Older blog entries for maragato (starting at number 49)

Temporary Post Used For Theme Detection (9ec9f47b-a899-4877-8ec8-625cd48f92b7 – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7)

This is a temporary post that was not deleted. Please delete this manually. (162e1933-07da-4521-ab59-fee1c64a52e5 – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7)

Syndicated 2011-09-17 12:33:02 from ~robteix

Algo como a Apollo 18 existiu?

Existem várias teorias de conspiração envolvendo a chegada da humanidade à Lua (ou a não-chegada). Uma destas é a sobre a Apollo 20, que teria sido uma missão altamente secreta em 1976 enviada à Lua para buscar extraterrestres. O segredo teria sido revelado por ninguém menos que William Rutledge, suposto astronauta da missão e que hoje vive em Ruanda.

Aparentemente a teoria sempre foi menos popular que a de que a NASA teria gasto bilhões de dólares em uma encenação, mas esquecera de pintar estrelas no céu falso.

Mas agora um filme chega para dar uma forcinha à teoria de que a NASA realizou missões secretas à Lua. Trata-se de Apollo 18.

apollo-18-movie
(Imagem de divulgação do filme)

O filme afirma que, após o cancelamento do programa Apollo, a NASA teria feito mais uma missão, onde se encontrou, óbvio, alienígenas e por isso nunca mais fomos para a Lua. Trata-se de um filme no estilo popularizado por Cloverfield, onde a audiência assistiria a imagens vazadas de algo super secreto.

O chefe da Dimension Films, Bob Weinstein, chegou a afirmar à imprensa que nada foi filmado por eles, foi tudo encontrado:

We didn’t shoot anything, we found it. Found, baby!

O filme, claro, é uma obra de ficção e não é difícil de descobrir. Por exemplo, os austronautas seriam Nathan Walker, John Grey e Benjamin Anderson, nenhum desses era parte do grupo de astronautas do programa Apollo. Embora a tripulação da Apollo 18 jamais tenha sido oficialmente anunciada, pelo esquema de rotação utilizado pela NASA (backup da missão N viraria principal da missão N+1), a tripulação deveria ser:

  • Richard Gordon
  • Vance Brand
  • Harrison Schmitt

Exceto que Schmitt, por pressão de cientistas, acabou sendo promovido à tripulação principal da Apollo 17, tornando-se o único cientista a pisar na Lua. Assim, alguém (Joe Engle?) teria de substituí-lo na Apollo 18.

Também não ajuda nada saber o nome dos atores que fizeram o papel dos astronautas. Aparentemente o Comandante Nathan Walker também chegou a ser o pai do Indiana Jones na antiga (e ótima!) série Jovem Indiana Jones.

Mas a teoria em si não é sobre o filme. O filme serve apenas para dar uma corda. Será que a NASA poderia ter feito missões secretamente?

Impossível é difícil de provar, mas pessoalmente não vejo como fazer algo assim. Para começar temos o Saturn V.

flickr-3743794970-original
(Imagem crédito: Euclid vanderKroew)

Veja, o Saturn V era grande. Muito grande. E não há muitos locais de onde lançá-lo. Parece difícil aceitar que seria possível lançar um Saturn V a partir do Cabo Canaveral sem que ninguém o visse.

Vi alguém em um forum argumentando que a NASA poderia escolher lançar à noite, para minimizar a exposição. Mas o Saturn V também não é muito sutil (sem falar que a NASA não tem tanta flexibilidade na escolha da janela de lançamento quanto ela gostaria).

3743667306_c2b398ee5b_z
(Imagem crédito: Euclid vanderKroew)

Assim, se descartarmos um lançamento a partir do território dos EUA, ainda se poderia imaginar algo como lançar a partir de plataformas marítimas ou de algum local no norte da África. O problema é que a logística disso seria formidável.

Além disso, o Saturn V é um projeto extremamente público. Sabe-se bem onde cada parte construída para cada uma das unidades feitas está até hoje em dia. E não são peças pequenas.

E aí entram outros fatores. Estamos acostumados a visualizar um voo como sendo três “pilotos” no foguete e uma sala de mission control, com umas 20 ou 30 pessoas trabalhando.

2985911950_0f3a207a10_z
(Imagem crédito: Cory Doctorow.)

Mas um voo da Apollo envolvia consideravelmente mais gente que isso. Em A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts (Ótimo presente, Stulzer!!), Andrew Chalkin estima o número 500.000. Outros afirmam que são 400.000.

Seja qual for, é claro que as missões dependiam de centenas de milhares de pessoas ao redor do mundo (mais sobre isso abaixo).

Outro ponto é que, a contrário do que se poderia pensar, o programa Apollo não é realmente algo que foi montado em salas fechadas da NASA (ou da força aérea americana), mas sim através de licitações públicas. GE, IBM, Boeing, North American, GM… a lista de empresas contradas ocupa várias páginas. Esperar que funcionários de todas estas empresas mantenham este tipo de segredo por quatro décadas é realmente difícil de acreditar.

figc-3
(Imagem crédito: history.nasa.gov)

Ainda maior que a de empresas, a lista de instituições acadêmicas envolvidas é impressionante. Praticamente toda a grande universidade americana estava incluída, mas também instituições da Alemanha, Austrália, Bélgica, Canadá, Escócia, Finlândia, Inglaterra, Japão e Suíça. O que me leva àquele que é, para mim, o fator mais relevante.

Fazer um voo para a Lua não é apontar um foguete na direção da Lua, ligar o motor e esperar ele chegar lá. A viagem é complexa e exige uma enorme preparação. Mecânica orbital é algo lindo de se estudar. Mas eu divago.

Um desafio bastante interessante é como comunicar-se e acompanhar a tragetória da nave durante a viagem.

flight-profile-p17
(Escaneado pelo autor. NASA Apollo 11 Press Kit Pg 17)

Embora hoje haja uma grande rede de satélites para ajudar na tarefa, à época dos programas Mercury e Apollo, o monitoramento dependia de uma grande rede de estações, embarcações e aviões ao redor do mundo.

A rede chamava-se Manned Space Flight (Tracking) Network. A partir da Apollo 10, também somou-se ao esforço a Deep Space Network.

MSFN
(Escaneado pelo autor: NASA Apollo 11 Press Kit, Pg 172)

É interessante saber que ao longo dos anos, a rede chegou a incluir estações em Havana, Cuba (desmontada após anos de atividade quando da ocasião da revolução cubana) e, de interesse especial para nós, brasileiros, junto ao Aeroporto Internacional de Brasília (desmontada e os equipamentos transferidos para Madagascar).

Embora fossem instalações americanas, elas contratavam trabalhadores locais. Esperar que estas estações ao redor do planeta pudessem realizar as mesmas atividades que vinham fazendo há anos sob enorme escrutínio da mídia, de maneira totalmente secreta e sem que ninguém vazasse nada por 40 anos é, para mim, o ponto mais absurdo da teoria.

Some a isso o fato de que todas as missões foram monitoradas por diversos governos ao redor do mundo, incluindo, é claro, a União Soviética. Em Two Sides of the Moon, o cosmonauta russo Alexei Leonov afirma que as missões foram monitoradas a partir de um centro extremamente bem equipado pelo Corpo de Transmissões Espaciais, na Av. Komsomolsky, em Moscou. Isto quer dizer que também a URSS teria de manter esse segredo, mesmo depois de ter sido desfeita e retransformada.

E, claro, sem esquecer os vários radioamadores e astrônomos amadores que ou pegaram sinais de rádio de Apollos ou as viram.

Claro que nada disso prova além de qualquer dúvida que uma missão secreta jamais aconteceu. E por isso, por mais improvável que seja, vai continuar a ter gente que acredita.

Syndicated 2011-09-16 21:51:57 from ~robteix

My need for anonymity

Much has been said about the pros and cons of anonymity lately, prompted by Google+ TOS which require the use of one’s real name. No pseudonyms allowed, except apparently if you call yourself Lady Gaga or 50 Cent.

I have seen many kinds of arguments both for and against the use of aliases and I will not repeat them here. There is however one use of aliases that I haven’t seen stated anywhere and that coincidentally affects me personally. Perhaps this is so because the problem I am about to present is not so common after all. Or perhaps it is common but people decide not to talk about it. I have no way of knowing.

Anonymity is a vital necessity to people with a certain kind of disability, a mental disorder. I am such a person. As some of my friends know and others mock, I suffer from a mental condition called social phobia, also known as social anxiety. I take medications that help me overcome some of the most serious effects and that allow me to do things like write about it on this very blog.

Social anxiety manifests itself in varying degrees in all kinds of social interactions. And the levels of manifestations are not what you might expect. I regularly make presentations without a second thought. I’ve given talks to hundreds of people. And yet, ordering a pizza over the phone is terrifying experience to me. No matter how many times I’ve done it, I still have to “prepare” myself every time. I rehearse, play several unlikely scenarios in my head until I finally get the courage to dial the number and talk to the person on the other side. One characteristic of this anxiety disorder is that rationally I know that there is nothing wrong; there is no risk in calling the pizza place. But the brain acts as if there were. But I digress.

I love coding. I have been doing it since I was a kid and it’s the best thing I know how to do. And then there is open source. Open source projects should be the perfect venue for me to have fun. Except I am scared stiff by the idea that someone might laugh at the code. It came to a point where it is impossible for me to contribute. Then I’ve come up with a solution: an alias. For the past several years I’ve lived two different lives online: one as myself and another as an alias. I keep them strictly separate.

Using the alias, I actively contribute to several different projects. I’ve published books. And I enjoy it all. And it would be impossible for me to do that using my own name. My pseudonym allows me to work around my condition. It allows me to live my life.

I understand the rationale behind the requirement for real names on Google+. But I also know that the requirement makes it impossible for people like me to be really free on the Internet. So far, Google hasn’t figured out my alias. Hopefully it never will.

(Photo by Abhishek Singh)

Syndicated 2011-08-04 19:54:38 from ~robteix

Think

People’s gullibility often staggers me. A couple of days ago a photo and accompanying story started popping up everywhere.

The story went that the mayor of a Lithuanian town saw a luxury car parked on top of the bike lane and decided to act swiftly and decidedly and ran over the car with an armored vehicle. Isn’t it amazing?

I was talking to some friends yesterday and mentioned that the most amazing thing about this story was the fact that people bought it. And buy it they did. I had an argument with someone about it in which I was ultimately labeled a cynic who only cares for the rich. Yeah. I didn’t get it either.

I probably am a cynic. Still, I cannot read a story like that and not wonder. For the story to be real, you have to believe that the mayor was strolling about, saw a car, got upset, ran to get himself an armored vehicle, came back and ran over the car, inviting a suit. Or maybe he was riding an armored vehicle in the first place. Either way, wouldn’t a tow truck be more efficient and cheaper for the city?

No matter. People want to believe and believe they will.

But as it turns out, the scene was indeed staged (check out Google Translate.) It’s a promotional campaign film. He’s saying: everyone must follow the rules, even the rich. Not a bad point, but hardly revolutionary words from a campaigning candidate.

Oh, did I mention that he will also sweep the streets himself? Yeah, you bought that story, sucker!

Don’t just believe what you see written in the news. Think, even if just a little bit.

Syndicated 2011-08-03 14:58:57 from ~robteix

Chrome and the new Lion full-screen behaviour

Three wise monkeys by Anderson Mancini

While I was ranting about the annoyances I found in OSX Lion today, a friend commented he had no issues at all, except for the full-screen mode. I got curious because the new Lion full-screen mode is probably the only new feature I found interesting. What did Apple do so wrong?

The answer: Google Chrome.

Wait, what? My friend was complaining that in Chrome you needed to use a keyboard shortcut in order to leave full-screen mode. That, he continued, was because Apple had given programmers too much freedom to implement the new feature any way they wanted. And he knew that, he assured me, because he had searched Google and confirmed it.

The new full-screen mode in Lion is implemented as a window behaviour not enabled by default, but adding it to a window is remarkably easy*:

1
2
3
NSWindowCollectionBehavior behavior = [window collectionBehavior];
behavior |= NSWindowCollectionBehaviorFullScreenPrimary;
[window setCollectionBehavior:behavior];

Adding the NSWindowCollectionBehaviorFullScreenPrimary behaviour to a window will enable a small button to its top right corner. When enabled, the mode will allocate a new Desktop for the fullscreen app and will also add a icon to the system menu to allow you to quickly leave full-screen mode.

And that’s the little icon my friend complained Chrome wasn’t showing, forcing him to use a keyboard shortcut. Imagine the trepidity! And all because of Apple.

I tried to explain that the problem was that Chrome’s windows still didn’t support the new full-screen behaviour but my friend’s version of reality was unswayable: Chrome supported the new behaviour and the problem was Apple. He had searched Google to confirm it. What could I possibly do?

Search it myself is what. And search I did. And I found this comment on Chromium’s bug tracker:

Comment 39 by rsesek@chromium.org, Jul 15, 2011

We had a conversation with one of our designers, and what we’re going to do right now is remove the fullscreen button so we don’t advertise a behavior that we don’t really implement. That change just landed and will hit Canary/Dev channels soon.

Long-term, we’re going to implement a proper fullscreen interface for Lion. In this interface, we’ll also experiment with having a collapsable toolbar. Until then, fullscreen will operate as it does on Leopard/Snow Leopard.

So there it is, straight from the source. Chromium — same as Chrome — still doesn’t support the new behaviour. Done. Nothing like reality to end a discussion.

Except my friend would not yield. Apple still needs to fix Chrome and anyone who disagrees — presumably that Chromium developer himself — is to be disregarded as an Apple fanboy.

If however you don’t want to wait for Google (or is it Apple?0 to release Chrome with the new full-screen behaviour, you can get by using Maximizer, which adds the behaviour to any application window.

* Yes, I do realize that if you’re supporting multiple OSX versions and, even worse, multiple platforms, things get slightly more complex, but still.

(Image by Anderson Mancini)

Syndicated 2011-08-02 02:19:42 from ~robteix

Hit Girl

I’m a sucker for comics and some of the movies based on them (the Dark Knight, Iron Man, X-Men and Spideman movies being the best of them.) But last night I’ve watched Kick-Ass and now I have a new favourite superhero: Hit-Girl.

Best. Action. Hero. Ever.

Show’s over motherfuckers!

Syndicated 2011-07-31 12:06:47 from ~robteix

The Ship Song Project

Oh goose pumps! Goose pumps! Beautiful video publicity for the Sidney Opera House.

Syndicated 2011-07-24 15:50:32 from ~robteix

I love infographics

Everybody loves infographics.[citation needed] Make one about stacked $100 bills and you know I’ll just have to post about it. Check out A visualization of USA debt for nice infographics to help make sense of how enormous the debt situation of the US is. The one below is just a sample.

115,000,000,000,000_USD.jpg">

Syndicated 2011-07-23 01:41:49 from ~robteix

Very cool video on the Space Shuttle Program

After three decades, the Space Shuttle is finally retired. Check out the video below for a bit of history. I thought the video so well done! In a little over 8 minutes it gives you a feeling of how much happened already. Also, stop to think about this for a minute: 30 FUCKING YEARS.

Most nations who tried to launch payloads into space failed miserably and still haven’t achieved it. And yet, THIRTY years ago the Shuttle started operation.

What’s next? NASA is now helping private enterprises develop the capability to fly people to the ISS so it can buy flights commercially. How long will it take? No one knows. And none of the companies is working on anything like the shuttle, so the future for now looks like it’s going to be on heavy-rockets.

Syndicated 2011-07-22 16:56:24 from ~robteix

40 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!