Monday, August 29, 2011

Moon Landing Lunacy

I'm tagging this in tech in history even though it doesn't really have much to do with technology or history except that it took place in 2009 and that was the first year of the NI control system which is pretty cool technology, but I digress. On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon and 40 years later to commemorate this historic event the FIRST Robotics Competition dedicated its 2009 game, Lunacy, to the Apollo moon landing. Now some of you may ask what the FIRST robotics competition is and the answer is this:
It all started in 1989 when inventor Dean Kamen, well known for inventing the Segway, founded For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, abbreviated FIRST, to get more students involved in science and engineering. In 1992 FIRST created the FIRST Robotics Competition(FRC), which is FIRST's flagship high school robotics program. Each January high school student, parents, and engineering mentors gather all around the world to watch the FRC kickoff which reveals the game challenge. Teams then have 6 weeks to design, build, and test a 120 lb fully functioning robot from scratch before they have to ship it to the regionals. Teams that perform well at regional qualify for the Championship event, which has over 350 of the over 2000 FRC.
For more information on FIRST check out their website.
And now back to what this has to do with the moon landing and technology in history. While I was in high school I was involved in my high school's FRC team, Team Krunch 79, from 2007-2010. As previously stated the 2009 game, Lunacy, was dedicated to the moon landing and had a number of features that you would find on the moon. For more check out the game animation courtesy of YouTube:
As you can see it was a very fun game to play.
The main reasons I am writing this post are to link a couple of interesting parts of my life, show that technology is every, and to get FIRST out there so maybe you'll check it out think its cool and come to an event during the 2012 season.
And now I leave you with my favorite Krunch match from 2009 courtesy of thebluealliance.com:
video

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Progress Launch Failure

This story slipped through the cracks of most major news outlets, but it made the news section on Wikipedia and it piqued my interest. Even better than that it is pertanent to class at the moment because we are read Angle of Attack, which is about the Apollo program. This past wednesday a Russian Progress unmanned spacecraft was launched for the International Space Station. During the third stage of ascent the Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress shut down meaning the Progress didn't achieve orbit. This Progress named M-12M was carrying over 6000 pounds of food, fuel and other supplies for the ISS. The ISS crew is not in any danger at the moment because the last shuttle mission left them almost a years worth of supplies.

This failure, the first with the Progress spacecraft, should have been bigger news because of the recent retirement of the American space shuttles. Without our own spacecraft we have to rely on other countries, mainly Russia, to resupply and change crews on the ISS. In my opinion, this launch failure so close to the last shuttle flight shows that other countries aren't as capable when it comes to space travel as the United States, who had zero launch failures during the entire ISS program.

Luckily for the United States we may not have to wait long for our own spacecraft to once again rendezvous with ISS. In November private contractor Space X will launch its second Dragon cargo spacecraft, this one with a mission to dock with the ISS. While the Progress launch failure is shocking and a little worrisome for NASA the ISS will survive and continue to operate at full speed while the Russian space program corrects their flaws with the Soyuz launch system.

Friday, August 26, 2011

787 Dreamliner

In a ceremony today at the Boeing facility in Washington state the FAA awarded 787 "Dreamliner" certification and allows Boeing to begin delivery next month. The first 787 will be delivered to Japanese airline All Nippon Airways. After that Boeing will deliver the other 826 orders that were placed during the design phase of the aircraft. Fifty-five different airlines have placed orders for 787 including Continental and Delta Airlines.
Development of the 787 began in 2005 and the first flight took place at the Boeing plant in 2009. It is the first commercial plane to use carbon fiber components to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency, a building model that was soon followed by Boeing's main competitor Airbus with their A350. With new technology come new problems and the 787 is no exception. Included in these were supply chain problems and National Labor Relations Board claims of a nonunion facility in South Carolina. Despite these problems the Boeing 787 is ready to fly and sets the bar high for all future commercial aircraft.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Difference between Knowledge and Information

It took me a little while to find a good example to show the difference between knowledge and information as explained in chapter 5 in the Social Life of Information. This was until last night when I was watching my suitemate Elijah play NBA 2K10. I began having a discussion with him and another suitemate Devonte about the NBA, who the best player is and why everyone is so down on Lebron James. Now both Elijah and Devonte watch a lot of basketball and are big fans, while I watched 1 regular season game and zero playoff games this past season. All of my information comes from watching Sportscenter in the mornings so I don't have the same knowledge that they do. The discussion went on for over an hour and at times did get a little heated, but overall it was an excellent discussion.
This is a good example of what the Social Life of Information was explaining because while I knew a lot of information about basketball I didn't see what was taking place during the game and couldn't really keep with my basketball fan friends. At the end of the discussion I informed then that I have very little knowledge of basketball and despite that I think that I handled myself much better than Monk did in the video clip showed in class on Aug. 22.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Apollo 18

Tonight while I was watching TV I saw a trailer for the new movie Apollo 18 which come out on September 2. The trailer contained footage of a secret 7th manned mission to the moon. Other trailers have shown a dead cosmonaut and the men being attach by an alien. This movie seems relevant to class because right now we are reading Angle of Attack which is a book detailing the first part of the Apollo program mainly focusing on the North American corporation. Many of the men profiled in Angle of Attack would have been involved with this secret mission having been involved throughout the program.
Apollo 18 shows how a big event in history, like the moon landing, can continue to have a large effect on the world even though it happened over 40 years ago. Many movies over the years have used the moon landing as an intregral part of there plot, for example earlier this summer Transformers: Dark of the Moon portrayed the moon program as a mission to examine the remains of the Autobot ship the "Ark" which crashed on the moon in 1961. Since the moon landing and the space race that built up to it were such momumental events in human history I forsee many more movies involving the moon and the Apollo program. I will try to get out and see Apollo 18 when it comes out in theaters next week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Post

Hi, if you don't already know me I'm Jacob Paikoff and after months of waiting I have finally joined the blogosphere. I don't really expect anybody to read this for a little while except maybe my mom but I doubt it.