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Lucian Randolph
Works at Lucian Corp.
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Lucian Randolph

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Algebraist Thomas C. Hales explains the NSA backdoor to NIST

Here's a great article explaining how the NSA used mathematical shenanigans to get a backdoor into NIST. http://jiggerwit.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/the-nsa-back-door-to-nist/
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After reading +Neil Degrasse-Tyson's review of what the movie 'Gravity' got right (especially the tears in Sandra Bullock's eyes at the end) it reminded me of a chapter I wrote in my series of sci-fi books. This is from the second book which was written and published in 2011. The set-up is that a satellite accident has begun a Kessler Event, which is a catastrophic self-destruction of the satellites in LEO... And like most of the things I write about, it is a very real potential danger due to the overcrowded LEO bands. Enjoy :)

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December 20, 2012 - 2:05 AM
International Space Station
07:05 GMT


“Commander, I wanted all of you out thirty minutes ago. We can’t move the station until the Soyuz capsules undock, and I want you as far away from the debris field as you can get when those two birds collide. You don’t need that much time to prep the two Soyuz for escape. Every minute you wait puts you that much more in danger on your trip down. What’s the holdup?”

Commander Frank Salvato knew he was in trouble now. Getting a call from the Director of NASA is the equivalent of getting called into the Principal’s office.

“Sir, they’re locking down the last of the equipment on the station now.” Frank was not going to waste time beating around the bush. “Sir, I think I should stay to oversee the station’s move to higher orbit. We’ve never tried to go this far—”

“Commander, we can handle it from down here. But we’re waiting on you. You need to get your crew and get off that station now. That’s an order.”

“Roger, order received. But Sir…” Frank was a military officer, and he knew not to start a sentence with ‘But Sir.’ He could see the expression on the face of the Director of NASA on the laptop screen, but Frank kept going anyway. “If we abandon the station, there are a dozen ways we could lose attitude control. If she starts to roll, we’ll never be able to board her again. Someone needs to stay here. Please, let me stay aboard. I’ll send everyone else down. I’m willing to take the chance.”

The Director started to say something but hesitated as he changed his expression.

“Commander.” Then he changed his tone too. “Frank… you’re married now. And your wife is up there with you. I took a big chance letting the two of you on the same mission, but I trusted that you were the best man to command the station during this tour because you are. And that’s why I’m not willing to lose you. Request denied. Now get your butt on that capsule and get off that station.”

Frank didn’t show it, but he was furious. Astronauts know the risks of their job. It’s always been dangerous career. But they also know the importance and the cost of what they do. Frank smiled as he nodded his head to his boss.

“Roger that, Sir. We’ll be launching the escape capsules in the next few minutes.”

Frank reached out and closed the laptop that was carrying the impromptu video conference from Washington DC to the International Space Station two hundred miles above the planet while it circled the globe every ninety-one minutes. Only then did he let his emotions take hold as he yelled across the empty cabin at no one.

“FUCK!”

From behind him, Frank heard a familiar voice, and he consciously forced himself to relax before he turned around.

“We don’t have time right now, darling. The stagecoach is ready to pull outta Dodge, and we’re all waiting on the Sheriff.” Captain Nikki Westland was in her blue jumpsuit with her hair in a tight bun. He couldn’t help himself and smiled at her. Then he pushed off the console he was floating in front of and cruised through the air toward his wife. She locked her feet into two stirrups just in time to catch him in her arms as they embraced and quickly pulled in for a deep kiss. When they stopped, Frank smiled genuinely at her before disengaging from the hug. Then he pushed through the hatch into the main tube while he spoke over his shoulder to his wife.

“Come on. I gotta talk to everybody one last time. Let’s go.” Then he grabbed a bulkhead beam and rapidly pulled himself up the tube leaving Nikki alone and watching him as he flew away like Superman in slow motion. She laughed and pulled herself out of the stirrups before she slid through the hatch and followed her flying husband up the main tube.

By the time they got to the other end of the station, Nikki had caught up to Frank and was right behind him. They flew into the room where the other three astronauts were waiting. Sergey and Mischa both had annoyed looks on their faces. But that’s pretty much how they looked all the time. Miroki, the astronaut from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, had his camera out and was documenting the abandoning of the station, presumably for posterity sake. He pointed the camera at them as they floated over to the group.

Nikki moved over with the other crew-members as Frank pulled himself into a set of stirrups in front of them.

“That was the Director of NASA. He’s ordered us to abandon ship now. Have you all finished locking down the experiments and equipment onboard?” Everyone nodded. “What about the escape capsules? Have you finished with the Soyuz checklist?” Another nod from the group.

Frank was proud of his team of astronauts. He had only been aboard and commanding the station for two months out of a six month tour, but he already knew them all like brothers. And then, of course, there was his wife, Captain Nikki Westland; formerly of the Air Force and now a full-fledged astronaut. They were all looking at him with anticipation on their faces. Always willing to take the lead, Frank naturally had a knack for being in front. But this time, he had a different plan.

“Okay, Sergey and Mischa… you two each take command of one of the capsules. I’ll coordinate the undocking from—”

Nikki interrupted him. “What? You’re not staying here. You’re leaving with the rest of us.”

This caused the others to begin questioning him, but everyone was speaking at once. Frank held up both his hands, and the group quieted down. Frank looked directly at Nikki, but spoke in a tone that was meant for everyone to hear.

“I don’t believe we can leave the station unattended. All of you know there needs to be daily maintenance and repair on this ship, or she can lose attitude stability. If that happens, we can’t get back onboard. Not to mention the problems that could occur during the orbital lift burn of the engines. Somebody needs to stay here. I’m the commander, I’m staying behind. The rest of you… abandon ship. That’s an order.”

In all his years of dreaming about being the commander of the Space Station, Frank never dreamed he would ever have to give the order to abandon ship. But as he looked at the other four astronauts floating in the room in front of him, Frank thought he might have to give the order again. Because nobody was moving anywhere. All four of his fellow astronauts were just staring at him. But then the three men looked over at Nikki as if on cue. Frank followed their gazes and found Nikki with a combination of anger and pain written plainly across her California girl face.

“You can’t stay here alone.”

“Someone has to keep watch during the transfer to higher orbit. We’ve never gone up as far as they’re planning.”

“You can’t stay here alone.”

“We don’t know what will happen when we leave the upper orbit limit. If one of a hundred things go wrong, they can’t fix it from the ground."

“You can’t stay here alone.”

Frank was getting frustrated, and he was out of time. “I’m staying, and that’s it.”

Nikki was getting frustrated too. “Fine… but for the last time… you can’t stay here alone.”

She stopped and remained quiet for a moment longer. It took Frank a second to register what she was telling him. Then he got angry instead of frustrated.

“Oh no. Don’t even think about it. You’re not stay—”

“Everything you just mentioned is a two-man job.” She turned and pointed to the other three, who were watching them like a quarrel between two lovers on television. “If you don’t believe me, ask any of these guys. They’ll tell you the same thing. The station needs at least two people to operate almost any of the major systems onboard in an emergency.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Frank stopped and pulled his feet out of the stirrups before pushing off toward her a few feet away. He swung his body around where she was floating and reached out gracefully with his left arm to stop himself at her side with the other three astronauts in the background behind her. He needed her to focus on him and not be distracted by the others. “Nikki, it’s going to be dangerous. I don’t wanna lose you.”

“So what the hell? It’s okay if I lose you? You gotta get off this macho cowboy bullshit, Commander.” Nikki was not going for the sweet talking routine. “Do the math, Einstein. The Soyuz capsules only hold three people each. If all four of us leave, we’ll have to take both escape capsules.”

“That was my plan. Get all of you off of here and down to safety.”

“That’s a stupid plan… Sir. If one of us stays with you, then you have enough manpower to actually do some good here, and you still have an escape option if you need to leave.”

Frank looked past his wife and saw the others were now looking at him again. Frank surveyed their faces, and to a man, he could tell they agreed with her. He looked back at Nikki.

“Fine… but why does it have to be you?”

Nikki cocked her hand back to swing at him. She wasn’t sure what would happen if she punched him hard enough to knock him out in micro-gravity. But she was willing to find out. Before her fist got to his face, Frank’s right hand shot out from his side like a laser and grabbed her wrist. His other hand was still holding the bulkhead, which was how he was able to move so fast. But the momentum of her punch colliding with his hand in a terminal grip caused them to tumble backward and away, pulling Nikki’s feet out of her stirrups. They both rotated upside down as they fell away but twisted into each other before slamming into the bulkhead in a heap. After they impacted the wall, they grabbed each other quickly and looked into their eyes with concern that was evident on both of their faces.
“Are you okay?” they said almost in unison.

From behind them, Miroki interrupted. “Commander, we have to get going if we’re going. I think you should both come with us. But if you’re staying, then Nikki’s right. You need someone else to help. And it’s the only move that’s not a suicide mission ‘cuz you get to keep the Soyuz.” Miroki smiled when Frank and Nikki turned to look at him. “So kiss your wife and make up your mind. We gotta go.”

Frank looked back at Nikki, but he wasn’t smiling. “This is not a democracy. I’m in command, and I say you go. It’s—”

“Screw you Commander. I heard the NASA Administrator. You’re disobeying a direct order by staying here. Well, so am I. The question is, whaddya gonna do about it? Are you gonna let me help you coordinate the undocking of the escape capsule, so these guys can get the hell outta here… or does this get ugly?”

Frank and Nikki were both still holding each other, and their faces were only a foot apart. Frank could see the determination in his wife’s eyes. Hell, that was one of the reasons he married her in the first place. Because she wouldn’t put up with his shit. He made a quick command decision right there.

“Okay. Let’s get rolling.” He turned toward the others. “You guys are late getting the hell off my station. Move it.” Then he looked back at Nikki and grabbed her head with both hands. As his body floated away from the bulkhead, he laid a long kiss on her. Then he pulled away and smiled. “Get moving, Captain. I’m still in command, and I need your help getting the Soyuz undocked.” Then he kicked his leg out and shoved himself toward the hatch with his foot.

Sergey and Mischa looked at each other for a second and then they embraced in a bear hug. Sergey pulled away, and his eyes were misty.

“Come Mischa, come Miroki. We must leave before I cry like a baby.” Then he shoved himself off the bulkhead and toward the hatch to the escape capsule.

Mischa and Miroki smiled before slipping out of their stirrups and pushing off after him.

Nikki watched them all leave before taking a long look around. Only after everyone was gone did her face betray her true feelings. For all of her bravado and tough talking just a few minutes ago, Nikki had to admit that she was worried. ‘And more than a little bit frightened,’ she thought to herself as she pushed off the wall and quickly floated across the large room to the hatch on the other side.

She caught up to everyone at the hatchway into the Soyuz. Sergey and Mischa were helping each other into their spacesuits that they would wear during the de-orbit and landing. Frank was quickly getting Miroki into his suit while Nikki grabbed the task-list clipboard and began double checking all the preflight markers. Before they put on their helmets, Sergey and Mischa floated over to where Frank was finishing up with Miroki. Mischa stopped himself beside Frank and waited for him to look up.

“Commander, it has been an honor to serve with you.” He looked around at the station one last time before continuing. “I hope she holds together for you.” Then he reached out and grabbed Frank’s arm. They looked at each other for a second, and then Mischa let go.

Sergey floated over to Frank next. “Commander, you must know this. The other Soyuz may be launched and operated by only two people. If you cannot save the station, you must leave.” Then he reached out and took the Commander’s arm, holding his hand and forearm in both his hands and looking deeply into Frank’s eyes. “Be safe, my friend.” Then he floated over to join Mischa next to Nikki.

Miroki watched Sergey go and then looked at Frank himself.

“I still don’t think you should stay. But I understand why you’re doing it. Sergey’s right. Don’t be stupid. If it gets hairy up here, take the Soyuz and leave.” Miroki stopped and looked hard at Frank one last time. Then he smiled and pushed off toward the hatch where Nikki was saying her goodbyes to the Russians. Frank watched him as he floated across the small space in his bloated space suit. Then he chuckled nervously to himself and pushed over to join the others.

Sergey was kissing Nikki on both cheeks as he hugged her in a free floating embrace against the bulky spacesuit. “My California Nikita… now you will be able to set up a proper home for you and your husband, no?” Then he let out a belly laugh that rumbled across the small space and seemed to vibrate the whole station. He smiled with his entire face and then pushed himself through the hatch into the escape capsule. Mischa grabbed her next and smiled devilishly at her.

“I left you my supply of ‘Russian medicine’ in my locker.” He winked at her and kissed both her cheeks before pushing off and gliding through the Soyuz hatch, like a torpedo in a tube.

Then Miroki floated up in his bloated spacesuit to look Nikki in the face.

“You two don’t get too comfortable up here. I still got four months left on my tour, and I intend to finish it.” He chuckled at himself and then looked past her to Frank. “I guess you won’t have to make up for not giving her a honeymoon any more… Huh Commander?” Then he laughed again and slid into the Soyuz hatchway.

Frank floated over to Nikki in front of the entrance to the escape capsule. The three astronauts onboard the Soyuz were fitting on their helmets and strapping into their seats.

As Frank looked over to see his wife, she blinked her eyes and a set of teardrops floated away from her face and drifted up into the cabin, flickering in the light like airborne specks of crystal.
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Not should how I came to this post again a month later, but it got me interested. How goes the next book? Parts of your story line pop into my head all the time. I love it when a story can do that! But it makes me hungry for the next one.
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Geologist Humor - the bedrock of academic comedy :)

http://i.imgur.com/bB8IdnX.jpg
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salut comment allez vous moi c'est marie et vous 
 ·  Translate
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My 7 year old son, Luc, is becoming quite a good little artist

#homeschool  
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wow nice.
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British singer made a music video with NASA stock footage

#nasa #musicvideo  
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A bit of music is never bad. A fabulous share! Feelings heightened by NASA footage ;-)
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75 years of Superman!

From the creative minds of Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) and Bruce Timm (Superman: The Animated Series) and produced by Warner Bros. Animation, this short follows Superman through the years, from his first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 to Henry Cavill in this year's Man of Steel (check the face at 1:40)... all in two minutes!
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For all the readers out there, I'd like to introduce Brian Hartman. Drop by Amazon or Smashwords and give his books a try. You won't be sorry  :)
 
Hi, Everyone! 

I haven't mentioned this in a while, so for those of you who don't know (or have forgotten), I have stories and a book on Amazon available for Kindle that you may want to take a look at. They range from FREE (for the short story, "Last Call") to $2.99 for "Dave Riggler's Stories", my first short story collection. I hope you'll take a look and snag one.  And if you've read any of my writing, please feel free to write a review. I'd appreciate it!

http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Hartman/e/B003VH8OWA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

For those of you who have some other e-reader, here's my Smashwords page:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bhartman36

Thanks for your time, and thanks for having a look! 
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Bikers Against Child Abuse make abuse victims feel safe

#GoodNewscast  

The 11-year-old girl hears the rumble of their motorcycles, rich and deep, long before she sees them. She chews her bottom lip, nervous.

They are coming for her.

The bikers roar into sight, a pack of them, long-haired and tattooed, with heavy boots and leather vests, and some riding double. They circle the usually quiet Gilbert cul-de-sac, and the noise pulls neighbors from behind slatted wood blinds and glossy front doors.

One biker stops at the mouth of the street, parks in the middle of the road and stands guard next to his motorcycle, arms crossed.

The rest back up to the curb in front of the girl's house, almost in formation, parking side by side. There are 14 motorcycles in all, mostly black and shiny chrome. The bikers rev their engines again before shutting them down.

The sudden silence is deafening. The girl's mother takes her hand.

The leader of this motorcycle club is a 55-year-old man who has a salt-and-pepper Fu Manchu and wears his hair down past his shoulders. He eases off his 2000 Harley Road King and approaches the little girl.

He is formidable, and intimidating, and he knows it. So he bends low in front of the little girl and puts out his hand, tanned and weathered from the sun and wind: "Hi, I'm Pipes."

"Nice to meet you," she says softly, her small hand disappearing in his.

Pipes - the bikers all go by their road names for security - steps back and another biker comes forward, also bent low and hand out, smiling. She has a long blond ponytail, and her name is Nytro. Next is D'Animal, his arms thick with muscles, a do-rag covering his head.

Rock, who is as solid as one, assures the little girl: "I'm really a nice guy." She smiles. And then there's Pumpkin and, whoa, the girl looks way up, squinting against the morning sun. "Hi, I'm Tree," he says, and he's as tall as one.

Sassy. Rembrandt. And then Harmony and Shiraz, and the child does a double take. Yes, there are two of them, twin biker chicks. Surely. Uno. Smiles. Tool. Mo Money. Bigg Dogg. Fat Daddy. Ghost Daddy. Father Time. And Trucker, who's louder than all the others.

The girl chewing on her lip was abused by a relative, according to police reports - someone she should have been able to trust. He's not in the state any longer, but the criminal case is progressing slowly, so he's not in jail, either.

He still terrorizes her at night, even though he's nowhere near. She wakes, heart pounding. The nightmare feels real again. She never feels safe, even with her parents just downstairs.

The unruly-looking mob in her driveway is there to help her feel safe again. They are members of the Arizona chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse International, and they wear their motto on their black leather vests and T-shirts: "No child deserves to live in fear."

This one is very afraid.

A tough image

Even kids know that nobody messes with bikers. Bikers look big, and strong, and mean, both in real life and in how they are portrayed on television and in films. They are easy riders, sons of anarchy, not afraid of anything. And they take care of their own.

A child who has been abused by someone bigger and stronger knows too well what it feels like to be small and vulnerable. BACA shifts that balance by putting even bigger and stronger people - and more of them - on the child's side.

And if those even-bigger and stronger people are scary-looking too, perhaps with flaming-skull tattoos, chains on their belts and scars of questionable origin, so much the better.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/azliving/articles/2012/07/13/20120713bikers-against-child-abuse-make-abuse-victims-feel-safe.html
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I think awesome isn't a strong enough word for this.
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Popular Science Cans the Comments on Trolls

And I say, "It's about time." After research proved what most of us know to be true, Popular Science has decided to remove the comment section from all their new articles. The online content Director, Suzanne LaBarre, was quoted as saying,

"We are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter."

Study authors Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele wrote about their research in a New York Times op-ed:

"Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they'd previously thought."

The concept of open, unmoderated comments is unhelpful to science because it falsely makes people believe that established facts are up for debate. When it comes to science, there is no place for opinions.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/09/24/225793577/popular-science-mag-online-comments-are-bad-for-science

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/09/24/down-with-comments-popular-science-makes-the-right-call/
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Hi I am simon 
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The True Size of Africa

Africa is huge. When correctly sized and scaled from the globe, the continent of Africa is bigger than any other country. At 11.6 million square miles, it is also bigger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe combined. Unfortunately, most flat maps that people are familiar with don't have accurately scaled areas. Here's an article outlining some of the problems with mapping spherical images onto two-dimensional projections.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/01/the-true-size-of-africa-have-our-maps-been-misleading-for-over-500-years/
http://www.petersmap.com/table.html
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+Kyrre Baker Comparing a continent to countries COMBINED, not just to countries.
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People
In his circles
3,237 people
Have him in circles
27,796 people
Work
Occupation
Biophysicist, Roboticist and (mostly) Mad Scientist
Skills
I'm really good at tests.
Employment
  • Lucian Corp.
    CEO, present
    Senior Strategic Analyst and Head of R&D.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Orlando, Florida
Contact Information
Work
Address
Earth
Story
Tagline
If the job is impossible, call me.
Introduction
Here are eight random facts you should know about me before you put me in a circle.
  1. I'm a philosopher & scientist. I tend to talk about both.
  2. I don't always write short notes. In fact, I produce about a million words per year. Expect some long posts.
  3. I'm a terrible poet. But you can't stop poetry. It must come out eventually - like a sneeze.
  4. I consider myself an artist. But I've been told I shouldn't.
  5. My sense of humor operates in the 7th dimension only. Which means it's not visible in normal reality.
  6. I have traveled around the world more than once. It permanently inoculated me against racism, fascism and authoritarianism. If you suffer from any of these conditions, I suggest you travel more.
  7. I love a good book, a good conversation, a good drink and occasionally a good cigar.
  8. I'm not a spy. No matter what those guys in Belarus say.
Who am I and What do I do?

I get asked all the time about who I am and what I do. Typically, this is not a hard question for people to answer. However, the one thing that can safely be said about me is that I am not typical. At a very young age, I was allowed to begin an amazing career that has spanned almost four decades now. Unfortunately, the nature of the work I do (and who I do it for) is restricted at best, and outright classified in most cases. This, of course, makes it very difficult to explain who I am and what I do without breaking any of the rules I must operate under. But rules are rules - and the Romans love their rules.

By trade, I get paid to think, and with rare exception, the things I get paid to ponder are always big. For those who like traditional job titles, I'm the Senior Strategic Analyst for a private research think tank. I specialize in advanced technology and that is usually what I am asked to look closely at. The bleeding edge of technology always has military interest and applications, especially at the international level. In the same manner that Lobbyists operate, the government uses specialists (such as myself) to help analyze the nature and, more importantly, the impact of new technology on the international scene. In addition to these type of analyses, I am often asked to come up with new solutions to certain problems or needs. I'm not saying I have all the answers. But in my professional life, I always come up with unique and novel solutions to the problems that are posed to me. Many of these solutions required that I invent new things or technologies and I have amassed a rather large portfolio that is managed at the federal level.

On a personal note, I am a husband and a father; the best and hardest jobs I have ever had. Plus, I have a pack of eight mini dachshunds that I use to hunt ceramic garden gnomes. I'm quite proud of my trophy room with little ceramic gnome heads. (Yes, I have a thing against garden gnomes, with their little pointy hats and their red cheeks. I'm especially gunning for that Travelocity gnome.)

► TL;DR - And finally, for those who like things summed up in a sound bite, someone once called me:

◙ "a precociously smart, hyper-competitive guy with a bloodletting mean streak and a vicious sense of humor."

I'm rather proud of that

If you need (or want) more information about me, the column on the bottom of this page contains links to interesting original articles that I have recently written on Google Plus. These are great indicators of the type of work I do and the nature of my interests. The ones marked with this smiley face ツ are possibly humorous. The list at the bottom has other tidbits from the archive there, too. And, of course, you can visit the lucianrandolph.com site for even more stuff to read.
Bragging rights
According to T. Boone Pickens, "It ain't braggin' if it's true." So here goes. I've led an eventful life. When I was eleven, I wrote a paper that promptly earned me a flight on a fast helicopter followed by a meeting with the Governor of my state. I've since been introduced to more than one President. I hold the first US patent ever issued for an exoskeletal robot system, which I originally designed for NASA in the late 80's. I flew my first plane at sixteen, and I've crash-landed a helicopter and walked away. I rolled a Jeep sideways down the side of a mountain once, and I've broken the speed of sound. I watched a box of mine launch aboard the Space Shuttle at night from a point so close that I couldn't create sound in my throat because of the sonic shockwave of the rocket engines. I once drank brandy with a Curator in the top of the castle tower of the old Smithsonian while reading manuscripts from the time of the Revolutionary War. I had a three-way conference call with Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov that lasted over an hour. I’ve swum with sharks in the wild, and I killed an alligator with a 9mm pistol from point blank range one time, because it tried to eat me, and it was big enough to do it. I've been shot, stabbed, run over by a vehicle, and fallen from great heights. I've flat-lined more than once, and I know what it's like to be dead. I've been bitten by dogs, attacked by a wolf and licked in the face by a 300 pound female Siberian tiger, who I’m pretty sure wanted to do more than kiss. As a result of all of this, I never sweat the small stuff… and I consider myself to be the luckiest man on Earth. That ain't braggin' you're hearing. That's pure amazement. No one's more shocked at the stuff I've been through than me.
Education
  • LOTS of schools
    in lots of places
  • and studied lots and lots of subjects
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
June 17
Relationship
Married