I took yesterday off to go with the family to Isaac’s school’s 2nd Annual Spring Festival. This year it was …
This has to be one of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a while. It’s a time lapse video of photos taken from the International Space Station, shot at 1fps. (Best viewed in full-screen, as the embedded version simply doesn’t do it justice…)
The author says “[t]he yellow/greenish line that you see over the earth is Airglow.” For the full details, including the locations shown, see the description under the video on the original vimeo page.
(Thanks to @timdan for sharing!)
So yesterday I finally got to use my Christmas present from Betsie: a “Discovery Flight” lesson from Genesis Flight Academy!
First I had around a 30 minute classroom lesson on flight physics, covering the four forces of flight and the three axes of a plane, from my instructor, Chris. He was obviously very passionate about flying and gladly answered any question I presented.
Once the ground lesson was done, we went out to the Cessna 172S and completed the pre-flight checks.
The checklist document for this plane is a four-page pamphlet with lists on each page. The Discovery Flight really only made use of this first page.
After a stop to fill the fuel tanks (when I took the shot of the dashboard shown below), I taxied to the runway.
Steering with your feet is a LOT harder than I expected it to be. There were several times when Chris had to get us back to the middle of the taxiway…
I was very surprised that he let me pilot the take off! Once in the air, I did eventually figure out how to keep it leveled off (for the most part). He stalled the plane twice (on purpose) so I could see what it felt like. Then before I knew it, we were very near my house (though not in altitude, fortunately…).
On the way back, it took me seemingly forever to see the airport. I never really did get my bearings in relation to the landmarks on the ground. I took the plane through the pattern to line up with the airstrip, and Chris landed. I taxied back to the parking lot (again with the occasional correction) and then he parked the plane.
The whole thing was a blast, but I will say it was a lot more stressful than I was anticipating. There is SO MUCH to know and keep track of while flying! Chris made an interesting comment that sometimes piloting isn’t so much knowing what to do, as much as knowing what NOT to do!
The only thing I’m bummed about is that I failed to take a close up picture of the plane I flew! I took this from right beside where I parked the car.
When I got home, the kids asked me about the flight. I started talking to Isaac and decided to have some fun.
I asked him if he know the four forces of flight, and he immediately responded with “Thrust, drag, lift, and weight”. He apparently remembered that from the movie “Rio!”. (Really?!?!)
Fine, I thought. “Okay Isaac: how do you turn a plane?”
“With the rudder.”
“How do you turn the rudder?”
“Well, in a helicopter you use the foot pedals.”
I give up. He could’ve skipped my entire ground lesson and gone straight to the flight.
All in all, it was a fantastic Christmas present! I still think I would like to get my pilot’s license. Flying would be a lot less stressful once I felt comfortable with the controls. 🙂
Who knows? Maybe after I finish my Master’s degree.
Or maybe I can just have Isaac teach me…
Recently, the NSA declassified 136 issues of their monthly internal publication, “Cryptolog”, and released them in PDF versions for public consumption. (alternate Cryptome archive) As a geek this was/is very exciting for me. 🙂
Without a great deal of time to read through them I decided to briefly peruse the edition published the month I was born (Volume V, No 3 – Yes I’m a young whippersnapper) and quickly moved to the article entitled “I had ‘Animal Crackers in my soup,’ but you’ve got a donkey in your WHAT?“.
What immediately struck me was that we’re still fighting the same mindset: that we can determine the health/security/etc of a given system simply by looking at a few numbers on a regular basis.
Many will not discover, until a “dead donkey” of some sort shows up in their shop, that statistics, as useful as they can be, are not meant to be the end-all. Their purpose is to indicate, hint, or suggest that a problem might exist. They may highlight a known problem or aid a manager in distinguishing between a symptom and an underlying cause. At that point the computerized report has done as much as it can ever do.
Yet we still try to manage to the numbers. Some things never change, I guess.
I’m so glad I got this email from Roku. I would have never figured all that technical type stuff out about how to handle the batteries in the remote. I wonder if the same useful information applies to other electronic-y type things? Guess I’ll wait for an email from them to know for sure….
On my way back from Enchanted Rock today, I drove by the church my
Papa used to pastor. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was, but I
knew there was a chance I would pass it. When I saw it, I pulled over
and drove around a bit before snapping this shot.
remember his laugh and smile. And the times we came down to hear him
preach. It was a good day.
Isaac REALLY wanted to go on this ride. I hate these rides. He was
just tall enough to go. He won.