Front yard rocket launch watching

It’s not often people in South Carolina can see a rocket launch, but the Atlas V launch trajectory for Boeing’s uncrewed Starliner test took the rocket over the Atlantic ocean along the US East coast this morning making this launch visible to a lot of people.

Most launches from Cape Canaveral head east out into the Atlantic, so this one was a bit different and made for an exciting early morning show.

We were watching the live stream of the launch on the phone, so when the Atlas V lifted off, we started scanning the skies. We were looking towards the east-southeast when a couple minutes after the lift-off, I looked over to the south and saw the exhaust trail of the rocket.

It was a pretty impressive sight to see something streaking across the sky that quickly.

Boeing uncrewed Starliner launch
Boeing uncrewed Starliner launch

We followed the rocket along until after the Centaur stage separated (I think that’s what it was) and it faded into the glow of the rising sun.

Atlas V exhaust plume from the Boeing uncrewed Starliner launch
Atlas V exhaust plume from the Boeing uncrewed Starliner launch

Unfortunately, some issues with the Starliner’s orbit insertion left it in an unsuitable state for meeting up with the ISS, but it’s still in orbit and I’m sure they’ll spend the next couple days running all kinds of tests before its scheduled landing in New Mexico on Sunday.

KitKats: Canada vs USA

One of the things we brought back from our trip to Edmonton a few weeks ago was a variety box of Halloween candy: Aero, Coffee Crisp, Smarties, and KitKats.

Naturally, we got some US KitKats to compare with the Canadian KitKats. These are the mini Halloween sized candy bars, not the full size bars.

In Canada, KitKats are a Nestle product while in the US, they’re a Hershey product manufactured under license from Nestle. Size differences aside, they’re also a little bit different on the inside.

KitKat cross-section. Left: Canadian KitKat. Right: US KitKat

First thing that’s noticeable is that the layer (chocolate?) between the wafers is darker and more distinct in the Canadian KitKat. It’s hard to tell there’s anything between the wafer layers of the US KitKat, but it turns out the inter-wafer stuff just a different colour.

Between the wafers. Left: Canadian KitKat. Right: US KitKat.

Taste-wise, the Candian KitKat seems a little crisper, and a bit more chocolatey than the US KitKat. If I was doing a taste test, I’d choose the Canadian KitKat.

Mah gimpy foot followup

First, everybody thought maybe the lump on the side of my big toe left over from the sprain might be gout, or pseudo-gout. After a course of medication without any change, my doctor referred me to rheumatology. The rheumatology PA I saw was dubious about it being gout-related, especially since there wasn’t the usual pain associated with gout. Possibly some residual slow-healing damage from the sprain.

After a second follow-up appointment with the PA, I got some additional x-rays of the toe to check for anything like a stress fracture that might not have been seen with the foot x-rays.

Nothing obvious to my eyes, and they look pretty similar to the foot x-rays done back in July. Lump on the side of my right toe appears to be just soft-tissue related.

Looks like I just keep an eye on it now and see if it eventually heals up.