Sunday, May 9, 2010

PLN 31

The article "The Unburdened Mind" by Christopher S. Putnam takes a position that there are more people than anyone would believe that are actually clinically psychopathic. Psychopathic in the sense that they have no conscience, not that they are serial killers. The article claims clinically psychotic people are very common in the world, but just don't get noticed, either because society doesn't want to recognize them or because there is an ignorance about the symptoms of psychopathy. This matters to me because I want to become more aware of who the people are around me and how to handle interactions with all types of people. This matters to the world and education, because we as a community must learn how to identify abnormal behaviors in order to help people overcome their illnesses.

PLN 29

The article "PEPCON Disaster" tells about a company named PEPCON that created rocket fuels that are extremely explosive and send out massive shock waves. One day while a PEPCON crew was doing some welding work, a spark flew off and started a fire. When the workers spotted the flames, they ran to warn other workers to the danger. The fire spread to the rocket fuel building where it would eventually cause a massive explosion. There were only two people left in the building right before the explosion. One of them ran for safety, but the other was wheelchair bound. Knowing he couldn't make it out in time, he made the decision to stay behind and call the fire department, telling them to bring as many trucks as they could. When fire fighters arrived, there was no hope. When the shockwave from one of the smaller explosions knocked windows out of the fire trucks, the fire fighters knew more explosions and shockwaves would follow. A TV crew on a nearby mountaintop filmed everything. They caught the explosions on camera along with the massive shockwaves they created. When injured fire fighters came back to the town's hospital for aid they saw many injured people. This matters to me because the story shows the need for strongly enforced safety codes and policies in any situation with dangerous materials. This matters to the world and education because people employed in dangerous environments must be protected.

PLN 28

The article "The Flying Saucers of North America" is about the years following WWII, and the start of the Cold War, when everyone seemed to be seeing flying saucers. Many in the Army thought that the "aliens" were dangerous, invading Russians. The thinking at the time was that the Russians were collaborating with the Germans to build UFO's to invade the US. The reaction of many was that the US should build one as well and that's exactly what we did. Though it didn't work out very well, it was an admirable effort and resulted in many advancements in aircraft and aviation engineering. This matters to me because I'm interested in engineering and want to contribute to aircraft and aviation innovation. This matters to the world and education because this shows how we can make mistakes and learn from them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PLN 30

The article "The Deepest Hole" discusses how Russian scientists engineered a project to learn more about the Earth's interior by drilling deep into the Earth's surface The scientists originally planned to drill down 15,000 feet but when they reached 2.3 miles they realized that sit was too hot to drill that far down. They discovered a lot more about the Earth's interior, why it was so hot and what kind of rocks were deep in the Earth. This matters to me because I'm interested in gaining a better understanding of the potential of geothermal energy to replace fossil fuels. This matters to education and the world because we can learn how to make use of the Earth's energy when new technology enables drilling even deeper into the Earth.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PLN 27

The article “The Personal Air and Land Vehicle” by Allan Bellows discusses an air and land vehicle. This vehicle transforms into a helicopter type plane. There is a rear propeller, on the car which propels the vehicle forward and a top rotor that turns with the wind for stability. It needs 165 feet to take off and only 16 feet to land. The plane has three wheels so it’s kind of like a motorcycle in the way it leans into the turns. There has been no price set for the Personal Air and Land Vehicle, yet but it is estimated to cost around that of a luxury sedan. This matters to me because if I bought a Personal Air and Land Vehicle, I could teach people how to fly these types of plane/cars. This matters to the world because it demonstrates that we can perfect more efficient airborne cars and not have to build so many roads.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PLN 26

The article “Did Extra Terrestrial Rain over India” by Anthony Kendall talks about an odd event that happened in India. Once when it rained, it was an odd red rain. After further examination by scientists, they found bacteria and microorganisms living in the rain. Their first thought was the microorganisms were alien. Scientists believed the organisms were introduced into the atmosphere when a meteor burned upon entering the atmosphere, then rained down on India. Scientist that made this discovery published their findings in two magazines. Other scientists that read or heard about what happened were skeptical over the two scientist’s conclusions, after all, skepticism is the nature of scientists. After further investigation, scientists discovered the rain and microorganisms originated from coastal South Africa dust storms. This matters to me because I think it would be very cool if there was extra terrestrial life on Earth. This matters to the world and education because if extra terrestrial life existed we could learn a lot from it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

PLN 25

The article “Motorcycle Airbags” by Cynthia Wood talks about the day when Kenji Takeuchi viewed a motorcycle accident and thought how helpful it would be if motorcyclist had airbags with their bikes. His first idea was to add airbags to the chest on the jacket and on the upper back, but when he put his product on the market it was rejected by most companies because they weren’t convinced it wouldn’t save motorcyclists. Kenji Takeuchi then focused on how bikers usually fell off of motorcycles in crashes and made his system with pull cord attached to the bike’s frame so airbags would inflate if the motorcyclist is separated from the bike. This system sold very well internationally and Takeuchi flooded with calls from people who had been saved by this invention. To this day though, the biker airbag is not sold in the US because of complications to bring his invention in compliance with U.S. standards. If and when Takeuchi’s safety invention does come into compliance it will be a huge hit. This matters to me because if I ever get a motorcycle I would order an airbag jacket from Japan and know that it could save my life. This matters to the world because Takeuchi’s invention has saved many motorcyclists lives.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PLN 24

The article "The Falkirk Wheel" by Alan Bellows introduces the idea of using a pulley system instead of using locks to get a boat from one water height to another. This wheel uses gravity to lower boats from the bridge to the river below. There are two arms on the wheel which are both filled with water and can hold four, 20 yard long boats at a time. The two wheels are very energy efficient using mostly gravity and as a result they only use 1.5 kilowatts per hour. This matters to me because this is a great idea and will inspire future creativity. This matters to the world and education because it should inspire other countries to try to integrate this idea into other countries.

PLN 23

The article "Germany's Pleasure Dome" by Allan Bellows evaluates a dome in Germany that stands 350 feet tall, and encloses 194 million cubic feet of space. Inside this dome is an imitation beach environment with water, a large beach and palm trees. The air temperature is always between 77 and 82 degrees. The combination of heat and water, forms condensation on the inside of the roof and when there is enough condensation it actually rains creating quite an intricate atmosphere inside the dome. The windows allow UV light rays through, mixed with the water and oxygen, let plants grow. This matters to me because if I am ever in Germany and want to go to the beach, I can go to the dome because they let everybody in. This matters to education and the world because this German experiment has furthered our knowledge of growing plants indoors if something happens to our atmosphere that doesn't allow plants to grow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PLN 22

The article “Flying Rams” by Greg Bjerg reviews the wartime invention of a specially armored plane designed to crash into and destroy enemy planes without damaging our planes. These planes were tested during WWII. The idea was that it was easier to fly into another plane and destroy it rather than use bullets and missiles. This tactic was also a lot “stealthier” because it could fly above the enemy plane and take it down before the enemy saw it. This invention failed because the pilot couldn’t eject if anything went wrong while flying. This matters to me because I would be interested in helping engineers perfect this design to help make our military better. This matters to the world and education because this experience can help us learn from our mistakes.