Hackaday Links: December 9, 2018

SpaceX launched a rocket this week, and things did not go as planned. The hydraulics on the grid fins were stuck when the first stage started its atmospheric recovery, and the booster became a fish. The booster landed about a mile or so offshore, which meant we got some great footage of a failed landing, and there are even better shots of the guts of a landed booster. [Scott Manley] whipped out a video showing the ‘new’ discoveries of what’s going on inside a Falcon 9 booster. Interestingly: the weight of the upper stage is carried through the thrust plate of its engine (which makes sense…). There’s a lot of pneumatic stuff going on, and while the composite interstage is very strong along the long axis of the rocket, it doesn’t like being slammed into the ocean.

Winter is coming, and that means you should take your car out during the first snow, drive out to an empty parking lot, and do donuts. I am not kidding this is how you learn to drive in the snow. How do they do it in Russia? They weld 3000 nails to a steel wheel. Does it work? For a while, then the nails bend. We’ve seen this done by drilling screws through a tire, and that works much better; it’s less length for the screws to fulcrum over.

Aaay, we got a date for Sparklecon! It’s February 1-3rd in the endless suburban wastes of Fullerton, California. It’s in an industrial park, there’s a liquor store around the corner, and there’s a remote-controlled couch. Get on it.

Do you wish you had a hassle-free and affordable way to get scorpions delivered straight to your mailbox? Enter Dollar Scorpion Club. Dollar Scorpion Club makes a great gift for all ages. Just enter your friend’s shipping address during checkout, and the extra-special scorpion supply chain management will mean your scorpions are delivered fast to their door.

Regular Car Reviews finally reviewed a Pontiac Aztek. The takeaway is that it’s a bug-out car for Boomers, designed in that episode of The Simpsons where Homer finds out he has a brother.

Want to see something weird? It’s a G3 iMac running Windows 8. This is… weird. Either someone is doing a remote desktop into a Windows 8 machine, someone is just using screenshots, or this machine is way cooler than the craigslist seller is letting on. If you’re in Dallas, it might be worth picking this up.

28 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: December 9, 2018

    1. I’m not sure which automobile magazine said it, but they said the [GM sister car of the Aztek] looked like two different design teams built it, each starting at a bumper, and met behind the drivers’s door.

  1. “Do you wish you had a hassle-free and affordable way to get scorpions delivered straight to your mailbox? Enter Dollar Scorpion Club. Dollar Scorpion Club makes a great gift for all ages. Just enter your friend’s shipping address during checkout, and the extra-special scorpion supply chain management will mean your scorpions are delivered fast to their door.”

        1. My mother did an accidental tail shortening to our domestic tabby (many many years ago). He only lost a few centimetres, but the end of his tail looked similar to that once it healed. The cat was ok, he was very enraged by the impromptu operation, but seemed to be in no pain once the shock had gone away. My mum disgustingly described pulling out the last, exposed, bone of the tail once it was clear that it was rejected.

          1. awhile back one of our cats had kittens, the mother being a total noob bit off one of their tails while trying to cut the umbilical cord. it healed and the kitten got the name ‘stumpy’ as a result. back end kind of looked like a bunny.

      1. “In reverse”… now you’re talking my language. Not only will objects in mirror be closer than they appear, but they will re-appear at regularly scary intervals until you probably make contact.

        Sounds pretty much how my fist driving lesson went, and yes, my first driving lesson (with a professional instructor I might add), involved a couple of unscripted pirouettes on a glassy Glasgow side street, narrowly missing various “objects” in the process.

        I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with flinging cars about in the snow ever since. Ice and snow is what they invented handbrakes for.

    1. The front tires are gonna have more traction than the rear ones due to the engine so in the slippery snow your back tires can and will kick out from behind you when making too tight turns at too high speeds. You can toss a sandbag in the trunk to help combat this. Also having not bald-ass tires helps. (You guessed it, personal experience! Thankfully nothing serious so far…)

      So maybe instead go to a parking lot and do tight turns until you figure out how to stop doing donuts?

    2. As another poster said, “in reverse!”. Even an all-wheel drive car will do donuts in reverse, though admittedly it doesn’t feel the same as doing it forwards. As far as cops, in my area at least, traffic laws don’t really apply on private property such as parking lots. If the land owner complains to the cops, that’s a different story, but it wouldn’t be reckless driving around here, it would be trespassing and you’d be told to go home. But if you damage someone’s property (light pole, parked car, etc.) then you’re in bad shape, so watch where you play!

      Also, note that your insurance policy may not apply to helping pay for anything in this case. This caveat is also true if you drive your car out on a frozen lake. I have done this, and it’s a blast. The most interesting fact about playing on the ice with a car is that the car can’t go as fast, no matter how much distance you have to get to speed. For instance, I have played around on Lake St. Clair (sometimes called the 6th great lake) and I could only reach 60 mph.

      1. ” For instance, I have played around on Lake St. Clair (sometimes called the 6th great lake) and I could only reach 60 mph.”
        Yes, but 60 mph on ice is like 600 mph on a normal road…. actually that is a bit of a wild exaggeration, however your stopping distance on the flat, in wet icy conditions, is ten times that on a warm dry road.

        It is even further if you are on a hill (in theory it becomes infinite if you are attempting to break on a steep enough hill. In other words, on a suitably friction compensated slope, there is no way you will stop until you hit something.

        This is when all that messing about doing donuts in car parks pays off. I once slid a rather large rented mobile home about two miles down a hill through a blizzard, in the Rockies. It point blank refused to slow down, no matter what tricks I tried. Much handbrake and cadence breaking ensued and I fortunately escaped without a scratch. What might be described as a “brown trouser” event.

        I was still fairly certain I was going to come a cropper. Big things take a lot more stopping on ice than small ones, and mobile homes can do handbrake turns. Don’t try this at home children, it ‘aint big and it ‘aint clever.

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