March 21st, 2007

Supernova

Congrats SpaceX!

It looks like SpaceX pulled it off - they successfully launched DemoFlight 2 of their new Falcon 1 rocket tonight. It wasn't a complete success - the second stage seemed to experience some roll issues, and then telemetry was lost. It looks like it didn't enter the intended orbit, but they reached 300km and the first stage, separation, and fairing separation all went as planned. Even if the mission isn't a 100% success, it is a learning curve with a new vehicle, produced by a private company. The first launch attempt ended when a leak resulted in a fire and the loss of the vehicle. So they learn from each attempt.

Watch the video, it is cool. Space.com also has coverage of the launch with info on what happened. From that page, Q&A with SpaceX (and PayPal) founder Elon Musk:
Question: What is realistic aspiration for SpaceX some 10 years from now?

"I feel very confident 10 years from we can be putting both satellites and people into orbit, and maybe beyond (Earth) orbit. I feel very confident in the future of commercial spaceflight, private spaceflight and I think this bodes very well actually for achieving some of the goals I mentioned. It is really an excellent indicator that a small company can achieve great things....We had what I would call a relatively minor issue with the roll-control very late in the flight. But all the really big risk items, the ones we were most concerned, have been addressed. If you look at the early history of rocketry, I think they had something like 12 Atlas failures before the 13th one was success. To get this far on our second launch being an all-new rocket -- new main engine, new first stage, new second stage engine, new second stage, new fairing, new launch pad system, with so many new things -- to have gotten this far is great."
It is, very impressive so far.
I can't begin to deal with that

Shenanigans!

I call shenanigans.

As others have said, scientific confirmation of this kind of condition should not be hard. If she has such reactions, a simple double-blind test would be enough. I'd like to see her in a shielded room with a hidden WiFi access point - first off, then on - and see if she reacts. Better - tell her it is switched on and don't do it, and see if she reacts - if so, then it is psychosomatic.

If she really reacted to 2.4GHz band radiation, then she'd have trouble in most any urban environment, as WiFi is prevalent. You don't need to go into the Starbucks to receive the radiation, just nearby. And if mobile phones effect her - that radiation is *everywhere* outside. It isn't like the phones and towers communicate with line of site, tight beams - it is basically omni-directional.

Oh, and I loved the 'gamma rays' comment. Lady, if your TV put out *gamma* rays, you had some REALLY strange gear.

Unless and until this is properly tested, I say hoax. '500', or whatever, other people claiming to have the same condition is meaningless. You could *make up* a condition, post all of the symptoms online, and have a few hundred people claiming to suffer from that condition. There are many people ready and willing to believe they're suffering from *something*. And just believing they are can cause psychosomatic symptoms to develop. The mind can do incredible things to the body. It works pretty much like a cult - give people something to believe in and they can convince themselves it is real.

Picked up from Gizmodo.
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