The magic of Lego at none of the cost

The moment you break the seal on a new Lego set and start laying out the bags, you are in for a treat, but an expensive one. The price of Lego sets varies according to the size of the set, the complexity, and the licensing fees Lego had to pay to get the rights. This makes kit prices very variable when trying to apply a standard measure. Kits can end up anywhere between £50 and £180 per kilo of bricks.

The largest sets tipping 8KG, that can be a lot of dish. 75252 Star Destroyer, 75192 Millennium Falcon work out at over £500 each while being some of the best per kilo value at £50, and Lego architecture series working out at over £150 per kilo to be the worst value for money of all kits ever.

Lego Studio can be a great way to virtually build those kits that you can’t afford in real life. Here is a gallery of my builds. You can even find some rendered timelapse on my you tube channel.

I started this project because I wanted to simulate a Mega-Titanic. More on that another time, but in the meantime, here is a gallery of some renders!

Using BIP39 to create short pr0n stories

BIP39 is a catchy name for a way to make great big long random numbers easier to write down and enter. It emerged from a need to back up the private and public keys associated with crypto currency wallets. Many of the common coins use BIP39.

BIP39 is a set list of 2048 English words which are written down one after the other to make a backup of your crypto currency keys. Not only is the wordlist fixed, but also your key is always exactly 24 words long. The last word is a check word to make sure that the rest are correct.

What makes BIP39 really clever is that although it’s only 24 words long, further extensions to the standard such as BIP32 allow it to be used to deterministically generate not only the keypair but the receive addresses too.

For extra cleverness, because blockchain, you don’t need anything else to recover your worthless crypto tokens, so those 24 word nuggets are pretty awesome.

Ok, that’s BIP39: Smart, no?

We all do stupid things, yes? I was backing up my Chia wallet words and talking with a mate about how much entropy (randomness) there is the BIP39 standard (hint, there is a lot!) and what possibilities might be given the word list size is and we discovered that the word list does just about include some verbs making some stories and sentences just about possible if you squint.

A quick google showed a Rule #34 violation and so it became necessary to write some smut. Bonus points awarded for making the story 24 words long and actually being BIP39 compliant – you can use it in any client that uses BIP39 to (re)generate keys from wallet words in this way.

Here is my first attempt:
gym fit pretty nurse split beef curtain quick index finger plunge front bottom wet slide nest weapon into crack shiver decorate crack nut receive

And if I whack those recovery words into (for example) Goji, we have a real key pair.

Please do not send Goji to xgj1ta95r52cfc5nhgs3m0wlcf06fg8mzt3du3tkmwkpp9mfmn0lmv6qfv0ewa as anyone can get it. Kthnx 😉

Think you can do better? Knock yourself out and let me know! The BIP39 wordlist is here.

You will also need a validator to help you with that last word which contains a checksum. Ian Coleman has a great tool here.

Have fun and for the sake of fuck, do NOT use the keys you generate for anything other than fun – they are essentially worthless as an entropy source, especially if you tell anyone!

Other attempts:
gold hair fantasy girl kiss pole give great head plunge tube steak into amazing ginger box blast nut butter over blouse bird cry clap

lonely young boy huge rigid horn spend all term try two destroy girl crack little success because girl prefer girl action during school shy

It does not all have to be pr0n:
spoil girl holiday camp family meat nice man fun dance girl two baby trouble doctor dad repair exotic girl dance lift dad proud match

black square box earth monkey evolve rocket travel planet space man machine destroy man lock man outdoor ugly sing scene mind

hard work copper visit wife december party man gun open vault steel gold cream evil man save hundred life man fall outside window winter

SpaceX Launch Nice to See

Here are a few awesome things that it would be nice to see for SpaceX launches.

Follow the second stage
SpaceX have a responsible attitude to space debris mitigation and they de-orbit the second stage after deployment. It would be awesome to follow the second stage into the atmosphere. We do know that the second stage has a camera on board but we don’t know if it has the battery capacity or downlink capability to transmit as it comes back down towards the Indian Ocean.

See inside the tank
Every now and again, SpaceX give us an accidental view inside either the fuel or oxidizer tank. It looks amazing and it would be great to see a longer view of that view, maybe even while the engines are burning!

Follow the Fairing
We don’t know what if any telemetry capabilities the two fairing halves have, but following them down would be an amazing ride!

Stage 1 Telemetry
It would be pretty cool to have a view of the stage 1 telemetry after separation rather than following stage 2. Stage 1 goes pretty high and comes in pretty fast, it would be great to follow it all the way down one day. Update: This now happens!

Kerbal Space Simulator: Starlink

It seems that we will all have low latency, high bandwidth internet soon, regardless of where we are on the earth, all courtesy of SpaceX and Starlink. It seemed like a good idea at the time to make a Kerbal representation of the constellation just for shiggles over the xmas lockdown.

Step 1 – Design the bird
Rather than start from scratch, I had a search around (similar to a customer looking for a satellite bus format) and found this video from Gameplay review UK. After some messing about we end up with a lovely flatsat layout with a gigantor array and xenon power.

Our bird is designed flat so we can launch a stack of them. we base it on the OKTO2 and add mechjeb2 for additional control plus a reaction wheel for in service orientation (our normal orientation is radial out).

Launch weight is not too much of an issue so we have a full xenon tank and around 1200 delta v – enough for many years of faithful service and orbit raising.

We simulate the Starlink service with a pair of antennas – the Communotron 16-S for C&C and the folding SG-5 for the user internet traffic.

We put a Z100 battery pack on board so that small DV adjustments (<10 m/s) can be made even on the dark side of Kerbin. A couple of flat solar panels each side of the sat give us emergency power to deploy the gigantor.

Considerable tweaking is needed to get the COG aligned with the xenon engine.

Starlink satellite based on the Gameplay Review UK design. Constructed with stock parts with the addition of MechJeb2

Step 2 – Testing the bird
I built a SSTO rocket and fixed one satellite to it – we’ll call this the TinTinA launch. Launched to a nice low 100km orbit, the satellite works great – it’s controllable and maintains power throughout it’s orbit and has enough electricity for small DV changes. we have just enough DV in the booster to deorbit and our orbital debris is zero.

TinTinA prior to deployment. The booster and bird both have OKTO2 and Mechjeb2 controllers so they can both be deorbited to mitigate orbital debris.

Step 3 – Orbital Parameters
Starlink orbits at 350km and at an inclination of 53°. Our constellation will use identical parameters even though that’s a much higher relative orbit. Looking at the offsets around Kerbin, we need to launch at around 7 minutes 30 offsets – this gives us about 49 separate orbital planes to fill, or around 2500 separate satellites (EEK)!

Step 4 – Extended orbital test programme
Extending the TinTinA launch, we send up 48 further single sat launches to test the concept and test the coverage. Again, we set these launches low, but to the correct inclination. This is successful and after the testing is complete, all test artefacts are deorbited.

Testing the planes with further TinTin launches.

Step 5 – Testing the stack
The first stack design is built and tested as a two stage to orbit dispenser. We release all the sats at once and deorbit the dispenser. This first attempt of 24 birds is messy – using the SpaceX technique of allowing the set to jostle a bit results in a few damaged birds – typically the gigantor array. it takes quite a while to deorbit the failed satellites using only the tiny fixed panel. Another problem with the all-at-once dispenser is that the satellites disperse too unevenly. Because they have to be individually positioned, they drift a long way in the orbit it takes to position each one.

The SpaceX technique to release all at once and let them spread is pretty messy

Deorbiting the failed birds gives us a chance to test that they burn up completely in the atmosphere. They don’t, but it’s a bit late to do anything about this. As we have lot’s of delta V, we’ll try to controlled deorbit them into the ocean. Luckily Kerbin seems to be very sparsely populated.

The stack is redesigned slightly to release them individually and we try again. Now we have a stack of 38 on a two stage configuration.

Testing the stack configuration with an SSTO configuration.

It turns out that this is still a very messy configuration – the dispenser is aligned to prograde prior to sat deployment and then the idea is that the satellite can boost away from the 330 deployment orbit to the 350km operational orbit, but the stack is upside down and so there is considerable delay while the bird clears the stack far enough to invert it and deploy the antenna and solar array.

There is also a problem with the supports: many support struts were needed to prevent the stack flopping around and these were not all applied from the dispenser to the satellite. On separation, any bird with the strut base is unstable under thrust.

Step 6 – Testing one orbital plane
Testing the deployment of one entire orbital plane is hard work – we are working with a version one stack and so they are all upside down. Some of them have the detritus from the support struts and this means that they don’t produce thrust through the CoG. It takes about 8 hours (real time!) to deploy and we hit another snag: The last two birds are not on separation rigs and so are permanently attached to the dispenser. Another redesign!

Deployment process
Checklists for the win! It’s really easy to miss a step in the deployment for each satellite and as there will eventually be 2500 of them, probably important for a repeatable list.

Launch dispenser to 330km
Check and adjust plane and offset from
Tune Apo and Peri to 330 exactly

Planning a train
The deployment process for each train needs careful timing and coordination – satellite spacing in the plane is determined by timed release of each sat. Once you have the apoapsis and periapsis well sorted and the inclination is solid, you need to warp to ‘dawn’ from the dispenser point of view: You are going to release the bird, boost it’s apoapsis and then circularize half an orbit later when it reaches apoapsis. you want to make sure bot of these happen in sunlight. After circularizing, you will flip back to the dispenser and repeat the exercise and so it should all be happening in daylight. If you screw this up, the whole train will be launched at night and the power budget is very tight!

The UT between each deployment is 30 minutes. That gives you time to release, align, raise Apo, wait for apo, circularize, rinse and repeat. Just. Every few launches, you will want to adjust the dispenser apoapsis back to 330 – those constant prograde sat deployments cause the dispenser to slow down!

Hints, tricks and tips
Creative use of the different ship type icons can help finds ways to declutter the screen *ahem* when in Tracking station and Map view. Perhaps use one for the dispenser, one for birds that have been deployed but not fine tuned, another for fine tuned, Another for on-orbit spares and another for the head of each train.

Name each satellite according to the launch, the plane and a unique number. I use starlink 430-33 where 430 is the launch time UT and 33 is the position in the train. I add ‘HEAD’ to the reference bird in each train and give it a different icon.

Each Starlink Sat Deployment
Point dispenser prograde
Select Sat
Deploy solar panel
Deploy Sat
Switch to Sat
Check naming
Unfold antenna
Activate engine
Switch on attitude hold
Align prograde
Change the Engine Max thrust to 50%
Use Mechjeb manoeuvre planner
Select ‘Change Apoapsis’
Select 350km (or whatever this train operation altitude is)
Select ‘After a fixed time’
At the appropriate time, hit ‘create and execute’
After the burn, use Mechjeb manoeuvre planner
Select ‘Circularize’
Select ‘at the next apoapsis’
Select ‘Create and execute’
Select 5% max engine power after the circularization burn
Minor apo/peri adjustment (no warp!) – Leave this until later!
After circularization complete orient ‘radial out’
Switch back to the stack and repeat.

Post Deployment Dispenser decommissioning
The empty dispenser is now useless. If you have not needed all the birds, keep the dispenser on orbit to keep them together. If keeping the dispenser, probably raise it’s orbit to that of the main plane for collision mitigation.

To deorbit it, you have choices. If you included chutes, you may want to go for a land return at KSC. It does have enough DV for alignment but not a powered landing. The dispenser is unlikely to survive re-entry unless designed quite carefully – it’s as aerodynamic as a house brick. Conduct your own risk assessment! Otherwise use Mechjeb and pick a nice uninhabited spot in the ocean. Bear in mind that a return to KSC from a 53° inclination may require a long warp.

You could of course boost the dispenser into deep space or go for a graveyard orbit. You may have the DV for either of these, but they are not very SpaceX!

Deployment Fine Tuning
Change the engine power to 5%
Orient prograde or retrograde as required
Warp to apoapsis -10 seconds or periapsis as required
Tweak orbit to 350km x 350km exactly. A couple of meters is acceptable. you may decide, based on your own collision avoidance measures to put each train at a slight different height, say 100 meters separation on each orbital plane. This would be the right time to chose that number and start tweaking.
Deactivate unused equipment (engine) to prevent any power drains and accidents. You may be able to deactivate mechjeb and other systems.

<to follow>


This bird does not seem to be burning up on re-entry

Best DNS jokes

We all need a good geeky DNS joke now and again, right? But they seem to be a little rare. Not even a CNAME to a good joke. So here are a few I’ve collected.

Google for DNS jokes. Mine is the best one ever. AAAA records or it never happened. (TS)

I had an issue writing a joke about DNS – It’s resolved. (GM)

Such jokes may be spoofed or result in poisonings. (AC)

All too often I try to be authoritative but find myself being recursive. (AC)

Why would I join in with these DNS jokes? Just because ICANN. (GD)

That seems a bit MXd up. (AC)

This certainly propagated quickly! (MJ)

The USA 2020 Election car-crash is finally over

Finally, the small-handed orange wank-hammer is out. The electoral college votes have been cast and he is out baby, out.

What better way to celebrate than to give each American a unique insult to sling at the dangerous combovered pussy-grabber.

So this file has 331,002,651 unique insults which is the population of the US according to the UN. You are very welcome.

Download the epic insult file here. All these insults are unique. Most are very offensive including the c word. Some are not a great fit for Trump. Most are. It’s a whopping 3.4G so you can also try a small 1000 insult sample here.


Cost of Contraception?

If you’re a man, you’re likely aware that you’re expected to pay a fair amount of money to get a vasectomy. But if you’re a woman, you might not be aware that you’re expected to pay — and a lot more — for an IUD.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the costs of different types of contraception. We’ll also talk about the differences in cost between the types of contraception available for people of different ages and incomes.

The Cost of Contraception

Before you can get pregnant, you have to get rid of the sperm cells in your body. To do that, you have to take a pill.

There are three types of birth control pills: the hormonal option, the copper-based option, and the copper IUD. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, the hormonal birth control pill, which is used by about 10 percent of all women, is considered to be one of the most effective forms of birth control. It’s the only type of birth control that’s effective for up to 20 years after you stop taking it.

Also, the hormonal birth control pill has the lowest chance of causing what’s called breakthrough bleeding, when the estrogen levels in your body start to rise. For this reason, the pill is considered the most effective type of birth control.

The Battle Of Fredricksburg

One of the enduring mysteries of the Battle of Fredericksburg is why the Union Army, led by Gen. George Meade, did not commit a single casualty in the battle of October 1, 1862. The battle, which killed an estimated 300 Union soldiers, was fought on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought to a disastrous conclusion.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was the last battle of the Civil War, and the last major battle fought in the Carolinas. After the Union Army’s capture of the Confederate capital of Richmond the following year, Meade ordered the Army of the Potomac to begin the retreat from the battlefield. The Confederate Army was commanded by Gen. Jubal Early’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Early’s army, which had a large contingent of African American troops under Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was the largest adversary of Meade’s Army of the Potomac. Early’s forces were reorganized as the Confederate States of America in 1864 to create the Confederate States of America.

On October 1, 1862, Early’s army attacked the Union Army’s positions at Fredericksburg with a force of nearly 3,000 men. Early’s army was led by General John C. Breckenridge. Breckenridge was also the commander of the Union forces at Fort Donelson.

While the Union Army was within a few hundred yards of the Confederate position at Fredericksburg, Breckenridge ordered Major General John P. Gordon’s cavalry to halt and take up defensive positions at a point approximately two miles away. Breckenridge ordered the Union cavalry to attack at dawn and break through Early’s line. The Union cavalry attacked at 6:30 a.m., and the Union infantry attacked at 7 a.m.

Like the Union Army, Early’s Army of Northern Virginia was composed primarily of African Americans. The Union Army was commanded by Maj. Gen. Jubal Early’s Army of Northern Virginia. Early was African American, and drew his troops from the state of Maryland.

Early’s army was led by Maj. Gen. John P. Gordon, who was also African American.

The Union Army’s attack was a flanking maneuver. The Union cavalry attacked from the rear, overrunning Early’s infantry in the process. Early’s cavalry charged the Union infantry, and the Union infantry was forced to retreat to the rear.

One of Early’s officers, Maj. Gen. John Logan, was killed in the initial attack. Logan was Black. The Union Army’s first casualty was Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, who was killed at Fredericksburg in the initial attack. On the second day of the battle, Maj. Gen. John G. Meigs was killed when his horse was shot. On the third day, Maj. Gen. John Buford was killed in the fight.

In the battle of Fredericksburg, General Jubal Early’s Army of Northern Virginia lost more than 1,000 men, including more than 500 killed. Early’s army lost more men than any other army in the entire war in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

The Confederate Army’s second-last casualty was Maj. Gen. Jubal Early’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The South Carolina Historical Society describes the Union Army’s overall performance in the Battle of Fredericksburg in a pamphlet, The Battle of Fredericksburg. In the pamphlet, the Southern Historical Society of South Carolina describes the Union Army’s overall performance in the Battle of Fredericksburg as lackluster.

Amazon to start selling Lara robot worldwide

At an auction house near London’s Chelsea Football Club team dressing room, U.S. online retailer Inc is preparing to start selling a home-built robot called “Lara,” based on a smart home platform developed at the University of Westminster.

Amazon, whose self-declared goal is to provide products for anyone regardless of their skill or means of payment, is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in so-called “E2E” (everything2ede) technology projects, which aim to bring the internet of things to more homes and make a broad range of goods – from food items to medical devices – wearable.

But selling kits from a computer game at a fancy auction house will push LARA into a much wider global market, by giving it an emotional hook that technology companies can use to hook customers – a crucial step in luring them away from traditional retailers.

The U.S. firm, which is focused on growing the market for its home-grown products in Britain, will also send one of its senior vice-presidents for research and development to London on Friday to show off how its technology works, two employees said.

The device is the brain behind a virtual smart home home where shoppers can control key parts of the appliances and devices to match their personalities and lifestyle. The self-styled “Lara” is available for pre-order from Amazon and is expected to ship in May.

It is the latest example of how U.S. technology companies have found business, or come up with alternatives to the traditional electronics outlets. Apple Inc has used an online subscription service to sell customers its latest products, while Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy S8 phones are being sold directly by the firm and not only online, as was previously the norm. Twitter Inc is also looking into bringing cheaper advertising to home-grown firms.

Amazon said it was focusing of LARA in the United States because of Britain’s regulatory environment in which it did not have to register itself as a self-employed seller with the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“We have a strategy for future growth, which always includes having a more strategic relationship with our platform,” said Ashish Jha, who is heading up Amazon’s new E2E strategy.

Churchill and Trump at odds on Ukraine

If war takes place, there is almost certain to be an air campaign. “It was only a question of time,” he said.

The two wars that Churchill predicted and was told by his confidential assistant after the German blitzkrieg of 1941 – Spain and France – failed.

The former prime minister gave little sign of how he would judge Donald Trump on Sunday, saying the US president-elect’s policies were yet to be put in place.

His concerns about Trump’s stated support for Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, are well known.

In the wake of Poroshenko’s January 2015 visit to a US military base, during which he was photographed with Trump advisers, Churchill made the claim that “the whole process is becoming confusing as to whether President Trump intends to follow up on his promise to take Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence”.

“On January 21st the world will know whether Donald Trump will turn out to be a President for Germany or for Europe,” said Churchill.

• This article was amended on 9 January 2017. An earlier version referred to Donald Trump’s alleged offer to sell Ukrainian assets to the Kremlin while Poroshenko was visiting the US, not a promise of his support to Ukraine’s president.

Photo by Marcos Pena Jr on Unsplash