Showing posts from May, 2004

Blimps in space. No, not pigs, blimps.

MSNBC reports a California company with an alternate launch site in Texas, JP Aerospace, is on their third test article of a blimp system specifically designed to fly to space.

Blimps. To Space. At payload costs around a dollar a ton-mile to LEO. This compares rather favorably to NASA's $155,555 per ton-mile with the Shuttle.

Their concept, first unveiled at the Space Access '04 conference in Phoenix last month (with a blog report here, include the Ascender, a ground-to-near-space blimp, which docks to a helium-inflated two-mile-long station at the edge of space, over 20 miles up. Another ship, also a blimp but specifically designed to reach orbit, takes the payload from there to LEO, using well-proven electric propulsion (AKA 'ion drive').

That trip to LEO would take up to nine days, but that's a good thing; for, what goes up fast, must come down fast, and speed is energy which must be bled off by either massive amounts of expensive and explosive rocket fuel, or thr…

Radio noise levels before earthquakes

A story in the Fall 1990 WHOLE EARTH REVIEW #68, pp. 101-104, documents a 1984-1987 USGS study which showed a 70% correlation between radio signals on 200 Hz - 100 KHz (signals which BPL, if permitted by the FCC, will largely block).

Multiple citations are included to other research at the end of the article.

I think I will build one, even though when I bought my new home, it was built in Zone Green.

Wireless Internet tips for the Portland area

One Freecycler asked on 2004-05-20:
OK, can someone tell me the deal with WiFi? I have two pretty ancient (1996? and 98?) PC laptops that I want to have wireless access on at home and at coffeeshops, school, etc. I know I need to have a wireless card?

Do they have PCMCIA Type II or III, or PC Card Type II or III card slots? That's needed for wirelessing.

and get a router at home, right?

Probably, not necessarily; there are exceptions (A3 and A5).

I don't have cable or anything, so I need to order something for the house that gives me this type of access?


If, at home, all you have is a dial-up modem, you owuld need broadband, and there are five ways to do that without getting obscenely spendy:

A1. DSL from Qworst. You can get 'business DSL' from them, including the things an ISP does (e-mail, USENET), or you can pick a DSL-capable ISP and pay Qworst for the DSL connection and pay the ISP for the ISP stuff.

A2. Cable modem (from Comcast?) costs abou…