Sully Movie Review

sully

So… the Sully movie. Most Americans are passingly familiar with the plot as it was a national news story.

In 2009, Captain Sully, pilot of a passenger jet, gets engine trouble right after taking off from New York. There’s no time to turn around and land on the airstrip. He stays calm and lands the plane in the Hudson River. Ferries and emergency services respond immediately and everyone is rescued with no significant injuries.

Seems pretty simple which leads to the question I heard most people ask about this movie, “How does it fill up an hour and a half of time?” Continue reading

NASA is Hiring

I am soooo jealous.
I am soooo jealous.

NASA made an interesting announcement, they’re looking for new astronauts!

This came as a surprise to me as I’d thought NASA had discontinued all manned missions.

As far as I know the halt on manned missions happened for two reasons, funding is tight and NASA is an obvious thing to cut and we already did the man on the moon thing so why go again?

As to the funding, I’m not sure what’s going on there. Regardless, the missions NASA is planning are scheduled ten years out so the funding situation could be entirely different then.

But what are the new missions?

Not going to Mars like Mark Watney in The Martian, but almost as good!

NASA will be landing an astronaut on an asteroid.

There are a group of asteroids called “near-Earth asteroids” that have orbits around the sun pretty similar to Earth’s orbit.

A couple of the near-Earth asteroids are as big two kilometers across (about a mile).

Before landing a person on an asteroid, NASA plans to land a rover like what they did with the Rosetta space probe on a comet. Then a manned mission will commence in 2025.

I don’t know which asteroid NASA will be landing an astronaut on, there are a whole bunch to choose from. Regardless, this appears to be the next step in manned space exploration.

NASA hopes this will be a stepping stone to manned missions on Mars.

In addition to the work on the asteroids, astronauts are spending longer amounts of time on the ISS. They’re doing this so we can see what precautions need to be taken when someone is in space for years at a time.

A mission to Mars would take a year or two, so we need to be prepared for how someone’s mind and body reacts to being in space for that long.

So enough about why NASA is hiring astronauts, how do I get the job?

If you’re like me, upon hearing the news that NASA is hiring you immediately looked up the qualifications they’re looking for.

They want someone with at least a Master’s degree in science or engineering. I’m working on that, so good so far.

The next big qualification is 1,000 hours of logged jet plane fight time.

If you’re paying for lessons and rental time on a plane that amount of logged time would cost upwards of $50,000. So you either have to be really serious about flying jets recreationally, a commercial flyer, or a member of the airforce.

There are a few other qualifications, but nothing as big as those two.

Obviously I don’t meet that requirement, but maybe some kid is reading this and is thinking, “If I get a Master’s in physics and learn to fly a jet then I’d be ready to apply to be an astronaut by the time NASA starts doing missions to Mars.”

That’s the word from the space world!

If you want to read more about the process for hiring astronauts check out these two links: NASA’s Info Site, NASA’s Hiring Site

-GoCorral

Traveling to Disney World

Last week my wife and I went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

We flew there of course, but encountered the dreaded problem of

Delays and Missed Flights

The plane we were scheduled to be on had a mechanical problem so it couldn’t fly.

While waiting in line to get out onto another flight we heard all sorts of people complaining. While I didn’t want to be rude and tell them off there, I can do that on my blog.

“Why do we have to wait in line at the lobby instead of at the gate to be put on a new flight? I don’t want to have to go through security again.”

Perhaps you missed the announcement where they answered this question, we’re waiting in the lobby because another plane is going to be using the gate we were at in a few minutes. If they spent the whole time up there giving us tickets instead of checking tickets for the next flight, the next two flights would never leave either. I needed to come down to claim my bag to get it onto the new flight anyways. Plus, there are four attendants in the lobby, so you’ll get served faster than if we waited for the two upstairs at the gate. Going through security again isn’t fun for anyone, but this is the fastest solution.

“Why can’t they check the planes every week for problems and fix them before the problems delay flights?”

Personally, I prefer the system where the plane is checked before every flight to see if it’s good to go instead of only once a week… Otherwise a plane could be flying for as long as six days with something wrong with it. Would you want to be on that plane?

Anyways, we ended up on a different airline with a connection to Orlando in Salt Lake City instead of Dallas.

We also ended up with a seat upgrade which was nice. Leg room and free movies to watch. Maybe not worth the five hour delay, but so nice!

After landing in Orlando we did the usual thing of grabbing our bags and the rental car before heading to the hotel.

We got to the hotel after midnight and checked in when it was “morning.”

-GoCorral

Mars One

I read about this project the other day called Mars One.

The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.

Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.

NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.

#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.

#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.

Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.

The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.

That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).

There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.

Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.

Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.

The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.

This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.

I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.

There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.

Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.

And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.

A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.

Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.

My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!

-GoCorral

PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.

My Cousins’s Wedding

Still got a little bit of snow in October.
Still got a little bit of snow in October.

Last weekend I flew to Portland, Oregon with my wife to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The flight there was a little unusual. I liked it, but my wife did not.

We flew on Alaska Airlines which apparently uses smaller planes.

Particularly they use propeller planes that you have to board from the tarmac instead of from the Jetway.

I thought this was pretty cool. I’ve always liked boarding from the tarmac and I’ve never been on a propeller airplane before.

My wife did not enjoy the novelty so much and instead focused on fear of the unknown.

There were some negatives. The plane didn’t have enough room for our carry-ons so we had to check them at the gate which I am always suspicious of. The plane smelled when we got on. The propeller engines were really loud compared to jet engines. The ceiling was lower than other planes I’ve been. You get the idea.

Good news though! The plane was smaller, so it flew lower. That’s how we got that pretty cool picture of Mount Shasta up there.

As for the wedding and seeing all of my cousins? Loads of fun!

I haven’t seen my youngest cousins in awhile so it was nice to see all of them and dance with them at the reception.

I liked catching up with all my older relatives as well. And now my wife has met nearly everyone in my family. There’s still a few holdouts, but we’ll get there!

Plus my cousin got married! Her husband is super cool and I’m glad he’s going to be part of our large family. Beautiful, short ceremony followed by a good dinner and an awesome live band for dancing!

My uncle lives in Portland and operates a pottery studio there. I liked going in to see where and how he makes all his stuff. If you’d like some amazing custom pottery you can check him out at Piatt Pottery.

We also did a little bit of Portland sight seeing. Specifically the Lloyd Center mall (The mall is cool! Don’t knock it!), a Mexican sports bar called Aztec Willie’s, and one of the Salt and Straw ice cream places.

I recommend all three places. The mall was well designed with a lot of natural lighting from a large central skylight. The sports bar had good service, good food, and what looked like a dance floor they were setting up when we had to leave to go meet relatives.

Salt and Straw was probably the most interesting of the places we went to. It has all sorts of weird custom-made ice cream flavors. Their recent batch of ice cream is all Halloween themed. My wife and I both got the Chocolate Graveyard flavor which is chocolate with Oreo “dirt” mixed in along with candy skeleton “bones.”

And there was a gift shop next door to Salt and Straw where I got this guy!

Time for Video Games!
Time for Video Games!

BMO is a character from one of my favorite cartoon shows, Adventure Time. BMO will be joining me for a video game stream in the future because that’s what BMO does. Play video games!

I’m sure there’s a lot more to do in Portland that I missed out on. It’s an amazing beautiful city. And a big thank you to my grandparents for funding all of us in getting to and staying in Portland!

-Mister Ed

Getting to the Island

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: Leaving for a Week

I’m back from my trip to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island! Be prepared for a lot of posts about my time on the Island.

Getting to Bois Blanc Island isn’t as simple as hopping on a plane and then you’re there like on a vacation to Hawaii or Disneyland.

I timed it once and if the journey to Bois Blanc is made in one go it takes about 21 hours.

First, you have to drive to the airport, check your bags, go through security, and wait for your flight.

The Island and the nearby mainland town, Cheboygan, both have airports, but they are only for private planes, not commercial flights.

There are a few airports to choose from, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Pellston, or Travese City.

The important cities are colored yellow. I had to add a few of their names in too.
The important cities are colored yellow. I had to add a few of their names in too.

Milwaukee and Chicago have long drives to the Island if you go to those airports directly, but they work well as connections to Pellston or Traverse City.

Detroit is a six hour drive to Cheboygan. While preferable to the two day drives required from Chicago or Milwaukee, being stuck in a car for half a day is not something you look forward to after being in an airplane for a few hours.

The flight my family usually takes is a layover in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, or Chicago before a connecting flight to Traverse City.

Traverse City is a two hour drive away from Cheboygan.

If you’re going straight to the Island then you have to get groceries in Cheboygan before driving onto the ferry.

An hour ferry ride later you meet the relatives at the Island dock.

A half hour more of driving to the cottages on the West End of Bois Blanc finishes the journey.

My dad always did the trip that way, but it’s a little exhausting to do in one day.

My wife and I prefer breaking up the trip with a night in a hotel after the drive from Traverse City to Cheboygan.

There was a mixup with the hotel this time. I got confused by the online booking site and reserved a room for the wrong date.

We got shunted to an antique style bed and breakfast instead.

The Gables Bed and Breakfast reopened in June 2014 under new management after being closed for two years.
The Gables Bed and Breakfast reopened in June 2014 under new management after being closed for two years.

The place was a little rundown, but at least we had somewhere to sleep! We made it over to the Island the next day to greet my relatives.

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: The Island Ferry

Supersonic Jet

Photo of screen

I get most of my news from things my friends post on Facebook. When I look for news on my own, my source is the BBC. I’ve found that American news is… lacking. For example, when the BBC was covering the riots in Thailand and Ukraine, CNN was covering Taco Bell’s introduction of Mountain Dew to their soda fountain.

I read the BBC front page yesterday to get my update on the situation in Ukraine and this story caught my eye:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26258971

A fancy jet company is talking about introducing a supersonic jet for transatlantic flights. It’d be capable of making the journey in under 4 hours. The best part? The entire length of the walls inside are TV screens showing projections of the outside of the plane.

The engineers of the plane explained it as “reducing drag from windows” or some nonsense like that, but we all know why they did this. It looks freaking amazing.

It’s like something out of a James Bond movie. The Bond villain has a flying fortress that Bond infiltrates. Bond breaks into the villain’s minibar and makes himself a martini. The villain comes into his room and finds Bond there pointing a gun at him while we see clouds fly past the window-walls. “Even SPECTRE agent, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve made myself comfortable.”

I would love to take a ride in this plane. Unfortunately, the company plans a passenger capacity of only 18 people. The flights would probably be ridiculously expensive. Still, maybe I can put it on my bucket list with all the other things I will feel bad for doing when I am old and should be donating my money.

That’s all for today!

-Mister Ed