Thursday, 18 January 2018

New Job, Basic Income... my first week.

So I’ve had a change of job and I am now working for a fabulous organisation called Indycube they are a Community Benefit Society and run a network of co-working spaces across the UK. They also have a membership scheme which brings people a host of benefits in a package delivered in partnership with the Community Union.. They are passionate about community and the well being of the self employed and lobby around these themes and the future of work etc.

As part of the job I have some time each week as a basic income allowance where I am paid but am allowed to work on anything I like, which is fantastic. It will enable me to do all kinds of things.. so I wanted to do just a little post about the first thing that I have done with my basic income.

 My two kids went back to school after the Christmas holidays (in which yes I did briefly erect an enormous rocket with lights on) and my son was very excited to come out of school and tell me that his theme of work for the term was “flight” … he then went on to tell me he had told his teachers that his dad builds rockets. I could tell he desperately wanted to take a rocket into school! So I got a message to his teacher and arranged to go in and do a morning of talks to Harri’s entire year group about rockets! I took in the whole fleet and lots of components and made each session as interactive as I could. The kids absolutely loved it and had loads of pictures with the rockets and asked lots of questions. Harri was as proud as punch and it was generally hailed as a success. But it extends beyond that.. whilst there I chatted to the teacher of my daughters class who told me he was trying to set up a code club. He was thrilled that I then grabbed his email and introduced him to the Wales code club coordinator who hopefully can get him access to a wider network/resources but I also introduced him to a local legend I know through my sponsorship/voluntary stuff with North Wales Technology and it looks like I have landed the code club a really experienced volunteer. 

So when I think of all the possible benefits of just this few hours of activity my basic income has enabled (inspired kids, learning about stem/steam subjects, new rocket fans, developing code clubs, people seeing other peoples voluntary work etc) it feels like basic income makes good things happen and is a real part of the future of work and community.

So that was my first week of basic income allowance… I can’t say each week will have as much excitement or impact… but I’ll certainly blooming try.     

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Crossform Parachutes

Ages ago I came across this great video from the UK High Altitude Society 2015 conference about crossform parachutes and their use. Its a fantastic short talk by Ed Moore and explains why the crossform chute is a good choice as it balances the factors of ease of construction and performs well with much less spinning/gliding and coning... the TL;DR is use these and have less area to search or less distance to walk to recovery!

The video of the talk is online and I found that over the last couple of years I've gone back to it and rewritten a load of notes from it which promptly disappear into the piles... so this time I thought I'd type them up, add diagrams and share them. Beyond just sharing notes, Ed's fabulous talk presents the math required to design a crossform chute but he doesn't go through a full example process. I have done this in this document and hopefully included every step of the math! Much of the maths can also be applied to other parachute designs. The document is open source and available as a pdf and as a libreoffice odt file on this Gitlab repo (EDIT.. I've since added a spreadsheet in ods or xslx format that does the calculations for you!)

Saturday, 6 January 2018

My Openrocket workshop getting started script now online!

So I've just uploaded my Openrocket walkthru/getting started guide document to git. It's the script that we follow as a part of my rocket design workshops I've run a few times now. I've also shared this document a to a few people directly who have worked through it successfully in about 20 minutes. It takes you through designing and simulating a small model rocket but you'll be able to experiment with your own larger and more amazing designs by the end of it!

Feel free to share far and wide.