Tag Archive: star trek

What Killed Flight AF 447

What Brought Down the Air France Jet over the Atlantic?

Flight AF 447 left Rio de Janeiro, bound for Paris, at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday 31 May.  The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 with registration F-GZCP, had been in operation since April 2005.  Shortly after the aircraft's scheduled arrival time in Paris of 1110 local time (0910 GMT), it was announced that the flight was missing.

Flight AF 447 left Rio de Janeiro, bound for Paris, at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday 31 May. The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 with registration F-GZCP, had been in operation since April 2005. Shortly after the aircraft's scheduled arrival time in Paris of 1110 local time (0910 GMT), it was announced that the flight was missing.

Just my tuppence worth.  The best current info on the subject is Wikipedia which has peer reviewed sifting and not a load of speculative ‘maybes’.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AF_447 Also, check http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/ for good weather, navigation and aircraft info.


Aside from a bomb, which has never been mentioned because the authorities must have had a bit more information than they are letting on to disregard that option, lightning has been bandied around a bit along with big hailstones and updrafts.

A lot is being made about turbulence and thunderstorms in the Intertropical Conversion Zone (ITCZ).  As far as I can find, no wings have ever snapped on a modern airliner due to up or down drafts.  They may cause the airplane to do something else, but the wings stay on!

British Nobel Prize winning phyicist, meteorologist and Inventor, Charles Thomson Rees WilsonSo thunderstorms, especially in the tropics, happen all the time.  But aircraft can take them routinely nowadays because they are designed to.  So let’s eliminate this option.  If the airplane had stalled, at normal altitude the crew would have had plenty of time to radio mayday.  Even with electrics fused, the airplane has an automatic spinner that pops out to generate new electric for control and comms.  Lightning, similarly, because it happens all the time, is planned for and designed against, so eliminate that as well.

However, I remember everything, (on this sort of thing!!), and way back in the 90s I saw a TV show about the recently discovered phenomenon of Blue jets and Red Sprites.  There are a host of such upward moving electrical discharges from the top of thunderstorms, nearly always above the ocean.  They were postulated by Wilson in the 1920s, physicist inventor of the Cloud Chamber, which, it can easily be argued, helped to bring about the Atomic Bomb.  They were discovered in 1989.  Wilson knew his stuff.

My emphasis shows that all the factors are in place for a viable method of bringing down a large modern aircraft in open airspace.  (also, see Letter to Nature: Gigantic jets between a thundercloud and the ionosphere;  Wikipedia: Upper Atmosheric Lightning or TLE).  Because of global warming, thunderstorms will be more prevalent and more violent as the Earth seeks to equalise it’s overheated energy balance.  So I suggest that in future, it’s probably safer (but more expensive in time and fuel) to fly right round thunderstorms, not over the top or steer through.  It’s another example of Karmic Retribution or Lovelock’s Gaia effect of automatic feedback mechanisms.

Blue Jets

Enough of that.  I think Blue Jets are the most likely cause of the aircraft’s demise.  Their origin is at normal flying height.

Now watch the videos.  Imagine trying to fly an aircraft right over that lot.  The jets are remarkably reminiscent of what could be called a particle beam weapon, or a Star Trek-like phaser or photon bomb-type weapon.  The concentration of energy, in my mind, seems perfectly capable of knocking a airplane from the sky either by electrical overload, or physical damage to the structure by pressure force, or electrical corrosion due to plasma ablation.  No-one haas been able to study the effects of such a thing because they are so rare.

Although totally natural, I doubt this knowledge will bring much immediate comfort to those affected.  If the black box flight recorders are ever found (it’s gonna be tricky, two to four miles down a crack in the ocean floor), they may give some information.  They may be completely burnt out by the discharge, of course.  I know they have various structural and pressure design limits – I don’t know their electrical resistance to high intensity plasma discharges.?

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Space Shuttle to Stay Gassed Up?

I said in a post 5 days ago, that because the Space Shuttle is old and due to be retired, the USA was intending the Russians to take up the slack for 5 years of maintaining flights to the ISS (International Space Station) until the new rocket is ready.

I also said that in light of the currently worsening situation with Russia, Bush would have to do something or pass the buck.

Well it looks like I’m right.  The latest news on this front is Nasa ‘reviews shuttle shelf-life’ where a NASA chief is reconsidering his previous wish to cancel the Shuttle as planned.

None of this is at Bush’s instigation though.  (I bet he thought he could get away with it, if he thought that at all…)

Both US Presidential candidates were thinking of it and it was McCain (and other senators) who wrote a letter to Bush warning about the dangers of being trapped in the lurch by current events.

Personally I don’t give a toss about the ISS.  It’s a political gesture of unity (which is good) dressed up as scientific endeavour.  The science, ultimately, is about living in space for protracted periods with the ultimate goal of whizzing around and colonising the universe like Star Trek.

This is a complete abortion of an idea!  The plan is that if we fuck up the Earth too much – then we can always go somewhere else – and fuck that up too!  This is the logic of the mad house.  If we can’t look after one tiny world, then how are we going to manage on Mars or even more distant places?

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One More Shot at the Warrington Cycle Campaign

Strangely post on August 18th, 2008
Posted in Cycling Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the recent (overwhelming) successes by our cyclists at this years Olympics, one would think that this would spur even more people to get on a bike, lose a bit of flab, save a bit of money or even aspire to higher things.

For all those new starters, there are one or two obstacles to overcome.  No, not the one about which bike to get or the embarrasment of wearing lycra or silly shorts.  Or even the debate about what saddle to choose.

No, it’s physical obstacles to one’s progress through towns.  Like this one, Oxford, in this month’s “Cycle Facility of the Month” from the Warrington Cycle Campaign.

A cycle path for the 22nd century

The commentary for the picture is as follows:

A cycle path for the 22nd century

After watching an episode of Star Trek, the forward looking traffic planners of Oxford were thinking about how transport infrastructure would work in the middle of the next century. Boldly predicting that by then bicycles would be equipped with teleportation devices they realised that they could save a lot of paint by designing intermittent cycle paths, with cyclists able to beam themselves from one stretch to the next.

Just remember:

  • People are paid to design, implement and layout this sort of rubbish, not sued..
  • You might know them or pass them in the street.
  • They look perfectly normal.  You just can’t tell.

You see, the heart is important, not the appearance.

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GM, BMW, All Gotta Change or Die Like Jaws

Strangely post on August 4th, 2008
Posted in Environment Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Carmaker GM loses another $15.5bn

BMW to miss its targets for 2008

GM discusses sale of Hummer brand

And about time too.  The sooner they go bust, or change what they make to something that consumes less wantonly, the better for everyone on the world.  People might buy the stuff as well, which would help them.

The only person who will really suffer is Horatio from CSI Miami.  What’s he going to drive round in?  See Weeblstuff’s CSI Pie-ami: http://www.weebls-stuff.com/wab/CSI/

In an old Star Trek episode with Jim (suck-in-belly) Kirk, there was a big sausage type machine that looked like a giant greeny-grey lamprey or basking shark, that travelled the universe relentlessly swallowing up everything in it’s path in it’s quest for more fuel to keep it going.  A bit like a ramjet.  Or Jaws.

That’s what these cars are like.

Check the music in the Doomsday Machine part of the clip.  Just remember this pre-dates Spielberg’s Jaws by a few years and you may get an idea where John Williams got the Jaws Theme.

And just like the all-consuming machine, just like Jaws the Fish, they’ll end up consuming themselves and blowing up.

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Delia Derbyshire – my hero

In the news again (see Lost tapes of the Dr Who composer), is Delia Derbyshire, creator of the Doctor Who theme.  One particular characteristic of the sixties, apart from the fashions etc, is the “sound” behind all the films and of popular music at the time.  However, getting past the cheesy flower power and merseybeat type sounds, and the standard film music usually heavy on the trombones,  was another flavour that had two basic strands.  One was the Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett sound which has continued to the present day in one way or another.  The other was the creepy spacey sounds coming from Delia Derbyshire’s experimentations, which had lost favour until recently.

She was carrying on a tradition to which I was introduced at school called “musique concrete” from the French.  There were several exponents of it and initially, it’s fairly easy to do – anyone can do it – with a bit of practice and manual dexterity in tape handling.

However, Delia did it extremely well.  Listen to the samples on the links above and you’ll see the flavour that made several ordinary or avante-garde shows, extraordinary.  In fact, the whole genre of other-worldliness is captured in the sounds, some of which was captured in such epics as The Martian Chronicles and the early Star Treks.

The Hamlet performance lower down on the first link above is especially noteworthy, although it’s very similar to the verbal intro on Amon Duul 2’s Apocalyptic Bore so we know where they got that from!  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7512496.stm

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