Is he still alive today? And if so does he still work with computers?
He programmed the guidance systems of one of the Titan series rockets. He also was in the Navy in WWII. At one point, his destroyer was sunk, and spent a few days in the open ocean before being rescued. He was also present at the Japanese surrender ceremony.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of learning to play chess with him over Christmas vacation. He was a truly kind man, and an inspiration to many.
You're privileged to have known someone like that from so near.
My grandfather worked on the guidance systems for the Australian missile program run out of Woomera.
Both my uncles are programmers, and my mother is a programmer too.
It's kind of the 'family trade'
My dad's dad was a programmer, as a desk-captain in the Navy right after WWII. He was still programming well into his retirement in the early nineties, writing little database apps for his PC. My dad started programming while working on his PhD at Berkley in the early sixties, well before UNIX.
My mom's stepmom was an early non-technical employee of a computer accounting startup in the seventies (shared mainframes!), grew more and more technical as they transitioned to PCs, and eventually became the CEO. The company sold to Intuit a while back and she was a VP there for a few years. My mom started programming around the same time, her high school had access to a PDP somewhere.
My parents met when they both worked at a PC database vendor (Condor) in the early eighties, got married, and founded a startup together by poaching one of their customers (which lasted about 20 years).
The Concorde was a scam - middle class citizens were taxed by England and France to subsidize a supersonic luxury plane that only the rich could afford to buy (subsidized) tickets on.
The SR-71 was the best tool we could build at the time. Once technology got better, we replaced it with satellites.
The fact that it leaked fuel, flew at Mach 3, had a crew of 2, etc. are not features, they are flaws.
Yeah, it's cool as all heck.
...but don't kid yourself that it's better than what we've got now.
The reality is that it takes 6 hours to fly across the Atlantic now. The reality is that 10 years ago, it took half that. That's not progress, even if it is profit.
Think of the moon landing.
Not everybody had the chance to be an astronaut on the Apollo mission, but I believe that US citizens were "happy" to pay taxes because they got something to be proud of.
And being french, I'm very proud of the Concorde.
Blackbird was black for a very long time.
As for one program that we do know a little (more) about, there's X-37B:
And the X-43D and X-51A Waverider and DARPA FALCON hypersonic aircraft, and various other X planes.
Various known and likely various unknown black UAVs.
And whatever Burt Rutan is up to.
Sadly, you can't do so with a Blackbird or a Concorde...
Oh... And they had no cursor keys.
Sadly, there is no way to legally emulate a Symbolics machine on a PC. Symbolics' intellectual property is basically in purgatory, the people who own it or have owned it apparently vastly overestimated the value of the IP and refuse to do anything with the IP aside from exchanging it for large sums of money - which nobody is willing to do.
There is a copy of a more recent version of Genera floating around on torrent sites, but from what David Schmidt tells me, it's pretty incomplete.
An around modifier, IMO, is a terrible way to implement debugging functionality, because now everything that's not debugging also gets the side-effect that the method modifier adds. This is a better idea: http://common-lisp.net/project/closer/contextl.html
(1) I mean engineering oriented projects like train, cars, telephone networks etc. not academic research where the US clearly is great.
That doesn't mean we couldn't make a better B-52 or U-2 right now (and I don't mean a B1 or B2, I mean a big dumb cheap subsonic bomber), it just means that we couldn't make one sufficiently better to be worth the replacement cost. We could also build a better Brooklyn Bridge, but the existing one works just fine for now.
Mach 3.5 is a speed attained by two things: Space ships and aircraft built specifically to achieve it. The F-22 is neither, as cool as it is.
While I don't doubt (especially with super-cruise and such) that the Raptor is significantly faster than reported, I'd be very surprised if it is actually Blackbird fast.
I do agree that it "outperforms" anything I've seen, but performance isn't a speed thing alone.
Yeah, sorry for editing my post. I couldn't figure out how to explain what I was trying to say. But said former Lockheed engineers did specifically claim that the F-22 breaks both speed and altitude records. I don't really know what to believe. It does seem smart to release false information about that kind of thing though.
Do you know what percent of the weight of the shuttle is cargo?
It makes zero sense to loft tons (literally. tons.) of ceramic tiles, wings, engines, control surfaces, hydraulics, and more into orbit, just to bring them back down again.
Small capsules with ablative heat shields can ferry astronauts down from orbit for a trivial percentage of the price.
You're looking at all this cool technology and thinking it's a win, but it's not. It's a cost. It raises the cost of spaceflight to the point where you and I will never be able to afford it.
Kill the Space Shuttle and develop something more efficient. It might not stroke the egos of the engineers and the NASA administrators as much, but it will make space more affordable.
It also doesn't make sense to store all of those files in a mainframe when the filing cabinets do just fine.
It also doesn't make sense to spend the absurd amounts of money required to develop a packet-based communication network when telegraphs and telephones do just fine.
It also doesn't make sense to go to the moon with humans when we can just send a probe there.
Yes it does, flying is faster.
Yes it does, mainframes are smaller.
Yes it does, PBC is more mobile
You're right, this one makes no sense. Kinda like the shuttle.
It wasn't at first.
They weren't at first.
You seem to have completely missed the point. Technology doesn't happen overnight. It's all about costly, seemingly stupid incremental improvements. The shuttle doesn't make sense in its current form, what does make sense is the shuttle as an innovation springboard.
I'm not missing the point at all. You, however have equated every innovation to be progress. Wise people realize that sometimes, despite our good intentions, innovations are sometimes negatives overall, and it's best to take a step back to take two more forward.
In fact, once you get by the "cool" factor of the shuttle, what you end up seeing is that is has in fact been a large step backwards. It has prevented the one nation that could actually dream of furthering space exploration from doing exactly that. The US basically uses the shuttle to do what the first Mercury flights did when we were all watching black and white tv's.
Think back to aviation. The wright brothers used a canard design on the Flyer. While ultimately proven to be safer and more fuel efficient, we needed to have a hundred years of non-canard aerospace development to realize everything between the Flyer and a Eurofighter. Fixating on canard designs may very well have held us in the balsa wood aircraft stage for 10-15 years.
Perhaps, one day, the innovation that is the shuttle will come full circle. That day is not tomorrow though, and no amount of emotional attachment to the idea stops it from being anything but a costly and inefficient nightmare.
(btw, both mainframes and PBC were smaller and more mobile right out of the gate, compared to the status quo.)
It never ceases to sadden me.
My dad and grandpa were both illustrators, drawing out schematics and stuff for Lockheed. I really think a lot of my design abilities are genetic, and I owe it to my dads side of the family.
Did he like to hold cool confidential information over your head, too? Like how fast the blackbird could really go?
For those concerned with the level of "mysticism" in this: Brian Shul is a remarkable pilot from a technical perspective. But do you really want to read his technical descriptions of flight? He's done a good job of describing the sensations in a way non-pilots can understand.
Agreed that it's a way to take it out of the technical area, but I don't think the story needs embellishing, it is already more than powerful enough by itself.
Great read anyway, be sure to check the story linked elsewhere in this thread as well.
Another interesting bit: "The SR-71 had a turning radius of about 100 mi. at that speed and altitude".
And "The ejection seat had never left the airplane; I had been ripped out of it by the extreme forces, seat belt and shoulder harness still fastened.". Just wow...
What a pity his buddy didn't make it.
"Bill! Bill! Are you there?"
"Yeah, George. What's the matter?"
"Thank God! I thought you might have left."
It's a great read!
The story feels a little strange though, the amount of 'mystic' connection between the plane and the pilot would make me worried if someone that prone to it would be piloting a 747 I'm a passenger on.
The pilot would be 'Brian Shul' http://www.sleddriver.com/
Really? "Mysticism" scares you so much that you'd rather your flight be piloted by a clock punching union man then what the Air Force deemed to be one of the best?
Personally I think that those bits are just to juice up the story, but you really have to wonder at passages like: "Like the combat veteran she is, the jet senses the target area and seems to prepare herself." and "There seems to be a confirmed trust now, between me and the jet; she will not hesitate to deliver whatever speed we need".
1) Intuition. His non-conscious brain has developed an understanding of the machine.
2) Focus. When you're a warrior in his situation, you can't be second-guessing your horse. That calculation was made on the ground, and now he's committed -- to be effective, he needs to be fully confident that he's well-taken care of. The human brain seems to be wired for a euphoric reaction to complete and utter trust (parental/social/religious bonding?), and that he was able to let that system kick in at such a moment speaks a lot about his abilities as a pilot and about the engineering feat embodied in that jet.
Wow... what an awesome job to be able to fly one of these birds!
I had a friend in Boston who first flew fighters (F-16 IIRC) and then managed to switch over to the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Apparently it is not common to switch between the two types of platforms. It's a shame he was retired from the AF or I would have begged a ride. :-)
I'm a bit confused though, as I have read the part about the groundspeed check before, I found it again here . This version is longer and worded more beautifully in my opinion. The poster below that is mentioning that it's from the same book so I'm a bit confused.
Picture of the SR-71:
It is a very nice museum, well worth some visits.
Issues with fuel reported in the story @3:09.
Pretty or not, the SR-71 was a lot more practical.
It was carried aloft, not into space, by a B-52.