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>The Hidden Frontier?

26 Feb

>I am at a loss to explain it. It showed up in an old Raytheon (PBUT*) ad found here:[CLICK TO ENBIGGEN]The end item does not appear to fit. A closer look seems to show a “flying saucer” type vehicle communicating or trading shots through a cloud with a flame while an armored hand is reflecting or deflecting something at an angle; or maybe it created or is removing the cloud?

I suppose this could be a reference to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saint (associated with lightning, artillerymen and others who work with explosives), but that seems pretty unlikely in this context; perhaps instead it is more likely to indicate a project named for the saint, some kind of OHAP/Joint Air (Force) – Navy Electronic Technical Team defense against the “glocke” starships of the Far Edge? Just one more little gap in the not-quite-perfect wall of secrecy about the Hidden Frontier! Tsk, Raytheon, somebody let the Art Department see more than they should!

Update: I am, of course, slightly kidding Raytheon (or did USSF-I and NSA make me claim to be kidding and if they had, would I admit it in order to add another layer of FUD?). Raytheon has a very long history with electronics experimenters and hams, from the first affordable rectifying tubes (the cold gas BH) through innovative multigrid tubes power, mercury-vapor amplifying tubes (!) and the very first affordable “hobby” transistor, the CK722. These days, Raytheon is largely (but not entirely) taken up with .mil and .gov work but at one time, they were building everything from radars to radar ranges to transmitters and mixing consoles for radio stations.

It’s a short Wikihop from Raytheon’s most famous transistor to Alfred P. Morgan, the man whose books introduced countless youngsters to electronics, chemistry, small engines, electricity and plenty more; about as soon as it became possible, he began including solid-state projects in his books and that meant CK722 transistors and 1N34A diodes. Not too shabby for a man whose first book — on building your own biplane glider! — was published in 1909.

(And if you drop down the early-semiconductor rabbit hole, you end up in interesting places, like the guy who built an audio amplifier in which the active devices are rectifier diodes!)
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* Every time you microwave popcorn or some other snack, remember Raytheon and Percy Spencer, without whom you would probably not have the device. …And you might living in a very different world in other ways, too, since he was the man responsible for putting radar tubes into mass production.

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>USSF Lander?

12 Feb

>Interesting tidbit from the Hidden Frontier: the old USSF lander design has surfaced, with a plausible cover story.

That’s all I’ve time for this morning! Off to the Skunk Works.

>Book Update

5 Feb

>Between Mom’s surgery and the extreme weather, the stack of books I had ready to ship…never made it to the Post Office. The plan is to take them there tomorrow. I apologize for the delay.

>1938: Manned Moonshot

26 Jan

>It’s called “The First on the Moon” and it’s a documentary of that long-ago, first Soviet space program….

…Mind you, the fellow in charge of the movie says it’s simply a commentary on a system that treated people like machines.

Whatever it is, it’s brilliantly done; with a former government that led the world in, ahem, creative history for his background, the filmmaker has come up with something fascinating.

You can’t get it on DVD, even the Region 5 version (PAL standard) listed at Amazon is unavailable — but it’s right there on YouTube, in seven parts. Enjoy!

(And if you’re visiting Farside City, see if the Russians have a tour of the memorial site scheduled during your stay. Oh, it’s long ride to a forlorn and lonely place, just another patch of Moonscape with a discarded lander-stage, some empty tanks and tins and a tattered, sun-bleached flag, but terribly moving all the same).

>Good Morning!

16 Jan

>It better be a good morning, if it know what’s good for it. –Cold, which I loathe; with every year, I come to a better understanding of why people retire to warm climates.

There’s a gun show this morning, a BlogMeet this afternoon and you’ll find a propaganda poster from the Hidden Frontier at I Work On A Starship. If there’s not something in all that to amuse you, you’d better find a book.

>Signed Book Update

12 Jan

>I have been busy with various “real”-world activities (researching Life Among The Mundanes, maybe? Mostly, annoying accountants, which is a perfectly terrible thing) and it has taken me longer than expected to work out costs.

Here’s an Easter Egg for readers who like SF: there are a bunch of fanzines available online!

Back to autographed & personally inscribed editions of I Work On A Starship: The most dependable method within the U.S. will be a flat-rate Priority Mail box. $5.20 covers all postage & packaging costs and I’ll ask $16 for the book. (I’ve had their flat-rate envelopes break in processing and there is nothing worse than receiving an empty envelope in a Post Office “Ooopsie!” plastic bag). Media Mail is a couple dollars cheaper but by the time I come up with envelopes, etc., the costs are equal and it takes longer.

Update: My book’s on Amazon.com! –I make about three cents from Amazon sales, btw. But hey, it’s show biz! 😉

I’ll be contacting the lucky winners of the first round of books this evening. I have a list of names for the secnd round but three of you — Chuck K, Gerry and Anonymous (!) — need to e-mail me at roberta (dot) x (at) sbcglobal (dot) net: I don’t have your e-mail addys. (Blogger takes it when you post a comment, but it doesn’t show it to me!)

If you already have a copy and would like it signed, contact me and I’ll arrange for you to send it to Roseholme Cottage with an SASE.

>New Chapter at I Work On A Starship

6 Jan

>Finally!

Even before the rain, it didn’t look good. Oh, there were some pluses: we had not found the possible major booby-trap by getting ourselves exploded, for instance; and Aberstwyth proper was on the far side of the port’s high, hollow-square berm. But blowing a big hole in the ground and spraying radioactives around is something of a social gaffe, even on the Far Edge — and even more so in a place where they have already had an overlarge share of flaming death from above. Run that by the force multiplier of what appeared to be mixed public opinion regarding the NATO worlds and…. What I said before. Didn’t look good.

Read the rest at this link.