Howard Brennan on the bridge

“I looked up then at the Texas Book Depository Building. What I saw made my “blood run cold.” Poised in the corner window of the sixth floor was the same young man I had noticed several times before the motorcade arrived. There was one difference—this time he held a rifle in his hands, pointing toward the Presidential car. He steadied the rifle against the cornice and while he moved quickly, he didn’t seem to be in any kind of panic. All of this happened in the matter of a second or two. Then came the sickening sound of a second shot and I looked quickly back to the presidential car which had moved only a few feet, still not apparently aware that it was the assassin’s target.

I saw Governor John Connally reacting to being wounded and the instinctive response of his wife to try and help him. I remember thinking, “Oh my God! He’s going to kill them, he’s going to kill them all!” The immensity and horror of what I was witnessing almost overwhelmed me. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t utter a sound. I could only watch the whole monstrous drama unfold. Just then a woman close to me screamed in full realization of what was happening. She uttered
something like, “Oh, my God!” But even as she did my eyes darted back to that solitary figure who was changing history. He was aiming again and I wanted to pray, to beg God to somehow make him miss his target. There wasn’t time to pray, not even time to think about what I was seeing but the sight became so fixed in my mind that I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. There was nothing I could do. It was a hopeless, sinking feeling. I would have gladly given my life in that moment to be able to save the President, but no one could move fast enough to shield him with his own body. Then another shot rang out.

All of this took only a few seconds. I didn’t realize at that moment that I was the only person who was actually watching the man firing the rifle. Simultaneous with the third shot, I swung my eyes back to the Presidential car which had moved on down to my left on Elm, and I saw a sight that made my whole being sink in despair. A spray of red came from around the President’s head. I knew the bullet had struck its intended target. Later, I would learn that the whole scene had taken less than ten seconds. In retrospect, it seemed like several minutes.

By the time the third shot had been fired, there was sheer pandemonium. Everyone was fully aware that the noise they were hearing was shots, not backfire. This was really happening. It was like a nightmare, only I couldn’t wake up from it. No one had to tell me what was ahead. The moment I saw the effects of the third shot, I knew that the assassin had been successful. No person could have survived that kind of wound.”

Excerpts from Eyewitness to History, by Howard Brennan

Madame President

Madame President

Madame President

What do you think?

Inga Arvad Beauty Queen

Another photo of Inga Arvad from her beauty queen days was recently posted for sale on the Ukrainian E-Bay. Apparently somebody snatched it up, as it’s no longer available.


The only question I have is, why is the background in Inga Arvad’s photo different than that of the other contestants? The others look like studio portraits, but hers – not so much.

Space Elevator Cable

[From the Wikipedia article about the “Space Elevator.”]

Historically, the main technical problem has been considered the ability of the cable to hold up, with tension, the weight of itself below any particular point. The vertical point with the greatest tension on a space elevator cable is at the level of geostationary orbit, 35,786 km (22,236 mi) above the Earth’s equator. This means that the cable material combined with its design must be strong enough to hold up the weight of its own mass from the surface up to 35,786 km. By making any cable larger in cross section at this level compared to at the surface, it can better hold up a longer length of itself. For a space elevator cable, an important design factor in addition to the material is how the cross section area tapers down from the maximum at 35,786 km to the minimum at the surface. To maximize the usable excess strength for a given amount of cable material, the cable’s cross section area will need to be designed in such a way that at any given point, it is proportional to the force it has to withstand.

———————-   SNIP ——————————————–

A space elevator cable must carry its own weight as well as the (smaller) weight of climbers. The required strength of the cable will vary along its length, since at various points it has to carry the weight of the cable below, or provide a centripetal force to retain the cable and counterweight above. In a 1998 report, NASA researchers noted that “maximum stress [on a space elevator cable] is at geosynchronous altitude so the cable must be thickest there and taper exponentially as it approaches Earth. Any potential material may be characterized by the taper factor – the ratio between the cable’s radius at geosynchronous altitude and at the Earth’s surface.”

The cable must be made of a material with a large tensile strength/density ratio. For example, the Edwards space elevator design assumes a cable material with a specific strength of at least 100,000 kN/(kg/m). This value takes into consideration the entire weight of the space elevator. An untapered space elevator cable would need a material capable of sustaining a length of 4,960 kilometers (3,080 mi) of its own weight at sea level  to reach a geostationary altitude of 35,786 km (22,236 mi) without yielding. Therefore, a material with very high strength and lightness is needed.

For comparison, metals like titanium, steel or aluminium alloys have breaking lengths of only 20–30 km. Modern fibre materials such as kevlar, fibreglass and carbon/graphite fibre have breaking lengths of 100–400 km. Quartz fibers have an advantage that they can be drawn to a length of hundreds of kilometers even with the present-day technology. Nanoengineered materials such as carbon nanotubes and, more recently discovered, graphene ribbons (perfect two-dimensional sheets of carbon) are expected to have breaking lengths of 5000–6000 km at sea level, and also are able to conduct electrical power.

For high specific strength, carbon has advantages because it is only the 6th element in the periodic table. Carbon has comparatively few of the protons and neutrons which contribute most of the dead weight of any material. Most of the interatomic bonding forces of any element are contributed by only the outer few electrons. For carbon, the strength and stability of those bonds is high compared to the mass of the atom. The challenge in using carbon remains to extend to macroscopic sizes the production of such material that are still perfect on the microscopic scale (as microscopic defects are most responsible for material weakness). [But] the current (2009) carbon nanotube technology allows growing tubes up to a few tens of centimeters.

——————————————   End of Quote ———————————————–

Ok, so here’s my solution:

That’s right. Genetically modify or “trick” spiders (or silk worms) to weave the carbon nano-tube fibers into long strands.


So, you think you remember the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s? See how many of the songs below you can guess right off, without doing a Google Search. If you get all ten of them, then you obviously have a very high Music IQ, so give yourself a large pat on the back.

1. Look at that bum over there, man he’s down on his knees.

2. In the middle of the color cartoon, I started to cry.

3. Every form of refuge has its price.

4. When the rooster crows at the break of dawn, look out your window and I’ll be gone.

5. When you know as well as me, you’d rather see me paralyzed.

6. His clothes are dirty, but his hands are clean.

7. Now we can thank the companies, a-scourin’ the deep blue seas, looking for ivory and perfume, and oil to light their livingroom.

8. And some other woman’s crying to her mother, ’cause she turned and I was gone.

9. I should be sleeping like a log.

10. I’ve lived a life that’s full, I’ve traveled each and every highway.