Monday, February 27, 2006


The title: I've now officially crossed the 15,000 visitor mark on my blog. wow

The high dive certification on Thursday went well. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s where we get to go up in the 727-200 simulator (the nicer one the seniors usually fly) and they simulate an explosive decompression at 35,000ft. The air is so thin up there that you have about 10 seconds of useful consciousness before you become hypoxic and black out. During that 10 seconds, your cheeks flutter as your breath explodes out of you, your eardrums burst, your eyeballs bulge out, and all sorts of other unpleasant things as your body fights to hold itself together while equalizing pressure with the outside world. I’m told that it is an incredible amount of pain, but they didn’t actually depressurize us. During that painful 10 seconds you have, you have to reach behind you and grab the oxygen mask, slam it on your face and turn it on (and they did put us on real tanked oxygen so we could see what it was like). Then you check in with the other two crewmembers to make sure they’re ok and start an emergency dive down to 10,000ft, where the air is breathable. You dive at the “barber pole” speed, which is a moving bar on the airspeed indicator that tells you the speed not to exceed or risk structural damage to the aircraft (it moves because it’s dependant on the speed of sound, which varies with altitude). Pretty exciting. It was also cool because of how much better the -200 sim is (it even simulates the motion of the plane settling when you bring it to a stop on the ground like your car settles back when you stop at a light). Little touchy on the ground steering though, tended to throw us around a little bit if we didn’t use the tiller (kind of like a quarter of a steering wheel used for taxi) just right.

As of right now, there are only 29.5 hours left in our annual celebration of Facial Hair February. Sadly, this is likely the last time I’ll be able to participate because I’m hoping to have job interviews next year. Ordinarily, that’s not such a big deal (yes, guys have gotten jobs without having to shave mid-month for their interviews), but the airlines want interviewees to be in a position that they could start work right then if hired, and any facial hair apart from a mustache is banned because it would interfere with the seal of the oxygen mask I mentioned above. As I was thinking about what I’m going to do in the hair department at the end of the month, I briefly considered opening it up to a public vote via comments on here, but then I realized that it wouldn’t work because the only votes would be for mutton chops by Amy Schott (which I am not considering because: a. I can’t stand them, and b. I couldn’t really pull them off anyway) and for a mullet by Edgar (which is totally out of the question, but my willingness to make a deal that if “he grows a mullet, I’ll shave my head” still stands). As always, you’re free to offer opinions because I’m certainly not going to discourage comments, but no mob rule today. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see me this month, here’s a picture taken a couple hours ago:

In other news, the test I had on Friday in my 727 Systems class went better than I thought. It was one of those things where I was up until 3am studying the night before, didn’t feel very prepared, and didn’t have a great feeling about it when I walked out, but then I was pleasantly surprised. The test that I was up late studying for last night got moved to Wednesday, so I have an extra couple of days to improve my study sheet and get to know the material better. I also have a paper to write for that class this week, which makes me sad because I’ve managed to do so well in the paper department over the last three years at Purdue. As much as some of you will hate me for it, the paper I wrote last week and this one this week are the first two papers I’ve had to do here. Yeah, community college rocks…

In AT320 last week (my High Performance Aircraft class), the professor wanted us to understand what went into the making of things out of composites (the new big thing in aviation materials because they’re incredibly lightweight and are as strong as steel), so he took us over to Purdue’s Advanced Composites Laboratory to make our very own composite rulers. Yep, that’s right folks; I now have a carbon fiber composite ruler. A few of us are guessing they cost about $50 each in materials. We took sheets of graphic fiber cloth and cut them into 10x3 segments at various angles and sandwiched them together, then we baked them in a vacuum at 600 degrees for 24 hours and trimmed them down to size. Mine isn’t perfectly straight because of the way we trimmed it, but it’s close enough and pretty cool. To give you an idea of how tough this stuff is (keep in mind that our rulers were made from 6-layers of the cloth), if you make a composite of 16 layers, you have the leading edge of the Space Shuttle’s wings. Yeah, this same stuff, not even 3 times as thick, is enough to protect the Shuttle on reentry. So I could probably toss my ruler from space and it’d survive the trip down. However, if they don’t cure quiet perfectly in the oven, you’re in trouble. Take for example the composite diving board Professor Kroes made for his pool when they first built the lab at Purdue; shortly after they installed it, Prof. Nolan was over taking a swim and goes to jump off the board, jumps once, twice, and……CRAACKKK…..the board snaps in half. Poor Nolan…

Before I do some actual research for my paper, I’ll be nice and give you guys a couple of links (which is, as we all know, the real reason you’re here):

First, the Microsoft Origami project. What it is, we don’t really know for sure. Early hints indicate that it’s a tiny TabletPC with integrated GPS, Bluetooth, EVDO (wireless internet over the cell networks), all-day (think 8 hours or so) battery life, and potentially a sub-$800 price point. Here’s a teaser trailer that’s leaked out onto the web a few days before they officially announce what it is (Microsoft is now claiming the video is a couple of years old and they’ll only be showing an example of the technology, but I’m hoping there will be an actual device like this in the next few months) (if the video is jerky, pause it for a few seconds to let it buffer):

Because today’s third link is a reinterpretation of the original Trogdor video from Homestarrunner, I thought I might refresh your memory on the original first:

Now, the new Trogdor video someone made (I don’t know who made it, but they used clips from the movie Dragonheart set to the music)(my Windows Media Player gave an error when I tried to play it, but it still worked when I hit Ok):


At 7:08 PM, Anonymous The Mom said...

There are definate advantages to having a student AWAY at school during Facial Hair February. However, I will always love my son no matter how weird he looks :). Thanks for the pic!

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

WHOA... now I see why they say to fasten your own oxygen mask first before assisting others. But if your eyes are bulging out and you can't breathe anyway, wouldn't that be a good indication you should get your oxygen mask on before you pass out? All I can think of is how inaccurate the saftey diagrams of a calm, pressurized, mom assisting their small androgenous child with their oxygen mask (AFTER putting their own on of course) are. Yeah, something to think about (but for sanity's sake, don't comment to your neighbor on) during the safety presentation on your flights to and from Germany.

Over 15,000 - I think your bid for internet fame was successful...

I'd say I'd like that many members at PTL, but I think there would be a loss of community at that point. 10,000 would do (jk).


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