The easy way to fast ... or the fastest way makes it easy?

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/31/2006 09:37:00 PM

According to the Washington Post (via Michael Fumento and Instapundit), the peace group Codepink "has issued a nationwide call for people to go on at least a partial hunger strike, if only for a few hours, to show their opposition to the war in Iraq."

Does this mean that I can fast while I sleep?

If I fast from 3 AM until I wake up, am I doing my part?

At least I'm doing my part to find the Mack truck-sized loophole in the "group suffering" ... ;*)

Back in the saddle again

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/29/2006 10:47:00 PM

We made it back from Austin/vacation!

As noted, I had little-to-no time to devote to blogging. While I first thought of this as a bad thing (given that I couldn't make "A blog a day" at the time), it gave me some time to think about how to continue this effort. Taking the time to think about the effort may be better for me in the long run.

I now have several blog ideas queued up, which I'll be putting more content into before releasing. I also now realize that life in the blogs revolves around what I am going to call the "three legged stool" of blogging:
1. Blog research (to come up with more ideas for blogs, and time to engage with online communities related to the blog topics),
2. Blog content creation (actually writing/editing the blog entries), and
3. Blog promotion. I think blog promotion should come last in this list, as readers will need something to come to before they actually come here.

Note: I call it the "three legged stool" since that's always a convenient metaphor to use when you need three things in balance.

Note 2: The "stool" I refer to may be the thing you sit on or the thing that comes out of my back side ... you be the judge.

Light posting ...

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/26/2006 05:40:00 PM

... it's what happens when you're on vacation & just scraping by to get connected to the internet.

I expect to get back online more regularly on Saturday.

No business like Dome business

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/21/2006 11:47:00 PM

Over at Off the Kuff, Charles Kuffner cites the preliminary progress being made in turning the Houston Astrodome into an indoor hotel.

I have my doubts about the entire enterprise, but I'm not sure that I see a clearer alternative.

Of course, some of my doubts are at a gut level. The "Eighth Wonder of the World" has been the scene of multiple historic sporting events (and being a former UH band member clouds my judgment even further). And I doubt that the residents of New Orleans will forget the Dome's role in last year's Katrina evacuation - something that's probably impossible to repeat at that scale if the Dome was a hotel.

But more to the point, my thoughts are that, with the loss of Astroworld, there are less attractions available around the Astrodome. It's surrounded by a massive parking lot, and would take 15 minutes to get to the nearest Metro train station at its perimeter (gotta be fun in summer!). Furthermore, hotel capacity is too high right now ... what happens if the operating income doesn't take care of the financing? Problem is, I don't see a better use for the old stadium.

We'll see how all this goes ...

The largest high-population, quick weight loss ever

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/19/2006 09:26:00 PM

According to CNN, Houston is now the third-skinniest city in the nation this year.

But according to Men's Fitness, last year, we were the third-fattest city in the nation.

WOW! What a weight loss! And I haven't really even started my workout program ... I feel better already! This is the best program ever ... I get results for me and 1 million of my close, personal friends without even lifting a finger!

Another Space Station

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/17/2006 08:19:00 PM

A cool thing happened last week. Bigelow Aerospace, with the help of a Russian rocket, launched their inflatable module into space. According to reports, Bigelow has received telemetry from the module, and they've even received pictures from it.

Way to go Bigelow!

Time for shift work ... and sleep shifting

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/16/2006 08:00:00 PM

Well, I start up the next week of Space Station mission work later today. I take the graveyard shift (11PM to 8 AM), and I've already started to sleep shift myself.

Our position requires 3 shifts over the week, "sort of". We normally have three shifts Monday through Friday - a graveyard shift from 11PM to 8AM, a day shift from 7 AM to 4 PM, and a midnight shift from 3 PM to 12 PM (the shift times allow for a 1 hour handover between each shift - the entire Flight Control Team shifts start at the same time). On weekends, our console nominally goes down to 1 daily 12 hour shift, starting 7 AM (in reality, the shift lasts as long as our console's work lasts, which many times has been finished in 8 hours).

The result is something I call "24x5 Plus".

To support the graveyard shift, I typically start by staying up late on Saturday night. Then, I take as long a nap as possible on Sunday, waking up in the afternoon/evening.

Different folks sleep shift for console operations different ways. Different Station Flight Controllers have different staffing requirements (like this one, this one, and this one (all 3 are in the same position), these two (in the same position), and these two (in similar positions), and this one). It's also different for Shuttle Flight Controllers (like this one), whose job varies by the flight they are assigned as well as the simulations they will support in preparation for that flight.

The shifts during Shuttle docked operations are a little different. They are generally controlled by the Shuttle crew's wakeup time, which varies from flight to flight, and will consistently have 3 shifts throughout the entire docked period. Both the Station and Shuttle flight controllers will have shifts consistent with the crew's wakeup time, although the Shuttle and Station team's start times will be offset from each other by an hour (so that the Shuttle and Station teams will not have to coordinate within themselves and between themselves at the same time).

Anyways, that's probably more than you wanted to know about shift operations. We'll see how well I can slog through the upcoming week.

Missing the mark ...

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/15/2006 06:39:00 PM

Well, it looks like I didn't accomplish my goal of "A blog a day" already!

But hey, at least I'm averaging a blog a day!

Speaking of setting goals, I came across a simple goal setting application called Joe's Goals. Check it out!

And if you have other ideas for simple goal setting applications, let me know in the comments. Maybe that will keep me on target!

Maybe this is why the grafitti celebration got called off ...

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/11/2006 11:14:00 PM

Hawaiian Punch company was supposedly going to have a grafitti celebration this past weekend, but it got called off.

I suspect it's because of what most folks think of when they think of grafitti. Even the Houston city government falls in line with this thinking, as you can see from this.
To make the matters more inflamed, grafitti comes in different varieties, which can upset the local gentry in more ways than you might initially think. Imagine your local conservative Christians during their morning drive time coming up on something like this. I think you can see how they might be put off about a celebration of grafitti.

Moonbat Engineering

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/10/2006 10:24:00 PM

Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings titled this one right ... Moonbat Engineering update.

There are so many flaws with this guy's analysis, it's hard to know where to start ...

UPDATE: More on this here (via Instapundit), including a pointer to the analysis from Popular Mechanics (Available via

Winnowing the crop

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/09/2006 01:04:00 PM

I have a regular account with Bloglines, and I have subscribed to several blog feeds.

Problem is, it's now at 97 blogs. With over 500 "keep new" permalinks.

I am always on the lookout for good material for this blog, but I generally consider new material (i.e., info that isn't more than 2 days old) to be the right fit.

Most of the 500 permalinks, while containing good links to sources of info, aren't less than 2 days old. So it's time to "winnow the crop"!

I hope it won't take long to do this.

Light blogging day

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/08/2006 11:32:00 PM

Spent most of the day entertaining folks, so I barely squeaked this blog in!

I've got a couple of ideas for larger blog entries, but they need more development.

Ciao for now!

Successive iterations and Systems Engineering

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/07/2006 10:25:00 PM

Jason Verheyden at Back Off Government!, while discussing today's STS-121 status, makes several good observations about the benefit of successive iterations.

His observation reminds me of the unwritten laws of systems engineering, which, paradoxically, are written here. Specifically, Jason's observation reminds me of the twenty-second and twenty-third laws.

Confusing "visiting somewhere" with "living somewhere"

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/07/2006 09:47:00 AM

Over at blogHOUSTON, Kevin Whited picked up on the right theme, citing a Houston Chronicle article that seems to suggest that the city should be focusing on attracting twentysomethings.

In my opinion, Houston's Mayor White (and some of his predecessors) focus too much on the tourist/PR idea of being "world class", rather than the nitty gritty tasks of making sure housing's affordable, good paying jobs exist, crime is low, roads are drivable, utilities are affordable, and good schools exist.

Tourists and fresh out college graduates get attracted to really cool downtown bars, sidewalk cafes, zippy light rail trains, and the status of some of the local professional sports teams.

Tourists and fresh out graduates tend to be transitory. Residents who look for affordable housing, etc., tend to stay for years (if not decades).

Which strategy is better for Houston in the long run?

And in work-related news ...

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/06/2006 11:49:00 PM

I am not supporting this mission, but from what I can see, things seem to be going well. FD3 seems to have gone off without a hitch.

Kudos to the crew and FCT so far. Keep up the good work!

Just barely getting my 2nd blog in on time!

Written by Bob McCormick on 7/06/2006 11:49:00 PM