Tag Archives: WPlongform

GONE IN 30 SECONDS…

30 Oct
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It’s estimated that an average of 8 percent of all commercial rocket launches end in failure.
Multimedia eLearning program by: David A. Johanson © All Rights
David Johanson is a multimedia specialist, CTE instructor and a former Boeing scientific photographer. All content, including photography, graphics and text (unless otherwise noted) was created by the author.
To see an alternative graphic format of this program, please select:  ⇒  https://bigpictureone.wordpress.com
Learning objectives Of This Program Includes:
≥ Definition and meaning of space law
 History and development of  space law
≥ History and development of 20TH and 21ST Century Rocket and Launch disasters
≥ How, where and why rocket launch sites and space portals are located on the globe      
 ≥ Potentially life threatening activities and components of rocket launches                                                                                                                        —————————————————————————————————————–
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The Antares 110 rocket engines roared as they illuminated their departure from Earth — seconds later,  appearing as if mortally wounded, the multi-staged rocket suddenly lost momentum and sank downward, creating an explosive tower of flames. Over the launch site’s PA system an urgent command required all media personnel to leave their equipment and evacuate immediately. It was reported no deaths had occurred — however the total environmental damage,  the launch  site cleanup and insurance liability issues are yet to be assessed.
 Orbital rocket explodes after launch

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 NASA’s video of Antares rocket explosion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL5eddt-iAo
This video shows, press journalist and photographers ordered to evacuate as the Antares rocket explodes and unleashes toxic clouds of vaporized solid rocket propellant. Winds should be blowing to the east, so that burning propellant dissipates over the Atlantic Ocean — not heading west towards potentially populated areas, as is indicated happening in this video.  ⇒  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IclTka711xo
On October 31ST, just three days after  Orbital Sciences, Antares rocket launch explosion, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) disintegrates in an upper altitude reentry over California’s Mojave Desert. Unfortunately the space plane’s pilot was killed, as the remaining components of the craft slammed into an unpopulated areahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy1k5s7Fbl0  ⇒http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/02/virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-crash-investigators-fuel-warningsPhotograph: Kenneth Brown/Reuters

Photograph: Kenneth Brown/Reuters

 

What Goes Up, Must Come Down 
Rocket launch projects have always had to contend with laws of physics, in particular, Newton’s law of gravity. Today, these multimillion dollar programs are governed by another set of laws involving multinational, liability space laws. These binding laws are for protecting individuals, communities and the environment from impacts caused by, man-made objects launched into space or subsequent damage of corporate or national operations in space.
orbital_crs3_launch_milestones_eCase Study: The first record of a space law liability occurring was in 1962, on a street within Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Apparently, a three-kilogram metal artifact from the Russian’s 1960, Sputnik 4 satellite launch, reentered the atmosphere unannounced, over an unsuspecting Midwest. The Russian’s denied it was theirs, fearing liability under international law. This event, helped set in motion, the 1963 Declaration on Legal Principals Governing the Activities of State in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. As an international agreement, it puts forth the responsibility to the State which launches or engages in sending objects into space as internationally responsible for damages caused on Earth. In 1967, the agreement was slightly modified and was titled “Outer Space Treaty 1967.”                  Satellite_crash_BPP_e1070
A photo illustration of space debris from a low Earth orbit reentering the atmosphere over a city. Earth has water covering 70% of its surface — when attempts fail to guide space debris towards open oceans, the chance for these falling objects to hit a populated area increase. Space Law assesses the liability for damages caused by space debris to the nation or agency responsible for its original rocket launch.
By 1984, the United Nations General Assembly, had adopted five sets of legal principles governing international law and cooperation in space activities. The principles include the following agreements and conventions.”Outer Space Treaty” – the use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (1967 – resolution 2222.) “Rescue Agreement” – the agreement to rescue Astronauts/Cosmonauts, the Return of Astronauts/Cosmonauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space (1968 – resolution 2345.) “Liability Convention” – the Convention on International Liability for Damaged Caused by Space Objects (1972 – resolution 2777.) “Registration Convention” – the registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (1975 – resolution 3235.) “Moon Agreement” – the agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1979 – resolution 34/68.)
Sky_look_ BPP_ae208Because so many international languages are used for creating these technical agreements — terms and meanings  are often misinterpreted. There are linguistic limitations and a general lack of definitions to adequately cover all the specific space concepts and activities using Space Law. Each Nation has its own agenda and vision concerning the development of space, including corporate, cultural and religious interest, adding to the complexity of governing space.
Although most large “space debris” is monitored  with top priority for enabling reentry over uninhabited areas such as oceans and deserts — satellites or sections of rockets still have potential for an unexpected re-entry over an inhabited area.   Hawa_Futur_BPP_e26
Cuba Gives A New Meaning To A Cash Cow
Case Study: In November of 1960, the second stage of a U.S. – Thor rocket fell back to Earth and killed a cow grazing in Eastern Cuba. The final settlement required the U.S. Government to pay Cuba $2 million dollars in compensation — creating the world’s first “Cuban Cash Cow.”
Eventful And Tragic Rocket Launches Associated With Space Exploration
American physicist, Dr. Robert H. Goddard is the father of modern rocket propulsion. Goddard’s published rocket research during the 1920s, is what German military scientist used to help develop the liquid fueled V2 rocket, which terrorized Europe towards the end of WWll. The V2 (technical name Aggregat-4 or A4) rocket was the first human made artifact to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and reach into space. The basic design of modern rockets has changed little in the 100 years since Goddard was awarded a U.S. patent in 1914,  for a rocket using liquid fuel.
It’s estimated since the 1950s, of the nearly 8,000 rockets launched into space related missions, 8 percent of rocket launches ended in some-type of failure (2012 spacelaunchreport.com.) The resulting anomalies have cost the lives of hundreds of individuals, including; astronauts, cosmonauts and civilians, along with billions of dollars of property and payload losses. Here’s an abbreviated list of dramatic and tragic events associated with rocket launch failures.
A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Vanguard TV3, December 6, 1957 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida (U.S.) was the first U.S. attempt at sending a satellite into orbit. A first event of its kind to use a live televised broadcast, which ended by witnessing Vanguard’s explosive failure. Unfortunately, this launch mission was not ready for prime-time and occurred as a reflex reaction to the Soviet Union’s surprise aerospace success of launching the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, on October 23, 1957. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVeFkakURXM
Vostok rocket, March 18, 1980, launched from Plesetsk, Russia (formerly the world’s busiest spaceport). While being refueled the rocket exploded on the launch pad, killing 50, mostly young soldiers. (Source: New York Times article, published September 28, 1989) http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/28/world/1980-soviet-rocket-accident-killed-50.html
Challenger STS-51-L Space Shuttle disaster, January 28, 1986, launched from Kennedy Space Center (U.S.) marked the first U.S. in-flight fatalities. After only 73 seconds from lift-off, faulty O-ring seals failed, releasing hot gases from the solid propellant rocket booster (SRB), which led to a catastrophic failure. Seven crew members were lost, including Christy McAuliffe, selected by NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. McAullife was the first civilian to be trained as an astronaut — she would have been the first civilian to enter space, but tragically, the flight ended a short distance before reaching the edge of space. Recovery efforts for Challenger were the most expensive of any rocket launch disaster to date.            http://www.history.com/topics/challenger-disaster/videos/engineering-disasters—challenger
Long Mark 3B rocket launch, payload: American communication satellite, built by Space Systems Loral – February 14, 1996 in Xichang (China) – two seconds into launch, rocket pitched over just after clearing the launch tower and accelerated horizontally a few hundred feet off the ground, before hitting a hill 22 seconds into its flight. The rocket slammed into a hillside exploding in a fireball above a nearby town, it’s estimated at least 100 people died in the resulting aftermath. This event was most likely the worst rocket launch disaster to date, due to the massive loss of human life. Disaster at Xichang | History of Flight | Air & Space Magazine  http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/disaster-at-xichang-2873673/?c=y%3Fno-ist   video of the rocket launch disaster ⇒ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_EnrVf9u8s
iW_V2c9Uw6hI_aeDelta 2, rocket launch – January 1997, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) – this rocket carried a new GPS satellite and ends in a spectacular explosion. Video link included to show examples of worst case scenario of a rocket exploding only seconds after launch (note brightly burning rocket propellant cascading to the ground is known as “firebrand”.) The short video has an interview with Chester Whitehair, former VP of Space Launch Operations Aerospace Corporation, who describes how the burning debris and toxic hydrochloric gas cloud fell into the Atlantic Ocean from the rocket explosion. Rocket launch sites and Spaceports are geographically chosen to mitigate rocket launch accidents. US rocket disasters –     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4-Idv6HnH8
Titan 4, rocket launch – August 1998, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) the last launch of a Titan rocket – with a military, top-secret satellite payload, was the most expensive rocket disaster to date – estimated loss of $ 1.3 Billion dollars. http://www.military.com/video/explosions/blast/titan-iv-explosion-at-cape-canaveral/1137853205001/
VLS-3 rocket, launch – August 2003, Alcantara (Brazil) – rocket exploded on the launch pad when the rocket booster was accidentally initiated during test 72 hours before its scheduled launch. Reports of at least 21 people were killed at the site. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2003-08-22-brazil-rocket_x.htm 
Global location & GPS coordinates of major spaceports &launch sites. Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations of these launch sites? What  advantages do these locations have regarding "Space Law?" For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantage & why; which has the least advantage & why?

Global location & GPS coordinates of major spaceports & launch sites.
Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations of these launch sites? What advantages do these locations have regarding “Space Law?” For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantages & why; which has the least advantages & why?

Rocket launch debris fields are color keyed in red  & Links to space port’s web sites included. (CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE) Quiz ??? – 1.) Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations used for these launch sites? 2.) What advantages do these locations have regarding “Space Law?” 3.) For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantage & why? 4.) Which has the least advantage & why?
Location, location, location is a huge benefit for rocket launch sites.
If you zoom into the above World map with its rocket launch sites, you’ll notice they’re located  in remote, uninhabited areas. Another feature most spaceports share is their proximity to large bodies of water, which are located in an easterly direction (with the exception of the U.S. Vandenberg site.)  Rockets are  launched over oceans to minimize the risk to people or property from  catastrophic accidents, which includes falling launch debris and toxic clouds of burnt fuel propellant. Liability from a launch vehicle is the main reason why all ships and aircraft are restricted from being in water anywhere near or underneath a rocket’s flight path.  Rocket’s debris can contain highly toxic forms of unspent fuel and oxidizer, especially from solid propellant fuels.Sattelite_BPP_e82
The majority of  rockets are launched in an easterly direction, due to the Earth’s easterly rotation. This procedure gives the  rocket extra momentum to help escape the Earth’s gravitational pull. An exception for an east directional launch is Vandenberg site in California, which launches most of its rockets south for polar orbits used by communication and mapping satellites.
Launching rockets closer to the equator gives a launch vehicle one more advantage — extra velocity is gained from the Earth’s rotation near its equator. At the equator, our planet spins at a speed of 1675 kph (1040 mph,) compared to a spot near the Arctic Circle, which moves at a slower, 736 kph (457 mph.) Even the smallest advantage gained in velocity means a rocket requires less fuel ( 13 percent less fuel  required for equatorial launches) to reach “escape velocity.” This fuel savings translates to a lighter launch vehicle, making the critical transition of leaving Earth’s gravitational field quicker.
Photo illustration of space debris using a NASA photo of Skylab — David A Johanso

Photo illustration of space debris using a NASA photo of Skylab — David A Johanson

International space law is emerging from its infancy, attempting to clearly define itself from a nebulous amalgam of; agreements, amendments, codes, rules, regulations, jurisdictions, treaties and non-binding measures. There exists today, enough legal framework for commercial interest to move cautiously towards developing outer space. However, with the unforeseen variables and dynamics of space activities, exceptions will be made & rules will be stretched, if not broken to accommodate necessity, justification or exculpation. ~
Part 1 of 2 editions – please check back soon for the conclusion of this essay.
The next edition of the Space Law series includes:
Potential Minefield Effects From Space Debris And The Regulatory Laws To Help Clean It Up.
Will Asteroid Mining Become The Next Big Gold Rush And What Laws Will Keep The Frontier Order?
Music video portal of rocket launches (nostalgia enriched content):
Boards of Canada – Dawn Chorus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVfRWv7igg
Boards of Canada – Gemini – http://vimeo.com/68087306
Boards of Canada – Music is Mathhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7bKe_Zgk4o
Links And Resources, For Space Law And Related Issues

http://definitions.uslegal.com/s/space-law/

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2588/1

https://www.gwu.edu/~spi/assets/docs/AGuidetoSpaceLawTerms.pdf

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/38/

 

The Space Review: International space law and commercial space activities: the rules do apply Outlook on Space Law Over the Next 30 Years: Essays Published for the 30th – Google Books “SPACE FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISMS – DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM” by Frans G. von der Dunk Asteroid mining: US company looks to space for precious metal | Science | The Guardian Planetary Resources – The Asteroid Mining Company – News 5 of the Worst Space Launch Failures | Wired Science | Wired.com Orbital Debris: A Technical Assessment NASA Orbital Debris FAQs ‎orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/library/IAR_95_Document.pdf A Minefield in Earth Orbit: How Space Debris Is Spinning Out of Control [Interactive]: Scientific American SpaceX signs lease agreement at spaceport to test reusable rocket – latimes.com Earth’s rotation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Space Review: Spacecraft stats and insights Space Launch Report V-2 rocket – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Billionaire Paul Allen gets V-2 rocket for aviation museum near Seattle – Science Germany conducts first successful V-2 rocket test — History.com This Day in History — 10/3/1942

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/billionaire-paul-allen-gets-v-2-rocket-aviation-museum-near-1C9990063

 WA Okang SatDshBP_e1103
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How Did Rome’s Vitruvius, Become The World’s First Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Architecture?

2 Aug
An example of a variety of architectural styles influenced by Vitruvius. Florence, Tuscany Region, Italy. Photo by: David A. Johanson ©

An example of a variety of architectural styles influenced by Vitruvius. Florence, Tuscany Region, Italy. Photo by: David A. Johanson © All Rights Reserved

Multimedia eLearning essay by: David Anthony Johanson © All Rights

To see an alternative graphic view of this essay please visit: www.BigPictureOne.wordpress.com  

If you would like to experience some ancient Roman music while viewing this essay, open one more browser and click on the  Roman music link provided below (Synaulia III, has Latin signing and soothing melodies)

Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man for whatsoever uses, that the sight of them contributes to his mental health, power and pleasure. Aphorism 4All architecture proposes an effect on the human mind, not merely a service to the human frame.  — From John Ruskin’s – The Seven Lamps of Architecture  ————————————————————————————————

 

The first historic footnote of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, was not as an architect — but of his military engineering service for another overachiever,  Julius Caesar.

Vitruvius first job description involved being in charge of a Roman legion’s heavy artillery —the terrifying Ballista or catapult. Ironically, this future architectural genius was responsible for destroying opposing structures that came before his weapons of mass destruction. You could say, Vitruvius, literally had a major impact on architecture throughout the arc of his careers.

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Vitruvius’ date of birth is recorded around 90 B.C. and apparently the recipient of a broad-minded education —

The floor plans from a Greek House - Vitruvius. Peterlewis - wikipedia project - image free to use with no copyright restriction

The floor plans from a Greek House – Vitruvius. Peterlewiswikipedia project – image free to use with no copyright restriction

science, mathematics, drawing, music, law, rhetoric and history. He is believed to have  apprenticed with a Greek architect, which gave Vitruvius the basic foundation and qualifications for becoming a subject matter expert (SME) on architectural principles.

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo de Vinci was named after & inspired by Vitruvius.   —This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo de Vinci was named after & inspired by Vitruvius. —This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

It’s speculated at the time Vitruvius began circulating his writing, wealthy Roman citizen’s private libraries were accessible to him for specialized study in architecture and engineering.

An upheaval caused by the Empire’s civil and foreign wars channeled Vitruvius’ professional direction towards engineering military machinery. It may have seemed like an irony to him that his skills were being used to destroy architecture, rather than create it.

Contrary to popular belief, the Romans liberally used color & brick instead of marble.  -Herculaneum, Campania Region, Italy.

Contrary to popular belief, the Romans liberally used color & brick instead of marble. -Herculaneum, Campania Region, Italy.

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Julius Caesar's father-in-law residence - Villa of Papyri is located at Herculanieum, which was buried along with the city of Pompei, by the volcano Vesuvius, seen in the upper top frame.

Julius Caesar’s father-in-law residence – Villa of Papyri is located at Herculanieum, which was buried along with the neighboring city of Pompeii in 79 A.D., by the volcano Vesuvius, seen in the upper top frame.

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OPPORTUNITY OPENS A DOOR FOR VITRUVIUS’ CAREER IN ARCHITECTURE

Following the assassination of Emperor Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Vitruvius found employment with Caesar’s nephew and successor —Octavian. Another decade of Roman civil war and the eventual defeat of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., led to a Pax Romana (Latin for “Roman peace.”)                                 Rome_Archt_BPP_et1113       

With Octavian as the undisputed ruler of the Empire, he was granted a new title — Augustus, the Emperor of Rome. Augustus channeled Rome’s wealth towards cultural, civic and public works development. This reinvestment for Rome’s glory, eventually gave Augustus bragging rights, as he is quoted, ‘I found Rome built of bricks; I leave her clothed in marble.’

An example of Roman ingenuity is in using brick for most of a building's construction, then a facade of marble or limestone is applied and finally followed by vibrant color applications.

An example of Roman ingenuity is in using brick for most of a building’s construction, then a facade of marble or limestone is applied and finally followed by vibrant color applications.

 

Augustus’ civic benevolence finally created an opportunity for Vitruvius’ great engineering and architectural contributions to move forward.

As the saying goes — behind every great man there is a great woman. It’s Augustus’ sister, Octavia, who sponsors Vitruvius to write the architectural treatise. Officially, the Books of Architecture are dedicated to Augustus, who uses them wisely to help create a marvelous metropolis.

The white outline of the architectural structure show where the colors were applied — from inside a residence at Herulaneum site, Italy.

The white outline of the architectural structure show where the colors were applied — from inside a residence at Herulaneum site, Italy.

Interior of residence in Herculaneum. Mosaics were used to bring the outside world indoors.

Interior of residence in Herculaneum. Mosaics were used to bring the outside world indoors.

Mosaic tile in the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, Lazio Region, Italy.

Mosaic tile in the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, Lazio Region, Italy.

Vitruvius, throughout his career keeps a low profile, perhaps due to observing what envy and jealousy could inflict on the Romans who attempted to shine too brightly.  

Statue in the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, next to the Tevere River, Italy.

Statue in the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, next to the Tevere River, Italy.

Cross section of Rome's Coliseum - The World's first 'super dome.'

Cross section of Rome’s Coliseum – The World’s first ‘super dome.’ This two-thousand year old stadium remains in use with major music concert & various public events.

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PAST NONCONFORMING STANDARDS IN ARCHITECTURE THREATENS ROME’S RENOVATIONS 

In antiquity, Hellenistic Greek architecture sets the standards for beauty, quality and form. The Greeks, inspired by much older civilizations established around the Mediterranean, refined architecture to its classical ideal.  However, precious little had been written down regarding the styles and standards of Greek architecture, until Vitruvius ambitious efforts were realized.

Ruins at Ostia Antica, near Rome, Italy.

Ruins at Ostia Antica, near Rome, Italy.

As an effect from lack of architectural standards, instructional integrity of buildings could result in disastrous consequences, as well as the aesthetic value of religious, civic and private buildings.

Ionic style capital on top of column

Ionic style capital on top of column

Ancient Rome's Forum 3D, computer generated image  Image Created by: Lasha Tskhondia - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 - Some Rights Reserved.

Ancient Rome’s Forum
3D, computer generated image
Image Created by: Lasha Tskhondia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 – Some Rights Reserved.

Vitruvius efforts of researching classic Greek architectural techniques and styles developed  into a comprehensive series of books on the methods and theories of architecture. These guiding books on style, function and practice,  served as a foundation for architects and engineers for over two thousand years and are still observed today.  

Rome Forum

Rome Forum

Cross section of Forum

Cross section of Forum

Remains of Rome's Forum

Remains of Rome’s Forum

How Did Rome’s Vitruvius, Become The World’s First Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Architecture? —More to be uploaded on Vitruvius in the coming days.

Links to learning more on Vitruvius

http://blogs.nd.edu/classicalarch/2012/09/28/many-canons-many-conversions/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man

http://www.bostonleadershipbuilders.com/vitruvius/

How about some ancient Roman music to enlighten your day? Click on the link below ↓

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X83IYWmcEFg&list=RD020MwBCorqBW0

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Is Space Law Really That Far Over Your Head?

29 May
Sky_look_ BPP_ae208
  Multimedia Essay By: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights  
 Part 1 of 2 Editions – To see an alternative graphic view of this story see: Space Law | bigpictureone                                                                 
Students and instructors are encouraged to use the visual cues imbedded within the text to quickly locate key information.
Look upwards toward the sky on the next clear day or cloudless night and behold the new legal frontier unfold before your eyes. A mere 65 miles above sea-level, our atmosphere and gravity dwindles into space, where satellites begin to glide silently over Earth’s thin atmosphere. Only a fraction of human history has passed since man-made satellites were far and few between — but that time has since slipped away, replaced by an ever tightening metal jacket of used and disregarded, celestial artifacts. Almost at the start of the space race, “Space Law” was launched and it has had an uphill battle to catchup with the unforeseen consequences of humanity’s reach for the heavens. 
The German V-2 rocket was a sophisticated liquid propellant rocket, which first entered outer-space in 1942.

The German V-2 rocket was a sophisticated liquid propellant rocket, which first entered outer-space in 1942.

At times, defining what Space Law is or does is a nebulous task. This new form of law can be so abstract and full of contradictions that it resembles an art, rather than a science. Like creating a massive sculpture, it’s often a process which involves slow progress — developing overtime through stages of careful analysis and discernment. Space Law will continue to transform itself by maturing, developing refinements and taking on new, dimensions as needed.
There are basically three forms of law, which make up Space Law: 1.) Regulatory Law – sets standards which must be met for securing authority to launch a rocket vehicle.  2.) Tort Law – concerns damages which occur as a result of debris from rocket launch accidents or space and terrestrial impacts from orbital debris. 3.) Common Law – could be applied to circumstances relating to a private entity’s negligence, which causes damage from its orbital debris.
Back To Rocket Science Basics.
The basic blueprint for all modern rockets used in today’s space programs originated from the American physicist, Dr. Robert Goddard, who is considered the father of modern rockets. By the late 1930s, Goddard had tested a liquid propellant rocket — the rocket used vanes or fins attached near the thrust nozzle to help initial launch guidance and a gyro control for flight over the desert in New Mexico. A German scientist, Wernher von Braun’s V-2 rocket borrowed Goddard’s basic design for refinement and increased its scale for later mass production. Used by the German military towards the end of World War II, the V-2 or Aggreat-4 ( A-4) was successfully launched in 1942, making it the first human made object to enter outer space.   http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/design.html
The V-2 was a sophisticated liquid propellant, single stage rocket, which had a top speed of 5,760 km/h (3,580 mph) and could reach an altitude of 83 to 93 km (52 to 60 miles.) At the end of the war, the Americans, British and Russians took possession of all remaining V-2 rockets, along with German engineers, technicians and scientists working on the program. A high priority was placed on researching its capabilities, re-engineering and developing it for national security.
— The Paul Allen Flying Heritage Museum, located at Paine Field, Everett, WA, recently added an authentic V2 rocket for display.
First photograph from space & of the Earth, from a V-2 rocket in 1946 byU.S scientist.

First photograph from space & of the Earth in 1946, from a V-2 rocket at an altitude of 65 miles, by U.S. scientist. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Army

American scientists, James Van Allen and Sydney Chapman were able to convince the U.S. Government of the scientific value for launching rockets carrying satellites into space. A scientific effort in the early 1950s was begun, with the plan to launch American satellites by 1957 or 1958. The Russians surprised the World by launching the first satellite into orbit in 1957 named Sputnik.
A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A modified V-2 rocket being launch on July 24, 1950. General Electric Company was prime contractor for the launch, Douglas Aircraft Company manufactured the second stage of the rocket & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had major rocket design roles & test instrumentation. This was the first launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo: courtesy of NASA/U.S. Army

Most major space portals or rocket launch site are located next to oceans or remote location to limit legal liability in case of failed launch. It's estimated 10 % of rocket launches end in failure. Photo illustration: David Johanson Vasquez ©

Most major space portals and rocket launch sites are located next to oceans or remote locations to limit legal liability in case of a failed launch. It’s estimated 8 % of rocket launches end in failure. Photo illustration: David Johanson Vasquez ©

What Goes Up, Must Come Down.
Rocket launch programs have always had to contend with Newton’s law of gravity, today, these programs face new challenges with liability laws, to protect individuals and property from unexpected accidents.
Case Study:  The first time a major issue of liability occurred was in 1962, on a street within Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Apparently, a three-kilogram metal artifact from the Russian’s 1960, Sputnik 4 satellite launch, reentered the atmosphere unannounced, over an unsuspecting Midwest. The Russian’s denied it was theirs, fearing liability under international law. This event, helped set in motion, the 1963 Declaration on Legal Principals Governing the Activities of State in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. As an international agreement, it puts forth the responsibility to the State which launches or engages the launching of objects into space as internationally responsible for damages caused on Earth. In 1967, the agreement was slightly modified and was titled “Outer Space Treaty 1967.” 
A photo illustration of space debris from a low Earth orbit reentering the atmosphere over a city. Earth has water covering 70% of its surface — when attempts fail to guide space debris towards open oceans, the chance for these falling objects to hit a populated area increase. Space Law sets the liability for damages caused by the space debris to the nation or agency responsible responsible to its original rocket launch.

A photo illustration of space debris from a low Earth orbit reentering the atmosphere over a city. Earth has water covering 70% of its surface — when attempts fail to guide space debris towards open oceans, the chance for these falling objects to hit a populated area increase. Space Law sets the liability for damages caused by the space debris to the nation or agency responsible for its original rocket launch.

By 1984, the United Nations General Assembly, had adopted five sets of legal principles governing international law and cooperation in space activities. The principles include the following agreements and conventions.“Outer Space Treaty” – the use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (1967 – resolution 2222.) “Rescue Agreement” – the  agreement to rescue Astronauts/Cosmonauts, the Return of Astronauts/Cosmonauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space (1968 – resolution 2345.) “Liability Convention” – the Convention on International Liability for Damaged Caused by Space Objects (1972 – resolution 2777.) “Registration Convention” – the registration of  Objects Launched into Outer Space (1975 – resolution 3235.) “Moon Agreement” – the agreement Governing the Activities of  States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1979 – resolution 34/68.)
Because so many languages are involved with these international agreements, terms used in Space Law often gets lost in translation. There are linguistic limitations and general lack of necessary definitions to adequately cover specific space concepts and activities using Space Law. Each Nation has its own agenda and vision concerning the development of space — then throw in multinational companies and things get really diluted when it comes to working out agreements regarding laws governing space.
Although most large "space junk" is monitored and efforts are made for reentry over uninhabited areas, satellites or sections of rockets can potentially fall anywhere.

Although most large “space debris” is monitored and great efforts are made for reentry to take place over uninhabited areas – satellites or sections of rockets can potentially fall anywhere.

Cuba Gives A New Meaning To A Cash Cow.
Case Study:  In November of 1960, the second stage of a U.S. Thor rocket fell back to Earth and killed a cow grazing in Eastern Cuba. The final settlement required the U.S. Government to pay Cuba $2 million dollars in compensation — creating the world’s first “Cuban Cash Cow.”
Dramatic Rocket Launch Failures Associated With Space Exploration.
It’s estimated since the 1950s, of the nearly 8,000 rockets launched for space related missions, 8 % of rocket launches ended in failure (2012 spacelaunchreport.com.) The resulting anomalies have cost the lives of hundreds of astronauts, cosmonauts and civilians along with billions of dollars in losses. Here’s an abbreviated list of dramatic and tragic events associated with rocket launch failures.
Vanguard TV3, December 9, 1957 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida (U.S.) was the first U.S. attempt at sending a satellite into orbit.  A first event of its kind to use a live televised broadcast, which ended by witnessing Vanguard’s explosive failure. Unfortunately this launch was a rush reaction to the Soviet Union’s surprise success of launching the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, on October 23, 1957. WA Okang SatDshBP_e1103
Vostok rocket, March 18, 1980, launched from Plesetsk, Russia (formerly the world’s busiest spaceport). While being refueled the rocket exploded on the launch pad, killing 50, mostly young soldiers. (Source: New York Times article, published September 28, 1989)
Challenger STS-51-L Space Shuttle disaster, January 28, 1986, launched from Kennedy Space Center (U.S.) marked the first U.S. in-flight fatalities. After only 73 seconds from lift-off, faulty O-ring seals failed, releasing hot gases from the solid propellant rocket booster (SRB), which led to a catastrophic failure. Seven crew members were lost, including Christy McAullife,  selected by NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. McAullife was the first civilian to be trained as an astronaut — she would have been the first civilian to enter space, but tragically, the flight ended a short distance before reaching the edge of space. Recovery efforts for Challenger were the most expensive of any rocket launch disaster to date.
Long Mark 3B rocket launch, payload: American communication satellite, built by Space Systems Loral – February 14, 1996 in Xichang (China) – two seconds into launch, rocket pitched over just after clearing the launch tower and accelerated  horizontally a few hundred feet off the ground, before hitting a hill 22 seconds into its flight. The rocket slammed into a hillside exploding in a fireball above a nearby town, it’s estimated at least 100 people died in the resulting aftermath.    Disaster at Xichang | History of Flight | Air & Space Magazine
Delta 2, rocket launch – January 1997, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) – this rocket carried a new GPS satellite and ends in a spectacular explosion. Video link included to show examples of  worst case scenario of a rocket exploding only seconds after launch (note brightly burning rocket propellant cascading to the ground is known as “firebrand”.)  The short video has an interview with Chester Whitehair, former VP of Space Launch Operations Aerospace Corporation, who describes how the burning debris and toxic hydrochloric gas cloud fell into the Atlantic Ocean from the rocket explosion. Rocket launch sites and spaceports are geographically chosen to mitigate rocket launch accidents .   US rocket disasters – YouTube
Titan 4, rocket launch – August 1998, Cape Canaveral (U.S.) the last launch of a Titan rocket – with a military, top-secret satellite payload, was the most expensive rocket disaster to date – estimated loss of $ 1.3 Billion dollars.
VLS-3 rocket, launch  – August 2003, Alcantara (Brazil) – rocket exploded on launch pad when the rocket booster was accidentally initiated during test 72 hours before its scheduled launch. Reports of at least 21 people were killed at the site.
Global location & GPS coordinates of major spaceports & launch sites. ??? - Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations used for these launch sites? What advantages do these locations have regarding "Space Law?" For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantage & why; which has the least advantage & why?

                                                                                                                                                             Global location, GPS coordinates of major spaceports & launch sites. Rocket launch debris fields indicated & Links to space port’s web sites included.  (CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE)   Quiz ??? – 1.) Do you see any similarities in the geographic locations used for these launch sites? 2.) What advantages do these locations have regarding “Space Law?” 3.) For most rocket launches, which site has the greatest geographic advantage & why 4.) which has the least advantage & why?

Location, Location, Location Benefits Rocket Launch Sites.
If you zoom into the above World map with its rocket launch sites, you’ll notice all the locations gravitate toward remote regions. Another feature most spaceports share is large bodies of water located to the east, with the exception of the U.S. Vandenberg site. Less likely hood of people or property being threaten by a rocket launch, which could experience a catastrophic failure is why oceans are used as a safety barrier. Legal liability from a launch vehicle is a reason why all ships and aircraft are restricted from being anywhere near a rockets flight path. The rocket debris fields are marked with red highlights, this fallen debris is a highly toxic form of unspent fuel and oxidizers.
Most rockets are launched towards an easterly direction due to the Earth’s eastern rotation, which aids the rocket with extra momentum.  An exception for an east directional launch is Vandenberg site in California, which launches most of its rockets south for polar orbits used by communication and mapping satellites.
Launching rockets closer to the equator gives a launch vehicle one more advantage — extra velocity gained from the Earth’s rotation near its equator. At the equator, our planet spins at a speed of 1675 kph (1040 mph,) compared to a spot near the Arctic Circle, which moves at a slower, 736 kph (457 mph.) Even the smallest advantage gained in velocity means a rocket requires less fuel to reach “escape velocity.” This fuel savings translates to a lighter launch vehicle, making the critical transition of leaving Earth’s gravitational field quicker.
The next edition of the Space Law series includes:
Potential Minefield Effects From Space Debris And The Regulatory Laws To Help Clean It Up.
Will Asteroid Mining Become The Next Big Gold Rush And What Laws Will Keep The Frontier Order?

Surprise space mission featured videos: Click → http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVfRWv7igg →    Boards of Canada – Music is Math (HD)

→     Boards of Canada – Gemini – Fan Video on Vimeo
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Links And Resources For Space Law And Related Issues.

The Space Review: International space law and commercial space activities: the rules do apply Outlook on Space Law Over the Next 30 Years: Essays Published for the 30th … – Google Books “SPACE FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISMS – DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM” by Frans G. von der Dunk Asteroid mining: US company looks to space for precious metal | Science | The Guardian Planetary Resources – The Asteroid Mining Company – News 5 of the Worst Space Launch Failures | Wired Science | Wired.com Orbital Debris: A Technical Assessment NASA Orbital Debris FAQs ‎orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/library/IAR_95_Document.pdf A Minefield in Earth Orbit: How Space Debris Is Spinning Out of Control [Interactive]: Scientific American SpaceX signs lease agreement at spaceport to test reusable rocket – latimes.com Earth’s rotation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Space Review: Spacecraft stats and insights Space Launch Report V-2 rocket – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Billionaire Paul Allen gets V-2 rocket for aviation museum near Seattle – Science Germany conducts first successful V-2 rocket test — History.com This Day in History — 10/3/1942

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/billionaire-paul-allen-gets-v-2-rocket-aviation-museum-near-1C9990063 

International space law is emerging from its infancy, attempting to more clearly define itself from a nebulous amalgam of; agreements, amendments, codes, rules, regulations, jurisdictions, treaties and non-binding measures. There exist today, enough legal framework for commercial interest to move cautiously towards developing outer space. However, with the unforeseen variables and dynamics of space activities, exceptions will be made & rules will be stretched, if not broken to accommodate necessity, justification or exculpation. ~
Part 1 of 2 editions – please check back soon for the conclusion of this essay.
Photo illustration of space debris by: David Johanson Vasquez, using a NASA photo of Skylab.

Photo illustration of space debris by: David Johanson Vasquez, using a NASA photo of Skylab.

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A Full Throttle Multimedia Video of Seattle From the R22 Beta II helicopter – Part 1 of 2.

16 Oct
Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights 

The Robinson R22 helicopter is often described as a sports car version of helicopters — ultra light in weight, it takes off quickly and is so responsive it will literally make your head spin. Weighing in at only 1200 pounds fully fueled, it often feels like you’re wearing the helicopter like a “jet-pack” rather than riding in it. As a thrilling life experience, helicopter flights are at the top of the list, however, it requires the highest level of professionalism to safely fly and be involved with helicopter operations.

Videos by: David Johanson © All Rights

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMVD3-P0fdM&feature=player_detailpage

 As a multimedia specialist who produces stories supported by photography and video content, I’ve used a variety of helicopters for an image capture platform. Everything from the compact , high – performance Huey 500D up to the  large tandem rotor  Kawasaki KV 107 (a licensed version of  the Boeing Vertol BV107 “Chinook” helicopter.) It’s the R22’s light weight, which  in my opinion, gives you the most thrill for getting from point A to point B.          

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The Robinson R22 Beta II Helicopter was arranged for me to use as part of ◊ a six-month photography contract with the Port of Seattle. In between locations photographed for the Port, I shot video content for multimedia educational applications.

Multimedia Enhancements For Greater Learning 

This multimedia video includes graphic overlays, lower third titles and an integrated color key, which indicate: ΘSeattle historic architecture (Smith Tower)↔ municipal, transportation and industry infrastructure along with the  R22’s performance ratingsThe style of writing for this multimedia essay structures information using bold and italicized text  to optimize key content for quick scanning by readers. For accessing your recall and comprehension a quiz is included at the end of this essay. You’re also invited to explore provided web links related to the essay’s content  for learning more about subjects of interest. Your opinions and insights on how to enrich this multimedia experience is valued, so a comment section is included for suggestions and feedback.                                 

Advantages & Challenges For Image Capture from Helicopters     

The advantages of using a helicopter over an urban setting are many including: multiple low angle views, which are unavailable when using fixed winged aircraft, hovering over specific areas, an efficiency in reaching desired altitudes for a variety of perspective views.  

Ξ Aerial photography and especially video are challenging to produce in a helicopter compared with using fixed winged aircraft.  Two major issues, which can hamper imaging are: ↑ vibrations and noise caused from the engine next to the cab and rotor vibrations caused from elastic torsion deformations while flying. Aerospace companies such as Boeing and big budget feature film projects will occasionally use high-end aerial photography  companies, which have specialized cameras mounted into their aircraft. This specialization can reduce some aerial photography vibration issues associated with hand-held cameras, but it requires a large budget to justify the expense. The R22 helicopter is a very light craft and the summer afternoon, which was used to shoot these aerials, had strong turbulence, so some scenes will have some unavoidable vibration and noise in them. 

This is the first of two videos, which features aerial views of Seattle provided by  Helicopters Northwest out of Θ Boeing Field. The second video, soon to be posted, shows the return for refueling and includes initial mechanical issues getting the helicopter back in the air.  In regards to refueling, it’s critical a helicopter has been properly grounded before operations begin. Helicopter rotor blades are capable of generating large amounts of static electricity —especially in dry, dusty environments, which can pose a serious threat to both flight and ground crews.                

Outcomes From Infrequent Helicopter Accidents Are Usually Tragic… But There Are Exceptions

One of my first jobs after graduating from college was with KREM-TV (King Broadcasting) in Spokane. A few years after I moved on from working with the station a tragic accident occurred with its news helicopter. The helicopter had just picked up Gary Brown —an outstanding KREM videographer (who I remembered as always being upbeat, positive and friendly) — when its rotor blades struck the guy wires supporting the station’s transmitter tower. Both the photographer and pilot were killed instantly.

I’ve included a link below, which has an article with a photo of the accident scene from the Spokane, Spokesman Review – May 7, 1985 edition. The story has comments from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ) official coordinating the accident’s investigation. Ironically at the same page is a syndicated, New York Times story of a larger helicopter accident, which occurred on the following day of May 6. That tragedy was of the loss of 17 Marines in a large Sikorsky, CH-53 Sea Stallion off the southwestern coast of Japan. A joint operations helicopter reported witnessing the CH-53 suddenly lost power and dropped 500 feet into the sea. 

About ten years ago a friend of mine survived a helicopter crash, with only a few scratches. He had bought a used helicopter from a sheriff’s department to State his own flight service business. Over time, parts needed to be replaced with upgrades and he was sold a defective fuel-line, which was installed and failed while in flight. He was approximately 100 feet in the air with two clients when the helicopter’s engine shuttered to a stop. Fortunately he got his helicopter into ↑ auto rotation (emergency helicopter procedure, which shifts rotor blade’s pitch to use stored kinetic energy for making a “soft landing”) and as they began descending, the helicopter’s skid caught the center of a tree and its branches helped them slow the descent even more. 

Education and Training Is the Key to Helicopter Safety

Overall, if you consider how many hours and flights in a day helicopters perform flawlesslythey are safe and reliable. What these specialized aircraft can achieve in vertical maneuverability and performance is nothing short of marvelous and amazing. To ensure engines and structural frames are safely maintained the FAA certifies aviation mechanics using  two certifications. Helicopter mechanics are required to have: an airframe mechanic and or a power plant mechanic certification. Most employers prefer their mechanics having both certifications, which requires 1,900 hours of coursework in order to pass oral and written exams that prove their skills.           

Both videos demonstrate the essential level of professionalism required for helicopter operations during a high volume of jet and helicopters landings and takeoffs at Boeing Field.

Now, just sit back and enjoy the ride!       

     

 

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QUESTIONS FOR CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND TO TEST YOUR RECALL?

1.) What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a helicopter for aerial photography?

2.) Name one of the first skyscrapers, which also was the tallest building on the West Coast until 1962?

3.) What is the most important overall requirement for flying helicopters?

4.) What is the name of the emergency procedure for when a helicopter’s engine fails inflight and what process takes place for a soft landing?

5.) Name the FAA requirements for being a helicopter mechanic and why are they necessary?

6.) Describe the multimedia enhancements on the video, which were used to promote greater learning.

Integrated Learning Color/Symbol Key for Career Technical Education:

Navy BlueAerospace Engineering related including: aerodynamics, structural dynamics & avionics

Ξ Dark Green — Multimedia & graphic design techniques used for Integrated learning

Θ Maroon — Historical structures, locations and or districts

◊ Indigo – Professional photography & video production

 Purple — Civil engineering related

 

REFERENCES: (Click on these sites to learn more on the subject)

The Kopp-Etchells Effect: Eerie Halo of a Helicopter’s Rotor Blades in a Dust Cloud – Neatorama

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD0282087

The Spokesman-Review – Google News Archive Search

Robinson Helicopter Co.

Helicopters Northwest – Boeing Field

Intersting facts about the historic Smith Tower

HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History

Smith Tower – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walking Tours (Self-Guided) – Visiting Seattle – Seattle.gov

http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/about/Chronology.pdf

Downtown (Central Business District) guide, moving to Seattle | StreetAdvisor

Columbia Helicopters

CH-47JA Helicopter | Helicopters | Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Aerospace Company

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Boeing: History — Products – Boeing CH-47 Chinook Rotorcraft

MD Helicopters MD 500 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boeing: History — Products – Hughes OH-6 Cayuse/500 Military and Civilian Helicopter

Helicopter Safety | Flight Safety Foundation

http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/1900/1/umi-umd-1880.pdf

King County International Airport/Boeing Field

Port of Seattle

 

 

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Who Were the Titans of Telecommunication and Information Technology?

31 Aug

Multimedia Essay By: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights – Second Addition – Series 1 & 2

— Inventions are rarely the result of just one individual’s work— but are created through collective efforts overtime,  from several individual’s observations, theories and experiments. Benjamin Franklin’s role in demystifying electricity, Michael Faraday’s discovery of “induced” current, Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless radio communication… are just a few of the technology pioneers responsible for developing modern telecommunications. I regret not having the resources  for this essay’s inclusion of all men and women, whose’ discoveries made telecommunication and information technology possible.    

Definition of technology — “the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge to practical tasks.”  (J.K Galbraith)  “the application of scientific and other organized knowledge to practical tasks by… ordered systems that involve people and machines.” (John Naughton)

For an alternative graphic format on this program, please visit:  http://www.BigPictureOne.wordpress.com

Telecommunications took its first infant steps as the industrial revolution was rapidly compressing concepts of time and space. The first half of the 19Th Century witnessed modern societies using steam locomotive trains for mass transit and electronic communication through telegraph technology. Steamships shrunk the world by delivering capital goods, raw resources and people to remote locations within fractions of the time it took before. With the industrial revolution nearing its peak at the close of the century, a new communication, innovation was developed, which helped transform the modern age into a postmodern era. 

Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell’s Washington D.C. company, which developed the telephone, eventually evolved into a prime research laboratory. His vision for a R&D lab, created a foundation for the digital technologies of today. In the following century, another key, R&D technology titan— Xerox PARC  enters the stage, which helps to set in motion personal computing and expand the information technology revolution.

The steamship S.S. Empress of India near Vancouver B.C.
From the private collection of: David A. Johanson ©

Scottish born Alexander Graham Bell
from the collection of: Library of Congress

The French Technology Connection

A French, visionary government in 1880, recognized the importance of Alexander Bell’s invention, and awarded him the Volta Prize. A sum of 50,000 francs or roughly, $250,000 in today’s currency came with the honor. The funds were reinvested into research for use in education to enable knowledge on deafness. Growing investments to fund the creation of Bell Telephone Company on March 20, 1880 allowed for expanded research on recording and transmission of sound.

Can You Hear Me Now     telep_road_BPP_et110

The telegraph and telephone were the first forms of electricity, point-to-point telecommunications and qualify as early versions of social media platforms. Over time, phone service, convenience  and quality have steadily improved.  

In my youth during the early 1960s, I spent summers visiting relatives with farms in Wisconsin who had phones connected on “party lines” (several phone subscribers on one circuit).  When picking up a phone connected with a party line, your neighbor might be having a conversation in progress. If  a conversation was taking place  you could politely interrupt and request to use the phone for urgent business. Today, phone service has become so advanced that it is taken for granted as a form of personal utility. 

In 1925, Bell Telephone Laboratories were created from the merger of the engineering department of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and Western Electric Research Laboratories.  Ownership of the labs was shared evenly between the two companies; in return, Bell Laboratories provided design and technical support for Western Electric’s telephone infrastructure used by the Bell System. Bell Labs completed the symbiotic relationship for the phone companies by writing and maintaining a full-spectrum of technical manuals known as Bell System Practices (BSP).     

 

An Invisible Bridge From Point A To Point B

Bell Laboratories instantly began developing and demonstrating for the first time, telecommunication technology, which we now depend on for economic growth and to hold our social fabric together. Bell accomplished the first transmitting of a long-distance, 128-line television images from New York to Washington, D.C. in 1927. This remarkable event ushered in television broadcast, creating a new form of mass-multimedia. Now people could gather together in the comfort of their homes and witness… live news reports, hours of entertainment and product advertisements, which helped to stimulate consumer spending in a growing economy. Radio astronomy’s powerful space exploratory telescope, was developed through research conducted by Karl Jansky in 1931. During this decade, Bell lab’s George Paget Thomson was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of electron diffraction, which was a key factor for solid-state.

The Forecasting Power Of Numerical Data

An important component of renewable energy is the photovoltaic cell, which was developed in the lab during the 1940s by Russell Ohl. A majority of the United States’ statistician superstars, such as W. Edwards Deming, Harold F. Dodge, George Edwards, Paul Olmstead and Mary N. Torrey all came from Bell Labs Quality Assurance Department. W. Edwards Deming’s genius would later  go on to help revitalize Japan’s industry and be used in Ford Motors’ successful, quality control initiatives in the 1980s.

W. Edwards Deming

The U.S. government used Bell Labs for a series of consulting projects relating to highly technical initiatives and for the Apollo program. Several Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researches at the laboratory, adding to its fame and growing prestige. In the 1940’s many of the  Bell Labs were moved from New York City to nearby areas of New Jersey. ……………………………….Replica of the first transistor

Inventors of the transistor, l. to r. Dr. William Shockley, Dr. John Bardeen, Dr. Walter Brattain, ca. 1956
Courtesy Bell Laboratories

Smaller Is Better In The World Of Electronics

Perhaps Bell Laboratories most marvelous invention was the transistor invented on December 16, 1947. Transistors are at the heart of just about all electrical devices you’ll use today. These crucial artifacts transformed the electronics industry, by miniaturizing multiple electronic components used in an ever-expanding array of products and technical applications. Transistor efficiencies also greatly reduced the amount of heat in electronic devices, while improving overall reliability compared to fragile vacuum tube components. Once more, the labs’ select team of scientists was rewarded  with the Nobel Prize in Physics, for essential components of telecommunications.  

The mobile-phone was also created in 1947, with the labs’ commercial launch of Mobile Telephone Service (MTS) for use in automobiles. Some 20 years later, cell phone technology was developed at Bell and went on to become the ubiquitous form of communication it is today.                                                                                                            

 In 1954 the labs began to harness the sun’s potential, by creating the world’s first modern solar cell. The laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) was dated in a 1958 Bell Lab, publication. The laser’s  growing spectrum of applications includes —  communications, medicine and consumer electronics.

A Perpetual Revolution In The Sky Unites The World

In 1962, Bell Labs pioneered satellite communications with the launch of  Telstar 1, the world’s first orbiting communication satellite. Telstar enabled virtually instant telephone calls to be bounced from coast to coast and all over the world. This development unified global communications and provided instant 24 – hour news coverage.      Bell Labs introduced the replacement of rotary dialing with touch-tone in 1963, this improvement vastly expanded telephone services with — 911 emergency response, voice mail and call service capabilities.

The image used in Byte Magazine for an article on VM2 assembly language. Photo-illustration by: David A. Johanson © All Rights

A New Distinct Language For Harnessing Machines

It’s been greatly underreported that Unix operating system, C  and C++ programing languages, essential for use in Information Technology (IT), were all created within Bell Labs. These crucial computer developments were established between 1969 -1972, while C++ came later in the early 1980s. C programing was a breakthrough as a streamlined and flexible form of computer coding, making it one of the most widely used in today’s programing languages. Unix enabled comprehensive networking of diverse computing systems, providing for the internet’s dynamic foundation. Increasingly, Bell Laboratories inventions were transforming and expanding the frontiers of micro-computing, which helped to make personal computing possible.                                                                         In 1980, Bell Labs tested the first single-chip 32-bit microprocessor, enabling personal computers to handle complex multimedia applications.

A major corporate restructure of AT&T, the parent company of Bell Laboratories, was ordered  by the U.S.  Federal government in 1985, to split-up its subsidiaries as part of a  divestiture agreementThis event proved to be an example of over regulation, which severed important links for funding technology R&D projects. Although AT&T previously had an economic advantage with a monopoly in the telephone industry, it allowed for necessary funding of Bell R&D labs.  Indirectly, U.S. tax payers made one of the best investments by subsidizing the foundation for our current telecommunication and information technology infrastructure.

AT&T Bell Laboratories became AT&T Labs official new name in 1996, when it  became part of Lucent Technologies. Since 1996, AT&T Labs have been awarded over 2000 patents and has introduced hundreds of new products. In 2007, Lucent Bell and  Alcatel Research merged into one organization under the name Bell Laboratories. Currently, the Labs’ purpose is directed away from scientific discovery and focussed on enhancing existing  technology, which is intended to yield higher financial returns.

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Pause & Reflect: Questions for continuous learning part 1.

1.) What were the first forms of electrical, point-to-point telecommunications?

2.) What revolution was taking place when early forms of telecommunications were invented and name at least two technology innovations?

3.) Define the word technology?

5.) Who founded Bell Research and Development Labs?

7.) Name at least two developments which Bell Labs were awarded Nobel Prizes in?

6.) Pick one Bell Lab invention, which you believe was most important for helping develop modern telecommunications or personal computing.

Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Will Appear As Magic.                                                     — Arthur C. Clarke

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Advance Technology Takes Root In The West

In the first half of the 20TH Century, Bell Labs’ dazzling R&D creations aligned seamlessly to establish a solid foundation for telecommunications. Most of the Labs’ bold research had been conducted in the industrialized, Eastern portion of the United States. By the 1950s, new developments and evolving industries on the West Coast were benefiting from Bell’s technological inventions. Palo Alto’s, Stanford University research facilities, south of San Francisco, acted as a magnet for pulling in corporate transplants— most notably  IBM, General Electric and Eastman Kodak. In 1970, XEROX Corporation of Rochester, New York established a research center known as—Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated). PARC’s impact in R&D would soon be felt,  acting as a stimulating catalyst for personal computing and information technology development.  

 Creative Sanctuary For Nurturing Bold Ideas

Jack GoldmanChief Scientist at Xerox enlisted physicist Dr. George Pake, a specialist in nuclear magnetic resonance to help establish a new Xerox research center. Selecting the Palo Alto location gave the scientist greater independence and freedom than was possible near its Rochester headquarters. The location also provided huge resource opportunities for selecting talent pools of leading engineers and scientist from the numerous research centers located in the Bay Area. Once the West-Coast lab had a foothold, it became a sanctuary for the company’s creative misfitspassionate science engineers who were determined to create boldly. One of the few downsides for the new facility’s location was—less opportunities for lobbying and promoting critical breakthrough developments to top management located a continent away.

XEROX PARC had an inspiring creative influence, along with universal appeal, which attracted international visitors. A collaborative, open atmosphere helps to define the creative legacy of PARC. The cross-pollination of ideas and published research between the R&D facility and Stanford’s computer science community, pushed digital innovation towards new thresholds.

Premier Unveils The Future Of Personal Computing Tools

XEROX PARC, discovered a target rich environment of ideas from  Douglas Engelbart, who worked at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park. Engelbart gave the Mother of  all personal computing presentations in December of 1968, — astonishing the computer science audience with a remarkable debut of: the computer mouse, hyper text, email, video conferencing and much more.

Bitmap graphic, graphical user interface (GUI), which provides window like graphic features and icon objects — are just a few of the revolutionary concepts developed at PARC for personal computing. The list of  PC  innovations and developments continues with laser printers, WYSIWYG text editor, InterPress (prototype of Postscript) and Ethernet as a local-area computer network — inspiring PARC Universal Packet architecture, which resembles today’s internet. Optical disc technologies and  the LCD, were developed by PARC material scientist adding yet more to its diverse technology portfolio.  


The Shape Of Things To Come

 Xerox PARC’s R&D, efficiently blended these vital new technologies and leveraged it all into a personal computer, workstation, called  “Alto.” The futuristic Alto, was light-years ahead of its 1973 debut—bundled with a dynamic utility including: a mouse, graphical user interface and the connectivity of Ethernet. Interest in this revolutionary PC wonder kept expanding as countless demonstrations were given to the legions of intrigue individuals. The increasing demand for witnessing the power of PC computing was telegraphing the need for a new consumer market. For the first time, a “desktop sized computer” could match the capabilities of a full-service print shop.

Advance technology always comes with a hefty price tag, and the Alto was no exception, making it beyond reach of most consumers. Despite a high price-point — prestige and enthusiasm for Alto grew — as did admiration for the bold new world of Apple Computers and of its superstar founder — Steve Jobs.

Xerox Alto -1973 Was this the apple in Steve Job’s eye? It certainly was the first personal computer, which included most of the graphic interface features we recognize today.

Torch Of The Titans Lights New Horizons

By 1979, Apple was beginning to advance its own user-friendly interfaces with the development of the Lisa and Macintosh personal computers. Both products featured screens with multiple fonts, using bitmap screens for blending graphics and text. There were Apple graphics engineers  associated with Xerox PARC — either through former employment or in connection with Stanford University. Apple engineers aware of advances made in graphic interfaces with PARC’s ALTO, prompted Steve Jobs to have a parlay with PARC. In late 1979, Steve Jobs with his Apple engineering entourage arrived to view an AlTO demonstration at Xerox’s facilities. The  meeting’s outcome proved Jobs’ was a master of showmanship and marketing JudeJitsu by not disclosing a previously negotiated, sizable investment from Xerox’s venture capital group

Gravitational forces began shifting in favor of Steve Jobs and Apple Computer to capitalize on the market potential for personal computing. PARC computer engineers and scientist clearly understood the economic potential of an information business they help  build… but Xerox top executives certainly did not.  Xerox had a history of dominating the lucrative copy machine market — it was the business model corporate decision makers were comfortable with and they would not risk venturing very far from.  Most of PARC’s personal computing developments experienced the same frustrating fate of withering on the vine —  allowing for lucrative opportunities to go for bargain rates to new companies like Apple Computers.

Apple’s alchemy of — perfect timing, creative talent and visionary insight quickly aligned towards harnessing information technology products for an emerging market convergence. The creative inspiration and marketing savvy, which Steve Jobs’ applied towards personal computing—created  seismic ripple effects, which we’re still experiencing today.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained  

Recently, there’s been a handful of media and tech industry critics, siting undeserved shortcomings of Bell Labs and Xerox PARC.  Too often, corporate R&D labs are faulted for not fully marketing their technology developments or capitalizing on scientific inventions. Rarely mentioned is the research & development lab’s purpose or mission of innovation, which is directed by the parent company’s strategic goals. Failing to understand the reality of this relationship, detracts from the technological importance and diminishes the accomplishments of these remarkable engineers and scientists. Lost in the critics hindsight, is the titanic obstacles facing the marketing, manufacturing and distribution of innovative products.  

Thrilling technical breakthroughs are what grab headlines — rarely are the successful efforts of corporate marketing or brilliant production logistics recognized or mentioned. It’s a disconnect to judge a R&D’ lab’s success completely  on the financial returns of its inventions.

The laser printer’s success, in particular, should erase the myth that Xerox PARC miss-managed all of its developments. Gary Starkweather, a brilliant optical engineer for Xerox PARC, developed the laser printer. Starkweather had pitched battles with Xerox management over promoting the laser printer, but eventually he triumphed and the laser printer went on to earn billions of dollars — enough to repay the investment cost of Xerox PARC several times over. Eventually Starkweather sensibly moved on to greater opportunities when Steve Jobs offered him a job in Cupertino. 

Brilliant R&D technology, requires an equally creative or open-minded group of executives for  converting technology innovation into a marketable product.  These decision makers must maintain iron-wills and courage to shepherd the technology product through its entire volatile development process. IBM’s iconic 305 RAMAC, the first commercial ‘super computer,’  is a classic example of a product development challenge. Introduced in 1956, the RAMAC featured a hard disk drive (HDD) and stored a — whopping five megabytes of data. Apparently, the HDD storage capacity could’ve been expanded well beyond the 5MB, but was not attempted because — IBM’s marketing department didn’t believe they could sell a computer with more storage.                    

IBM 305 RAMAC — first commercial computer to use a hard disk drive in 1956.

R&D Labs take creative risk in developing new ideas, most of these developments won’t make it to market, but that’s the price of creativity. Using intuition for taking risks and knowing some failure is necessary to pave the road toward successful discoveries — builds confidence in trusting one’s creative resources. So often, the creative-process is misunderstood and undervalued in our society’s perceived need for instant control and results. In the past, I’ve personally witnessed this attitude reflected in our educational system, however the viewpoint is  progressively shifting to realize the value of the creative-process.

Steve Jobs and Apple Computers are a good illustration of a company, which traditionally emphasized and embraced the creative spirit. Creative employees are considered the most valued resource at Apple as they are encouraged to nurture their creative uniqueness. Shortsighted emphasis on quarterly results, which has affected most of American business culture, is refreshingly absent from Apple’s overall mindset, allowing for more sustained and successful business initiatives.

Where Have All The R&D Labs Gone — Innovation VS Invention

The era of industrial, ‘closed inventive’ research & development labs — have faded into the background of yesterday’s business culture. Internal silos, once the proprietary norm, have been day-lighted to allow fresh ideas and collaborative efforts to circulate.  For the past 10 years, corporations have steadily reversed their long-term, pure scientific research in favor of  efforts towards quicker commercial returns. In 2011, Intel Corporation, dropped its  ’boutique’ research lablets‘ in Seattle, Berkeley and Pittsburgh  — opting for academic research to be conducted at university facilities. Intel continues to maintain its more profit oriented Intel Labs. This industry strategy repeatedly cloned itself within the corporate research world, as it is far easier to realize a profit from innovation than it is from pure invention.

Perhaps the golden-age of great research & development labs have run their course — but not before replacing the analogue, industrial era technology, with a digital one. A century ago, using creative, innovative and bold scientific vision, Bell Labs set the standard for future R&D labs. Xerox PARC, helped to extend Bell Labs’ marvelous inventions and innovations with a solid platform of creative research for developing mass markets in the postmodern telecommunications and personal computing of today.  ~

Pause & Reflect: Questions for continuous learning – part 2.

1.) Name the parent company (based in Rochester New York) and its research and development lab, which moved into California’s Bay Area in 1970?

2.) What was the  product (used for duplicating documents), which this New York based company had made its fame and fortune on?

3.) Give at least two reasons why this R&D lab was so inventive?

4.) What stop the lab’s parent company, which developed the first commercialized personal computer from realizing more profits from its inventions?

5.) What was the name of both the young, iconic tech entrepreneur and his company (named after  a red fruit) who was able to creatively use and market early Silicone Valley PC innovations?

6.) What’s the difference between invention and innovation?

7.) In your opinion, who were the top 10 inventors of all time and how did they make your top 10?

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References

wp- CREATIVE COMMUNITIES v5.indd
Bell Labs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bell Labs
Telstar 1: The Little Satellite That Created the Modern World 50 Years Ago | Wired Science | Wired.com
Was Bell Labs Overrated? – Forbes
Top 10 Greatest Inventors in History | Top 10 Lists | TopTenz.net
History of Lucent Technologies Inc. – FundingUniverse
Volatile and Decentralized: The death of Intel Labs and what it means for industrial research
Inventive America | World | Times Crest
Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
http://www.westernelectric.com/history/WEandBellSystemBook.pdf
Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
Xerox PARC, Apple, and the Creation of the Mouse : The New Yorker
1956 Hard Disk Drive – Disk Storage Unit for 305 RAMAC Computer
IBM 305 RAMAC: The Grandaddy of Modern Hard Drives
WSJ mangles history to argue government didn’t launch the Internet | Ars Technica
The Industrial Revolution: A Timeline
A History of Silicon Valley
The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce

XEROX PARC had an inspiring creative influence, along with a brilliant universal appeal, which attracted international visitors. A collaborative, open atmosphere helps to define the creative legacy of PARC. The cross-pollination of ideas and published research between the R&D facility and Stanford’s computer science community, pushed digital innovation towards new thresholds

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun, or is There?

19 Jul

Science Tech Tablet provides periodic updates on solar activity, the essay begins after the Space Weather Prediction Center Report

Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force.
Updated 2013 Jul 19 2200 UTC

Joint USAF/NOAA Solar Geophysical Activity Report and Forecast
SDF Number 200 Issued at 2200Z on 19 Jul 2013

IA.  Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 18/2100Z to
19/2100Z: Solar activity has been at very low levels for the past 24
hours. There are currently 7 numbered sunspot regions on the disk.

IB.  Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is likely to be low with a
slight chance for an M-class flare on days one, two, and three (20 Jul,
21 Jul, 22 Jul).

IIA.  Geophysical Activity Summary 18/2100Z to 19/2100Z: The geomagnetic
field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. Solar
wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of
674 km/s at 19/1650Z. Total IMF reached 12 nT at 18/2100Z. The maximum
southward component of Bz reached -9 nT at 19/0122Z. Electrons greater
than 2 MeV at geosynchronous orbit reached a peak level of 2710 pfu.

IIB.  Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected
to be at unsettled to minor storm levels on day one (20 Jul), unsettled
to active levels on day two (21 Jul) and quiet to unsettled levels on
day three (22 Jul).

III.  Event probabilities 20 Jul-22 Jul
Class M    15/15/15
Class X    01/01/01
Proton     01/01/01
PCAF       green

IV.  Penticton 10.7 cm Flux
Observed           19 Jul 114
Predicted   20 Jul-22 Jul 115/115/115
90 Day Mean        19 Jul 121

V.  Geomagnetic A Indices
Observed Afr/Ap 18 Jul  016/015
Estimated Afr/Ap 19 Jul  011/014
Predicted Afr/Ap 20 Jul-22 Jul  014/020-011/015-008/010

VI.  Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 20 Jul-22 Jul
A.  Middle Latitudes
Active                35/30/25
Minor Storm           20/10/05
Major-severe storm    05/01/01
B.  High Latitudes
Active                10/15/15
Minor Storm           25/30/30
Major-severe storm    50/40/30


 A multimedia eLearning essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights — First Addition

 Please note: This essay is a follow-up from my chronicle on solar storm effects of the 1859 Carrington Event on an industrial era society— forward to the postmodern, microelectronic world of today. To better understand the context of this article, it’s suggested you view my introduction solar storm essay found  by selecting the March 2012 archives found on left side of this page.  The National Academy of  Sciences (NAS) (funded by the U.S. Congress) produced a landmark report in 2008 entitled “Severe Space Weather Events— Societal Impacts.” It reported how people of the 21st-century depend on advance-technology systems for daily living, The National Academy of Science stated— Electric power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity.  A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina. [1] Some leading solar researchers believe we are now due for a century-class storm.                                

Photo courtesy of NASA

You’re encouraged to help make the essay interactive by entering comments or observations in the dialogue box at the end of the essay.
The essay is a work in progress, please check back as more content will be added
in the coming days.  — To see this essay in another format, please visit the site: http://www.BigPictureOne.wordpress.com
July 15, 2012 aurora borealis sighting near Everett, WA. This event was caused from an X-class solar storm, which occurred within a week of another X-class storm (X-class being the most severe classification). The 11-year solar cycle is approaching a solar maximum around 2013, this will most likely bring more intense solar storm activity.

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Depending on your interpretation of the essay’s title, there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to our neighboring star’s behavior. Since our Sun left its infancy as a protostar over 4 billion years ago, by triggering a nuclear fusion reaction and entering a main-sequence stage, its solar mechanics have maintained relative consistent patterns. What has not remained the same is the evolution of life on Earth, in particular, our species’ development of a civilization which now is dependent on a form of energy called electricity. Our Sun is now playing a version of solar roulette with the World’s social and economic future.

The name “aurora borealis” was given by Galileo Galilei, in 1619 A.D., inspired from the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and Boreas from the Greek name for north wind. First record siting was in 2600 B.C. in China. Collision between oxygen particles in Earth’s atmosphere with charged (ionized) particles released from the sun creates green and yellow luminous colors beginning at altitudes of 50 miles (80 kilometers). Blue or purplish-red is produced from nitrogen particles. The solar particles are attracted by the Earth’s northern and southern magnetic poles with curtains of light stretching east to west.

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Reaching back only a few generations into the 20th Century, electricity was considered a luxury—today ordinary life would be impossible without it! And that’s where our beloved Sun comes into the picture, to potentially cast a shadow on our dependency of electricity. Solar storms have been a reoccurring event before time began, but they didn’t affect people outside of providing a fantastic, special effects light-show  until a critical event happened in 1859.  

In the mid 19th century, while the industrial revolution was near full development, the resource of electric power was first harnessed. Shortly after electricity was put into use for communication using telegraph technology (a 19th century equivalent of the Internet), is when the Sun revealed                                                                                                     a  shocking surprise in the most powerful solar storm ever recorded, which was known a the Carrington Event.

The year 1859 was near a peak in the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle, when the Sun’s polarity readies for reversal. Approaching  the end  sequence of this magnetic shift, brings a solar maximum , which produces violent solar flares and ejects plasma clouds outwards into space. If the flare occurs in a region opposite of Earth, a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) may send a billion-ton radiation storm towards our planet. Fortunately, the Earth is protected by a robust atmosphere and a magnetic field surrounding the globe, which protects us from most  solar winds. However, an intense solar storm with its charged plasma cloud  can overwhelm our planet’s protective shields. When an extreme solar storm’s magnetic energy counteracts with our planet’s protective magnet field, it creates geomagnetic induced currents (GICs). GICs are massive amounts of electromagnetic energy which travel through the ground and ocean water, seeking the path of  least resistance in power lines, pipe lines and rail tracks. 

In the 1859, Carrington event, the GICs surged through the world’s emerging global communication system,known as the telegraph. So much power was generated from the solar storm entering the Earth’s atmosphere, it sent massive currents through telegraph wires, catching offices on fire, nearly electrocuting operators and  mysteriously continued sending signals with batteries completely  disconnected.     

A visual indication of the Earth’s magnetic field being overwhelmed occurs when the aurora borealis appears. If the cosmic-light-show can be seen near the tropics, it’s an indicator our planet’s magnetic fields are severely being overrun. In the extreme solar storm of 1859, the aurora borealis was seen near the equator and it was reported  people were able to read newspapers outdoors at midnight. Navigational compasses (19th century version of GPS)  throughout the world spun-out-of-control due to the flux of electromagnetic energy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
A more recent, dramatic example of a solar storm’s impact is the 1989, Quebec-Power blackout. The geomagnetic storm created was much milder than the solar maxim of the 1859, Carrington Event. However, it’s a chilling preview of what a complex, unprotected  electrical grid faces when up against the forces of super solar storm. Quebec-Power’s large transformers were fried by the GICs overloading its grid network. Electrical grids and power-lines  act like a giant antennas in pulling in the  massive flow of geomagnetic energy. In the 1989 solar storm incident, over 6 million people lost power in Eastern Canada and the U.S., with additional connecting power grids on the verge of collapsing.  Again, the powerful 1989 solar disturbance was not the 100 year super storm, but a small preview of what can if  preparations are made to protect the power grid.
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Solar scientist are now able to put together how extreme storms follow an 11 year solar maxim cycle, like the one we’re now entering, and should peak sometime in 2013. Already this year, six major X-class solar storms, the most intense type, have occurred since January. Within one week of July, we had two of the X-class storms, with last one pointing directly at Earth. On July 13, 2012, the Washington Post’s Jason Sometime, wrote an article with his concerns on how NASA and NOAA were sending out inconsistent warnings about the solar storm from July 12.

A spectrum of telecommunication may be lost during severe solar and geomagnetic storms. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

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The federal agency FEMA, appears to have learned its’ lesson from Hurricane Katrina and being proactive with a series of super solar storm scenarios. These  scenarios  illustrate the many challenges towards maintaining communication and electric power, based on the strength of the solar event. Without reliable power, food distribution will be problematic. Today we have less reliance on large warehouse  inventories and more dependenancy on — “just in time” food delivery. According to Willis Risk Solutions (industrial underwriter insurer for electric utilities) and Lloyds World Specialist Insurer (formerly LLoyds of London), there’s a global shortage of industrial large electric transformer, which now are only made in a few countries. It would take years to replace the majority of the World’s electric transformers and technically require massive amounts of electric power, which ironically, would not be available in an event of an extreme geomagnetic storm.  http://www.lloyds.com/News-and-Insight/News-and-Features/360-News/Emerging-Risk-360/Transformers-a-risk-to-keeping-the-power-on-230810
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The companies and  the federal agencies mentioned in this essay, are overall, considered highly respected and cautious in forecasting major threats to societies and national economies. All of the mentioned government entities and scientific organizations realize it’s not a matter  if, but when will the next super solar storm be aimed and sent to Earth.
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The good news is we can still take the necessary precautions to protect our society and economic future form this clear and present threat. Here’s a link to the 2008 National Academy of Science (funded by congress) report:  Severe Weather—Understanding Societal and Economic Impact: A Workshop Report (2008). This group meets every year to work on preventative strategies. The report contains cost-effective protection plans for electric power grids, please see link provided.        http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12507 
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Second Addition: More to be added in the days ahead including…
— Update on U.S. House of Representatives and Senate sponsored  legislation for solar and geomagnetic storm preparedness.
— Electric power industry mitigation and preparedness for solar and geomagnetic storm preparedness.
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Chronicles of the largest solar and geomagnetic storms in the last 500 years.

1847  — First geomagnetic storm caused by solar flare inadvertently documented with telegraph technology.  Reports were the telegraph system was sending clearer signals by disconnecting its batteries and using the geomagnetic energy from the storm.  First published affects caused from geomagnetic storm.

1859  — Becomes known as the “Carrington Event;” telegraph system becomes inoperable worldwide as reports of offices are set on fire from supercharged telegraph wire. This is the largest geomagnetic storm in 500 years. Scientist impressed with the event begin documenting future solar storm activity. The destructive power from a storm of this magnitude would devastate global power grids, satellites, computer and communication systems.

1921 — Know as the “Great Storm,” it impacted  worldwide telegraph and radio signals with total blackouts  and cables were burned beyond use. This scale of geomagnetic storm is likely to occur approximately once every 100 years.  As we approach a century mark since this type of storm took place — it’s possible another one could happen at anytime, with devastating results unless preventative measures are taken.

1989 —  Major solar flare erupts on surface of the Sun opposite of Earth; a resulting solar storm trigers a massive geomagnetic storm, which overwhelms Quebec’s power grid. As a result of the storm, six million people instantly loses power as U.S. Northeast and Midwest connecting grids come within seconds of collapse. As a result, Canadian government becomes proactive and takes effort to protect its power grid from future solar storms.

2003 — Know as the “Halloween Storms” this series of geomagnetic storms disrupted GPS, blocked High Frequency (HF) radio and triggered emergency procedures a various nuclear power plants. In Scandinavia and South Africa, section of  power grids were hit hard, many large power transformers were destroyed by the powerful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs).

Chronological  Reports and News Accounts of Solar Storms From 1859 to 2003

This is one of the most comprehensive  list of solar storm accounts on the web. The site chronicles strange solar storm happenings; such as reports in the early 1960s  with TV programs suddenly disappearing and reappearing in other regions. Other unsettling reports include the U.S. being cutoff from radio communication from the rest of the world during a geomagnetic storm. Please see link below:

http://www.solarstorms.org/SRefStorms.html

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Solar Storm Acronyms and Terms

ACE — Advance Compositional Explore = NASA satellite used in detecting and monitoring potential damaging solar flares and CMEs.

AC — alternating current

BPS — bulk power system 

CME — coronal mass ejection = caused from a solar fare near the surface of the sun, which sends  a billion-ton radiation storm out into space.

EHV — extra high voltage

FERC — United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

GIC — geo-magnetic induced current = an extreme solar storm’s magnetic energy counteracts with our planet’s protective magnet field, creating electric current which conducts or travels through the ground or ocean water.

GMD — geo-magnetic disturbance

GAO — Government Accounting Office

GPS — global positioning system = A series of satellites positioned in an Earth, geostationary orbit for use in military and civilian navigation

NERC — North American Electric Reliability Corporation

NASA — National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NOAA — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminestration

POES — Polar Operational Environmental Satellite

SEP — solar energetic particle

SOHO — Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (satellite)

STDC — Solar Terrestrial Dispatch Center (Canada)

STEREO — Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (Satellite)

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Sources and Links

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NASA Resources
Illustration courtesy of NASA
A useful illustration for understanding NASA’s efforts with Heliophysics System Observatory
Detail explanation of space weather and NASA monitoring can be found at the following link:   http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html
NOAA Solar storm monitor sites:
NOAA is the nation’s official source of space weather alerts, monitoring and alerts. The following NOAA site provides realtime monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events.  http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/
http://www.n3kl.org/sun/status.html

Washington Post story on conflicting NASA and NOAA solar forecast warnings for the July 12, 2012 solar storm event.
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/solar-storm-incoming-federal-agencies-provide-inconsistent-confusing-information/2012/07/13/gJQAkm06hW_blog.html

NASA and NOAA sites (post warning of impending dangers to the electrical grid from solar storms producing extreme geomagnetic induce currents (GICs) on Earth). http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/21jan_severespaceweather/ http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/26oct_solarshield/ http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/space.php

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/mar/18/solar-storm-flare-disruption-technology

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/solar-flare-cme-aurora/

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/subjects/emr-isac/infograms/ig2012/4-12.shtm#3

My solar storm articles from February www.bigpictureone.wordpress.com  and in the March addition of  www.ScienceTechTablet.wordpress.com  present a comprehensive picture of how solar flares and solar storms originate, with the potential of producing geomagnetic storms on Earth.  If these geomagnetic storms are severe enough, they can threaten our way of life. Some strategies and common sense precautions are offered  for civic preparedness in the case of an extreme solar event.

 

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The World Event Which launched Seattle into a Postmodern Orbit, 50 Years Ago Today.

22 Apr

Seattle panorama with Space Needle in foreground and Mt Rainier in background.

Multimedia eLearning essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights – Third Edition    

Content includes: Blended learning, critical think, Seattle Postmodern History, (Video Links – MGM film segments with Elvis Presley at Seattle’s World Fair, postmodern video of early NASA rocket launches & spacewalks, video defining “postmodernism”)  (Web links, history org feature of Century 21 Seattle’s World’s Fair & Architect Japanese American Minoru Yamasaki)

Century 21 World’s Fair logo.

On this day, April 21st, 1962, Seattle’s Century 21 World’s Fair opened the doors for its national and international visitors.  Eventually, almost 10 million guests would attend the entire event to—imagine a futuristic tomorrow, which promised technological wonders for improved living and for promoting world harmony.

In the previous century’s, 1851 London World’s Fair, taking place at the Crystal Palace, it was a first of its kind event . The industrial age was in a mature stage of  development, offering new forms of emerging technologies.  In this era, people became aware of time speeding-up, caused by steam-powered’s ability to hasten the speed of long-distance travel with locomotives and steamships.  The dimensions of  time and space were being reduced by these transportation developments… which brought distant nations and cultures together, allowing for— the creation of World’s fairs for promoting industrial development and international exhibits.  Seattle’s first World’s fair, the  Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, in 1909, took place near the peak of the modern industrial age.

The Space Needle, an iconic landmark from Seattle’s 1962 Century 21 Worlds Fair.

Significantly, the Century 21 World’s Fair was successful with a number of tangible results— it was one of the few world’s fairs, which made a profit and most importantly, it lifted Seattle out of its perceived provincial setting, while placing it on a world stage.  The timing was ideal for the city’s economic and development trajectory.  With Boeing Aerospace as a prime Seattle-based company, it benefited from the international exposure, right when the postmodern world began embracing jet travel for enhanced global access.

Aerial view of Seattle Center, part of the original site: Century 21 World’s Fair.

Optimism and enthusiasm associated with the 1962 Worlds Fair was authentic, however, in the big picture, a dark shadow was growing in super-power tension as the cold war thermometer was reaching a boiling point.  President Kennedy’s excuse of having a cold for not attending the Century 21 closing ceremony in October was a ruse, actually his efforts for de-escalating the Cuban Missile Crisis were urgently required.  As a result of averting a nuclear war over Cuba, President Kennedy successfully presided over the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union’s signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the following year of 1963.

Ironically, it was the Soviet Union, which created the theme of “science” for Seattle’s Century 21 Worlds Fair.  On October 4, 1957 the Russians launched Sputnik, the first orbiting satellite, which gave them an edge in space development.  With the Soviet’s apparent satellite success, Americans feared they were falling behind in science and technology; as a result, the theme of “science” became the framework for Seattle’s Worlds Fair.  From this time forward, the U.S. set goals to be leaders in space exploration and development.

The shock-wave effect created by Sputnik, awoke America from its idealistic  complacency of the 1950’s.  Now a sense of urgency was created in looking for optimism within future technology of tomorrow.  This quest for all things technological— was the fuel which Seattle used for launching its World’s Fair.  Late in 1957, the title: Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair was selected as the brand name—to help promote America’s vision of optimism for a technological future.  To champion this cause, Albert Rossellini, Washington State Governor from 1956 to 1965— selected an exceptional group of business and civic leaders for a commission, which successfully acquired  financing for the World’s Fair.

Governor Albert Rossellini on Veteran’s Day 1961.

Governor Rossellini, a Pacific Northwest civic titan, had a vision, which helped develop the region into a world-class economic dynamo.  The World’s Fair, along with a modern transportation infrastructure, and post secondary education developments are just a few examples of the legacy Rossellini created.  One more fascinating contribution from Governor Rossellini was his success at bringing the of “King of Rock and Roll” to Seattle’s World Fair.

Albert Rossellini  pitched the idea to MGM, for making a movie with Elvis Presley (click on the video link →)  It Happened at the World’s Fair — (Movie Clip) Happy Ending  Enlisting Elvis, a mega superstar, to help promote the Fair in a movie was a brilliant marketing move, with true creative vision!

Most impressive icons of the Century 21 Fair are the Space Needle and Monorail, both went on to become revered Seattle landmarks and preferred  tourist attractions. Internationally, the Space Needle is more recognizable as a reference to Seattle, than the city’s actual spoken name.

The ever-popular Seattle Monorail glides into view.

Low angle view of a futuristic Space Needle.

The Inspiration for the “Space Tower” as it was initially called, came from a napkin sketch by C21 chairman, Eddie Carlson.  The chairman was motivated by his visit to a 400’ TV tower, complete with an observation deck and restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany.  The idea of a tower with a “flying-saucer” shaped restaurant at the top, was presented to architect John Graham, who added the concept of a rotating restaurant to allow viewers a continuous change of panoramic views.  Victor Steinbrueck, professor of architecture at the University of Washington and architect John Ridley produced concept sketches which featured an elegant tripod, crowned with a saucer structure, observation deck.

Minoru Yamasaki, a first-generation, Japanese American, born in Seattle, was the lead architect— along with Seattle’s NBBJ Architects chosen for designing the U.S. Science Pavilion, today’s Pacific Science Center.

Originally titled the U.S. Science Center, now the Pacific Science Center, was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, using his “Gothic Modernism” style.

Yamasaki’s innovative, graceful style was also used in Seattle’s most daring piece of architecture, the Rainier Tower— supported by a gravity defying inverted pedestal!

Yamasaki’s dynamic Rainier Tower architectural design in Seattle.

Another of Minoru’s Emerald City designs is the IBM Building, used as a model for the New York City twin tower design (destroyed in the 9/11, 2001 terrorist attacks.)

Seattle IBM Building designed by Minoru Yamasaki, was used as the model for NYC WTC Twin Towers. An example of Yamasaki’s “gothic modernism” style.

The Pacific Science and NYC twin towers architectural style is gothic modernism, which is a signature feature found in most of Minoru’s designs (please see examples of gothic modernism elements in the photographs below.)

Yamasaki’s iconic Twin Towers, Once part of NYC World Trade Center.

NYC Twin Towers designed by Minoru Yamasaki.

The futuristic Century 21 Monorail, gracefully gliding above the busy streets of Seattle. One of the City’s most popular tourist attractions.

During the summer of the World’s Fair opening,  my parents took me to experience the exposition. Although I was very young while attending, the images and feelings of wonder from seeing the futuristic architecture and exhibits are still with me.  The theme of life in the 21st century, awoke my imagination and interest in science technology at an early age, which still continues to this day. ~

Twilight view of Seattle Space Needle and Pacific Science Center.

A must see postmodern era video featuring the beginnings of the space race. Click on link below. ↓

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVfRWv7igg

What is postmodernism video (click on video link below ↓)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL8MhYq9owo

HistoryLink to Century 21 — The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Part 1 ( Click on link below ↓)

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=2290

Links to Seattle Architect Minoru Yamasaki ↓

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoru_Yamasaki

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19630118,00.html 

What can be more important than reaching for excellence in education, still not sure? Read what one of the greatest storytellers of our time is saying about the importance of education. Iconic filmmaker, George Lucas is true to his word regarding support for education. Please read what he wrote this week in his Eductopia.org. Site, regarding the importance of teaching. My written response to Mr. Lucas’s article is how I use web-based multimedia experiences to share passion for learning. I wonder if GL took a look at what I had to say?

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/importance-of-education-george-lucas

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/importance-of-education-george-lucas

www.edutopia.org

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Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Historic First Flight From Paine Field, Everett, WA.

10 Apr

Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

My video camera kit had been prepared months in advance, ready in a moment’s notice for the first maiden flight of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner—21st Century entry airliner.  Finally, Dave Waggoner, the director of Paine Field Airport, queued me into the date to witness an evolutionary advance in commercial aviation.

Cameras Packed And Ready To Go

My home is only a short drive from Boeing’s production facilities at Paine Field, Everett; so I was motivated to video record this “making of 21st century aviation history.”  Due to initial production delays, an entire year went by before I received reliable news of the 787-8 wide-body, long-range airliner was ready for her much-anticipated maiden flight. The 787 Dreamliner’s first flight was at 10:27 a.m. PST, December 15, 2009.

Experienced As A Boeing Scientific Photographer

The 787 first flight ,video project brought back some great memories from my former career as an aerospace photographer with the Boeing Company.  When first hired on by the iconic, aviation leader, my assignment involved providing video support for the Everett plant’s test engineering groups, who were conducting bulkhead fatigue test on airline fuselages.  In preceding years, some airlines began experiencing  inflight catastrophic failures related to metal fatigue. Tragically  the determined cause was from the age of the aircraft, specifically, stresses created when interior cabins went through an excessive number of pressurization cycles.

An event in the 1980s, of a Boeing 737 was dramatically documented as it safely landed with a massive section of the fuselage missing. The Aloha Airlines, 737 jetliner experienced a catastrophic failure due to metal fatigue. The metal fatigue issues caused from pressurization cycles on aircraft were not clearly understood, so the FAA required engineering test to research the potential safety threat.  

A series of highly documented Test were conducted over a period of months; going through thousands of pressurized cycles.  The purpose was to recreate what a jet airliner physically experiences when the cabin is repeatedly pressured and unpressurized — as in every-time an airliner takes-off, gains altitude and eventually returns for its landing. Our team of scientific photographers had series of video cameras, strategically placed within the test bulkhead, which sat shrouded inside layers of protective coatings, in a remote section of the Everett facilities. Over-pressurizing the bulkhead eventually caused the anticipated failure, announced  by a thunderous sound of cracking metal. The  bulkhead  test was well documented using various engineering test methods and imaging equipment. Valuable test data gathered was immediately analyzed, studied and put to methodical use for redesigning, engineering and manufacturing safer jet airlines.

Examining a fuselage section of the 787 which uses composite carbon fiber materials.

Boeing’s Traditional Practice Of Over-Engineering

It’s been my experience, which confirms for me, what commercial pilots and engineers claim regarding Boeing’s reputation with its conservative practice of “over-engineering” their aircraft.  Historically, an over-engineering approach has proven itself as a life saving benefit — with countless Boeing aircraft surviving horrific damage… yet, still landing safely. Documentaries on WWII aircraft feature  shot-up Boeing aircraft returning safely, is an example of over-engineering. 

For teams performing test  monitoring, with elaborate configured structures,  attached string gauges and actuators trying to force a break of an airplane part — the aerospace test may go on for days, or even months — the experience feels like sitting in bleachers for hours while watching slow-motion glacier races in progress.  All the invested resources of  time and effort, which goes into these aerospace component test,  helps to assure the flying public’s safety and the airlines performance records.

Engineers enjoy seeing how much torturous abuse their designed support systems will take before they bend, crack or break.  At the instant  a component does finally fail [normally after  far exceeding the range of what it was designed to do] you’ll hear a loud noise caused from a test-object going beyond its limit. The sound of the breaking part, ends the tension of monitoring a test for hours or days — in an instant, the team of test engineers and technicians start cheering like a goal was scored by a home team in a stadium full of their fans.

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner taxiing for its historic, maiden flight on December 15, 2009 from Paine Field Airport, Everett, WA.

Carbon Fiber Future In Aviation

One of many significant technological improvements for the new long-range, wide-body 787 Dreamliner, is a high percentage of composite, carbon fiber materials used in its construction. The amount of composite, materials employed in today’s aircraft have substantially increased from when it was initially developed  and used in military aircraft.  I recall, how amazingly light wing spares made of carbon fiber composite materials are, when moving them under lighting setups at Boeing’s Gateway studio.  It was fascinating observing and photographing the manufacturing of composite materials, as the process involves using massive heated autoclaves to form predesigned sections for aircraft structures.

Now, remember the bulkhead test from a previous paragraph?  Carbon fiber composites eliminates the issue of metal fatigue associated with pressurizing  passenger cabin space.  Less concerns over metal fatigue allows for more pressurization  in the cabin for passenger comfort  — more importantly, the  integrated use of composite materials ensures greater safety, with substantially less risk to the structural integrity of the airliner.

Is Boeing’s Reliance On Outsourcing The Main Culprit For The 787 Dreamliner Being Grounded In A Global Lockdown?

In the past 15 years, Boeing’s upper management has broke formation from its traditional engineering leadership and replaced it by promoting executives with business and marketing backgrounds. The current Boeing regime embraces an outsourcing strategy, unfortunately, this trend of maximizing profits for shareholders has been on going with U.S. companies for the past two decades. Negative consequences of replacing an engineering management with a business one is clearly apparent in the power transmission industry — deregulation & marketing-driven-management  in the electric power industry has significantly placed this essential infrastructure at risk [overstretched power grid, vulnerable outdated high-power transformers.] Please see my multimedia essay – Will the Last People Remaining In America, Turn the Lights Back On? : https://sciencetechtablet.wordpress.com/tag/solar-storm-testimony-to-u-s-senate/    Money_int _BPP_a223

A heavy dependence  on  foreign outsourcing is sighted as a cause for unforeseen 787 production delays. Consistent, quality control monitoring becomes problematic when components are manufactured offsite, as result these issues can sometimes lead to extended,  unanticipated problems.

photo illustration Outside vendors are capable of producing equal, if not superior quality components to that of Boeing in some technical areas. In fact, there are legions of aerospace companies in the Puget Sound region, which supply critical parts to the 787 Dreamliner’s manufacturer. Some outsourcing is absolutely necessary for Boeing to compete with Airbus. The concern is outsourcing critical components in a new airplane program, which is attempting to use technology never used in a commercial airliner. It’s ironic, li-ion batteries are at the center of the 787’s grounding — lithium batteries have been a concern for over a decade to the FAA, TSA & NTSB, even leading to bans & restrictions for passenger’s to bring on commercial flights. It’s almost hubris or a form of high-risk gambling, to “initially” rely so heavily on outside vendors [GS Yuasa, the Japanese firm making the li-ion & Thales, the French corporation making the batteries’ control systems] for producing an unproven, prototype system.  L PI CRTBD BPP et99

While working as a Boeing employee in the 1990s, I recall an incident with a vendor supplying thousands of counterfeit aircraft quality fasteners made in China. Fortunately, the fiasco was caught early — but not before many hours and dollars were lost, going back to inspect wings on the production line, to remove & replace the defective fasteners. photo illustration

Unless solid metrics are emplace to assure critical standards are met for each component, it’s only a matter of time before a failure will occur. Boeing has traditionally been an aerospace company, which “over engineers” it airplanes & errors on the side of safety. Hopefully the company has maintained & continues to practice these quality assurances

Outsourcing is practical both economically and politically for companies with international sells. It’s a successful strategy Boeing has used for many years; outsourcing has proven to provide incentives for foreign airline companies to buy Boeing aircraft, in order to support their own domestic aerospace industries.     World_box_BPP_et424

The American auto manufacture Tesla, had similar “thermal runaway” issues when first using li-ion batteries to power its Roadster. Tesla Motors, benefited from its learning curve by switching to Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, which run at cooler temperatures. The innovative auto manufacture also developed its own battery pack architecture, with proprietary liquid cooling system packs — for controlling battery cell temperatures within self-contained, metal lined enclosures.  The nontoxic, Tesla battery packs are manufactured domestically in Northern California. Perhaps Boeing should be considering manufacturing all critical systems in-house and domestically as Tesla has done.

Boeing 747 at Everett manufacturing facilities.

Boeing 747 at Everett manufacturing facilities.


L TEC ELMICROS BPP et211

Again, it’s to early to know the exact extent of the problem  with the 787’s battery systems. There’s no doubt, the issues will be isolated and corrected, as  Boeing has long history of thoroughly testing and over-engineering its aircraft systems. One thing is certain, it’s rare for Boeing to experience a new aircraft being grounded simultaneously by  Japan’s transport ministry and by the FAA.

Ultimately,  A Bright Future Awaits The 787 Dreamliner

Gaining profitable fuel savings by developing a lighter, wide-body aircraft, combined with the fuel-efficient, GE or Rolls Royce engines, produces a major advance for airliner capabilities.  The tangible benefits in comfort, interior lighting and convenience  contribute to a remarkable passenger experience.  All the evolutionary, technical advances in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, creates a remarkable new development  for commercial aviation. ~

Future of Flight Museum - Mount Rainier & Paine Field in background Everett, WA

Future of Flight Museum –
Mount Rainier & Paine Field in background Everett, WA

 

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Maiden Flight – December 15, 2009 – Paine Field, Everett, WA.  Video by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights Reserved

The Unworldly Splendor of Oregon’s Painted Hills.

3 Apr

Photo/video and text by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

The sun had just set as I arrived at my friend’s condominium on Lake Washington near Seattle.  Rick was loading camera equipment into his SUV Ford Escape, which is a gasoline-electric hybrid and incidentally one of the first American-built hybrids.

We had a long drive ahead of us and we’d be traveling all night until reaching our destination in the high desert of Central Oregon.  It was a cool, but clear, May evening, as the SUV climbed steadily up Snoqualmie pass; taking us over the Cascade Mountains and  into dryer Eastern Washington.  After a few hours of driving the glow from a near full moon was illuminating the desert sagebrush outside the town of Goldendale on the Columbia River.

Wind turbines above the Columbia River are lit by the moon.

Our adventure to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, was planed  to coincide with a full moon to illuminate the surreal Painted Hills within the Monument.  Rick and I use digital cameras, featuring full-sized imaging sensors and fast optical lenses, which are ideal for capturing in lowlight environments.  Taking the opportunity to harness some moonlight as it rose above the Columbia Gorge, we made a stop to photograph wind turbines, which populate this section of Washington and Oregon.  The site is ideal for wind farms due to the wind tunnel conditions created by compressed airstreams forcefully moving through the constricted Gorge.   

Standing next to a colossal tower is a strange experience.  These wind catchers are the largest machines you’ll probably encounter on land and the eerie sounds produced from the massive propeller blades takes some getting use to.

Driving on the Washington side of the Columbia River and into Oregon you see legions of wind turbine sentinels, as they constantly harvest the restless winds.  It takes an hour of driving south on the highway before we no longer have towers flanking our drive. What I’m surprised not to see are other cars traveling in either direction on the highway.  The vast size of Eastern Oregon is not appreciated unless you spend some time touring in its’ large, unpopulated counties.

After traveling all night and encountering some falling snow as the hybrid SUV started ascending the road to the high desert—we finally entered into the realm of the primeval Painted Hills.  It’s totally dark now that the moon set hours earlier, so we pull into a remote area to catch a couple of hours of sleep before our video and photography expedition begins.  The John Day Fossil Bed National Monument is organized into three Units; the Painted Hills is the third Unit, which contains 3,132 acres of wildlife, plants and some unusual geology.

Over millions of years, layers of ash from nearby volcanic eruptions mixed with clay through the process of erosion to cause intense patterns of color.

The following morning was a like waking up in some eye-candy dreamland.  The colors just popped out of the scene like a TV monitor, which had been over adjusted with the saturation turned way up.  Stunned by the startling beauty, I grabbed my video camera on a tripod and began shooting panorama footage.  Ready for capturing the details of the environment; an external microphone was used to record the outburst of chattering songbirds, which had woken up to herald the beginning of a new day.  My first impression was an experience of sensory overload; it was  challenging to take in all the colors, sounds and surreal shapes of the textured topography.  What I was seeing, appeared to be out of this world —like viewing some futuristic post cards of a terraformed  Martian landscape.

What I remembered from earlier road trips to Southwest was how striking the Painted Desert in Arizona appeared but that now seemed pale in comparison to the Painted Hills.  What makes the  geology at this site so vivid with saturated color was caused by a series of volcanic  eruptions, occurring over millions of years.  The accumulation of bright  layers of ash, dust and clay mixed together from relentless years of erosion — forming intense, saturated strata of colors, layered into the hills.

What remains buried beneath the volcanic soil is a time-capsule, of preserved fossil remains from mammals and plants, which thrived  during the  Cenozoic Era – the Age of Mammal [roughly 65 million years ago.] This National Monument is a target rich environment for paleontologist studying fossils from this time period.

After I shot about an hours worth of video from the spot we had park at from the night before, it was time to scout other dramatic locations.  Not too far into our drive we spotted a family of graceful antelope, casually grazing in a large field.  Apparently, from talking with one of the NPS Rangers, this National Monument is full of indigenous wildlife including: bears, cougars and eagles.

Latter in the afternoon we stopped at the side of a gravel road to take in a stunning view of  one of the larger hills at the site.  The clouds above were opening and closing like a massive shutter on a spotlight; producing lighting effects which were irresistible.  We set up tripods along with our video and still cameras to begin shooting right away.  Shortly after, a ranger  pulled up close to the SUV and was intently watching us. Rick and I looked at each other with a shrug, thinking perhaps we had unknowingly parked in a restricted area. Eventually the ranger introduced himself, he had the impression we were part of a National Park Service video crew, which was schedule to be doing work at the Monument.  The ranger was there to lead a group of photographers into a restricted area for a guided tour, so he invited us to join in.  As it turned out, this special photography tour only takes place one weekend out of the entire year —when the John Day chaenactus (a bright yellow wild flower) begins to bloom; then as quickly as it appears—it begins to fade away.

The photographer’s tour was visually fantastic and can only be experienced under the supervision of an NPS Ranger.  The plant life is so fragile here, you’re only allowed to  walk inside a dried out creek bed while touring this area.  The Ranger was gracious enough to allow me to interview him about the site.  Wind is common and unpredictable in this high desert area, so I came prepared with a wind guard on my microphone; but I did experience a few audio dropouts,  hopefully you’ll able to hear the main message clearly enough.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMno4hbg-ZA

Later that evening we photographed the landscapes using a full moon for our lighting. I’ve never seen greater clarity of the stars and moon from this high desert environment, which created a great backdrop for an unearthly landscape. We photographed throughout the night until the light of predawn appeared.

At a little over 2,000 feet in elevation, the high desert can produce cold, bone-chilling weather and as mentioned—windy conditions.  I recommend warm clothing and gloves to help keep your hands comfortable from wind-chill.  For photography, the higher altitude is a great benefit, especially for optical clarity if your focus is on night photography of stars and landscapes.

I definitely plan to go back to the Painted Hills as soon as possible… it’s a dreamlike setting I have rarely experienced, which captivates the senses, with its splendor of stunning colors contained within an unworldly environment. ~

LINKS:

Here’s a link to National Park Service’s John Day Fossil Bed National Monument:   http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm

Paine Field in the Pacific Northwest is becoming an aviation mecca.

27 Mar
General Aviation Day 2013, is on, Saturday, May 18th, Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/

 
Most of the following photo/video essays can be seen in another format which features an alternative graphic style and a black background, please see:  http://bigpictureone.wordpress.com 
General Aviation Day 2012 is on Saturday, May 19th. Admission is $5. or $10. per family.  For details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/
In
Paine Field in the Pacific Northwest is becoming an aviation mecca.
Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid-May, located next to a vast aviation center; including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of it’s commercial aircraft, along with an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.  
Photos & essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights
Wow, I knew to expect a great event from the warbirds appearing at the General Aviation Day, but I had known idea it would be so fantastic! This dynamic annual aircraft exhibition held at Paine Field in Everett, WA has one of the best settings for such an event and is becoming a major aviation mecca.”
A surprise appearance of a Boeing Dreamlifter has photographers scrambling to get a shot.
Aerial view of Paine Field Airport looking north.

Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid May, located next to a vast aviation center; including the world largest building, where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of it’s commercial aircraft, along with an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.  Located next to these aviation assets are Paul Allen’s, (cofounder of Microsoft and commercial space visionary/developer) Flying Heritage Collection and John T. Session’s (Seattle attorney and entrepreneur) Historic Flight Foundation.

    It’s remarkable this quality of event has such minimal admission fees, yet it offers the public a rare opportunity to walk right next to these historic World War II airplanes; to look inside at flight controls and touch the aircraft aluminum skin of these fierce flying machines. Only minutes later these same vintage World War II fighters, bombers and scout planes are beginning to fire up their inline and radial engines; which sounds like a monstrous dragon clearing it’s throat until there’s just a steady roar that grabs everyone’s attention. As one airplane after another takes off and returns making multiple passes, spectators are lining the edge of the airfield and to watch in awe.

Formation flying over a navy blue warbird with her mighty wings folded.

    At midday the participating, Historic Flight Foundation open house began.  Within the Foundation’s grounds were scores of World War II aircraft, along with dozens of people in army uniforms of the era; I had to remind myself… this was not a movie I was watching, nor a dream, but an actual live event. Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have outdone the staging for this assortment of warbirds, soldiers in uniform and military equipment of the era.

Is that Steven Spielberg
Is that Steven Spielberg wearing an aviation hat in the background? No, it’s John T Sessions, founder of Historic Flight Foundation.
Having taught history of photography courses,  I had some fun adding postmodern sepia to the photos taken at the event.

Constructed in 1936, Paine Field was a works progress administration project during the great depression. Most of the vintage collections began flying shortly after the Field started operating, so it’s fitting the warbirds are now roosting here. Inspired by history and the original purpose for these aircraft; I employed digital post production techniques for the images in an attempt to recreate a photographic “look” of the 1930’s and 1940’s. In particular, sepia-tone as well as early Kodachrome transparencies inspired my recreated images.

This image looks so authentic, as if it could’ve been taken 60 years ago.
Another birds-eye view of the warbirds.

It’s rare to see such multigenerational enthusiasm for a public event. Especially seen within children and adolescent’s eyes were  genuine looks of awe and wonder from what these aircraft inspire. Seeing the kids excitement resonated with my own memories about aviation when I was a youth. The fact that these historic fighters and bombers were not just static displays — but actually flying at “tree-top-levels”  — whose roaring, rumbling engines you could feel, hear, and smell –captivated every age-group’s attention.

Cub Scouts enjoying the day, viewing vintage aircraft making fly-overs.

Being that my house is only minutes away by car, I enjoy taking photos from my backyard of visiting warbirds in the days before and after the event. Within easy reach is my ever-ready camera with a telephoto lens mounted, so I’m always ready when that rare vintage aircraft makes a surprise appearance overhead.

I look forward to the coming years to see how this show will grow and receive even greater support from the public.

A beautiful day for a vintage air show.

One particular image in the photomontage series below, captures the wonder within faces of a group of youth standing underneath the wing of a Historic Flight Foundation bomber, just as an aircraft roars nearby. The adage –“a picture, tells a thousand words” applies to this one; but also simply put…  a face can sum it up with just one… wow!

Hope for the future, by remembering the past.
Female pilot inspects the B25 she’s ready to take into the sky.

Here’s my flying quote of the day — “Both optimist and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” ~ Gil Ster

Look, up in the sky it’s a tight formation of warbirds.
Yes, that tough cat really does have claws.
“Navy blue” ready for takeoff with a ribbon of Cascade Mountains in background.
Looking and touching is encouraged for a great live interactive experience.
An awesome flyby with two fighters accompanying a B25 bomber.
Up close and personal views of warbird taxing for takeoff.
Plane spotting groupie at Paine Field’s GAD vintage airshow.
This warbird isn’t shy and knows how to be a crowd pleaser!
Never a dull moment for a full house, and plenty of flybys to see.
For over three generations these warbirds still inspire awe on the faces of youth and elders alike.
Something for the entire family to enjoy.
Another target rich environment for a photographer.
Inspired by the wings of flight.
A target rich environment for airplane spotting photographers.
This vintage navy warbird gets ready to fly by modern Boeing airliners.
Mom and dad with kids in tow to see a great show.
A sunshine halo encircles vintage warbirds returning home from a successful flight.
Father and son with a birds-eye view from top of the world.

Will the current solar storms hitting Earth, lead to lights-out for us all by 2013?

27 Mar

Essay and photos by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

This essay will have Solar Storm forecast and updates located above the story’s first photograph . These updates will be posted anytime a major solar disturbance is cited. Please read the essay first and return at anytime to view posted updates.

Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force.
Updated 2013 Jul 19 2200 UTC

Joint USAF/NOAA Solar Geophysical Activity Report and Forecast
SDF Number 200 Issued at 2200Z on 19 Jul 2013

IA.  Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 18/2100Z to
19/2100Z: Solar activity has been at very low levels for the past 24
hours. There are currently 7 numbered sunspot regions on the disk.

IB.  Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is likely to be low with a
slight chance for an M-class flare on days one, two, and three (20 Jul,
21 Jul, 22 Jul).

IIA.  Geophysical Activity Summary 18/2100Z to 19/2100Z: The geomagnetic
field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. Solar
wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of
674 km/s at 19/1650Z. Total IMF reached 12 nT at 18/2100Z. The maximum
southward component of Bz reached -9 nT at 19/0122Z. Electrons greater
than 2 MeV at geosynchronous orbit reached a peak level of 2710 pfu.

IIB.  Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected
to be at unsettled to minor storm levels on day one (20 Jul), unsettled
to active levels on day two (21 Jul) and quiet to unsettled levels on
day three (22 Jul).

III.  Event probabilities 20 Jul-22 Jul
Class M    15/15/15
Class X    01/01/01
Proton     01/01/01
PCAF       green

IV.  Penticton 10.7 cm Flux
Observed           19 Jul 114
Predicted   20 Jul-22 Jul 115/115/115
90 Day Mean        19 Jul 121

V.  Geomagnetic A Indices
Observed Afr/Ap 18 Jul  016/015
Estimated Afr/Ap 19 Jul  011/014
Predicted Afr/Ap 20 Jul-22 Jul  014/020-011/015-008/010

VI.  Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 20 Jul-22 Jul
A.  Middle Latitudes
Active                35/30/25
Minor Storm           20/10/05
Major-severe storm    05/01/01
B.  High Latitudes
Active                10/15/15
Minor Storm           25/30/30
Major-severe storm    50/40/30

Sunday morning, July 15. 2012 – Aurora Borealis NW view from Lowel Snohomish Riverfront Park. David Johanson Vasquez ©

A powerful solar storm’s charge particles interact with Earth’s atmosphere; creating  translucent shimmering curtains of light known as the Aurora Borealis.   Photograph taken in 2003, near Seattle, looking North.    Camera: Nikon D200
 

This year has seen a steady influx of news reports on increased solar storm activity hitting the Earth.  Most broadcasts concerning this development are of a less serious kind, featuring its spectacular visual effects, which creates the unworldly, “Northern Lights” or “Aurora Borealis.”  However, a few reports have mentioned necessary cancellations of airline flights using trans-polar flight routes‑‑‑due to the sun’s disruptive solar flares.  This particular solar activity is nothing new, but a recurring event; which has taken place countless times before civilization ever existed on Earth.  

What’s of concern to us today is the 11-year peak cycle, of which the sun now is entering, resulting in extreme solar storm activity.  Some solar physicists predict the current cycle of storms may have greater magnitude than any before, including the record solar maximum, chronicled over 150 years ago, in the year of 1859.

Why should anyone care if the solar storm activity becomes more intense than any other time in recorded history?  Simply stated‑‑‑civilization as we know it, could be stopped in its tracks or altered to resemble something not recognizable.  Imagine not being able to turn on lights for illuminating your home or office: communication by phone, email and social media all gone, with no guarantees as to when it could or would be back online.  There’s other challenging issues regarding basic, food production and distribution.  These are potentially extreme, but possible scenarios from a major solar storm known as a “coronal mass ejection” (CME), which could knock out virtually any technology, requiring electricity.  This event could take away most of the technology we depend on and ironically transports our way of life back to the time when the last great CME hit.

If you had a window, which peered back-in-time to the end of August, 1859; you’d see a developing western society on track with an industrial revolution in full-motion.  Harnessing the new wonders of steam energy was nearly complete, however, electrical energy barely had reached its first phase of infancy.  Few applications for electricity existed, except for a remarkable one in the form of instant communication.  By sending electrical pulses through copper wires to a remote electromagnetic receiver, messages were transmitted instantly over great distances. The telegraph could be considered a 19th Century equivalent of today’s Internet. This system used a basic, universal binary code developed primarily by the American artist, Samuel F.B. Mores.  By the mid 19th Century, scientist demystified electricity’s secrets, and inventors found ways to harness it for communication using “direct current.

 

As the summer heat of September approached the northern hemisphere: a series of solar storms increased with startling intensity; producing extreme Northern Lights, which appeared in unlikely places, such as the Caribbean near the equator.  Inhabitants reported in Northeastern America by using the intense Northern Lights to read newspapers with, during the dark hours of the night.  Other stories mention groups of people being awakened by this strange, bright light and believing it was actually morning.  All over the World, compasses used for navigation (the rough equivalent of today’s GPS) were no longer giving accurate readings as the Earth’s geomagnetic forces were being distorted by the solar storm’s energy.

Sunspots were first documented by Galileo in the 17th century, these solar disturbances contribute to solar storms.

Sunspots on the Sun’s (technically, the Sun is a  G-type main-sequence star) surface, contributes to forming solar storms, of which Galileo had first observed in the 17th Century and by 1745 solar flares were well documented.  Up until 1859, the solar storm only known effects on humans were producing a dazzling display of cosmic fireworks, located far into the northern and southern hemispheres.

The uniformed industrial age public had no reason to be  concerned as the peak of the solar storm began arriving on September 1st and 2nd.  These extreme, violent sun flares, hurled enormous magnetic clouds of plasma into space, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME).  This CME solar storm became known as the Carrington Event, named for a British astronomer who first recognized and identified its geomagnetic effects on Earth.  

Solar ejections normally take three to four days before reaching Earth, but this extreme burst had a hyper-velocity, which took less than 18-hours for the shock waves to compress the Earth’s protective magnetic field.  As the surge of solar electromagnetic energy overpowered and broke through part of the Earth’s own protective magnetic field, some alarming events began happening.  First came a series of random, garbled telegraph signals being picked up, which mysteriously had not been sent by an operator; then reports of receivers beginning to violently catch fire and setting secondary fires to office papers along with telegraph lines.  Jolts of electricity nearly electrocuted some operators while attempting to disconnect the system’s electrical batteries; even with their disconnection, frenetic signals continued out-of-control from massive energy overflows: the geomagnetic super-storm was sending dangerous charges of electricity through the lines. The event devastated an emerging communication infrastructure and severely set back its development.  This record solar storm event appeared on the scene, well before societies and industries realized electricity’s great potential; much less its inclusive, necessary use in just about every part of the technology we use and take for granted today.

Until recently, I’ve always looked forward to the Northern Lights dazzling arrival.  I recall my first  Aurora Borealis encounter shortly after graduating from college, while on a road trip to the Olympic Rain Forest.  Camping out in the Olympic Mountains, the northern sky began glowing at twilight with vivid illuminating curtains moving until they were flashing directly overhead.  I kept watching the surreal specters until they exited out of view an hour later. 

The next time I viewed these mysterious lights happened on a photography assignment to North Slope oil fields, located above Alaska’s arctic circle.  The Earth’s natural magnetic field, which protects the planet from much of the sun’s solar radiation, is weakest near the Earth’s polar regions; allowing for solar winds to enter and interact with our atmosphere to create the Aurora. This is why the cosmic lights are viewed while looking north, in the northern hemisphere and the reverse for the southern hemisphere.  Captivated by the up-close experience of the Aurora’s light; I endured the extreme outside temperature which was minus 40 degrees. Facing frigid arctic weather, I photographed the light show, until the springs controlling my camera’s shutter began to freeze up. 

Actually today’s digital cameras make it easier to photograph the northern lights. Professional digital cameras are much more sensitive for capturing low light subject matter,than film was and it has a better tonal-dynamic-range.  

My all time favorite Northern Lights experience was in Eastern Washington where I was on a ranch in the Okanogan region. This encounter was so full of bright light, it woke up birds from a night’s sleep and they began to take flight while making loud, chirping sounds as if dawn had arrived.  In this environment, with no light-pollution from a city; while at a 5,000 foot elevation made for an ideal night-sky photography experience. 

In 2003 was one of the greatest solar flare events in contemporary history; the Northern Lights were so intense, I easily photographed them from my home in Western Washington. Despite the bright lights coming from a nearby city they did not obscure the Aurora Borealis view. The photos of the Northern Lights used in this essay are ones taken from my home.  In these images you can see the glowing translucent green, red and purple color produced, as the sun’s energy interacts with various gas elements which comprise the Earth’s atmosphere.

The reason for solar flares are to peak this year, or possibly in early 2013, is due to the sun’s magnetic field reversing polarity within an 11-year cycle.  It takes a full 22-years in these magnetic fields to return to their original pole positions which then completes a full cycle.  Apparently near the 11-year cycle, which our store now has entered, the solar flare activity becomes more intense. 

The 1859 record solar maxim was on one of these 11-year cycles. Another theory connected with returning mammoth CMEs is the high quantity of sunspots recorded over the past couple of decades.   Sunspots appear when portions of our star’s internal superheated matter, mixes with cooler regions above the surface; creating intense magnetic fields.  These magnetic fields are swept up, and then forced below the surface, where they become recycled by the sun’s complex quantum mechanics. Energy from sunspots becomes amplified creating even more extreme magnetic fields as they resurface from a four or five-year subsurface journey.  These magnetic disturbance interact to create concentrated arcs of solar energy, which are so powerful they become ejected outward in the form of solar flares.

The other methods scientist uses for estimating the potential scale of this year’s solar storms is to examine recent solar cycles; and look for progressive trends or patterns for their projections.

 In 1989 a CME hit the Earth with intense energy particles, causing the electrical grid in Quebec, Canada, to crash, which plunged millions of people into darkness.  This event took place during the “cold war” and it caused severe shortwave radio disruptions with Aurora Borealis sightings in south Texas.  Some believed it was the beginning of a Soviet nuclear first strike, using intense electromagnetic energy to disrupt communications and electric grid infrastructure.  In reality, it was caused by a CME, created from the  sun’s own nuclear energy.   Acting like a giant teetering domino, the event triggered a chain reaction, taking down interconnecting electric networks within a large region of North America‑‑‑but even this event was not on a scale with the mega storm of 1859.  That’s why some scientist view the 30-year old, Hydro-Quebec solar storm as a telegraphed alarm warning.

With demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit—a recipe for trouble, according to the National Academy of Sciences: “The scale and speed of problems that could occur on [these modern grids] have the potential to impact the power system in ways not previously experienced.” There’s fear the expanded network of lines creates a bigger antenna enabling it channel a geomagnetic induced current (GIC.)  NASA has become alarmed with how much more vulnerable the North American power grid has become, it co-developed an experimental program called “Solar Shield” to help warn utilities of impending geomagnetic storms.

Since 1989 we have become much more dependent on microelectronics, with their intricate architecture of high density, compressed components.  Having unshielded microcircuits squeezed tightly together increases the odds of severe damaged caused from geomagnetically induced currents (GICs).  The 1989 solar storm event damage at least 30 satellites, some  of which were beyond repair.  Solar storms can easily scramble the intricate digital components of low-orbit satellites and disorient them from knowing which way is up or down.  In theory, with enough warning, orbiting satellites are safely switched off or pointed away from the sun’s destructive radiation.  

Early warning satellites are now positioned at a L1 pointgeostationary orbit to monitor solar storms and announce threatening CME activity.  The Solar Shield Project is a collaboration between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  The purpose of this project is for establishing a forecasting system, which can be used to lessen the impact of geomagnetically induced current (GIC) on high-voltage power transmission systems. (Please see associated link bellow for more information.)

The Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic fields normally protect us from the harmful solar storm’s radiation.  Higher exposure to the sun’s powerful energy becomes a factor once you start climbing in elevation.  Radiation exposure is a secondary reason why airlines must divert from their trans-polar routes, to avoid excessive exposure.  Disruption of GPS and radio communication from the solar storms is the primary reason for flight diversions. 

Astronauts working above Earth’s protective atmosphere face the greatest risk from such effects caused from solar flares.  These stellar storms have shortened or alter a number of space missions in the past.  The Russian’s space station MIR in 1993 had an unfortunate encounter with a solar storm, exposing the cosmonauts to dangerous levels of over 10 times the normal allowable radiation limits.

What could be the most likely indicators of an impending maxim solar disturbance?  So far, NASA and NOAA are the only government agencies I’m aware of who’s keeping the public informed with the most current status of solar flares.  At the end of this essay are links, which give important information on this year’s solar storms including: NASA and NOAA sites, which are monitored hourly conditions.  If solar storm activity becomes alarming, NASA will most likely be out front with the reports and major news networks will probably soon follow.  If a certain threshold of (x-rays) is reached within the first phase of a major solar storm, the FAA will order cancellations of airlines with trans-polar flights.  Disruption of shortwave radio communication is the earliest indicator of a severe storm.  If conditions become dire, all but emergency flights would be grounded indefinitely.

 - Image courtesy of NASA NASA would issue orders to evacuate astronauts from the International Space Station, this would probably be a strong indicator the radiation levels from the second phase of a storm are  severe.  Supposedly the center of the Space Station has enough mass to offer some protection from this type of event, but NASA would probably play it safe and order emergency return flights, that is, if there was enough time.  Seeing the Northern Lights close to the equator would be a strong indicator the Earth’s geomagnetic fields were being overrun, meaning the big one might be arriving.  If a major CME  (the particle phase of a storm) comes our way, there may be 18 hours or less to prepare.
752830main_iss036e002224_full
 On the positive side, unlike a major earthquake or other natural disasters we at least have some time to ready and brace for a worst case scenario.

It would be an unfortunate irony if the sun made our world go dark, but here’s how it could happen.  The National Academy of Science produced a 2008 report warning, if we had another major solar storm like the 1859 Carrington event, we would have extensive blackouts with the loss of key transformers.

Our Nation’s electrical utilities have in all total, less than 400 major transformers supply all the power we use. There are no longer any companies within the US which make massive sized transformers. If an extreme solar maxim arrives,  we’ll probably be on a long waiting list (along with the rest of the world) for key replacements.  Given enough time, they can be built domestically, but it could take years and a major obstacle is transformers require a huge amounts of electricity for their construction. Even without a disaster happening, electric utilities face a minimum of two-years from when a major transformer (average cost 4 million dollars) is ordered and finally installed (according to a global, equipment insurance company.) Critical shortages of raw materials and trained workforce for installation contribute to this problem. Hopefully the utility company supplying your community power; learned a lesson from the 1989 Hydro-Quebec blackout.  

There are preventive strategies to guard against geomagnetic induced current (GIC)— such as “solid ground system;” which is an industry design to help protect electrical infrastructure from a nuclear induced: electromagnetic pulse (EMP.)   An EMP creates a tremendous amount of electromagnetic energy, similar in some ways to a naturally occurring solar storm CME.  The next best plan for the electric utilities is to disconnect the power lines from any of its key equipment threaten by massive surges of electromagnetic energy.  Just disconnecting lines could prove ineffective if a surge was big enough.  The  connecting leads to a transformer could possibly be used as an antenna for attracting the surge of electromagnetic energy.

There is something you can do to protect your own electrical devices from the devastating effects of either a solar CME or a nuclear EMP.  You can easily, with very little cost, build what is known as a Faraday cage to protect your equipment.  For instance for: a radio, cell phone or batteries (all of which are vulnerable to massive electrical surges;) you first wrap the devices in thick plastic like a freezer bag or bubble wrap, then use three layers of aluminum foil to completely wrap the devices so there are no gaps. The plastic acts as an insulator from the metal foil which intern deflects energy.

I’ve included a web link to an electrical engineer’s website who explains the procedures and others for protecting against Solar CMEs or EMPs. You can also do a google search for Faraday cage. Unplugging your electrical equipment from the outlets is a good safety precaution, which ordinarily could protect you against a lightning storm, but will probably not prevent your electronics from being fried from a major CME. If you remembered what happen to the telegraph system, which was hit by the largest CME in history in 1859, the electromagnetic energy used the unconnected wires from the telegraph as an antenna to channel its force through.  Tesla, the great inventor who championed AC electrical power proved electrical transmission could efficiently be sent through the air without using power lines.

One other critical infrastructure which could be devastating from a CME or EMP is major pipelines.  The metal in power-lines a pipelines is a great conductor of geomagnetic energy.  The test has shown electromagnetic surges can affect the controls for monitoring pressure and flow of buried high-pressure pipelines.  In Russia it was found past solar storms had caused severe corrosion effects of some of its pipeline; apparently this is not as much of an issue in the North America because the pipe manufacturing process.

For most civil preparedness involving impending emergencies, it’s best to listen to experts who advise: always have enough: food, water and flashlights on hand to survive what happens after a major natural disaster event occurs.  A good plan for how to keep in contact with family members will be critical if a major solar storm event occurs; especially with an extreme maxim CME as communication equipment will be toasted unless it was properly shielded from the event.  Self-reliance is a good policy to help weather any type of storm or catastrophe.  Most of the commonsense preparations mentioned in this essay are basic ones every family should have in-place in case of an earthquake or any major disaster.

Will a decimating solar storm hit in 2012 or 2013?  No one can forecast for certain how severe this solar maxim will or will not be; but if the there’s enough strength behind the solar storm and its path becomes directly aimed towards Earth, then it could be the greatest challenge civilization has ever faced.  Learning from the lessons of history has been an essential part of the human experience; we successfully thrive in the moment by learning from histories past events. This seems so obvious, but it involves a fine-tuned balancing act between what we carefully choose to forget of painful tragedies and remember of inspirational triumphs.  Ideally, the value of any-type of learning produces confidence and preparedness for future encounters, situations and events.

Given a solar CMEs disruptive potential, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to judge the potential risk; then have an action-plan to help lessen the life-altering impact of an extreme act of nature.  Personally, I don’t sense any impending doom with this year’s solar maxim.  By doing basic research to become educated on solar events, I gained knowledge of the potential for some disruption to our infrastructure; with this awareness I’m confident I’ve taken the necessary precautions for my family to best be ready for this and any future natural disasters, which may arrive from over the horizon. 

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights have been revered and feared by ancient and prehistoric cultures. The phenomena are created from solar winds colliding and interacting with Earth’s atmosphere.
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Fantastic time-lapse video of the Aurora Borealis, click on the link below.

http://vimeo.com/11407018

Below are useful links related to the subject solar storms including official government agencies including: NASA and NOAA.  Other sites and articles include those from: National GeographicWashington Post and Christian Science Monitor.

To visit the following sites: copy and paste these links into your browser or highlight them and use a right mouse click.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

http:science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/23oct_superstorm/

Solar Shield Project is a collaborative project between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov/Solar_Shield/Solar_Shield.htmlhttp://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime-images.html

An electrical engineer, who gives great information on how to protect your electrical components from EMP blast, produces this site. He also offers an expert opinion of what to expect will happen to our Nation’s electrical grid, if such an event occurs. http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-protection.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/Cool-Astronomy/2010/0809/Could-a-solar-storm-send-us-back-to-the-Stone-Age

http://www.flixxy.com/solar-storm-1859.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/120308-solar-flare-storm-sun-space-weather-science-aurora/

auroras-flights-sun-earth-space-science

 

Explosive Video Captures Seattle Kingdome’s Collapse Into Oblivion…

27 Mar

Explosive Video Captures Seattle Kingdome’s Collapse Into Oblivion…

Video and essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Preparing to record the mammoth collapse of a Seattle icon: we stood tightly packed, as a captive audience of thousands, ready for a chain-reaction roar from tons of ignited explosives taking effect. 

It was a sunny morning in Seattle on March 26, 2000, as my future wife and I set up video cameras to capture the Kingdome sports stadium’s last moments.  Anticipating an enormous opportunity for dramatic video content, we arrived early, to set up tripods on a grassy knoll with an ideal stadium viewpoint.  Our efforts were more than rewarded, with the structures stunning collapse; however the ensuing surprise after-effects, were much more than planed for.

With only moments remaining for a syncopated, chain-reaction of explosions to pulverized its concrete victim: the assembly of people, boats and helicopters settled in place. The percussive pops from helicopters perched overhead, along with excited voices from the crowed; seemed to turn muffled as attention focused ever sharper on the doomed stadium.  All in attendance knew not much time remained before one of the world’s largest buildings would only be a memory.

In these preceding moments my memories returned to the early mid 1970’s when the dome was first built.  It proved a successful means to bring professional sports back to Seattle, with the Mariners and the Seahawks.  I recall the agony and ecstasy of seeing Seahawk football, played inside the dome: of how loud fan cheering was and standing up to do the “Wave” which had recently been invented and imported from UW, Husky Stadium.  The stadium’s greatest sports glory was: 1978-79 season of the SuperSonics, when the team won game 3 & 4 of the series at the dome; then wining the NBA Championship in-game 5, at Washington DC against the Bullets.  Other events I attended at the dome were mega size rock concerts; although going to a concert at the dome was more about seeing the band, as the sound acoustics were horrible.  One remarkable aspect forgotten about the dome was how cost-effective it was as a stadium facility; Nationally rated as a top civic venue for revenue generation, while producing real income for Seattle and King County.  After nearly three decades of use, the domes mushroom like esthetics lost its luster and would have a hard time wining in any beauty contest.  So, with maintenance and obsolescence catching up, its days became numbered and a decision had to made on how to best remove it from the map. Imploding the Kingdome with explosives was selected the most efficient and quickest way to end its days.

Seattle Kingdome demolition March 26, 2000: view looking south moments before explosion. Video by: David Johanson Vasquez /Bigpicturephoto.us  ©

Anxiously some groups near us began to chant out countdowns for the detonation to begin: their efforts produced nothing but collective groans when reaching zero.  On the third and final countdown a steady chorus chimed in, as we sensed this was going to be it.  In between one and zero, hundreds of pigeons near the stadium instantly took flight; suddenly, startling flashes of bright light burst from the structure’s seems, followed by plumes of smoke from shooting towards the sky.  At this instant, time seemed suspended; as if everything else in the world froze for a split second, to grant this colossus structure dignity of enjoying one last moment in the sun before falling from grace and collapsing into oblivion.  For a moment, it was like watching a surreal, silent movie, due to absent sounds of shockwaves, which travel much slower than the light created by flashes of explosions.  A precise alignment of explosives, evenly spaced from the dome’s top to the ground, sliced through layers of concrete and steel, like a knife cutting wedges of a cake.  Finally, a ground-shaking roar of sound reached us and was now in synch with the dome as it collapsed in a slow-motion pantomime.  Astonishingly, the entire structure of 100 thousand tons of concrete and steel, which could have held several city blocks within its walls, appeared completely collapsed behind a dense shroud of dust and ash.

Watching in complete amazement and believing nothing could outdo what we had just witnessed, the crowds wild cheering was soon eclipsed by the site of a rapidly advancing, ominous plume of swirling dust.  The ash cloud accelerated unexpectedly from the blast site as it expanded evermore rapidly by hundreds feet within seconds.  This monstrous cloud of caustic dust and debris ironically appeared to come to life to avenge the destroyed stadium.  You could see large groups of pedestrians who were closer to the demolition site, scrambling into the streets to find cover from the unstoppable storm of dust. Within seconds, visibility of south Seattle was gone; the menacing shroud turned the sunny day into night as it rapidly descended north into the heart of the Emerald City.  Trying to keep my camera trained on the rogue cloud as it swallowed entire buildings and city blocks within its path; we notice it climbing to engulf our hill position.  Grabbing the camera on its tripod we scrambled for an exit to try to reach the safety our vehicle.  Reaching the park car in record time, the dust storm’s leading edge was now depositing a layer of particles on the hood, with gray quarter-inch sized chunks floating down like snow.  Now safely inside, with relief we removed the sleeves from our faces, allowing for us to excitedly recount the dramatic events.

A few years later the EPA produced a report, which found comparable similarities in the debris particles from the Kingdome demolition; with what was found in the falling particles caused from World Trade Center attacks of 911.  The ejected powdered concrete caused an airborne mixture of caustic particulates, with high traces of pH levels.  The plan (or hope) for a debris cloud from the Kingdome demolition; was a path heading south towards the industrial part of the city.  This was an optimistic plan as winds predominantly flow northwards for most of the year.

Up until now I’ve used this video for educational purposes in video production classes.  In the last segment of the video, are dramatic slow-motion and high-speed-motion of the Kingdome demolition.  These techniques have a variety of applications for industry including: manufacturing, engineering, public services and creative entertainment.   —

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