August 29, 2007

Methane rocket

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 4:59 pm

Wow. Impressive (and beautiful) test of a methane-powered rocket by NASA.

Methane (CH4), the principal component of natural gas, is abundant in the outer solar system. It can be harvested from Mars, Titan, Jupiter, and many other planets and moons. With fuel waiting at the destination, a rocket leaving Earth wouldn’t have to carry so much propellant, reducing the cost of a mission.

Perhaps surprisingly, this flammable gas has never powered a spacecraft before. But now scientists and engineers at Marshall, the Glenn Research Center and the Johnson Space Center are developing LOX/methane engines as an option for the future.


August 28, 2007

Read speed

Filed under: whatever — Brian @ 8:15 pm

I finished Harry Potter 7 in four or five days after I got it, and I’ve been working on The Hobbit ever since. Harry is nearly 800 pages. The Hobbit is only 272 and I have 100 pages left. And this is not the first time I’ve read it.

I’m going to sit and read.

If there are too many irons in the fire, do any of them get hot enough?

August 11, 2007

Farmers’ Market: Worthington, Ohio

Filed under: photos — Brian @ 11:06 am

Not My Door
This is not the door to my house.

Not My Car
This is not the car I drove to the farmers’ market.

Not My Hand.
This is not my hand.

Not My Melons
These are not my melons.

Not My Flowers
These are not my flowers.
These are for Jennifer.

August 10, 2007


Filed under: whatever — Brian @ 9:02 pm

Just sayin’

August 1, 2007

Pupa Count: 1

Filed under: mealworms — Brian @ 5:30 pm

We have a bluebird house in the yard. We’ve had it for a few years, and each year, the same bluebirds return and raise more bluebirds out there.

We try to help them out by chasing off the house sparrows that compete for the next box, and by providing mealworms for them, especially during mating and nest-sitting and baby-feeding season (spring & summer). And can’t-find-many-bugs season (winter).

Mealworms are expensive at the bird store. $8 for 500, which lasts about a week or so. We found a couple places online where you can order them in bulk ($25 for 10,000), but even those add up.

So, about a year ago, I decided to try to raise them myself. I picked out 75 worms from our bag of 10,000 and tried to take care of them. They made it from larva through pupa and into adult (darkling beetles) but never on to egg. They died out in the first generation.

I read some more, and made some improvements to my housing and feeding regimen. This time it worked! I could see the eggs, and a while later, the worms. I’d guess I have about 1000 worms right now. I was thrilled when I could see the first of them. They start off *tiny.*

Well, today, I found the first of my second-generation pupae. I’ve taken them through a full lifecycle, and they’re starting the second one today!

I kept very clear notes the first time I did this – when they all died. I didn’t keep any notes the second time – when they all lived. I’m hoping to combine the two this time: notes *and* life.

It could happen. It would be cool to be self-sufficient on mealworms. I have hopes of supplying our local wildlife rehab center – the one that tried to save our mockingbird – next year.

I’m a worm farmer. I’ll get some pictures up.

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