Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gyroplanes of the World

From Sport Copter of Oregon:
In case you didn't already know, "gyrocopter", "gyroplane", "autogiro" and "autogyro" all mean the same thing, and the most important feature shared by gliders, airplanes, helicopters and gyroplanes is that they all use wings to fly. It's just that on helicopters and autogyros the wings are mounted on pylons and spin in circles, but they are rigidly affixed to the sides of airplanes and gliders. Other than that, they all get into the sky the same way: You move a wing rapidly through the air and it produces Lift. The rotating wings of a helicopter are directly-driven by the engine, enabling it to hover; whereas the rotating wings of the gyroplane are free-spinning, meaning it can't hover – though it can come astonishingly close to it, because it needs very little forward speed to stay airborne.

The cardinal virtue of the gyroplane is its ability to do nearly everything a helicopter can do, at only a fraction of the cost, while doing it more safely than any other kind of flying machine. While even the most mundane gyroplanes are true STOL (Short Take-Off/Landing) vehicles, they can be configured to take-off and land with no ground-roll at all. Moreover, their exceptional STOL capabilities make them terrific for "bush" or water operations. Helicopters are vastly more mechanically complex than any other kind of aircraft, with a host of critically interdependent moving parts, which is why they cost several times as much to purchase and maintain as a same-sized gyroplane. Meanwhile, many gyroplanes can be purchased and operated for less than some motorcycles, and because they fly in a constant state of autorotation, even a total engine failure results in a parachute-like descent, making them the safest of all aircraft.As if all that weren't wonderful enough, a typical gyroplane can stay aloft at 5 to 10 knots airspeed, and even a small gyroplane (in the hands of a competent, experienced pilot) can be operated safely under high wind conditions that would keep gliders, ultra-lights, blimps, balloons, space launches and most private airplanes on the ground. Moreover, gyroplanes are capable of the same forward speeds as helicopters. This is so because of the rotating wings, and their "wing-loading", a term describing how many pounds of an aircrafts total weight are supported by each square foot of its wings; Gyroplanes have very high wing-loading because their rotorblades have so little total area, using rotational speed rather than size to generate lift. So gyroplanes really do offer exceptional utility. _SportCopter
SportCopter of Oregon
Gyrocopters provide an amazing freedom of movement at a relatively low cost. They can be equipped with skis for snow and ice, or floats for water TO/Ls. If you need to make a quick getaway from a gridlocked mega-city when the fecal matter hits the rapidly rotating blades, consider the lowly gyroplane.
The newest addition to the gyrocopter genre arrived at Aero Friedrichshafen this week in the form of a side-by-side, fully-enclosed, composite construction Cavalon gyrocopter. The gyrocopter is to the helicopter what the microlight is to traditional small aircraft. Invented in 1923 by Spaniard Juan de la Cierva, the gyrocopter uses quite a different layout to the helicopter to give it stability at low speed. It is cheap to run, takes off and lands on a ridiculously small footprint, and has a powered pusher propeller in addition to an unpowered main rotor.Certification for the EUR65,000 Cavalon is almost complete in Germany and France, and AutoGyro will assist with certification documentation for other countries. Additionally, there are still ten units up for grabs in this year's production run.

The closest competitor to the Cavalon is the Xenon gyrocopter built in Poland, though the Xenon has the one-axle cyclic control while the Cavalon has a two-stick arrangement and the Cavalon stores its fuel outside the cabin. _Gizmag

CELIER AVIATION is proud to welcome you to the world of the finest and now legendary gyrocopters: Xenon 2 R, Xenon 2 RST and XL. The KISS serial, under preparation is the 2011 next winner. Do not forget to look our news often, get the abonment to our RSS system. _Celier Aviation

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Electromagnetic Brain Stimulation More Popular

Neuroscientists at the University of New Mexico asked volunteers to play a video game called “DARWARS Ambush!”, developed to help train American military personnel. Half of the players received 2 milliamps of electricity to the scalp, using a device powered by a simple 9-volt battery, and they played twice as well as those receiving a much tinier jolt. The DARPA-funded study suggests direct current applied to the brain could improve learning.

This type of brain stimulation, called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is controversial but could show promise for treatment of various neurological disorders and cognitive impairments _PopSci

The wide field of electromagnetic brain stimulation is likely to prove to be a fertile area of research. Because the brain itself runs on electrical currents -- with it corresponding magnetic fields -- anything that might influence or interfere with these electrical and magnetic fields are likely to influence brain activity. But many of these researchers are discovering ways to selectively augment or inhibit particular parts of the brain, reversibly. Being able to do that safely provides an incredibly powerful research tool.
The technique, which has roots in research done more than two centuries ago, is experiencing something of a revival. Clark and others see tDCS as a way to tease apart the mechanisms of learning and cognition. As the technique is refined, researchers could, with the flick of a switch, amplify or mute activity in many areas of the brain and watch what happens behaviourally. The field is "going to explode very soon and give us all sorts of new information and new questions", says Clark. And as with some other interventions for stimulating brain activity, such as high-powered magnets or surgically implanted electrodes, researchers are attempting to use tDCS to treat neurological conditions, including depression and stroke. But given the simplicity of building tDCS devices, one of the most important questions will be whether it is ethical to tinker with healthy minds — to improve learning and cognition, for example. The effects seen in experimental settings "are big enough that they would definitely have real-world consequences", says Martha Farah, a neuroethicist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. _Nature

And certainly, the techniques will not be used only in research and therapeutic situations. They will also be used by students, bankers, lawyers, salesmen, recreational mind trippers, sex fiends, and a wide range of individuals wanting to make more or less of themselves, depending upon their particular inclinations and needs.

We live in a foolish and dysfunctional world. But there is no reason why parts of the world cannot wake up and discover how to make itself more rational, prosperous, and fulfilled.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

A Thick Dome Arcology with Sunroofs


Think of it as a skyscraper laid on its side, curved into a dome with large holes in it. There is a lot of living and working room implied, depending upon the thickness of the dome itself, and its diameter.
This proposed arched building is a unique solution to the question of how to create density without dominating a skyline or swallowing green space. Proposed for the city of Rennes, France, the gargantuan inhabited dome placed second in this year’s eVolo skyscraper competition. Designed by Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans, Flat Tower envelops a vast green space, has the ability to collect sun and rainwater and is also a sustainable solution to developing appropriately large scale developments. _Inhabitat


It is easy to imagine a seastead dome of this type, arching over a floating base of sufficient buoyancy. The lower, semi-submerged portion may be a mirror-image inverted dome, or another shape more conducive to cross-water directional travel.

The most important consideration is often to nudge oneself out of conventional, rutted ways of thinking, into a workspace for envisioning novel structures, mechanisms, and devices.

Taken from an article in Al Fin Potpourri

Friday, April 01, 2011

North Korea Completing Devastating EMP Weapon?

The North is believed to be nearing completion of an electromagnetic pulse bomb that, if exploded 25 miles above ground would cause irreversible damage to electrical and electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, radio and radar, experts say. _abcnews
A specialised EMP nuclear burst high above the atmosphere, could knock out continental-sized power grids. Much of the entire continental US and parts of Canada and Mexico could be temporarily sent to the dark ages with a single EMP-customised nuclear device detonated in orbit.

Given the heavy dependency of modern societies on electric power, it has been estimated that long-term loss of electric power over a wide area could result in loss of up to 90% of pre-event population. Such a high mortality rate could occur due to a combination of long-term basic infrastructure breakdown combined with the inability to bring significant aid into the area from the outside.

Both the US and the USSR conducted experiments to determine the effects of EMP from high altitude nuclear detonations:
A few hours after the sun rose in Kazakhstan on [a] cloudy October morning, the Soviet Union detonated a 300 kiloton thermonuclear warhead in space at an altitude of 290 kilometers (about 180 miles) over a point just west of the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan. The test was generally known only as Test 184 (although some Soviet documents refer to it as K-3). It knocked out a major 1000-kilometer (600-mile) underground power line running from Astana (then called Aqmola), the capital city of Kazakhstan, to the city of Almaty. Several fires were reported. In the city of Karagandy, the EMP started a fire in the city's electrical power plant, which was connected to the long underground power line.

The EMP also knocked out a major 570 kilometer long overhead telephone line by inducing currents of 1500 to 3400 amperes in the line. (The line was separated into several sub-lines connected by repeater stations.) There were numerous gas-filled overvoltage protectors and fuses along the telephone line. All of the overvoltage protectors fired, and all of the fuses on the line were blown. The EMP damaged radios at 600 kilometers (360 miles) from the test and knocked out a radar 1000 kilometers (600 miles) from the detonation. Some military diesel generators were also damaged. The repeated damage to diesel generators from the E1 component of the pulse after the series high-altitude tests was the most surprising aspect of the damage for the Soviet scientists. _FutureScience
And those effects in Kazakhstan resulted from the detination of a bomb not particularly efficient at producing EMPs. A custom-designed EMP nuke would have done a far more thorough and devastating job of it.

It is not a question of "if," but of "when" and "where" such an attack will occur. If it occurs over a modern nation which has not prepared for it, the loss of life is likely to be severe. In addition, the target nation would temporarily lose its ability to operate effectively, internationally. The widely dispersed nature of the US suggests that that country would maintain significant retaliatory capacity, but the civilian infrastructure would require massive and lengthy re-building. During that time of re-building, it is likely that many millions of people would die from a wide range of causes caused ultimately by the attack.

Good introductory article on EMP from FutureScience

Wikipedia entry on EMP

Federation of American Scientists article on EMP

EMPact America EMP resource

"One Second After" website for novel based on EMP attack over most of US, and subsequent aftermath

If the damage to the electrical infrastructure from a coordinated EMP attack were widespread enough, restoration of widespread grid power could take years. Over that time period, many large cities would likely revert to barbarism without overwhelming military presence. With hundreds of cities involved, it is unlikely that the US military could preserve order in more than a few.

That is why any hint at development of EMP weapons by North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, etc. must be taken seriously. While it is true that any nation launching an obvious EMP attack against the US would probably be obliterated by retaliation, it is possible to launch a satellite containing an EMP weapon -- but with a different primary use. Such a "sleeper" satellite could orbit for years until it was felt strategically opportune, by its owner, to detonate it. By the time a case could be made against the true culprit, the US (or Europe etc) may no longer be functioning as a viable civilised society.

As you can imagine, preppers and survivalists have taken an interest in the EMP phenomenon, with an emphasis on how to prepare to survive such a widespread disaster. Here is one PDF essay on that topic from

You will need to use your imagination here. What would happen to your neighborhood, community, town, city, etc. if it were to lose power for several months, without significant outside assistance? How long would it take for the stores to run out of food and supplies, or for the fueling stations to run out of fuel? How would you feed yourself and your family, if civil disorder set in -- preventing a cooperative community effort to share resources?

Such weapons may be in orbit overhead, even now, waiting for a designated time to inflict chaos on a targeted continent. What should you do?