!
Joe Biden didn’t win !!!