Falcon Heavy – January 2018

December 29, 2017

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is basically three times more powerful than anything they’ve launched before and is the most powerful rocket today. It was raised vertical for tests at Kennedy Space Center:

When it launches, the two outer boosters will detach and land almost simultaneously at Cape Canaveral, while the center core will attempt to land on the floating barge in the Atlantic. Almost like this:

Because  Elon Musk has a sense of humor, he will be sending his very own original Tesla Roadster into space:


And Elon thinks there’s a fairly real chance the first Falcon Heavy launch will explode:

“I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest,”

This is crazy cool stuff, whether it succeeds the first time or not.

You do have the right to remain silent

December 29, 2017

Preet Bharara is the former US Attorney fired by Donald Trump, supposedly due to not returning the president’s phone call. He now has a very interesting podcast:


I highly recommend the one with Garry Kasparov (who I also highly recommend). Preet also has a prosecutor’s wit on Twitter:


Ice Bowl + 50 Years

December 29, 2017

Bart Starr (15) sneaks into the end zone for the winning touchdown in the Green Bay Packers’ 21-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 NFL Championship Game, better known as the Ice Bowl, on Dec. 31, 1967 at Lambeau Field.
(Photo: Associated Press)

This is a great oral history of the famous Ice Bowl, Packers vs. Cowboys, December 31st 1967. If you have any interest in football, read  the whole thing…

Eight Packers and four Cowboys who took the field that day would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both coaches would be enshrined, too. The Packers had guile and experience and a field general named Bart Starr. The Cowboys had youth and superior team speed and their “Doomsday Defense.”

Yes, it would have been a great game on any day, in any kind of weather.

It would be played, though, on New Year’s Eve day in Green Bay, in the kind of weather that tested the limits of what a man could endure.

The official low temperature at Austin Straubel Airport that day was 17 below zero.

Wakeup call:

I guess it was Meredith who got the wakeup call at the hotel in Appleton, something like, ‘Howdy doody, Packer backers, it’s 7 o’clock in the morning and it’s 16 below.’ He said, ‘Sixteen below what?’ She said, ‘Go outside and you’ll find out.’ He went outside and said it was like getting hit in the head with a two-by-four.”

Game time temperatures:

“It was 13 below at kickoff, 20 below at halftime and 22 below when the game ended. That’s crazy. We shouldn’t have played.

Packer fans:

When we came out to take pre-game warm-up, there wasn’t a person in the stands. It was completely empty. We went back into the locker room and came out 15 minutes before kickoff and there was not an empty seat.

The field:

During the summer preceding the ’67 season, Lombardi spent $80,000 on an underground heating system, a first in the NFL. A grid of electric coils, buried inches below the surface of the Lambeau Field turf, were designed to keep the grass soft and provide a good playing surface in cold weather.

There was one problem, though. The field was covered overnight with a tarp, which trapped the heat and created condensation. When the tarp was removed before the game, the moist turf immediately started freezing.

Don’t put your lips on it:

We used a metal whistle in those days. I think it happened to (referee) Norm (Schachter) and Bill Schleibaum, the line judge. They tried to blow their whistles and the metal stuck to the their lips and pulled the skin right off their lips.

Again, Packer fans…

You can’t explain to people who haven’t been in that kind of weather how cold it was. Seeing those people in the stands … we didn’t have a choice, but what the heck were they doing out there?

Old school…

The thing I vividly recall, the offense is running on the field and the punt return team is running off and Ray Nitschke was on the field, screaming at the offense, ‘Don’t let me down! Don’t let me down!’ He was an intimidating figure. He had no teeth, snot was coming out of his nose, there was blood and mud on his uniform.

Final drive, Packers down 17 – 14:

Starr called the Packers’ final timeout with 16 seconds left and trotted to the sideline to confer with Lombardi. He told the coach that if he called a wedge play – a handoff to Mercein – he thought he could keep the ball, shuffle his feet and dive into the end zone behind the blocks of Bowman and Kramer.

Lombardi’s response?

“Then run it, and let’s get the hell out of here.”

Packers running back Mercein:

I was convinced I would be getting the ball. We didn’t have a whole lot of plays for short yardage. We had a couple dives and we had a wedge play. Bart said, ‘Brown 32, wedge right.’ I never heard him say, ‘I’m keeping the ball.’ I had 34 of the 68 yards on that drive. I thought that was going to be the cherry on the cake.

Packers win:

It was the greatest drive I saw in Packer history. And I covered a lot of games. Less than 5 minutes to play, they’re losing 17-14 and they go 68 yards. There were no mistakes, no fumbles, no dropped passes. Nothing. Nobody is ever going to have a drive like that in those conditions.




Real Phone Security

December 27, 2017

Via xkcd, of course…


A Really Good Movie

December 27, 2017

We don’t get to the movies a lot. Busy/Kids/etc. pick your excuse. We obviously skew towards family movies. When we saw Despicable Me 3 there was a preview for Coco that looked good and we put it in our “ought to see” list.

My wife and I took the day after Christmas off, and a movie was on the agenda. Pitch Perfect 3 and The Greatest Showman are also on the family’s list, but Coco came out at Thanksgiving and probably won’t be around long, so that was our choice. I also happened to check the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Name a movie out today with 90% or higher in both the Rotten Tomatoes reviewers score and audience score. There is exactly one. Coco has a crazy 97/96 rating.

And we saw why. My wife cried, the audience applauded at the end. It’s just good.

How We Got Into This Mess, And How Get Out of It

December 21, 2017

I’ve been trying to avoid politics on this blog, but this one I can’t resist (if only for the live drawing value).

We can have vast wealth in the hands of a few, or we can have a democracy. But we cannot have both. – Justice Louis Brandeis

Google Year in Search

December 21, 2017

It’s funny how a company like Google can be tone deaf in many areas, but every year they nail the year in search video…