Episode 11 – Grasshoppers in Space

Howdy, TechFolk!

We’ve got a real treat of an episode for you this week, oh yes we do! So tie on your bolo, shine your boots, and put on your cowboy hat, cuz this ain’t our first rodeo!


On this episode of All Things Elon Musk… er, uh, I mean… Technically Speaking, Jacob gets European nations mixed up with each other while Joe tries to understand how Tesla Motors managed to make the Model S the #1 selling car in Norway in September. Are Norwegians just suckers for electric cars, or they all just rich off their fossil fuel gold-mine?

Next, Jacob and Joe debate over whether or not the SpaceX Grasshopper re-usable rocket is a worthwhile investment. What sort of design trade-offs do SpaceX Engineers have to make in order to make the rocket re-usable? Is reusability even a good thing? And just how do big, tall rockets manage to point straight up anyway? We try to explain it all when you listen!

Then Joe decides to respond to some fan feedback… Well, not a fan of ours, but a fan of Aviation Week who takes a pretty pessimistic view over the future of the US Space Program. With companies like SpaceX on the verge of dominating the Earth-to-Low-Earth-Orbit marketplace, where does NASA fit in with the future of manned spaceflight? Where do we go from here, and how do we fund it? Without getting too political, we make our cases for why we’re optimistic about the future of human spaceflight in the United States.

And finally, on this week’s Brainstorm, we take some inspiration from the pedal-friendly city planning of The Netherlands, and try to apply the successful model of that country to the environment of the United States. Are bicycle fatalities related to poor urban planning? Is the United States road-system simply not conducive to bicycle traffic? What can we do to adapt our road systems to make cyclists safer?

What do you think? Email us with your ideas for bicycle safety, start a discussion on the Facebook page or the Forum, or #MisuseAHashtag on Twitter! And if you REALLY like us, leave us a review on iTunes!

Run Time: 1:22:37

Music: JFK Moon Speech (edited)

Full Version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaFTVR-hZqg

Posted in Episodes
6 comments on “Episode 11 – Grasshoppers in Space
  1. Ron says:

    Hi, guys. Love the podcast & look forward to every episode.

    But, (you knew there’d be a but, right? :) I have a couple of comments about this episode.

    Your point about the loss of payload-to-orbit and revenue from Grasshopper’s return fuel requirement is a good one. But it’s diluted by lack of any real familiarity with the program. Musk has published his current estimates of and some of the economic reasoning behind a reusable first stage. I have as much fun speculating with friends as anyone but I usually save it for the bar instead of a podcast. Obviously, I’m having fun listening every time but I’d love to hear your insights with a little less supposition. The argument’s more fun with more facts.

    Second, be careful of unintended consequences of favoring STEM education over the arts & humanities. You gave a great example when you listed industrial design as one of the things that might receive lower priority for student loans. Design has emerged as one of the leading ways for a company to differentiate themselves. Think Jonny Ives and Apple. The recognition of a need for broader education has lead to the recent push for STEAM instead of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

    Again, love the show. Please take this as constructive criticism from one listener and keep up the great work.

  2. Bob says:

    Pronunciation pedantry: The U in “desu ka” is usually unvoiced. (That’s a bit different from a contraction in English, since you still leave the same amount of time there, but you don’t fill it with sound.)

  3. Bob says:

    Bicycles on sidewalks: The law is a mess in California. In some cities, you will get a ticket for riding on a sidewalk. Other cities, cops will stop you on the street and tell you to ride on the sidewalk instead. (AFAIK, riding on the street is never illegal unless it’s signed that way. I’m not sure that the police always know the law on bicycles.)

    Cars automatically tracking bicycles: very cool stuff. You might build a little beacon into your rear reflector to help with that.

    • Joe Batwinis says:

      Yeah, so I ended up looking into it more for where I live (Lancaster) after somebody else mentioned it on Facebook. Turns out, sidewalk riding is kosher up here.

      But! Turns out I’m legally required to registered my bicycles with the Sheriff at $0.75/ea. Lest I be subject to a $5 fine. Ha!

      • Bob says:

        Sometimes you get those registration stickers from the fire department. Sometimes it’s hard to find the person who can give you one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *