The March Of Technology

rynner2

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Finland's oldest operating ferry given electric motor
28 April 2017

The oldest operating ferry in Finland is being relaunched as the country's first all-electric vessel.

The Fori first entered service in 1904 as a steam-powered boat. It was fitted with diesel engines in 1955.
When it returns to the Aura River in Turku on Saturday, it will be fitted with two electric motors and an electric drivetrain system.

Despite the upgrade, the ferry will still make the crossing at an average speed of 2kmh (1.24mph).
The work was carried out by local boatyard Mobimar, using an electric drivetrain system designed by Finnish company Visedo.

Each of the two engines consists of a DC/DC converter to increase the voltage from the batteries, and a permanent magnet motor drive to transform the electrical signal into mechanical energy.
The new system is eight tonnes lighter than the diesel engines and hydraulic motor it has replaced.

Visedo said it should use about 3kW of energy per hour during the summer months, rising to 4kW in the winter.
The ferry only needs one engine to operate, but the design allows for both to be used when extra power is required - such as during the winter when river ice begins to form.
It also means the ferry can stay in service when one of the engines needs maintenance.

The Fori is one of Turku's less obvious tourist attractions, operating non-stop during the day, transporting up to 75 passengers at a time from one side of the Aura River to the other.
The city authorities announced the plan to convert the light vehicle ferry from diesel to electric in 2015.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39744805
 

Mythopoeika

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I'm wondering how I didn't know about this huge rocket:
Back in the 60s (or was it the early 70s?), I had a really good book that went into a lot of detail about the future of spaceflight. There were loads of realistic depictions of proposed projects and technologies. I don't remember it mentioning this rocket, which was proposed around that time.
 

GNC

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Far be it from me to stand in the way of technology, but why not save a bit of money and use a paper towel?
 

rynner2

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Secrets of the Super Elements

Forget oil, coal and gas - a new set of materials is shaping our world and they're so bizarre they may as well be alien technology. In the first BBC documentary to be filmed entirely on smartphones, material scientist Prof Mark Miodownik reveals the super elements that underpin our high-tech world. We have become utterly dependent on them, but they are rare and they're already running out. The stuff that makes our smartphones work could be gone in a decade and our ability to feed the world depends mostly on a mineral found in just one country. Mark reveals the magical properties of these extraordinary materials and finds out what we can do to save them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08rv9r6/secrets-of-the-super-elements

Educational and entertaining!
 

hunck

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World's biggest plane that will carry rockets to edge of SPACE emerges from hangar for the first time

The aircraft, developed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's aerospace firm Stratolaunch Systems , has a wingspan of 385 feet - the longest wingspan of any aircraft ever built.

It measures 238 feet long from nose to tail, stands 50 feet tall from the ground to the top of the vertical tail, and rolls around on 28 wheels.

The Stratolaunch aircraft is powered by six 747 aircraft engines and is designed to act as an airborne rocket launcher, carrying rockets weighing up to 550,000lbs (250,000kg) to an altitude where they can be fired into space.

The rockets attach to the wings of the plane, between the two fuselages. When the plane reaches altitude, it releases the rockets, which then fire their boosters and launch into space from the air.

Launching rockets in this way requires a lot less fuel than launching them from the ground, because at that altitude they only need a small boost to escape the Earth's atmosphere.

Stratolaunch has already signed a deal with aerospace company Orbital ATK to carry its Pegasus XL rockets, which are used to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit.


It's claimed the plane could carry & launch 3 rockets at a time. They'd have to be fairly small - looks like it could break in two fairly easily & must be a bit of nightmare to land.
 

EnolaGaia

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So the guy on the other side just gets to put his feet up and read the paper? ...
The single flight deck is in the right / starboard fuselage.

The analogous area in the left / port fuselage is used for data systems.

Stratolaunch's own diagram mentions flight crew being housed in the right / starboard fuselage alone.

It's the same general configuration (two fuselages; one flight control cockpit) used on the bizarro dual-bodied warplanes from the 1940's / 1950's.
 

rynner2

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Here's another version of Bernard Lovell and the Jodrell Bank radio telescope. I almost didn't bother to watch it, thinking I must have seen it before, but it is new to me, so perhaps to you too:

Timeshift - Series 15: 6. How Britain Won the Space Race: The Story of Bernard Lovell and Jodrell Bank

The unlikely story of how one man with some ex-WWII army equipment eventually turned a muddy field in Cheshire into a key site in the space race. That man was Bernard Lovell, and his telescope at Jodrell Bank would be used at the height of the Cold War by both the Americans and the Russians to track their competing spacecraft. It also put Britain at the forefront of radio astronomy, a new science which transformed our knowledge of space and provided the key to understanding the most mind-bending theory of the beginnings of the universe - the Big Bang.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod...-the-story-of-bernard-lovell-and-jodrell-bank
I'm rewatching this now on iPlayer, and although the earlier stuff seemed familiar, it became less familiar as the programme went on. But anyway it's well worth watching again. It celebrates a great British achievement and a great scientist. Enjoy!
 

rynner2

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Yes, I obviously hadn't seen it all first time around. I wasn't aware that Lovell once considered entering the priesthood, or that his ideas were discussed with Stanley Kubrick before the making of 2001.

The images of Jodrell Bank show something that wasn't referred to in the commentary, the fact that a new and more accurate dish was built over the original one. The earlier photos show the original thin dish, while later images show a dish with a much thicker rim.

The same thing happened to the original GPO satellite dish, Arthur, at Goonhilly in Cornwall, where I worked in 1968.
 

rynner2

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Now it's being demonised for its particulate emissions, but once it was seen as a brilliant machine:
The engine that powers the world

The surprising story of the hidden powerhouse behind the globalised world, the diesel engine, a 19th-century invention that has become indispensable to the 21st century. It's a turtle-versus-hare tale in which the diesel engine races the petrol engine in a competition to replace ageing steam technology, a race eventually won hands down by diesel.

Splendidly, car enthusiast presenter Mark Evans gets excitedly hands-on with some of the many applications of Mr Diesel's - yes, there was one - original creation, from vintage submarines and tractors to locomotive trains and container ships. You'll never feel the same about that humble old diesel family car again.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06csy8c/timeshift-series-15-3-the-engine-that-powers-the-world
 

hunck

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Secrets of the Super Elements

Forget oil, coal and gas - a new set of materials is shaping our world and they're so bizarre they may as well be alien technology. In the first BBC documentary to be filmed entirely on smartphones, material scientist Prof Mark Miodownik reveals the super elements that underpin our high-tech world. We have become utterly dependent on them, but they are rare and they're already running out. The stuff that makes our smartphones work could be gone in a decade and our ability to feed the world depends mostly on a mineral found in just one country. Mark reveals the magical properties of these extraordinary materials and finds out what we can do to save them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08rv9r6/secrets-of-the-super-elements

Educational and entertaining!
That was fascinating & somewhat sobering at the same time when it comes to the rarity of some of these elements, many of which I'd never heard of. It makes it apparent the technology & materials involved in the gadgets which we now take for granted & how scarce some of them are.

The tungsten carbide sphere demonstration where it emerges unscathed from a 20 ton roller is remarkable & the weird properties of supercooled helium just, well, weird. Neodymium magnets in wind turbines, recycling human shite & much more besides. Well worth the watch & thanks for flagging.
 

INT21

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..It's being demonised for its NOx emissions rather than particulates. Diesel additive (e.g. Adblue) removes the particulates...

Using a high percentage of biodiesel also drastically reduces these emissions. I use it myself at around 50% when I can be bothered making it. Always just before the MOT test.

INT21
 

Mythopoeika

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..It's being demonised for its NOx emissions rather than particulates. Diesel additive (e.g. Adblue) removes the particulates...

Using a high percentage of biodiesel also drastically reduces these emissions. I use it myself at around 50% when I can be bothered making it. Always just before the MOT test.

INT21
That's a good idea. I wish I had the space in the garage for doing that myself.
Recycled cooking oil actually smells good, much nicer than diesel exhaust fumes.
 

Mythopoeika

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Willy Wonka's lift technology is now available!
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/thyssenkrupp-multi-maglev-elevator

The Wonkavator is real! Behold the maglev Multi lift that goes up, down and left to right
The Wonkavator can go sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways, and square ways, and front ways. More than 45 years later, multinational conglomerate ThyssenKrupp is turning Roald Dahl's fiction into fact.

In Rottweil, 100 kilometres south-east of Stuttgart, stands the Tower of Light – a 246-metre concrete tower that houses a €4,000-a-day conference room, a 360-degree viewing platform (Europe’s highest), and a series of 12 shafts built specifically for testing elevators.

The £43 million tower was designed by architects Helmut Jahn and Werner Sobek. Due to be completed in July, the final step is to put an elegant corkscrew sheath of nearly indestructible, translucent material that changes colour as the sun moves across the sky.
 
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