Rocket Team Update

Our rocket team at school has been making some great progress in preparation for Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) 2010! We "finalized" our RockSim design, and are now going to start collecting parts. I made a fiberglass transition piece this afternoon, and considering that I always have trouble with the fiberglass and epoxy getting everywhere, I think it turned out rather nicely. One of the kids' (there are four of us, three freshmen and me), grandpa has a lathe, and he's going to see about making a few balsa nosecones for our project.

As we build it I'll be sure to post pictures of its progress. I've also been getting goofy doing mini research papers on the durability of certain types of eggs. I'm very fortunate to have three kinds of chickens at my disposal.


Iowa State University

Our trip down to Iowa State University was very informative! They're known for their engineering, and once they finish the new biosystems engineering building, they will have the largest engineering complex in the world.

Iowa State has a giant subsonic wind tunnel that seniors and graduate students use for their projects.

The freshman class is building an aerobat plane that will be entered in an Oshkosh airshow.

Inside the tornado shaped structure is the highest resolution virtual reality device in the world. On the right is a picture of some lonely old high-power rocket sitting in the corner of one of the aerospace labs.

Supersonic wind tunnel:

The campus is really nice. Usually when you think of Iowa you think of cornfields and flat plains. Well, not in Ames. Iowa State's grounds have some really old trees, and during this time of year they were all turning colors as well.

We will be touring the University of Minnesota on Monday. I'm sure it will by similar to ISU in a lot of ways, because they also have a very good engineering program. A plus for U of M (without even having to visit it) is that it is so close. I wouldn't even have to live on campus if I didn't want to.


Iowa State, Here I Come!

Tomorrow I'll be going down to visit one of the colleges I'm considering. In all honesty, Iowa State University is one of my "fall-back" schools. I would rather go to Embry-Riddle or MIT. But it's still decent, and perhaps I'll feel different after visiting the campus.

I'll let you know how the trip turns out!


Rocket Team

An amazing new opportunity has come my way: My physics teacher, Mr. Shaffer, is the leader of a small club at my school called the "Rocket Team." The goal of the club every year is to build an egg-lofting rocket to enter in the Team America Rocketry Challenge contest. Every year the rules for the contest are slightly different. This year, we launch an egg to 850 ft and have a total flight time of 40 seconds. Any differences in altitude or time aloft give you points. You don't want points.

And here's the best part about it: if you score in the top 100, you advance to nationals in Washington D. C.! The winners of the national event each receive $10,000 scholarships. This is definately worth some time and energy. A cool thing about nationals is that a lot of head aerospace companies and defense people are there. You could very well just walk into the crowd and start talking to the CEO of Lockheed-Martin. Some great connections can be made there, needless to say.

I hope we do well! No matter what though, it will be a great experience.


50 Things I Do When I'm Bored

  1. Try to design a rocket on RockSim to break 100,000 ft using K motors
  2. Make up polynomials and then factor them
  3. Eat a bowl of cereal
  4. Try to find shortcuts to evaluate the nth derivative of a function
  5. Make popcorn
  6. Watch obscure movies
  7. Think about the Universe and wonder if it has a limit, then muse about the space-time continuum and wonder if what theoretical physicists say is true.
  8. Create short films
  9. Create computer programs that will help me win play money in physics class
  10. Eat a bowl of cereal
  11. Read Spacecraft-Environment Interactions by Daniel E. Hastings
  12. Write blog posts about what I do when I'm bored
  13. Organize my room by rocket construction: my desk (where I design them), my supplies and materials shelf (coming soon! Right now everything's just piled up), my workbench, and finally my display rack (coming soon! Right now all my rockets are just piled up)
  14. Buy hundreds of notebooks at Wal-Mart in August when they're only $0.05 then sell them at a garage sale in the spring for $0.10.
  15. Read the dictionary
  16. Write in my Aerospace Research Journal. Usually when I'm bored, its just random stuff I pull off the Internet. But when I'm not bored, I use the journal for some pretty exciting projects!
  17. Use RockSim to design a rocket using no more than a D motor to break the speed of sound
  18. Eat a bowl of cereal
  19. Go out into the garden and sit on our 200 lb pumpkin to think
  20. Homework
  21. Read Rocket Propulsion Elements by George P. Sutton. I love this book!
  22. Wonder why I have no money, then look around my room at all the rocket gear, and then remember why
  23. Read about unsolved math problems
  24. Think about college and wonder what school I will end up attending
  25. Read the Bible (the best thing to do when you're bored!)
  26. 20 pushups!
  27. Nap
  28. Come up with ideas for new research projects that I could start once I'm un-bored
  29. Procrastinate from homework
  30. Go out to field 12 and dream about flying rockets
  31. Wonder why I have no rocket materials, and then remember I have no money
  32. Write a novel in 30 days
  33. Watch ingenius YouTube videos
  34. Sell collectible Avon bottles on eBay
  35. Eat another bowl of cereal
  36. Read The Handbook of Model Rocketry by G. Harry Stine. Nope. I haven't outgrown it yet and never will. I've read some of the most basic sections over and over and I can still get something out of it
  37. Direct a short film
  38. Look at the world map and wonder what places like Uchquduq and Bora Bora are like
  39. Write about reasons why the Big Bang Theory really should be considered a hypothesis because of all the vague evidence interpretted by biased scientists (actually, all scientists are biased, even when they try not to be), and then wonder why everyone has just accepted the hypothesis as fact without even exploring the facts for themselves?
  40. Apply to MIT and Embry-Riddle, just for kicks
  41. Do self-study on amateur radio to hopefully earn my license soon
  42. Draw cartoons (I'm toying with the idea of coming out with a new strip)
  43. Write a program that does linear programming which turned out to be pretty useless but I learned a lot
  44. Make lists. All kinds of lists. Anywhere from to-do lists to rocket supplies lists to Christmas gift ideas lists to lists of subjects I want to learn more about
  45. Join a rocket club at school where we launch eggs
  46. Start another money-making enterprise
  47. Knit a scarf with tassles
  48. Go through things in my "special box"
  49. Take a ten-mile bike hike
  50. Write in my journal about how bored I am


Some Math Jokes

What does a college freshman who failed his first calculus test have in common with a college freshmen who got a speeding ticket going 60mph in a 30mph zone?

Neither student knew the limits.




The very word stirs two coexisting sentiments inside me.

The prospect excites me: to go out into the world to accomplish great and adventurous feats, to know a new life away from everything I've ever known...

And this leads directly into my other view, a seemingly contradictory state of inward compulsion, diametrically opposed to the aforementioned ideology. A myriad of fears overwhelm me concerning many aspects of college: people, finances, family withdrawal, rigorous acadamia; the list goes on.

Amid the maelstrom of fears and excitement, there is a constant in my function of emotion: my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.