Topic: TECHNOLOGY

BIG JOHN

Now here is a handy piece of information for those of larger proportions who are tired of the daily balancing act and would enjoy a strong and comfortable throne… especially those who may have added a few more pounds than they realized and no longer appreciate standard size seats.

With the U.S. population growing “outward” as well as upward in numbers - including athletes endowed with a large bone structure - American designer ingenuity has come to the rescue at long last.

These designers and manufacturers are providing such personal products as super-sized bath towels, bathroom scales that go up to 1,000 pounds, and other such needed luxuries for LARGE people. But nothing on the market would accommodate comfort in one vital area of the bathroom, until Aiton Levy designed the Big John Toilet Seat.

While helping create custom bathrooms for professional athletes, Levy became aware of the need for an oversized toilet seat and did something about it. He came up with the idea for this longer, stronger, higher and wider seat as an adjunct to the decorative bathroom hardware he designs and markets.

While friends may have seen humor in the situation at first, Levy figures he will be the one laughing… all the way to the bank… when a national distributor takes over the sales and promotion aspect. He is currently selling Big Johns from his Web site http://bigjohntoiletseat.com [http://bigjohntoiletseat.com], which shows photos, prices, and attributes of this unique product.

Big people everywhere should appreciate Aiton Levy… and Big John.



BIOTECHNOLOGY - CHANGING OUR FOOD

Cloning, cell fusion, mutation, and genetic manipulation may sound like Star Trek terminology, but each is a process scientists use on food in today's laboratories.

The scientific revolution known as biotechnology is under 20 years old, yet it is already changing our tomatoes, milk, fruit and other types of food. Examples:

  • By isolating a single gene that makes tomatoes rot rapidly, they genetically engineered a tomato that stays firm longer, but is the same in all other respects.
  • Another tomato plant is being altered to contain bacterial protein that is toxic to plant-eating insects, but not other living things.
  • A pituitary hormone produced in cattle increases milk production when injected into cows.

The ultimate question may be: How many properties can scientists change in an organism before it becomes something else? That happened when they crossed a tangerine with a grapefruit. The result is now sold as a tangelo.

Soon, there may be low-fat, low-cholesterol steaks; long-lasting nutritionally superior vegetables; and fruits abundant because of extended growing seasons — all courtesy of this biotechnology.



CELL PHONE USERS UNHAPPY

January 5, 2004 http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/cell_satisfaction.html [http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/cell_satisfaction.html]

No matter which wireless carrier consumers use, a survey shows few are happy with their service. Consumer Reports' annual cell phone survey shows that consumers experienced chronic, major problems with service, billing, and complaint handling with every national cell phone company.

The survey, conducted last September and based on the experiences of over 39,000 ConsumerReports.org subscribers in 17 cities, indicates that overall levels of satisfaction for wireless service remain lower than for most other services that Consumer Reports rates.

The report also shows that the overall satisfaction index has only nudged one point, from 65 to 66 points, since the annual survey was begun three years ago.

Although Verizon topped Consumer Reports' ratings in each city, as it did in the previous two surveys, it wasn't problem-free. And in 10 cities it wasn't ahead of the pack in a statistically meaningful way. In most of the 17 cities, T-Mobile came in a close second. Some other highlights from the survey:

  • Thirty-five percent of respondents were seriously considering a switch of carrier. Most of those who had already switched said they were after better service.
  • Nearly 70 percent of those who use a cell phone frequently had at least one dropped call in the week before the survey.
  • Nearly 60 percent said they had a bad connection.
  • Only 40 percent said the company's response to a billing inquiry was very helpful.
  • Only 31 percent said the company's response to a service inquiry was very helpful.

“Our survey findings are particularly troubling in the context of the recent spate of mergers within the wireless industry, which we believe will lead to decreased competition and increased prices,” said Jim Guest, President of Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

“Consolidation is not a panacea to the service and customer satisfaction problems that continue to plague the industry. In the case of the Cingular and AT&T merger, both companies had problems with overloaded circuits. We don't see how a merger could improve that.”

For the first time ever, Consumer Reports asked subscribers about their shopping experiences. Respondents complained of the challenges associated with shopping for a wireless plan. At least 83 percent had some trouble shopping for wireless phone service and 52 percent complained that they had to sign up for a long contract to get the best price on a phone.

When trying to compare plans from competing carriers, 48 percent said it was hard, and 43 percent also found it difficult to figure out the true cost of the service.



END OF A COMMUNICATIONS ERA

WESTERN UNION QUIETLY STOPS SENDING TELEGRAMS
From Yahoo News. Forwarded by Harold Green

After more than 160 years of service, Western Union quietly stopped sending telegrams. On the company's web site, if you click on Telegrams in the left-side navigation bar, you're taken to a page that ends a technological era with about as little fanfare as possible:

“Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative.”

When was the last time you saw one?

The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin.

Western Union has not failed, however. It long ago refocused its main business to make money transfers for consumers and businesses. Revenues are now $3 billion annually. It's now called Western Union Financial Services, Inc. and is a subsidiary of First Data Corp.

The world's first telegram was sent on May 24, 1844 by inventor Samuel Morse. The message, “What hath God wrought?” was transmitted from Washington to Baltimore. In a crude way, the telegraph was a precursor to the Internet in that it allowed rapid communication, for the first time, across great distances.

Western Union goes back to 1851 as the Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company. In 1856 it became the Western Union Telegraph Company after acquisition of competing telegraph systems. By 1861, during the Civil War, it had created a coast-to-coast network of lines.

Other company highlights:

  • 1866: Introduced the first stock ticker.
  • 1871: Introduced money transfers.
  • 1884: Became one of the original 11 stocks tracked by the Dow Jones Average.
  • 1914: Introduced the first consumer charge card.
  • 1964: Began using a transcontinental microwave beam to replace land lines.
  • 1974: Launched Westar I, the first U.S. dedicated communications satellite.

On Jan. 26 - the last day you could send a telegram - First Data announced it would spin off Western Union as an independent, publicly traded company.



FLEDGLING DAYS OF AMERICAN AVIATION

By Denham S. Scott
Reprinted from North American Aviation Retirees Bulletin - Summer 2001
Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO

How many of you know that in 1910 the mighty Martin Marietta Company got its start in an abandoned church in Santa Ana, CA? That's where the late Glenn L. Martin with his mother “Minta” Martin, and a mechanic named Roy Beal, built a fragile contraption in which Glenn “taught himself” to fly.

It has often been told how the Douglas Company started operations in 1920 by renting the rear of a barbershop on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. The barbershop is still there.

The Lockheed Company built its first Vega in 1927 in what is now the Victory Cleaners and Dryers at 1040 Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood.

Claude Ryan who at 24 held a reserve commission as a flyer, had his hair cut in San Diego one day in 1922. The barber told him how the town aviator was in jail for smuggling Chinese across the border. Claude investigated and stayed on in San Diego to rent the old airfield from the city at $50 a month and replace the guy in the pokey. He agreed to fly North instead of South.

In 1928, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Transcontinental Air Transport (now TWA) and the Douglas Company chipped in enough money to start North American Aviation, a holding company. The present company bearing the Northrop name came into being in a small hotel in Hawthorne. The “hotel” was conveniently vacant and available because the police who raided it found that steady residents were a passel of money-minded gals who entertained transitory male guests.

After Glenn Martin built his airplane in the church, he moved to a vacant apricot cannery in Santa Ana and built two more. In 1912 he moved to 9th and Los Angeles Streets in downtown Los Angeles. Glenn was then running a three-ring-circus. Foremost, he was a showman who traveled the circuit of county fairs and air meets as an exhibitionist aviator. Secondly, he was an airplane manufacturer. He met his payroll and bought his lumber, linen and bailing wire from proceeds of his precision exhibition flying. His mother and two men ran the factory when Glenn was risking his neck and gadding about the country. One of the men was 22-year old Donald Douglas who was the “engineering department” and the other was a Santa Monica boy named Larry Bell, who ran the shop

The third circus ring was a flying school. It had a land plane operation in Griffith Park and later at Bennett's Farm in Inglewood, and a hydroplane operation at a place that's now part of the Watts District. A stunt flyer named Floyd Smith ran it. One of his first pupils was Eric Springer, who later became an instructor and then Martin's test pilot, still later the test pilot for the early Douglas Company, and then a Division Manager.

Eric and Floyd taught a rich young man named Bill Boeing to fly. Having mastered the art; Boeing bought a Martin biplane, hired Ross Stem, Glenn's personal mechanic, and shipped the airplane to Seattle. Later, when it crashed into the lake and Boeing set about to repair it, he ordered some spare parts from Martin in Los Angeles.

Martin, remembering the proselytizing incident with Ross Stem, decided to take his sweet time and let Boeing stew. Bill Boeing said, “To Hell with him”, and told Ross Stern to get busy and build one of their own.

Boeing had a friend named Westerfelt and they decided to form a company and build two airplanes. These two “BW” airplanes bore a remarkable resemblance to the Martin airplane, which, in turn, had been copied, from Glenn Curtiss. There seems to be a moral about customer relations and product support mixed up in this episode.

During WW-I, a bunch of sharpies from Wall Street in New York got control of the Wright Company in Dayton and the Martin Company in Los Angeles. They merged the two companies into the Wright-Martin Company. They sent a young man named Chance Vought to be their Chief Engineer. Donald Douglas lost no time in quitting and went to work for the U.S. Signal Corp.

The Wright-Martin Company started building obsolete “standard” biplanes and Hispano-Suiza engines, with the latter under a license agreement with the French Government. Martin told them what they could do with them, and took off for Cleveland, taking Larry Bell and Eric Springer with him.

Having the backing of a baseball mogul to build a new factory, Martin was soon joined by Donald Douglas who went to work and came up with the design of the Martin Bomber. It came out too late to see service in WW-I, but showed its superiority when General Billy Mitchell made everyone mad at him by sinking the captured German battlefleet. The deathblow to the allegedly Dreadnaught “Osfriesland” was delivered by the Douglas designed Martin Bomber.

At Cleveland, a young fellow called “Dutch” Kindelberger joined the Martin Company as an engineer. Also a veteran Army pilot from WW-I named Carl Squier became Sales Manager. His name would become one of the most venerable names in Lockheed history. Back in 1920, Donald Douglas had saved $600 and struck out on his own. He returned to Los Angeles, found a backer, David Davis, rented the rear of a barbershop and some space in the loft of a carpenter's shop where they built a passenger airplane called “The Cloudster”

Claude Ryan bought this a couple years later and made daily flights between San Diego and Los Angeles with it. This gives Ryan the distinction of being the owner and operator of the first Douglas Commercial Transport, and certainly a claim to be among the original airline passenger operators.

In 1922, Donald Douglas was awarded a contract to build three torpedo planes for the U.S. Navy. Douglas lived in Santa Monica, but worked in Los Angeles. Away out in the wilderness at what is now 25th Street and Wiltshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, there was an abandoned barn-like movie studio. One day Douglas stopped his roadster and prowled around to investigate. The studio became the first real home of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

With the $120,000 Navy contract, Donald Douglas needed and could afford one or two engineers. He hired my brother Gordon Scott newly over from serving an apprenticeship to the Martinside and the Fairey Aviation Companies in England. Gordon was well schooled in the little known science of Aviation by 1923.

My first association with some of the early pioneers occurred when I visited my brother Gordon at the barn at 25th Street. I found him outside on a ladder washing windows. They were dirty and he was the youngest engineer. There were no janitorial services at the Douglas Company in those days.

Gordon introduced me to Art Mankey, his boss and Chief Draftsman, and four of his fellow engineers. There was a towhead guy called Jack Northrop, a chap named Jerry Vultee, and a fellow named Dick Von Hake, a reserve Army flyer. Jack Northrop came from Santa Barbara where he had worked during WW-I for the Lockheed Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The fourth member of the Engineering Group was Ed Heinemann. They were all working on the design of the Douglas World Cruisers. Shortly afterwards, Jack Northrop left the Douglas Company in 1926. Working at home, he designed a wonderfully advanced streamlined airplane. He tied back with Allan Loughead who found a rich man, F. E. Keeler, willing to finance a new Lockheed Aircraft Company.

They rented a small shop in Hollywood and built the Northrop designed Lockheed “Vega”. It was sensational with its clean lines and high performance.

In May 1927, Lindbergh flew to Paris and triggered a bedlam where everyone was trying to fly everywhere. Before the first Vega was built, William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the Hearst newspaper chain, bought it and entered it in the Dole Race from the Mainland to Honolulu, which was scheduled for 12 August 1927.

In June 1927, my brother Gordon left the Douglas Company to become Jack Northrop's assistant at Lockheed. He also managed to get himself hired as the navigator on the “Golden Eagle”, the name chosen by Mr. Hearst for the Vega, which hopefully would be the first airplane to span the Pacific.

The race was a disaster! Ten lives were lost. The “Golden Eagle” and its crew vanished off the face of the earth.

With its only airplane lost under mysterious circumstances, a black cloud hung heavily over the little shop in Hollywood. However, Captain George H. Wilkins, later to become Sir Hubert Wilkins, took the Number Two airplane and made a successful polar flight from Nome, Alaska to Spitzbergen, Norway. After that a string of successful flights were to put the name of Lockheed very much in the forefront of aviation.

At Lockheed, Jack Northrop replaced the lost Gordon Scott with Jerry Vultee. In 1928, Jack quit the Lockheed Company to start a new company in Glendale called Avion. Jerry Vultee then moved up to become Chief Engineer at Lockheed. He hired Dick van Hake from the Douglas Company to be his assistant. A young man named Cliff Garrett joined the Lockheed Company as the driver of their pick-up truck.

I went to work at Lockheed shortly after the “Golden Eagle” was lost. I became the 26th Lockheed employee. The Vegas were made almost entirely of wood and I became a half-assed carpenter, generally known as a “wood butcher”

In 1929, Jerry Vultee quit the Lockheed Company to start the Airplane Development Company, which became the Vultee Aircraft Company, a division of E. L. Cord, the automobile manufacturer. He later merged with Reuben Fleet's Consolidated Aircraft Company to become Convair. When Vultee left Lockheed, Dick van Hake became the Chief Engineer.

In the meantime, Glenn Martin closed his Cleveland plant and moved to Baltimore. His production man Larry Bell moved to Buffalo to found the Bell Aircraft Company. Carl Squier left Martin to tie in with the Detroit Aircraft Company, which had acquired the Lockheed Aircraft Company and seven others. They hoped to become the “General Motors” of the aircraft business! They appointed Carl Squier as General Manager of the Lockheed plant, which moved to Burbank in 1928.

At this time, General Motors had acquired North American Aviation, which consisted of several aircraft companies in the East. Ernie Breech, formerly with Bendix but now with General Motors, hired “Dutch” Kindelberger away from Douglas to head up the aircraft manufacturing units. “Dutch” took Lee Atwood and Stan Smithson with him. The companies involved were Fokker Aircraft, Pitcairn Aviation (later Eastern Airlines), Sperry Gyroscope and Berliner-Joyce. Kindelberger merged Fokker and Berliner-Joyce into a single company and moved the entire operation to Inglewood, California.

Thus, a handful of young men played roles, which profoundly affected all of our lives and the lives of millions of other Americans. They changed Southern California from a wasteland with a few orange groves, apricot and avocado orchards and the celluloid industry of Hollywood to a highly sophisticated industrial complex with millions of prosperous inhabitants.

This technological explosion had some very humble and human beginnings. The “Acorns” took root in some strange places: a church, a cannery, a barbershop, but from them mighty Oaks have indeed come to fruition.

(From a speech given by Mr. Denham S. Scott to the AIA on March 119, 1968.)



GLOBAL WARNING

Two scientific groups studying global warming for the past two years say thermal effects could cause serious environmental damage much sooner that previously thought unless nations take practical measures now. They say the higher temperatures may come early in the next century, much sooner than predicted by most scientists.

Global warming is caused by heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that pour into the atmosphere to raise the earth's temperature. The result could upset nature's balance by causing polar melting that would increase sea levels to inundate coastlines, agricultural droughts that would diminish the world food supply, thermal effects on all living things and many other disasters.

The scientists recommend immediate action to limit the temperature rise to no more than one-fifth of a degree each decade. This action would include improving energy efficiency, placing greater reliance on natural gas, increasing reforestation efforts and expanding various alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass technologies.

Without such action, global temperatures could rise as much as 2 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2025 and by more than 5 degrees by the end of the 21st century.



HOW THE V-22 OSPREY WORKS

By Craig C. Freudenrich, Ph.D.

It has long been a dream of aircraft designers to create an airplane that not only can fly long ranges at high speeds and carry heavy cargo, but can also take off, hover and land like a helicopter. Such a plane would have the flexibility to handle many different types of military missions and would also have civilian and commercial uses.


The Osprey can fly like a helicopter or an airplane. Navy Photo.

The V-22 Osprey is such a vehicle. This versatile craft has been developed for the military by Bell-Boeing Aircraft. Through the use of a tilt rotor, the Osprey can take off and land like a helicopter, but convert to a turboprop airplane while in flight. The aircraft's rotors can fold, and the wings can rotate so it can be stored on an aircraft carrier.

Despite the Osprey's military potential, a series of crashes have resulted in the grounding of the plane. Subsequent investigations could…If you'd like to read the rest of this story and many others on a great Web site called “How Stiff Works, click here. [http://www.howstuffworks.com/osprey.htm]



HY WIRE

THIS IS THE FUTURE
Forwarded by Frieda/Lynn

We don’t know how far in the future it will be before this will become commonplace, but it is a stunning concept!

If you’ve been increasingly concerned about the escalation of gasoline prices and the danger of a future oil shortages, not to mention the effects of such on our national economy and our personal lives, here is a small ray of hope, wrapped up within a $5 million dollar General Motors research effort.

Turn up the volume, click here [http://www.youtube.com/p.swf?video_id=ry6w3mRm-FM&eurl=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch_video%3Fv%3Dry6w3mRm-FM&iurl=http%3A//sjl-static16.sjl.youtube.com/vi/ry6w3mRm-FM/2.jpg&t=OEgsToPDskKZ_E5iHkgELb8Fyza2t-DY ], and click the center arrow when it comes up.



IS BIG BROTHER WATCHING YOU?

TATTLETALE ON BOARD
From the Appleton WI Post-Crescent
Forwarded by Woody Lindskog

If you own a 2004 or later GM, Ford, Toyota or Honda vehicle, you may be transporting a passenger you didn’t know about. And that passenger has been taking notes.

Boxes that record whether you used your seat belt, how fast you drive and whether you had your foot on the brake or accelerator before an accident, came as standard equipment on about 30 million cars now on the road.

They’ve been used in New York to convict a driver whose black box said he was driving his Cadillac at a speed of 106 mph - just seconds before he slammed into another car and killed the driver - instead of the 65 mph he claimed.

Understandably, insurance companies are very interested in that kind of information, and so are prosecutors as well as traffic safety engineers.

There are no rules in most places about who owns the information, or requirements that manufacturers inform car owners they have a tattletale riding shotgun.

Several states are in the process now of answering those questions.



LEAP SECOND

ATOMIC CLOCK TAKES QUANTUM LEAP
By Staff Sgt. Don Branum, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

SCHRIEVER AFB CO (AFPN) 1/6/2006 - A leap second on the clock that doesn’t come along very often, and it’s a subject of debate between astronomers and clock watchers. Outside the debate is the job of making sure everyone who relies on the leap second receives it.

That job, in the hands of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron here and the U.S. Naval Observatory, went without a hitch Dec. 31 as the USNO clock ticked to 23:59:60 Universal Time Coordinate.

Leap seconds came about as the result of the United States adopting atomic clocks as time standards, said Bill Bollwerk, head of the USNO Detachment Colorado here. “When the U.S. went to atomic clocks, we found they were more stable than the earth’s rotation.”

Atomic clocks, which use the “ticking” of cesium-133 atoms, are about 4,000 times more accurate than the Earth’s rotation. Because of this, the United States defined a second in 1958 as the time it takes for an atom of cesium-133 to tick through 9,192,631,770 cycles.

The difference between an atomic second and an astronomical second seems small — usually a second or less during a year, which is 31.5 million seconds long. Over several years, however, the fractions of a second add up. When they add up to 0.9 second, the International Earth Rotation Service, located at the USNO in Washington, D.C., adds a leap second to the calendar.

The Naval Observatory ole of squadron is to ensure everyone in the Department of Defense receives the leap second correctly.

“(The USNO’s) role is the time standard for DOD,” Mr. Bollwerk said. “We maintain correct time. Our responsibility is to put DOD time in conformance with the UTC standard.”

Proper handling of leap seconds is crucial for navigation and satellite communications, Mr. Bollwerk said. Global positioning system timing signals help synchronize the position of the earth relative to the satellites, ensuring the best possible accuracy for military and civil users.

Power companies use the USNO master clock’s precise timing to control power distribution and reduce power loss, according to the USNO’s Leap Second fact sheet. In addition, radio and television stations require precise timing in order to broadcast and synchronize nationwide transmissions to local audiences.

The Dec. 31 leap second was the first since Dec. 31, 1998 — the longest span of time without a leap second since they were implemented in 1972.

Leap seconds have sparked controversy between astronomers and those who rely on the stability of the atomic clock. Some researchers believe leap seconds will become more frequent, occurring twice per year, as the earth’s rotation slows over the next century.

Astronomer Dennis McCarthy, a retired director of the USNO Directorate on Time, advocates abolishing the leap second. However, both astronomers and time experts agree that little data supports the assertion that leap seconds have been problematic.

Until or unless scientists can agree on a different solution for the difference between atomic and astronomical time, 23:59:60 may become ever more familiar to clock watchers and Schriever’s space professionals.



MEET THE F-16I SUFA

The long-awaited Israeli F-16I Sufa (“Storm”) recently rolled off Lockheed Martin's production line in Texas into the waiting hands of Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who was on scene to receive the new aircraft, the first of 102 ordered by Jerusalem in 1997.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) chose to acquire the latest version of the world renowned Lockheed Martin F-16 over additional purchases of the more expensive twin engine Boeing F-15I for which the IAF placed an order for 25 in 1997.

The estimated $4.5 billion dollar F-16I deal ($45 million per aircraft) will be financed by the annual U.S. military aid package and concludes the largest Israeli military purchase in history. Each F-15 cost approximately $84 million.

For several views of this sleek aircraft and a wealth of technical information, click here [http://israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/f-16i/F-16I.html ].



MILITARY TESTS ALTERNATIVE FUEL CELL

Robins AFB Georgia is one of 30 military installations worldwide selected for testing an electrochemical device that generates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen as an alternative fuel source - producing water as a byproduct.

Carl Perazzola, advanced alternative power technology transition section chief, said turning to alternative fuel sources is a way the U.S. can preserve its fossil fuel resources. “Most of our bases have natural compressed gas for heating and cooling loads,” he said, “so we began looking at it as an alternative fuel source.”

Reaching temperatures up to 700 F, the fuel cell captures heat to produce hot water for Robins' firefighters' showering, laundering and cooking needs, and scrubs out sulfur to purify the hydrogen for fuel usage.

President George W. Bush's January State of the Union Address highlighted his $1.3 billion request to Congress for fuel cell funding. Fuel cells are seen as a way to reduce DOD's fuel bill and help bases comply with the Clean Air Act of 1970

Robins AFB partners with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, the funding source of the project, to make the base a beta test site.

Col. David Nakayama, head of Support Equipment and Vehicle Management Directorate, said if the system proves to be reliable it may become more than an alternative fuel source. It may become the fuel source norm.

“The United States imports more than half of its petroleum,” he said. “There are significant social, political and military implications with that because 64% of the world's oil comes from the Middle East. The cost of foreign oil dependence is no longer an economic environmental issue. There are serious strategic concerns. Replacing fossil fuel sources with alternative solutions is not something that can be dealt with tomorrow, it must be faced today.”

“We're very fortunate to have the first fuel cell beta test site at Robins AFB,” Nakayama added. “Fuel is one of the most difficult things to move in any conflict, in any campaign. If we can solve that, we've not only reduced the logistical footprint of our deployed troops, but we've changed how we defend American interests around the world.” AFPN



NOTHING IS SACRED ANYMORE

From 1stAdmPAO

Customer: “Hello, I would like to place an order.”
Operator: “May I have your multi-purpose card number first, sir?”

Customer: “It's uh… hold on…it's 6102 0499 9845-5461 0.”
Operator: “Thank you. You are Mr. Singh and you're calling from 17 Wood Avenue, your home number is 555 999-2366, your office 555-999-7645, and your Mobile is 555-266 2566. Which number are you calling from now sir?

Customer: “Home. How did you get all my phone numbers?”
Operator: “We are connected to the system, sir”

Customer: “May I order your Seafood Pizza?”
Operator: “That's not a good idea sir”

Customer: “How come?”
Operator: “According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure, and even higher cholesterol, sir”

Customer: “Well… what do you recommend then?”
Operator: “Try our Low Fat Hokkien Mee Pizza. You'll like it”

Customer: “How do you know for sure?”
Operator: “You borrowed a book entitled “Popular Hokkien Dishes” from the National Library last week, sir.”

Customer: “OK I give up. Give me three family-size ones. How much will that cost?”
Operator: “That should be enough for your family of ten, sir. The total is $49.99.”

Customer: “Can I pay by credit card?”
Operator: “I'm afraid you must pay us cash, sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank $3,720.55 past due. That's not including the late payment charges on your mortgage loan, sir.”

Customer: “I guess I have to run to the neighborhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives.”
Operator: “You can't, sir. Based on the records, you've reached your daily limit on machine withdrawals for one day.”

Customer: “Never mind. Just send the pizzas, I'll have the cash ready. How long before they will be here?”
Operator: “About 45 minutes, sir, but if you can't wait you can always come pick it up on your motor scooter.”

Customer: “What motor scooter?”
Operator: “According to the details in the system, you own a scooter, with registration number E1123.

Customer: ” *'! *%^**%I7*”
Operator: “Better watch your language, sir. Remember on 15th July 1987 you were convicted of using abusive language on a policeman?”

Customer: (Speechless)
Operator: “Is there anything else, sir?”

Customer: “Are you sending me the three free bottles of cola, as advertised?”
Operator: “We normally would, sir, but based on your records, you're a diabetic”



PROGRESS ON UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

Unmanned Aircraft Smart, But Trigger Finger is Human
By Otto Kreisher, Special Correspondent
From the Navy League’s SEAPOWER magazine, forwarded by 1stAdmPAO

The drive to develop pilotless aircraft that can replace manned planes on the most dangerous, or the tedious, combat missions has produced some important technological advances. However, while they may be unmanned, the authority for them to release weapons is likely to remain in human hands.

In mid-April, an unmanned Y-shaped jet built by Boeing dropped a 250-pound smart bomb that came within feet of its target at the Edwards Air Force Base range in California. A year earlier, a kite-like robot produced by Northrop Grumman flew a precision approach and touched down for what would have been a four-wire trap on a simulated carrier deck at Naval Air Weapons Center in China Lake, Calif.

The two unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) that performed maneuvers normally requiring highly trained pilots are the early products of an ambitious program called the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS), directed by the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA).

It is “the largest unmanned systems development ever undertaken” by the Pentagon, according to Michael Francis, director of the J-UCAS program at DARPA. The Pentagon plans to spend more than $4 billion during the next five years to develop and test larger and more capable versions of the Boeing and Northrop UCAVs for the Air Force and the Navy.

The Department of Defense also will produce a highly integrated complex of computer software, called the Common Operating System, that will manage all the systems and functions of the individual air vehicles and their control stations, and tie them into the military’s global networks of sensors and command-and-control assets.

The program’s goal, Francis said, is to allow the two services, by the end of the decade, to make informed decisions on whether to produce one or more models of the unmanned aircraft to conduct a variety of missions. The Air Force’s primary need is for deep strike, suppression of enemy air defenses and electronic attack. The Navy’s initial interest is for persistent reconnaissance and surveillance missions. But the Common Operating System and both of the airframes are expected to have the inherent capability to perform any of those missions with little or no changes.

The services’ decision could trigger a procurement process worth tens of billions of dollars and could change the nature of air combat. “We want to advance an unmanned capability that augments the manned force in the most difficult combat situations,” Francis said.

Navy Capt. Ralph Alderson, DARPA’s deputy director for the Boeing program, said unmanned systems make sense because “the removal of human restrictions really gives us an edge in several areas.” Those include longer missions because it can carry fuel instead of a pilot and human support systems, and “endurance is limited by the machine, not human needs,” he said.

An unmanned aircraft also has the potential for greater survivability because it can withstand higher G forces and have a smaller radar cross section without a cockpit, he explained.

The U.S. military experimented with an armed Ryan Firebee drone during the Vietnam War, but never used it in combat because it was limited by line-of-sight communications. But MQ-1 Predator UAVs fired Hellfire missiles in combat in Afghanistan, and more recently in Iraq, when satellite relays allowed a remote operator to find a target and shoot.

In 1998, after earlier technology experiments in UCAVs, DARPA gave contracts to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to propose concepts for an Air Force UCAV. Boeing won the development contract on March 24, 1999. Just 38 months later, the X-45A, a 12,000-pound tailless robot, flew for the first time.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman used its own funds to continue work on its UCAV offering, the X-47A Pegasus, hoping to attract the Navy’s interest. Northrop Grumman was joined by Lockheed Martin, its partner in the Joint Strike Fighter program. The gamble paid off on June 30, 2000, when DARPA awarded $2 million contracts to Northrop Grumman and Boeing to develop a Navy UCAV.

DARPA’s programs gained greater status later that year when Congress, led by Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner, R-VA., decreed in the fiscal 2001 defense authorization that by 2010 one-third of the deep-strike aircraft should be unmanned.

Then on April 28, 2003, on Pentagon orders to start over with a joint program, DARPA awarded Boeing $140 million and Northrop Grumman $160 million to develop larger, stealthy UCAVs with longer range and a bigger payload for both services.

The unmanned craft is expected to fly at about Mach .8, at altitudes up to 35,000 feet with at least a 1,300-nautical mile combat radius and a 4,500-pound payload.
To manage the new effort, last October DARPA formed the Joint Systems Management Office, modeled on the Joint Strike Fighter program.

The UCAV effort gained another endorsement in February when a Defense Science Board task force studying the needs of the future strategic strike force advocated development of a family of stealthy, “unmanned, global surveillance/strike systems” for the Air Force and the Navy

Working under its initial contract, Northrop Grumman flew its 5,500-pound X-47A for the first time on Feb. 23, 2003, ending with a simulated carrier landing. The landing was guided by the Shipboard-relative Global Positioning Satellite System, an adaptation of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System Naval Air Systems Command developed to allow hands-off carrier landings by manned aircraft. Northrop Grumman then stopped work on Pegasus and started working on the joint program. That one X-47A flight was necessary to show the Navy that an aircraft that “looks like a Doritos chip” could make a precision carrier landing, said Scott Winship, the Northrop Grumman UCAS program director.

Boeing continued to fly its UCAV and after an earlier test of its ability to release a weapon, on April 18 the X-45 relayed targeting data to an inert GPS-guided bomb and scored a near miss on the target from 35,000 feet. That was “a very significant milestone,” said Darryl Davis, Boeing’s X-45 program manager. In its news release announcing the feat, Boeing said the bomb was dropped “under human supervision but without human piloting.”

That statement reflects a key feature of the UCAV program: No matter how advanced its technology, the unmanned warplane will not be allowed to release a weapon without human authorization. Although the UCAV’s computers will have “as much autonomy as possible,” Francis said, “for some functions, the human computer is better and in some, like the moral imperative, the human computer is the only option. I don’t think that, in the rules of engagement I’m familiar with, the robot gets to make lethal decisions.”

For the next phase of the program, Boeing is building the X-45C, a much larger craft that “is designed to take affordable stealth to the next level and to provide the most persistent, longest-range tactical sized aircraft in the modern Air Force inventory,” Alderson said. Powered by a General Electric engine, the 45C will have a gross weight of about 36,000 pounds, a wingspan of nearly 50 feet and carry up to 4,500 pounds of ordnance in two weapons bays. The concept recently passed its midterm design review and is expected to make its first flight in 2006.

The Northrop Grumman-Lockheed Martin team now is working on the X-47B, an even larger craft that will weigh more than 45,000 pounds. To improve its low-speed handling and endurance, wing extensions will be added to the “Doritos chip,” giving it a wingspan of 62 feet. The X-47B — which will be powered by a Pratt and Whitney engine — recently passed a systems requirement review and also expects first flight in 2006.

Both of the UCAVs will use the Common Operating Systems for internal and external management. Both will have high levels of autonomous operations and advanced target recognition capabilities to reduce the workload on the remote human “manager,” the program officials said. That autonomy is important because each manager is expected to be responsible for multiple UCAVs during a mission.

Each of the UCAV teams will produce at least three aircraft, which will go through extensive operational evaluations starting in 2008, leading to production decisions by the Air Force and the Navy, Francis said. A spokesman for Warner said the senator believes the goal of fielding one-third of the deep-strike force with unmanned aircraft by 2010 “is still achievable and he will do everything he can do legislatively to achieve that.”

DARPA, Boeing and Northrop Grumman consider that goal worthy, but do not consider the 2010 date achievable, given that operational evaluations do not begin until 2008.

Otto Kreisher is a correspondent for the Copley News Service



REPLICA RECREATES HISTORY (1999)

Moffett Field, Calif. - On March 1, NASA began testing a full-scale replica of the historic 1903 Wright Flyer, in the world's largest wind tunnel here at the Ames Research Center. The test was expected to last two weeks.

“Testing the Wright Flyer gives us a chance to relive history,” said Craig Hange, Ames' wind tunnel test engineer. “By understanding its flight characteristics, we gain a better understanding of the Wright Brothers' science and engineering skills, as well as an appreciation of the process that led to the development of the airplanes we fly today.”

A team of volunteers from the Los Angeles section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics built the replica with donated materials. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington supplied the precise data taken from the original on display there. The new one replicates the original in design, size, appearance and aerodynamics, some changes were made to strengthen it to withstand the test. It features a 40' 4” wingspan reinforced with piano wire, cotton wing coverings, spruce propellers and a double rudder. Following the tests, the aircraft will be transported to Hawthorne, Calif., to become a permanent lobby display at the FAA Flight Deck museum.

Using the wind tunnel results, these AIAA engineers will build a second Wright Flyer replica to be flown on Dec. 17, 2003, commemorating the 100th Anniversary flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, N.C. During a recreation of that famous flight, the aircraft will fly low and travel at only 30 mph, the same speed the original flew during its initial flight of 120 feet, staying airborne for 12 seconds. Fred Culick, 63, of Altadena, Calif., will be the first to fly it. He is a private pilot and an aeronautics professor at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Jack Cherne, TRW engineer and chairman of the Wright Project said, “The work of the Wright Brothers founded the science and technology of aeronautics, and their accomplishments form one of the grandest chapters in history.” In contrast to the Wright brothers, who took less than a year to build their biplane, AIAA volunteers spent their Saturdays for the past 18 years planning and assembling the replica.



ROBOTS WORK TO COUNTER BOMB THREATS

By Larine Barr, Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH, 4/29/2005 , (AFPN) — After a civil engineer was injured by a sub-munition while clearing a bed-down area during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom at Tallil Air Base, Iraq, it was time to find a solution to the problem

Robotics research group officials are investigating the next generation of robotic devices to address rising threats from terrorist explosives.

The Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., based group is developing small robots that will be able to conduct visual reconnaissance and detection as well as defeat the devices. It is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s materials and manufacturing directorate.

Read Full Story [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123010404 ]



RUSSIAN AIR SHOW

Forwarded by Dave Benson

The Russians paint their aircraft much prettier now. They can't afford to build them for themselves, but they will build them for anyone who can pay.

Check them out here [http://www.richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/AirShows/Maks2005/Highlights/ ].



SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES (1996)

Mention Albuquerque to the average person and he or she likely will say, “Oh, yes, that's where they fly all those beautiful hot air balloons every year.” The same person probably has no idea how much scientific experimentation has taken place here since WWII and the tremendous impact the actions at this base have made on world history.

Travelers passing through the area on east-west Interstate 40 will see a lot of growth and development, new buildings and heavy local traffic — maybe even a little smog, of all things. But they won't see or hear much about the exotic past research and development that no doubt will continue well into the future.

THE BASE

What began as the small Albuquerque Army Air Field in 1939 merged with Sandia Base in 1943 and was renamed Kirtland when the Amy Air Corps became the U. S. Air Force in 1947. Today, it is one is one of the Air Force Materiel Command's largest facilities — occupying 52,000 acres and employing almost 20,000 people, 9,700 of whom work in non-federal and civilian contractor positions. Recent analysis notes that Kirtland's economic impact on the City of Albuquerque amounts to $3.2 billion.

The catalyst for what has evolved here since 1945 was the most significant event of the 20th century - the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Not only did this change the course of the war, but also the military thinking from conventional to nuclear weaponry.

That same year, the Manhattan Engineering District created the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Sandia Base (which became the Air Force Special Weapons Center in 1953). The pioneering agencies occupying the base since early 1946, gaining information on nuclear weapon development and deployment, constituted the greatest body of knowledge and training capability available anywhere.

Through years of growth and change, several major commands have headquartered at Kirtland and in 1993 it came under control of the newly-formed Air Force Materiel Command. Its current host organization is the 337th Air Base Wing, which supports more than 150 tenant organizations.

These tenants include Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center, 58th Special Operations Wing, New Mexico Air National Guard, Defense Nuclear Agency Field Command, Air Force Security Police Agency, Air Force Inspection Agency, Air Force Safety Agency, Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories.

One of the most interesting free attractions in the Southwest is the National Atomic Museum here. It displays casings of atomic bomb types, nuclear carrying aircraft and weapons, models of atomic powered ships, detailed exhibits, movies, etc.

THE LABORATORIES

The prime tenant at Kirtland AFB is Sandia National Laboratories. It got its start in 1945 at Albuquerque as a division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1949, President Harry Truman wrote a letter to American Telephone & Telegraph Corporation with an offer of “an opportunity to render an exceptional service in the national interest, by managing Sandia.” AT&T complied.

The original mission was to provide engineering support in the design of nuclear weapons. That mission has expanded through the years to include many other aspects of national security as well. Since the early 70s, Sandia has also conducted energy and environmental research.

Sandia is a Department of Energy laboratory and in 1993 the Department awarded Sandia's management contract to Martin Marietta Corporation. (now Lockheed Martin Corp.) Today Sandia operates as part of Lockheed Martin's Energy & Environmental Sector headquartered in New Mexico. Typical Sandia projects include these diverse efforts:

Aerial Cable drop testing


Centrifuge launch simulation

Climatic Testing

Electromagnetic environment simulation


Explosive testing

Test ranges

Aircraft fuel fire simulation

Horizontal actuator for shock pulse

Core reactor melt experimentation

Laser tracking

Light-initiated high explosive testing

Lightning simulation

Photometric instrumentation

Radiant heat simulation

Rocket sled testing

System response instrumentation

Vibration and modal testing


Water impact scale model testing

Microscopic motor manufacturing

Rocket-building robot manufacturing

Chip reliability testing

Spectrograph analysis of plasma cells

Programs in electronics, computers, space environment, energy, nonproliferation, etc.

Although sharing new technologies with industry is not a primary mission of Sandia, some business partnership result from doing cutting-edge research and development in support of national goals.

Over the years Sandia has worked with companies large and small, developing such things as solar energy systems, more efficient automobile engines and transferring useful technologies.

During 1994-95, it purchased $880 million worth of goods and services — including $470 million in New Mexico and $115 million in California. Of this amount, almost half went to small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses and small women-owned businesses.



SAVE WATER, MONEY, ENERGY NOW!

With so many ways to save water, here are five key actions to help you capture the water savings around your home.

1. Stop those leaks.
2. Replace your old toilet, the largest water user inside your home.
3. Replace your clothes washer, the second largest water user in your home.
4. Plant the right plants with proper landscape design and irrigation.
5. Water only what your plants need.

CLICK HERE, [http://www.h2ouse.org ] then click on the “Learn more” to find out information for each action. Remember, every drop counts!



SCARY DATA BASE

By LtCol Charles Revie USA, (Ret) forwarded by p38bob

In July 2006 a new database became available free of charge to the general public. It displays your personal information (names, addresses, phone number, birth dates). Social Security is available for a price.

You will be SHOCKED as I was. I do not know how many of our names are appearing in it, but I checked my own and a few other random ones and they were all there.

The spamming that will result could be unbelievable and identity thieves could have a field day!

Check to see if your name and information is in the database.

Take a look HERE [http://www.zabasearch.com ], then type your name and click “Submit“.

If your name is there, and you don’t want it to be, send an e-mail to info@zabasearch.com and request that they remove it along with all associated data.

After opting out by email, check back within a week or so to make certain your information has been deleted. If not, then file a complaint with your State Attorney General.

For Snopes information, click HERE. [http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/zabasearch.asp ]

I urge you to forward this article to your family and friends.



SEARCH ENGINES

Forwarded by Don Harribine

Q: What are the most popular search engines on the Web today? I know about Google and Yahoo!, but aren't there others?

A: Yes, there are several other search engines besides the ever so popular Google and Yahoo! When people first started getting into computers and using search engines a lot more, Yahoo! was the most well known and the most used. In time, Google surpassed that with some new and distinct features. But, what some people don't know is that there are many others that you can use as well.

Here's a list of a few of them:

  • AltaVista
  • All the Web
  • Ask
  • Dogpile
  • Excite
  • LookSmart
  • Lycos
  • MetaCrawler
  • MSN Search
  • Netscape Search
  • WebCrawler
  • …and many others not listed here.

All are very good and can help you get your search done right. If you still like using Google or Yahoo! there is nothing wrong with that either! But, maybe you can mix it up a little next time you do an online search!



STOP THE SCAPEGOATING

By Ben Stein, 5/9/2006.

There is something profoundly disturbing about the national craze to blame the oil companies for higher gasoline prices. It's not disturbing that people are upset about having to pay hugely more for gasoline and oil products. It's not disturbing that they are looking for someone to blame.

The disturbing part is that we as a nation and as a government are blaming entities that have absolutely nothing or next to nothing to do with causing the high oil prices. It is as if we just arbitrarily decided that all left-handed people were to blame for the oil prices. That's how crazy it is.

Oil companies do not set oil prices. Oil prices are set on gigantic world markets by young millionaire hedge fund traders, by university endowments speculating in commodities, by Chinese importers seeking new sources of oil for their red hot economy, by India doing the same thing, by Americans needing cars to make us feel big and tough.

The American oil companies pay these high prices by and large, add in the costs of refining and transporting, tack on the taxes we need to build our roads, and then sell us our gasoline. We in turn suck it down our throats and zoom around in our big huge cars as if gasoline were still $1.50 a gallon.

Yes, some of the oil the oil companies sell is in fields they bought years ago and paid a lot less per barrel for than today's prices. When the price of oil skyrockets, the oil companies make money. Lots of money. But this is how corporations are supposed to work: when prices for things they already own go up, they make money. They're not charities and we wouldn't be able to drive for long if they were. And the money the companies make goes to the shareholders, which is basically everyone in the nation with a pension plan, and most of the rest goes to find new oil for us to guzzle down in our 500-horsepower chariots f the future.

Where's the harm? There's no price fixing. There's no stealing. There are just a lot of traders getting very rich driving up the price of oil and a lot of legitimate forces making buyers willing to pay it.

You may not like it and I certainly hate paying four bucks a gallon at my local station in Malibu. But blaming the oil companies is pure scapegoating. Immense world-wide forces are at work. Immense markets are at work. The oil companies are corks in the ocean compared with those forces.

By all means, let's conserve. By all means, let's drill off the coast of Malibu. It would give me some pretty lights to look at by night. Let's also use ethanol and used cooking oil. But let's get something straight. We won't solve a single thing by blaming the wrong people for the problem. Seeing things plain is the first step to salvation. It's high time to stop blaming the messenger — the oil companies — and the first step to seeing things plain.
————————————————-

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes “Ben Stein's Diary” in every issue of The American Spectator. You can email Ben at editor@spectator.org.



SUPER JUMBO AIRBUS MAIDEN FLIGHT

By Laurence Frost, AP Business Writer

BLAGNAC, France - Cheered by tens of thousands of onlookers, the world's largest jetliner touched down Wednesday with puffs of smoke from its 22 outsize wheels, ending the historic maiden flight for a plane that Airbus hopes will carry it to market dominance.

The A380's four-hour sortie past the snowcapped Pyrenees removed any doubt that the behemoth capable of carrying as many as 840 passengers is airworthy. But it did little to convince skeptics, led by U.S. rival Boeing Co., that the plane will prove profitable.

About 30,000 people watched the takeoff and landing, police said, many from just outside the airport perimeter, where whole families spent the night awaiting European aviation's biggest spectacle since the supersonic Concorde's first flight in 1969.

Applause reverberated across the airfield and adjacent Airbus headquarters in this town outside the southwestern city of Toulouse as test pilots Claude Lelaie and Jacques Rosay emerged from the big white plane with a blue tail, waving happily, with their four fellow crew members

Flying the plane was as easy as “riding a bicycle,” Rosay said. Engineer Fernando Alonso said the crew enjoyed an “extremely comfortable” flight.

“Now shareholders can sleep better at night,” chief flight engineer Gerard Desbois added.

Read all of the story here [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/a380_first_flight].



THE FUTURE IS SOONER THAN YOU THINK

VIRTUAL TOUR OF NEW 747-8
Forwarded by Slim Russell

Absolutely incredible. A luxury for those willing to pay the price.

Spare the three minutes it takes to view the video [http://747.newairplane.com/funstuff/Video/747-8/747-8_interior_movie.wmv ].



THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN GASOLINE

Excerpted from Matt Badiali’s article from Dr. Steve Sjuggerud’s DAILY WEALTH Newsletter

Henry Ford was almost a century ahead of his time. Ford’s design for the original Model-T, in 1908, called for the engine to run on a special form of alcohol - a substance called ethanol. After all, ethanol comes from corn, a plentiful resource. It’s safe and renewable.

He even called ethanol the fuel of the future. Ford, however, didn’t end up using alcohol. He found it less costly to go with leaded gasoline. This was a blend of gasoline and tetraethyl lead - a fuel additive that made engines run more efficiently.

Massive quantities of this lead-based additive were produced as America began its driving addiction. The thing is, lead is nasty stuff. Overexposure causes blindness, kidney failure and cancer. Workers in lead production were poisoned. So by 1979, the perils of tetraethyl lead caught up with it and its use was banned.

A new additive, and the first “new gasoline” was found to replace leaded gas. The new additive was MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether). MTBE was hailed as a cleaner, safer alternative to tetraethyl lead.

Folks thought it was a silver bullet. It helped engines run smoother, and it burned clean as a whistle. The new gasoline burned so clean, it reduced airborne pollution, and some gasoline was “reformulated” with twice the MTBE content as regular gasoline. If a little was good, double was better. Gas with MTBE quickly took over as the “new” new gas, and air pollution-prone cities, like Denver and LA, soon required the use of it.

Today, we use 200,000 barrels of MTBE per day. The problem is, MTBE isn’t as safe as we thought. America recently discovered that MTBE leaks into the nation’s water supply, potentially causing major health problems and therefore requiring complicated treatment at taxpayers’ expense. There was so much MTBE in groundwater by the 1980s that legislators decided to do something. By 2004, six states outlawed the use of MTBE.

As of May 5, 2006 – every gas company in the nation, all the way from the tiny mom and pop station down the street to the biggest of the Big Oil companies, must replace the MTBE in their fuel lines with ethanol, or they face serious litigation.

This changeover is arguably the biggest shift in American energy policy of the past 27 years.

If it were up to Big Oil, they wouldn’t change a thing. This “switch” could cost them an additional $25-$80 billion dollars over the next 12 months. But this mandate comes directly from the U.S. Congress and President Bush himself.

The U.S. Government mandates that Big Oil must add Henry Ford’s fuel of the future – ethanol – to all gasoline produced in the United States.

There are a handful of reasons for this mandate. But the biggest one is this: Gas burns cleaner with ethanol added — it’s more environmentally friendly.

The deadline has Big Oil scrambling to install ethanol-infrastructure in their refineries, and to buy up as much ethanol as they can get their hands on. This frenzy is not only causing a boom in the price of ethanol, but a construction boom as well. Right now, there are 97 ethanol plants in the United States. That number should double in the next few years. Over 30 plants are currently under construction. There are plans for another 150 new plants and extensions.

You see, according to Section 1501 of last summer’s Energy Policy Act, America has to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel annually by 2012,” nearly 90 percent increase over today’s usage. That’s a guaranteed long-term market for ethanol.

While ethanol may just be a short-term fix to a long-term energy problem that’s only intensifying in its severity, ethanol is, at least for the next 6 years, here to stay.



THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD

SOMETIMES IT DOES TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST
A true story, forwarded by Slim Russell

NASA scientist built a gun specifically to launch standard 4 pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers.

When the gun fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.

The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.

NASA responded with a one-line memo — “Defrost the chickens.“



TO ALL WHO FLEW BEHIND ROUND ENGINES

From Cpooleusn7@wmconnect.com. Author unknown

We gotta get rid of those turbines, they're ruining aviation and our hearing.

A turbine is too simple minded, it has no mystery. The air travels through it in a straight line and doesn't pick up any of the pungent fragrance of engine oil or pilot sweat.

Anybody can start a turbine. You just need to move a switch from “OFF” to “START” and then remember to move it back to “ON” after a while. My PC is harder to start.

Cranking a round engine requires skill, finesse and style. You have to seduce it into starting. It's like waking up a horny mistress. On some planes, the pilots aren't even allowed to do it.

Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a lady-like poof and start whining a little louder.

Round engines give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click-click, BANG, more rattles, another BANG, a big macho fart or two, more clicks, a lot more smoke and finally a serious low pitched roar. We like that. It's a GUY thing.

When you start a round engine, your mind is engaged and you can
concentrate on the flight ahead. Starting a turbine is like flicking on a ceiling fan: Useful, but, hardly exciting.

When you have started his round engine successfully your crew chief looks up at you like he'd let you kiss his girl, too!

Turbines don't break or catch fire often enough, leading to aircrew boredom, complacency and inattention. A round engine at speed looks and sounds like it's going to blow any minute. This helps concentrate the mind!

Turbines don't have enough control levers or gauges to keep a pilot's attention. There's nothing to fiddle with during long flights.

Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman Lamps. Round engines smell like God intended machines to smell.



TWO YEARS UNDER GLASS (1990)

Eight environmental scientists will begin a two year uninterrupted experiment on Dec. 5, 1990. Their unique environment will be inside a huge steel and glass dome biosphere at Oracle, Arizona, near Tucson.

Known as Biosphere II, the closed 2+ acre self-contained laboratory duplicates the Earth's ecosystem, including 3,800 varieties of plants and animals.

The mission of the privately funded $30 million project is to solve environmental problems such as pollution. It also is a prototype for sustaining life in space.

This biosphere duplicates environments such as desert, ocean, grassland, fresh and saltwater marshes, agriculture and human habitat. The “Biospherians” will grow their own food and recycle and regenerate wastes in their enclosed laboratory.

Crew members are: Bernd Zabel,41, the team leader from Germany; Abigail Alling, 31, a marine biologist and co-captain; Dr. Roy Walford, 66, gerontologist, nutritionist and pathology professor at UCLA School of Medicine; Linda Leigh, 38, who spent three weeks alone in a similar environment in 1989; Sally Silverstone, 35; Jane Elizabeth Poynter, 28; and Mark Van Thillo, 29. All are single and have worked together over three years.

Electricity, telephones and computers will link the scientists with the outside world during their two-year commitment inside the dome. If illness or emergency requires any of them to leave the biosphere, they can exit through an airlock system.

According to Margret Augustine, chief executive officer for Space Bio-sphere Ventures, “All crew members are highly qualified, talented, dedicated, enthusiastic and extremely special people. They've proven themselves by facing difficult and dangerous situations.”



WHAT TECHNOLOGY CAN DO IN A WAR ZONE

Forwarded by Jackmac

These pictures were taken from an AC130 Specter gunship aloft and two and a half miles away. The insurgents in the picture are setting up a roadside bomb and planning to ambush an American convoy which followed a short while after these pictures were taken.

They were setting up for the ambush and were pacing off the distance from the bomb to where the convoy was to pass by.

Turn your sound up. The gunship is armed with 40mm cannon.

http://CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO [http://www.lvlranch.com/images/iraqiinsurgents-takeout.wmv ] of the live action.