Tech Tuesday 12/19 – Space Fashion Edition


Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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29 Responses

  1. ADRO3 – an interesting interview with Nicholas de Monchaux author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. From the interview:

    But then the actual spacesuit—this 21-layered messy assemblage made by a bra company, using hand-stitched couture techniques—is kind of an anti-hero. It’s much more embarrassing, of course—it’s made by people who make women’s underwear—but, then, it’s also much more urbane. It’s a complex, multilayered assemblage that actually recapitulates the messy logic of our own bodies, rather than present us with the singular ideal of a cyborg or the hard, one-piece, military-industrial suits against which the Playtex suit was always competing.


  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Tech 3:
    See this is where I weave 3D printing, together with a UBI and liberal IP laws into my Distributionist Social Justice utopia.

    A post-scarcity society of decentralized production, with cottage industry of makers and artisans, freed from the crushing cycle of debt and consumerism, and freed from the need to live in expensive cities.
    Instead of mass production, we would have individualized bespoke production and universal land ownership.

    Hey, its my fantasy- deal with it.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon says:

      I like your fantasy. It’s not that far from the original Star Trek, in fact. 😉

      My first thought in reading that was one more baby step toward replicators.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @chip-daniels One assumes you’ve read Walkaway? If not, I think you might dig it. Not because it directly agrees with you, but it’s playing with the same constructs.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I’m grumpy this morning, but will limit myself to what I think is your biggest hurdle: energy. Neither automation nor 3D printing get around the energy needed to change matter from one form to another, or to move it from place to place. (And 3D printing consumes significantly more energy per item produced than many other methods.) Post-scarcity societies almost by definition postulate free nearly-unlimited high-quality energy.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        One of the reasons what Chip envisions is appealing is a lot of companies charge a premium on parts versus the entire assembly. There is a considerable price premium on, say, a piece of plastic fairing for your car when you have to buy the piece as a replacement part, as opposed to what the factory pays per part to mount it on the car at production.

        And, of course, that price premium increases as the car ages and the part becomes scarce. At some point, it would become cheaper/faster to just print the thing at home, than it would to find out who has it and order it, or prowl a boneyard for it, save for the fact that the manufacturer has the 3D file locked up in IP*.

        What I find appealing isn’t being able to make a quickie part for my car, it’s being able to make something unique for my car, or being able to use a printer to make unique things for a one off that I want to build. It’s an artisan kind of ideal, rather than a Federation Replicator.

        *Maybe, I don’t know how diligently manufacturers protect the after market, although secondary makers who paid for the rights probably do.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          @oscar-gordon @michael-cain

          I can’t speak to the energy aspect of this, but I think the convergence of different technologies and political ideas allows for a radical change, similar to how mechanized power coupled with Enlightenment ideas helped bring about the Industrial Revolution, as well as the political concepts embedded in socialism and capitalism.

          Centralized, mass organizations of people made possible by centralized mass production giving rise to massive accumulations of capital made centralized government a logical response;

          When the production of things is decentralized and highly variegated, how would that affect the governmental structure?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Hey, I’m all for decentralizing power, warts and all. But there are a lot of moving parts that have to be decentralized.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Greater California, encompassing basically the 11 states in the Western Interconnect, as an independent country :^) I claim that’s the scope at which an all-renewable electricity supply, and water supplies, make sense.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko says:

              Basically, split the USA in two at the Continental Divide?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                For various reasons, down the center of the Great Plains: (1) matches existing state borders better; (2) matches existing East/West Interconnect split in the electric grid much better; and (3) my friend the anthropologist claims (and I agree) that the east/west cultural changes are between the east and west edges of the Plains, not along the Divide.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                You know, it’s been a long time since I annoyed folks with cartograms. A cartogram turns out to be useful for illustrating the difference between drawing the dividing line down the center of the Great Plains versus following the Continental Divide. Graphic is here, you’ll probably want to download into a separate window.

                Start with a map of the 48 contiguous states (plus DC). Overlay a uniform rectangular mesh rather than using county boundaries, since county boundaries are irregular and vary widely in size. That’s the top image. Then distort the map and mesh to equalize population densities [1] — areas with high density expand (the mesh lines are farther apart), those with low densities contract (mesh lines get closer together). The distortion is extreme enough that it can be difficult to recognize specific areas, even with the (distorted) state borders included. With a little practice, though, one can pick out which “bulges” are which major metro areas.

                The left of the two vertical green lines is roughly the Continental Divide; the right one is roughly the Great Plains center. (In the flat image, these would be arcs rather than straight lines.) In between the lines are three bulging metro areas: Front Range Colorado, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, and El Paso. Deciding which east-west dividing line to use is largely a matter of deciding how to classify those three.

                Why do I think they are western? Among other things, elevation (all >3500 ft), dry (west of the line where any kind of dryland farming is feasible), African-Americans are not the largest minority group by a substantial margin, they are in areas that lack the small-town-every-few-miles settlement pattern prevalent east of the Great Plains, and at least from time to time you can take some version of a snow and mountain picture in all of them.

                [1] I used county populations since that information is readily available. There are still issues. Southern California should be bulging more near the coast and less near the Nevada and Arizona borders because average values for the large counties (eg, Riverside and San Bernardino) don’t accurately reflect the concentration of people.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                There was supposed to be a link to a El Paso snow and mountain picture in there.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Yeah it’s appealing and also very similar to, the TNG and later portrayal of the United Federation of Planets (or at the minimum the Earth portion of it).Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      This is the sort of thinking that I wish more people were doing. Just because Market capitalism is the best economic model we have yet created, doesn’t mean that will always be true. New ideas and technologies may at some point call for a new economic paradigm, so it’s good to see people thinking about what it might be.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        I keep thinking about how we are trapped in 20th century thinking, where everything revolves around the epic struggle over economic theories.

        Its like how in those few centuries of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, virtually every conflict in Europe had as its underlying theme, Catholic versus Protestant.
        A time traveler dropping into the war for Scottish independence in 1752 who asked whether these rebels were socialist or capitalist, would have been greeted with puzzled looks.

        History never stands still, and I believe that we are witnessing the ending of the Industrial Age, the ending of totalizing economic theories, and its evolution into something else, which I won’t pretend to be able to foresee.Report

        • Avatar James K says:


          Agreed, I suspect the political conflicts of future centuries will be utterly incomprehensible to us, while ours will look as quaint to them as the disagreements between thevFederalists and the Democratic-Republicans.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you would like to hear the audio of what happened when Chuck Yeager discovered inertia coupling, it’s here.

    Holy Crap.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      I wouldn’t want to be the guy who had to clean out the cockpit after that test flight.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Was this the same event dramatized in The Right Stuff?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think so? This is the crash at the end? I think? (Which also addresses Oscar’s point.)Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Yep, it’s Yeager’s second flight that we see depicted, the one where he goes into a flat spin and has to punch out.

        That movie is a massive local favorite, as you might imagine: it is set at and was mostly filmed right around here. And yes, there are streets on base named for fallen pilots to this day. Two major thoroughfares in our community are also named for Columbia and Challenger; all the Shuttles were built here.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Aero4 – I’m surprised how fast the temperature goes up in that animation of ‘atmospheric’ flight, but it could be that it’s providing a slightly misleading sense of scale.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      It is in Kelvin, and it’s going from cold as space to really hot (400+ K). Of course, the pressure should also be displayed, because I’m betting it’s climbing sharply as well (the ‘probe’ is over 200 km deep into the clouds), which makes the temperature rise not so dramatic.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        That’s still something I wouldn’t have expected – that you can be above 100 degrees C that far out in the solar system at a still relatively shallow depth in the Jovian atmosphere. Does the higher gravity just lead to that much more pressure? Which then leads to a higher temperature due to friction I guess?

        (200 km is twice Earth’s Karman line, though I don’t think the Karman line is that ‘scientific’ in terms of definition)Report