Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In Pictures

Okay, I'm editing this post to explain it just a little bit... it won't make sense, but perhaps will be less confusing than it is at present.

Crying Lion Crying is depressing. Depression causes crying. So is it the crying which depresses or depression which caused the crying? Even the lion, fearsome though he may be, succumbed to sadness. And seeing greatness fall to tears is a far more terrifying image than seeing weakness. You see, we'd console someone weaker than us, but what if someone stronger than us is crying? How are the mighty fallen?

Clarinet sings the deepest song of my soul. $800. I lost my best friend, my closest companion for 9 years, for a mere $800. I was willing to negotiate, even, but the buyer knew how close this friend was and was too shy to ask for even a penny less, I think. Would you sell your best friend? How could I... oh tears, please stop.

Optimus Prime, Hope in Technology

I need a hero.

Endeavour - Hunk of junk now, engineers too busy blowing stuff up Once upon a time, this was considered a marvelous feat of engineering... launching people into space, bringing them home. It was the climax of an aerospace engineering dream, the peak of aspiration for college students poring over differential equations and heat flow tables and astronomy charts.

F-22 Raptor, Stealth Fighter; Cesspool of Aerospace Engineering BrainsBut now, aerospace engineering is a military, rather than scientific industry. What was a path to discovery now leads to destruction. I remember this boy who I met at a Society of Women Engineers meeting (why was he there?) as a freshman in college; I said I wanted to work at NASA, he said forget it - the only real aerospace innovation is for the military. So if I was interested in anything "fun" I should look in to the air force. All the engineering brains are going in to war planes, not space planes, and that's a crying shame.

Spacewalking - Once was a big deal, now nobody cares

A crying shame... you see, these "astronauts" are little more than construction crew, piecing together the International Space Station (ISS) that was antiquated 5 years ago, before completion. It's still not finished, the stupid thing, and the shuttle isn't helping, all decrepit and broken down as the fleet has become.

Polyisocyanurate foam - Fatal Bullet for Columbia By decrepit, I mean the above "foam" has the potential to utterly destroy the shuttle. It's insulation, really, but not the Pink Panther you have in the attic. It's foam, but not what I think of when I think of "foam."

Cappuccino Foam I think of cappuccino, when I think of foam.

Sea foam

Or I think of sea foam, the bubbles on the surface of salty crests of beach waves.

Polyisocyanruate foam, like on the shuttle's ET (external tank) But this here, this is the kind of insolating foam we're talking about. Polyisocyanurate (a word I can pronounce quickly albeit apparently not without infusing a little hillbilly into it) insulating foam is covering the external tank (ET). If you don't know what the ET is, go back to the picture of the launch above. It's the big orange thing. Fuel tank for the shuttle's engines. Not for the rockets on the side, no, it takes that thing full of fuel just to run the shuttle's engines (which only account for like 30% of the thrust required to get that tile-covered tin can off the ground.) Anyway, there are two kinds of fuel in that monstrosity, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. Oxygen and hydrogen don't naturally occur as liquids in Florida, btw, where it's probably 90F on a typical launch day in the middle of summer. (Not like here, where it's 100+F and humid to boot.) So you have to keep them really really cold so they can fit in the tank. So you have to insulate it. So now you have a very cold tank on the Florida coast, so the humid air condenses on the tank and freezes cuz it's.. cold.. and then when it tries to launch you now have ice on the tank, and the ice and foam all falling off the darn thing as it shudders on the launch pad trying... and you know what happens?

White spots are gouges. Big one bottom left. Fix it, hello?This happens. You get scrapes and scratches and gouges on the tile surface of the "orbiter" (which is the part with wings, the almost-looks-like-an-airplane thing that will--we hope--be able to land.) So that white thing on the left is a hole, about the size of a large cell phone, maybe a blackberry. But a little deeper than that. Deep enough to reach the skin which means that... well, it means that a small portion of the skin is exposed. Columbia blew up on reentry several years ago because of a scratch like that (albeit larger, and on the wing.) The crew now has the capability to repair it "just to make sure," but instead, they're going to let the ground crew run simulations and tests and decide "Eh, we'll probably be okay if we don't fix it." Could they be any more lazy?? Fix it already!

!!!!!! So I'm a little bit angry. Not because of the shuttle really. But hey, did it make more sense when there were just pictures?


brnaeem said...


Is there some hidden message that we're supposed to try and figure out? :-)


Amy said...


Uh... yeah... didn't you get it? It's written in green letters in the last picture, lol... grrrr....

So my fiance thought it would be "healthy" if I started posting again (since I didn't for a while because I was too incredibly PO'd to string words together coherently.) Yesterday, just to say I posted, I found a bunch of pictures that more or less expressed about 2% of what was on my mind...

A lot of it has to do with polyisocyanurate foam and ice smacking the bottom of the space shuttle and NASA thinking, oh, we don't need to fix that... and I think they're being lazy, and am disappointed that NASA used to be a haven of bright aerospace engineering and now the best engineers are building war planes.

But that's like... 2%.


Amy said...

Okay so disappointed is mild... "livid" is more like it.

brnaeem said...


Now *that's* the Muslim Anger I'm talking about! A very pragmatic approach to displaying the anger that would make our dear Prophet (saw) proud!

Now if I could just figure out why you used Optimus Prime for your hero pic?!?! :-)


Amy said...

AA Naeem -

To be honest, I read your "Anger" post but didn't quite understand... maybe I'll comment later inshaaAllah.

Who would you pick as a hero? :-)

brnaeem said...

It's a draw between Voltron and Papa Smurf.

And yes, I really am *that* old.