Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why didn't you post pictures on...

I recently got back from a trip to Spain, and the first two things my coworkers asked me was "How was it? Why didn't you post pictures on x?" Where x is their favorite social network. It usually is Facebook, but I have heard Google Plus, and Twitter.

Now, although I am involved with security (see my other blog about Telecom Fraud and Technologies if you are interested in that kind of thing) I am not really worried that someone will see that I am away and rob my house. So far I have yet to hear anyone admitting that "yes your honor, I robbed their house because I saw on Facebook that they were on vacation." If you have any documented (no anecdotal) cases I would like to hear about them.

While on travel I tend to be quite busy. Working for a small company travel is a big expense, so we try to cram as much work into a trip as possible. At conferences I am working from 8 in the morning until well after 11 at night, most of which is spent on my feet. When on vacation, I am paying for it so time spent in the hotel is time taken from fun and adventures (more on Spain adventures in future post - with pictures and clips).

Truth be told, although I take a lot of photos on most trips, I do not have time to get onto social media to post them. On this last trip my wife and I took in excess of 16 gigabytes of photos and short videos. So as you can imagine we were out having fun rather than sitting inside (even when it was pouring - don't believe the clip below from My Fair Lady, the Rains in Spain do NOT stay mainly on the plain, we got wet everywhere).

Now you can imagine that after 2 weeks away, and 16+ gigs of photos taken it will be a few more days before I have deleted, sorted, cleaned, cropped, etc. enough of them to start sharing. But I promise that once I do I will post them here in the blog, in my Facebook account, Google Plus account, and links in my Twitter account.

But until then, when I travel I will probably not be posting as I will be out doing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

To Mars and back

Mars has always held kind of a strange place in the minds of humans and for years there have been tales of travel to Mars.

These include (not an all inclusive list but all worth reading if you have not done so):
Or the Movies and Radio:
 But now there is a chance that the Inspiration Mars Foundation may send such a mission during this decade there may be a chance for 2 people to go make a Mars flyby and return to Earth in 2018 that would take 501 days. It has been announced that the plan is for a "middle aged couple" to go as they hope that this will increase the chance of a successful trip while limiting the chance of genetically mutated children.

There have been all sorts of analysis and comparisons to past journeys of exploration (even a set of hints "How to get along for 500 days alone together" based on the real world experiences of Explorer Deborah Shapiro, who spent more than a year with her husband in the Antarctic).

Yes, the pioneers of exploration would look at 501 days as a short trip and the conditions luxurious. The fact that this Mars mission would only allow sponge baths has been made to show how soft explorers have become.

The old time explores went off in all sorts of weather, with large ships, and large teams of people. These combined to make sure that no one was too crowded or had only 1 person to speak to for months on end. They worked hard to ensure their own (and the crews) survival on almost a daily basis.

Now consider the couple that will be going to Mars in a 12ft by 14ft capsule for 501 days with no privacy or separate space to themselves. The ship will more or less fly itself, there will be no chance to "go out and fix" anything as they are not including space suits (or even an air lock),  etc. Thus the biggest problems will be the constant interaction of 2 people in an enclosed place neither can leave.

Past exploration included lots of work for the explorers on a daily basis (this mission will not carry even experiments) and BOREDOM.  Internet will be out of the question (lag times can be measured in 10 of min. rather than seconds), they may be able to get some broadcast TV or movies (sending towards them will be easy), I am sure they will need to take serious numbers of movies and ebooks.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) report on Sleeping in Space that:
Astronauts are allotted 8.5 hours for sleep during each 24-hour period, but many report that they only need 6 or 6.5 hours to feel fully rested. Some believe that this may be the result of the body feeling less fatigued as a result of being in a microgravity environment.
A little math shows:
501 days x 24 hours = a round trip of 12,024 hours.
501 days x 6.5 hours (from the CSA report) sleep (at most) 3,256.5 hours of the trip.
Figure meals at 2.5 hours a day for 1,252.5 hours of the trip

This leaves 10,020 hours or 417.5 days.

I am even willing to say that 2.5 days will be used for setting things up after launch and preparing for landing.

What can you do for 415 days that will let you stay sane? A little exercise, reading, watching video, chatting at Earth (remember that long delays prevent actual real time conversations).

I love my wife, and we can speak for hours on almost any topic. But I would not want to put her through that many days where I am all she sees and the only one with whom she can hold a real conversation.

Thanks, but I will wait for commercial liners with lots of entertainment and other people, and even then I will think twice about going.