theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

This week...

Day Three of the MD Robotics strike. So far the picket line consists of four guys at the entrance of the parking lot. As I arrive by bus on the opposite side of the building and just skitter down the grassy slope right to the front door, it hasn't caused me any problems. Yet.

Monday was dinner with Paul at Terroni's, a fine italian eatery. I have the pizza for one, and finshed half of it, sending the remainder back for the doggie bag. The waitress back back and told me they had managed to drop it (bad!) but to make up for it they were making me a full one to take home (V good!).

Afterwards I did something I had never done before, watched a complete hockey game. Paul was interested in taking in Game Seven at the Wheat Sheaf, but it was too crowded there, so we ended up at the Foggy Dew instead. I seem to see a complete sporting event of some sort every three or four years, it was a baseball game last time (Kyle won tickets in an office pool and invited me along).

Tuesday was the June Canadian Space Society Meeting. Henry Spencer gave an overview of the recent Space Access Conference he attended. The mood among rocket builders is better than it has been in years. Metal is being bent, and spacecraft (mostly suborbital) are being built. Thanks to things like the X-Prize, investors are increasingly taking space start-up's seriously. New Mexico has put up half to money to build a spaceport for suborbital (and hopefully more) tourism. In another few years we may really start seeing people fly, albeit people which considerably disposable income.

After the meeting we retired to the back campus of U of T so Daniel Faber could test-fire for us his model of a hybrid rocket engine. It consists of a cylindrical chunk of plastic with a hole drilling down the middle stuffed with steel wool with electric wires stuck in it. To fire it, you pump pure oxygen down the hole, spark off the steel wool, which then ignites the plastic. And then you have a transparent rocket engine that glows almost as bright as the sun! It was really impressive. Daniel passed the hat afterwards as every test firing costs about $20. He'll be showing it again at the Toronto Aerospace Museum, I'll try and let people know when.

Wednesday was the meeting of the Friends of the Merril Collection, which went well. I really want to try the SF Flea Market we ran last year again. It was rather less than a success in 2006 because of poor public turn-out, mostly due to the location I think. The Lillian H. Smith library just doesn't get that much drop-in traffic. We're looking at getting space in October in the Toronto Reference Library instead, which has a lot more people moving thru on the weekend.

Thursday I saw Brick with Janet at the soon-to-be-gone Paradise (sigh). Brick concerns a high-school student who finds his ex-girlfriend dead, and sets off in Bogart mode to solve the case. Literally Bogart-mode, as everyone in the movie talks like they're in a forties film-noir. This works because no one plays it for laughs, the movie is dead serious (although there are of course funny moments in it). The only problem was that the sound was a little low, and someone turned on a somewhat noisy air system (Janet: What, the AC's been out for a month and NOW they turn a fan on?), during a movie with rapid-fire dialogue. I'm going to have to get it and turn the captions on to be sure I catch every line. It was a great movie.

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Yeah, it was quite the week (and I haven't posted about Friday yet).

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