SpaceX lands at sea

A little late with the news, but anyway the SpaceX’s Falcon-9 has successfully landed on the drone barge “Of Course I Still Love You”. The landing deck is 170 by 300 feet long, and the Falcon’s legs stand 60 feet apart. As you can see by the whitecaps, the sea was very rough with high altitude crosswinds of 50 mph and low altitude winds of 25 mph.

For true space geeks, the beautifully produced full 18 minute video:


Robert Heinlein’s classic short story -All You Zombies- is being adapted into a movie titled Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke.

Reading the smart, tightly plotted, but sadly dated* Heinlein story before going to see the movie will unavoidably damage your enjoyment of the film. And don’t let anyone tell you what it’s about, either.

The only information that can’t ruin it for you is this: It’s about time travel. “Zombies” is a metaphor. There are no undead corpses in the story, and should be none in the film. Unless Peter Jackson is somehow involved, I suppose, in which case there will probably be attractive female zombies with hang gliders and large rubber feet.

* It was written in 1958, and Heinlein’s attitudes towards women were formed considerably earlier.

One for Falcone

Armorial bearings of Royal Navy Vice-Admiral Samuel Butcher, commander of the 50-gun frigate HMS Antelope and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Butcher family arms

Arms: Vert, an elephant argent. Mantling vert and argent. Crest: On a wreath of the colours, a branch of a cotton-tree fructed proper. Motto: “Be Steady”.

Image from page 278 of “Armorial families: a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour” (1905).

Ask the Pope, because the Church has such a great record (not).

Today 30,000 Roman Catholics gathered in St. Peter’s square in Rome to ask a kindly old celibate how he thinks people should manage their marriages.

I find myself remembering Catholic impotency trials of pre-revolutionary France and medieval England, where husbands were sometimes required to demonstrate virility in front of a jury composed of priests (and possibly the mother-in-law), and have their performances described in public record. The Church’s politically based meddling in marriage (their opposition to divorce has no basis in scripture) and system of ecclesiastic courts has wrought many a tragedy.

To give him credit, Pope Francis seemed to be doing his best to keep the conversation from getting too specific. You have to hope he sees the ridiculousness of it all.