ASFO 2024–06–29

Closely– versus loosely–coupled systems, as illustrated by two different nuclear power plants ; the possibilities of orbital data centers ; the continuing travails of the Boeing CST–100 “Starliner” ; an update on my travel and exhibition plans for the summer ; and Mail Call! If you want to send me mail, don’t feel that you have to use invisible ink.

Sounds of Synergy – 2024/06/26

Listen in the archives


  • Boards of Canada – The Beach At Redpoint
  • XXYYXX – Never Leave
  • WholePunch – Dystopia
  • Rawtekk – Aeons
  • IMANU – Music To Stay In Your House To
  • Spor – Know You
  • netbooks.WRLD – slowly recovering
  • chris††† – patiently
  • Calimex Mental Implant Corp. – Reality is Possible
  • etterath / kiari / leadenshrew – Insuperable
  • vertigoaway – Squid Looking
  • The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be
  • G Jones – Perpetual Bloom
  • netbooks.WRLD – raygun

“Slide Rule : The Autobiography of an Engineer”

The novelist Nevil Shute was once known as NS Norway, pilot, aeronautical engineer, and for a while a principal of the company that made the fastest aeroplanes in the world, known ironically as Airspeed Limited. His autobiography is well written and interests me a great deal, and the section on his work on the R.100 continues the airship theme from My Zeppelins and My Polar Flights.


  • 2024–06–25 The first chapter starts south of Melbourne, Victoria, in the early 1950s, and then flashes back to the author’s youth in London, where he skipped school to visit the South Kensington Science Museum.
  • 2024–06–28 The end of the First World War, sailing, early days at de Havillands, a piece of poetry (someone else’s) described as very good and another (the author’s) as very bad, and some advice on writing.
  • 2024–07–02 The beginning of work on the airship R–100, a discussion of what makes a good test pilot, and the publication of the author’s first novel, Marazan.
  • 2024–07–05 Completion and first flight of R–100, and a mention of how So Disdained was published in the USA as The Mysterious Aviator.
  • 2024–07–09 Flight trials of R–100, and the beginning of the flight to Canada, with some vivid description of fascinating aspects of airmanship, and remarks on the difficulties of R–101.
  • 2024–07–12 “Aircraft do not crash of themselves. One crash in a thousand may be unavoidable because God wills it so — no more than that.” The flight to Canada, concluded ; rough weather and mid–air repairs ; the disaster of the R–101 and reflections on its origins.
  • 2024–07–16 The disaster of the R–101 and the end of airships in Britain, lessons drawn about institutions, and the origins of Airspeed Limited.
  • 2024–07–19 Early days at Airspeed Limited, with ruminations on the problem of risk capital ; the sad story of a German pilot who wanted to immigrate to Britain, but was deported back to Germany, where he undoubtedly ended by flying for the Luftwaffe against Britain ; and the observation that “everybody pays lip service to the safety of aeroplanes, but nobody is prepared to pay anything for it.”

ASFO 2024–06–22

Must nuclear projects always take longer and cost more? Ontario’s Darlington refurbishment says “no”, and I venture to suggest that this should be the expected result. Also, a listener comment elicits a digression into the problem (if it is one) of weapons proliferation and the plutonium economy ; a reminder that Famine is the harshest of teachers, and the lessons of ecology have been learnt primarily at her hand ; and I address a misconception about grid frequency control, and wonder about on–line enlightenment.

Sounds of Synergy – 2024/06/19

Listen in the archives


  • Kill The Noise feat. AWOLNATION – All In My Head (Darren Styles & Gammer Remix)
  • Eliminate, Flux Pavilion, Meesh – Dawn
  • nanobii – Twilight
  • aran – GRiDGALAXY (Nhato Remix)
  • t+pazolite, RoughSketch – A Showcage
  • IMANU – Haunt My Mind
  • Macky Gee – Tour
  • L Nix – Hot Sh!t
  • False Noise – Collapse Theme
  • G Jones, Eprom – Daemon Veil
  • Frums – dimensionalize nervous breakdown
  • Amethys & Arzest – Till The Sunrise
  • Noizenecio feat. MC Dahl Headland – Overload

ASFO 2024–06–15

Despite delays in the mails, we have Mail call! Also, progress with one of my many “Man and Atom” information efforts — remembering Anita Gale of the National Space Society and Ed Stone of JPL (yes, Voyager has now outlived its Chief Scientist) — Islets of Langerhans! — and a meditation on what we are as human beings, and the value of considering that very question, prompted by another instance of Big Business resembling a mental illness.

Supplementary Shows

  • 2024–06–18 After some reading of bits I am composing for a second issue of blast, I begin reading A Second Nuclear Era : Prospects and Perspectives by Alvin Weinberg, from The Nuclear Chain Reaction — Forty Years Later (RG Sachs, ed), the Proceedings of a University of Chicago symposium commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the first controlled, self–sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
  • 2024–06–21 Despite interspersing my copious commentary, I succeed in finishing A Second Nuclear Era just short of the end of the hour.

Intergalactic Wasabi Mix – Ep 1067 – 2024/06/09