Archive for April 2015

The leaves are budding as the spring really begins   Leave a comment


Markosun

I noticed the leaves have appeared, they are still small with hardly any colour, but it means growth and warmth after a bloody cold winter.

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“When the April wind wakes the call for the soil, I hold the plough as my only hold upon the earth, and, as I follow through the fresh and fragrant furrow, I am planted with every foot-step, growing, budding, blooming into a spirit of spring.”

–  Dallas Lore Sharp  

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One of Winnipeg’s brave and vigilante street security patrols.

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Posted April 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Pocket Rockets   Leave a comment


WTF.org

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Pocketbikes look like sport bikes and are used in pocketbike racing on kart racing tracks. The usual height is less than 50 cm (20 in), and up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) length. Power usually comes from a 39–50 cc (2.4–3.1 cu in) two-stroke engine with a maximum of 4.5–6 horsepower (3.4–4.5 kW). Maximum speed varies between 30 to 64 km/h (19 to 40 mph). Pocketbikes are also made in both four-stroke gasoline and electric versions. The four-stroke models are usually 110cc automatic or manual engines, and are referred to as Super Pocket Bikes. Common Super Pocket Bike models include the X7, X15, X18, X19, and X22. The popularity of these types of minibikes grew due to the influx of cheap pocket bikes imported from China.

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Racing is very popular in Japan and Europe but is becoming more popular in other parts of the world.

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Posted April 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Falcon Heavy rocket hangar rises at launch pad 39A   Leave a comment


spaceflightnow.com

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SpaceX’s new hangar goes up at launch pad 39A. Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight Now

SpaceX began erecting a new hangar at a former space shuttle launch pad in Florida last week, moving the historic facility closer to launching astronauts again.

Positioned at the south perimeter of launch pad 39A, the hangar sits on the gravel crawlerway used to transport Saturn 5 moon rockets and space shuttles from the nearby Vehicle Assembly building to the launch pad.

SpaceX has no plans to use the mammoth VAB, the crawlerway or NASA’s huge diesel-powered crawler-transporters, which are being upgraded for the Space Launch System, an enormous government-owned launcher designed to take humans into deep space, and eventually Mars.

The rocket SpaceX plans to send up from launch pad 39A is not as big as NASA’s mega-rocket, but it will be the most powerful launcher flying when it debuts. The Falcon Heavy rocket, fitted with 28 kerosene-fueled engines, is scheduled for its first test launch in the second half of 2015.

After laying the building’s foundation, the Hawthorne, California-based space company started building the frame of the hangar last week, just as rivals Boeing and United Launch Alliance broke ground on a new access tower at the nearby Complex 41 launch pad.

Both facilities will launch astronauts on test flights of new commercial ferry capsules in 2017.

The hangar under construction on the south side of launch pad 39A will support assembly of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket — already flying from Complex 40 a few miles to the south — and the new Falcon Heavy, which is made of three Falcon 9 booster cores bolted together.

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The SpaceX hangar sits on the crawlerway formerly used to transport Saturn 5 moon rockets and space shuttles to launch pad 39A. Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight Now

The inaugural test launch of the Falcon Heavy will occur from pad 39A, marking the first liftoff from the seaside launch complex since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

Pad 39A was the starting point for all of the Apollo moon landing missions, plus the first and last launch of the space shuttle. In April 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease for the launch complex with NASA, which retains ownership of the pad.

NASA is hanging on to launch pad 39B, the Kennedy Space Center’s other Apollo- and shuttle-era launch facility, to host SLS missions beginning in 2018.

Workers have installed ground storage tanks for the Falcon launcher’s rocket-grade kerosene fuel — called RP-1 — on the northeast edge of the launch pad. SpaceX plans to use the shuttle-era liquid oxygen tank sitting on the northwest side of the pad.

Construction crews are also working in the launch pad’s flame trench and will install rails leading up the ramp from the hangar to the Falcon rocket’s launch pedestal. The rails will be used to transport the rocket horizontally to the launch pad, where it will be rotated vertical.

Engineers will also fabricate a transporter-erector and strongback device for launch pad 39A.

SpaceX plans to add payloads to the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets at pad 39A while they stand upright, a shift in the company’s operations concept at other launch facilities. At SpaceX’s current launch pads, technicians attach satellites and payload shrouds to rockets inside their hangars in a horizontal configuration.

The U.S. Air Force requires vertical payload integration for its most critical communications, navigation and spy satellites, a capability SpaceX will support once pad 39A is operational.

SpaceX hopes to compete to launch the Air Force’s most expensive missions as soon as this year, once the military certifies the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will likely face a second round of certification for the Falcon Heavy rocket before it is eligible to launch the Pentagon’s heaviest payloads.

The first qualification booster for the Falcon Heavy rocket is now at SpaceX’s site in McGregor, Texas, for testing.

Astronauts will launch from pad 39A again aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

SpaceX won a $2.6 billion contract from NASA in September for development, certification and flights of the Crew Dragon spacecraft beginning in 2017. Boeing’s CST-100 capsule is being designed to launch on ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket from the Complex 41 launch pad around the same time.

Mobile Transporter Erector

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Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

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SpaceX video where everything goes according exactly to plan

Posted April 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Russian Beast of the Ice   Leave a comment


icebreaker

The NS Yamal is a Russian Arktika class nuclear-powered icebreaker operated by Atomflot (formerly by the Murmansk Shipping Company). It is named after the Yamal Peninsula in Northwest Siberia; the name means End of the Land in Nenets.

Laid down in Leningrad in 1986, and launched in October 1992, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it never filled its designed role of keeping shipping lanes open. It has always carried passengers on arctic excursions. In July of 1994 Yamal took an excursion to the North Pole, with the NSF (National Science Foundation), to celebrate the Official Maiden Voyage. While at the exact north pole (verified by GPS & Inmarsat satellite coordinates) the crew and passengers celebrated with a barbeque – the ambient temperature was -10 degrees F (wind gusts were measured at -40 degrees F). Because of the ship 90/90 coordinates the ship captain (Smirnov) organized a swimming party with Mr. Will Rountree (USA) being recorded as the 1st person to ever swim there (21 Jul 94) – water temperature was below freezing, ranging from 28 degrees to 31 degrees F. The Yamal is the 12th surface ship ever to reach the north pole.

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The Yamal is equipped with a double hull. The outer hull is 48 mm thick where ice is met and 25 mm elsewhere and has a polymer coating to reduce friction. There is water ballast between the inner and outer hulls which can be shifted in order to aid icebreaking. Icebreaking is also assisted by an air bubbling system which can deliver 24 m³/s of air from jets 9 m below the surface. The Yamal can break ice while making way either forwards or backwards.

Yamal is one of the Russian “Arktika” family of icebreakers, the most powerful icebreakers in the world. These ships must cruise in cold water to cool their reactors, so they cannot pass through the tropics to undertake voyages in the Southern hemisphere.

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Yamal docked in Murmansk

Yamal carries one helicopter and several Zodiac boats. Radio and satellite communications systems are installed which can provide navigation, telephone, fax, and email services. Amenities include a large dining room (capable of holding all 100 passengers in one sitting), a library, passenger lounge, auditorium, volleyball court, gymnasium, heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and an infirmary. She is equipped with 50 passenger cabins and suites, all with toilets, exterior windows, a television, and a desk.

Yamal also played a significant role in creation of annual travel expeditions to the North Pole, being one of the few vessels capable of getting there and bringing tourists with it in safety. Since 1993 the icebreaker was operated by Murmansk Shipping Company and in 2001-2008 the operation was made by Murmansk Shipping Company and Poseidon Expeditions. Yamal has made a total of 47 voyages to the North Pole.

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Sister ship 50 Let Pobedy, biggest icebreaker in the world

IcebreakerYamal

General characteristics
Class and type: Arktika-class icebreaker
Displacement: 23,455 tons
Length: 150 m (490 ft); 136 m (446 ft) at waterline
Beam: 30 m (98 ft); 28 m (92 ft) at waterline
Height: 55 m (180 ft) keel to mast head
Draft: 11.08 m (36.4 ft)
Propulsion: 2 x OK-900 171 MW nuclear reactors; 2 x steam turbines driving 6 generators, total 75,000 hp (55.3 MW)
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) (max)
19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph) (cruising)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
Zodiac boats
Capacity: Passengers: 100, in 50 cabins and mini-suites
Complement: 150
Aircraft carried: 1 x Mil Mi-2 or Mil Mi-8 helicopter

 

Posted April 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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No hotdogs sold at Orioles game in Baltimore today as fans locked out   Leave a comment


Sports media

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BALTIMORE—With tempers still smouldering in riot-torn Baltimore and nearby neighbourhoods clearing out rubble and debris, the Orioles played a baseball game on Wednesday.

This wasn’t for the fans, because there weren’t any at Camden Yards.

The game was held behind closed doors, and the Orioles and Chicago White Sox played because it was considered to be the best way to fill out the schedule for both teams.

The timing worked for baseball, not so much for Baltimore. It was an unusual move by Major League Baseball, which usually errs on the side of caution in the wake of tragedy.

Baseball games were cancelled after riots ignited in Los Angeles and terrorists attacked New York and Washington. Baseball put off the World Series in 1989 after an earthquake hit San Francisco.

In Baltimore, after a drug store was set on fire about six kilometres from the ballpark and the National Guard was summoned to restore order, they played a game because this was the only planned visit this season by the White Sox. The postponed games on Monday and Tuesday were to be made up as part of a doubleheader on May 28, but there was seemingly nowhere to go on the schedule with Wednesday’s game.

So they moved up the starting time by five hours to 2:05 p.m. to beat the 10 o’clock curfew and had the teams go at it before 47,000 empty seats.

“We have a schedule so we’ve got to get games in,” Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “We can’t just miss all three games and expect to make them up down the line. I mean we’ll have no off days for the rest of the year. So, we at least have to get this one in.”

White Sox Orioles Baseball

Just about everyone who put on a uniform understood the circumstances. Though no property around the ballpark was damaged, the city was hurting and here they were, playing a baseball game to preserve the integrity of the schedule.

“It is strange. The commissioner of baseball made a decision,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “I’m glad that we don’t have tens of thousands of fans down there. Even though things appear to be calm, having tens of thousands of people in that part of the city, that’s where our command centre is operating.”

On a scale of what was significant to Baltimore on this day, the Orioles’ 20th game of the season wasn’t exactly at the top of the list.

“It makes you realize how unimportant really in a lot of ways this is compared to some things that are going on,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You try to keep that in mind and look at things realistically, where this fits in the scheme of things. You prioritize what’s important and we tried to do that.”

Their intentions may have been in the right place, but seemingly not much else.

Playing the game without any fans in attendance was both a good and a bad thing. The team didn’t divert any police from doing their job around the city, but the people of Baltimore didn’t get a chance to turn the page by watching the home team play at Camden Yards.

“Sports brings people together — black, white or any different,” Orioles centre fielder Adam Jones said. “For those three hours, you can have beers, nachos and some Boog’s (barbecue) and forget about our daily lives.

“But today, we’re just going to have to play a Major League Baseball game without fans. I think that’s the first time in history.”

Must the game go on?

“We’ve thought about that, and we’ve actually talked about that,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. “Obviously the decision was out of our hands. But the thing that makes it so tough is that this is an out-of-division opponent. We would have had to basically make up three games.

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“We’re doing the right thing. I’m not real happy about playing in an empty stadium. That’s one of the reasons that we look forward to coming home so much, playing in front of our fans. But we also understand that there’s a bigger picture here.”

That’s true, but the bigger question is whether they should have been playing at all.

“There are a lot more important issues going on outside the stadium,” Orioles left-hander Zach Britton said. “It kind of makes you realize how small baseball is compared to some of the other issues in the U.S. and around the world.”

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By the way, the Orioles beat the White Sox 8 to 2.

Posted April 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Taking a leisurely drive in the Navajo Nation   Leave a comment


Navajo Cops is a reality TV show that follows the activities of Navajo police officers on a huge Navajo reservation in Arizona.  On one episode the officers come across an impaired guy driving a completely wrecked car down the road. On the passenger side the tires were worn completely off down to the rims. It does appear the vehicle was involved in a major rollover. But the driver was going on his merry way although he did have injuries.

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An officer spots a man driving a wrecked vehicle down the road and stops to investigate.

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Posted April 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Katzen in Zeitlupe   Leave a comment


Posted April 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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