Random Quarks

Random quarks of information of relevance to me and hopefully to the random reader of this blog. You may encounter posts on math, science, history, film noir, baseball, economics, and whatever else catches my eye.
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Mars’ Olympus Mons, The Tallest Mountain in our Solars System, as Seen From Orbit


Navy Master - at Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor died September 29, 2006 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. MA2 (SEAL) Monsoor  25, of Garden Grove, Calif.; assigned to a command on the West Coast; killed Sept. 29 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq.

U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Monsoor has been awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for diving onto a grenade to save his teammates in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Sept. 29, 2006. Monsoor also received the Silver Star for his actions in May during the same deployment in 2006 when he exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to rescue and treat an injured teammate.


During the funeral, as the coffin was moving from the hearse to the grave site, Navy SEALs were lined up forming a column of twos on both sides of the pallbearers route, with the coffin moving up the center. As the coffin passed each SEAL, they slapped down the gold Trident each had removed from his own uniform and deeply embedded it into the wooden coffin. For nearly 30 minutes the slaps were audible from across the cemetery as nearly every SEAL on the West Coast repeated the act.

The display moved many attending the funeral, including President Bush, who spoke about the incident later during a speech stating: “The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”


His Medal of Honor Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


President George W. Bush Presents the Medal of Honor:



For More Info on MA2 (SEAL) Michael Monsoor:






Michael Monsoor Memorial Video


Gary Sinise Narrates Michael Monsoor


Tribute Video of Michael A Monsoor’s life


Tribute Video of Michael A Monsoor While Deployed overseas


Sara Monsoor talks about her brother Michael Monsoor


Lt.CMDR Seth Stone & Sara Monsoor interview


Michael Monsoor Tribute Song


What MA2 (SEAL) Monsoor was:



MA2 (SEAL) Monsoor’s SEAL TEAM firefight while on patrol


MA2 Monsoor’s SEAL Platoon working with Marines


MA2 (SEAL) Monsoor’s SEAL TEAM 3 Task force in Iraq









(via militarymom)

I like her approach to this proof.

I’m a believer in belief. Faith is something that works – it causes people to do things, it has results. It’s an intangible, indefinable, very real thing. And it moves people, sometimes to atrocity. And sometimes to survival. — Tommy Lee Jones

Baseball elite are traveling to Cooperstown, NY for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductions this weekend. Puerto Rico born right fielder Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American player to be enshrined in the hall in 1973.
Image credit: Roberto Clemente, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I loved watching him play ball when I was a kid growing up near Pittsburgh.


Baseball elite are traveling to Cooperstown, NY for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductions this weekend. Puerto Rico born right fielder Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American player to be enshrined in the hall in 1973.

Image credit: Roberto Clemente, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I loved watching him play ball when I was a kid growing up near Pittsburgh.

The Voice of the Enterprise computer, Star Trek You cannot make a list of kick-ass sci-fi females and not include Majel Barrett‘s voice. She was sexy, charming, and hilarious as the Enterprise’s computer, and she tied the whole Star Trek universe together. (via The Top 40 Kick-Ass Female Sci-Fi Characters - AfterEllen.com, Page 6)

Sometimes I think it’s really a smartass TV :P

Sometimes I think it’s really a smartass TV :P

Love mathematics 


Fireworks filmed from a quadcopter. Because you know you’ve always wondered what it was like.

Nice way to view #fireworks.

(via georgeburdell)


Hawk grabbing a water balloon in slow motion! I made this into a gif set for you lazy folks who can’t bother with a video.

more bird stuff on becausebirds.com

Raptors are impressive.

(via ceesalese)


C5 Galaxy - Approach and Touchdown 

All those wheels allow the C-5 to land on airfields you’d never imagine such a huge aircraft would be able to land on.


North America divided into 13 Regions of Equal Population

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""The future of air travel is bright – and fast. Since the dawn of the jet age in the 1960s, commercial air travel has remained relatively unchanged. However, today’s demand for smarter and faster technologies is driving the next generation of commercial travel with supersonic aircraft, which could potentially cut U.S. coast-to-coast travel time almost in half.
With the commercial air travel industry expected to grow to more than five times its current size, the economic impact and significant time savings of a more efficient supersonic travel system will become increasingly important in our global economy.
Quieting the boom
One of the major hurdles of commercial supersonic air travel is the noise associated with it. At speeds greater than Mach 1, disturbances of air pressure around the airplane merge to form enormous shock waves resulting in sonic booms. For example, when you hear a car coming, you can hear it before it passes you because you hear increments of that sound continuously over a duration of time. In the case of a supersonic aircraft, you get all that sound over a very short duration of time causing a boom-like effect.
If you’ve never heard a sonic boom, let’s just say it’s quite loud. And, that’s putting it lightly. Because of this, current air traffic regulations restrict supersonic planes from flying over land. For more than a decade, Lockheed Martin has been working to solve these problems.
“To achieve revolutionary reductions in supersonic transportation airport noise, a totally new kind of propulsion system is being developed,” said Michael Buonanno, Lockheed Martin manager of the NASA N+2 program. “We are also exploring new techniques for low noise jet exhaust, integrated fan noise suppression, airframe noise suppression and computer customized airport noise abatement.”
Buonanno explained how over the years, his team has tackled several of these technology thrust areas.
“We’ve developed a vehicle conceptual design and built a sub scale wind tunnel model to test the sonic boom characteristics that we predict will validate our ability to shape the airplane to generate much lower sonic boom levels.”
One of their breakthroughs was being able to develop the tools and codes that allow engineers and designers to accurately predict the loudness of a plane’s sonic boom. With the availability of these tools, a designer can develop an airplane concept that significantly reduces boom levels. Though it is not practical to completely eliminate noise, these advancements would result in a sonic boom that sounds much more like a distant thump rather than a sharp crack.
Lockheed Martin’s design would accommodate 80 passengers and have the ability to travel more than 5,000 nautical miles with sonic boom levels one hundred times quieter than the now-retired Concorde supersonic passenger airline. The Concorde was first flown in 1969 and was one of only two supersonic passenger airliners to have entered commercial service.
How would it work?
“It’s all about the design details,” said Buonanno. “You need to able to manage the progress of volume and lift to create series of closely timed small shocks rather than one big one. Our testing has given us the confidence we need to have a good understanding of how sonic boom levels work and how to design airplanes to meet the required boom levels.”
The aircraft would have to be very long, so that the volume and the lift of the plane are allowed to gradually build up and then decrease. The engine is also extremely important. Under the N+2 program, Lockheed Martin has worked with General Electric and Rolls Royce to look at engine concepts that have high fuel efficiency and can meet the takeoff and landing noise constraints.
“The engine itself does not contribute to a sonic boom but you have to have a good integration of the engine into the airframe,” said Buonanno.
Lockheed Martin’s N+2 concept has a tri-jet configuration; one engine is on the top of the aircraft and the other two are located under each wing. Though not physically hidden, these locations are essentially concealed from the sonic boom because of the tailored volume and lift distribution of the plane. Therefore, the disturbance simply blends in.
And while passengers won’t be buying tickets for these aircraft in the next five years, Buonanno estimates the technology will be ready around the 2025 timeframe.
“We calculate that timeframe by gauging the technology readiness levels,” said Buonanno. He explained that one of the pacing items would be the availability of a propulsion system. “Having something that’s efficient at high speeds and quiet is a big technical challenge.”
By choosing Mach 1.7 design, the team has been able to significantly simplify the problem of developing a propulsion system that’s compatible with low emissions and takeoff and landing noise. Although slightly slower than Concorde’s Mach 2 cruise speed, this enables the use of higher bypass ratio engines for lower takeoff noise and would still permit approximately a 50 percent reduction of trip time compared to today’s aircraft.
“Our work with NASA has laid the groundwork for any future activity,” said Buonanno. The tools we’ve put in place really open up future opportunities.””“