Anza Borrego

We spent yesterday checking out wildflowers in Henderson Canyon, then driving up to Font’s Point, over to the Salton Sea, and back through Ocatillo Wells. Today we hiked up Palm Canyon, saw a lot more flowers, birds, and desert bighorn sheep (just a couple ewes, not rams). We also discovered how out of shape we were. Recuperating now, heading back to LA tomorrow. We clearly need to do this more often.

What strikes me about these desert communities, like Borrego Springs, Salton City (also Cal City up north of Mojave) is the boundless optimism of the founders. They’re huge, with lots of roads laid out ready for building, perhaps decades out. The optimism in Salton City was expressed in the street names — Marina Blvd, Sea Isle Lane, Ocean Avenue, you get the picture. Unfortunately, in the past few years, the lake level has receded a hundred yards from the planned shoreline. It was a depressing place.

In Borrego Springs, there are a lot of wealthy new estates, with little oases of palms and and palo verde. Most of the street names are ranch brands — Tilting T, Double O, Frying Pan…

It was interesting to see a part of California I’d never explored for thirty-five years, only a couple hours away.

More Free Speech Problems

Though, actually, it sounds like this kid is kind of a nutcase.

[Friday-morning update]

This seems related somehow:

These little Junior Anti-Sex League members combine thuggishness and fragility in a particularly obnoxious way. They should be sent home until they are mature enough for college. And America. And no parent should pay tuition to a school that takes this sort of hysterical behavior seriously.

Higher ed (as well as public ed) is an effing mess.

[Bumped]

SpaceX In New Mexico

I had speculated after the almost-successful drone ship landings that SpaceX had abandoned plans to do flight testing at Spaceport America, but apparently that’s not the case:

The original plan was to use the site for test flights of the second F9R Development Vehicle, known as F9R Dev2, a follow on vehicle from the impressive Grasshopper and F9R Dev1 vehicles that paved the way for the propulsive landing attempts.

Those vehicles were tested at SpaceX’s McGregor test site in Texas, but were restricted by an altitude ceiling, resulting in the decision to conduct tests at Spaceport America, at much greater altitudes.

2015-03-19 23_21_49-spacex falcon 9 reusable f9r fins – Google SearchNow, based on the advances made during recent missions, it appears SpaceX is hoping to promote the role of Spaceport America, specifically to put the first recovered stage through its paces.

Those tests will be used to find hardware limits, such as how many cycles can be put on a stage, while the second successfully recovered booster would provide the role of qualification testing.

Should the recovery efforts progress, the first launch of a reused booster is likely to occur in late 2016.

Interesting. What I don’t understand is why the helium tanks are a concern for the Turkmenistansat mission, but not for CRS.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!