Tech Tuesday – Shrimp on the Barbie Edition
Productive weekend. Fixed two doors, tore up some Davidiums and replaced them with Lilacs, cleaned the car, etc. PS: Why must interior door frames and hinge screws be so cheap? Both doors had the screws stripping out of the jambs. Had to take them off and pack the holes with epoxy so the screws would have something to bite into. I’m starting to think jambs should be constructed with T-nuts and use machine screws.
TT01 – Looks like it’s not just my Bug who hates garlic. Given how much my wife and I love garlic, there are days I wonder if the lab didn’t mix up the embryos…
TT02 – Lockheed says it is still on track to develop a compact fusion reactor by… hrmmm… well, they don’t give a time frame, so let’s just say sometime in the next 10 years.
TT05 – Certain fresh water sources contain a nasty little parasite that is second only to malaria in lethality. Those parasites spend part of their lives living inside a certain snail. Modern efforts to control the snail population (and thus the parasite) require the use of toxic pesticides. Now, say hello to our tasty little friend, who can be grilled, fried, battered, and goes great with garlic and butter, etc. Seems the prawn thinks those snails are as delicious as we think the prawn is, and will hunt them near to extinction. So how does one leverage all of this to the benefit of all? Farm the prawns in the waters infested with the snails and the parasite. Prawns get fat eating snails, parasite can’t find a host for it’s life cycle, and the affected humans get cleaner water and a marketable product. So who wants to fire up the barbie?
TT06 – Another day, another way to do solar desal. I’m mainly linking this for the attached time lapse video.
TT07 – No, the Airbus “Bird of Prey” will never be built (the efficiency gains such a design might realize would be more than eaten up in weight and maintenance costs), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a useful thought experiment in aerospace design. Honestly, it’s good to sit down and kick around unconventional and impractical designs for any technology. As we chase the efficiencies and limits of any particular design, we can get stuck in a mental, and budgetary, rut. The tube with wings design of modern airliners has been radically successful, so much so that it’s very difficult to get people thinking about other ways to move people and cargo through the air. Toss in the budgetary constraints; development takes time and money, tooling might need reworking, infrastructure at both the factory and elsewhere might need changes (re: the A380 and the changes needed to the runways and the jetways to support such a beast), and it piles on. It’s something of a success curse. Once a design is accepted and commonplace, even if it is not the best design we can come up with today, radical departures from that design will require massive gains in performance, efficiency, and savings before people will want to look at it. Engineers try, of course, to move towards the better design, but the better design can be radical enough that moving towards it is Sisyphean.
Still, my favorite source of such radical departures from conventional design are comic books and Hollywood, two sources that rarely concern themselves with reality. They can come up with some crap that might, at first glance, look practical and cool, but once you dig in… Still, sometimes they hit upon interesting ideas that are worth exploring. And besides, it helps keep the brain flexible, even if the process isn’t.
With regard to the BoP design, those wingtips can both serve to disrupt wingtip vortices, and, if they are movable, act as ailerons. The tail can be much more efficient than a common empennage, provided the whole thing has at least 4 degrees of freedom. Of course, the ability of those structures to move, and to do so quickly enough to maintain aerodynamic stability, is what prevents them from being practical right now. But that is what gets you to thinking, what could we do, right now, or in the next few years, to go down that path? What are the costs? What are the gains?
TT08 – Eh, might as well, it’s just going to waste otherwise.
TT09 – You think anyone will protest this one starting up, or when it launches? I can kind of understand people protesting nuclear power plants near their homes. I think it’s shortsighted, but I get it. People protesting the launch of a nuclear power plant for a space craft was one of those things that told me such people should not be taken seriously.
TT10 – Using biology to craft the next generation of even tinier computer chips.
TT11 – Physicists are coming after Einstein with black holes. Einstein manages to withstand the suck, but he’s starting to look a little worse for wear. And Newton? Newton is right out, he’s relegated to common, everyday crap.
TT12 – A quantum 3D spin fluid. No, I have no idea if there is any practical application for such a thing. There is a thought that it might enable high temperature super conductors. It’s cool and all, and verifies a prediction, but beyond that, I got nothing. And I don’t think anyone else does right now, either.
TT13 – Watching a Red Giant die.
TT00 – The evolution of the space suit.