Selected Posts from 2013, continued

One more batch…

Freedom, the Village, and the Internet. Will social media re-create the kind of social control once often found in the village community?

301 Years of Steam Power. What they told you in school about James Watt and the invention of the steam engine was very likely wrong.  Related: 175 Years of Transatlantic Steam.

An Age of Decline? Is America in one, and is the situation irretrievable?

The Baroque Computers of the Apocalypse. The remarkable air defense system known as SAGE.

Book and Video Reviews:

Fly the Airplane. Two flight instructors write about their romance, their flight around the country in a 1938 Piper Cub, and the life lessons that can be derived from aviation.

Elective Affinities. Goethe’s novel about a love quadrangle.

Wish Me Luck. A very good TV series about Special Operations Executive agents working in occupied France during WWII.

Author Appreciation: Rose Wilder Lane. RWL was both an astute and thoughtful political philosopher and a pretty good novelist.

3 thoughts on “Selected Posts from 2013, continued”

  1. “was interested reading that the SR-71 had ejection seats – I know of one pilot ejecting in a test prototype – but not at high speeds I would think –”

    How about this one ?

    “On the planned test profile, we entered a programmed 35-deg. bank turn to the right. An immediate unstart occurred on the right engine, forcing the aircraft to roll further right and start to pitch up. I jammed the control stick as far left and forward as it would go. No response. I instantly knew we were in for a wild ride. I attempted to tell Jim what was happening and to stay with the airplane until we reached a lower speed and altitude. I didn’t think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and 78,800 ft. were very good. However, g-forces built up so rapidly that my words came out garbled and unintelligible, as confirmed later by the cockpit voice recorder.

    The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and the Stability Augmentation System’s ability to restore control. Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only 2-3 seconds. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces. Then the SR-71. . literally. . disintegrated around us.”

    They were in a situation where the turning radius of the SR 71 was 100 miles ! They didn’t know what state they would come down in.

  2. We watched Wish Me Luck based on your review. Entertaining and exciting show.
    Thanks for recommending it.

    It was interesting that we watched it about the same time as “The Americans” on FX came on which is also a highly acclaimed period piece about espionage. I must say that Wish Me Luck despite inferior production and less complex storylines was better.

    The Americans tried to throw in a bunch of sex and violence for shock value. Which makes sense because that was obviously a big part of the program and tactics. Except the limits of television standards were so painfully obvious that it was terribly awkward to watch. It just came across as scummy.

    In contrast Wish Me Luck seemed authentic because in a weird way (in my mind at least) the constraints of the medium somehow fit in and translated to the challenges and obstacles of the characters and plot.

    Maybe it just worked out better because The Americans is about professionals pretending to be regular people and Wish Me Luck was the opposite.
    But anyway we enjoyed it.

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