Internal combustion battery…sort of

The center section is essentially 2 combustion chambers back to back, the orange wrap is the ‘stator’ of an electric generator. When the magnets tied to the piston runs through the stator it generates electricity. Then a spring returns the stator to the center and the cycle (2 cycle) starts again.
Green Car Report :Could Free Piston Range Extenders Broaden the Electric Truck Horizon?
One of the ‘cool’ things about a Free Piston Engine is that it can be packaged in a fairly simple block and because of the elimination of the mechanical drive train and residual mechanical controls (valves, cams, etc) the machine can eat different types of fuel and be tuned in a wide variety of ways quite simply. This makes it compatible with battery electric systems on a packaging and mission program ability standpoint.
A simple schematic of the bare bones of a free piston machine. Other uses have been proposed but tying it to a generator and modern power electronics to make it a range extender is pretty interesting. The technology is derivative of the highly refined IC engines of today and the equally long history of electric generators so this should be something that matures pretty quickly.

Time


Enrique Zafra

Time is fundamental, it is much of what ‘being’ is about. It is central to reality. It is central to our lived experience, it is central to our hopes and dreams. But as central as it is, it is still an enigma.

Time is a knotty problem for physics, metaphysics, philosophy, religion, something fundamental to our existence and experience but for thousands of years and billions of person hours of contemplation and analysis it escapes understanding. Like others down the centuries I find that the more I think about it the harder to grasp it becomes.

Pragmatically there is only the local now, a few moments from the past and a glance into the future. Practically there is the Past and the Future, now is just a transition from one to the other.

What is time? It seems like it is about change, and times arrow is provided by entropy, the slow winding down of the universe.

Existence, the now, is only the Plank Time instant. What stitches the universe together are memory(enabled by change) and imagination (enabled by memory.)

One option of quantum physics says that it is the conscious mind that ‘collapses’ the probability function to one reality. In that view it is our mind-memory that provides a crashing rock against which universal potentiality breaks into reality. Is it us, stitching together the universe?

Why do we talk about timespace? Because time has no meaning without space and space no meaning without time. Imagine an infinite cube of arbitrary complexity. Without time nothing about it has any meaning. You cannot travel from one point to another, there is no energy, because no movement, nothing can move, because movement is about change of location and that has no meaning with no time. Equally, without space, time has no meaning, there is nothing to change, one could say something can endure or wind down but without space for that to occur it has no meaning.

So we ‘live’ in timespace that we instantiate and make objective. It is still real in that the physics of it are fixed (probably) but is it possible that it is our (or other consciousnesses) that take possibility and harden it to reality and inflate the universe around us, out to the limits of our questing minds?

Maybe….

Stealing the Lede

eye4dtail

So 2 of our most obnoxious ‘organizationoids’ Black Lives Matter (the Org not the concept) and Antifa (Anti-fascist, which is technically anybody not International Socialist[communist-marxist]) essentially stole the lede as I think of that term, which is essentially something like ‘mind share tag.’

When you steal the lede, that mind share tag, you make it very difficult for others to use certain symbols, words, phrases, ideas, against you. For Black Lives Matter it made it very difficult for the majority to point out that they were destroying little B black, little L lives, by destroying their neighborhoods and local businesses. As has been pointed out elsewhere, it made pointing out that Antifa is exactly fascistic in its heart and operations, impossible to make stick.

In both of those cases i think the evidence clearly shows that if you seal off some of our ability to communicate things clearly it in fact makes it very difficult to combat actions and ideas until the damage is obvious enough not to be obfuscated by ‘mere’ words.

Grumpy elders…

Not much more to say there. Other than everything I hear about what Elizabeth II has indicated publicly, is what I would expect from the grandest of ladies, polite and deflecting rather than the hard right to the chops the little bitches both deserve.

My personal weekend grumpy gripe is the shit show from the idioechelon’s of the DoD about mean things that Tucker Carlson says.

The operational uniformed men and women in the services and the working level folks in the DoD are 99.999% good folks. But unfortunately in this day and age the fraction that works its way to the top is the dregs not the cream.

Do Not Trust DoD! DoD is Asshole!

And

I worked in one of the Navy Industrially Funded Facilities for 15+ years before the assholes in industry finally paid congress enough to get them to shut down those generators of expertise and providers of reasonable cost special projects. I got a PhD level training in technology and the management of technology working on electronics and packaging at NAC, the Naval Avionics Facility, of fond memory.

Do not trust Congress! Congress is Asshole!

A Grumpy Economist on ‘Pay toilets and NYT: a free market microcosm’

So John Cochran of the Grumpy Economist seems a good Blog to follow, this was an amusing reminder of something I had not thought about for awhile.

Nicholas Kristof in Sunday’s New York Times asks a pressing — often quite pressing — question. Why are there no public toilets in America? He is right. He calls for a federal infrastructure plan to fix the problem: “Sure, we need investments to rebuild bridges, highways and, yes, electrical grids, but perhaps America’s most disgraceful infrastructure failing is its lack of public toilets.”

The absence of pay toilets is in fact a delightful encapsulation of so much that is wrong with American economic policy these days. Activists decide free toilets are a human right, and successfully campaign to ban pay toilets. For a while, existing toilets are free. Within months, upkeep is ignored, attendants disappear, and the toilets become disgusting, dysfunctional and dangerous. Within a few years there are no toilets at all. Fast forward, and we have a resurgence of medieval diseases that come from people relieving themselves al fresco. Now let’s talk about rent control.

As with so many things ‘basic human rights’ as espoused by progressives are no such thing. Anything that requires other peoples money is not a ‘basic’ human right, and as above toilets cost money and public toilets are paid for by the public, or no one at all.

In England I know (having lived there in my early years and visited later) that pay toilets were/are a thing. And I have seen articles out of the UK and Europe discussing all sorts of robo toilets to make maintenance less of an issue (Though I seem to remember a story about someone getting stuck in one [maybe after cheating the pay system?] and getting thoroughly doused in sanitizer etc which I think killed that attempt.}

I seem to remember as above that the toilets were 1Penney (spend a penny anyone?) when I was a kid. It was enough. Why is this so onerous on the ‘poor’ you can usually find a penny on the ground if you look hard enough. So what gives? What gives is that the people who can’t pay, won’t pay for this, they would never spend any kind of ‘coin’ that might go for a drink or drugs or….who wants to know? Anyway this is another one of those stupid, stupid, stupid misreadings of human nature and human needs that is tearing our culture, and civilization, apart.

So in flyover country this is not that much of an issue. Any normal fast food facility has reasonably clean bathrooms that are maintained for the use of their staff and customers. While they discourage the use by none customers it’s not that big a deal. I usually stop at a McDonald’s for the ‘duty’ and then get a coffee or a small snack to pay for the privilege and am happy to do it.

I don’t like Cities Sam I am, I do not like them man oh man…

Cheers

Interesting Fuel Cell + Ship Tech

Why the Shipping Industry Is Betting Big on Ammonia
Ammonia engines and fuel cells could slash carbon emissions
Article in IEEE Spectrum MCKIBILLO

There’s a lot to like about ammonia. This colorless fuel emits no carbon dioxide when burned. It’s abundant and common, and it can be made using renewable electricity, water, and air. Both fuel cells and internal combustion engines can use it. Unlike hydrogen, it doesn’t have to be stored in high-pressure tanks or cryogenic dewars. And it has 10 times the energy density of a lithium-ion battery.

So there is always a fly in the ointment of this sort of story…

Manufacturers and engineers must overcome key technical hurdles and safety issues in the design of ammonia engines and fuel cells. Port operators and fuel suppliers must build vast “bunkering” infrastructure so ships can fill ammonia tanks wherever they dock. And energy companies and governments will need to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other renewable-energy capacity to produce enough green ammonia for thousands of ships. Globally, ships consume an estimated 300 million tons of marine fuels every year. Given that ammonia’s energy density is half that of diesel, ammonia producers would need to provide twice as much liquid ammonia, and ships will need to accommodate larger storage tanks, potentially eating into cargo space.

So to fully replace oil you need 600 million tons, all produced artificially in new chemical plants. And then there is the ‘pungent’ odor and its solubility in water where it produces a strong alkaline Ph, the fact that it can cause breathing problems etc etc etc.

Not saying it is not an interesting approach but I really have to wonder how acceptable this would be. This seems like a question of ‘what kind of hell are you willing to accept to reduce CO2’ when the reality is that there are a lot of other things to do first and a lot better future directions to take. I like the idea of the age of windjammers returning…as in the last post.

Cheers

Marine Tech is getting Interesting…

Stena Bulk concept “could be as impactful as containerization”

Not so much for the wings + Wind Turbines + Solar Cells but because it is not one hull but Seven (7!) each one of those sub sections is essentially a barge with a rugged locking mechanism that creates a rigid sea going hull once engaged. This way the crew and propulsion section can drop off and pick up sections either all or one or two as they make their rounds and the expensive bit gets much more use as well as being smaller and less expensive, probably safer as well.

Stena Bulk concept with main ‘sails’ retracted

What is Propaganda…is it different from Fake News?…and when is it good?

World War I Posters That Reveal The Roots Of Modern Propaganda
By All That’s Interesting
Published December 26, 2016
Updated July 10, 2019
These World War 1 propaganda posters courtesy of the U.S. government provide a fascinating look at the America of a century ago in the midst of the Great War.

Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols (words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth). Deliberateness and a relatively heavy emphasis on manipulation distinguish propaganda from casual conversation or the free and easy exchange of ideas. Propagandists have a specified goal or set of goals. To achieve these, they deliberately select facts, arguments, and displays of symbols and present them in ways they think will have the most effect. To maximize effect, they may omit or distort pertinent facts or simply lie, and they may try to divert the attention of the reactors (the people they are trying to sway) from everything but their own propaganda

Britannica.Com on propoganda

If you spend a little time absorbing this definition, which I have no quarrels with, you realize that what has been called Fake News IS largely propaganda. And it IS what the US main ‘news’ channels have been practicing either somewhat accidentally or wholly on purpose for the last four + years. They have been sliding this way for decades, but it has slid down the slippery slope to this end state quickly over the last few. (Read my post on the Slippery Slope…Looking at this topic I realize this fits into that type of situation where the Slippery Slope IS real, all of the actors are in the game and the rational observers have no impact on the discussion AT ALL.)

Is propaganda ever appropriate? I can’t tell. I want to say NO not just ‘no’ but HELL NO. But I also see how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page and can see that in general if there is a societal good that can be defined as good then making sure everyone is on board is also Good.

But….a big one.

I think that with the internet and the explosion of ‘near news’ outlets propaganda and its bastard child fake news, become a very bad thing, an evil. Everyone learns about propaganda and they get a sense that in the right hands it is good, in the wrong hands evil. So it becomes something of a standard tool, because most of us sees ourselves as ‘one of the goodies.’

The problem is that all sides of an argument get a say. And the general populace do not have any deep sense of the reality of the situation, the nuances etc. If you are generally democrat you see mostly democratic outlets. If Republican, only that line. While some resources have centrist voices, they always shade one way or the other, and many outlets are purposefully hard over. One sides group gets propagandized into believing their trope. The other side…the other trope.

So as Scott Adams points out you get two radically different views of the same events. To the point that the objective reality is not even in view of those Propagandized. Take the Capital Intrusion, one side, clearly nonviolent non threatening, good people protesting an at least murky election. Other side clearly violent, threatening, evil people trying to overturn a fair election.

In this war of propaganda the sides are purposefully pushed apart because the two sides cannot allow ‘their’ segment to wander. They rationalize deleting and spinning evidence because it is not important and muddles the message.

But…but…but…Journalism!

Journalism has always had an element of propaganda. Yes there was a period when it was portrayed as noble to present just the facts but the reality was this was at best a hope and and worst cover. The same schools essentially TEACH propaganda methodology as part of the general curriculum. Again in one view to inoculate the innocent learner against it, in the alternate view because there are a lot of jobs in public relations and advertising (commercial propaganda) as well as in government (propaganda straight up though usually for neutral topics.)

And….”If it bleeds it leads”…news of any kind is a business. Yes you can point to billionaire liberals propping up various operations. But at the end of the day news is a good way of turning a billionaire into a millionaire over time. The operation has to support itself or it cannot last long. What Fox showed was that you could get an audience by bending the news in a certain way and feeding them ‘red meat.’ They tried (mostly succeeded) in a combination of pretty clearly factual reporting and pretty clearly politicized editorial content though you were left to guess which was which. What a lot of the other operations couldn’t really afford to do was the factual reporting. Editorializing everything with a left bend…but left the audience to believe they were giving ‘just the facts.’ And probably excusing themselves by closing their senses to the much more complex nuanced reality…Though it is not clear most of those smiles even have a clue that such a thing exists.

Sigh…and so it goes…have not watched TV/Video news in years, probably never will again, despise its superficiality and bias. Even the talk shows are uselessly one sided these days, making the whole realm a danger to the Republic rather than the safety valve it was supposed to be.

Russian Naval Renaissance

Russian Navy Commissions 1st Project 20385 Corvette ‘Gremyashchy’
From NavalNews.Com

The Russian Navy has a peculiarly multi faced history and reputation. As a land power with huge boarders and vast empty sectors it would seem more than a little excess to needs. In imperial splendor it has burgeoned into one of the greatest navies in history, in troubled times it has rotted or rusted away. It has lost a whole fleet in battle at the far end of the world after a voyage that would have been hailed as incredible except for the ending. It has built ships, particularly submarines second to none in technological innovation, then had to let them rot. Always a technological arm the Navy has often attracted the best and the brightest and being world spanning it has attracted funding to grow hugely when the money was available….

So today Russia is as troubled as ever, but it does sit astride Eurasia and if you consider the polar region is near the Americas. It has intimate contact with the sea and it needs a Navy for reasons both local and global.

The cycles of growth and rot have shown that one should never count the Russian Navy out. While the end Soviet Era strategic Navy is rotting away the latest revival appears to be underway. The article above and others, point to the fact that after a period of grim news about over runs, decades long builds, etc the lates Corvette program and its predecessor appear successful even given quite sever supply chain issues of geopolitical nature.

While one can poo poo a Corvette as a ‘little ship’ the reality is that this firecracker could conceivably sink a fleet of ships boasting the best of 1980’s technology without a scratch. The US navy and others are rapidly rethinking the efficacy and rational for cruiser sized destroyers in this modern age of omnipresent satellite reconnaissance and hypersonic smart munitions.

But beyond this ship the Russians are once again showing their intellectual metal with A New “Universal Sea Complex” ‘Varan.’

Russia Designs A New Class Of Ship: Universal Sea Complex ‘Varan’

“It is a new approach in domestic and global shipbuilding. The project will represent a new class of naval hardware — universal sea complexes (UMK),”

Nevskoe Bureau (a major Russian designer of ships and the sole designer of aircraft carriers and simulators.). NavalNews.com
Nevskoe Bureau (a major Russian designer of ships and the sole designer of aircraft carriers and simulators.). NavalNews.com
Nevskoe Bureau (a major Russian designer of ships and the sole designer of aircraft carriers and simulators.). NavalNews.com

The approach appears well suited to modern ship building practices. At modestly sized commercial yards. It is very much in line with the skeptics view of aircraft carriers as a modestly sized vessels with a reasonable strike force. It is not at all a competitor to a US Nuclear Super Carrier in itself but is well suited for power projection and strike warfare in a fleet setting.

Noting the sea gate at the stern you could see this ship as having a significant landing force either standard or optionally providing a strong ‘swing’ capacity. This might be an ideal Marine Amphibious warfare ship.

Looking at it one can see that it is unlikely to be able to support even the noted 24 aircraft wing for long periods at sea. But is that really necessary if you have enough ships so that in peace time they only spend a couple of months at sea at a time?

You can also see that it is unlikely to be able to support a fleet commanders facilities and staff. Again that makes sense, with high bandwidth covert data links the fleet commander can and ought to be separated from the strike asset.

If there was a significant Marine contingent the air arm would have to shrink. But once more you need to think of distributed capability and building your fleet from blocks of assets rather than one Super Duper anything.

So once more the Russians have set the fox among the hens, at least in an intellectual sense. They are always listening and watching the rest of the world and trying to conceive of a ‘system’ that gives them an advantage versus the rest. It’s always a good idea to understand what they are thinking…as in chess and mathematics they are often leaders in the intellectual sphere.

Aliens? The Science Says no….but does it?

Artist’s concept of interstellar object1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) as it passed through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. The aspect ratio of up to 10:1 is unlike that of any object seen in our own solar system. Image Credit: European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser
From NASA Article

The first known interstellar object to visit our solar system, 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua, was discovered Oct. 19, 2017 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope, funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) Program, which finds and tracks asteroids and comets in Earth’s neighborhood. While originally classified as a comet, observations revealed no signs of cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun on Sept. 9, 2017 at a blistering speed of 196,000 miles per hour (87.3 kilometers per second). It was briefly classified as an asteroid until new measurements found it was accelerating slightly, a sign it behaves more like a comet.

This very deep combined image shows the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua at the center of the image. It is surrounded by the trails of faint stars that are smeared as the telescopes tracked the moving comet. Credit: ESO/K. Meech et al.
From NASA Article

The second image is to make you think. Given one of our very powerful telescopes that faint dot circled in the center is all we ever saw of Oumuamua. With our computational tools we could detect that it was accelerating and get an idea of the surface composition but the data we collected was negligible (though also amazing given the distance and velocity of this objectively tiny object.)

Image credit: Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo.
From Extraterrestrial, Oumamua as Artifiact

Extraterrestrial: On ‘Oumuamua as Artifact

by PAUL GILSTER on FEBRUARY 23, 2021

The reaction to Avi Loeb’s new book Extraterrestrial (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021) has been quick in coming and dual in nature. I’m seeing a certain animus being directed at the author in social media venues frequented by scientists, not so much for suggesting the possibility that ‘Oumuamua is an extraterrestrial technological artifact, but for triggering a wave of misleading articles in the press. The latter, that second half of the dual reaction, has certainly been widespread and, I have to agree with the critics, often uninformed.

The article in CentauriDreams, as always excellent, discusses the reaction to the book which is very much in line with the arguments of the book itself.

The author of the Book a Harvard Astronomer of high repute, says that the data actually points to Oumuamua being an artifact and that since that theory best fits the data…then it is/was an extraterrestrial visitor. He then goes on review other theories and the way that the science community came together to present a ‘consensus’ that was more about PR and making the life of the average person in the broad community of sky explorers easier rather than doing the hard work of explaining multiple theories and sets of data that left the question very open and leaving a starkly amazing option in play.

Essentially this is about the science and the science community but also about Journalism in its debauched epoch. Many of us grew up with science being pushed as a noble, maybe the last noble, adventure. With heroes and a few villains. Heroes of the mind and of letters and video who didn’t get shot at or mugged or even have to live rough. Carl Sagan, Attenborough, many other names come to mind.

The problem is that these men and women were scientists, academics, with deep knowledge, if often deeply attached to one trope, and great communicators. Far too many of those who followed were/are attached to a trope and its alignment with their desired outcome. Without the background/willingness to understand that even the most beautiful theory may be utterly wrong and always HAS to be able to stand up to any counter evidence presented.

Also the scientific community, once quite a small community is now huge, with all the pressures of a large bureaucratic endeavor to go along to get along; careerism; group think; cliques; etc. And especially in ‘charismatic’ endeavors like space the pressure is to be ‘in the consensus’ and ‘never be caught wrong footed in the lime light.’

Cheers….