The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'aerospace'
A Qantas aerospace engineer has found that pumping sound into aircraft wings makes them perform better. Furthermore, he found that some sound performs better than others; for example, JJJ grunge-rock band Spiderbait works better than Pommy art-rock miserablists Radiohead. (Of course, the question remains of which Radiohead material he tested it with. Would Creep, for example, work differently from Kid A, or do Thom Yorke's nasal vocal timbres have a uniform effect on aerodynamics?)
Concorde may be dead and gone, but supersonic passenger air travel may yet return; France and Japan have signed an agreement to develop a successor to Concorde, which will be able to fly from New York to Tokyo in 6 hours. Though, given Peak Oil and the looming oil crunch, it's probably not likely to be any more affordable than the original was. I suspect that Ryanair won't be putting in an order for any.
Concorde, the 1960s-vintage supersonic airliner, is being retired. British Airways and Air France, the two operators of Concorde flights, have announced that they will be permanently grounding the planes, which have been troubled by technical problems and the decline in air travel. So now, supersonic air travel will cease to be a luxury for the super-wealthy or aviation obsessives and become another part of a bygone era, like passenger airships.
And quite a bit further down, another era is ending on the New York Subway, as the introduction of a new ticketing system brings to extinction a species of lowlife indigenous to the system: the token sucker:
The criminal carefully jams the token slot with a matchbook or a gum wrapper and waits for a would-be rider to plunk a token down. The token plunker bangs against the locked turnstile and walks away in frustration. Then from the shadows, the token sucker appears like a vampire, quickly sealing his lips over the token slot, inhaling powerfully and producing his prize: a $1.50 token, hard earned and obviously badly needed.
And deterrence, when dealing with someone willing to clamp his mouth to one of the most public surfaces in all of New York City, was next to impossible. "These guys were on their last legs," Officer McGarry said. "If they were going to jail, it was just an inconvenience for them." (In an interview with a reporter for The Los Angeles Times in the early 1990's, one token sucker acknowledged the depths of his desperation. "Hard times makes you do it," he explained, adding: "Anyways, I've kissed women that's worse.")
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing are working on anti-gravity propulsion technology; they are attempting to solicit the aid of a Russian scientist, Dr. Evgeny Podkletnov, who claims to have developed a device called an "impulse gravity generator". (It is not known whether Podkletnov was involved in the development of Russia's "jumbo cosmosphere" programme.)
But it is also apparent that Podkletnovs work could be engineered into a radical new weapon. The GRASP paper focuses on Podkletnovs claims that his high-power experiments, using a device called an impulse gravity generator, are capable of producing a beam of gravity-like energy that can exert an instantaneous force of 1,000g on any object enough, in principle, to vaporise it, especially if the object is moving at high speed.
The fact that "free energy" is mentioned in the story, however, seems a bit dubious. Though, if this succeeds, it may finally put the USAF on a par with the Nazi flying saucers based inside the hollow earth fnord. (via bOING bOING)
US Roundup: And now, the latest news from the World's Leading Nation: Firstly, it comes out that George W. Bush's successful missile defense test was a fake, with the target missile being rigged with a GPS beacon for the "kill vehicle" to lock onto. Now if we could persuade Saddam to make GPS beacons standard equipment, then everything would be fine and dandy, but failing that, the test is a sham. Meanwhile, ancient superstition has triumphed over scientific progress with the House of Representatives voting to ban stem cell research, on Scriptural grounds. And the White House's reproductive health policy, surprisingly enough, will divert funds from those subversive pinko feminists in the family-planning movement towards an abstinence-based strategy, closely tied to evangelical Christian groups.