Saturday, October 24, 2015

Introducing Men Without Chests

C.S. Lewis wrote some of the most astoundingly insightful commentary on the modern world (which came before our present postmodern one). The Screwtape Letters or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe are light and fun. The Four Loves or The Abolition of Man are more logical and demanding. Even more so for a troglodyte like me who misses half of the allusions. C.S.Lewis Doodle helps the flow with illustrations. Here is the first chapter of “The Abolition of Man” ending with this:
We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the spirited element: the head rules the belly through the chest ...It is an outrage that [men without chests] should be commonly spoke of as intellectuals. ... Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary. It is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so. ...We continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. ...we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and demand of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Related: How Men Without Chests predicted the modern university's unsoundness

MMOs for N00bs
Having now played three MMOs — one fairly fanatically — for, wow, a year now I am of course perfectly suited to explain the entire hobby to the rest of humanity.
That sounds expert enough for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Frontiers in Fuel Efficiency
This spring I posted a link to a super fuel efficient spacecraft that made its way to the asteroid Ceres. Instead of a rocket engine, NASA gave it an ion drive.
Well, now a university student in Australia has made an ion drive that is 50% more fuel efficient than NASA's previous record-holder.
The existing record is NASA's High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPeP) with 9,600 seconds, but fueled by magnesium Neumann's drive managed an estimated 14,600 seconds of specific impulse. He says "Other metals have lower efficiency, but higher thrust. So you would need more fuel to get to Mars, but could get there faster."