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A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland
Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.
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There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.
False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.
55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.
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The Gossamer Albatross might well be the coolest bicycle ever. Aside from having a name that could be confused with being an exclusive, designer condom, this bike was a plane. Pedalled by Bryan Allen in 1979, it flew 23 miles across the English Channel to Boulogne. Thirty years later, it is still an amazing feat.
It wasn’t the first human powered flight. That honour went to Gabriel Poulin, in 1921, when he won 10,000-franc Prix Peugeot, the first prize for human powered flight at Longchamps racecourse. Another notable mention here would be MIT’s Daedalus which came very close to flying from Crete to Santorini in 1988. Much like its Grecian namesake it met a watery demise.
The cold, hard facts: 34ft long and 16ft high, it had a wingspan of 98ft. The wing area was 488ft². Its empty weight was 70lbs, and its maximum measured speed was 18mph. But who cares? Its a flying bicycle.
The Albatross was created by Dr Paul MacCready, whose company, AeroVironment, is the market leader in researching clean energy solutions for sustainable flight and transportation. Mc Cready went on to produce a solar powered variant, the Penguin, which flew from Paris to the UK in 1981. These days MacCready may be best known for his unmanned solar aircraft produced for Nasa – the Pathfinder series. These have raised the possibility of infinite flight as their batteries can retain sufficient charge to fly through the night.
These must be one of the singularly most unimpressive areas of human endeavour. The physics are just too unfeasible to make such flight worth it. As with all boffin-baited challenges, this does not stop people trying.
Although the Sikorsky Prize has not yet been awarded the California Polytechnic State University Da Vinci III, flew for 7.1 seconds and reached a height of 20 cm in 1989. The prize will be awarded to the first entry to reach an altitude of 3 meters (10 feet) during a flight lasting at least 60 seconds, while remaining in an area 10 meters square (36 feet square); so you can see it is completely pointless.
There are, or have been a bunch of others:
Paul MacCready talks at TED
This article was posted by Ronan McDonnell on
Monday, November 30th, 2009 at
It is archived in Bicycles, History, Science, Sport, Travel and tagged aviation, Bicycles, flight, mechanics, Sport, transportation, Travel.
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