Binary options strategy tester mt4 - satyagrahnewsagency.in

Configuring strategy tester for binary options?

Hi! I am hoping someone could lend some advice re how to configure the strategy tester to work with binary options style trading.
In case you're not familiar with binary options, a few notes:
- There is no stop loss, take profit
- There are no spreads/commissions
- I must set an expiry time in minutes or candles
- Simply, if I go "long" (called a CALL) and the expiry price > strike price, that's a win (and < would be a loss); if I go "short" (called a PUT) AND the expiry price < strike price, that's a win (and > would be a loss). Also I could "Push", meaning the strike price = the expiry price. These should be disregarded from the calculations as there is no loss or gain of $.
- As such, I just need a W/L/P (P being 'Push', meaning strike price = expiry price)
Thanks! Welcome any advice. 😀
submitted by ddcred to TradingView [link] [comments]

Version Control in Game Development: 10 Vague Reasons to Use It

Version Control in Game Development: 10 Vague Reasons to Use It
Whether you’re a AAA development shop or an indie programmer, building a game will surely take more than just a couple of weekends. Many things can happen between the inception of the game and the time it will be released. To track and manage these changes, developers use version (source) control. Let's talk about version control, branching, and how to select the best version control system.

https://preview.redd.it/br064yidj0z51.jpg?width=2190&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=16b91701114c2e185a7e33bde1bebf2634cb396e
The software development process is a long and arduous road. Changes might be introduced to the game mechanics, the admin part of the game, or practically anywhere, especially, if you develop a GaaS product.
These changes need to be tracked. Indeed, you don’t want to simply copy the entire folder of the game project and save it under a different name (like mycoolgame_v02). You will need version management. That’s what version control systems are for.

What is version control?

Version control is the practice of tracking and managing changes to the code base. Version control systems provide a running history of how the code changes. Using version control tools also helps to resolve conflicts when merging contributions from multiple sources.

What is source control?

Source control and version control are practically interchangeable, but to put a fine point to it, version control is a more general term. Source control systems typically manage mostly textual data — source control typically means source code or program code. On the other hand, version control refers not only to the source code but also to the other assets of the game app, like images, audio, and video resources.

Branching

When you think of a branch, you’d typically picture a fork-like structure. Initially, there’s only one path, but then the paths diverge. That’s essentially what a branch is in source control lingo.
As you build your game app and expose it to testers, QA, and other stakeholders, they will give input that may force you to introduce changes to the game’s source. Most of the time, the changes will be small, but the changes will sometimes be massive. These large changes are inflection points to the development process. This is typically where you decide to branch.
The purpose of branching in version control is to achieve code isolation. You’re branching probably because the new branch represents the next version of the game, or it could be something smaller, like “let’s fix bug number 12345”. Whatever branching method you choose, you’ll need a version control.

https://preview.redd.it/693agxrej0z51.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=1a9672b8137f9a53968d6b4159269559b67db644

Why use version control in game projects?

#1 - Code backup

Source control, especially a remote repository, is a backup for your code. Indeed, you don’t want your hard drive to be a single point of failure. Do you? What happens to 10 months of coding work if the drive gets fried? What if your server dies? Do you have an automated backup?

#2 - Better team collaboration

Share the code with other contributors and still be in sync with each other. If you’re not using source control, how will you work with other developers? Do you really want to use Dropbox or Google Drive to share source codes? How will you track each other’s changes? Version control systems take care of synching and resolving conflicts or differences with codes from multiple contributors.

#3 - Roll back to the previous version

Version control systems are a retreat strategy. Have you ever made breaking changes to the code and realized what a colossal mistake it was? If you ever want to go back, it’s a cinch to do that in a version control system.

#4 - Experiments with zero risks

It makes experimentation easy. Do you want to try something radical, but you don’t want to clutter or pollute your codebase? Branch. If the idea doesn’t pan out, just leave the branch and go back to the trunk

#5 - Full audit trail

Provides an audit trail for the codebase. You can go back to previous versions of the code to find out when and where the bugs first crept in.

#6 - Better release management

Monitor the progress of the code. You can see how much work is being done, by who, where, and when.

#7 - Code comparison and analysis

You can compare versions of your code. When you learn how to use diffing techniques, you can compare versions of your code in a side-by-side fashion.

#8 - Manage different versions of the game

Maintain multiple versions of your product. Branching strategies should help you maintain different versions of your game/product. It is a common practice for the developers to have at least a production version (free from bugs, well-tested) and a work-in-progress development version.

#9 - Scaling the game projects and companies

Are you an indie developer? Or you are employed by one of the game giants - Ubisoft, Tencent or King? Whatever project you are involved into at the moment, you may come to the point when you’ll need to deal with more teammates, run more tests, and fix more bugs. Version control software is an indispensable part of your game growth.

#10 - Facilitate the continuous game updates

Thinking about the previous point, how often do you plan to release your game updates? Do you plan to do it once a year, monthly or weekly?
The more frequently you update your game, the more likely you’ll need to do the feature branching or release branching to minimize bugs and achieve flawless user experience. Not to mention if you select the games-as-a-service model.

What to consider when selecting version control systems

If you’re about to start a project and deciding which version control system to use, you might want to consider the following.
  1. Ability to support game projects. Some version control platforms are better suited for application development where most of the assets are textual (source codes), and some are better at handling binaryfiles (audio, video, image assets). Make sure your source control system can handle both.
  2. User experience. The source control platform must be supported by tools. If the platform is a CLI-only (command-line interface), it might be popular amongst developers, but non-dev people (artists, designers) might have difficulty using it. The tools have to be friendly to everybody.
  3. Ecosystem of tools and integrations. Does your CI/CD platform support it? Can Jenkins pull from this repo? Your version control system must play nice with the CI/CD apps in the age of continuous integration. Other questions to ask might be;
  • Can you hook it up with Unreal/Unity?
  • Do our IDEs support it?
  • Is it easy to connect it with Trello? Jira?
  1. Hosted or on-premise. Are there companies offering a hosted solution for this version control system? Or do you have to provision a server yourself and find a data center where to park it? Hosting an in-premise source control system has advantages. Still, it also carries lots of baggage like IT personnel cost, capital cost, depreciation cost, etc. In contrast, a hosted solution lets you avoid all those in exchange for a fee.
  2. Single file versioning ability. Can you check out only a single file, or do you have to download everything? Some version control systems force developers to download all the updates from a central server before you can share or see any change. This might be sensible for application code, but it may not make sense for a game app where some of the assets are large binary files.
  3. Access control. Does the system let you control who has access to what? How granular is the control? Can you assign rights down to the file level? Can you assign read but not write privileges to users for particular files?
Some common version control systems are better at handling some of the things we stated above, and some are better at managing others. You may need to do a comparison matrix to select amongst the version control options.

If you ask an application developer for recommendation, I’m almost sure they’ll tell you Git, Subversion, or CVS. These are heavy favorites of app devs. They’re open-source software and great at handling textual data, but they may be ill-suited for a game development project because of the way they handle BLOBS or binary files (which a game app has lots of).
If you ask a game developer, you’ll get a different recommendation; game development projects have very different version control needs than application development projects. Should it be an independent software or a built-in feature in your database or CMS platform?
How many people are involved in game development? How many databases? How are localization and content delivery done?
Gridly features the built-in version control, which enables branching of the content datasets, tweak them in isolation and merge back to the master branch. Sign up for free and make your first branch.
submitted by LocalizeDirectAB to u/LocalizeDirectAB [link] [comments]

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222, the product of our May/June development cycle, is ready today, and it’s a very exciting release. There are lots of bug fixes, including some long-standing issues with classics like Bosconian and Gaplus, and missing pan/zoom effects in games on Seta hardware. Two more Nintendo LCD games are supported: the Panorama Screen version of Popeye, and the two-player Donkey Kong 3 Micro Vs. System. New versions of supported games include a review copy of DonPachi that allows the game to be paused for photography, and a version of the adult Qix game Gals Panic for the Taiwanese market.
Other advancements on the arcade side include audio circuitry emulation for 280-ZZZAP, and protection microcontroller emulation for Kick and Run and Captain Silver.
The GRiD Compass series were possibly the first rugged computers in the clamshell form factor, possibly best known for their use on NASA space shuttle missions in the 1980s. The initial model, the Compass 1101, is now usable in MAME. There are lots of improvements to the Tandy Color Computer drivers in this release, with better cartridge support being a theme. Acorn BBC series drivers now support Solidisk file system ROMs. Writing to IMD floppy images (popular for CP/M computers) is now supported, and a critical bug affecting writes to HFE disk images has been fixed. Software list additions include a collection of CDs for the SGI MIPS workstations.
There are several updates to Apple II emulation this month, including support for several accelerators, a new IWM floppy controller core, and support for using two memory cards simultaneously on the CFFA2. As usual, we’ve added the latest original software dumps and clean cracks to the software lists, including lots of educational titles.
Finally, the memory system has been optimised, yielding performance improvements in all emulated systems, you no longer need to avoid non-ASCII characters in paths when using the chdman tool, and jedutil supports more devices.
There were too many HyperScan RFID cards added to the software list to itemise them all here. You can read about all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222, the product of our May/June development cycle, is ready today, and it’s a very exciting release. There are lots of bug fixes, including some long-standing issues with classics like Bosconian and Gaplus, and missing pan/zoom effects in games on Seta hardware. Two more Nintendo LCD games are supported: the Panorama Screen version of Popeye, and the two-player Donkey Kong 3 Micro Vs. System. New versions of supported games include a review copy of DonPachi that allows the game to be paused for photography, and a version of the adult Qix game Gals Panic for the Taiwanese market.
Other advancements on the arcade side include audio circuitry emulation for 280-ZZZAP, and protection microcontroller emulation for Kick and Run and Captain Silver.
The GRiD Compass series were possibly the first rugged computers in the clamshell form factor, possibly best known for their use on NASA space shuttle missions in the 1980s. The initial model, the Compass 1101, is now usable in MAME. There are lots of improvements to the Tandy Color Computer drivers in this release, with better cartridge support being a theme. Acorn BBC series drivers now support Solidisk file system ROMs. Writing to IMD floppy images (popular for CP/M computers) is now supported, and a critical bug affecting writes to HFE disk images has been fixed. Software list additions include a collection of CDs for the SGI MIPS workstations.
There are several updates to Apple II emulation this month, including support for several accelerators, a new IWM floppy controller core, and support for using two memory cards simultaneously on the CFFA2. As usual, we’ve added the latest original software dumps and clean cracks to the software lists, including lots of educational titles.
Finally, the memory system has been optimised, yielding performance improvements in all emulated systems, you no longer need to avoid non-ASCII characters in paths when using the chdman tool, and jedutil supports more devices.
There were too many HyperScan RFID cards added to the software list to itemise them all here. You can read about all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

submitted by cuavas to MAME [link] [comments]

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222, the product of our May/June development cycle, is ready today, and it’s a very exciting release. There are lots of bug fixes, including some long-standing issues with classics like Bosconian and Gaplus, and missing pan/zoom effects in games on Seta hardware. Two more Nintendo LCD games are supported: the Panorama Screen version of Popeye, and the two-player Donkey Kong 3 Micro Vs. System. New versions of supported games include a review copy of DonPachi that allows the game to be paused for photography, and a version of the adult Qix game Gals Panic for the Taiwanese market.
Other advancements on the arcade side include audio circuitry emulation for 280-ZZZAP, and protection microcontroller emulation for Kick and Run and Captain Silver.
The GRiD Compass series were possibly the first rugged computers in the clamshell form factor, possibly best known for their use on NASA space shuttle missions in the 1980s. The initial model, the Compass 1101, is now usable in MAME. There are lots of improvements to the Tandy Color Computer drivers in this release, with better cartridge support being a theme. Acorn BBC series drivers now support Solidisk file system ROMs. Writing to IMD floppy images (popular for CP/M computers) is now supported, and a critical bug affecting writes to HFE disk images has been fixed. Software list additions include a collection of CDs for the SGI MIPS workstations.
There are several updates to Apple II emulation this month, including support for several accelerators, a new IWM floppy controller core, and support for using two memory cards simultaneously on the CFFA2. As usual, we’ve added the latest original software dumps and clean cracks to the software lists, including lots of educational titles.
Finally, the memory system has been optimised, yielding performance improvements in all emulated systems, you no longer need to avoid non-ASCII characters in paths when using the chdman tool, and jedutil supports more devices.
There were too many HyperScan RFID cards added to the software list to itemise them all here. You can read about all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

submitted by cuavas to cade [link] [comments]

It’s great being a Rock(et) Scientist. Part 1.

That reminds me of a story.
Once again, just to set the scene, this was back during my bright college days at the University of Baja Canada – Brewcity. A venerable state-system university set just lakeside in the heart of the Upper East Side of a northern North American city known for its German heritage, bratwurst, and beer.
Lots and lots of beer.
Back when I was in Grad School, pursuing my various Geology degrees, there was always this “friendly” competition between us, the venerable Rock Scientists (geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, etc.) and those ‘other’ guys.
In particular: the Physics fellas and Chemistry cadre (although various denizens of the Clan Engineer snuck into their camp as well).
They were always going on about how “Geology is just glorified stamp collecting”, “Geology isn’t a real science”, and “Physics/Chemistry are the original sciences” sort of crapola.
Of course, you realize, this means war.
Not with conventional weapons or heavy artillery (just yet), but ‘spirited’ interscholastic scientific competitions that have been held annually pitting the forces of good, stalwart, strong Ethanol-enhanced science against those spotty, pocket-protector sporting, sliderule-slipstick jockeys: the dark-world dwelling number-crunchers.
You know, those that could only be enticed out into the field with the opportunity to prove themselves adept only if someone else provides their 3-point-2 beer, pilaf, and tofu.
And we in the Department Geological were just such the team to rise to such an occasion.
Tired of the elegiac whines and wails, not to mention derisive comments, of the Calculator Clan; years ago the Dean of the Mathematics Department (since everyone uses math in one way or another, he was considered necessarily impartial) was dragooned into drafting up a yearly competition between adversaries to settle the annual issue.
He was handsomely rewarded for his efforts with free beer and lunches at the campus Gast Haus (all underwritten by the Geology department…no bribery here, think of it as ‘pump-priming’) for his dreaming-up and evolving what he thought would be a more-or-less equal scientific competition between our two somewhat fractious factions.
These were historically some of the most fanatical, blood-thirsty and insanely-driven competitive tournaments between any antagonists since Alexander the Great took on the Cretans at Sparta (sorry, make that the Spartans at Crete).
There was graft, corruption, dark-shadowing, subornment, shady dealings, theft of equipment and ideas.
We in the Geology Department, on the other hand, just collectively cracked another cold beer.
Now I’m not saying the Geology bunch always emerged victoriously; but when we won, it was by dint of our own work, efforts, and ideas. Also, those wins were always blowouts. The few Physics/Chemistry victories were Pyrrhic, somewhat suspect, and typically won by a mouse’s whisker-margin in the final summation.
Well, I told you that story to tell you this one.
The Geology Department back then was home to a load of real…’characters’: BSs, MSs, PhDs; all of whom will provide their own particular belvedere for this narrative.
We all worked together, field-camped together, shared Grad-student offices together, drank excessively together, and basically saw each other more than our respective families or loved ones.
We worked zealously and played even more manically. Each one of us was pledged to our own particular sub-discipline, so there was no small amount of well-intentioned (well, mostly well-intentioned) internecine rivalry.
Hard rock vs. soft rock.
Petroleum geologists vs. the Waterheads (Hydrogeologists).
Extractive industry types (Coal geologists, Metals geologists, etc.) vs. Environmental geologists.
Everyone thought his or her sub-discipline was superlative; nonetheless, there was the common thread of Geological Science that bound us all together into one large quasi-maladjusted scholastic family group.
“They may be Waterheads; but God Damn it, they are our Waterheads.”
We all came from disparate backgrounds: some locals, some from far afield (we always chuckled at the expense of the displaced Left Coasters when a brisk -250 C wintertime blizzard rolled around) but in one way or another, we were all brothesister Geoscientists.
As such, indoor captivity, no matter how benevolent, was universally loathed. The supplier of much of the captive audience’s contempt were the gormless dorms on site at the university. They were unanimously detested. However, they were the only game in town for some of our less-than-local compadres as that whole Greek-Culture Fraternity and Sorority thing hadn’t really caught on here.
Anyways.
That is, until we discovered “The Farm.”
“The Farm” was precisely that. A huge, 1880s vintage farmhouse which was ground-zero for the families that raised corn, cows and chickens there for nearly a century. Time and suburban sprawl reduced The Farm’s landholdings from the initial 8,000+ acres to a residual paltry ten fenced acres that surrounded the main domicile and the remaining outbuildings.
The venerable family that had worked these difficult Pleistocene glacial grounds for all those years had diminished markedly through attrition and the younger set who resolutely declared that they wanted no part of being a ‘Son of the Soil’.
The aged and sagacious patriarch of the family was well known throughout the whole southeastern region. When word got out that he was calling it a day and putting the old homestead out to pasture, we leapt at the chance.
We approached the paterfamilias and explained that we were very studious, intent and committed college students pursuing advanced science degrees and were in dire need of new digs [pun somewhat intended]. We need space for our studies, our experiments and our sanity as our only option, the dorms, were crowded, noisy, old, and terribly claustrophobic.
It was a wholly thinly-veiled tissue of white lies, sub-truths, and incredible circumstantial embroidery. However, it was all underpinned with the actual complications of too-close-for-comfort living, inadequate working space, and the retention of one’s marbles through bypassing traditional collegiate communal living.
He was impressed that we were all such serious scientists-in-training and when we started dropping subtle geological-based observations of his landhold, he began thinking that we were also not worried about getting our hands dirty with real work; as the place would require some deft deep cleaning, re-painting, and structural repair.
Also, we impressed him with our earnestness of both completing our various degrees, to go out and make the world a better place (and banking truckloads of money in the process…). As well as our deepest respect for his work history and contributions to the area he and his family had made for near the last near 100 years.
Yep.
He bought it.
For the princely sum of $300 rent and utilities per month, we had procured “The Farm”, the surrounding 10 acres and the outbuildings for our antics. Initially, there were six of us, however, The Farm could easily have held, in comfort, double or even triple that amount (it had a full basement; but for like buildings that old, it was creepy and arachnid-infested so avoided until circumstances proved necessary).
The initial Farm inhabitants were as follows:
• Rock: your humble scribe. The Vertebrate Paleontologist who later transmogrified into a Petroleum Geologist.
• Toivo: the Geochemist and Zymurgist Extraordinaire.
• Hank: the Kung-Fu Structural Geologist (martial arts and faulted terrane guru).
• Chuck: the ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll go into teaching, right after this beer’ Generic Geologist.
• The Wiz: the Geochemical Geophysicist and Ethanol Earth Scientist, and
• Polack (his self-chosen nickname): the Clastic Sedimentologist and Taste Tester.
This ragtag mob of assorted backgrounds and more assorted future plans rehabilitated The Farm over the span of a scant six weeks. We all had local ties, and questionable but usually serviceable transportation, so appropriation and relocation of needed materials did not pose much of a problem.
Six of the dozen upstairs bedrooms were the first to be gutted, re-painted, re-carpeted and re-invented for the likes of our eclectic crew. Everyone designed their rooms to their own likings and proclivities. Everyone had small drinks refrigerators which were later made redundant by a house-wide pneumatic-hydraulic artesian tap beer delivery system.
We all attacked the common areas: living room, kitchen, mudroom and dining hall; first with steam-cleaning, minor low explosives, and debris removal. Then a bit later, with off-cast freebie hallucination-inducing wallpaper, carpet remnants, and paint scrounged from the basements and garages of all who had family within 200 kilometers.
Toivo’s father (headman of the previous Slip-Slidin’ story) had access to (read: a free hand over) an adjacent county’s stockpile of roadwork materials, fencing and other effects used to keep a rural county running.
So we had a couple loads of surplus Sangamonian river-gravel delivered to re-rock the drives and pathways, several county warehouse pilfered traffic signs (for interior and exterior decoration), a thousand feet and posts of slightly previously owned cyclone fence (to keep out unwanted interlopers) along with various other necessities of pastoral living.
We scrounged the university for various surplus scientific wallcharts and diagrams for covering up the goofs we made during our wallpaper fiasco (hey, it’s harder than it looks).
We had, with permission, procured old and outdated Periodic Tables, ancient pre-world-war World Geographic maps, a veritable pre-metric shitload of varied geological maps of such far-flung arcanities as “The Groundwater Resources of the Pike’s Peak Quadrangle, Colorado”, “The Oligocene White River Badlands of South Dakota”, “Seismicity and Tsunami Danger in and Around Mauna Ula Volcano, Hawaii”, and, of course, basement and surficial geological maps of our own beloved home states.
Call the decorating style: “Early Museum”.
As time progressed, a university-quality chemistry laboratory-grade three-tower continuous distillation unit somehow made its presence known. Constructed of nothing but the finest industrial-grade borosilicate glass, with commercial-grade evaporators, condensers, water baths, electromechanical stirrers, and timer-controlled thermal regulation, it was a veritable boon to our beleaguered student wallets.
It was the more or less exclusive domain of The Wiz. He kept it up and running; ostensibly for the various experiments regarding the deep and vexing inquiries regarding high-quality, high-proof ethanol deliverability from innumerable and varied types of grains, fruits, and other fermentables.
Just a note to novice distillers: skip figs. They ferment, but the distillate of their sugary offerings are nauseating.
The Wiz’s finer offerings to our communal lifestyle included a very serviceable potato vodka, a decent non-Napoleonic brandy, some damned fine rip-your-lungs-out backwoods-style moonshine, a very passable rye whiskey, and a gin that would truly hurt if one were to shave one’s ass and sit in a bowlful.
His crowning achievement (some said it couldn’t be done; others said it shouldn’t be done) was a triply-distilled Mad Dog 20/20.
All of this, at the time, was illegal as hell. But since we didn’t mind and figured as long as one of us was being reasonable…
With Toivo’s expert help, we cleared and leveled a section of the dirt-floored basement and laboriously poured a 5 x 6-meter platen of concrete. We also piped it up for the delivery of fresh water. We similarly somehow took possession of some old grocery store shelving and set up our basement root cellar, food preservation area, and crock-station.
Conveniently a cool 550 F throughout the year, well ventilated (once I blew a small hole in the fieldstone basement wall (we had the owner’s permission…for SCIENCE!)). So once we ran check-valved aeration piping to the surface, it was a fine place to locate our ‘obtained’ ceramic 40-gallon crocks.
There we practiced the age-old tradition of taking full advantage of Farmer’s Markets, railroad salvage, and other cheap dispensaries of surplus vegetal matter. It was initially used for our creation of sauerkraut, dill and sweet pickles, and various attempts at hot sauces (some more successful than others).
Over time, as The Farm’s indigenous population swelled to include international geoscience students; we added kusaya, kimchee, and tofu. For the latter, no one knew why…
We also became dab-hands at making cheese: Mozzarella, Brick, Smoked Gouda, a holey Swiss-type, some sort of sharper-than-a-serpent’s-tooth cheddar…Hell, we were in America’s Dairyland, for Christ’s sake…
Our greatest achievement and most prized cellar possession was the development of our basement in-house brewery.
We assembled a mash tun, brew kettles, fermenters, bottling buckets, keg-station, CO2 tanks, bottling and capping station (most equipment sponged and wheedled from some of the many local in-town breweries). Finally, we were blessed with an old Roper gas stove misappropriated from someone’s grandparent’s basement.
Odd, much of the necessary tubulars, check valves, and other brewery appurtenances were exactly like those found in a university chemistry lab supply room.
Yes. Odd that.
Not yet embroiled in all that pumpkin, blueberry and other ick-flavored craft-beer craziness that would come to blossom over the next decade or so, we produced some generically fine, high-octane lagers, ales, stouts, and porters. Some were even fortified with the end results of our in-house distillery; aptly named “Hangover in a Mason Jar.”
Again, over time as our population swelled with the addition of a more international crowd, we branched out trying (though not always succeeding) to create kvass, kumiss, and kefir.
Acquired tastes, to be certain.
The one thing we never tried was our hand at making wine. First off, no one here was an oenophile. We were a tried-and-true brew-crew. The Foam Town team.
Second, wine is fussy and all that pedigree nonsense about the soil, region, vintage, and associated crapola was a closed book to us. Closed, burned and buried.
Finally, wine took too long to make. And no, making wine from raisins doesn’t decrease aging time.
Now, with the in-house necessities handled, we focused on the outbuildings. Erstwhile chicken coops, sheds, and barns were all fumigated, cleaned-out and repaired for us as our individual labs.
We set up a communal hardware shed for our lawnmowers, snowblowers, shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, hand tools, power tools, a workbench and the like.
Everyone who was so taken could set up their personal shop in one of the adjacent outbuildings.
The furthest outbuilding, a large concrete-walled above-ground cistern-like structure, was converted into a makeshift communal armory. Where else could I store my cannon, dynamite and blasting caps, and Toivo his SeismoGel?
My lab was the quintessential rock lab. Rock tumblers, rock saws, rock polishers, lapidary equipment (all donated by my grandfather who grew weary of his hobby), thin-section equipment, a couple of questionable-origin petrological polarizing stereomicroscopes, a lap table, desk, cadged leather swivel chair, Ham and shortwave radio set-up, coffee pot and a Radio Shack stereo. It was my sanctum sanctorum.
Others designed and decorated their own labs in a similar personal style.
The Wiz had created a fairly creditable chemistry lab of, again, dubious origin.
Toivo set up shop with more county-surplus equipment for doing whatever struck him at the moment.
Polack set up a sedimentology lab with rock crushers, a full Ro-Tap sieving setup, settling tubes and other equipment that made him grin.
Hank set up his lab to include an area where he could store all his weird martial arts weapons, practice all his weird martial arts, and study for exams.
We all had full run of each other’s labs as long as we replaced any used consumables and occasionally took out the trash.
We were all just one, big ethanol-fueled semi-dysfunctional family.
Now, back to our original story.
The Physics farts and Chemistry clowns were especially pernicious that year. The taunts were seemingly never-ending, the insults grew more pointed and I think Hank politely offered to Samurai-squeeze a couple of their heads off once or twice.
But, we are scientists and not wont for physical encounters (there would be a high number of vacant Physics and Chemistry departmental vacancies if we were). In the dead of winter, we approached the Dean of Mathematics and demanded honor on the field of technical battle.
With that, the great Rocket Fuel and Flight Face-Off began.
In precisely two months, the disparate groups would meet on a section of secluded beach, south of the local nuclear plant, on the bordering Great Lake to see who would take top honors in rocket design, rocket fuel development, and rocket flight.
Points would be awarded by an impartial panel of shanghaied scholastics from various non-scientific (mostly Liberal Arts) disciplines and their verdicts were to be final. Simply put, it was a binary decision gate; the highest score grand total won.
It was decided that since the Physics bunch knew doodly-squat about rocket fuel formulation and most Chemists couldn’t build a stable Jenga tower out of Legos, these two clans would be subsumed into one group for the purposes of the competition.
Since Geology embraced Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geodynamics, our clan was slated to be the other team to go up against the chemical and slide rule crowd.
“You have sixty days from…right now. See you back here then, 0800 sharp.” decreed the Dean of Math.
Let the maps of war be drawn.
Luckily, this was during the winter doldrums down-season of exams and other sorts of scholastic folderol. Most of us in the geology crowd had already completed our course work, experimentation and data futzing; so were just (…just…) grinding out theses and dissertations. This gave us a fairly large-sized chunk of time to work the problem and come up with our solutions.
The brewery and distillery were cranked into emergency-level overtime as we assembled over cookies, cigars, vodka, and beer to plan out our strategies.
Ideas were flung about fast and furiously. What were we going to use for construction materials? What kind of fuels would work the best? How were we to handle the questions of aerodynamics? What about this…? And how about that…? And, yes, another round for all.
I suggested that instead of redesigning the metaphorical wheel, we should look instead to what was readily available. Many hours were spent looking into the availability and viability of aluminum, mild steel, galvanized steel, titanium, cast iron, propellants, oxidizers, chemicals, and machining, welding, brazing or otherwise making stout connections.
Several hours later, we still didn’t have a reasonable plan and enthusiasm began to falter slightly.
Then, Toivo had an inspiration.
He reminded us that a while back several of our cadre had worked for a time at a local machine shop. It was a successful local shop devoted to designing, creating and machining of stainless steel products for the dairy industry. Besides that, we all left amicably due to educational concerns; perhaps, we would be welcomed back.
A few of us made the pilgrimage and were heartily welcomed by Leon and Charlie, the owners and chief machinists of the business. We brought along several bottles of our homebrew beer and liquors, as well as several examples of our fermented and Mason-jarred sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchee; just to grease the wheels, as it were.
They were most pleased to see us and even more pleased with their free food and high-octane beverages.
Over toasts and noshes, we explained our predicament.
“Well, fellas. Remember? We always have a large supply of off-cast stainless tubulars, sheets, and bar stock. We report them as damaged or destroyed, are compensated by the steel mills and usually just wait until we have enough of a pile to drag off to the scrapyard. You’re more than welcome to scavenge anything you need for this little adventure” proposed Leon.
“Whoa, thanks much Leon. However, we still have a bit of a hitch when it comes to dealing with machining and welding stainless back at The Farm”, I replied.
“Hell, you guys were pretty damned good machinists for college boys,” noted Charlie.
Not to brag too much, but I was a virtuoso on both the Ghisholdt Cridan-B turret lathe and Hardinge AHC automatic chucker.
Leon continues: “Tell you what, since you helped us out with Fred (the new warehouse building) back a few years (which required a lot of free-overtime doing loads of dangerous scutwork), you can build your gizmos here. In fact, I’ll get some of the older guys here to give you a hand with the welding and fabrication. They’ll love something different to do for a change.”
We were off to the races.
The Wiz spent much of his time in the library boning up on rocket propellants. With my explosives background, I aided in his research.
Several of us made field trips to the shop trying to figure out what would be the best design for our rocket.
First, we went through the scrap pile to see what was available for this project.
We ended up with loads of various diameters, metallurgy, and wall thickness stainless steel tubing. Buckets of bar stock, heaps of hex stock and varied valves, milk weights, and innumerable other odds-and-bobs from the machine shop reject pile.
We decided that since we had a variety of diameter and thickness stainless tubing, we should construct a multi-stage rocket.
We would worry less about the electronics, guidance, and telemetry, and more on the brute-force of having the rocket fly more or less straight as one stage ignites the next. Simple timer circuits and hard-wiring of events were chosen over late-last century computer thingamajigs.
A sound application of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle.
Since I had worked at the local museum (back during my Goldie <sniff> period), I remembered that the sub-sub-sub-basement was used as a Midwestern storage facility for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions data. There was container after container after container of reports, schematics and documents from these programs, presumably sent here for storage and archival.
I approached the Head Curator of the museum; he remembered me well (I wasn’t certain at the time if that was a good or bad omen). I asked if it would be possible to go through the manifests of said containers to search for pertinent information.
He thought I was referring to some form of geological information, but I had other ideas in mind. He told me that there was no problem, but everything must remain intact; however, copies of any documents would be fine if I was willing to pay for the reproductions.
Thus round two of our Race for Space began.
A week or so into this little project, it became apparent that everyone involved had different ideas of how to proceed. A little scientific rivalry erupted between geoscientists.
Hank and Polack were sold on solid-rocket boosters. He maintained that we should build a rocket with one massive central solid-fueled rocket and several bolt-on outrigger boosters. These could be fired first, detached, and then the central engine could be lit-off for parts unknown. Since brewing up the propellant was a cast-iron cinch: whip it up as a liquid, pour it into the reaction chamber and wait until it solidifies, this was obviously the way to proceed.
Chuck and The Wiz campaigned for ultra-pressure cold gas propellant. They noted the lack of fire hazard, the ability to shut it down in case of emergency (as opposed to solid fuel; which once started, could not be shut down), relatively lower cost and somewhat lower danger level. True, it was lower in effective thrust than other forms of propulsion, but we could fabricate a large series of interconnected tanks for the rocket stages.
Toivo and I were dead set on liquid-fueled propulsion. True, it was more exotic, more expensive, more dangerous, and therefore much more fun; but it, too, could also be shut down in case of emergency. There were many more possibilities of developing a workable mixture given the myriad types of oxidizers and propellants which were tried and previously proven reliable.
The debating and arguments waged well into the late-night until Polack came up with the brainstorm that saved the day.
We should make a 3-stage hybrid rocket, each stage featuring one of our preferred propellants.
Brilliance!
Hours later, once the toasts died down, we now began to argue over whose fuel would go where.
Employing the scientific method, and lots of vodka, cigars, Chicken-in-a-Biscuit, and beer; it was determined that the first stage would be the cold-gas ultra-pressure liftoff stage.
Though it produced the least amount of thrust of the three methods, we could fabricate (according to NASA data) a double-walled Dewar cryo-containment system out of stainless steel with enough oomph to initiate liftoff. We would get off the pad, then fully airborne, build some velocity, and put the next-in-line flammable nasties out over the lake.
Side Note: the launch pad was on a fairly secluded Great Lake arenaceous beach, out of commercial, military, or UFO flight paths. It was also during the season of zero swimmers, even less pleasure boating, and broken patterned ice floes; fully 160 km (100 miles) from the opposite shore.
The second stage was the solid-fuel section. There would be a central solid-fuel core and 8 detachable smaller-diameter exterior solid-fuel rocket boosters. Plans were, once the craft was airborne with some velocity, to dump the first stage, ignite the external boosters, and burn them to termination. They would then be jettisoned, where the central core power plant would be fired off.
With this, we would be able to extract the most height and velocity for those two stages and set the stage for, if you’ll pardon me, the next stage.
The penultimate stage was to be our liquid-fueled system. This was due to the inherent instability of trinary liquids, heightened danger level of catastrophic failure, and would put the contraption as far away as possible when the stuff finally lit off (pre-designed to be hypergolic, ignition was not necessary).
Also, if all this did work, it would provide the highest degree of thrust impulse of all the fuels and push our project closer to Angel’s Eleven.
With that, we had to construct a hybrid power plant consisting of two resilient tanks of fairly vicious chemicals: one of the oxidizer and one of the bipropellant. From this, we needed to fabricate the various plumbing and other bits and pieces to make this thing work. This would take us to the final stage.
The ultimate stage was one of my own design but heartily approved and applauded by all involved.
It was to be a deftly machined stainless steel nose-cone tightly packed with some seriously high-explosives (probably C-4, gelignite, and primacord) along with copper, magnesium, aluminum, and iron powdered-metals. It was intended to be a blazing deafening and polychromatic finale of our attempt at geoaerodynamics and supersonic flight.
No matter how you sliced it, this was truly going to be a one-way trip. No need for parachutes, recovery systems, or any of that tat. Simplifies everything.
With that, construction began on everyone’s own particular stage.
The first stage was built of stoutest 20” OD (outside diameter) martensitic stainless grade 420. An internal pressure vessel of 18” OD was fabricated at the machine shop. All this was mated together, with precision valves and nozzles for optimum propulsion. Thanks to NASA schematics, stainless coupling rings and reducers were fabricated for each stage.
“How are you going to separate each stage? You’re keeping the build to bare bones, so is it going to be mechanical or electrical?” Zeke, an old-time machinist asked.
“It’ll be both. How about we fabricate some exploding bolts?”
“Now, that sound like fun” came the reply.
Drilling out the fasteners was a mere dottle.
Finding the right amount and type of explosives to achieve separation and not obliteration, was a little more trial-and-error. Note: gelignite and primacord is not a good idea…
We decided to try certain easily available compressed gases to power the first and largest stage. (Note: I’m not about to get into any real specifics of the build for fear of cranky foreign countries appropriating our ideas and to wait for the statute of limitations to expire).
That being said, it was the result of more trial-and-error experimentation, but finally, our best outcome was established with ultra-insanely-compressed [BLEEP] gas. Still, worry pervaded that this wasn’t going to be enough oomph to get the final monstrosity of the launch pad.
The second stage was more straightforward. Thanks to NASA documentation, we opted for a fairly easily concoct-able mixture of common, easily obtainable (if you have access to a university chemistry storeroom) constituents which were not terribly toxic, somewhat stable and meted-out mega-newtons of thrust.
The central solid-fuel core was an easy construct (though we had to use dual insulated heavier-wall tubing internally so we would not experience a catastrophic burn-through) but the external SRBs (solid rocket boosters) were trickier to construct.
The needed to be light, strong and thermally stable. Temperatures in excess of 12000 C were going to be generated and stainless would be mostly metallic mush by the time the external SRB was half-way through a burn.
One of the old-timers with the shop, who really liked free beer and my cigars, rescued us by pulling a few strings, calling in some debts and procuring for us aviation-grade titanium tubing. We didn’t ask how, we didn’t ask where, but we were most appreciative and kept him swimming in homebrew until the end of the project.
We also decided that since we had ample supply, we’d outfit the first stage with eight or so external SRBs, to give us the necessary initial push off the pad. These we welded on, as they were never intended to be removable like those on stage two.
That left the fabrication of Toivo’s and mine seriously evil near-final stage. Stage 3, liquid fuel, potentially the greatest thrust and certainly the greatest danger. We scoured the NASA documentation and couldn’t find one recipe that was within our reach.
I decided to call NASA (I had some contacts at the Lunar Receiving Laboratories), explaining our predicament, but all I received were pointed and brusque return phone calls from the FBI, the DOD, and FAA.
I was able to convince them that this was a special project for our university, we were student scientists, and there was nothing untoward. The let us off with stiff warnings and remarks that our conversations would forever be noted in their files.
Thinking back, it was probably a good thing the ATF never got involved. They’d have wet themselves copiously and in unison over our distilling-brewing operations.
Resigned to our fates, we tried every sort of concoction upon which we could lay our hands.
Little success and less progress.
On to Part 2...
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