Saturday, October 27, 2012

this entry is cross-posted from Eleven Point Two.

I've read a lot of articles lately (or at least I've seen their headlines) lamenting the fragmented way many people now consume information.  It seems everyone who is "connected" via social media splinters their time so much that they are unable to do a deep dive on anything, failing to learn something beyond a soundbite of information.

I have personal experience with this problem.  A few years ago, I discovered RSS, and began constructing an intimidating list of bloggers and journalists that I wanted to follow.  Like everyone else, I was unable to keep up.  The number of back-logged readings grew to the point that I was incapable of clicking on my favorite feeds because I knew I could not possibly read through even a small fraction of the hundreds of  articles still marked as "unread."

More recently, I created a twitter account and began following three or four hundred astronomers, space program writers, and space enthusiasts.  Of course, unless you sit with a Twitter window open and continuously scan these tasty morsels, you're gonna miss something.  And when I do follow a link to an interesting bit of longer-form writing, I don't have the time to read it.  Off it goes to my Instapaper account, where it sits forever unread (for much the same reason).

There was a time when I blogged.  And I mean I really did blog-- my weekly recaps of my lunches with George were long, painstakingly researched, and always fun to return to later.  I also blogged about my journey as an archaeology student, and these were sometimes pretty lengthy posts.

What is the state of my writing now?  The metaphorical fields of my blogs lie fallow, and all I make time for is tweeting (or re-tweeting) interesting original work by others, much of which I have not read in its entirety (see earlier remarks).  Not only am I no longer capable of dedicating time to reading longer works, I'm also unable to dedicate time to creating anything exceeding a sentence in length.

The internet and social media have created attention-deficit symptoms that I never experienced before, a malady I've come to believe might only be cured by a 28-day program that excludes all information sources, save possibly a daily newspaper.

I feel I might also benefit from a similar approach with regard to writing: Allow myself to only create written work that exceeds some arbitrary word count significantly longer than a tweet or a Facebook post.  Naturally I want to be clever about it, so I set about picking a number that tied to some familiar idea, and that was very Mama Bear-like in size.  The very familiar adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" appealed to me, but 1000 seemed too long... so I decided to name my series of writings "Worth half a picture."

There's no way I can write 500 words every day (certainly not on topics that are interesting to anyone), so these will be a weekly effort.  Let's see where it goes.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Here is a link to a Wired article about the launch of QU8K, an amateur rocket that reached an altitude of 121,000 feet in an attempt to claim the Carmack 100kft Micro Challenge prize.

Amateur Rocket QU8K Reaches 100,000

Here's a short video of the launch:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Jones Boys

I came across a wonderful rocketry site about a man and his son, and their passion for rocketry.  Their site is full of great stories and photographs chronicling their journey.  They started small, and now the Dad is up to Level 2 certification in High Powered Rocketry.

Check out Jones Boys' Rocketry, where they "poke holes in the sky one rocket at a time."

Follow them on Twitter at @JonesBoysRoktry

They Have Arrived

My Amazon shipment arrived today, and it contained an ESTES Rascal & Hi Jinks Model Rocket Launch Set (see unboxing photo).

George and I will try to launch both of these beauties this weekend, Wind and equipment willing.  Naturally, we'll be adhering to the NAR's Safety Code at all times!

We'll be sure to take some video at the launch area.

Video Camera Experiment on a small rocket

Here is a link to a blog post by a guy who was given a key chain camera, and went looking for things to do with it.  He decided to buy his fist Estes rocket!  A little bit of duct tape later...

Video Camera On Model Rocket

Here are the exhaustive reviews of these 808 keychain DVRs mentioned in the post.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Amateur Rocketry Links

National and Local Organizations/Clubs

Reference Info


  • Winged Shadow Systems provides altimeters, airspeed, and other instrumentation designed primarily for R/C aircraft.
  • Apogee Rockets carries the AltimeterOne and other cool stuff.
  • Adept Rocketry sells instruments, including a $20 altimeter!

Buy Rockets