Launch Day

The Mate and I were up at 0430 Pacific for the Mars 2020 launch. It went off without a hitch (WHEW!). The show from KSC was. . .forgettable, to be kind. I wanted to throw things at the TV when the anchors went off on how we can’t communicate with the spacecraft because it’s on the night side of Earth. I hope someone will explain radio to them before they’re allowed on air again.

Towards the end of the launch our Emperor-for-Life and Chief Crime Boss announced he’s going to try to “delay” the November election. He doesn’t have the authority but he’s gotten away with a lifetime of crime, so why not try this one?

Meanwhile, the Trump coronavirus shitshow is continuing to kill people. The administration is still trying to force states to reopen schools, with mixed ‘success.’ LA County just said no. Caltech’s going to try to bring 1/3 of the undergrads back in September. I’m skeptical.

Shitshow in one chart. You can see how well “reopening” went.

The economy is in the tank and will stay there for the duration of the pandemic, I think. Wall Street hasn’t caught on yet, but they are being pumped up by the Fed. Today’s big announcement was that GDP contracted by a hair-on-fire 32.9% (annualized), which means ~10% last quarter. Meanwhile the GOP is preventing further life support to the economy for at least several more weeks.

Worst economy since the Great Depression (at least).

The Mate and I went to Mammoth a week ago. Quite crowded, and with masking rather mixed. Good compliance in the Village itself, but none at all on the trails, etc. They’re having a big outbreak now, with per capita numbers higher than LA County, but apparently mostly among kitchen staff. Not clear if they’ll be forced to close again. We haven’t opened our place up for August rentals yet because of this.

We went comet hunting twice, with good results. First time we went up to the pinnacles overlook. Very crowded and annoying. I learned that to get photos at night on the Nikon, you have to turn off the noise reduction functions. They were removing the comet from the images! The Mono Lake outing was much nicer but involved rescuing a couple of guys who tried to go offroading in a BMW 3-series and buried it in the sand up to the floorpan. We hauled them out with cargo straps. I guess we should start carrying a tow rope around. . .

From Mono Lake.
From the pinnacles overlook. This one has ISS passing in front of the tail.
Also from the Mono Lake expedition. This one was from the Nikon. I also shot this with the much newer GoPro Hero 8 Black, but much worse results. The sensor is really noisy.