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Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house? 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
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Post Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
You guys might be amused by some of the comments on this Slashdot thread, about the asteroid that's going to skim us in 3 days.

Orbital mechanics? Why would we geeks need to understand *that*?


Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:46 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
Yeah, reminds me of when I started in the navigation group at JPL. They think of places in the solar system in terms not of distance away but delta-v required to get there.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
Did you ever run into Bridget Landry at JPL, or was this before the last ten years or so?

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Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:20 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
I know the name but we have not met.


Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:58 pm
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
what i did notice about the asteroid zipping closely by terra was the lack of fanfare of any sort- seems it was either not considered news or it was suppressed to some degree (?) hmmmmmmmm.... don't frighten the populace, they may react "strangely" type of thing?

as an avid (front to back page) reader of the newspaper, i find it startling that this was never broached in a paper of considerable circulation until "after" it occured

anyone else see this happen?


nick


Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:18 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
There have been media reports of asteroids making close approaches for decades. I don't see anything special about this one. It's all gotten a bit ho-hum. When they report one on a collision course, then you might see a bit more interest.


Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:42 am
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
Peter

I wasn't expecting front page news on this. Rather, I felt it bore mentioning at the least ! From what I read, it passed within the orbit of the moon. This, in the least, should have rated at least a paragraph in the general news section-at least for the zealots awaiting the arrival of the mothership ;) - how big was this piece of rock?

Nick

ps: ho-hum ? if one were on a collison course what publicity would be allowed? (speculatively, would this be suppressed to avoid wide spread panic and we'd be allowed to work till the "smack"?)- just wondering


Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:47 am
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
Speaking of rocket scientists, has anyone noticed that Jordin Kare (who sang "The Green Hills of Earth" at the Heinlein Centennial Gala) appears in the Wall Street Journal today?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123680870885500701.html

CNN.com, too: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/16/mosquito.laser.weapon/

Quote:
"We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power," says Jordin Kare, an astrophysicist who once worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the birthplace of some of the deadliest weapons known to man. More recently he worked on the mosquito laser, built from parts bought on eBay.

The scientists' actual target is malaria, which is caused by a parasite transmitted when certain mosquitoes bite people. [...]

Demonstrating the technology recently, Dr. Kare, Mr. Myhrvold and other researchers stood below a small shelf mounted on the wall about 10 feet off the ground. On the shelf were five Maglite flashlights, a zoom lens from a 35mm camera, and the laser itself -- a little black box with an assortment of small lenses and mirrors. On the floor below sat a Dell personal computer that is the laser's brain.

The glass box of mosquitoes across the room is an old 10-gallon fish tank. Each time a beam strikes a bug, the computer makes a gunshot sound to signal a direct hit.

To locate individual mosquitoes, light from the flashlights hits the tank across the room, creating tiny mosquito silhouettes on reflective material behind it. The zoom lens picks up the shadows and feeds the data to the computer, which controls the laser and fires it at the bug.

In a video, researchers showed what happens when they deploy deadly rays.

A mosquito hovers into view. Suddenly, it bursts into flame. A thin plume of smoke rises as the mosquito falls. At the bottom of the screen, the carcass smolders.


Jordin's pictured in slide #3 of the WSJ's slide show.

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Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
Nick Doten wrote:
From what I read, it passed within the orbit of the moon. This, in the least, should have rated at least a paragraph in the general news section-at least for the zealots awaiting the arrival of the mothership ;) - how big was this piece of rock?


That was my point - asteroids approaching this close have gotten a paragraph in the general news section so many times that it's become old hat. When they do something different then they'll get more coverage. Say when one can be seen with the naked eye.

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ps: ho-hum ? if one were on a collison course what publicity would be allowed? (speculatively, would this be suppressed to avoid wide spread panic and we'd be allowed to work till the "smack"?)- just wondering


Not possible to suppress something like this, especially on a global scale. Too many astronomers in too many countries. Oh, governments would want to suppress it, and would try to, but I can't see them succeeding for more than a week. Doesn't make any difference how good an idea it would be, you just can't keep something like that secret.


Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:42 pm
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Post Re: Is there a *Rocket Scientist* in the house?
beamjockey wrote:
Speaking of rocket scientists, has anyone noticed that Jordin Kare (who sang "The Green Hills of Earth" at the Heinlein Centennial Gala) appears in the Wall Street Journal today?

snip

A mosquito hovers into view. Suddenly, it bursts into flame. A thin plume of smoke rises as the mosquito falls. At the bottom of the screen, the carcass smolders.


Anyone else flash on a certain tabasco sauce commercial?


Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:45 pm
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