Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Leap Year Red Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight

On Wednesday, February 20, 2008, beginning at 7:01 p.m. PST, the moon will move completely under the shadow of the Earth in a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse can be seen in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Hope for good weather because the next total lunar eclipse won't happen until December 2010. The moon will be completely under Earth's shadow for about 50 minutes. During this time, the moon won't be completely obscured because of indirect light coming from the Earth's atmosphere. But the moon will appear to change colors from light gray to orange or deep red. The shade depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the Earth's atmosphere. Caption and Graphic Credit: NASA TV – Sequence Image Credit: F. Espenak

A Leap Year Red Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight
Live Viewing Photo Gallery Link Here>>

This year, leap year 2008, is North America's best chance at seeing the effects of the Earth passing between the Moon and the Sun until late 2010.

If the weather is really good and the sky is clear, depending upon where one is standing in North America, Europe, and Northern Africa on this Oblate Spheroid, one will see the color of the moon change from white/grey to a shade of red, and back again.

Image Credit: NASA

Along with the color change, the Red Moon comes with a fable that involves Christopher Columbus who knew that the shape of the Earth was not flat ... but he needed help to survive the ordeal of this first trip in the discovery of the new world.

West Coast residents may miss out on the early stages of the eclipse as it will occur before moonrise, but the rest of the country should be able to see the entire event--weather permitting, of course. Image Credit: F. Espenak

This excerpted from AFP via Yahoo! News -

Get ready for the eclipse that saved Columbus
AFP (Paris) - Mon Feb 18, 2:55 PM ET

The Moon will turn an eerie shade of red for people in the western hemisphere late Wednesday and early Thursday, recreating the eclipse that saved Christopher Columbus more than five centuries ago.
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Lunar eclipses have long been associated with superstitions and signs of ill omen, especially in battle.
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And an eclipse is credited with saving the life of Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1504.

Stranded on the coast of Jamaica, the explorers were running out of food and faced with increasingly hostile local inhabitants who were refusing to provide them with any more supplies.


Columbus, looking at an astronomical almanac compiled by a German mathematician, realized that a total eclipse of the Moon would occur on February 29, 1504.

He called the native leaders and warned them if they did not cooperate, he would make the Moon disappear from the sky the following night.

The warning, of course, came true, prompting the terrified people to beg Columbus to restore the Moon -- which he did, in return for as much food as his men needed. He and the crew were rescued on June 29, 1504.

The Moon will be in total eclipse from 0301 GMT to 0351 GMT. This will be visible east of the Rocky Mountains in North America, as well as in all of Central and South America, West Africa and Western Europe. The zenith of totality is close to French Guiana.
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The last total lunar eclipse took place on August 28 2007. The next will take place on December 21 2010.

Reference Here>>

This Red Moon fable points out that on this Oblate Spheroid, information is everything!

Path of the Moon through Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows during the Total Lunar Eclipse of February 20, 2008 (Eastern Standard Time) – Image Credit: NASA

Additional information on this beautiful and unique Oblate Spheroid astronomical event can be found:

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEmono/TLE2008Feb21/TLE2008Feb21.html

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/OH/OH2008.html

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=38834

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/15357796.html






Friday, February 15, 2008

Meet “sQuba” - The Oblate Spheroid's First Submersible Electric Car

“Dive it again, James!” If the situation gets too hot for the secret agent he’ll go underground - or under water. So demonstrated impressively by Roger Moore in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 when he dove below the waves in a sleek vehicle that moments before seemed to be an ordinary car. Image Credit: Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

Meet “sQuba” - The Oblate Spheroid's First Submersible Electric Car

An electric powered car … that swims!

Three electric motors are located in the rear compartment of the Rinspeed “sQuba”. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. Image Credit: Rinspeed

That’s right, a “green” car that can go into and tool around in the blue!

The “sQuba” by Rinspeed, is to be introduced to the world at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 6th - 16th, 2008) in Geneva, Switzerland. With this introduction comes the first, ever, car that can actually fly under water.

You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving. Image Credit: Rinspeed

Growing up, we all remember going to the movies to watch James Bond take off from a pier, into the water in order to investigate the hijacking of submarines carrying nuclear warheads, in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Problem was is that this concept car in the 1977 film never existed … movie tricks!

With the introduction of the Rinspeed “sQuba,” the Oblate Spheroid's first real submersible car, the movie fakery now becomes reality.

video

This excerpted from the Rinspeed website -

Thirty years after the movie thriller ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ hit the silver screen “sQuba” is the first car that can actually ‘fly’ under water.

“Dive it again, James!” If the situation gets too hot for the secret agent he’ll go underground - or under water. So demonstrated impressively by Roger Moore in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 when he dove below the waves in a sleek vehicle that moments before seemed to be an ordinary car.
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The scene never really took place; it was an animation.
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Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht (52) is known for his extraordinary automotive creations. The acknowledged James Bond enthusiast and Swiss automobile visionary kept revisiting this scene in his mind over and over: “For three decades I have tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly under water. Now we have made this dream come true.”

Levers help to steer the "sQuba" when it is underway, underwater. Image Credit: Rinspeed

And it is this submerged stabile flight at a depth of 10 meters that sets the “sQuba” apart from military vehicles. While the latter can go under water, they are limited to driving slowly over the submerged ground. Rinderknecht: “It is undoubtedly not an easy task to make a car watertight and pressure resistant enough to be maneuverable under water. The real challenge however was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water.”

It also had to be a sports car that was converted into a diving dream in the facilities of Swiss engineering specialist Esoro.

In a first step the combustion engine was removed and replaced by several electric motors. Three motors are located in the rear. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. They are supported by two powerful Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion (for opening and closing the water intake). The rotating outlet jets were designed to be extremely light yet twist resistant by using high-tech nano materials, so-called Carbon Nano Tubes.
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You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving.
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It is even capable of autonomous driving on land thanks to a sophisticated laser sensor system from the Hamburg company Ibeo - without any help from the driver or passenger.

Power is supplied by rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. Rinderknecht: “The ‘sQuba’ is a zero-emission car as documented by the rotating license plate in the rear. It produces no exhaust emissions.
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For shore leave the “sQuba” relies on a stainless coil-over suspension from KW automotive and large Pirelli tires mounted on custom-made forged light-weight wheels from AEZ with 17- and 18-inch diameters.
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Frank M. Rinderknecht and his partners - amongst them also the fleet specialist LeasePlan - have created a truly unusual vehicle and in the process have thought of everything. Even the Motorex lubricants used in the ‘sQuba” are biodegradable. For the Rinspeed boss that is a meticulousness stemming from conviction: “The ‘sQuba’ lets me be one with the elements and lets me immerse myself in a new and fascinating world - with Q factor. It is our duty to protect this world in which we are guests to the best of our ability.” Isn’t it, Miss Moneypenny? - James couldn’t have said it better himself glancing at the sporty Swiss precision chronograph from C.F. Bucherer. Eau la la - shaken, not stirred.
Reference Here>>

With the intorduction of the Rinspeed "sQuba" ... anyone can become 007! Image Credit: Rinspeed
(ht: The EDJE)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Filling Stations To Become Service Stations, Again!

As seen through the rearview mirror - Robotic arm opens the fuel flap, unscrews cap, inserts nozzle, and fuels car ... all without the driver having to leave the car. Image Credit: Rotec Engineering BV

Filling Stations To Become Service Stations, Again!

It has been a long time, but there was a time (in the 1950's through to some of the 1970's) that when one pulled into a "gas station" to fill up, an attendant with a hat and a bowtie would ask the driver for the order selection, open the fueling door to the car, and stick the nozzle in to fill the car with fuel. The attendant would then make sure the windshield was clean, the tires were at the proper operating pressure, and inspect under the hood all other fluid levels, top off the fill up order, accept payment from the driver from the drivers side window (that's right, the driver never moved from the car) and off one went on down the road, confident the car was full of gas and in good working order.

Ahhhhh, the age of the "Service Station" here on the Oblate Spheroid.

The Tankpitstop as it appears at a Shell station fueling island. Image Credit: Rotec Engineering BV

Well, this age of full service is about to make a comeback. Here is a technology approach that, if perfected, could begin the conversion of the work performed by the customer/driver to a robotic process. This technology would allow filling stations to call themselves "Service Stations" once again.


A trip to the gas station of the future may no longer require the driver to leave the car. Tankpitstop the Robot will do it all for you. Video Credit: Copyright 2008 KahawaFilm (www.kahawa.nl)

This excerpted from Reuters -

Dutch unveil robot to fill car gas tank
Reporting by Alexandra Hudson, editing by Ralph Boulton - Reuters (EMMELOORD, Netherlands) - Mon Feb 4, 2008 - 11:25am EST

Dutch inventors unveiled on Monday a 75,000 euro ($111,100) car-fuelling robot they say is the first of its kind, working by registering the car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.

The Tankpitstop robotic arm as it inserts the fueling nozzel for a fill up at a neighborhood Shell station. Image Credit: Rotec Engineering BV

A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, carefully opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.

"I was on a farm and I saw a robotic arm milking a cow. If a robot can do that then why can't it fill a car tank, I thought," said developer and petrol station operator Nico van Staveren. "Drivers needn't get dirty hands or smell of petrol again."

He hopes to introduce the "Tankpitstop" robot in a handful of Dutch stations by the end of the year.
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Asked whether he would trust his car to a robotic garage attendant, Jelger De Kroon, filling his black Alfa Romeo at a nearby gas station, said:

"Why not? I guess I could keep my hands free and clean, but I'd hope they have good insurance."
Reference Here>>

This may only be the beginning ... why not have robots clean the windshield, check the tires, and look under the hood?

Now, If only we can get these bots to sport a cap and a wear a bowtie, the transformation would be complete!
(ht: ... notes from The EDJE)