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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time Travel Part One

My fascination with time travel came from a short story I read years ago where a guy shows up and hires a thief to steal a list of items which are literally all priceless and scattered around museums all over the world.  The guy hiring the thief gives him a watch that when you adjust the settings it allows the wearer of the watch to basically live and exist in a time in which hours to you would be the blink of an eye to the rest of the world.  So essentially the thief could waltz right in and collect the priceless pieces of art and history right under every body's noses.
Years later I read an article in Discover Magazine where 10 different Physicists were asked two questions.
Is Time Travel possible?
Give a hypothetical situation which might be used to make a time machine or be used to move a person through time?
All ten physicists said, Yes, time travel is possible.
Along with that where ten different hypothetical situations which might be used as a time machine.
I was flabbergasted!  If that wasn't enough . . .
Years ago I ran into a mathematician and physicist who asked me how I would build a flat force field?  We discussed the idea and after some time I got to go by his house and in his work shop was a wooden frame with dowel rods suspended from the frame by string with magnets placed at different spots along the dowel rods.  The amazing part of this apparatus was that the strings holding the dowel rods came off the frame at 45 degree angles to where they attached to the tops of the dowel rods which were hanging from the frame.  The dowel rods should have hung straight down from the frame, but they didn't because of the magnetic field pushing or pulling them away from each other.  The space in between the dowels rods was empty but at a glance you could see the empty space made a virtual wall between the different dowels hanging from the frame.  It was a flat magnetic field.
Later I bought hundreds of magnets and played around with different experiments and one thing I learned through all that was there is a process you must go through in order to build something.
First you come up with an idea for what you are going to build.  Maybe draw it out.  Take measurements, and then figure out a parts list.
Secondly you start to gather the bits and pieces you will need to build your project.
Thirdly you begin construction of your project which I found was always the hardest part because inevitably something wouldn't fit just right, hold together the way you had planned, and unless you have the capabilities of working with any medium (wood, metal, plastic), things just never turned out how I had planned for them to go together.
I bring up all that old stuff because in 1995 I remember a small news blip about a guy named Michael Marcum from a rural area in northern Missouri who after high school got a job with the local utility company.  Over the course of the next few months the area kept experiencing brown outs or lowered power at residents.  The utility company investigated and found power transformers missing and poles set up where one transformer was trying to do the job of two.  Later it was discovered the only common link between these odd setups was the worker who had lasted performed work on these poles, Mr. Marcum who at the time in 1995 was 21 years old.  When investigators came to his house they found six power pole transformers hooked up in series in his basement.  When he was asked why he had stolen them he replied that he was constructing a time machine.
As a person who has come up with some strange things and then subsequently attempted to build apparatus to test said crack pot theories, I know you don't just go and start hooking things together until you get an idea of what you're trying to build.  This guy went to all the trouble of stealing power pole transformers and taking them to his house to assemble them in some planned fashion.  He had an idea on how to build a time machine.  For what it is worth after serving his time in jail it appears Mr. Marcum has disappeared, and is not available for comment.  As Science Fiction writer I can't help but think he is working in some secret government lab performing experiments with time travel using a machine of his construction.
So I conclude with that I believe time travel is possible.  I don't honestly know if anybody has ever figured out a way to do it, but if they did I would be sure our government would control it and use it at just a few people's whims, and probably not for good and humanitarian means, probably more for the accumulation of wealth and power.  In later posts I want to discuss the do's and don'ts of time travel.  What would you do with your own time machine?  What time would you want to live in?  Time travel as a means of historical recording, to be able to send a third party to a scene in time and determine once and for all who did what to whom for how many cookies?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Star Struck

I am not the kind of person who gets star struck or goo goo for personalities.  A few days ago I signed up with a website entitled Goodreads, and my favorite author James Rollins is a member on the that website.

Then I clicked on a link on twitter tonight that was tweeted by Mr. Rollins and it took me to an incredible trailer for his new book.  So I tweeted back to Mr. Rollins about how incredible I thought the trailer was and he tweeted back to me, and low and behold I noticed he is following me on twitter.

I am embarrassed to say but I had to yell for my wife and tell her that James Rollins is following me on twitter and responded back to me in a tweet!  I am slightly star struck at the moment!  He on some small level is aware of my existence and knows who I am.  I was touched.  That he even responded personally to me was incredible. 

Mr. Rollins is the only writer I am aware of that I have literally read everything he has released.  I came across his early books, when they first came out and I loved the creativity, that I felt like I learned something new with each one I read.  Each book took you somewhere exotic and amazing.  At the end of his later books he added some quirts that I really enjoyed.  One is he tells you what is true and what is made up, which continually shocks me.  He also lists the books he read to research that particular book.  I soon got in the habit of finding said books and reading them also, because I knew back then that someday I wanted to write books and I wanted to write in a style similar to what James Rollins does.  I was amazed at the books he read and from those books how he made the jumps and twisted the pieces around to come up with the incredible stories that he does.

I am a published author now, and will soon be presenting my second novel ever and my second one this year. 

Out in literally hours will be Mr. Rollins newest offering in his Sigma Series entitled Devil Colony.  I have already pre purchased it for my Kindle and can't wait to get it.  If you love reading and have any taste for intelligent, fast paced, action adventure novels please take my sincerest advice and give Mr. Rollins a try.

His books are awe inspiring, thought provoking, truly great reads!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hover Tanks

As I state in my bio of this and other e-media places, I should have been an Engineer.  When I got out of high school I took a test at the community college to see based on my knowledge and interests what I would be best suited for as a profession.  It came back with 22 types of engineering.  I ended up majoring in Frisbee besides what I had signed up for and after the first year and a half with an almost zero grade point average I thought my life might be better off in the Army.  This goes to show there is no bottom level of how stupid you can sink down to.  But I did learn a lot of stuff in the military and when I got back to college years later I had a 4.0 average, straight A's. 

I joined up with Armor because of the movie Kelly's Heroes, and the part Donald Sutherland played, the character named 'Odd Ball'.  He was a laid back happy lunatic of a tank commander!  While I was in the army there were some books by an author, David Drake, called Hammer's Slammers, where they were mercenaries who had Hover Tanks.  I was in tanks at that time in my life I when I read several of his books.   I remember asking other tankers if they would give up the armor for increased speed and mobility and the answer from all of them was 'Hell Yes.'  I remember one of my Sgt.'s even suggested painting them red or orange to help with the shock factor of seeing them appear so suddenly blasting away with their big guns.

In my next book 'No Rules Of Engagement' I feature the return of Hover Tanks, with Twin Main Guns coming out of the turrets and mini-chain guns mounted on the sides of the main guns.  Hover Tanks can be air dropped, come in over water, fly at over a hundred miles an hour and have the same punching power of their heavier brothers.  I feel an Army would still keep the main heavy Armor to still have something available that could literally drive through a building and then blow you off the face of the planet. 

There are more new weapons and vehicles in the book that I will post about between now and the time that the book comes out in September. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Never Underestimate the Power of the Force

As a New Science Fiction Writer, and a History Buff Nerd, I feel it is only right to pay homage to George Lucas as "Star Wars" Premiered on May 25, 1977.  It is hard to believe that was 34 years ago.  As I think back to the Iconic Movie and the characters which almost everyone on the planet is familiar with to some degree.  Most everybody knows at least what you mean if you warn against the Dark side, or to be a Jedi Knight.  My three year old son knows about light sabers and is usually a Pirate or a Jedi Knight depending upon the day.
As I am, and have been working on re-writing and polishing my second book I can't help wonder if Mr. George Lucas had any inkling of what Star Wars was going to become when he was still in the writing stages of the project.  Star Wars was Episode IV, A New Hope, part of six movies he had planned.
In 1977, "Star Wars", surpassed "Jaws", and became the highest grossing film to date.  It later received 10 Academy Award Nominations or which the film won 6 of those.  As a writer I could only hope one of my books is chosen to be made into a major motion picture.  You could pray that in thirty years most of the planet knows who your major characters are because they are icons of your genre.
Congratulations George Lucas!  Job Well Done!  I like that the standard in this genre has been set high and followed through on, to where not just one, but six block busters from the same story!   
Of course these days the big movie makers don't have the balls to make new movies while there are still old canceled television series to be regurgitated, Hang over number 6, scary movie number 38, or Halloween 42, or Saw 20.
Off the top of my head I can think of several awesome books I have read in the last few years that would be block buster movies and redefine and set new standards in film making for the next few years.  It's a shame when those at the top who have made money are so afraid of losing what they have that they can't step out of their safe zone and do something extra ordinary.  But alas they will never break records the way that they used to because they don't read books and they have no clue of what is out there.  Oh Yeah, and the extreme lack of balls.
I warn everybody under the Intro of the Blog about occasional rants!  You were warned!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peace and War

     The beginnings of my second book came years ago while I pondered all the inventions that our society has come up with since the dawn of time that grew out of the necessity of warfare.  Mankind has spent more time and money working at ways to kill our fellow man then we have on preventing disease, communication, feeding or educating people.  Most advances in ships and airplanes are direct results of military applications being opened up for civilian use.  Even our wonderful Internet was an outgrowth of military technology.
     Now suppose that in the dawn of time, Cain didn't kill Able.  What if they had found a way to get along and work together?  What if man was always the dominate force and had no natural enemies and never developed the fight of flight response to dealing with things?  What if the first groups to ever meet each other learned each other's languages and found common grounds to build upon to work for the best interest of all people from the start and up through the ages.  This group would have had an equivalent of the Internet much sooner.  Communication would be in the foremost of their technology.  Their population would explode and they would be forced to find means off their planet to colonize and develop other worlds to support their population.  I can't help think that they would find a way to live in closer harmony with nature and not destroy or pollute their world in the course of their development.
On the flip side of this what if a people with mankind's war like tendencies had a purely totalitarian government from the start.  No personal identity, everybody was a piece of the collective to fight and conquer, to gain natural resources and space for expansion of the species.  Everything supports the war effort for the simple reason of conquering, resource recovery, and expansion of the species.  They didn't waste time arguing or fighting with themselves as that would be counterproductive to the species.  Very basic, very primitive socially, but technologically advanced compared to Earth because of gaining technology from conquered worlds.  They would have to expand to handle the population explosion and to source the empire with materials to keep it running and eating.
"No Rules Of Engagement" grew out of this thinking and the question of what would group one do when they ran into group two?  In my book the Macktonics are the peaceful group and have colonized and maintain four planets, three in one solar system and one in a neighboring solar system.  The Raptors, (What the Macktonics call them) are the second group.  They resemble Alligators because I remember as a kid when Alligators were put on the endangered species list because they were almost hunted to extinction and then low and behold a few years later they had come back and were then considered over populated.  Without mankind as an enemy they flourished greatly.  What if they became the dominate species and were more of a humanoid form.  Learned to walk and run on their hind legs, developed fingers with the dexterity to build and manipulate things.  Naturally aggressive, fast to reproduce, and they are scary!
In my upcoming book the Macktonics can either run or fight, basically they are developing the fight or flight response.  But what if you don't know how to fight?  You need to learn in a hurry.  So you either pack up and move the three planets you have left after your introduction to the Raptors.  Or you figure out how to fight them!  Where could you find help?  How could you convince them to fight for you and also teach your people how to fight?  Can a species that couldn't even consider conflict beyond discussion learn to defend themselves?  Could they be become killers?   What if they came to Earth for help?  Would we help them?  Should we help them? 
Playing around with these questions and many more for several years gave birth to the first of three books in a series.  "No Rules Of Engagement" is planned to be published on Smashwords and Amazon on September 11 this year.  It will be a fast paced, exciting ride, with characters you're going to love and characters you're going to love to hate.
My goal was to not only to come up with a thrilling, fun and fast read that would be something new.  I wanted something that tackles questions about values concerning warfare, time travel, weapons technology, and even religion.  The first book is gritty to say the least.  The language in many cases is right out of the gutter and some of the characters are brutally realistic.  If you're easily offended by language or things that may make you question your values, this may not be a book for you.
In the mean time my first book "Whisper" is out and available at Smashwords and Amazon for .99 cents at either location.  On Smashwords you can actually watch a video trailer for the book that my Editor created for me in her spare time.  I have no idea when she found time because I don't know anybody who is as busy as my Editor, but bless her heart she did it anyway!
Captain Wiley Randolph the main character of Whisper will be back sharing some of his earlier adventures with you, and also what happens after Whisper!  Much more to come.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Patience and Fortitude

Besides being two excellent traits to describe what a writer needs to have daily to survive as a writer, Patience and Fortitude are the names of two marble lions that sit outside of the New York Public Library!

Where did that come from?

100 Years ago today the New York Public Library was dedicated in a ceremony presided over by President Taft.  It is the largest marble structure in the United States, occupying two city blocks. 

The two Lions were modeled by sculptor Edward Clark Potter, and carved from pink Tennessee marble by the Piccirilli Brothers.  They had several nick names over the last hundred years but the ones that stuck were bestowed on them by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1930's.  Patience sits on the south side of the steps, while Fortitude majestically sits upon the north side of the steps of the Beaux-Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, NY.  For the last hundred years the world renowned lions have been a favorite and cherished landmark of New York City.  As of 2004 when they were professionally cleaned and restored it was suggested and legislated that the city stop decorating them for the seasons to help insure they survive the next hundred years.

This is a picture of Patience.

I have to marvel that a city would commit so much to a library!  How grand, beautiful, and awe inspiring to build a two block marble library adorned with such carvings to protect and house the cities books and it has survived 100 years!

It makes me proud to be an author that some people care this much for literature and books.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rockwell and Lindbergh

I Love History !

So for those who follow my posts for any thing length of time you will get sporadic history lessons.  I can't help it!!

Today in History
May 20, 1916  The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover with a painting by Norman Rockwell - Boy with Baby Carriage.  Art critics of the day dismissed Rockwell's paintings as not serious art and considered him more of an illustrator.  America growing up seeing his art on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post over the next forty seven years would fall in love with his work and remember his pictures as snapshots of the Good Ole Days of America in her prime.  He became their top cover artist until 1963.  His most famous cover, Rosie the Riveter, appeared in May of 1943.  I read that when Norman Rockwell went some where on vacation with his family he would find a local studio and ask to paint and work there during his vacation.  Now that's a passion for what your doing!

Also today in history, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, NY, on the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.  He would return to earth again at Le Bourget Field in Paris the next day.  He was equipped with 4 sandwiches, two canteens of water and became an instant hero when he landed to a crowd of 100,000.  He later received the largest ticker-tape parade ever.  He lived long enough to be friends with the first man to ever fly an airplane, and also befriend the first man who ever set foot on the moon within his own life time.  He is buried on the island of Maui, U.S.A.

Tunnel Vision and Hi cups

I posted last Saturday May 14, that I was working on Chapter 18 of my second book 'No Rules Of Engagement" and how I could see the end in sight of re-writing the rough draft.  Well as of last night I was still working on Chapter 18.  I decided I was going to finish Chapter 18 or I wasn't going to bed.  No Rest and I still had to go to work on Friday.

Work expands to the time allotted it.  I finished Chapter 18 at 1:30AM Today! 

I am barely reading anything, still in the middle of four books, keeping up with work and domestic duties around Wilson Castle.  Everything else I have is being spent, with every spare moment, working on finishing the re-write of my next book.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is still dim.  I consider a whole week on one Chapter a Hi cup!  Productive!  But it still took longer than I think it should have.

We have set the deadline for publishing 'No Rules of Engagement' for September 11 of this year, and it is going to take every minute of it to bring everything in together at the same time, from finished manuscript, to cover art, and a finished book trailer.  I hope those who have read 'Whisper' are anxiously awaiting my second book.  It's a completely different story and beginning of another series I plan on doing at least three books with.  I know my Beta Readers are bugging me about when they might see something new, to critique.

If you haven't read 'Whisper' yet, please give it a try.   or you can also find it on Amazon dot com.

Other Great Reads are my Editors books,   Escape From Second Eden   Sacrificial Lamb
By J. L. Murphey - A truly inspired Story Teller.

One of my favorite authors in the whole world is coming out with the next book in his Sigma Force Series
James Rollins   "The Devil Colony"  I've already pre ordered it and will stop everything to read it when it's released.  I also just got his newest Young Adult Book - the second in the Jake Ransom Series! 

Happy Reading this summer!  May the wonderful authors take you to places beyond your imagination, to wrench your feelings and emotions, and re-ignite your passion for reading!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trailer For Whisper

As I started this blog describing my journey through discoveries, up's and down's, and challenges of E-publishing my first book, Whisper!

Over the last several weeks I have talked about my literary angel. Her name is Jo Murphey and she has been helping teach me, edit my work, giving encouragement, and much much more. 

Have you ever met somebody who just gives and gives so unselfishly and helps so far and above the call of duty?  I have maybe once or twice in my forty-five years.  Jo Murphey is just such a person!!

Saturday night when I got the boys to bed, I came and sat down in my chair and just wanted to rest for a minute.  I was so tired and spent on so many levels, I went to sleep and slept until my wife woke me to goto bed.  I probably needed the rest.  Sunday night after eight when I got my next chance to turn my computer on I found that Jo, my literary angel and her friends made me a trailer for Whisper.

It is Awesome!  Just amazing, Wow, Totally Awesome!  Thank You Jo Murphey, my editor, my friend, my angel, for helping me make my dreams come true!!!

For those who want to see the trailer

Any one interested in the book after seeing the trailer

Thank You so much JO

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Editing Notes

As those who follow my blog know I have been working on re-writing and editing my second book.

I have been also adding dates and times to each section as I go through the book.  My editor and I are up to Chapter 8.  While I am re-writing with what I've learned since writing the rough draft and am at Chapter 18 of 25 chapters total.  Last night my Editor sent me a message saying 'Your using military time?  They don't use colons in military time.  So, this is news to me, and I was in the Army for a number of years and have read lots of books that used colons when displaying military time.  In my first book, Whisper, I used military time and used colons.

So I got on the Internet first thing this morning and researched proper formats for using military time.  They even used colons in examples of military time but said that the military does not use colons in using a 24 hour time and that they will designate with a letter what time zone they are operating in or use a Z for Zulu if it is a universal time designation not specific to a particular time zone.  I should have known the master was right from the beginning but that's how we learn to trust.  I also realized the wealth of knowledge you need to be a great editor and a master at editing.

Final note is because of my editing I am ruining my reading experiences because I can't read hardly anything with out spotting the errors in the work and feel temped to pull out my pen and make a correction which would not be so kind to my Kindle.

So tonight after I finish making corrections to Chapter eight and send the next bunch to my editor.  After I finish rewriting Chapter 18.  I will start at the beginning of the book and go back through it again taking out all the colons and adding a Z to the time stamps through out the book.  It's a labor of love.  It has to be or you wouldn't remain a writer.

For those interested in my first book goto

Friday, May 13, 2011

No Rules Of Engagement Deadline Set

Since mid February I have been working and re-working my second book.  It has been so much more work than my first book, but it will be a giant leap forward for me as a writer.  With the help of a incredible woman, Jo Murphy, my literary angel helping me by teaching, editing, and encouragement, my second book is going to be incredible.  It's so much smoother, faster and hard hitting than the original rough draft.  I get so excited working on it.  I have truly realized the value, importance and need to have help, and to polish and edit to get the most perfect book you can possibly write.

One of the first critiques of the book suggested putting dates and time tags on the different sections as you go through the book to help keep track of when and where you are for later in the book when they start jumping backwards and forwards in time.  So upon doing this in the re-writing, I had to nail down particular events with an actual date and time.  It is kind of amazing.  Because the rough draft had no dates or times and I wrote about the next great weapon since the atomic bomb coming 76 years after the creation of the nuke.  When the dates were set I was off by one year. 

At one point I had to give a date for the birthday of the main character, an eight year old, troubled kid who is to become the next great military genius.  I just picked September 11, because it's a patriotic date for Americans these days, and Alexander turns 9 in the book on September 11, 2020.  I keep a second word document with facts and descriptions of all the characters in the book so at some future date when I am writing the sequels I can keep everything accurate.  So I wanted to record Alexanders actual birthday on my Cast of Characters sheet.  I took 2020, subtract 9 years and it would be September 11th, 2011, this year!

The thought hit me like a ton of bricks.  Wouldn't it be great if I was able to publish my second book on Smashwords and Amazon on Alexander's Birthday!!  That means getting the re-writing done.  The editing finished.  Cover Art for Smashwords and Amazon done.  I need to build a movie trailer of 30 to 45 seconds for the book.  The Art work and the trailer need to be awesome.  This book is so much better than my first one and I want a cover and trailer that look professional and as hard hitting as the book is going to be.

So the Dead Line is set.  I do have an Artist to help collaborate on the cover art and to help me attempt to draw and color the 1,350 pictures required to make a cartoon movie showing two scenes from the book, the book cover, and some acknowledgements for those who have helped me so much in making the book a reality.  I have a guy who works were I work and has professional Hollywood movie editing software and is going to help put it all together and edit the trailer. 

So the clock is running, the dead line is set, gotta run!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Container Freight

The initial idea of my vacuum ships came to me when I was thinking about how you could fly containers overseas in a 48 hour time period and then deliver them from the main landing and staging area within the U.S. during the remainder of that the week. 

Right now if I ordered tires from China they call a container company to bring an empty container to their place of business to load with tires. (1) When it's full the container company comes and gets the container and takes it to a rail yard where it is railed to the coast. (2) It is picked up at the rail yard and taken to the ship yard where it will be loaded on a container ship to be sailed to the United States. (3) It arrives in the U.S. and is unloaded to be taken to a rail yard. (4)  It is railed to Kansas City where it is taken off the rail to be trucked to us. (5)  A container company picks it up at the rail yard and brings it to our facility. (6)

This is a three month process with at least 6 different entities touching it at some point and each getting paid a piece of the shipping fee to move the box along it's way.  If you could deliver containers in one week at the same price it would totally take over the shipping industry.  Giant airships could fly them, easily.  Smaller airships could take a couple of boxes at a time from the primary loading or unloading place and fly them to the closest container truck company in the town nearest it point of delivery.

Blimps or Airships have several draw backs.
1.  The have a ceiling, an altitude that they can't get above.
2.  As they get higher and the pressure on the gas in the envelope that provides the buoyancy expands, they get to where they have to pump the gas into a holding tank or in most cases vent it so the envelopes don't burst from the pressure of the expanding gas.
3.  With soft to semi soft outside hulls they are limited by how fast they can fly.

Vacuum ships have advantages.
1.  Could conceivably get into outer space.  This would be the ideal place to build them with such large pieces and being able to maneuver them around in zero gravity and when the tanks are done they already have a vacuum in the tanks.
2.  With a hard outside shell it could fly very fast.
3.  Being lighter than air or even with a positive weight of just a few pounds a small sized engine could fly them very fast with very little fuel being used.
4.  If they ever did have a problem over the ocean all you have to do is vent air into the tanks and it will float.  It should really float with a vacuum in the tanks.
5.  They won't rupture from expanding gas.
6.  You don't have the added cost of millions of metric tons of gas having to be bought and pumped into it to make it buoyant.
7.  If they were designed with cabins designed to handle space they could be used as daily shuttles to bring crews, supplies, materials to space stations, factories, etc. that will float in space in a Geo synchronous orbits on a daily basis.
8.  Floating them at the edge of the atmosphere with telecommunications equipment in them and in line of sight with other ones around the globe everything in a cone shape from the ship to the ground should have cell coverage or wireless Internet.
9.  Of course we could take a lesson from our German Brothers and have one mother of a huge bomber.

I always imagined if I was rich to start a company in a strip mine with cranes stretching out over the top of it, building air ships then pumping the air out of them and flying them out.  Have a school near by where we train people to work as ground crew or other positions required for the flight crews of the ships.  As each ship is built have the FAA approve and inspect it and then start hauling freight with it.  When the freight company has a fleet of several thousand behemoths and double that in little ones, then we could start selling them to FED EX, UPS, USPS, Telecommunications companies, Casino's where a air ship could load up passengers and float around the city while people gamble, eat dinner, sit in the bottom observation lounge watching the city pass underneath them.  As a owner of the company when it is vacation time you could ride one of the air ships anywhere in the world for vacation.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Next Step

The Next Step for a Vacuum Ship

Every tank I have ever seen was made to hold stuff in.  We need to design enormous tanks designed to hold stuff out with engineered supports running through the interior of the tank to help make it crush proof.  I would also design the joints of the pieces making this giant tank so that when you apply pressure from the outside of the tank that it works to hold it together and make it stronger.  Cover it with Mylar and rubber to make it air tight before you use vacuum pumps to pump as much air as you possibly can out of the tank.

My research tells me we can easily attain 98% vacuum with today's technology.  At 92% vacuum it will surpass the buoyancy of Helium and around 94% you will surpass the buoyancy of Hydrogen.  If your tanks where say they size of the Hindenburg pre 1937, it would lift quite a bit.  But I actually envision five tanks together covered in an aluminium or carbon composite body for a hard shell as long as a World War II Battleship and four times as wide.  Designed primarily at first for hauling metal shipping containers.
More to come . . .

Thursday, May 5, 2011


buoyancy definition

The force that causes objects to float.  According to the principle of Archimedes, when a solid is placed in a fluid (a liquid or a gas), it is subject to an upward force equal in magnitude to the weight of the fluid it has displaced.
How party balloons and blimps achieve lift is by replacing an area of air with something lighter than air, which would be Helium or Hydrogen. 
Back in history when the Zeppelin company was building it's large airships the only two countries which could produce Helium was the United States and Great Britain.  As Germany was using Zeppelins to Bomb England and the United States was Britain's ally neither would sell or provide Helium so the Germans were forced to use what they had available, which was hydrogen.  The Primary difference between Helium and Hydrogen is that Hydrogen is highly combustible where as Helium is not.  Hydrogen also is lighter than Helium therefore able to provide slightly more lift per square foot or liter of gas used to displace the air.
Another side note is that knowing that the Germans where using Hydrogen in the Zeppelins and needing a way to ignite the gas inside the airships with a bullet - the tracer round was invented.  A bullet with a tail that burns as it flies through the air.  Because of the fact that you could see the round fly through the air the use of tracers has been used since then generally as every third round in belts of ammo for chain feed machine guns.  Watching these guns fire is much more exciting with the tracers flying down range, then when you consider there are two rounds in between what your seeing that you can't see.  WOW.
I will end this post with questions.
What's lighter than Hydrogen?
What's lighter than nothing?
What's the maximum percentage of a vacuum we can achieve today using vacuum pumps to pump the air out of something?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Goodyear and Zeppelin

First off let me begin with, this post has nothing to do with Led Zeppelin the British band that was formed in 1968.
This story is quite a bit older and I may have to break down and write a non-fiction book one of these days telling the entire story up to modern times, but as the story is still unfolding I will wait.
In some future post I will examine an idea I have for what I call vacuum ships, which is essentially a blimp but instead of a gas that's lighter than air to cause the buoyancy it will use tanks with all the air sucked out of them.  Crazy I know, and impossible says the rest of the crowd, but alas this will be for another day because this story actually begins with a military man named Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who first outlined his ideas for his grand air ships in 1874.
His plans were reviewed by a committee and patented in the United States in 1894.  The first successful Zeppelin as these air ships became known, was the LZ3 which flew sometime around 1906.  By 1908 it had traveled 4,398 kilometers in the course of 45 flights.
The Count died in 1917 before World War I ended and the company was taken over and continued on primarily because of the efforts of Dr. Hugo Eckener.  Dr. Eckener finished the Zeppelin company's best ship ever in 1924, but had to deliver it in order to keep the company afloat.  To deliver it required a trans Atlantic flight which had never been done before.  It would be three more years before Lindbergh's famous flight in the 'Spirit of St. Louis.'  No insurance company would issue a policy for the ship.  Dr. Eckener literally risked the entire company on one flight and on October 12, 1924, he flew the LZ126 across the Atlantic ocean to be delivered to the United States.  It became the ZR-3 USS Los Angeles.  They crossed the ocean in 81 hours and 2 minutes covering 8,050 kilometers.
For comparison purposes the Wright Bros. didn't fly the 'Kitty Hawk', the first airplane to be credited with powered flight until December 17, 1903.  Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly an airplane across the Atlantic non-stop from New York to Paris and that was in May 1927.
The first circumnavigation of globe by air was in August 1929 by the LZ127, taking 21 days, 5 hours, and 31 minutes.  From Lakehurst to Tokyo, Tokyo to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles back to Lakehurst.
By 1909 the Goodyear company, who is known worldwide for their tires and blimps was partners with the Zeppelin Company.  Because of problems caused by and resulting from the World Wars their partnership was an on again off again relationship.  Also because the German government bought Zeppelins and used them as bombers in both World Wars, the Zeppelin company also got a bad reputation, and Zeppelins were known as ‘Baby Killers’ in British Propaganda in World War II.  Unfortunately one of the most awesome vehicles and ships of the last century was doomed because of Germany’s use of the ships against the Allied Countries.
The Zeppelins came into their hay day in the 1930's with the creation of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin and the LZ-129 Hindenburg.  On Thursday, May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg ignited and was destroyed as it tried to dock with it’s mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died.

The disaster was caught on film and the spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and recorded radio eyewitness report from Herbert Morrison was broadcast the next day.  The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire.  Speculation has even been brought forth on numerous people that had access to the ship and different people from different counties who all had motives for sabotaging the massive airship.  The footage and pictures of the Hindenburg spreading in fireball across the sky as it fell to the ground shattered public confidence in the great airships for the next 52 years, effectively ending the great airship era.

In 1989 design study started on the next generation of Zeppelins.  The ZLT was founded as a spin-off of the Zeppelin company in September 1993.  It began to construct a prototype in 1995 and by 1997 the first prototype took to the air.  On the centennial of the first Zeppelin flight, July 2, 2000, the prototype SN 01 was christened D-LZFN Friedrichshafen.

In 2001 the company began manufacturing the Zeppelin NT in series and began to exploit the airships commercially.  The second ship SN 02 was christened D-LZZR Bodensee on August 10, 2001 and started to give joyrides five days later.  By the end of that year, it had already transported 3,222 passengers, a figure that rose to about 30,000 by November 2003.

Announced this week the New Zeppelin Company is going to build the next generation of the Goodyear Blimps.  Goodyear worked with the original Zeppelin company in the beginning.  That is one of the reasons why Goodyear has operated blimps all these years.

The new agreement with the German manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik calls for the two companies to work together to design a fleet of all new Goodyear blimps.  The LZ N07-101 model airships will be built with Zeppelin and Goodyear airship teams at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Airship Hanger near Akron, Ohio.  Construction on the first airship is scheduled to start in 2013 and begin operating in 2014.
The new Goodyear-Zeppelin airships will be larger, fly faster, carry more passengers and include state of the art avionics and flight control systems.  The ships will cost $21 million a piece.
"We are extremely pleased to renew the Zeppelin connection with the famous Goodyear blimp program," said Thomas Brandt, CEO of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik.  "Goodyear and Zeppelin worked together almost 90 years ago to bring rigid airship technology to America and we’re thrilled to be working together again."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vocabulary and Communication

As humans we communicate by speaking and listening, and by writing and reading.  It boggles my mind when I think that all a person can see, hear, taste, smell, touch, experience and remember of everything there is to know can really only be communicated in one of the two ways listed above.  It is extremely limiting, yet this is the way we communicate everything as humans.
The English language alone by itself.  Well, it is virtually impossible to count the number of words because you have to decide what actually counts as a word.  Do you count forms of words separately?  Is the plural of a word counted also?  How about the same word but with a different meaning does it get counted once or once for each separate meaning?
What constitutes English?  What about medical or scientific terms?  French words used in English?  Japanese words used in English?  German words used in English?  How about Greek or Latin used in English?
The Second Edition of the 20th Volume of The Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words.  Add to that around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries.  The consensus is that there are approximately just over a quarter of a million English words.
How many words does the average person know?
Estimates of those who would say that their native language is English, is that the average person knows in the area of 12,000 to 20,000 words, varying with the level of education the person achieved.  Some colleges and Universities say the average of their students is between 20,000 – 25,000 words.
It is Interesting that Shakespeare actively used more than 30,000 words in his written works, and his entire vocabulary has been estimated at approximately 66,000 words.
I read that some studies indicate the vocabulary of the typical American teenager of today is less than half the size of the vocabulary of a teenager in the 1950's.  The study said that in the 1950's the average teenager knew more than 25,000 words as compared to today's teenagers who maybe know 10,000.
It is estimated that the typical college graduate has an active vocabulary 60,000 (which they use) and 75,000 passive (which they understand).

Even at 75,000 words, which if these studies are correct, seems rather low, when divided by the estimated number of words in the English language, our most intelligent people only know about 30% of the words available in which to express themselves.  It would have to be argued that if the average teenager of the fifties knew the same number of words as college graduates today, that college graduates of the fifties would have known much more than that.
I present all of this to make the point that as an intelligent civilized society it is imperative that we teach our children to read and write in order that they may effectively communicate as adults.  In this day in age with old books from the eighteen hundreds and nineteen hundreds being digitized and available for free on various e-reading devices or computers, there is more stuff to read than there is time to read in a lifetime.  Yet reading overall is on the decline!
With self publishing and blogs taking the control away from publishers, editors, and literary agents as to what gets printed are out available to be read, there is more stuff being written than ever before in the history of the world, but less people reading it.
As a Science Fiction Writer it scares me that the gap between those who know things, know how to communicate and those that do not know things and can't effectively communicate grows, which it is, it will create a entirely new class structure not so much based on wealth as it is based knowledge and power it provides, which in turn will create wealth and control of the illiterate masses.
Reading and writing are so vitally important in order to share thoughts and ideas.  In order to learn things, to work, to be able to fill out an employment application, to share with others briefly who you are and why they may want to employ you to work for and help represent their company.
Even speaking is taking a back seat to other things.  I find it incredibly important to be able to speak very clearly and effectively.  I find time to practice my hand writing just to insure that it is nice and very readable, as this is one of the ways in which I routinely communicate with others.  I also want to point out as a person who regularly interviews people for employment at the company with which I am employed, I judge people by how they fill out their applications, their spelling, if their hand writing is legible.  It totally baffles me by some of the stuff I seen on employment applications over the years.
As a society we need improve on our vocabulary, reading and writing skills.  We should express the importance of these skills to our children.  We should work to improve, preserve and protect the integrity of our countries native language.

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