Back to the hangar bay

Time to put the CMU in the hangar bay to see how it looks. Even though I know it’s basically a wearable spaceship and its interior is dominated by its single pilot seat, it’s easy to forget how *small* it is until you see it next to some much larger objects, not to mention things that have real-world analogues (e.g., the elevator doors, the control console, etc.)

That’s one thing this test scene made me realize. The other is that the “Jefferies” shuttle model is in dire need of a facelift… it looks positively flat compared to the CMU.

The Jefferies is looking a little plain these days

The Jefferies is looking a little plain these days

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You can have any color you want, as long as it’s white

Well, it is supposed to be a TOS-era cargo management unit, and they painted everything whitish/greenish gray back then. Now that I’ve seen her in white, I’m actually kinda leaning in this direction. Only thing is, now that it’s not bumblebee yellow anymore, the stripes really stick out, and I’m not sure you can call it a “Workbee” anymore (I think the nickname’s appropriate only if the hull is yellow). Hmmm…

The CMU in white

The CMU in white – click to emwhiten

The CMU without stripes - no longer a workbee

The CMU without stripes – no longer a workbee

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New Workbee WIP video

A short test video of the Workbee. Still a ways to go on this, but it’s getting closer.

Workbee WIP

Workbee WIP

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W.I.P. of new model – The “Work Bee”

Here’s a work-in-progress image of something I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks for the hangar deck scene in “Doomsday Machine”: a TOS-era cargo management unit (better known as the “Work Bee”).

The Work Bee

Cargo Management Unit (the “Work Bee”). Click to enanthophilate.

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Hangar Deck WIP

Finally finished the lower level maintenance deck, but I’m holding back further pictures on that until it’s “showtime”. I’ve now started working on the main hangar deck level, which is going to take quite a while.

Final flight

Final flight

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Ready for launch… well, not quite…

…but the underdeck area is nearing completion.

Ready for launch

Ready for launch… sorta

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Hangar deck WIP

Both the hangar deck and shuttlecraft Jefferies models still need additional detailing and texturing, and the hangar model needs a better lighting setup. Still, it’s a start.

Not quite ready for launch yet...

Not quite ready for launch yet…

It's a start

…bu it’s a start

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Anyone still out there?

Anybody still out there? If so…

Fire phasers!

Lock phasers on target and open fire!

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All “Star Trek” videos have been removed

In case you’re visiting here from my YouTube channel, you may have noticed that all of the videos from my Star Trek “Doomsday Machine” project have been removed from YouTube and from here.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that I have any choice in light of this week’s decision in the United States Supreme Court not to hear the appeal of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who lost a 2007 lawsuit for downloading 24 songs from file sharing site Kazaa and was ordered to pay $222,000.

What does that have to do with my dormant TDM project? Nothing, and everything. I incorporated the original live action footage from that episode into my “reimagined” special effects sequences, and I incorporated the original soundtrack from the episode into those effects shots. I’m not a lawyer, but “fair use” might not apply here. Rather than risk the wrath of CBS, I figured it was better to just get rid of the videos.

The project has been in a coma for three years anyway, but the completely insane verdict against Ms. Thomas-Rasset ($9,250 a song? Really?) was the final nail in the coffin. It’s just not worth it. Sorry.

NASA vs. Feed the Children

Congratulations to NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for successfully landing our nation’s most advanced Red Planet rover, Curiosity, in Mars’ Gale Crater!

I’d like to address some grumbling I’ve heard this morning ever since news broke of Curiosity’s flawless landing. The complaints generally go something like this: “We spent $5 billion on this mission. Why can’t we feed starving children / build our nation’s infrastructure / (insert your own pet project here)?”

My answer is that it’s not an either/or proposition when it comes to NASA, or science research in general. Criticizing our space program because there are underfed children in the United States is like criticizing your heart surgeon after a successful valve replacement because he didn’t fix your hernia, too.

Now don’t get me wrong; feeding poor, hungry children is important, and I do think our government has a key role to play in that worthy endeavor. But it’s not NASA’s job to feed poor, hungry children. Moreover, a robust sciences program is vitally important for our country’s future economic prospects—it’s hard to feed starving children if the country is broke, and if we cede our leadership position in space and other advanced sciences, we doom the United States to a long, inevitable slide into mediocrity.

NASA’s yearly expenditures are a rounding error in the federal government’s annual budget, yet we get so much back from it. If you want a target that is ripe for slashing, look at the Air Force procurement budget for the F-22 and F-35 programs. Look at the Navy’s budget for new ships. Hell, look at the entire U.S. defense budget.

The United States spends forty-one percent—41%!—of the entire planet’s military spending. We outspend second-place China 5-to-1. In fact, we outspend China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and the next ten countries combined. (Source: The cost of a new aircraft carrier alone would pay for the child hunger programs some of my friends are agitating for. But no, we need to float another city-sized tub for the Navy. If you want to point fingers at ridiculous spending, our nation’s defense budget is the place to start, not the sciences which are already shamefully underfunded.

So I say, congratulations NASA/JPL! Keep up the incredible work you’re managing to accomplish on the shoestring budget you’ve been allotted, and pay no attention to the naysayers who argue we shouldn’t spend money on science research. If the United States intends to remain a leader in the 21st century, we cannot ignore the sciences. We cannot ignore space research. We cannot ignore our future.

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