16 posts • joined Thursday 12th June 2008 10:35 GMT
Some years ago my company was running a graduate recruiting programme and I got to talk to a number of female graduates at recruitment fairs but when it came time for applicants we did not get one female applicant. My theory is that we were a fairly small company with few benefits or career potential, so we could not attract any females. There were so few of them in the market they knew they could cherry pick from all the firms offering positions, knowing that the HR depts would be falling over themselves to get more female engineers in their company. Go to the really big companys and see how many females work in IT related jobs there (IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google) and note how much better there jobs are in terms of wages and benefits. Why settle for less.
The corollary of this is that women don't need to grasp at straws so much when looking for jobs and would rather be in a role they know they can do (and thus avoid all that chauvinistic crap about not being good enough) and also avoid facing humiliation at an interview (usually involving chauvinist male IT experts) having to BS their way past the recruitment barriers. I do believe that BS is one area where men are better suited and more experienced.
Paris because it's the only icon that has any vaguely female perspective.
Look back in anguish
Aside from going back to my suggestion of just using gun wadding soaked in an oxidizer (which will form a pretty good pressure seal at low temperatures), could I suggest looking at the principles behind the old pulse-jets. Create a combustion chamber at the exit that allows a build up of pressure inside the rocket motor while also providing a tuned exit pipe that allows the pressure to be released in a controlled pulse of thrust. With the right dimension you might even be able to prolong the firing into a series of jet pulses. Just a thought or am I basically saying the same as all the others.
Sorry to put a damper on this solution but won't the silicon harden in the cold ( remember the 'O' rings on the shuttle) and form a solid barrier leading to a compression chamber and resulting blowout. This seems to be an OTT solution that will cause more problems than it solves. KISS.
Not being a rocket scientist, this suggestion my be too simple to work but surely just packing the end with gun wadding would provide a sufficient barrier to allow the burn to commence and once it gets going the wadding would either burn up or be expelled. To counteract the lact of oxygen at that altitude, how about soaking the wadding in some chemical that liberates oxygen when heated. I'm sure there are several candidates but Phosporus pent-oxide comes to mind.
There is another way.
There are vast tracts of desert and frozen wilderness that could be developed (anyone remember the "Greening of the Deserts" proposition) to provide sustainable ecosystems using bio-domes. What we need to ask is "who is stopping us doing this". The technology exists, if the current space exploration plans are to be believed, and it would be much easier and cheaper to implement than trying to ship all the raw materials across vast distances of space. The difficulties are much reduced being limited only by a supply of water (desalination anyone!) and available energy (Solar anyone!). Every other obstacle can be overcome with sufficient application of MONEY.
So what does this alternative give us? First it provides employment (those biodomes won't build and maintain themselves), then more housing for all those elderly people who don't need to be in the heart of London or other large metropolis, more food and more investment in technology. Win, win, win.
Sadly it will require huge investment in very long term developments, with little or no profit to be seen (sounds like a cue for a government grant), in areas of the planet that no one wants to live in. There has to be incentive to make this work and at the moment (and for the forseable future) there is no incentive to do this.
KISS the balloon
Surely the simplest solution would be to have two electrical contacts glued to the balloon such that they close when the balloon is deflated but open as the rubber skin stretches apart during inflation. when the balloon pops the rubber will contract again, closing the contacts and firing the ignition circuit. Simple, light and rugged. You may want to cover the contacts to prevent ice forming over them but otherwise failsafe and fast.
The advantage of this system is that it is not affected by turbulence or altitude variations as it triggers only and exactly when the balloon bursts.
Any GPS system should do altitude as well as position (it's what it was designed for). Should be accurate enough. Though I'm not sure if any phones will do the job, as most are Assisted GPS, which relies on land based transmitter triangulation and the algorithms are only concerned with calculating map positions, not heights.
The main limitation to using 3D printers will be the energry needed to power them (and anything they produce). Assuming that solar power would be the only available source the first thing a 3D printer would need to do is create more solar panels but to assemble and deploy them would require some kind of robot. It's almost a chicken and egg situation. Once you have that problem solved you can then go on to making bigger and more complex machines which in turn can be used to make bigger and more complex machines until you have got enough to build a habitable dome. This of course assumes you can make stuff without water or any other liquid that hasn't boiled off into space and that mining for the necessary minerals is just an easy dig into the topsoil.
There seems to be at least one type missing from this list. What about those that post just to be heard, neither contributing nor actually saying bad things. They could be termed the 'Me Too' group which could be extended to cover those that reply by simply agreeing with the previous poster.
I think a flat triangular platform having tether wires at each apex, with triangular bracing would be quite sufficient if you are making it out of carbon fibre. I also think the vertical fin would work in spite of the fact that the rig will be travelling with the wind as it would provide inertial drag against rotation (like a shock absorber). Placing the equipment towards the rear of the triangular platform would ensure that it is pointing upwards in the right direction. Slinging the rocket plane under the platform would add extra complexity in requiring a release running rail to ensure that the rocket was moving in the right direction before it left the launch platform (you dont want a stall drop like in the PARIS launch).
Surely the best way to tidy up debris without destroying the craft is to use good old newtonian physics. Turn the craft (and attached debris) round to face the opposite way to the trajectory and eject the debris 'backwards'. This will both slow the debris (sending it into a decaying orbit) and slightly speed up the hoover-ship, helping it on its way to the next piece of scrap. A simple spring mechanism should suffice, with a little motor to wind the spring back in again ready for the next mission.
Did no one else spot the intrepid glider flying into shot at 1.05minutes into the clip (top right hand side). Proof if proof were needed that this was a great success.
However, if the Vulture team were to repeat the exercise I would hope that they mount the glider pitched down about 45 degrees to git it some forward momentum as it dropped. You can clearly the see the start of the stall as it drops from the balloon.
Old News Surely?
I remember that years ago, when the BBC thought the public would be interested in science, that there was an item on Tomorrows World about research into bacteria to eat unwanted plastic, pretty much along the lines that this Guy has managed to do. What happened to that? Did the Plastics Industry stomp it out of existance.
There was also research into biodegradable plastics, which I think was successful, so why do supermarkets insist on giving us non-biodregradable bags, and even worse threaten to charge us for them to make their conscience clearer!!! Again, who is stopping the use of Biodegradable plastics? The plastics Industry perhaps?
Paris because she is the ultimate in biodegradable plastic.
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