The hitch

I lay there staring up at the underbelly of the car, the muffler an inch beyond my nose. A thirty two pound steel hitch lay at my feet and I had no idea how I was going to drag it in that cramped space, over my chest, lift it up to the undercarriage and then… Read More The hitch

Buffering writes

Many scientific computing applications consist of processing data and then writing out to disk. Often the application will be I/O bound, which means that the computation time is shorter that the time it takes to read or write data to disk. Even though modern OSes do their best to write efficiently to the hardware, there… Read More Buffering writes

Laughter, groupthink and physical distancing

One of the unexpected side-effects of our attempt to fire-break #COVID19 with #PhysicalDistancing , is the absence of laughter in the late night shows I like to watch. This lack of laughter taught me some interesting things about my reactions to these shows, and gave me extra admiration for how @StephenAtHome and @iamjohnoliver
are now doing the shows with no live feedback. … Read More Laughter, groupthink and physical distancing

Digital Apollo – Mindell (2008)

Digital Apollo is a excellent sociological and technological study of the uneasy alliance between the astronauts who commanded the Apollo missions, and the computers which actually controlled the spacecraft systems. It traces how pilots, who first resisted the incursion of computers into their domain, gradually and grudgingly accepted the important role the computers played in… Read More Digital Apollo – Mindell (2008)

We should not be wasting money on manned space missions.

Currently, robotic spacecraft give us enormously more scientific and engineering value than manned missions. We should only invest in manned space flight once there is a clear rationale for a continuous manned presence in space. When Boeing figured out that bad time data caused Starliner to waste precious propellant during orbit insertion, making it infeasible… Read More We should not be wasting money on manned space missions.