Posted by Hornpipe2 in work sucks 13 years ago
Part of Pete Bevin's web site. I have no idea who originally took these, but hey, they're kittens.
Because the Gyrobee features in so much of what I used to write for Rotorcraft magazine, it has become a rather well known aircraft. This has led to a lot of questions which I hope to answer here on the Gyrobee Page. Before I get to that however, there are a few important points which have to be made.  
First, the Gyrobee is not a commercial product. There are kits and components on the market (Star Bee Gyros provides everything a Gyrobee builder might need), but I am not connected to the company and I am not selling plans. Since I'm not trying to sell you something, you might find it easier to believe what I have to say about the machine - that's up to you! Second, because aircraft like the Gyrobee are plans- or scratch-built projects (unless you buy a Starbee kit!), they will require a significant investment in time to build. These aren't weekend kits! If you aren't sure a scratch-built machine is what you want, you would be better off with a kit ultralight or Experimental machine.  
Third, the Gyrobee was designed from the ground up as a no-compromise, Part 103-legal aircraft. The features incorporated into the Gyrobee assure that it has the characteristics you want from an ultralight - legality, ease of handling, and a decent level of performance. Design features to accomplish this often run counter to current design trends in Experimental machines. Ultralights (fixed-wing or gyro) that work well are not simply scaled-down Experimental models and different approaches are often required. You don't have to believe this, but don't say I didn't warn you! Every feature of the Gyrobee is there on the basis of careful ultralight design considerations, backed up by extensive flight testing.
What is a Powered Paraglider?  
A Powered Paraglider is a Paraglider with a motor added, allowing launch from level ground. The motor can be a backpack style motor, with launch and landing on the pilot's feet, or on a "trike" or "cart". Paramotor is another name, but it's also a registered trademark of one U.S. manufacturer of powered paragliders.  
What's the difference between a Powered Paraglider and a Powered Parachute?  
PPG is a Powered Paraglider, as described above. Foot launched or wheel launched, it has a motor between 15-30 horsepower, and a high performance elliptical wing, the same as used for unpowered paragliding. Control is via hand operated "brakes" on the wing.  
PPC is Powered Parachute. These are much larger, usually with a much less efficient rectangular parachute (although elliptical wings are becoming more popular nowadays), always wheel launched, and 40-70 horsepower. Control is via foot operated steering bars which operate the wing brakes.  
One more thing: Parasailing is getting towed around the harbor behind a boat, usually in Acapulco after you've had one too many drinks (sometimes referred in PPG circles as "dope on a rope"). In this case you're a passenger on a thrill ride, not a pilot.  
Basically strap a big fan to your back, put on a parachute, and run into a strong wind.  
[Get Airborne Day]
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, many people sought to be able to fly affordably. As a result, many aviation authorities set up definitions of lightweight, slow-flying aeroplanes that could be subject to minimum regulation. The resulting aeroplanes are commonly called "ultralight" or "microlight", although the weight and speed limits are rarely the same between any two countries.  
There is also an allowance of another 10% on Maximum Take Off Weight for seaplanes and amphibians, and some countries (such as Germany and France) also allow another 5% for installation of a ballistic parachute.  
The safety regulations used to approve microlights vary between countries, the most strict being the United Kingdom and Germany, while they are almost non-existent in France and the United States. The disparity between regulations is a major barrier to international trade and overflight, as is the fact that these regulations are invariably sub-ICAO, which means that they are not internationally recognised.  
In most affluent countries, microlights or ultralights now account for about 20% of the civil aircraft fleet.  
[Get Airborne Day]
The record distance for a human fired from a cannon is 56.54 m (185 ft 10 in), by David "Cannonball" Smith Sr. This human cannonball feat occurred on May 29, 1998, at Kennywood Park, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, USA. It is estimated David was traveling at over 112 km/h (70 mph) during the flight! Despite all the airtime in his chosen profession, there is not a part of performing that David doesn't enjoy. "I am able to do something that is entertaining for people," he says, "I truly enjoy people!" He has eight children and five of them are human cannonballs! "The others are still too young!" he laughs. Continuing in their father's sky-high tradition is obviously in their blood!  
Video in Realplayer or Windows Media format.  
[Get Airborne Day]
Hang gliding can be dated back to the days of Leonardo da Vinci, whose sketchings portrayed his desire for human flight. Through fact and fiction, silent aviation has played a major role in man's dream to soar with the birds.  
From the time of the ill fated flight of Icarus to the turn-of-the-century pioneers of the sport, such as Otto Lilienthal, Octave Chanute and John Montgomery, man has attempted free flight in just about every phase of modern history. As the Wright Brothers continued their pursuit of powered flight, they honed their flying skills in "hang gliders". After their famed Kitty Hawk flight, the world became increasing interested in the technological advances of powered flight, leaving hang gliding for another generation.  
Hang gliding didn't emerge again until the 1960's, with the development of Francis Rogallo's "Rogallo wing", a NASA project for a possible recovery system for spacecraft. Little did Francis know that his design was going to begin a rebirth of hang gliding in the early 1970's.  
In 1971, the Southern California Hang Gliding Association was born. Through steady evolution of the sport, today we are known as the United States Hang Gliding Association, with a membership base worldwide.  
[Get Airborne Day]
Without books or classrooms, virtual corporate universities promote learning among employees...  
The general manager and vice president of a Cox Communications Inc. cable Steve Fowlersystem near Los Angeles starts each workday with a 6:30 a.m. class. Fowler's office is his classroom. He's the only student. And the class lasts just 15 minutes—or until the day's job demands pull him away from his desktop computer.  
"I like it because I can go at my own pace," Fowler says of the courses he's taken over several months through Cox University, his parent company's in-house Web-based employee training program. As the head of a busy 100-person company handling cable TV installations and service for Los Angeles County, Fowler can't justify setting aside hours or days for traditional computer-skills classes. But he can spare 15 minutes a day, which is how he prefers to attack his subject matter. In that quiet quarter-hour per day, he's taken an integrated approach to mastering a variety of applications, including Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, computer graphics and other programs.  
I just posted this because I found out there's a Dunkin' Donuts University in Braintree, Mass.
Free Woodworking Plans & Free Furniture Plans!  
Welcome to - the Free Woodworking Plans website! We offer hundreds of free woodworking plans, free furniture plans, and free scroll saw plans. Just choose your favorite plan from the list below and get to building!!  
Whether you are new to woodworking or a seasoned pro looking to buy woodworking plans or free wood working plans, you've come to the right place. There's a number of woodworking plans for the beginner and free furniture plans for all types of furniture. Have fun browsing through the hundreds of free woodworking project plans!  
Quite a few plans here! I was interested in the clock plans.  
And see this link from pdxpogo.
The site for do-it-yourself guitar electronic effects building.  
Visit the archived "schematics" page for effects circuits, check the "beginners" page for instructional information for first-time builders, select the "design" page for learning theory behind some effects circuits, jump to the "parts" page to order some hard-to-find pedal parts, or browse the "sponsors" page to discover books and related products for every guitar/bass effects pedal enthusiast - and to help support Effectronics along the way.  
Beginner project is an Electra Distortion pedal. You can also build the Booster off of Aron's DIY Stompboxes as a good first project. Both would run you under $20.
Loads of information on saving energy and info about renewable energy. Tips for consumers in homes, what's going on in your state, even EERE for Kids.  
I was going to post this link on tankless water heaters, but it turns out the whole site would be a lot more useful.  
Also see How to Save Electricity (on LF) if you're interested in putting these tips to use. More from EERE on LF.
PV Systems and Net Metering
Posted by Hornpipe2 in the biz 13 years ago
Net metering is a policy that allows homeowners to receive the full value of the electricity that their solar energy system produces. The term net metering refers to the method of accounting for a photovoltaic (PV) system's electricity production, for example. Homeowners with PV systems can thus offset their electric bill with any excess electricity they produce. As the homeowner's PV system produces electricity, the kilowatts are used first to meet any electric requirements (e.g., appliances, lights) in the home. If more electricity is produced from the PV system than the home needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid.  
Under federal law, utilities must allow independent power producers to be interconnected with the utility grid, and utilities must purchase any excess electricity they generate. Many states have gone beyond the minimum requirements of the federal law by allowing net metering for customers with PV systems. With net metering, the customer's electric meter will run backward when the solar electric system produces more power than is needed to operate the home or business at that time. An approved, utility-grade inverter converts the dc power from the PV modules into ac power that exactly matches the voltage and frequency of the electricity flowing in the utility line; the system must also meet the utility's safety and power-quality requirements. The excess electricity is then fed into the utility grid and sold to the utility at the retail rate.  
Neat. You can sell power back to the power companies.
The CD-Recordable FAQ
Posted by Hornpipe2 in the wired 13 years ago
CD-R is short for "CD-Recordable". Recordable CDs are WORM (Write Once, Read Multiple) media that work just like standard CDs. The advantage of CD-R over other types of optical media is that you can use the discs with a standard CD player. The disadvantage is that you can't reuse a disc.  
A related technology called CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) allows you to erase discs and reuse them, but the CD-RW media doesn't work in all players. CD-Rewritable drives are able to write both CD-R and CD-RW discs.  
All CD recorders can read CDs and CD-ROMs, just like a standard CD-ROM drive.  
Everything you ever wanted to know about CD-R and CD-RW discs, including technical information, common problems and solutions, and what to do with discs that failed to burn correctly.
When one contemplates stupidity, Scientology immediately comes to mind. Ah, but then again, God and the various things He has supposedly written are ripe targets for a cynical generation of internet whores, raised on USENET and IRC. To them, life is one long extended dick joke (uh huhuh) and their philosophy can be found deep within the heart of the Internet's latest memes. They while away the hours watching Star Trek and debating the usability of Unix and the evils of Microsoft. This, then, is their wit and wisdom, the Encyclopedia Of Stupid, where you can read (and write) to your heart's content about databases, Star Wars and anything else that turns stupid people on.  
Looks like a big rant forum in Wikipedia style. I haven't read anything on it.
Of all the legacies of the era of the sixties, three colorful, not to say garrulous, "personalities" that emerged from the early days of artificial intelligence research are worth mentioning:  
ELIZA, the Rogerian psychotherapist;  
PARRY, the paranoid; and (as part of a younger generation)  
RACTER, the "artificially insane" raconteur.  
All three of these "characters" are natural language processing systems that can "converse" with human beings (or with one another) in English. That is, when presented with sentences in English as their input, they produce other grammatical sentences as their output, which sometimes manages to give the flavor of a conversation.  
I'm tired of seeing the 'ooh, look at this conversation with X bot online', so here's the definitive link: one classic bot converses with another.  
Also, Racter's poetry at the end should be read with a grain of salt: this link says that most of it could not have been written by the program!
The Turing Test was proposed by Alan Turing in 1950; he called it the Imitation Game. In 1991 Hugh Loebner started the Loebner Prize competition, offering a $100,000 prize to the author of the first computer program to pass an unrestricted Turing test. Annual competitions are held each year with smaller prizes for the best program on a restricted Turing test.  
This paper describes the development of one such Turing System, including the technical design of the program and its performance on the first three Loebner Prize competitions. We also discuss the program's four year development effort, which has depended heavily on constant interaction with people on the Internet via Tinymuds (multiuser network communication servers that are a cross between role-playing games and computer forums like CompuServe).  
Finally, we discuss the design of the Loebner competition itself, and address its usefulness in furthering the development of Artificial Intelligence.  
Sort of a long computer science paper, but I like its discussion of some of the 'tricks' programmers use to make their 'bots seem more humanlike:  
* ELIZA uses lots of questions to draw the user into talking and makes no declarative statements, so it can't contradict itself later.  
* PARRY simulates a paranoid human, and tells various stories about the mafia, to trick humans into thinking it is a real person  
* CHATTERBOT breaks a large conversation into small fragments so it can advance a conversation, and it includes humorous statements to seem more human