m a g i c   p i l l  

 - magic pill -

. . . . . your problems . . . . .
. . . . are insignificant . . . .
. . . . . puny human . . . . .

 Bloody Well Right 

Question everything.
  Answers are everywhere.  

  Novel Ideas  

The people who want to exclude others, make war and build fences, etc.
should build a giant fence around their own country and make war on each other.
That way, the rest of the world would be safe from them - and soon, a peaceful place.
Instead of throwing gazillions of dollars into weapons of war, maybe we could feed the poor.
That way, as a species, we'd be free to explore and colonize space together in peace forever.
Instead of giving all the money to insurance companies, give it directly to the doctors.
That way, there'd be plenty of doctors n everybody'd be taken care of - even the poor.
Instead of grooming people for specific positions, allow freedom of thought in education.
That way, people would be educated in the fields in which they are most likely to excell
- and, as creativity is now a flourishing factor, the fields themselves would flourish as well.
Instead of building more prisons, make the incentive less about acquisition of wealth.
That way, the most desperate among us won't be forced into ruthless occupations to survive.
Instead of spending gazillions on imprisoning non-violent drug-offenders - put em all in rehab.
That way, taxes pay for something positive, as opposed to keeping 10% of the population in jail.
Instead of outsourcing, force corporations to create jobs, if they want to stay in this country.
That way, prices stay competitive, and small businesses have a chance of making it.
Instead of paying farmers to not grow food (to keep prices high, for corporate competition)
- have that money subsidize loans to modernize farm equipment, purchase new technology.
That way, there'd be plenty of surplus to feed the world - and everybody could afford to eat
- also, giant corporations wouldn't be the only ones making tons of money in agriculture.

Leonardo DaVinci's Vitruvian Man
"And those men who are inventors and interpreters between Nature and man, as compared with boasters and declaimers of the works of others, must be regarded and not otherwise esteemed than as the object in front of a mirror, when compared with its image seen in the mirror. For the first is something in itself, and the other nothingness -- Folks little indebted to Nature, since it is only by chance that they wear the human form and without it I might class them with the herd of beasts."
-- Leonardo da Vinci

Capitalism Suppresses Progress
While in theory designed to do the exact opposite, what the Free Market System has evolved into today is a sort of Super Capitalism. When a new product emerges, corporations can actually mass produce a shitty inferior product for much cheaper than it would cost to develop a new one. Therefore, it must be a significant quantum leap in technology for anyone to go to all the trouble (and only they can afford to) - thus, society suffers, as incidental prey to the bottom line.

But, when "the little guy" comes up with a better way of doing things it is actually more "cost effective" for the corporation to suppress such inventions and even create an environment wherein new ideas are not only discouraged, but suppressed completely.

While business is the muscle of any thriving economy; "watchdog groups" are the nervous system, sending information back and forth, between the brain and everywhere else in the body - and an affluent populous is a healthy skeleton. Today, our world economy is more like a musclebound jerk with britle bones and no feeling. The muscles tap marrow from the bones for their own selfish self-interest - because there is no brain in charge, to regulate a healthy balance.

In a very real sense, our status-quo is corrupt, even if only out of ignorance and apathy. For that alone, it is guilty of destroying humanity under the weight of its own muscle and might.

Wireless Communications
Fractals have become one of the unifying principles of science, but apart from computer graphics, technological applications of these geometric forms have been slow in coming. Over the past decade, however, researchers have begun applying fractals to a notoriously tricky subject: antenna design.

Antennas seem simple enough, but the theory behind them, based on Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism, is almost impenetrable. As a result, antenna engineers are reduced to trial and error--mostly the latter. Even the highest-tech receivers often depend on a scraggly wire no better than what Guglielmo Marconi used in the first radio a century ago.

Triangle Fractal Antenna
Fractals help in two ways. First, they can improve the performance of antenna arrays. Many antennas that look like a single unit, including most radar antennas, are actually arrays of up to thousands of small antennas. Traditionally, the individual antennas are either randomly scattered or regularly spaced. But Dwight Jaggard of the University of Pennsylvania, Douglas Werner of Pennsylvania State University and others have discovered that a fractal arrangement can combine the robustness of a random array and the efficiency of a regular array--with a quarter of the number of elements. "Fractals bridge the gap," Jaggard says. "They have short-range disorder and long-range order."

Second, even isolated antennas benefit from having a fractal shape. Nathan Cohen, a radio astronomer at Boston University, has experimented with wires bent into fractals known as Koch curves or fashioned into so-called Sierpinski triangles (above). Not only can crinkling an antenna pack the same length into a sixth of the area, but the jagged shape also generates electrical capacitance and inductance, thereby eliminating the need for external components to tune the antenna or broaden the range of frequencies to which it responds.

Cellphone Circuits
Cohen, who founded Fractal Antenna Systems four years ago, is now working with T&M Antennas, which makes cellular phone antennas for Motorola. T&M engineer John Chenoweth says that the fractal antennas are 25 percent more efficient than the rubbery "stubby" found on most phones. In addition, they are cheaper to manufacture, operate on multiple bands--allowing, for example, a Global Positioning System receiver to be built into the phone--and can be tucked inside the phone body (left).

Just why these fractal antennas work so well was answered in part in the March issue of the journal Fractals. Cohen and his colleague Robert Hohlfeld proved mathematically that for an antenna to work equally well at all frequencies, it must satisfy two criteria. It must be symmetrical about a point. And it must be self-similar, having the same basic appearance at every scale--that is, it has to be fractal.

Practical Fractals
Scientific American - July, 1999

Solar Wing Becomes
Highest Flying Plane
CNN - August 15, 2001

The prototype of an aircraft that could compete with terrestrial satellites and lead to unmanned flights on Mars shattered altitude records during an aerial marathon that ended Tuesday.

The solar-powered plane soared to as high as 96,500 feet during a marathon flight that squeezed as much sunlight as possible from the long summer Hawaiian day.

The NASA craft, known as Helios, easily overtook the 80,200-foot record for propeller-powered aircraft and the 85,068-foot mark for all non-rocket planes.

"It's kind of fun for us because people are well aware of NASA's space shuttle [program], and we are not as well known," said Fred Johnsen, spokesperson for NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, which oversees the program. "We're pretty proud."

The high point was just short of the 100,000-foot goal that NASA had set for the remote-controlled craft. The plane took off at 8:48 a.m. local time Monday and landed at 1:43 a.m. Tuesday, according to AeroVironment, the California builder of the craft.

The plane boasts a wingspan longer than a Boeing 747, weighs less than many automobiles and uses solar-powered motors to power 14 propellers. During the record-breaking flight, it flew at speeds ranging from 20 mph to 170 mph.

Thinning air and waning sunlight slowed and eventually stopped the plane's climb as it approached 100,000 feet, convincing NASA managers to bring it home to the island of Kauai.

Eventually fleets of such aircraft could remain aloft for months, offering inexpensive alternatives to low-orbit communications and environmental monitoring satellites, according to Dryden.

Moreover, test flights with the $15 million Helios should provide valuable information about how to design airplanes that can navigate martian skies, said Johnsen. Helios, approaching the boundaries of the terrestrial atmosphere, encountered thin air pressure thought to resemble conditions near the surface of Mars.

The flying wing operates on solar panels linked to a regenerative fuel cell that produces enough power during the day to remain in flight for hours into the night. The 247-foot-long, eight-foot-wide structure gently flexes and bends as it flies, similar to a kite instead of a conventional aircraft.

Fuel-Cell Car
Goes Cross-Country
Only Broke Down Once
During 16-Day Journey
CNN - June 5, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- DaimlerChrysler engineer Wolfgang Weiss was driving a new car that cost more than $1 million to build, but he was still worried it would break down on his cross-country drive.

The NECAR 5 runs on a hydrogen-powered fuel cell, a developing technology designed to replace traditional gasoline engines. DaimlerChrysler says the car had never before been driven so far.

On Tuesday, Weiss and his team of 15 other engineers completed the 3,262-mile trip from San Francisco to Washington, which they say proves the technology is practical for real-world driving conditions. Even under optimistic predictions, fuel cell vehicles won't be mass-produced until 2010.

"It runs much, much better than we believed," Ferdinand Panik, head of DaimlerChrysler's fuel cell group, said after the car pulled up at the Capitol at the end of its journey. "It's a big, big step for a new idea, trying to look beyond the capability of fossil fuels."

Fuel cells can run on hydrogen or other fuels that can be converted into hydrogen, such as ethanol, methanol and gasoline. Hydrogen is combined with oxygen from the air in a chemical reaction that produces electricity that powers the vehicle.

Pure hydrogen-fed fuel cells produce only water as a byproduct -- no harmful emissions -- but hydrogen is a flammable gas that poses safety questions, especially when crashes occur, and engineers continue work on safe onboard storage systems. Cells using other fuels pollute less than gasoline engines, but they have some emissions and produce less power than pure hydrogen.

The NECAR 5 -- "New Electric Car, Fifth Generation" -- is a subcompact Mercedes-Benz A-Class that ran on methanol converted to hydrogen. Since methanol is not available at the corner gas station, it had to be delivered to points along the route for refueling every 300 miles.

Traveling time was 85 hours over a span of 16 days, an average of about 38 mph, but DaimlerChrysler says the car reached speeds of more than 90 mph.

Mass market?
Changing the nation's automobile refueling system to hydrogen or other convertible fuels is among the largest hurdles for fuel cell technology. The Bush administration launched a partnership with domestic automakers in January to develop a system of hydrogen refueling stations and spur the growth of hydrogen fuel cells.

Other problems will keep the technology from reaching the mass market for at least a decade, experts say, including onboard storage of flammable hydrogen, reliability, durability and cost. The NECAR 5 is a concept car worth more than $1 million. Although costs are declining, the technology is far too expensive to sell for a profit.

"Obviously there is more work to be done before the vehicle is in the mass market, but this trip shows it can clear some of the customer-needs hurdles," said David Friedman, senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists' clean vehicles program. "Now all they need to do is do it with a hydrogen version."

Most major automakers plan to begin making some fuel cell vehicles available within a year for limited fleet sales, perhaps to government buyers who can carefully monitor performance.

DaimlerChrysler plans to have 30 fuel cell buses working in 10 European cities next year. Ford Motor Co. has a fuel cell Focus, aided by a battery for acceleration, that it plans to lease for fleet customers in early 2004. General Motors Corp. demonstrated a Chevrolet S-10 pickup last month that converts gasoline to hydrogen.

GPS used
Increasing numbers of manufacturers are offering the public hybrid cars. A hybrid has an electric motor that helps the gasoline engine power the vehicle.

The NECAR 5 was guided on its voyage by a global positioning satellite system and accompanied by two SUVs and a van carrying replacement parts and tools.

The car broke down once, as the team approached the Nevada border on the first day. Water got into a connector that had to be replaced, which cost the team about a day of traveling time. The team also replaced two belts, four fuel filters and a plastic bottle that contains cooling water.

Weiss said the repairs could have been needed on a similar trip with any other car. He said the NECAR 5 performed better than expected, and the fuel cell remains in great shape.

"We can turn around and drive back, but I don't want the fear that we won't make it," he said.

Helios Plane over Hawaii - NASA
Helios soars into the
record books over Hawaii
Jefferson Airplane
White Rabbit
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small,
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all.

Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall.

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call.

Call Alice
When she was just small.

When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low.

Go ask Alice
I think she'll know.

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead,
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head. 
Feed your head. 
Feed your head"
The NECAR 5 Runs on a Hydrogen Powered Fuel Cell
Sen. Carl Levin gives fellow
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow
a spin around Capitol Hill in a
NECAR 5, powered by a
hydrogen-powered fuel cell.