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2012 June 05 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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People Still Dream In Other Places

One of those places is Switzerland, where the Piccard family lives. [Jean-Luc Picard of ST-TNG was named for this family.]

Auguste Piccard went higher in a balloon than anyone had ever done. His son, Jacques, went lower into the Marianna Trench. Jacques’ son, Bertrand, is following up his success in being on the crew of the first balloon flight to circumnavigate the Earth, to fly a solar-powered aircraft.

The BBC reports that the Solar plane en route from Spain to Morocco

A solar-powered plane is on its way from Spain to Morocco in a bid to finish the second leg of its transatlantic journey.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard is set to land in the Moroccan capital Rabat by Tuesday evening.

The Solar Impulse, the size of a jumbo jet, is powered by 12,000 solar cells turning four electrical motors.

The 2,500km-trip (1,550 miles), begun in Switzerland in May, is described as a rehearsal for a world tour in 2014 .

Made of carbon fibre, the giant plane is the size of an Airbus A340 but only weighs as much as an average family car, according to its creators.

The Solar Impulse Website is very well done, providing a cockpit view when the aircraft is in flight. [I saw the landing on the site as it occurred.]

This aircraft will never win races, as it is essentially a powered glider, but it gets there without anything but sunshine. At the end of the flight the battery indicator showed 100% charge after about 19 hours in the air.

I assume they will be flying to an airport on the coast of West Africa and then probably to the Azores, before making the long flight across the Atlantic.

The Piccards still dream.

June 5, 2012   5 Comments

Ignorant Git

McClatchy reports that the current head of the IAEA has put his ignorance on open display [OK, so that’s not their interpretation, but mine]:IAEA chief says Iran may have cleaned site of nuclear weapons test

LOS ANGELES — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said publicly for the first time Monday that the U.N. agency suspects Iran has been cleaning away traces of a 2003 nuclear weapons test ahead of possible inspections of the military facility south of Tehran.

IAEA Director Yukiya Amano told the 35-nation board of directors gathered in Vienna that he will meet Iranian officials on Friday to push for his inspectors’ access to the Parchin military complex, according to a text posted on the agency’s website. He expressed concern that evidence of prohibited weapons development activity was being cleaned away.

You can not ‘clean away’ nuclear activity. If it were possible there wouldn’t be continuing restrictions around Chernobyl. If the Iranians figured out how to do it, they would stop mucking about with their own nukes and oil, because they could make a mint cleaning up after nuclear accidents and testing around the world. They would be working full-time in Japan.

The Parchin site is military, and the US and USSR insisted on excluding military sites from IAEA inspections under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The IAEA needs permission to look at the site because of the US, not Iran.

Mr. Amano is a lawyer and professional diplomat, not a physicist, but he keeps making statements that ignore the basic facts of the process his agency is supposed to monitor. He might consider taking a few courses on the subject, or at least consult the technical people at the agency before making absurd claims.

This sounds like an attempt to preempt negative findings when the IAEA doesn’t find anything at the site. Then they’ll say that the Iranians succeeded in ‘cleaning it up before the inspectors got there.’

Compare this with ‘Saddam moved all of the WMDs out of the country before we got there.’ That crap got us into a very expensive war without purpose. Let’s not make that mistake again.

June 5, 2012   Comments Off on Ignorant Git