Thursday, November 28, 2013

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Mywife's uncle Don sent me the following this Thanksgiving morning.  I thought you guys would enjoy the email so I am posting it here for your reading pleasure.


Since today is Thanksgiving (it's after midnight) I though you might appreciate reading President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 15 July 1863. I had to cut the article down from my original pdf since it was 55 MB. This is in a newspaper that my family kept from the Civil War. It is the Winchester Army Bulletin of 23 July 1863, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps. We had six from the family serving in the Union Army.



Proclamation of Thanksgiving

July 15, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted people, and to vouchsafe to the army and the navy of the United States victories on land and on the sea so signal and so effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be maintained, their constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently restored. But these victories have been accorded not without sacrifices of life, limb, health and liberty incurred by brave, loyal and patriotic citizens. Domestic affliction in every part of the country follows in the train of these fearful bereavements. It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father and the power of His Hand equally in these triumphs and in these sorrows:
Now, therefore, be it known that I do set apart Thursday the 6th. day of August next, to be observed as a day for National Thanksgiving, Praise and Prayer, and I invite the People of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of worship, and in the forms approved by their own consciences, render the homage due to the Divine Majesty, for the wonderful things he has done in the Nation's behalf, and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit to subdue the anger, which has produced, and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion, to change the hearts of the insurgents, to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation throughout the length and breadth of our land all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles and sieges, have been brought to suffer in mind, body or estate, and finally to lead the whole nation, through the paths of repentance and submission to the Divine Will, back to the perfect enjoyment of Union and fraternal peace.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Here is the Original scan Don made last night..












Friday, November 22, 2013

When does a discussion become an overbearing lecture?

One of my parenting struggles is fighting the urge to lecture.  I know it happens. I can see my son switch off after a certain number of words fall out of my mouth but I can't stop.   I must be looking for some acknowledgement that he understands and agrees with what I am saying, but instead I get a defeated slump.  If I were smart I would stop the lecture but I can't, I guess I'm not smart.

I get the same thing from the wife.  She just shuts down on me as well. Basically, it is genetic and it's her fault not mine--right?  I would love to think so, but since I am the common denominator, it is most likely my issue. So I need to come up with a plan to curtail this affliction before it becomes a real issue.

Right now it is a minor issue because the boy is pretty compliant and will listen.  But-- and it is a big but --  he is rapidly becoming a teenager which means he will very soon start to show his independence.   My fear is that the defeated stare will morph into aggression or an even further retreat beyond the blank stare. I know that either of these will cause a rift in our relationship.

I think this is a natural issue for Dads. When kids are young they are inexperienced, stupid, and need help with everything from tying their shoes to remembering to brush their teeth.   By the time they get to the teenage years the parent is conditioned to tell  their kids how to do everything.   I know I often forget that the boy is capable of rational thought, and that he does not really need my constant attention.

I would like to ask the readers for some advice and if you feel so inclined share this post with others.   I would love to have as much feedback as possible to get a wide assortment of strategies that would fit my personality.   This would benefit me personally but would also help anyone else that accidentally stumbles across this post.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kerbal: Basic Rocket Science

Kerbal Space Program
The Kerbal Space Program is a simulation game where the player builds a rocket, launches it into space, and returns home safely. Should be a piece of cake right.

Unfortunately it is not as simple as it sounds.  Personally I have not made it in to orbit, but my son has done so several times and is working on getting to one of the planet's moons with a lot of help from Youtube.

Game play

The game is set on the fictional planet Kerbin, home of the courageous Kerbin people. The player designs the rocket, acts as ground control, pilot and Logistics planner.   This game is not heavy on Math but if you are planning to explore the Kerbal solar system a little math will go a long way toward reducing trial and error.   If you don't want to do math you can just force your way in with trial and error.     

Step 1 Build your Rocket 
You start with a pod and add engines,fuel tanks, flight contol systems.   There is a decent learning curve to learn the menu system and where all of the parts are located.  The player will also need to determine which combination of parts are appropriate for their objective.   If you just want to get to space it is pretty simple, add a parachute, a fuel tank, and an engine.   However if you want to get into orbit you will need a different combination.    If you are planning on exploring the univers you will need even other combinations.    

Step 2 Launch the Rocket
Once the rocket is complete you move the game to the launch pad, at this point the game changes into a flight simulator.   I have always been bad at flight simulators which is why I have touble getting into space.   I will build the exact same rocket as my son but I usually just wind up flying all over the place and either crash into the ground or run out of fuel before I reach space and then crash into the ground.  

Step 3 get into Orbit
Once you are in space you will need to set your trajectory for an orbit.
As I said I have not personally made it into space but my son has and I have watched the process many times.   At this point the game changes from a flight simulator and into a planning game.  Since you are no longer dealing with an atmosphere steering basically becomes a matter of thrust.  

Get ready to learn the following terms.
  • Periapsis
  • Apoapsis
  • Delta-V
I know basic rocket science, these are household words all across the world.
Once you get into orbit you can stay stable for a while and cruis around the planet.
Here is a sample view of the launch screens.

Step 4 Land Safely
Once you are tired of orbit you have to begin planning your descent back to Kerbin.   Basically you have to change your trajectory to create a controlled fall.    If not done correctyl you can smack into the planet and destroy your ship..

Other Tasks
Once you have mastered the basics you can begin trying to land on any of the other planetary bodies in the Kerbin solar system, or create a space station.   Each planet has it's own challenges and you will need different types of rockets for each.  

KSP is currently in heavy development but bug fixes come out regularly.  That said the game is extremely playable and we have experienced very few issues with the game play. The learning curve may be steep for some but that, I believe, is the point if it were easy it would not be fun.   The game boasts a physics engine that is supposed to let things fly that should fly and those that should not fly will crash.   During the early days of playing you will crash, blow up, or get stranded in space.   One of the necessary skills the player will need is perseverance.  

The game is currently in a sandbox complete stage, meaning there are no set objectives other than what the player sets for themselves.   As stated on the KSP website there is a Tycoon/Career mode for anyone who wants to play with resource restrictions and goals.   I can't comment on this part of the game as I have not yet attempted career mode.   However,  once I have more of the basic skills required by the game I am definitely going to attempt following the rules.

Is this an accurate representation of real space flight?  

Short answer probably not 100% accurate, however what simulation is 100% accurate.  During game play you will learn tons of things that do equate to real space flight and exploration.   This game is definitely worth your time if you have a budding scientist or engineer.   Someday I expect the Kerbin people to come to Earth to recruit the best player like the kid in the "Last Star Fighter".   If that does not happen then they will will be recruited NASA or ther space programs.

Conclusion and references for more information.

In short this game is extremely educational and fun and should be on the list for the Budding scientist/engineer.  Just get ready for your living room to start sounding like NASA ground control.  

Other respouces

There is a large online community of people willing to share and help.   Listed below are a couple of places to look for more information.

The official KSP Forums
The KSP WIKI read this before posting questions
The KSP subReddit - It's Reddit so be careful with the Kid's
Great YouTube Kerbal 101 Video.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Journey through the Kingdom of the Nerd

"In a land of myth, and a time of magic… the destiny of the kingdom of nerds rests on the shoulders of a Noob."

noun: allegory; plural noun: allegories
  1. a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.

The Beginning

The journey to the kingdom of the nerd is long and arduous, with many triumphs and failures along the way.  Our Hero will have to overcome trolls, giants, the dreaded couch potato, and unfortunately other citizens of the kingdom.  When a new citizen begins he starts at the lowest rank in the kingdom's caste system, a Noob.  Noobs are the most hated characters both inside and outside the kingdom.  Why are Noobs so hated you ask?  Well the Noob is basically a Muggle, yes I stole that from Harry Potter,  and muggles do not have any knowledge or special skills that benefit the kingdom.    They are hated by the Muggles because they have chosen to pursue a different path, one not easily understood by the average Muggle.  As a result Noob is often an outcast by the citizens of the Nerd Kingdom and the Muggles.