There wasn’t that much to see at Solar 1 during Open House New York. The most exciting exhibit was the waterless urinal. It didn’t smell and wasn’t as dirty as it could have been. The solar cells on the roof supply all the power for this shack, which provides services for Stuyvesant Cove Park. Summertime cooling is provided by the breeze off the East River and a couple of ceiling fans. Though they are on the grid for winter heating.
Solar 2 is much more ambitious and will cover most of the two acres of the park. It is described in the video below:
A recent documentary from BBC’s Horizon about the possible colonization of the Moon for its fusion fuel, Helium-3. He-3 is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. Moon rocks trap these isotopes from passing solar winds, Earth’s atmosphere repels them. Advocates claim that it is economically feasible to be strip mining the moon by 2020. China, Russia, and the US seem to be in the race.
This sounds like a disaster. Imagine the rocket fuel stink in the air, when we are trucking up tons of miners, food, water, equipment, housing and air daily. How is the He-3 to get back down to us, railgun/parachute or earth-orbit ferry? Having a moon cannon pointed at us, or more rocket fuel stink, which is it?
On the other hand, Moon walker Edgar Mitchell says: “We have to learn to live within our means here.” He advocates restricting the Moon for scientific research as we do Antarctica.
Also featured in the video: America’s funniest astronaut Moon stumbles, someone who has made Nine Million Dollars selling fake deeds to Moon property, and a scientist (Larry Clark) who heats up artificial moon dust and harvests H2O.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a thin, flexible, mercury-free, more efficient than incandescent, and cheap form of lighting. It consists of aluminum foil treated with acid and laminated in either glass or plastic. livescience.com
Walking down Avenue A, last night this trail looked like it came out of The HOR.
I was amazed that my dmc-fz5 was able to get this much detail, handheld. One of you must be able to identify the aircraft. I’ve been seeing a lot of trails in the sky lately. There probably is an ideal temperature and pressure for forming such fluffy clouds. Is it that recent weather at jet flying altitude has been just right? Any meteorologist, or aviation expert, care to enlighten me?
Hans Albrecht Bethe – July 2, 1906–March 6, 2005. Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. Head of the Theoretical Division developing the first atomic bombs, and also played an important role in the development of the larger hydrogen bomb.
Bethe later campaigned together with Albert Einstein in the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists against nuclear testing and the nuclear arms race. He influenced the White House to sign the ban of atmospheric nuclear tests in 1963 and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (SALT I) in 1972.
He is one of the few scientists who can claim a major paper in his field every decade of his career, which spanned nearly sixty years. Freeman Dyson called Bethe the “supreme problem solver of the 20th century.”
Interesting information, crappy video. You can find many of the illustrations for this talk here: pdf
But this is well worth seeing, for an understanding of the state of this emerging technology. He talks about making it “easy to engineer biology, really easy.” The process is analogous to electronic circuits. He emphasizes the positive potential. I see an equal potential for disaster, leaving powerful tools in the hands of the greedy and stupid.
The Way Things Go – A lengthy (26 minute), and dangerous looking (It’s full of strange chemical reactions, flames and fireworks) video of a Rube Goldberg device. There are several dissolve transitions in it, which makes this kind of a cheat, but it is very cool anyways.
There is a short appended section showing some kids doing a Rube Goldberg project in school. That segment is what, for some reason, shows up in the image above.
Dr. Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and founder of Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), has spent 17 years perfecting IEC, a fusion process that converts hydrogen and boron directly into electricity producing helium as the only waste product. Most of this work was funded by the Department of Defense, the details of which have been under seal… until now.
As a science fiction reader, Bussard’s ramjet is a familiar idea, magnetically gathering hydrogen for use as fuel for interstellar travel. It was fascinating seeing him, and his lecture on his fusion energy project, which apparently has been experimentally proven to work. He claims that only 200 million dollars more into the project should produce a practical working prototype.
He disdains Tokamak fusion reactors as “cathedrals of super conduction,” that will never work, but continue to provide “rice bowls” for thousands of physicists. “I often thought that Lavrentyev of the Soviet Union invented it and gave it to us so that we would never get there.” Tokamak is the official fusion path chosen by the DOE.