Category Archives: This Happened or Will !

There are some stories that need to be told but cannot or should not because of th threats to the author if the facts are revealed. Told as possible fiction allows the author to present facts as fiction or fiction as facts. You decide.

Investing Computer

One of the most interesting applications of computer technology is in the field of investing.  It is interesting that with all the sophisticated systems and all the monetary rewards possible, that there has not been a successful program that can guide a broker to make foolproof investment predictions…..until now.  It is a fact that out of all the investors and resources on Wall Street, that none of them much better than just slightly above random selection in picking the optimum investment portfolio.  Numerous studies have been done on this subject that show that the very best investment advisors have perhaps a 10% or 15% improvement over random selection and that even the best analysts cannot sustain their success for very long.

There are lots of people that are able to see very near term trends (on the order of a few days or a week or two, at most) and invest accordingly but no one has figured out how to consistently predict stock rises and falls over the long term (more than 3 or 4 weeks out).  That was the task I attempted to solve – not because I want to be rich but because it seemed like an interesting challenge.   It combines the math of finance and the psychology of sociology with computer logic.

I did a lot of research and determined that there is, in fact, no one that knows how to do it but there is a lot of math research that says that it should be able to be predictable using complex math functions, like chaos theory.  That means that I would have to create the math and I am not that good at math.  However, I do know how to design analytical software programs so I decided to take a different approach and  create a tool that will create the math for me.  That I could do.

Let me explain the difference.  In college, I took programming and one assignment was to write a program that would solve a six by six numeric matrix multiplication problem but we had to do it in 2,000 bytes of computer core memory.  This uses machine code and teaches optimum and efficient coding.  It is actually very difficult to get all the operations needed in just 2k of memory and most of my classmates either did not complete the assignment or work hundreds of hours on it.  I took a different approach.  I determined that the answer was going to be whole positive numbers so I wrote a program that asked if “1” was the answer and checked to see if that solved the problem.  When it didn’t, I added “1” to the answer and checked again.  I repeated this until I got to the answer.  My code was the most accurate and by far the fastest that the instructor had ever seen.

I got the answer correct and fast but I didn’t really “solve” the problem.  That is how I decided to approach this investment problem.  I created a program that would take an educated guess at an algorithm that would predict future stock values.  If it was wrong, then I altered the algorithm slightly and tried again.  The initial guessed algorithm needed to be workable and the method of making the incremental changes had to be well thought out.

The answer is using something called forward chaining neural nets with an internal learning or evolving capability.  I could get real technical but the gist of it is this – I first created a placeholder program (N0. 1) that allows for hundreds of possible variables but has many of them set to 1 or zero.  It then selects inputs from available data and assigns that data to the variable placeholders.  It then defines a possible formula that might predict the movements of the stock market.  This program has the option to add additional input parameters, constants, variables, input data and computations to the placeholder formula.  It seeks out data to insert into the formula.  In a sense, it allows the formula to evolve into totally new algorithms that might include content that has never been considered before.

Then I created a program (No. 2) that executes that formula created by program No. 1, using all the available input data and the selected parameters or constants and generates specific stock predictions.  This program uses a Monte Carlo kind of interruption in which all the parameters are varied over a range in various combinations and then the calculations are repeated.  It also can place any given set of available data into various or multiple positions in the formula.  This can take hundreds of thousands (up to millions) of repetitions of executing the formulas to examine all the possible combinations of all of the possible variations of all the possible variables in all the possible locations in the formula.

Then I created a program (No. 3) that evaluates the results against known historical data.  If the calculations of program No. 2 is not accurate, then this third program notifies the first program and it changes its inputs and/or its formula and then the process repeats.  This third program can keep track of trends that might indicate that the calculations are getting more accurate and makes appropriate edits in the previous programs.  This allows the process to begin to focus toward any algorithm that begins to show promise of leading to an accurate prediction capability.

I then created sort of a super command override program that first replicates this entire three-program process and then manages the results of the outputs of dozens of copies of the number 2 and 3 program and treats them as if they were one big processor.  This master executive program can override the other three by injecting changes that have been learned in other sets of the three programs.  This allowed me to setup multiple parallel versions of the three-program analysis and speed the overall analysis many times over.

As you might image this is a very computer intensive program.  The initial three programs were relatively small but as the system developed, they expanded into first hundreds and then thousands of parallel copies.  All of these copies reading from data sets placed in a bank of DBMS’s that represented hundreds of gigabytes of historical data.  As the size of the calculations and data grew, I began to divide the data and processing among multiple computers.

I began with input financial performance data that was known during the period from 1980 through 2010.  This 30 years of data includes the full details of millions of data points about tens of thousands of stocks as well as huge databases of social-economic data about the general economy, politics, international news, and research papers and surveys of the psychology of consumers, the general population and of world leaders.  I was surprised to find that a lot of this data had been accumulated for use in dozens of other previous studies.  In fact, most of the input data I used was from previous research studies and I was able to use it in its original form.

Program No. 1 used data that was readily available from various sources from these historical research records.  Program No.3 uses slightly more recent historical stock performance data.  In this way, I can look at possible predictive calculations and then check them against real world performance.  For instance, I input historical 1980 data and see if it predicts what actually happened in 1981.  Then I advance the input and the predictions by a year.  Since I have all this data, I can see if the 1980-based calculations accurately predicts what happened in 1981?  By repeating this for the entire 30 years of available data, I can try out millions of variations of the analysis algorithms.  Once I find something that works on this historical data. I can advance it forward to input current data to predict future stock performance.  If that works then I can try using it to guide actual investments.

This has actually been done before.  Back in 1991, a professor of logic and math at MIT created a neural net to do just what I have described above.  It was partially successful but the software, the input data and the computer hardware back then were far less than what I used.     In fact, I found that even my very powerful home computer systems were much too slow to process the massive volumes of data needed.  To get past this problem, I created a distributive-processing version of my programs that allowed me to split up the calculations among a large number of computers.  I then wrote a sort of computer virus that installed these various computational fragments on dozens of college and university computers around the country.  Such programs are not uncommon on campus computers and I was only using 2 or 3% of the total system assets but collectively, it was like using 500 high end PC’s or about 3/4th of one super computer.

Even with all that processing power, it was more than 18 months and more than 9,700 hours of processing time on 67 different computers before I began to see a steady improvement in the predictive powers of the programs that were evolving.  By then, the formula and data inputs had evolved into a very complex algorithm that I would never have imagined but it was closing in on a more and more accurate version.  By early 2011, I was getting up to 85% accurate predictions of both short term and long term fluctuations in the S&P and Fortune 500 index as well as several other mutual fund indexes.

Short term predictions were upward to 95% accurate but that was out only 24 to 96 hours.  The long term accuracy dropped off from 91% for 1 week out to just under 60% for 1 year out….but, it was slowly getting better and better.

By June of last year, I decided to put some money into the plan.  I invested $5,000 in a day-trader account and then allowed my software to instruct my trades.  I limited the trades to one every 72 hours and the commissions ate up a lot of the profits from such a small investment but over a period of 6 months, I had pushed that $5,000 to just over $29,000.  This partially validated the predictive quality of the formulas but it is just 2.5% of what it should be if my formulas were exactly accurate.  I have since done mock investments of much higher sums and a longer investment interval and had some very good success.  I have to be careful because if I show too much profit, I’ll attract a lot of attention and get investigated or hounded by news people.  Both of which I don’t want.

The entire system was steadily improving in its accuracy but I was also getting more and more of my distributive programs on the college systems being caught and erased.  These were simply duplicate parallel systems but it began to slow the overall advance of the processing.  I was at a point that I was making relatively minor refinements to a formula that had evolved from all of this analysis.  Actually, it was not a single formula.  To my surprise, what evolved was sort of a process of sequential interactive formulas that used a feedback loop of calculated data that was then used to analyze the next step in the process.

I tried once to reverse-engineer the whole algorithm but it got very complex and there were steps that were totally baffling. I was able to figure out that it looked at the stocks fundamentals, then it looked at the state of the economy which was applied to the stock performance.  All that seems quite logical but then it processed dozens of “if-then” statements that related to micro, macro and global economics in a sort of logical scoring process that was then used to modify parameters of the stock performance.  This looping and scoring repeated several times and seemed to be the area that was being refined in the final stages of my analysis.

By June of 2012, I was satisfied that I can accomplished my goal.  I had a processing capability that was proving to be accurate in the 89 to 95% range for predictions out two to six weeks but it was still learning and evolving when I took it offline.  I had used the system enough to earn enough to cover all the costs of the hardware and software I invested in this project plus a little extra for a much needed vacation.  I never did do this for the money but it is nice to know that it works and that if I ever need a source of funding for a project, I can get it.

B-17 Miracle

The B-17 Miracle and PVT Sam Sarpolus

A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded or dead pilot.   An Me109 crashed into the lead aircraft of the flight, ripped a wing off the Fortress, and caused it to crash. The enemy fighter then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through – connected only at two small parts of the frame – most of the control cables were severed, and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged.   The two right hand engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak.  There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at it’s widest and the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunner’s turret.  Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned, one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew-miraculously!  The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off.  They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home.

The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane.  The waist and tail gunners used straps and their parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart more.  British fighters intercepted the All American over the Channel and took one of the pictures that later became famous – you can easily find it on the internet.  The figher pilots also radioed to the base describing the empennage (tail section) was “waving like fish tail” and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out.

Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made an emergency landing and when the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off for not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all safely existed through the door in the fuselage, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed onto the ground and the landing gear folded. The rugged old bird had done its job.

This event topped off an impressive streak of good luck that the crew of the All American experienced.  In all of the 414th Bomb Squadron for the entire war, they were the only crew that survived without a single major injury for their entire 25 mission assignment.  This incident was on their 25th mission and as a result, the entire crew were given orders to other non-combat assignments following their return from this flight.

See  http://www.reddog1944.com/414th_Squadron_Planes_and_Crews.htm

http://garfieldsteamhouse.org/History/WWII/WWII-B17-Survival-Story.php

B-17 “All American” (414th Squadron, 97BG)


 
That is the story that has been told and repeated for the past 70 years but there is something that has only recently come to light.  Lt. Bragg was busy flying the plane but he was in constant contact with the two waist gunners SGT. Henry Jebbson and PVT Michael “Mike” Zuk, as they kept Bragg informed of the condition of the tail and made their attempts to strap it to the rest of the plane.  Henry and Mike also tried several times to reach the tail gunner – PVT Sam Sarpolus – but there just was too much body damage to the aircraft.  All of the crew have since died except Mike and Sam and this new aspect of the story comes from Mike.  Sam was the youngest member of the crew at only 19 years old – with red hair and freckles.  Mike was the next youngest

I met Mike at a Silver Eagles meeting in Pensacola in 2004.  He was 81 and very frail and talked slow because of a stroke but there was nothing wrong with his mind.  Few of the other party goers were willing to take the time to talk to Mike but I did.  I took him into another room where we talked for more than 4 hours.  He told me about the flight and his life after that.  He became an enlisted pilot (a Silver Eagle) during the war and ferried aircraft over to England from the US.  When I asked him if any of his crew was still alive, he said, “Only Sam, and of course he will be for a long time”.  I wondered what he meant and asked.  He smiled and said there was much more to the story than anyone has ever said.  It wasn’t Henry and himself that held the plane to together.  It wasn’t Lt. Bragg’s careful flying…..it was Sam.

Mike went on, “the whole time we were flying that day after the collision, Sam sat backwards in the tail gunners seat with his hands out like he was stopping traffic and his eyes closed.  He never moved from that position….except once.  One of the fighters flew too close to us and his prop wash shook the All American hard.  We heard metal cracking and one of the two beams of the frame that was holding it together snapped.  At that moment, Sam opened his eyes and looked straight at the broken beam and pointed to it with one hand while still holding the other out “stopping traffic”.  Henry and I turned to look at what Sam was pointing to just in time to see a blinding light come from the break.  When our eyes cleared, we could see that the beam had been fused back together again.  We both snapped back to looking at Sam and he had gone back to holding his hands up with his eyes closed but he had a smile on his face.

He sat like that until after we landed.  They had to cut open the front of this gunner’s position and pull him out thru the window.  All the time with him holding his hands out.  Everyone thought he was scared or frozen stiff.  When he was put down on the ground, he still had his eyes closed.  I finally told him that everyone was out of the plane and he opened one eye and looked at me and said, “Really?”.  I assured him everyone was safe and then he put his arms down.  When he did, the old B-17 broke right in half – the tail fell off, the #3 engine burst into flames and the landing gear collapsed.  Sam looked at Mike and me and smiled and said, “Don’t tell anybody – I’ll explain later”.

It was three weeks later before we met with Sam in a quiet pub and had a long talk with him.  Sam said he didn’t know how he does it but he can move stuff and make things happen just by thinking about it.  He said he’s been busy during most of the flights keeping bullets from hitting any of the crew members.  We were the only crew that ever flew 25 missions without having a single crewman shot up.  We just stared at him and then both Henry and I said “bullshit” at the same time.  Sam said, “No, really, let me show you”.  He pulled out his K-bar sheath knife and handed it to Henry and told him to stab his hand.  Henry said, “No” so Sam said, “OK, then just stab this table napkin”.  Henry raised up the knife and plunged it down onto the table.  The table made a loud thud but the knife stopped about one inch above the napkin.  Henry pushed with both hands and then leaned his entire body onto the knife but it would not go that last inch into the table.  Sam said that it was harder to do bullets but he had a lot of practice.

We spent hours talking and testing Sam over the next few days before he went back to the US and we were reassigned to a USO tour to talk up our flight in the All American.  It seems that Sam has a rather well developed ability of telekinesis that allows him to control objects with his mind.  Not just move them but manipulate them even at an atomic scale.  That was how he welded the aluminum beams in the B-17 and created a sort of force field around each crewman when we were attacked.  We wanted to tell other people and told Sam that he would be famous if he would let us but he made us promise to keep it a secret.  Mike said I was the first person that he has ever told.  After telling me, Mike sat there very quietly as if he was regretted telling me.  I waited awhile and we sipped our drinks.  Mike finally spoke, “I wonder if Sam remembers me?”.  I asked if he had seen Sam since the war.  Mike said, “The next time we talked was about 1973 or so.  We met at a Silver Eagle Reunion in San Diego.  I didn’t know Sam had gotten his enlisted pilot’s license also.  That was the only reunion that Sam ever attended.  When I saw him, I recognized him immediately and then realized that the reason I recognized him so quickly was because he looked pretty much like he did 30 year earlier.  He had grown a mustache and dyed his hair but he did not look like he had aged much at all.  He and I went off into a corner of the bar and talked for hours.  It seems he liked helping people and he got a job as a paramedic on a rescue truck.  He was very well qualified and confided in me that he often used his powers to help him in an emergency.  Because he seemed to not age very fast he could only stay for a few years at each job but his skills were in high demand and he could get a job anywhere he went.  He also had had jobs as a policeman and a highway patrol officer”.  Mike would stop and stare at the floor every so often as he would get lost in memories and thoughts.

One of these moments that Mike stopped to stare turned into several minutes.  I said his name several times but he did not respond.  Finally, I touched his arm and asked if he was OK.  Mike got a grimace on his face and then grabbed his chest and rolled out of his chair onto the floor.  I recognized the signs of a heart attack and I called for help.  In an instant, a large crowd of people had gathered around him and calls for a doctor and 911 were shouted.  Someone put a large coat over Mike to keep him warm and another put a rolled up coat under his head for a pillow.

As I was sitting in my chair, holding his hand, someone with a hat on, bent down from the crowd and leaned over Mike.  He put one hand on Mike’s forehead and the other under the coat on his chest.  I thought it might be a doctor trying to check his vital signs but the person just frozen in that position.  I watched intently and then noticed a slight glow of light coming from under the coat.  No one else seemed to notice but I’m sure I did not imagine it.  After about 15 seconds, Mike opened his eyes and looked up.  He smiled and said, “Hi Sam”.  The man in the hat then got up and melted back into the crowd.  I asked Mike if he was OK and he said he felt fine that the he wanted to get up off the floor.

As I helped him up, I saw the man with the hat go out the door of the room we were in.  I sat Mike down and rushed out the door but there was no one anywhere in sight.  I rushed back to Mike who was shooing everyone away and sipping his drink.  I sat down with him and said, “Was that Sam?”.  Mike said, “Oh yea, he seems to come whenever I need him – that’s the third time he has done that”.  “Done what?” I asked.  Mike winked at me and said, “You know, you saw it”.  Then he said, ”I’m getting tired and I need to go. It has been good talking with you”.  I asked if we could talk again but Mike told me he was traveling back home early the next morning.  I asked if he knew where I could find Sam.  Mike turned to me and smiled and said, “I have no idea where he lives but every time I have needed him, he shows up”.

I spent two years searching for Sam with no luck.  I carried a picture of him from his days of flying the B-17 but had it cropped and colored so that it did not look like an old picture.  I showed it to anyone I thought might have seen him.  He did not have a social security number and there were no public records of his name anywhere in the US.  During my travels, I passed through Las Vegas and just out of habit, I showed Sam’s picture around.  The second night I was there, the desk clerk at my hotel said he recognized Sam.  He came about twice a year for only two or three days and played the roulette and Keno for a few hours in each of several hotels and then he would leave town.  He seemed to have remarkably good luck and the desk clerk said that he was always generous with the tips and always seemed to be smiling.  I smiled and agreed.

I figured I had been looking for Sam the wrong way.  Instead of trying to find someone that had seen him by showing his picture, I took another tack.  I started by looking in newspapers and online for unusual happenings that seemed to be unexplained or that were very much out of the ordinary.  I started with the first few days after he was last seen in Las Vegas and looked in a 500 mile circle around Vegas.  I was surprised at how many such events were reported on the internet and in YouTube videos but by reading each one, I narrowed it down.

One was for a small town in central Utah called Eureka – just south of Salt Lake City.  They had reported that someone had tipped a waitress at the local truck stop with $500.  It turned out that she needed about that much to be able to pay for a home medical device that her son needed for his severe asthma.  I drove to this small town and found the waitress.  Her name was Sally.  She was reluctant to talk about it because of all the news attention she had gotten but when I showed her Sam’s picture, she clearly recognized his face but she hesitated for a minute and then said that was not him.  I assured her that I was not a reporter and that I did not want to harm him.  I showed her my previous stories about the B17 and his days in the Silver Eagles.  She sat down with me in a quiet corner of the diner and we talked.  She said he was quick to pick up on her sadness about her son and he listened intently as she described the problem.  She had saved for an aspirator for her son Jimmy but times were tough and not many people were leaving tips and business at the truck stop was slow outside of tourist season.  When Sam left, he smiled and held my hand and said “thank you and say hello to Jimmy for me”.  Sally stopped for a moment and then said, “to this day, I don’t know what he was thanking me for – I only gave him coffee and he didn’t even finish that.”

I used the date Sam was here in Eureka and began the search again.  I found another story in Ketchem, Idaho where someone paid to have a house rebuilt for a single mother with four kids.  The husband had been killed in Iraq in 2009 and she had struggled to make ends meet but when a fire burned down their house, she was faced with having to send her kids to foster homes.  Someone paid a local contractor to build an entire house on their old lot and then put $10,000 into a bank account in her name.  She never saw the donor but at Perry’s restaurant on First Ave., a waitress that received a $100 tip confirmed that it saw Sam.

I repeated this searching pattern and tracked down more than a dozen places where Sam had stopped by some remote town or obscure business and helped out someone.  Most often he paid for something or gave money to someone.  About half the time, no one knew it was him but what he did seemed to follow a pattern.  He would show up just as some situation was about as serious as it can get and he seemed to know exactly what was needed and exactly who needed it.  He never seemed to stay overnight in the towns where he helped someone and he didn’t seem to do much investigating or asking around.  He often spent less than 10 minutes at the place where he did his good deed and then he was gone completely out of town.  I didn’t meet one person that knew his name.

I followed his trail up through Idaho and western Montana, then east through North Dakota and then south all the way to southern Texas.  He did his good deeds about every 300 to 400 miles about every other day.   Sam stopped along the way at casinos that were on Indian reservations and he also bought lottery tickets the day before the drawings.  He often won.  He always paid the IRS taxes immediately but I found out that he was using different social security numbers so that no one really knew who he was.

In Kansas, I found a State trooper that told me about a 25 car pileup that happened in a major storm on I-235 just outside of McPherson.  Lots of people were hurt but when the paramedics came, they found that no one had any broken bones or life-threatening injuries.  16 of the accident victims said that someone had come to their car shortly after the crash and “fixed” them.  They described a young looking man with red hair and freckles that calmed them down and then rubbed their legs or arms where it hurt and it stopped hurting.  The medics said that the blood found in some of the cars indicated that there had been some very serious injuries but when the examined the people inside, they found no cuts or bleeding from any of them.  No one saw Sam come or leave and most of them just called him an angel.

I don’t know who or what Sam is and maybe he doesn’t either.  He roams around doing good deeds, saving lives and bringing a little peace and happiness to everyone he meets.  He obviously wanted to remain unknown and I finally decided that I needed to honor that so I went home.

 

 

2011 – The Year the Government Got Healthy

The discoveries and creations accomplished in 2011 will have far reaching affects for decades to come. These advances in biology, nano-technology, computer science, materials science and programming are truly 21st Century science. The latest issue of Discovery magazine details the top stories as they have been released to the public, but, as you have learned from this blog, there is much that is not released to the public. Every research study or major development lab in the US that is performing anything that is of interest to any part of the government is watched and monitored very closely. Obviously, every government funded research project has government “oversight” that keeps tabs on their work but this monitoring applies to every other civilian R&D lab and facility as well. I have described the effects of this monitoring in several of my reports but I have not specifically spelled it out. Now I will.

The government has a network of labs and highly technically trained spies that monitor all these civilian R&D projects as they are developed. These guys are a non-publicized branch of the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) that provides the cover for this operation behind the guise of supporting technology transfer from the government to the civilian market – when, in fact, it’s real goal is just the opposite.

The Labs in FLC are a mix of classified portions of existing federal labs – such as NRL, Ft. Detrick, Sandia, Argonne, Brookhaven, Oak Ridge, PNNL, Los Alamos, SEDI and about a dozen others – and a lot of government run and controlled civilian labs such as Lawrence Livermore, NIH and dozens of classified college and university and corporate labs that give the appearance of being civilian but are actually almost all government manned and controlled.

The spy network within the FLC is perhaps the least known aspect. Not even Congress knows much about it. It is based in Washington but has offices and data centers all over. The base operations comes under an organization within the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) called the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI). The public operations of HSSAI is run by Analytic Services, Inc. but the technology spy activities are run by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) Division of DHS.

Within the OIA, the FLC technology spies come under the Cyber, Infrastructure and Science Director (CIS) and are referred to as the National Technology Guard (NTG) and it is run like a quasi-military operation. In fact, most of these NTG spies were trained by the Department of Defnse (DoD) and many are simply on loan from various DoD agencies.

This is a strange and convoluted chain of command but it works fairly efficiently mostly because the lines of information flow , funding and management are very narrowly defined by the extremely classified nature of the work. What all these hidden organizations and fake fronts and secret labs do is to allow the funding for these operations to be melted into numerous other budget line items and disguised behind very official and humanitarian and publicly beneficial programs. This is necessary because some of the lab work that they get involved in can become quite expensive – measured in the billions of dollars.

The way this network actually works is actually fairly simple. Through the FLC and other funding and information public resources, leading edge projects are identified within HSSAI. They then make the decision to “oversight”, “grab” or “mimic” the details of the R&D project. If they implement “oversight”, that means that OIA and CIS keep records of what and how the R&D projects are progressing. If they “grab” it, that means that the NTG is called upon to obtain copies of everything created, designed and/or discovered during the project. This is most often done using cyber technology by hacking the project’s computers of everyone involved. It is the mimic that gets the most attention in the OIA.

If a project is tagged as a mimic or “M” project, the HSSAI mates a government lab within the FLC to be the mimic of the R&D project being watched. The NTG usually embeds spies directly in the civilian R&D project as workers and the OIA/CIS dedicates a team of hackers to grab everything and pass it directly to the mated FLC lab. The NTG spies will also grab samples, photos, duplicates and models of everything that is being accomplished.

What is kind of amazing is that this is all done in real time – that is, there is almost no delay between what is being done in the civilian R&D lab and what is being done to copy that work in the government lab. In fact, the payoff comes when the government lab can see where a project is going and can leap ahead of the civilian R&D lab in the next phase of the project. This is often possible because of the restraints in funding, regulations, laws and policy that the civilian labs must follow but the government labs can ignore. This is especially true in biological sciences in which the civilian lab must follow mandated protocols that can sometimes delay major breakthroughs by years. For instance, the civilian lab has to perform mice experiments and then monkey experiments and then petition for human testing. That process can take years. If a treatment looks promising, the government lab can skip to human testing immediately – and has done so many times.

Let me give you an example that is in recent news. The newest advances in science are being made in the convergence areas between two sciences. Mixing bioscience with any other science is called bioconvergence and it is the most active area of new technologies. This example is the bioconvergence of genetics and computers. The original project was begun by a collaboration between a European technology lab based in Germany and an American lab based in Boston. The gist of the research is that they created a computer program that uses a series of well known cell-level diagnostic tests to determine if a cell is a normal cell or a cancer cell. The tests combine a type of genetic material called microRNA with a chemical marker that can react to six specific microRNAs. The markers can then be read by a computer sensor that can precisely identify the type of cell it is. This is accomplished by looking at the 1,000+ different microRNA sequences in the cell. The computer knows what combination of too much or too little of the six microRNAs that identifies each distinct type of cell.

Once that is accomplished, they can define, identify and isolate the specific individual cancer cells. If it is a cancer cell, then the same program creates a gene that is custom designed to turn off the reproductive ability of that specific identified cancer cell. This synthetic gene for a protein called hBxi, promotes cell death by stopping its ability to split, divide and/or reproduce. There are several chemical safeguards built into the process that prevent healthy cells from being targeted. The whole project is being called the “Geniom RT Analyzer for microRNA quantification analysis for biomarkers of disease and treatment” but the lab guys just call it “biologic” for short.

Nearly all of the separate aspects of this project are well known but in the past, it has taken months or years to cross-index the various aspects of the 1000 or more microRNA sequences and then months or years more to devise a response. Using this biologic computer program mated to a biochemical logic “circuit”, the process takes a few hours. The biocomputer analyzes millions of combinations and then defines exactly how to tag and destroy the bad cells.

In keeping with standard protocols, human testing will begin around 2015 and it could take until 2025 before this is a commercially available medical treatment for treating cancer. FLC identified the value of this treatment very early on and created a mimic lab at Ft. Detrick, Maryland at the National Interagency Confederation of Biological Research (NICBR). The NICBR has a long history of managing non-weapons-related biological research. They provide an easy funding path and a nice cover for some of the most advanced and most classified medical research performed by the US.

The NICBR mimic lab was keeping pace with the progress being made by the biologic project until they could project ahead and see the benefits in other areas. NICBR, of course, had the computer analysis program as soon as it was completed and had duplicated the biochip and geniom analyzer hardware just as fast. Once it had proved that the process worked, they began to make much greater progress than the biologic labs because they had more money, less limitations and access to immediate human test subjects. As successes began to pile up, they added more staff to help make modifications to the biologic system by creating new biochips, modifying the geniom analyzer and analysis software. Within a few months in mid-2011, they had geared up to a staff of over 100 using four different labs at Ft. Detrick churning out new capabilities one a weekly and then on a daily basis.

By the time the biologic lab was making their preliminary reports public in SCIENCE magazine, in September 2011, the NICBR lab was just finishing its first human tests which were entirely successful. By the middle of October 2011, they had all but eliminated false positives and began optimizing the circuits to identify new cell types. Using a flood of new and redefined biochips and modifications to the software, they had expanded the microRNA analysis to other complex cell states and by the middle of November, had successful tests on 16 different types of cancer and were adding others at a rate of 3 to 5 per week but parallel efforts were also working on other applications of the same biologic process.

Since the core analysis is actually a computer program and the microRNA sequences defined by the multiplex primer extension assay (MPEA) for a vast number of different types of cells are well known, this process can be expanded to cover other applications just by altering the computer program, biochip and MPEA and the synthetic protein gene that is applied. They also quickly discovered that the computer processing power was there to perform many of these tests simultaneously by using multiple biochips and MPEAs and CCD cameras for reading the biochips. This allowed doing analysis on dozens of cancers and other cell types and then allowing the computer to define and concoct the appropriate response.

The NICBR report at the end of November described their latest extension of the applications of this technology to regenerative medicine to allow the almost immediate repair of bad hearts, destroyed lung tissues and other failed organs. Essentially any cell in the body that can be uniquely defined by its microRNA can be targeted for elimination, replacement or enhancement. The NICBR lab is expanding and adding new applications almost daily and the limits to what is possible won’t be reached for years.

At the end of November, the first report from NICBR had made its way up through OIA/CIS and HSSAI to a very select group of DoD intelligence officers – some military and some civil service and some civilians (by invitation only). This is a group that does not show up on any organization chart or budget line item. They are so deep cover that even their classified security compartment name is classified. Unofficially, they call themselves the Red Team and reports they create are called Red Dot Reports or RDRs. (They use a red dot to identify projects that they believe have immediate applications and high priority) They advise the JCS and the president on where and how to direct black-ops R&D funds and how to develop and use the developed technology. They are not the final word but they do act as a buffer between what is really going on in the labs and those that might benefit or take advantage of the technology.

This group imagined the application of the biologic technology in the role of prolonging the life of key individuals in the military and government. Anyone with a life threatening disease like cancer can now be cured. Anyone with a failing or damaged organ can use this technology to put synthetic genes or designer stem cells directly into the near immediate repair or replacement of the damaged cells. Almost immediately, each of the members began to name off members of the senior most military officers and the senior most political leaders that might benefit from this biologic technology.

Now comes the part you will never hear made public. The Red Team are highly trained and very capable of keeping secrets but they are also human and they know that technology like this can mean life or death to some people and for that, those people might do anything. It is still not known who did it first but someone in the Red Team contacted a senior US Senator that he knew had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. (In fact there are 11 members of Congress and two Cabinet members that currently have cancer of one form or another. This is not something that they want made public if they want to be re-elected so it is very confidential.) Traditional treatment involves surgery, radiation and chemo-therapy and then you just reduce your chances of a recurrence. With the biologic technology, you skip past all that unpleasant treatment and go immediately to being cured without any chance of recurrence. For that, anyone would be most grateful and it is obvious that whomever it was on the Red Team that leaked this news, did so to gain favor with someone that could benefit him a great deal.

Once it was known that the news had leaked out, almost every one of the Red Team members made contact with someone that they thought would benefit from the biologic technology. By the second week in December, dozens of people were clamoring for the treatment and promising almost anything to get it. The word of this technology and its benefits are still spreading to the leaders and business tycoons around the world and the Red Team is trying desperately to manage the flood of bribes and requests for treatment.

As you read this, the NICBR is treating the sixth Congressman for various cancers and there is a line of more than 30 behind these 6. The lab has enlisted the aid of two other departments to setup and begin treatments within Ft. Detrick and plans are in the works to create treatment centers in five other locations – all of them on very secure military installations – plus one will be setup on Guam at the Air Force base there to treat foreign nationals. By the end of January, these facilities will be operational and it is expected that there will be a list of over 500 people waiting for treatments for cancer or damaged or failed organs. I have heard that the price charged to corporate tycoons is $2 million but the treatment is being traded with other political leaders in other countries for various import/export concessions or for political agreements.

This will all be kept very, very secret from the public because there are millions of people that would want treatments and that would create incredible chaos. The biologic equipment is only about $950,000 for a complete system, not counting the payments for patents to the original researchers. But this is not the holdup from going public with this. If it got out that the government had this technology, they would have to admit to having stolen it from the Boston group and that would imply that they are doing and have done this before – which is completely true. They do not want to do that so they are going to let the original researchers work their way through the system of monkey testing for 3 years and then human trials for 3 or 4 years and then through the FDA approval process which will take another 2 to 3 years and they will get to market about when they estimated – about 2025.

In the meantime, if you hear about some rich and famous guy or some senior Congressman making a miraculous recovery from a serious illness or a failing body part, you can bet it was because they were treated by a biologic device that is unavailable to the general public for the next 15 years or so.

<<Addendum>>

<< You are probably wondering how I know all this detail about some of the best kept secrets in the US government. As I have mentioned in numerous other reports, I worked in government R&D for years and almost all of it was deep cover classified. My last few years of work were in the field of computer modeling and programming of something called sensor fusion. The essence of this type of computer programming is the analysis of massive amounts of inputs or calculations leading to some kind of quantified decision support. This is actually a pretty complex area of math that most scientists have a hard time translating to their real-world metrics and results.

When the CIS staff at HSSAI first got tagged to support the mimic of the biologic lab work, they needed some help in the programming of the biologic analysis using the photo CCD input data and the massive permutations and combinations of microRNA characteristics. I was asked to provide some consulting on how to do that. The task was actually pretty simple because those guys at the Boston biologic lab were pretty smart and they had already worked out the proper algorithms needed. I just reversed engineered their logic back to the math and then advanced it forward to the modified algorithms needed for other cell detections.

In the process of helping them I was also asked to advise and explain the processing to other parts of the government offices involved – the OIA, the NICBR, FLC, HSSAI and even to the Red Team. I was privy to the whole story. I am writing it here for you to read because I think it is a great disservice to the general public to not let them have access to the very latest medical technology – especially when it can save lives. If I get in legal trouble for this, then it will really go public so I am sure that the government is hoping that I am going to reach a very few people with my little blog and that I will not create any real problems. That is their hope and they are probably right. >>

Bombs Away!

The Air Force is working overtime to redefine its role in warfare in light of using UAV’s, drones and autonomous weapons. What is at stake is the very nature of what the AF does. For the past 40 years, it has based its power and control on a three-legged table – bombers, fighters and missiles. Its funding and status in DoD is based on keeping all three alive and actively funded by congress.

The dying cold war and the end of the threat from Russia has largely diminished the role of ICBM missiles. The AF is trying to keep it alive by defining new roles for those missiles but it will almost certainly lose the battle for all but a few of the many silos that are still left.

The role as fighter is actively being redefined right now as UAV’s take over attack and recon roles. There is still the queasy feeling that we do not want to go totally robotic and there is a general emotion that we still need a butt in the seat for some fighter missions such as intercept and interdiction of targets of opportunity but even those are being reviewed for automation. There is, however, no denying that the AF will maintain this responsibility – even if non-pilots perform it.

The role of bomber is the one that is really in doubt. If the Army uses the Warthog for close combat support and the Navy uses A-6’s and F-18’s for attack missions, then the role of strategic bomber is all that is left for the AF and that is a role that is most easily automated with standoff weapons and autonomous launch-and-forget missiles. The high altitude strategic bomber that blankets a target area is rapidly becoming a thing of the past because of the nature of our enemy and because of the use of surgical strikes with smart bombs. To be sure, there are targets that need blanket attacks and carpet-bombing but a dropped bomb is notorious for not hitting its targets and the use of hundreds of smart weapons would be too costly as compared to alternatives.

The AF is groping for solutions. One that is currently getting a lot of funding is to lower the cost of smart bombs so that they can, indeed, use many of them in large numbers, necessitating the need for a manned bomber aircraft and still be cost-effective. To that end, a number of alternatives are being tried. Here is one that I was involved in as a computer modeler for CEP (circular error of probably) and percent damage modeling (PDM). CEP and PDM are the two primary factors used to justify the funding of a proposed weapon system and then they are the first values measured in the prototype testing.

CEP says what is the probably of the weapons hitting the target. CEPs for cruise missiles are tens of feet. CEPs for dumb bombs is hundreds or even thousands of feet and often is larger than the kill radius of the bomb making it effectively useless against the target while maximizing collateral damage. PDM is the amount of damage done to specific types of targets given the weapon’s power and factoring in the CEP. A PDM for a cruise missile may be between 70% and 90% depending on the target type and range (PDM decreases for cruise missiles as range to target increases). The PDM for a dumb (unguided) bomb is usually under 50% making the use of many bombs necessary to assure target destruction. In WWII, PDM of our bombers was less than 10% and in Viet Nam, it was still under 30%. The AF’s problem is to improve those odds. Here is how they did it.

Whether we call them smart bombs or precision guided munitions (PGM) or guided bomb units (GBU) or some other name, they are bombs that steer to a target by some means. The means changes from GPS, to laser to infrared or RF to several other methods of sending guidance signals. JDAM is one of the latest smart bombs but there are dozens of others. JDAM’s run about $35,000 on top of the cost of making the basic bomb. In other words, the devices (fins, detection, guidance) that make it a smart bomb add about $35,000 to the cost of a dumb bomb. The AF’s goal was to reduce this to under $5,000, particularly in a multiple drop scenario.

They accomplished this in a program they code named TRACTOR. It starts with a standard JDAM or other PGM that uses the kind of guidance needed for a specific job. The PGM is then modified with a half-dome shaped device that is attached to the center of the tail of the JDAM. This device looks like a short rod about 1 inch in diameter with a half dome at one end and a bracket for attaching it to the JDAM at the other end. It can be attached with glue, clamps or screws. It extends about 6 inches aft of the fins and is very aerodynamic in shape.

Inside the dome is a battery and a small processor along with a matrix of tiny laser emitting diodes (LsED) that cover the entire inside of the dome. It can be plugged into the JDAM’s system or run independent and can be modified with add-on modules that give it additional capabilities. This is called the LDU – laser direction unit.

The other side of this device is a similar looking half dome that is attached to the nose of a dumb bomb using glue or magnets. There is a plug-in data wire that then connects to a second module that is attached to the rear of the dumb bomb. This second unit is a series of shutters and valves that can be controlled by the unit on the nose. This is called the FDU – following direction unit.

Here is how it works. The LDU is programmed with how the pattern of bombs should hit the ground. It can create a horizontal line of the bombs that are perpendicular or parallel to the flight of the JDAM or they can be made to form a tight circle or square pattern. By using the JDAM as the base reference unit and keying off its position, all the rest of the bombs can be guided by their FDUs to assume a flight pattern that is best suited for the target. The FDU’s essentially assume a flight formation during their decent based on instructions received from the LDU. This flight formation is preprogrammed into the LDU based on the most effective pattern needed to destroy the target or targets.

A long line of evenly spaced bombs might be used to take out a supply convoy while a grid pattern might be used to take out a large force of walking enemy that are dispersed on the ground by several yards each. It is even possible to have all the bombs nail the exact same target by having them all form a line behind the LDU JDAM bomb in order to penetrate into an underground bunker.

It is also possible to create a pattern in which the bombs take out separate but closely spaced targets such as putting a bomb onto each of 9 houses in a tightly packed neighborhood that might have dozens of houses. Controlling the relative distance from the reference LDU and making sure that that bomb is accurate will also accurately place all the other bombs placed on their targets. This effectively creates multiple smart bombs in an attack in which only one bomb is actually a PGM.

The method of accomplishing this pattern alignment is thru the use of the lasers in the LDU sending out coded signals to each bomb to assume a specific place in space relative to the LDU, as the bombs fall toward the target. The lasers in the LDU send coded signals that cause the FDU bombs to align along specific laser tracks being sent out by the LDU and at specific distances from the LDU. The end result is that they can achieve any pattern they want without regard to how the bombs are dropped – as long as there is enough altitude to accomplish the alignment. It is even possible for the LDU dropped from on bomber to control the FDU’s on bombs dropped by a second bomber.

The low cost was achieved by the use of easily added-on parts to existing bomb types and devices and by using innovative control surfaces that do not use delicate vanes and flaps. The FDU uses rather robust but cheap solenoids that move a spoon-shaped surface from being flush with the FDU module to being extended out into the slipstream of air moving over the bomb. By inserting this spoon up into the airflow, it creates drag that steers the bomb in one direction. There are eight of these solenoid-powered spoons that are strapped onto the FDU that can be used separate or together to steer or slow the bomb to its proper place in the desired descent flight pattern.

Since these LDU and FDU devices are all generic and are stamped out using SMD – (surface mount devices) – the cost of the LDU is under $3,000 and the FDU is under $5,000. 25 dumb bombs can be converted into an attack of 25 smart bombs for a total cost of about $110,000. If all of them had to be JDAMs, the cost would have been $875,000 – a savings of more than 87%.

These have already been tested and are being deployed as fast as they can be made.

Update 2012:

A recent innovation to the Tractor program was initiated in March of 2012 with the advent of miniaturized LDU’s and FDU’s that can be easily attached to the individual bomblets in a cluster bomb. These new add-ons are small enough and custom fitted to the bomblets so that they can be very quickly added to the cluster bombs. In practice, a separate LDU bomb is dropped with the cluster bomb and the cluster bomb is dropped from a much higher altitude than normal. This gives the individual bomblets time to form complex patterns that enhance their effectiveness. For instance, an anti-runway cluster bomb would line up the bomblets in a staggered zig-zag pattern. If the intent is area denial to personnel and tanks, the submunitions would be directed into an evenly spaced blanket covering a wide but defined area. This allows the placement of the mines into a pattern that is much wider than would normally be achievable with a standard cluster bomb drop which is usually limited to only slightly wider than the flight path of the dropping aircraft. Now a single drop can cover two or three square miles if the are dropped from above 15,000 feet.

A similar deployment technique is being developed for the dispersion of clandestine sensors, listening devices, remote cameras and other surveillance systems and devices.

Power from Dirt

Part of the year, I live in Vermont, where there is a lot of interest in renewable energy sources. They want to use wind or solar or wood or biofuels but almost all the tree-huggers skip the part about all those renewable energy sources combined would not meet the demand and we would still need a coal, gas or nuclear power plant to make up the difference. I decided to try to make up something that really could give enough energy for a household but would also work year round and be independent of weather, temperature and would use a fuel that is cheap and renewable. That is a big set of requirements and it took me several months to work out how to do it. It turns out that it can be done with dirt and some rocks and a little electronics.

As I have said many times, I worked for NRL and then DARPA while I was active duty in the Navy and then for other labs and in my own R&D company when I got out of the military. While I was at DARPA, they worked on an idea of using piezoelectric devices in the shoes of soldiers to provide electricity to low powered electronics. It turned out to be impractical but it showed me the power of piezoelectric generators.

I also work at NRL when they were looking into thermal-electric generators to be used on subs and aircraft. Both subs and planes travel where the outside is really cold and the insides are really hot and that temperature differential can be used to create electricity. I had a small involvement in both these projects and learned a lot about harvesting energy from micro-watt power sources. I also learned why they did not work well or could not be used for most situations back then but that was 22 years ago and a lot has changed since then. I found that I could update some of these old projects and get some usable power out of them.

I’ll tell you about the general setup and then describe the details. The basic energy source starts out with geothermal. I use convective static fluid dynamics to move heat from the earth up to the cold (winter) above ground level – giving me one warm surface (about 50 degrees year round) and a cold surface – whatever the ambient air temperature is, in the winter.

I then used a combination of electro and thermal-mechanical vibrators attached to a bank of piezoelectric crystal cylinders feeding into a capture circuit to charge a bank of batteries and a few super capacitors. This, in turn, powers an inverter that provides power for my house. The end result is a system that works in my area for about 10 months of the year, uses no fuel that I have to buy at all, has virtually no moving parts, and works 24×7 and in all weather, day and night. It gives me about 5,000 watts continuous and about 9,000 watts surge which covers almost all the electrical needs in my house – including the pump on the heater and the compressor on the freezer and refrigerator. I’ll have to admit that I did get rid of my electric stove in order to be able to get “off the grid” entirely. I use propane now but I am working on an alternative for that also. So, if you are interested, here’s how I did it.

The gist of this is that I used geothermal temperature differentials to create a little electricity. That was used to stimulate some vibrators that flexed some piezo-electric material to create a lot more electricity. That power was banked in batteries and capacitors to feed some inverters that in turned powered the house. I also have a small array of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and a small homemade wind mill generator. And I have a very small hydro-electric generator that runs off a stream in my back yard. I use a combination of deep cycle RV, and AGM and Lithium and NiMH batteries in various packs and banks to collect and save this generated power. I total, on a good day, I get about 9,500 watts out. On a warm, cloudy, windless and dry day, I might get 4,000 watts but because I get power and charge the system 24/7 but use it mostly only a few hours per day, it all meets my needs with power to spare.

Today it was 18F degrees outside. Last night it was 8F degrees. From now until mid-April, it will be much colder than 50 degrees above ground. Then we have a month or less in which the air temp is between 40 and 60 followed by about 3 months in which the temps are above 70. Then another month of 40-60 before it gets cold again. That gives me from 20 to more than 40 degrees of temperature differential for 10 months of the year.

Using these two differential temperatures, I hooked up a bank of store-bought, off-the-shelf solid-state thermal electric devices (TEDs). These use “Peltier” elements (first discovered in 1834) to convert electricity to heat on one plate and cold on another. You can also reverse the process and apply heat and cold to the two plates and it will produce electricity. That is called the “Seebeck effect”, named after a guy that discovered it in 1821. It does not produce a lot of electricity but because I had an unlimited supply of a temperature differential, I could hook up a lot of these TEDs and bank them to get about 160 volts at about 0.5 amps on an average day with a temperature differential of 20 degrees between the plates. That’s about 80 watts. With some minor losses, I can convert that to 12 volts at about 6 amps (72 watts) to power lots of 12 volt devices or I can get 5 volts at about 15 amps (75 watts) to power a host of electronics stuff.

Then, I dug a hole in the ground – actually, you have to drill a hole in the ground. Mine is 40 feet but the deeper the better. It has to be about 10-12 inches in diameter. If you have a lot of money and can customize the parts and then you can use a smaller diameter hole. I salvaged the cooling coils off the back of several commercial grade freezers to get the copper pipes that have those thin metal heat sinks attached to them. I cut and reshaped these into a tightly packed cylinder that was 10″ in diameter and nearly four feet long, containing nearly 40 feet of copper pipes in a wad of spiral and overlapping tubes – so it would fit in my 40’ deep by 12″ inch diameter hole. Down that deep, the hole filled with water but the water was still about 50 degrees. I wrapped the heat sinks in several layers of wire fence material. This was aluminum screens with about ¼” holes. I used two long copper tubes of 1 inch diameter to connect the two ends of the coil to the surface as I sank them to the bottom. All the joints were soldered and then pressure tested to make sure they did not leak.

Just before and after it was sunk into the hole, I pushed some marble sized pea rocks into the hole. This assured that there would be a free-flow of water around the heat sink lines without it becoming packed with clay. I bought a 100 foot commercial grade water hose to slip over the two pipes to cover them from the surface down to the sunken coils. This hose has a thick hard rubber outside and soft rubber on the inside and had a 1.75 inch inside diameter. It was designed to use with heavy duty pumps to pump out basements or ponds. It served as a good sleeve to protect the copper tubes and to insulate the pipes. To insulate it further, I bought a can of spray expanding foam. The kind that you use to fill cracks and it hardens into a stiff Styrofoam. I cut the can open and caught the stuff coming out in a bucket. I then diluted it with acetone and poured it down between the hose and the copper pipe. It took about 18 days to dry and harden but it formed a really good insulating layer so that the pipes would not lose much heat or cold while the fluid moved up and down in the copper pipes. The two copper pipes sticking out were labeled “UP” and “Down” and I attached the down pipe to the bottom of a metal tank container.

The next part is another bit of home brew. I needed a large thin metal sandwich into which to run the “hot” fluid. To make it would cost a fortune but I found what I needed at a discount store. It is a very thin cookie sheet for making cookies in the oven. Its gimmick is that it is actually two thin layers separated by about a quarter inch of air space. This keeps the cookies from getting too hot on the bottom and burning. I bought 16 of these sheets and carefully cut and fused them into one big interconnected sheet that allowed the fluid to enter at one end, circulate between the layers of all the sheets and then exit the other end. Because these sheets were aluminum, I had to use a heliarc (also known as TIG or GTAW welding and I actually used argon, not helium) but I was rained by some of the best Navy welders that work on airframes of aircraft. The end product was almost 6 x 6 feet with several hose attachment points into and out of the inner layer.

I then made a wood box with extra insulation all around that would accommodate the metal sandwich sheet. The sheet was then hooked up to the UP hose at one end and to the top of the tank/container that was connected to the Down hose. Actually, each was connected to splitters and to several inlet nad outlet ports to allow the flow to pass thru the inner sandwich along several paths. This made a complete closed loop from the sunken coils at the bottom of the hole up the UP tube to the 6 x 6 sheet then thru the tank to the DOWN tube and back to the coils.

Now I placed my bank of Peltier solid-state thermal-electric modules (SSTEMs) across the 6×6 sheet. Attaching one side of the SSTEMs to the 6×6 sheet and the other side to a piece of aluminum that made up the lid of the box that the sandwich sheet was in. This gave me one side heated (or cooled) by the sandwich sheet with fluid from the sunken coils and the other side of the SSTEMs was cooled (or heated) by the ambient air. The top of the flat aluminum lid also had a second sheet of corrugated aluminum welded to it to help it dissipate the heat.

So, if you are following this, starting from the top, there is a sheet of corrugated aluminum that is spot welded to a flat sheet that forms the top of the box lid. Between these two sheets that are outside the box and exposed to the air, there are air gaps where the sine-wave shaped sheet of corrugated aluminum meets the flat sheet. This gives a maximum amount of surface area exposed to the air. In winter, the plates are the same temperature as the ambient air. In the Summer, the plates have the added heat of the air and the sun.

The underside of this flat aluminum sheet (that makes up the box lid) is attached to 324 Peltier SSTEMs wired in a combination of series and parallel to boost both voltage and current. The lower side of these SSTEMs is connected to the upper layer of the thin aluminum of the cookie-sheet sandwich. This cookie-sheet has a sealed cavity that will be later filled with a fluid. The lower side of this cookie sheet is pressed against the metal side of a stack of three inch thick sheets of Tyvek house insulation. The sides and edges of all of these layers is also surrounded by the Tyvek insulation.

I then poured 100% pure car antifreeze into the tank on the copper up/down tubes. I had to use a pump to force the antifreeze down to the coils and back up thru the cookie sheet back to the tank. I ran the pump for about 6 hours to make sure that there was no trapped air anywhere in the system. The tank acted like an expansion tank to keep the entire pipe free of any trapped air. The antifreeze was the thick kind – almost like syrup – that would not freeze at any temperature and carried more heat than water would.

It actually began to work very fast. The top of the large flat hollow sheet had filled with fluid and it got cold from the ambient air. This cooled the antifreeze and the cold fluid wants to sink down the DOWN pipe to the sunken coils at the bottom of the hole. The coils meanwhile were heating the fluid down there to 54 degrees and that wanted to rise up the UP pipe. As soon as the heated fluid got up to the top, it cooled in the hollow sheet and sank down the DOWN tube again. This is called dynamic convective thermal fluid circulation or some just call it thermal siphoning.

The transfer of heat up to the surface creates a continuous temperature differential across the plates of the Peltier SSTEMs and then they create about 160 volts of DC electricity at about 0.5 amps or about 80 watts of electricity. I needed to use a solar panel controller to manage the power back to a usable 12 to 14 volts to charge a bank of batteries. But I am not done yet.

I added a second flat aluminum sheet on top of the corrugated aluminum- like a sandwich. This added to the surface area to help with heat dissipation but it also was to allow me attach 100 piezoelectric vibrators. These small thin 1.5″ diameter disks give off a strong vibration when as little as 0.5 volts are applied to them but they can take voltages up to 200 volts. They were 79 cents each from a surplus electronic online store and I bought 100 of them and spaced them in rows on the aluminum lid. Along each row, I placed a small tube of homemade piezoelectric crystals. I’m still experimenting with these crystals but I found that a combination of Rochelle salt and sucrose work pretty well but more importantly, I can make these myself. I’d rather use quartz or topaz but that would cost way too much.

The crystal cylinders have embedded wires running along their length and are aligned along the rows of piezoelectric vibrators. They are held in place and pressured onto the vibrators by a second corrugated aluminum sheet. This gives a multi-layer sandwich that will collectively create electricity.

One batch of the SSTEMs is wired to the 100 piezoelectric vibrators while the rest of the SSTEMs feed the solar controller to charge the batteries. I had to fiddle with how many SSTEMs it took to power the vibrators since they will work with a very small amount but they do a better job if they are powered at a higher level.

The vibrators cause a rapid oscillation in the cylinders of Rochelle salt and sucrose which in turn give off very high frequency, high voltage electricity. Because the bank of cylinders is wired in both series and parallel, I get about 1,500 volts at just over 200 milliamps, or about 300 watts of usable electricity.

It takes an agile-tuned filter circuit to take that down to a charging current for the batteries. I tried to make such a device but found a military surplus voltage regulator from an old prop-driven aircraft did the job. This surplus device gave me an initial total at a continuous 13.5 volts DC of about 22 amps charging power fed into a bank of deep cycle AGM batteries.

I found that the piezo vibrators had a secondary and very unexpected positive benefit. Since the vibration was also felt in the circulating antifreeze and the SSTEMs, it seems to have made them function more efficiently. There is more heat transfer in the dynamic convective thermal fluid circulation than the normal formulas and specs would dictate but I think it is because the vibration of the fluid makes the thermal transfer in the cookie sheet panel more efficient. The SSTEMs are boosted in output by several watts of power. So when everything is running, I am getting about 340 watts of charging power on a continuous basis. Of course this fluctuates as the temperature differential changes but I rarely get less than 250 watts and sometimes as high as 400 watts.

A local recreational vehicle (RVs, trailers, campers, boats) dealer removes the very large deep cycle AGM batteries from their high-end RVs’ solar systems even when they have been used very little. He lets me test and pick the ones I want and sells them for $20. I have 24 of them now that are banked to charge off the thermal and piezoelectric devices and then feed into several inverters that give me power for lights, heaters, fans, freezers, TV’s etc. The inverters I use now give me up to 5,000 watts continuous and up to 12,000 watts of surge (for up to 2 hours) but I have set the limit of surge to 9,000 watts so I do not damage the batteries. The 24 deep cycle batteries could give me 5,000 watts continuously for up to several days without any further charging but so far, I have found that I am using only about 25% to 35% of the system capacity for about 80% of the time and about 80% of the capacity for 20% of the time. The high usage comes from when the freezer or refrigerator compressors kick on and when the heater boiler pumps kick on. As soon as these pumps start and get up to speed, the load drops back to a much lower value. The rest of the time, I am just using CFL and LED lights and my computer.

I finished this setup in September of 2011 and it worked better and better as the winter temperatures dropped in November and December. I had to make one adjustment. The piezo vibrators made too much noise and the aluminum plates made them sound even louder. I have since added some noise dampening and now I can’t hear it unless I am outside and standing near it. The dampening I used was two 4’x8’ sheets of thick heavy-duty foam used to put in horse and cattle stalls to keep the animals from standing on freezing cold ground. These were $30 each and have isolated the sheets from the wood and metal frame but still allows the vibrators to do their thing on the piezo tubes and the cookie sheet SSTEMs.

I have lots of meters and gauges on the system to monitor temperatures and power outputs and levels and so far nothing seems to be fading or slowing. There are slight changes in the charge levels of the batteries due to changes in the ambient air temperature but that has been less than +/- 10% so far. I was concerned that the cold antifreeze would freeze the water around the sunken coils but so far that has not happened. I think it is because there is a fairly rapid turnover of water at that depth and the coils just don’t have a chance to get that cold.

I’m also going to experiment with rewiring the whole thing to give me perhaps 60 volts output into the bank of batteries that are wired in series to make a 60 volt bank. This is the way that electric cars are wired and I have obtained a controller out of a Nissan Leaf that uses a bank of batteries in a 60 volt configuration. It should be more efficient.

The whole system cost me about $950 in batteries, fittings, hoses and chemicals and a lot of salvage of used and discarded parts. I already had the inverters and solar controller. I also had a friend that drilled the hole for me – that would have cost about $400. The rest I got out of salvage yards or stripped off old appliances or cars. It took about 3 weeks to build, working part time and weekends. I estimate that if you had to pay for all of the necessary parts and services to build the system; it would cost about $3,000. By the end of next year, I will have saved about half that much in electricity. As it is, I will have a full payback by about March of 2013.

I still have a hookup to the city power lines but since installing this system, I have used only about 10 kilowatts. I think that was mostly when I used my arc welder and did not want to suck too much out of the batteries. A side benefit has also been that since September, when I first started using it, there have been 4 power outages – one lasted for two days….for my neighbors. I never lost power.

I have not done it yet but I can also setup an electric meter that allows me to sell electricity back to the power company. When I integrate this whole system with my solar PV array, I might do that but for now, I can store unused power in the batteries for later use and since I won’t run out of fuel, I don’t need to recover any extra ongoing costs.

Since this system has no expendable fuel, no moving parts, no maintenance and no costs, I expect it will be functional for the next 15 to 20 years – maybe longer. Actually, I can’t think of why it will ever stop working.

Sept 2012 Update:

This system has been running for a year now. My power company monthly bill is averaging about $28/mo. But it goes lower almost every month. I am still running several AC units during the summer and have used ARC welding and electric heaters in the winter.

My estimate of costs and maintenance was a little optimistic as I discovered my 79 cent piezo vibrators were worth every penny – they lasted about 6 months. I have since replaced them with a bunch of salvaged parts used in claxon alarms on board Navy ships. These normally run on 28 volts but I did not need them to be loud so I found that if I fed them with 4 volts, I got the vibration I needed without the noise and they are so under-powered that they will likely last for years.

During the Spring and Fall, the system was not too productive because the temperature differential was usually less than 10 degrees but in the hottest part of the summer, I was back up to over 300 watts of total output with differentials of 20+ degrees between the 50 degree ground and the 70 to 85 degree summer heat.

I was not hit by the floods of last Spring but my place in the woods experienced torrential rains and the water table rose to nearly the surface. In all that my system continued to work – in fact, I noticed a slight improvement in performance since the temperature exchange rate improved with the heavy flow of underground water.

I still have not hooked up to a reversing electric meter but I did calculate that I would have made a net $290 over the past year instead of paying out $28/mo average. If I added in my solar PV system, my small $400 vertical wind generator and the 60 to 100 watts I get from a tiny hydroelectric setup I have on a small steam that runs thru my property, I would have had a net gain of over $1,000. Not bad for a bunch of junk and surplus parts and a little help from the dirt under my lawn.

My Bathtub – My Fountain of Youth

I have written many times that I spend quite a bit of time at my place in BC, Canada. It is an isolated place that was carved out of an existing cave in a rock face near a lake. I have added a lot of my power generation gadgets and installed lots of technology to give me all the comforts of home while being miles from the nearest town (by road). Actually, New Denver is only a few miles away, across the lake. I had a Cessna 206h with pontoons until last year and then I traded up to a Berive Be-103 Snipe. It’s a twin engine 6 seater that gives me increased range and speed to fly back to the states. I liked the reversible props for water and ice control and opted for the radar, extra fuel tanks and autopilot. I can go over 1,000 miles in one hop at 120 kts. It’s a great plane, even though it is Russian.

The living space in BC is a large natural cave that I expanded it significantly and added poured concrete floors to level it. I have 14 different rooms; the largest is about 30 feet long and 40 feet wide with a 25-foot ceiling. Most of the cave is carved out of hard stone but when I was building in it, I tapped into a fresh water spring that was flowing in a rather well defined channel through the stone. I maintained the natural channel – even enhanced it – but tapped into the water to fill a massive cistern that is carved into the rock wall, high up in the cave. This gives me a huge water supply (over 2,000 gals) and also creates the gravity-flow water pressure for the sinks, hot tub, showers and my favorite, the soaking tub.

The water actually tastes a little weird so for drinking and cooking, I run it through a bubbling ionizer that bubbles a constant flow of negative ion air through the water. This has a great filtering effect as well as purifying it of all bacteria and other stuff. There is also a larger version of the ionizer in the cistern.

The hot tub and the soaking tub are carved out of the stone but I bored and drilled into both to give me bubblers and water jet outlets. I’ve been using both for about 18 years now and love it but recently I found out it may be better than I ever thought it could be.

I have always been thought by others to be younger than my real age. I always assumed it was just luck and good genes but about a year ago, a doctor told me that I was way past just being young looking. I had the skin and organ function of a man 30 or more years younger than my real age. I feel fine for someone that was in college when Kennedy got shot so I figured he was just being kind but he wanted to run some tests. He did and came back and said that I was a real medical miracle and that he wanted to do a paper on me. I said I’d cooperate but I did not want to be identified in the study. He agreed.

I won’t bore you with the details of the tests and results but suffice it to say that I was the source of a lot of interest in a relatively narrow medical field that is into longevity and life span studies. After testing me for 6 months and then coming to my two residences and testing everything I eat and touch, I got the report last week. It seems that my two tubs and the spring water at the cave are partially the cause of my good fortune. The water has a very high content of magnesium bicarbonate. Just since 2002, there has been a lot of interest in magnesium bicarbonate following a study done in Australia in which they studied cows and sheep that were living 30% to 45% longer than normal and were able to continue to have normal offspring, even into their advanced years. After a two-year study, it was determined that it was the water that was high in magnesium bicarbonate. Look it up, you’ll see that there is now a commercial company that is selling the water from the ranch that the cows had been drinking.

I have not only been drinking this water for the past 18 years but have been bathing and soaking in it on a regular basis. I seem to have lucked out and as a result may end up living to be a lot older than I ever expected to. I think this is a good thing.

Run Silent, Fast and Undetectable – US Navy Submarines

An old 1955 movie was called “Run Silent, Run Deep”, about the US Navy’s submarine service in WWII. Our subs today are quite different and as you will see, a new movie might be named “Run Silent, Run Fast, Invisibly”. Subs today go faster than you would imagine, quieter than anyone thought possible and – thanks to a contribution I made 15 years ago – they are now almost invisible. My small part had to do with the stealth aspects of subs. The exact nature of stealth technology is a secret and I, for one, will not give it away but I can tell you something about it. But first, I have to explain a little about the technology.

Imagine you have a very large bundle of sewing needles. Tens of thousands of them. Now imagine you can set them all upright, with their pointy ends pointing up and pushed together as close as they can get. If you then looked down on those pointy ends, it would look very black. The reason is that the light on the sides near the points reflects inward and keeps reflecting as it bounces further and further down into the mass of needles. Officially, this is called, “the angle of incidence (the incoming light) equals the angle of reflection (the bounced light). With each reflection, a little of the light energy is absorbed and converted to heat. Because of the shape and angle of the needles, the light never reflects back outward thus making it appear to be totally black. In physics, this is called a “black body”.

This is essentially what stealth technology is like only at a microscopic scale. Aircraft are painted with a special kind of paint that has tiny but densely packed little pointy surfaces that act just like those needles. When radar hits the aircraft, the paint absorbs all of the radar’s energy and lets none reflect back to the enemy receiver. When no radar reflection is seen, it is assumed that there is nothing out there to be seen.

Sonar for subs works pretty much the same as radar but instead of radio frequency (RF) energy, it uses sound. Sound is emitted and a reflection is heard. This is called active sonar. Because subs are relatively noisy in the water, it is also possible to just listen for their noise and then figure out what direction the noise is coming from. That is called passive sonar. The props, engine noise and just the water rushing over and around the sub makes noise. The faster you go, the more these things make more and louder noise.

Despite their best efforts at sub design, even our subs create some sounds and they are, of course, going to reflect an active sonar bing when that is used. However, the US is the worlds best at creating very quiet subs. It is mostly because of the secret design of the props that are able to turn fast but not create cavitation – which makes a lot of noise underwater. Flush mounted hatches and even screw heads also make our subs quiet. In the 1960’s and 70’s, going over 15 knots under water was like screaming, “here I am”. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, we could go up to 25 knots in relative silence. The latest subs – built or being built – can go over 35 knots and still remain mostly quiet.

That means that the enemy has to use active sonar to try to find them and that gives away the enemy’s position. At that point, they become easy targets.

Pushing a 400 foot long sub underwater at 35 knots is no easy chore but due to some amazing designs in the hull shape and the power plant and props, that is nowhere near the limit of the potential speed possible. Our subs could do as much as 85 knots underwater (that’s nearly 100 MPH!) but they would sound like a freight train and would create a wake large enough to be visible from space. Since stealth is the primary tactic of subs, that kind of speed was simple not reasonable….until now.

While I was at NRL, I presented a paper on how to create a totally quiet sub. Even if it were producing a lot of mechanical or hydroaction noise, my method would make it totally silent. More importantly, it would also completely hide the sub even from active sonar bings.

The advantages of this are significant. In a combat environment, going slow to keep the sub quiet also makes it linger in dangerous areas longer but going fast makes it easier to locate and track. Being able to launch weapons and then move very fast out of the area in total silence – even to active sonar – would be a game changer for submarine warfare.

Since I was a former pilot and worked in an entirely different department from the sub guys, the first reaction to my suggestion was “Yeah, Right – a flyboy is going to tell us how to make a sub quiet”. That was back in 1998. I recently found out that the latest sub, the Virginia, SSN-774, incorporates my design in an applied active acoustic quietness system that they now call Seawolf. When I contacted some old NRL friends and asked them about it, they were reluctant to talk about it until I started quoting my research paper from 1998. They said, “YOU wrote that paper!” Then they began to tell me the whole story.

It seems that my paper sat in files for six months before it was read by someone that understood and recognized it for what it could do. After a few preliminary computer models and some lab scale experiments, they were able to get funding for some major research and within a three months, they were proposing to incorporate the idea into the next class of subs. That was in early 2000. It was decided to incorporate the design into the last sub in the Seawolf class of subs – SSN-23, the USS Jimmy Carter. It proved to be effective but the SSN-23 was mostly a test bed for further development and a modified design was planned for the next class – the USS Virginia. After seeing how effective it was, the entire rest of the Seawolf class of subs was cancelled so that all the efforts could be put into the Virginia class with this new technology. My design was improved; named after the Seawolf class where it’s design was finalized and retrofitted into the Virginia before it was turned over to the Navy in 2004.

Soon after this discussion, I was invited to a party of the sub guys down near Groton. Since I was still at my Vermont residence, I figured, why not. I could go to my Canada residence right after the party. So last September; I flew my plane down to Elizabeth Field at the southwest end of Fishers Island. The sub guys from Groton had a nice retreat on the island at the end of Equestrian Ave. After I arrived, I was shown to a room upstairs in the large house and told to meet in the Great Room at 5PM. When I went down to the party, I got a huge surprise. I was the guest of honor and the party was being thrown for me.

It seems that they lost the cover page to my original 1998-research paper and never knew who wrote it. Several people at NRL had suggested that it was mine but they were sure that it had to have come from one of their own sub community guys but could never find the right one. When I sent someone a copy I had kept, they determined that I was the original author and deserved the recognition. It seems that my idea has actually been a game changer for the entire submarine warfare community in both tactics and strategy as well as hull design, combat operations, even weapons design. I was apparently quite a hero and did not even know it.

I enjoyed the party and met a lot of my old NRL buddies that were now admirals or owners of major corporations or renowned research scientists within select circles of mostly classified technologies. I got a lot of details about how they had implemented my idea and about some of the mostly unexpected side benefits that I had suggested might be possible in my paper. It was humbling and almost embarrassing to be honored for an idea that was now 15 years old and was mostly refined and developed by a host of other researchers. I began looking forward to getting on to my Canada retreat.

Two days later, I flew out for BC, Canada with a large handful of new contacts, renewed old contacts and lots of new ideas and details of new technologies that were being developed. I also ended up receiving several offers to do some research and computer modeling for some problems and developing technologies that some of the partygoers needed help on. I’ll probably end up with a sizable income for the next few years as a result of that party.

I suppose you’re interested in what exactly was this fantastic technology I designed way back in 1998 that has proved to be so popular in 2012. It was actually a pretty simple concept. Most techies have heard of noise-canceling headphones. They work by sensing a noise and then recreating an identical sounding noise with a phase shift of 180 degrees. When a sound is blended with the same sound but phase shifted by 180 degrees, what you get is total silence. This works very well in the confined and controlled environment of a headphone but was thought to be impossible to recreate in an open environment of air or water. I simple created a computer model that used a Monte Carlo iterative algorithm that quantified the location, intensity, lag time, and other parameters for an optimum installation on a sub. It took the super computers at NRL several hours to refine a design of placement, power, sensors and other hardware and temporal design aspects but when it was done, I was surprised at the degree of efficiency that it was theoretically possible to achieve. I wrote all this into my 1998 paper, mostly out of the hopes that my computer model would be used and I could get another project funded.

My paper included a reference to where and how to run my model on the NRL computers and eventually, it was used as their primary design optimization tool for what would later be called the Seawolf Acoustic Quieting and Stealth System (SAQ-SS). The actual modeling software I created and left on the NRL computers began being called SAQ, which got shortened to pronouncing it as “SACK”. As it developed and got seen by more people and they saw the side benefits on the whole stealth effect, it was called SAQ-SS, which evolved into “SACKSS”, then into SAQ-SaS and into SACK-SAS and was eventually called the “SUCCESS” system.

Those side benefits I keep referring to are worth mentioning. When an active sonar bing or sound wave front is detected by the SAQ system, it activates a hull mounted sound modulator that causes the hull itself to act as a giant speaker or transducer to initiate a response wave form that is 180 degrees out of sync from the incoming sound. This effectively nulls out the sound. The same happens for sounds created by the mechanics of the sub that is passed by conduction to the hull. In this case, the hull is modulated so that it completely absorbs any sounds that might otherwise pass through it to the water.

Another side benefit is that the SAQ system created the opportunity, for the first time, for the sub commander to “see” directly behind his own sub. In the past, the noise from the prop, the engine and the distortion of the water because of the prop wash; the rear of the sub was a blind spot. To see back there, the sub had to make wide slow turns to the left and right or they had to drag a towed array – sort of a remote sonar – on a cable behind the sub. Despite having rear facing torpedo tubes, the sub could not effectively use active or passive sonar for about 30 degrees astern. This, of course, was the approach of any hunter-killer subs that wanted to get a sure-fire launch at another sub target. Because of the hull nullification and the ambient noise cancellation of the SAQ system, the aft facing sensors and sonar’s now are very effective at both detection and fire control for torpedo launch. There is still some loss of resolution as compared with any other direction due to the water disturbance in the prop wash but a good sonar operator can compensate.

The final side benefit of the SAQ system is that, for the first time, it allows a sub to travel as fast as it is capable of going, even in a confined combat environment, without being detected. It was this benefit that led to the immediate cancellation of the remaining balance of the Seawolf class of subs and go directly to the Virginia class. Using a design similar to a jetski engine, called a Propulsor or jet pump, the Virginia is capable of speeds far in excess of any of its predecessors. Despite very high speeds, the Virginia class of subs will be undetectable by sonar – allowing it to move as fast as the engine can push it. Exact speeds and limits of depth of all US Navy subs is highly classified but prototype tests on the USS Jimmy Carter reached 67 knots or about 78 MPH and that was before enhancements and design changes were made. My guess is that the SSN-774 and its sister boats will be able to exceed 90 MPH when fully submerged – perhaps over 100 MPH.

The current version of the SAQ system is so effective that when it was tested in war-games against surface ships and P-3 ASW aircraft, it created a huge argument that had to be resolved by the CNO of the Navy. The USS Virginia was able to simulate the kill of all 19 ships in the exercise without being detected by any of them or by any ASW aircraft or helo. The squadron commanders of the S3 and P3 aircraft and the captains of the ASW destroyers filed formal complaints against the sub commanders for cheating during the exercise. They claimed that there was no sub anywhere in the exercise area and that the simulated kills were all as a result of cheating in the exercise computer models. The fighting between the aircraft, surface and sub communities was so fierce that the CNO had to call a major conference to calm everyone down and explain what and how the exercise went the way it did.

I am pleased that my idea from 15 years ago was eventually found to be valid and that I have contributed in some manner to our security and ability to meet any threat.

The Aurora Exists but Its Not What You Think

The Aurora is the new jet that people have been saying is the replacement for the SR-71- it is real but it isn’t what you’d think it is. First a little history.

The U-2 spy plane was essentially a jet powered glider. It had very long wings and a narrow body that could provide lift with relatively little power. It used the jet engine to take it very high into the air and then it would throttle back to near idle and stay aloft for hours. The large wings were able to get enough lift in the high thin air of the upper atmosphere partly because it was a very light weight plane for its size. Back in the early 60’s, being high was enough protection but still allowed the relatively low resolution spy cameras to take good photos of the bad guys.

When Gary Powers’ U-2 got shot down, it was because the Soviets had improved their missile technology in both targeting and range and because, we gave the Russians details about the flight – but that is another story. The US stopped the U-2 flights but immediately began working on a replacement. Since shear altitude was no longer a defense, they opted for speed and the SR-71 was born. Technically, the SR-71 (Blackbird) was not faster than the missiles but, because of its speed (about Mach 3.5) and its early attempt at stealth design, by the time they had spotted the spy plane and coordinated with a missile launch facility, it was out of range of the missiles.

The CIA and the Air Force used the Blackbird until the early 1980’s when it was retired for spying and used only for research. At the time, the official word for why it was retired was that satellite and photographic technology had advanced to the point of not needing it any more. That is only partially correct. A much more important reason is that the Russians had new missiles that could shoot down the SR-71. By this time, Gorbachev was trying to mend relations with the west and trying to move Russia into a more internationally competitive position so he openly told Regan that he had the ability to shoot down the SR-71 before he actually tried to do it. Regan balked so Gorbachev conducted a “military exercise” in the Spring of 1981 in which the Russians made sure that the US was monitoring one of their old low orbit satellites and then during a phone call to Regan, the satellite was “disabled” – explosively.

At the time it was not immediately clear how they had done it but it wasn’t long before the full details were known. A modified A-60 aircraft code named “SOKOL-ESHELON,” which translates to “Falcon Echelon”, flying out of Beriev airfield at Taganrog, shot down the satellite with an airborne laser. When Regan found out the details, he ordered the Blackbird spy missions to stop but he demanded that Gorbachev give him some assurances that the A-60 would not be developed into an offensive weapon. Gorbachev arranged for an “accident” in which the only operational A-60 was destroyed by a fire and the prototype and test versions were mothballed and never flew again.

The spy community – both the CIA and DoD – did not want to be without a manned vehicle spy capability so they almost immediately began researching a replacement. In the meantime, the B-1, B-2 and B-117 stealth aircraft were refined and stealth technology was honed to near perfection. The ideal spy aircraft would be able to fly faster than the SR-71, higher than the U-2 and be more invisible than the B117 but it also had to have a much longer loiter time over the targets or it would not be any better than a satellite.

These three requirements were seen to be mutually exclusive for a long time. The introduction and popularity of unmanned autonomous vehicles also slowed progress but both the CIA and DoD wanted a manned spy plane. The CIA wanted it to be able to loft more sophisticated equipment into the complex monitoring of a dynamic spy situation. DoD wanted it to be able to reliably identify targets and then launch and guide a weapon for precision strikes. For the past 30 years, they have been working on a solution.

They did create the Aurora which uses the most advanced stealth technology along with the latest in propulsion. This, at least satisfied two of the ideal spy plane requirements. It started with a very stealthy delta-wing design using an improved design of the SR-71 engines, giving it a top speed of about Mach 4.5 and a ceiling of over 80,000 feet but that was seen as still too vulnerable. In 2004, following the successful test of NASA’s X-43 scramjet reaching Mach 9.8 (about 7,000 MPH), DoD decided to put a scramjet on the Aurora. Boeing had heard that DoD was looking for a fast spy jet and they attempted to bust into the program with their X-51a but DoD wanted to keep the whole development secret so they dismissed Boeing and pretended there was no such interest in that kind of aircraft. Boeing has been an excluded outsider ever since.

In 2007, DARPA was testing a Mach10 prototype called the HyShot – which actually was the test bed for the engine planned for the Aurora. It turns out that there are a lot technological problems to overcome that made it hard to resolve a working design in the post-2008 crashed economy and with the competition from the UAV’s while also trying to keep the whole development secret. They needed to get more money and find somewhere to test that was not being watched by a bunch of space cadets with tin foil hats that have nothing better to do than hang around Area 51, Vandenberg and Nellis.

DoD solved some of these issues by bringing in some resources from the British and got NASA to foot some of the funding. This lead to the flight tests of the HiFire in 2009 and 2010 out of the Woomera Test Range in the outback of South Australia. The HiFire achieved just over 9,000 MPH but it also tested a new fuel control system that was essentially the last barrier to production in the Aurora. They used a pulsed laser to ignite the fuel while maintaining the hypersonic flow of the air-fuel mixture. They also tested the use of high velocity jets of compressed gas into the scramjet to get it started. These two innovations allowed the transition from the two conventional jet engines to the single scramjet engine to occur at a lower speed (below Mach5) while also making the combination more efficient at very high altitudes. By late 2010, the Aurora was testing the new engines in the Woomera Test Range and making flights in the 8,000 to 9,700 MPH range.

During this same period, the stealth technology was refined to the point that the Aurora has a RCS (radar cross-section) of much less than 1 square foot. This means that it has about the radar image of a can of soda and that is way below the threshold of detection and identification of most radars today. It can fly directly into a radar saturated airspace and not be detected. Because of its altitude and speed and the nature of the scramjet, it has an undetectable infrared signature also and it is too high to hear audibly. It is, for allintents and purposes, invisible.

This solved two of the three spy plane criteria but they still had not achieved a long loiter time. Although the scramjet is relatively fuel efficient, it really is only useful for getting to and from the surveillance site. Once over the spy area, the best strategy is to fly as slow as possible. Unfortunately, wings that can fly at Mach 10 to Mach 12 cannot support the aircraft at much slower speeds – especially in the thin air at 80,000 feet.

Here is where the big surprise pops up. Thanks to the guys at NRL and a small contribution I made to a computer model, the extended loiter time problem was something that they began working on back in 2007. It started back when they retrofitted the HyShot engine into the Aurora, then NRL convinced the DARPA program manager to also retrofit the delta wings of the Aurora with a swing capability, similar to the F-14 TomCat. The result would be a wing that expands like a folding Japanese fan. In fast flight mode, the wing would be tucked into the fuselage making the aircraft look like the long tapered blade of a stiletto knife. In slow flight mode, the wings would fan out to wider than an equilateral triangle with a larger wing surface area.

As with any wing, it is a compromise design of flying fast and slow. The swing wing gave the Aurora a range increase from reduced drag while using the scramjet. It also allowed the wing loading to be expanded slightly giving it more lift at slower speeds and in thinner air. However, most of the engineers on the project agreed that these gains were relatively minor and it was not worth the added cost in building and maintenance. This was not a trivial decision as it also added weight and took up valuable space in the fuselage that was needed to put in the modified scramjet and added fuel storage. Outside of NRL, only two people were told why they needed to do this wing modification and how it could be done. Those two were enough to get the funding and NRL won the approval to do it.

What NRL had figured out was how to increase lift on the extended wing by a factor of 10 or more over a conventional wing. This was such a huge increase that the aircraft could shut off its scramjet and run one or both of its conventional jet engines at low idle speeds and still stay aloft – even at extreme altitudes. Normally, this would require a major change in wing shape and size to radically change the airfoil’s coefficient of lift of the wing but then the wing would be nearly useless for flying fast. A wing made to fold from one type wing (fast) to another (slow) would also be too complex and heavy to use in a long-range recon role. The solution that NRL came up with was ingenious and it turns out it partly used a technology that I worked on earlier when I was at NRL.

They designed a series of bladders and chambers in the leading edge of the wing that could be selectively expanded by pumping in hydraulic fluid and expanding these bladders to alter the shape of the wing from a near symmetric chambered foil to that of a high lift foil. More importantly, it also allowed for a change in the angle of attack (AoA) and therefore, the coefficient of lift. They could achieve AoA change without altering the orientation of the entire aircraft – this kept drag very low. This worked well and would be enough if they were at a lower altitude but in the thin air at 80,000+ feet, the partial vacuum created by the wing is weakened by the thin air. To solve that, they devised a way to create a much more powerful vacuum above the wing.

When they installed the swing-wing, there were also some additions to some plumbing between the engines and the wing’s suction surface (upper surface, at the point of greatest thickness). This plumbing consisted of very small and lightweight tubing that mixes methane and other gases from an on-board cylinder with super heated and pressurized jet fuel to create a very high volatile mix that is then fed to special diffusion nozzles that are strategically placed on the upper wing surface. The nozzles atomize the mixture into a fine mist and spray it under high pressure into the air above the wing. The nozzles and the pumped fuel mixture are timed to stagger in a checkerboard pattern over the surface of the wing. This design causes the gas to spread in an even layer across the length of the wing but only for about 2 or 3 inches above the surface.

A tiny spark igniter near each nozzle causes the fuel to burn in carefully timed bursts. The gas mixture is especially designed to rapidly consume the air in the burning – creating a very high vacuum. While the vacuum peaks at one set of nozzles, another set of nozzles are fired. The effect is a little like a pulse jet in that it works in a rapid series of squirt-burn-squirt-burn repeated explosions but they occur so fast that they blend together creating an even distribution of enhanced vacuum across the wing.

You would think that traveling at high Mach speeds would simply blow the fuel off the wing before it could have any vacuum effect. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Due to something called the laminar air flow effect, the relative speed of the air moving above the wing gets slower and slower as you get closer to the wing. This is due to the friction of the wing-air interface and results in a remarkable slow relative air movement within 1 to 3 inches of the wing. This unique trick of physics was known as far back as WWII when crew members on B-29’s, flying at 270 knots, would stick their heads out of a hatch and scan for enemy fighters with binoculars. If they kept within about 4 or 5 inches of the outer fuselage surface, the only effect was that they would get their hair blow around. The effect on the Aurora was to keep the high vacuum in close contact with the optimum lifting surface of the wing.

Normally, the combination of wing shape and angle of attack, creates a pressure differential above and below the wing of only 3 to 5 percent. The entire NRL design creates a pressure differential of more than 35% and a coefficient of lift that is controllable between .87 and 9.7. This means that with the delta wing fully extended; the wing shape bladders altering the angle of attack and the wing surface burn nozzles changing the lift coefficient, the Aurora can fly at speeds as low as 45 to 75 MPH without stalling – even at very high altitudes.

At the same time, it is capable of reducing the angle of attack and reshaping the wing into a chambered wing (a very thin symmetric) shape and then sweeping the delta wing into a small fraction of its extended size so that it can achieve Mack 15 under scramjet power. For landing and takeoff and for subsonic flight, it can adjust the wing for optimum fuel or performance efficiency while using the conventional jet engines.

My cohorts at NRL tell me that the new version of the Aurora is now making flights from the Woomera Test Range in the outback of South Australia to Johnston Atoll (the newest test flight center for black ops aircraft and ships) – a distance of 5,048 miles – in just over 57 minutes – which included the relatively slow speed climb to 65,000 feet. The Aurora then orbited over Johnson Atoll for 5 ½ hours before flying back to Woomera. In another test, the Aurora left Woomera loaded with fuel and a smart bomb. It flew to Johnson Atoll and orbited for 7 hours before a drone target ship was sent out from shore. It was spotted by the Aurora pilot and then bombed by the laser-guided bomb and then the pilot returned to Woomera.

I was also told that at least three of the precision strikes of Al Quida hideouts were, in fact, hit by the Aurora and then credited to a UAV in order to maintain the cover.

The Aurora is the fastest and the slowest highest altitude spy aircraft ever made and if the pilots don’t make a mistake, you may never see it.

The Problems with Cosmology

Why the Universe does NOT add up!

In 2008, Lead re­search­er Al­ex­an­der Kash­lin­sky of NASA’s God­dard Space Flight Cen­ter in Green­belt, and his team, completed a study of three years of da­ta from a NASA sat­el­lite, the Wilkin­son Mi­cro­wave An­i­sot­ro­py Probe (WMAP) using the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect. They found evidence of a common motion of dis­tant clus­ters of ga­lax­ies of at least 600 km/s (2 million miles per hour) toward a 20-degree patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.

 

Kash­lin­sky and col­leagues sug­gest what­ev­er is pulling on the mys­te­ri­ously mov­ing gal­axy clus­ters might lay out­side the vis­i­ble uni­verse.  Telescopes cannot see events earlier than about 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) formed; this corresponds to a distance of about 46 billion (4.6×1010) light years. Since the matter causing the net motion in Kash­lin­sky’s proposal is outside this range, it would appear to be outside our visible universe.

Kash­lin­sky teamed up with oth­ers to iden­ti­fy some 700 clus­ters that could be used to de­tect the ef­fect. The as­tro­no­mers de­tected bulk clus­ter mo­tions of nearly two mil­lion miles per hour, to­ward a 20-degree patch of sky be­tween the con­stella­t­ions of Cen­tau­rus and Ve­la. Their mo­tion was found to be con­stant out to at least about one-tenth of the way to the edge of the vis­i­ble uni­verse.

 

Kash­lin­sky calls this col­lec­tive mo­tion a “dark flow,” in ana­logy with more fa­mil­iar cos­mo­lo­g­i­cal mys­ter­ies: dark en­er­gy and dark mat­ter. “The dis­tri­bu­tion of mat­ter in the ob­served uni­verse can­not ac­count for this mo­tion,” he said.

According to standard cosmological models, the motion of galaxy clusters with respect to the cosmic microwave background should be randomly distributed in all directions.  The find­ing con­tra­dicts con­ven­tion­al the­o­ries, which de­scribe such mo­tions as de­creas­ing at ev­er great­er dis­tances: large-scale mo­tions should show no par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion rel­a­tive to the back­ground.  If the Big Bang theory is correct, then this should not happen so we must conclude that either (1) their measurements are wrong or (2) the big bang theory is wrong. Since they have measured no small movement (2 million MPH) by 700 galaxy clusters all moving in the same direction, it seems unlikely that their observations are wrong. So that leaves us to conclude perhaps the whole big bang theory is wrong.

 

In fact, there are numerous indicators that our present generally accepted theory of the universe is wrong and has been wrong all along.   Certainly our best minds are trying to make sense of the universe but when we can’t do so, we make up stuff to account for those aspects we cannot explain.

 

For instance, current theory suggests that the universe is between 13.5 and 14 billion years old.  This was developed from the Lambda-CDM Concordance model of the expansion evolution of the universe and is strongly supported by high-precision astronomical observations such as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP).  However, Kash­lin­sky’s team calculates that the source of the dark flow appears to be at least 46.5 billion light years away.  That would make it three times older than the known universe!  Whatever it is would have to be more than 30 billion years older than the Big Bang event.

 

Or perhaps we got it all wrong.  Consider the evidence and the assumptions we have drawn from them.

 

The Big Bang is based on Big Guesses and Fudge Factors


ΛCDM or Lambda-CDM is an abbreviation for Lambda-Cold Dark Matter. It is frequently referred to as the concordance model of big bang cosmology, since it attempts to explain cosmic microwave background observations, as well as large scale structure observations and supernovae observations of the accelerating expansion of the universe. It is the simplest known model that is in general agreement with observed phenomena.

 

·         Λ (Lambda) stands for the cosmological constant which is a dark energy term that allows for the current accelerating expansion of the universe.  Currently, 0.74, implying 74% of the energy density of the present universe is in this form.  That is an amazing statement – that 74% of all the energy in the universe is accounted for by this dark energy concept.  This is a pure guess based on what has to be present to account for the expansion of the universe.  Since we have not discovered a single hard fact about dark energy – we don’t know what it is or what causes it or what form it takes – Lambda is a made up number that allows the math formulas to equal the observations in a crude manner.  We do not know if dark energy is a single force or the effects of multiple forces since we have no units of measure to quantify it.  It is suppose to be an expansion force that is countering the effects of gravity but it does not appear to be anti-gravity nor does it appear to be emanating from any one location or area of space.  We can observe the universe out to about 46 billion light years and yet we have not found a single observable evidence for dark energy other than its mathematical implications.

 

·         Dark matter is also a purely hypothetical factor that expresses the content of the universe that the model says must be present in order to account for why galaxies do not fly apart.   Studies show that there is not enough mass in most large galaxies to keep them together and to account for their rotational speeds, gravitational lensing and other large structure observations.  The amount of mass needed to account for the observations is not just a little bit off.  Back in 1933, Fritz Zwicky calculated that it would take 400 times more mass than is observed in galaxies and clusters to account for observed behavior.  This is not a small number.  Dark matter accounts for 22% of all of the matter in the universe.  Since Zwicky trusted his math and observations to be flawless, he concluded that there is, in fact, all the needed mass in each galaxy but we just can’t see it.  Thus was born the concept of dark matter.  Although we can see 2.71 x 10 23 miles into space, we have not yet observed a single piece of dark matter.  To account for this seemingly show-stopping fact, advocates say, “well, duh, it’s DARK matter”, you can’t SEE it!”.  However, it appears that it is not just dark but also completely transparent because areas of dense dark matter do not stop stars from being visible behind the dark matter.  So, 22% of all the mass in the universe cannot be seen, is, in fact, transparent, has never ever been observed, and does not appear to have had any direct interactions with any known mass other than the effects of gravity.

 

·         The remaining 4% of the universe consists of 3.6% intergalactic gas and just 0.4% makes up all of the matter (and energy) that makes up all the atoms (and photons) of all the visible planets and stars in the universe. 

 

ΛCDM is a model.   ΛCDM says nothing about the fundamental physical origin of dark matter, dark energy and the nearly scale-invariant spectrum of primordial curvature perturbations: in that sense, it is merely a useful parameterization of ignorance.

 

One last problem with modern cosmology.  There is a very poor agreement between quantum mechanics and cosmology.  On numerous levels and subjects, quantum mechanics does not scale up to account for cosmological observations and cosmology does not scale down to agree with quantum mechanics.  Sir Roger Penrose, perhaps one of the pre-eminent mathematicians in the world, has published numerous studies documenting the failure of our math to accurately reflect our observed universe and vice versa.  He can show hundreds of failures of math to account for observations while showing hundreds of observations that contradict the math we believe in.

 

The truth is that we have done the best we can but we should not fool ourselves that we have discovered the truth.  Much as we once believed in ether, astrology, a flat earth and the four humours – we must be willing to expand our thinking that notions like dark matter are ingenious and inventive explanations that account for observations but probably do not relate to factual and realistic natural phenomenon.

 

There is, however, a logical and quite simple explanation of all of the anomalies and observations that perplex cosmology today.  That simple explanation is described in the next report called “Future Cosmology”.

Fast Boat – No Power

 

I grew up around boats and have had several of my own – power and sail.  I also did the surfing scene in my youth but that was back when the boards were 12 feet long and weighted 65 pounds or more.  When I had a sailing sloop, I was fascinated by being able to travel without an engine.  I began experimenting with what other kinds of thrust or moving force I could use to move me over water.  I eventually came up with something that is pretty neat.

 

My first attempt was to put an electric trolling motor on my 12-foot fiberglass surfboard and a small lawn mower battery.  Later, I added a solar panel to charge the battery.  A newer one that I tried about two years ago was much larger and made enough power that I could use the motor at low speed for several hours.  I put a contoured lounge chair and two tiny outriggers on it and traveled from Mobile AL to Pensacola, FL, non-stop in one day.  I liked it but not fast enough.

 

Surfing always surprised me at how fast you can go.  Even normal ocean and Gulf waves move faster than most boats – averaging about 25 MPH.  I wanted to make a boat that could use that power.  A boat that was featured in an article in Popular Science especially motivated me.  The Suntory Mermaid II, an aluminum catamaran was built by Yutaka Terao in 2007 and has been tested.  It will sustain a speed of 5 knots using an articulated fin (foil) that is activated by the up and down motion of the boat in the waves.  This obviously works but it is slow and obviously depends on bobbing up and down.  I wanted a smoother ride and to go faster.  Much faster.  It took a few years but I did.

 

At first I took the purely scientific approach and tried to computer model the Boussinesq equations along with the hull formula and other math calculations to help design a method for keeping the boat in the optimum point on the wave.  I even got Plato to help and this gave me some background but the leap from model to design was too difficult to design and I was confident I could figure it out. 

 

What I learned is that ocean waves vary by wavelength and that varies their speed.  The USS Ramapo calculated that waves they encountered were moving at 23 meters per second and had energy of 17,000 kilowatts in one-meter length of those waves.  That is 51 miles per hour and enough energy to move a super freighter.  That is about twice as fast as the average wave.  Waves with a wavelength of about 8 meters in deep water will have a speed of about 10 m/s or about 22 miles per hour – a very respectable speed for a boat.  The energy in a wave is equal to the square of its height – so a 3m wave is 9 times more powerful than a 1m wave but even a 1 meter wave has more than enough energy to move a boat hull through the water.

 

I started with a small 21-foot motorsailer with a squared off stern and a deep draft keel.    I selected this because it had a narrow hull and had a deep draft for a boat this size.  It also had an unusual keel design – instead of a deep narrow keel, it extended from just aft of the bow, down to a draft of nearly 5 feet all the way back to the stern and then rose vertically straight up to the transom – giving an area of almost 85 square feet of keel to reduce the lateral forces of wave and wind action.

 

I installed electric motor thrusters below the waterline on the port and starboard of the stern with an intake facing down on the stern.  These were water jet thrusters I salvaged from some old outboards with bad engines.  I put in electric starter motors from cars to run the jet thrusters.  This gave me near instant yaw control so I could keep the stern of the boat facing the wave. 

 

After I got the yaw thrusters working and tested, I replaced the inefficient starter motors with brushless DC motors.  My new water jet thrusters are mounted on fore and aft look like a shrunk down version of the Azimuth Stern Drives (ASD) or “Z” drives used in ASD tugs.  The gimbaled thruster housing extends outside the hull while the BLDC motors are safely inside.

 

I then experimented with the transom/stern design and found that having a weather deck (one that could take on and empty a wave of water without sinking the boat) was essential but it could also simply be a sealed deck so that water could not get onto the deck.  I started with the former and ended with the latter.  The obvious intent is to optimize the design so as to minimize the problem of broaching – when a wave overtakes a boat and can pushes it sideways and capsizes the boat.

 

I also wanted to make sure that the pressure from the wave on the stern was strong and focused on creating thrust for the boat.  I called this addition the pushtram.  To do this I tested several shapes for a concave design of a fold-out transom (pushtram) that extended down to the bottom of the keel.  This ended up taking the shape of a tall clam-shell that could fold together to form a rudder but when opened, it presented a 4 foot wide by 5 foot deep parabolic pushing surface to for the wave. 

 

The innovation on this pushtram design came when I realized that facing the concave portion of the design toward the bow instead of aft, gave it a natural stability to keep the boat pointed in the direction of the wave travel.  As the boat points further away from being perpendicular to the wave, the pushtram exerts more and more rotational torque to direct the boat back to pointing perpendicular to the wave.  This design essentially all but eliminates the danger of broaching.

 

The lifting of the stern and plowing of the bow is also a problem so I also installed a set of louvers that closed with upward travel and opened with downward travel of the stern in the water.  This controls the pitch fore and aft of the boat as it moves in and out of the waves.  This “pitch suppressor” stuck out aft from the lower most point of the hull for about 4 feet and was reinforced with braces to the top of the transom. 

 

After some experimenting, I also added a horizontal fin (foil) under the bow that was motorized to increase its lift when the rear louvers closed tightly as controlled from a computer.  This bow-foil lift was created by a design I had developed for the US Navy that uses oil pumped into heavy rubber bladders to selectively reform the lifting (airfoil) effect of the blade.  The all-electric control could change the upper and lower cambers of the foil in less than a second.  Combined with a small change in the angle of attack (to prevent cavitation), I could go from a lift coefficient of zero to more than 10.5 (using Kutta-Joukowski’s theorem).  I also used my computer modeling to optimize laminar flow and minimize the Kutta condition, keeping the drag coefficient below 0.15.

 

The effect of this weird underwater configuration was to allow me to control the stern to keep it perpendicular to the wave front with the yaw jets and long keel.  I then used the louvers and front foil to keep the stern down and the bow up as waves pushed the boat.  The computer controller for all this was the real innovation.

 

I used eight simple ultrasonic range finders that I took from parking sensors for cars and placed them on the four sides of the ship.  Four were pointing horizontal and 4 were pointing down.  The horizontal ones gave me distance to the wave, if it was visible to that sensor and the ones pointing down gave me the freeboard or height of the deck above the water line.  I also installed a wind vane and aeronometer for wind speed and relative direction. I fed all this into a computer that then used servos and relays to control the yaw jets, foil and rudder.

 

I had modeled the management software in a simulated ocean wave environment using a Monte Carlo analysis of the variable parameters and it took four days of running but the modeling found the optimum settings and response times for various combinations of input values. I also developed settings to allow for angles other than 90 degrees to the following waves so I could put the boat on a reach to the winds.  This placed a heavy and constant load on the yaw thrusters but I found that my boat was lightweight enough to go as much as 35 to 40 degrees left and right of perpendicular to the wave front.

 

At first, I kept the sail mast and kept the inboard motor of the motorsailer but after getting more confidence in the boat’s handling, I took both off.  I do keep a drop-down outboard motor for getting in and out of the harbor. 

 

In operation, I would use the drop down outboard to get out of the harbor and into the Gulf and facing in the direction of the wave travel.  While the outboard is still running, I open up the pushtram and lower the bow-foil and aft pitch-suppressor and bring the computer online.  The software is preprogrammed to run a quick test of the thrusters and bow-foil and gives the boat a little wiggle to let me know it is all working.  I then run the outboard up to what’s needed to get me on a wave crest and then shut it down.  Within a few waves, the boat settles into the perfect location on the wave to receive the optimum benefit of the gravity, wave motion and system settings.  The end result was a boat that travels +/- 40 degrees to the direction the wind is blowing at sustained speed up to 35 knots or more all day long without using any gas.

 

Waves being as inconsistent as they are, the thrusters and bow-foil and pitch-suppressors kick in every few minutes to try to correct for a change in wave or wind direction or when I drop a wave and have to pick up another.  Between the pitch-suppressor and the pushtram, it usually only takes about 2 or 3 waves to get back up to speed again.  This happens slightly more often as I deviate from the pure perpendicular direction using the thrusters but it still keeps me moving at almost the speed of the waves for about 80 to 90% of the time.

 

I recently tested an improvement that will get me to +/- 60 degrees to the wind’s direction so I can use the boat under a wider range of wind and wave conditions.  I found that using some redesigned shapes on the pushtram, I can achieve a stable heading that is nearly 60 degrees off the wind.  The innovation came when I mixed the use of the hydraulic reshapeable bow-foil idea on the pushtram.  By using the computer to dynamically reshape the pushtram using pumped up oil bladders controlled by the computer, I can create an asymmetric parabolic shape that also creates a stable righting force at a specific angle away from the wind.

 

I also recently incorporated a program that will take GPS waypoint headings and find a compromise heading between optimum wave riding and the direction I want to go.  This was not as hard as it seems since I need only get within 60 degrees either side of the wind direction.  Using the computer, I calculate an optimum tack relative to the present wind that will achieve a specific destination.  Because it is constantly taking in new data, it is also constantly updating the tack to accommodate changes in wind and wave direction.  It gives me almost complete auto-pilot control of the boat.  I even set it up with automatic geofencing so that if the system gets too far off track or the winds are not cooperating, it sounds an alarm so I can use other power sources.

 

I began using a 120-watt solar panel that charges the batteries with a small generator for backup.  I keep a few hours of fuel in the on-board tank for the outboard in case the waves and wind die or I need to cruise the inland waterways or intercoastal.

 

Once I’m in the sweet spot of the wave and traveling at a constant speed, the ride is smooth and steady. 

 

I have found that the power of the wave is sufficient that I could have considerable additional drag and still not change my speed or stability.  I jury-rigged a paddle-wheel generator and easily produced about 300 watts of power with no changes in my computer controller or control surface settings.  This plus the solar panels now can keep up with the usage rates for the electric thrusters on most days without depleting any of the battery reserve.

 

I am now working in a drop-down APU – auxiliary power unit – which will produce all the power; I need on board with enough left over to charge some large batteries.  My plan is to then use the battery bank to eliminate the need for the outboard motor and gas.   I figure I can get about 800 watts out of the APU and can feed into a bank of 12 deep cycle batteries.  When the winds are not right, I just turn the yaw thrusters to act as main propulsion and take off.  

 

I recently took my boat on a trip from Jacksonville Fla. (Mayport), up the coast to Nags Head and then on to Cape May, NJ.   There was an Atlantic high pressure off South Carolina that was slowly moving north so I got out in it and caught the northerly winds and waves.  The total distance was about 1,100 miles.  Being retired from the US Navy, I used the launching facilities at the Mayport Naval Station to put to sea about 8AM on a Monday morning.  I pulled into the Cape May Inlet about 7:30PM on Tues.  That was just under 30 hours of wave powered travel at an average speed of about 27 knots.  Not bad for an amateur.  The best part is that I used just over two gallons of gas and most of the trip I just let the boat steer itself.

 

All the modeling in the world does not hold a candle to an hour in the real world.  I observed firsthand how frequently that the waves are always parallel to the last one and how often that they don’t all go in the same direction.  I also observed groups of waves – called the long wavelength – of waves.  The effect of all that is that the boat did not ride just one wave but lost and gained waves constantly but at irregular intervals.  Sometimes I would ride a wave for as much as 20 minutes and sometimes it was 3 or 4 minutes.  A few times, I got caught in a mix-master of waves that had no focus and had to power out with the outboard.  This prompted me to speed up my plans for installing the APU and the bank of aux batteries so I can make more use of the electric powered thrusters for main propulsion so that I could add that into the computer controller to help maintain and steady the speed.

 

I powered around to a friend’s place off Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest.  He had a boat barn with a lift that allowed me to pull my boat out of the water and change the inboard propeller shaft.  Earlier, I had taken the inboard engine out and the prop off last year but left the shaft.  This gave me tons of room because I also took out the oversize fuel tank. 

 

I salvaged one of the electric motor/generators from a crashed Prius and connected it to the existing inboard propeller shaft.  I then mounted a 21″ Solas Alcup high thrust, elephant ear propeller.  This prop is not meant for speed but it is highly efficient at medium and slow speeds.  The primary advantage of this prop is that it produces a large amount of thrust when driven at relatively slow speeds by the motor.  It also can be easily driven by water flowing past it to drive the generator.

 

I used a hybrid transmission that allows me to connect a high torque 14.7 HP motor-generators and converter to the propeller shaft and to a bank of 12 deep cycle batteries in a parallel-serial arrangement to give a high current 72 volt source.  This combination gives me a powerful thrust but also produces as much as a 50 amp current at RPMs that can readily be achieved while under wave power.

 

Now I have a powerful electric motor on the shaft and a bank of deep cycle batteries in the keel.   The motor-generator plus the solar panels and the APU easily create enough charging current to keep the batteries topped off while still giving me about 5 hours of continuous maximum speed electric power with no other energy inputs.  However, in the daytime, with the solar panels and APU working, I can extend running time to about 9 hours.  If I have wave powered travel for more 6 hours out of every 24, I can run nearly non-stop.

 

 I am now working on a refined controller for all these changes.  The plan is to have the motor kick on if the speed drops below a preset limit.  The computer will also compute things like how fast and how far I can travel under electric power using only the batteries, solar panels, APU and motor-generator in various combinations.  I’ll also be adding a vertical axis wind turbine that I just bought.  It produces nearly 1 kW and is only 9 feet tall and 30″ in diameter.  For under $5,000, it will be mounted where the sail mast use to be but it will be on a dampened gimbal that will maintain it in an upright vertical position while the boat goes up and down the waves.  By my calculations, on a sunny day with a 10 knot wind, I should be able to power the electric drive all day long without tapping the batteries at all.

 

These changes will be made by mid-July 2010 and then I am reasonably confident that I can travel most any direction, day or night, for a virtually unlimited distance.

 

My next trip was planned for hugging the coastline from Cape May south to Key West – then around the Gulf down to the Panama Canal – thru to the Pacific and up the coast to San Francisco.  An investor there has challenged me that if can make that trip; he will buy my boat for $1.5M and will build me a much larger version – a Moorings 4600 using a catamaran GRP hull.  Using a catamaran hull should boost the efficient of the wave drive to almost perfection. 

 

This trip was all set and then BP has to go a screw it up.  I figure I’ll make the trip in 2011.

A REAL Fountain of Youth?

Last April, I was given my annual physical by my family doctor.  It was the usual turn-your-head-and-cough kind of checkup that included a series of blood tests.  Partly due to my work history and partly because I am aware of the benefits of a number of rather obscure tests, I pay for several extra tests that are not normally included in the average annual physical.  I get the usual cholesterol, thyroid, iron, prostate, albumen, etc but I also get some others, these extra tests include:  CBC, RBC, Hematocrit, WBC, DIFF, MCV, Hemoglobin, BPC, ABO and about two dozen others.

The ABO test determines you blood type and the level of antigens and antibodies present on the surface of the red blood cells.  This is not something that usually changes but it can point to early signs of any hemolytic or autoimmune diseases or the presence of toxins such as radiation exposure.  I have been Type “O” with Anti-A and Anti-B antibodies with no antigens for as long as I have been tested.  That is the very definition of the Type “O” blood group.  That is until this last time I was tested. 

I have always been O-negative but this last test showed I was now O-Positive.  Somehow, I had acquired the “D” antigen of the Rhesus factor.  This is not impossible but it usually results from a blood transfusion or bone marrow transplant and occurs over a long period of time.   It was also discovered that I had both A and B antigens that is only present in blood type AB.  This kind of change has not been observed before and after a delay of several weeks, I was called back for more testing.  It seems that I am somewhat of a medical mystery.

In the course of the testing, my entire medical history was examined and they found that despite my advanced age, I have a number of anomalous readings that are uncommon for my age.  My nerve reaction time is that of a 40 year old.  My heart, skin, muscle contraction and brain wave activity are all that of a 40 year old man or even younger.  Then they dumped me into a ton of other tests and drew blood and took tissue samples for a week.  These extra tests showed that the epithelial transport of nutrients and ions, T-cell activation, pancreatic beta-cell insulin release, and synaptic conduction were all abnormally high for a man of my age.  I had never particularly noticed but it was discovered that in the past 15 years or so, I have not had a cold or flu or allergy response or any other typical disease or negative environmental response. 

All this has baffled my doctors and although some tests are still going on and two research clinics are still interested, most have simply marked it off as a medical anomaly and moved on.  I, however, was very curious and wanted to know more so I broke down the problem into parts and fed it into Plato – my automated research tool – for an in-depth analysis.  The results were amazing and have some far reaching implications.  I want to tell you about what Plato found but I have to start with a lot of background and history so that you will understand how it all fits together and how Plato figured it out.

I have always been fascinated by high voltage electricity.  In science fairs, I built tesla coils and Van de Graff generators and played with Jacob’s Ladders and Wimshurst generators.  In college, I participated in research studies of lightning and worked on high energy physics as well as other fringe science related to high power electromagnetic energy.  When I got into computer simulation, I was asked to create and run simulations on the first MHD generator, the first rail gun and the first ion engine.  I also worked on computer models for a cyclotron and a massive hydroelectric system that work on waves and ocean currents. 

As a hobbyist, I liked the idea of incorporating some of this stuff into my everyday life.  Way back in the 1960’s, I created a scaled down model of an ion engine at about the time that NASA was planning to use on interplanetary vehicles.  (It appears in Science Illustrated and I made a DYI model like the one in the magazine).  It was, essentially, a negative ion generator with an extra set of acceleration plates.  Because it made no noise and used a tiny amount of electricity, I have had that first model plugged in and “running” in my home since 1967.  It actually creates moving air with no moving parts which looks really neat.

When some biologists discovered that negative ions have a beneficial effect on breathing and air quality, I made one and tried it out for a few months.  I liked it and decided if one is good then a dozen must be even better.  I made a total of 29 of them – incorporating them into fans, lamp shades, ceiling fixtures, heating and AC vents and other hidden and novel locations all around the home.  Most of these have been running since the mid 70’s in my home, office and workshops.

In the early 1990’s, it was discovered that negative ions that are bubbled up thru water have some fascinating effects on the water.  The ions destroy virtually 100% of all the germs, viruses and bacteria in the water – making it the cleanest water you can drink.  These negative ion bubbles also purify the water like no filter could ever do.  It causes metals and chemicals to dissolve and pass out of the water as gas or they solidify and fall out of the water as a precipitant that falls to the bottom of the container.  These clumps solidified metals and toxins can easily be filtered out with the cheapest paper water filter.  If the water is canted, it leaves this sludge behind.  The end results in the cleanest, purest water on earth.  But wait, there is more.  The high ion quality of the cleaned water can also be used to clean other things.  If you wash fresh fruits and vegetables in this ion water, it cleans them of all bacteria and toxic chemicals within a matter of minutes. 

It turns out that drinking this water is also good for you.  The at first I did not know why but if you think about it, your body system runs on electricity in nerves and brain activity and adding a few extra electrons to that operation has got to help.

After reading all about this, I built a device that taps into my kitchen faucet water and diverts some of the water to a 10 gallon holding tank that is hidden under the cabinet.  When it is full, it gets 6 hours of treatment from a series of aerators that bubble up negative ion air thru the water.  After 6 hours, the water is pumped into a second sealed stainless steel tank that is mounted on top of the upper most kitchen cabinets.  From there, it gravity feeds thru a line to a small spigot near my sink that allows me to use the water to wash, drink or clean with.  I built one of these back in 1995 and liked it so much that in 2001, I built four more for use in the bathrooms, office and workshop.  I have been using them ever since.

The net result of these electronic hobby projects and my fascination with electricity and ions is that for the past 35 years, I have been breathing, drinking and living in an ion-rich environment.  And specifically a negative ion rich environment – one in which there is an over-abundance of electrons, making the ions have a negative charge. 

Plato found that this was the central factor to my changed blood chemistry and other bio-system anomalies.  When I asked Plato to trace the basis of its premise, I got back pages and pages of links to leading edge biological and chemical research that took me days to read and collate into a hypothesis.  Here is the gist of it.

The presence of a negative ion-saturated environment has, over the past three decades, slightly altered my body chemistry and specifically those chemical reactions that are enhanced, caused by or results from electro-chemical reactions.  Apparently, one of the first to respond was the near elimination of free radicals from my system.  Although radicals can be positive, negative or zero charge, it appears that the nature of the unpaired electrons that create radicals is affected by the presence of an excessive amount of extra electrons.  My assumption is that the negative ions in my environment supplied the missing electrons to the unpaired electrons of the free radicals and thus neutralized them or keeping them from pairing with the wrong chemicals. 

Some of the findings that Plato referred me to discussed the electron spin resonance and described how the transient chemical properties of the radicals are counter-balanced by the electron ionization because of their de Broglie wavelength which matches the length of the typical bonds in organic molecules and atoms and the energy transfer to the organic analyte molecules is maximized.  I’m not a chemist and that is pretty deep stuff but the net result is the radical ion is negated.  Since the absence or reduction of free radicals has been proven to be highly beneficial in the reduction or prevention of degenerative diseases and cancers, the accidental result that I have achieved with my rich ion environment has been a major contribution to my good health.

The other major finding that Plato provided was concerning a vast but little understood area of bio-chemistry called ion channels.  Ion channels are essentially electrochemical paths on the plasma membrane of biological cells that allows the cells to control their interaction with other cells, chemicals and proteins.  In effect, these ion channels are the mechanism by which biological cells interact with the cells, chemicals and molecules around them.  You could imagine these channels as electrically powered communications devices.  If they are in good working order and properly charged, then the cell does what it is suppose to do.  If the channels become weak, then the cell has a greater susceptibility to damage or to be compromised by the wrong connection with other substances, cells or viruses.

Part of how this ion channel works is by creating a gated voltage gradient across the cell membrane.  This voltage gradient underlies the voltage activated channels and plays a critical role in a wide variety of biological processes related to nerve, synaptic, muscle and cell interactions.  If the ion channel is strong then the voltage gradient is strong and the cell functions in an optimal manner.  If the ion channel is weak, then the voltage gradient is weak and the cell is subject to a variety of interference and inefficiencies in its functioning.

Plato found numerous other supporting aspects of this interaction in the form of ionotropic receptors of ligand molecules and ion flux across the plasma membranes that also benefit from a strong ionic environment.  There are also the 13 chloride channels and other transmembrane helices that function in this ion induced voltage gradient environment. 

What Plato postulated is that the ion-rich environment I have been living in for the past 35 years has created an excessively powerful voltage gradient on these ion channels – making the channels function not only in an optimum manner but making them extremely difficult to block.  I am not willing to test it, but Plato has speculated that I may be immune to a long list of toxins, chemicals, genetic disorders and diseases that disrupt the normal functioning of ion channels.  As a result, I am, apparently immune to the puffer fish toxin, the saxitoxin from “red tide”, the bite of black mamba snakes, and diseases like cystic fibrosis, Brugada syndrome, epilepsy, hyperkalaemic paralysis, and dozens, perhaps hundreds of others.

I find this all fascinating and very appealing because it means that I may be around for a lot longer than I had thought I would.  I seem to be in excellent health and have not experienced any decrease in mental activity – in fact, I often think I can do things now that I could not do when I was 40 but I have always just attributed that to experience, age and a lifetime of accumulated wisdom.  Now it appears that it may have been because I started messing around with negative ion generators back when I was in my 30’s and have, quite by accident, created a sort of fountain of youth in the air and water of my house.

 

 

The Hang Glider Incident

Two years ago today, it happened.  It changed my life.  At the time, I was care free and enjoying my 200th hang-gliding flight.  I had saved up to do something special.  My plan was to pay a hot air balloon pilot to take me up to 17,000 feet over the northern Green Mountains of Vermont.  I would then try to glide as far south as I could, using the air currents (thermals, ridge lift and mountain waves) of the east-coast mountains to help keep me aloft.  I didn’t realize how far I would travel.

I asked an old friend of mine, Eddie, if I could borrow a 2-person hang glider because it is designed larger for more lift.  He agreed and said to come by sometime and he would show it to me.  He said it was his Mars glider.  I knew a two person model from a maker called Moyes was called the Mars so I figured he had one of those old 1984 designs.

I carefully prepared a special backpack of all the goodies I might need.  I had two radios – a 5 watt CB handheld and a VHF transceiver going to my boom mike.  I had water, food, a bunch of survival and camping equipment.  I had rigged a small 5 watt solar panel to the top of the sail and wired in my iPhone, MP3 player and GPS plus a digital altimeter (variometer) that is combined with a small calculator sized flight computer.  I tried to consider everything from the worst case scenario to the most ideal comfort.

When I arrived, Eddy’s took me out to his hangar and showed me his “Mars” hang glider.  It was huge!  It was, in fact, not really a “hang” glider, Eddie told me.  It was actually a tailless, foot-launched rigid wing sail plane, similar to the Swift – a Stanford design that dates back to the mid 1980’s.  I was familiar with the Swift design and had even flown one.  It is not really in the same class as hang gliders at all.  The one I flew had a 41 foot wingspan with vertical winglets and an aircraft style joystick controlling fully functioning control surfaces that want by names like elevons, flaperons and spoilerons but coming from years of flying aircraft in the Navy, I just called them elevators, flaps, spoilers and rudders.

Eddy’s Mars version was a new prototype that used carbon fiber struts and a metallic mylar/Kevlar laminate for the wing skin but because of the rigid frame, it has fantastic performance and strength.  It was originally developed by and for NASA as a possible Mars exploration vehicle but when funding for Mars missions were cut, the glider project was cancelled and this particular model was given to the engineer that did most of the design and construction of the glider.  It just happened that he (Eddy) and I served in the Navy together at NRL and he retired only about 30 miles from where I live.

The glider is an extension of Swift design but it has been enhanced using computer modeling and more exotic materials.  It has a 54 foot wing and a full pilot fairing shaped like a bomb slung under the center of the wing.  It was designed for the thinner air of Mars so it had outstanding glide slope performance in the thicker air of earth – I was told it might get as much as 60:1.  As I was looking at it, I told Eddy, “This is looks like the best unpowered glider ever made”.  He smiled and said, “Well, that’s partly right”.

Eddy showed me the lexan fairing, seats, wing construction and how it was going to be lifted by the hot air balloon.  He then showed me one feature on it that was so advanced that Eddy said it was just not worth the time and effort to train me on it.  This glider actually had an autopilot.  It sounds weird but at the same time it is a logical extension of putting more real aircraft control surfaces on a glider.  In this case, they created a set of unique double-layer panels on the wing skin that are ribbed with shape-memory alloy wires.  These wires respond to electrical signals from a tiny flight computer that uses a small polymer battery that is charged by a large lightweight flexible solar panel on the upper wing surface.  When these wires are heated up by a flow of electricity, they change shape into something that has been programmed into their molecules when the wire was forged.  In this case, the wires go from straight to being curved by varying amounts depending on the voltage applied.  I had read about memory wire but had never seen a practical application of it until now.

The flight computer, which is actually called the ASFS for auto-stability flight system, takes readings from an internal GPS, and a set of pitot static tubes, rate gyros and tension and torsion sensors located throughout the glider’s frame.  When fully deployed, it also uses a small sensor module that hangs on a thin wire from the tail of the fairing and drops down several hundred feet where it measures temperature, pressure and winds.  It also uses lasers that point in almost every direction that measure thermal density, humidity and air movement with as much or more accuracy as a Doppler radar.  This gives the flight computer all the data it needs to keep the glider stable and to compensate for the shortened fuselage which can make rigid hang gliders more susceptible to spin and wing torque.

When activated, the ASFS (auto-stability flight system), as Eddy calls the flight computer, uses all these inputs to compute the optimum flight configuration to maintain a specified heading and attitude.  It can be set to seek out and maintain a steady altitude or a steady climb or descent on a given heading.  It accomplishes this by adjusting critical panels in the airfoil control surfaces by flexing these thin memory wires with computer controlled electrical pulses.  After measuring the entire envelope of air around the glider, it can optimize the wing for the best possible performance.  The end result is that in a head wind of more than 7 knots, it can climb steadily and when trimmed properly, it can achieve better than 90 MPH.

The system was designed because the hope was that this glider would be so efficient that it could be used to travel long distances or remain aloft for long periods of time while traversing the thinner air of the Martian surface.  Although it was created to be nearly fully automatic, it was also a one-of-a-kind prototype that cost nearly $30 million to develop.  I told Eddy I thought it was kind of neat to have a glider with an auto-pilot.  He frowned at me and said, “It’s an auto-stability flight system, not an auto-pilot”.  I said, “Yeah, whatever, it’s still an auto-pilot”.   Eddy said it was impossible to remove the ASFS so I should just not mess with it.   I agreed and pretty much forgot about it but I also marveled at the thought that this glider might actually be able to fly farther than I expected.

The flight position wasn’t like a hang glider but more like a real airplane.  The fairing covers two narrow seats of fabric drawn tight between the frame spars.  Once it is airborne, you close two small doors that look like bomb bay doors under the seat.  This creates a fully enclosed cabin of Mylar and lexan.  The ASFS control panel and other switches and lights are on a drop down panel above the pilot seat.

The right armrest has a tiny joy stick that controls the elevons and flaps.  It has the usual joystick movements but it also rotates and goes up and down.  As I moved it, I was shocked that nothing was moving – then Eddy reached in and flipped a switch on the overhead panel and everything shook and started working.  The damn thing was fly-by-wire!!  That means that there are no rods and cables going to all the control surfaces – just tiny wires that activate solenoids or motorized screw actuators to move the flaps and elevons and all the other surfaces this thing can control.  Eddy told me that NASA had figured out how to make the fly-by-wire more reliable and lighter weight than cables.

Eddy had rigged the seat so I could sit in the center and place my bag of goodies on the left and right of me in the same seat.  Since it was designed to carry two, I could take all my stuff and still be way under its normal max weight – making its performance even better.  I even found out that it was rigged to use a solar powered electric propeller that would extend out of a tube in the tail of the fairing but Eddy said it was not setup.  I’d be using just the glider aspects on this flight.

Since I was hopeful of being able to fly perhaps as much as a few hours after dark, I was pleased when Eddy showed me that it was rigged with a host of blinking LED lights and two small quartz-iodine beam lights for landing.   All were wired to the lithium-ion battery that was being charged by the wing top solar panel.  He also showed me that NASA had rigged a small generator to a small propeller to give me power after dark using the forward motion of the glider to spin the prop.  He warned me that it was designed to power the ASFS and a few LEDs so I should not be thinking of heating up a coffee cup with it.   As you might imagine, I was getting pretty optimistic about my flight and using all these goodies but since I had nobody tracking me – no ground crew – I had to plan on being on my own, no matter what happened.

Actually, having no ground crew was part of the plan.  I didn’t want to be reporting to anyone or be trying to meet some schedule or destination.  I specifically wanted to simply soar for as long as I wanted to and go wherever the winds took me.  No commitments, no obligations, no limitations.  I accepted that at some point, I’d have to figure out how to get back home but I knew I could rent a car or truck and manage somehow.  The idea of just going without a care as to where or when was a fantastic feeling.  When I tried to express this to Eddy, he frowned and told me not to break his glider.  Then he chuckled a little and said that I probably couldn’t break it if I tried.  I wasn’t sure what he meant but was glad he was letting me use it.

The flight in the hot air balloon was a fantastic experience all by itself.  We launched out of North Troy, Vermont, 2 hours before the sun came up so we watched the sunrise from about 10,000 feet up.  We had caught some very light winds out of the east and were moving toward Jay Peak, about 15 miles away.  Except for the occasional blast from the burners, it was totally silent.  Even from 5,000 feet up we could see and hear traffic and dogs barking.  When we finally got up to about 16,000, I started getting ready and as we hit 17,000 feet exactly, at 6:18AM, I pulled a cord and had a short free fall of about 20 feet before the wing caught the air and leveled off.

I was comfortable despite the 21 degree air temperature, warm in my baggie around my legs, snug behind the fairing under the huge wing above me and wearing a special helmet with a full head shield of clear plastic.  I had on gloves and enough layers of clothes to be very comfortable.  The wing was nearly three times the wingspan of my own hang glider but was completely silent – the Mylar and Kevlar skin was pulled so tight on the frame that there was no flapping or ruffling sound.  The only wind noise was coming from the two small round air vents on the left and right panels of the lexan windows.  I pulled them closed and it was almost silent.  I thought I was in paradise.

I was very impressed with the performance of the glider – the rigid wing gave it good forward speed while the huge size and lift gave it a great glide slope.  It was hard to gauge the real glide slope while over the mountains since I was remaining in nearly flat flight or even gaining slightly in altitude as I traveled south west along the ridge lines.  The vertical updraft winds from the slopes were pretty weak up this high but apparently they were there enough that I was measuring only about 1 or 2 meters of drop in altitude (sink) per mile of forward travel.  That was amazing performance.

About 50 miles south, as I was passing over Ricker Mt., I was still at 16,500 feet.  Another 100 miles south, as I passed over Mt. Wilson, I was still above 16,000 feet.  It was just before 9AM and I computed I was averaging almost 50 MPH.  This was a shock because I had not really been paying attention to my gauges or tracking my progress.  I was too caught up in the sights and the whole experience of it.  The helmet and fairing let me have a full field of view without feeling the wind and gave me no sense of my speed.

Around noon, I had descended to just under 15,000 feet but was able to use the dual ridgelines near Mt. Greylock, and some cooperative mountain waves and winds to climb back up.  Only took two 360 degree spirals to get back up to just over 16,000 feet and then hold that down to Mt. Holy to make the crossing over the Hudson River valley just south of Albany, New York.   I had been fortunate so far to have caught a lot of good thermals and updrafts from the mountains.  The large high pressure center over central New York had given me very favorable low level winds out of the north east producing great lifting winds for my soaring.  Now I had to cross a huge valley of about 25 miles before I could get back to some updrafts from the Blackhead Range near Palenville, NY.

As I passed between Doll and Shaker mountains, just west of Pittsfield, I turned south west toward Queechy lake which I could see reflecting the early afternoon sunlight.  The crossing was mostly uneventful; I caught a few updrafts but mostly relied on the lift of the wing to sustain as much altitude as possible.  I took the time to eat for the first time and drink some water.  A single engine private airplane circled around me a few times and I gave hand signals to the pilot to tune in my frequency on his VHF.  We spoke briefly, exchanging pleasantries and small talk.  He was surprised I had come so far and was still so high.  He told me that a low pressure system was developing over Maryland and moving northeast.  I laughed and told him I wasn’t likely to make it out of New York, let alone get as far south as Maryland.

The clear sunny skies were giving me some interesting thermals that were hard to read as I passed over the river new Catskill but within a few minutes, I was beginning to feel the updrafts coming off the sharp cliff face of North Mountain.  I had descended to about 9,800 feet which worked out to be just over a 30:1 glide slope.   That was about what I expected but a lot less than what Eddy had led me to believe that this glider was capable of doing.   I caught the ridge lift and circled in it for 30 minutes as I climbed back up to 12,000 feet.  It was about 1PM when I headed west again along the southern side of the Blackhead Range.  This route took me slightly north again up toward Prattsville but I was getting really good lifting air. By the time I got to the southern tip of the Schoharie Lake, I was back up to nearly 15,000 feet.

I turned southwest again, heading toward Roxbury and following highway 30 which runs along the ridgeline of a shallow range.  It did not give me the lift I wanted but it kept me level except for passing over the Pepacton Reservoir.  From there, the land flattened out so I made a bee-line for Elk Hill north of Scranton where I circled for about 45 minutes to gain height and map out the rest of my flight.  It was now about 4PM and I was topping out at about 14,000 feet.  This was way better than I had planned so I started thinking maybe I will make it to Maryland.

I had been at this altitude several times before and now noticed it was considerably cooler up here indicating that upper level cooler air was moving up from the south.  This was the weather that I had heard about earlier that was supposed to be over Maryland but because I was so high, I was encountering the changes sooner.  I used my 3G connected iPhone to get into an internet weather radar and flight information web site to see the latest patterns and winds.  I wasn’t surprised but was very pleased that the low pressure were creating lower level winds out of the south west and were tapering off up to about 10,000 feet and then above that, the upper level high pressure winds were out of the north east.  Although this mix of opposite flowing winds created a layer of turbulence, it was tolerable and I was confident my glider was strong enough to take the buffeting.

After gaining as much altitude as I could off Elk Hill, I headed south along the Scranton valley and then followed as much as I could, the ridge lines that fan out over eastern Pennsylvania.  I found that I could catch a slight tail wind above 10,000 feet until I descended into the turbulence and then I’d catch an updraft and gain a little.  I repeated this dive-and-climb maneuver all the way down the south-easterly ridge lines.

I as I moved further south, I found the boundary layer between the lower Low and the upper High was moving up in altitude, indicating that I was moving more toward the center of the Low.  This created more and stronger headwinds that gave me good lifting air but slowed my forward progress to a snail’s pace.  By 7PM, I was still above 10,000 feet but I had only made it to just west of Hagerstown, Maryland.  The low pressure center was passing from my right (west) to my left (east) and the winds were shifting rapidly from head winds to tail winds.

By 9PM, I was getting really cold but I was moving with a ground speed of almost 80 MPH, encountering a lot of turbulence and descending faster than I have on any other part of the trip.  My GPS told me I was near Covington, Virginia but I was down to about 5,000 feet.  I was getting some reasonably good updrafts from the ridgelines but it was not enough to take me much higher.  My plan was to make it to Potts Mountain and circle it to get some altitude but the tail winds and turbulence were getting worse and I could see just ahead, some rain with flashes of lightning.  I had been lucky in avoiding rain so far but now it looked like a wall I could not go around or over.  The lightning was giving me brief silhouettes of the skyline, trees and storm clouds.

It suddenly dawned on me that I might be going down in these rugged hills of Appalachia at night in a storm and with no one knowing where I was or being able to help.  The terrain below me was all trees and mountains with no apparent clearing or opening big enough to plan a landing.  As I descended below 3,000 feet, I raised my helmet visor and took off my gloves so I could see better and not fumble with the tiny joystick.   I was able to see brief flashes of isolated houses and cars in the forest below.  As the tailwinds grew stronger, I was temped to turn back north and just ride the winds to a better landing but I was determined to continue south.  It was a bad decision.

I was now looking up to the ridge lines and mountain peaks above my altitude as I skimmed the trees tops along the valley walls.  The winds were jerking me up and down as my wing lights were now lighting up the trees below me.  To make matters worse, it started to rain.  I was now only a few feet above the trees and was desperately looking for any opening to land without wrecking the hang glider.  I had been following State Road 18, hoping to find a wide place in the road when I was surprised to see a large farmer’s field ahead when a large flash of lightning lit up the whole area around me.  I aimed for the field and was coming in fast and wet over the trees at one end and about to descend onto the field and try to do a pylon turn to land into the wind.

I had turned into the wind with less than 100 feet altitude and was getting ready to flair for the landing – that’s when it happened.  The blinding light and loud sound of the lightning numbed me all over.  I felt the heat from the flash as if someone had suddenly put me naked under a dozen heat lamps.  Even before the flash and loud explosion began to subside, my vision closed down like I was looking through a tunnel and then all went black and I was out.  I didn’t have time to think about landing or falling or anything.  I just winked out.

The cold on my face was my first sensation.  Then I felt my cold hands.  I could see only black.  I opened my eyes and blinked but I still could not tell if I had my eyes open or closed.  All was black.  Then I turned my head a little and could see the wingtip lights on my glider.  There were LEDs that were pointing away from me but I could see that they were lit.  As I was trying to gather my senses and remember what had happened, I was again aware of the cold on my face and hands.  Just as I remembered the lightning, I jerked my head around to see what had been destroyed by the strike.  I figured the wing material would be shredded and all the electronics would be fried.  I whipped around in my seat as I surveyed the whole glider in the dim light of the wingtip LEDs.  I groped for a switch that would turn on some other lights that would let me examine the frame and my instrument panel.  When I flipped on the overhead flood and landing lights, I was surprised that everything looked normal.

My hands and face were now getting so cold from the cold foggy-wet wind that I was totally distracted from everything else to try to get my face and hands warmer.  As I was fumbling with the visor and pulling my hands into the sleeves of my jacket, I realized I should be able to just sit up on the ground and get out my gloves and face mask from my duffle bag.  I bent my knees and pushed them thru the bomb bay doors under me and reached for the ground …and it wasn’t there.  I moved and swung around in my seat harness to extend my legs but instead of touching the ground, the whole glider lurched down and to the right and I felt a rush of wind in my face and my legs were getting really cold.  It suddenly dawned on me that …I was still flying!

I quickly pulled my legs up and closed the hatch doors and straightened out and tried to stabilize the glider but it was already leveling out so my movements of the joystick induced even more violent dips and rocking followed by more leveling out.  I tried to grab the joystick like it was my only lifeline to survival but as my panic subsided; I realized I was in straight and level flight.  I glanced at the instrument panel thinking it had been fried by the lightning.  It said I was at 12,557 feet and climbing and on a heading of 119 degrees (slightly south of due east).  There was no way I could be that high.  I searched for other instruments to crosscheck the altitude and heading.  The variometer, the GPS and the backup barometric altimeter all agreed.  I really was that high.  I thought I must be insane.  This can’t be right.

As I panicked over being whether I was crazy or dead, I saw a persistent flashing LED on my overhead dash panel.  It was labeled ASFS.  I suddenly realized the damn auto-pilot had flown me up this high.  It must have kicked on when the lightning flashed and taken advantage of the strong head winds at the landing site to gain altitude.  I had no idea what it was set to or where it was heading.  I didn’t even know how to turn it off or change its settings.  The flashing LED was just above a small hole which was probably an input jack to connect a user interface of some kind; something that Eddy did not give me.

Before I did anything, I needed to figure out where I was.  I searched around for what instruments were still working and reliable.  The panel lights were out so it was hard to see the screens of the GPS and the variometer since they were simply separate devices velcrowed to the dash panel.  The simple backup systems consisted of a magnetic compass, a backup barometric altimeter and a simply gyro-based artificial horizon combined with a turn-and-bank indicator also called an AHTB.

My watch showed 3:14 AM.  I had been unconscious for nearly six hours!  The GPS put me an incredible 290 miles east of Norfolk, VA. – out over the Atlantic!  I was nearly half way to Bermuda!  I crosschecked and there was no indication that this was wrong.  I was flying just above a cloud layer – skimming into it every few minutes.  That was the wet fog wind I was feeling on my face and hands.  There was a higher cloud layer above me that hid the stars.  Based on the last weather map I downloaded into my iPhone, I was in the southern most portion of the low pressure system that was hitting Virginia and Maryland.  This area of the cyclonic would have winds that generally blew east to west giving me headwinds while I was flying east.

Just as I was trying to figure this out, the glider pitched forward into a slight descent back into the lower cloud layer.  I pulled on the joystick but only succeeded in creating a lot of turbulence and rocking action.  The auto-pilot was obviously taking control and had decided to descend for some reason.

The cold wet fog of the cloud was making we hurt with the pain of the cold.  I figured the auto-pilot had gotten me this far, I might as well let it steer a little while longer while I got out my gloves and face mask.  After 5 minutes of tussle with my bag in the dark, I was all snug in my heavy gloves and full face mask.  I noticed that we were moving at 97 miles per hour – air speed but about 66 miles per hour ground speed – a 31 mph head wind.  The auto-pilot continued to descending until the glider was vibrating all over and we had hit 123 mph – and then it slowly pitched up into a gentle ascent and we climbed back up to just over 13,000 feet.  Then we leveled out for a few minutes before starting another slow and shallow descent.

I figured out that the auto-pilot was using the probe on the long wire hung under the glider to figure the optimum glide path for using the winds to the best advantage.  We would descend into stronger headwinds to build speed and then slingshot up to gain altitude where the winds were lower.  This could be repeated over and over to maintain a relatively high altitude while not having to fly inside the clouds or in strong head winds.  This auto-pilot was smart.

It was time to try to turn around and get out of the danger of flying out over open water.  If I went down out here, I’d simple die without a raft or food or water.  The problem is that gliders don’t fly very well going down wind in high wind speeds.  A tail wind might give you a higher ground speed but it also gives you zip for lift so you can’t maintain any altitude.  That is certainly not what I want to do when I am 300 miles from the nearest land.  I had to think very carefully about what to do.

The low pressure zone I was in had to be moving east or north east fairly fast and I was sure that I was already in the far outer fringe of its southern edge – meaning it was just a matter of time before I flew out of it and into a zone with light and variable or even tail winds.  If I tried to stay with the weather front, I’d have to fly north east but that takes me into an area of the ocean where there are no islands for hundreds of miles.  If I continued on I might be able to make Bermuda but that would be another 400 miles and perhaps 6 or 7 hours of flight under ideal conditions.  I almost certainly would fly out of those ideal conditions within the next hour or two.  There was no option at all to turn south or west.  Turning north will keep me in the air but there is nothing in that direction to land on.  Staying on an easterly heading might get me to Bermuda but is not very likely.

The option to look for a ship or contact a plane struck me as the best possible option.  If I could get thru on my VHF transceiver or iPhone or CB, I could simply land near them and get picked up.  It was coming up on 4AM so I was not sure who might be listening now but I started getting out the equipment to make the attempt.

I figured while I was this high, the VHF might be the best bet because it gives me line-of-sight (LOS) connection to any other VHF in the area which would be a range of about 25 to 35 miles radius.  Then I got to thinking that 25 miles is not much in this big ocean.  The VHF was in my vest pocket and was also already hooked up to my boom mike and head phones so all I had to do was turn it on.  I began broadcasting on various frequencies, asking for anyone to respond.  After talking for 3 or 4 minutes, I would listen for 5 or 10 minutes and then repeat.  I did this for more than an hour and then I heard a short beep beep and the LED on the box in my vest went out.  I had killed the battery.  I plugged it into the solar panel but I knew it would take hours to recharge and only after the sun came up.

By this time, the sun was beginning to lighten up the clouds in front of me and I was noticing that the auto-pilot was dipping further and further down in altitude and coming up less and less.  I was now just over 11,000 feet at the peak of the dive and climb cycle.  This was not good.  The sun was also becoming more clear and distinct on the horizon meaning that the cloud cover was getting thinner.  When the clouds are gone, the head wind would probably go also.

Now I was beginning to panic.  I spent several minutes thinking about my position and then trying to figure out exactly where I was.  At a few minutes before 6AM, I figured I was about 127 miles west-north-west of  Bermuda, moving at about 41 mph ground speed on a heading that would take me just north of the island.  At this speed, I needed to keep this up for about 3 more hours.

I don’t know why or how but the auto-pilot seemed to be making corrections to take me directly to Bermuda.  My guess is that it had a built-in GPS with maps that were used for its testing phase.  It was designed for flying autonomously on Mars so it probably had a logic circuit that seeks out the best landing sites.  That was all just a guess but it seemed to be working that way for now.  I figured I’d let it continue while I tried the CB and iPhone.

The face mask and big gloves I was wearing made the effort ten times more difficult.  I had to pull the duffle out and unzip it and dig around and find the radios and then operate them with these big clumsy gloves on.  I just remembered that cruise liners set up cell phone systems on their ships so that passengers can call on their own cell phones.  These LOS systems could reach out 50 or 75 miles from my altitude.  With luck I might even be able to pick up Bermuda.  This made me excited as I pulled at the bag to see where the iPhone was.  I was bending over the bag pulling against my harness straps while pulling on the bag, trying to see out of the helmet face mask I had on that was riding up against my chest and blocking my vision.  I spotted the iPhone out of corner of one eye and reached for it.   I should have slowed down a little.

My glove straps caught on the zipper of the bag.  I jerked my hand to get it free and watched as the iPhone flew in a slow arc up over my legs and down onto the landing hatch doors under me.  I jerked forward as fast as I could to grab it before it slipped between the doors and fell.  As I jerked forward and reached between my legs for the phone, the seatbelt harness tightened and jerked just as hard to snap me back into my seat.  It also shook the glider enough that the landing doors opened just a little and the phone gently bounced out of the opening and quickly disappeared below and behind me.  It was gone.

I stared at the patch of clouds where it had fallen as if to see if it would come back.  What stupidity.  I was angry.  It was those damn gloves that made me lose it.   I shook and waved my hands wildly trying to shake the gloves off.  At nearly the same time, they both flew off into the air, down between my legs and out the landing doors.  And that damn visor on my helmet that kept me from seeing clearly.  I ripped it off and flung it away.  I was furious and felt somewhat relieved that I had punished the culprits that had caused me to lose my only chance at a radio contact.

My relief did not last long.   Reality set in as I suddenly became aware of the intense cold on my hands and face.  The temperature was 19 degrees F on the gauge and the wind chill from the open landing doors probably brought it down to well below zero.  I carefully dug out my wrap-around sun glasses and the CB radio.  I zipped up the duffle bag and tied off the CB to my vest and plugged in the boom mike and turned it on.  I then pulled my leg baggie up and pulled my coat up over my neck and lower part of the helmet so only the edges around my eyes and the sun glasses were exposed to the wind.  I stuffed my hands into my coat pockets and started transmitting on the CB.

The idea of the CB made sense when I was thinking of flying over highways where truckers still use these radios.  It made a lot less sense when I am out over the Atlantic Ocean and a hundred miles from the nearest land.  I transmitted, listened, changed channels and then repeated for an hour with not even a hint of response.  I gave up.

I had been so busy with being angry about dropping the iPhone and trying so hard to make the CB work that I had not noticed that over the past hour, I had lost almost half my altitude.  I was now down to 5,200 feet and descending more.  The head winds and clouds had gone and the warmer lower altitude air and the bright sun felt good on my face but now I could clearly see the ocean below me.  There were whitecaps on huge waves leaving long tails of foam on the surface.  I was still a mile above the waves but they looked big with deep valleys between the white crests – so deep that the morning sun was casting deep shadows that darkened the wave troughs even more – making them seem even deeper.

I looked ahead, hoping to see land but it was still just over 80 miles away.  The ASFS auto-pilot appeared to be still working because I could see panels in the control surfaces changing position as the memory wires were flexing.  The sunlight was giving a boost to the batteries and it seemed that more and more of the panels were being manipulated as it got brighter.  I guessed that the system had a built-in power saver for night flight.  I watched the GPS and the altimeter closely for a few minutes and figured out I was descending at about 40 feet per minute.  That worked out to be 2,400 feet per hour.  Being off in my descent by a few feet per minute could make the difference of landing miles sooner or having plenty of time.  At my current speed and with no changes, I figured I would land about 10 miles short of Bermuda – close but too far to swim in the cold open ocean.  I also remembered that Bermuda is known for having a high concentration of Great White sharks.

I used the GPS to plug in Bermuda as a waypoint and it calculated and then pointed about 5 degrees to my left – meaning that I was not heading directly at Bermuda but it was hard to determine if this was the auto-pilot’s correction for a cross wind or the GPS pointing to another part of the island or simply a mistake and I would miss the island all together.  I had to think of what to do but this was never a situation that I expected or trained for when I left on this adventure.

Do I try to take this off auto-pilot and steer it myself or let it navigate and trust it will take me where I need to go.  Not having any way to communicate or control the ASFS is making me very nervous since I don’t know if it will take me to Bermuda or not.  I searched for how it was wired so I could disable it if I needed to.  To see the back of the control console, not thinking, I pulled myself forward on in the seat and the whole glider took a dive followed by the ASFS trying to correct by using the flaps and stabilator and elevons and trying to improve lift and reduce the pitch forward and down.  I let go of the joystick and let the glider re-stabilize but I had lost nearly a hundred feet of altitude – that would mean I’d hit the water sooner and have to swim several hundred yards more.  I’d have to be more careful if I want to live to see tomorrow.

I did find the cable that connected the control console to the lithium battery pack and solar panels above my head.  Just above my left shoulder was a connector that would disconnect the power.  I was sure that would kill the auto-pilot but I was still not sure if that was the right thing to do.  What could I do that would give me greater range?  I had to believe the ASFS was giving me the optimum flight profile because if it wasn’t, I was not sure I could do any better.  I imagined all those old movies of airplanes that got shot in the war over Germany – oh damn! Of course, they dumped weight.  I could do that but what could I throw out that would make a difference.  A few pounds would have no effect so throwing out my MP3 player or even the CB would do nothing.  I started to grab for the duffle bag but remembered the last time I moved fast so I carefully moved it from my side to in between my legs.

The shift in weight distribution as I brought the bag forward changed my flight profile – the angle of attack increased – I pitched up just a little – but the ASFS compensated and I kept stable with the same shallow descent.  I rummaged thru the bad and took out my food bag.  I figured I could toss most of that – the water, sandwiches candy bars and other stuff – then I figured why not get rid of it by eating it.  I would get it out of the bag and also feed my hungry stomach.  I began eating the sandwich in big bites and guzzling the water.  I could feel the water bottle getting lighter and tossed the sandwich bags as I finished them.  I imagined how much weight I was saving and how much less I’d have to swim….oh what an idiot!  I wasn’t dumping any weight; I just moved it from the bag to my stomach.  I dropped the rest of the food and cussed at myself for several minutes for being so stupid.

I then reached in and grabbed my camping bag.  I had thought I might have to land and camp somewhere in the mountains for a night or two before I got picked up.  I had a Mylar sleeping bag and a large plastic tarp, a tiny pellet cook stove with a metal cup and a Leatherman multi-tool.  I figured all of it weighed less than 3 pounds.  I grabbed the multi-tool first.  It was one of those really expensive well made tools that has a gazillion blades and tools – pliers, hammer, knife, file, axe, saw…all kinds of stuff.  It was a gift from my sister and probably cost $150 or more.  It could do so many things; I figured I might need it so I tossed it back into the duffle bag.  The pellet stove was just a simple metal “X” that held a fuel pellet and the metal cup.  I tossed it even though it only weighed a few ounces.  I kept the package of fuel pellets and the cup – I figured it might be useful if I ditch in the ocean.  The plastic tarp was a bright yellow and would make a great flag to wave for help and the Mylar sleeping bag was rolled into the size of a tennis ball and looked like polished silver – a great reflector of sun light for a rescue flag.  I tossed all of them back into the bag.

I grabbed the CD and immediately tossed it out the hatch.  I felt good because it had been of no use to me and I imagined the whole glider rose several feet as I watched it fall toward the waves below.  Oh Damn!  The waves below looked so much bigger now.  I snapped my head to the altimeter.  I was down to 3,870 feet and the GPS still pointed just left of straight ahead and said it was 61 miles to go.  Some quick mental calculations showed I was still about the same glide slope I had been on and still destined to hit the water about 10 miles short.  Of course I was rounding off and doing all this in my head so I wasn’t really sure how accurate it was.  Those waves looked a lot bigger now and I had a chill thinking of swimming in those cold white capped waves.

I needed to get serious about this weight toss.  I figured maybe even a little bit of weight loss might help so I stuffed the remaining items from the duffle bag into my pockets and coat vest and unclipped the bag and let it fly away.  As I searched the tiny plastic cabin I was in to something else to tear off and throw away, it dawned on me that this glider was designed with no excess of anything.  Everything was a functioning essential element for flight on….on….Mars!  What do I not need to fly on earth?  Or better, what do I not need for the next 50 minutes to fly over the water toward Bermuda?  My heavy winter boots – I needed them at 15,000 feet but I won’t see that again.  I carefully bent and pulled my knees and slipped off the boots and let them fall thru the bomb bay doors.  My Helmet – I was inside a lexan plastic cockpit and crossing below 3,000 feet to land in water – out goes the helmet.  My heavy insulated leather coat – better keep that.   I threw out the rest of the candy, food and thermos of coffee and the expensive thermos water bottle.  I scanned again and just could not see anything that wasn’t part of what makes me fly.  I kept hoping that I would suddenly zoom up into the sky but I those waves just kept getting bigger and bigger.

I began checking the descent and GPS again.  It was 8:13AM and I was now 39 miles from the north western tip of Somerset Island, off the western tip of Daniel’s Island.  The GPS was pointing to the closest point of land but the glider was still pointing to Ireland Island North, which was about two miles further than Daniel’s Island.  When I checked the wind, as best I could, and watched the waves below me carefully, I concluded that the ASFS was correcting for a slight cross wind out of the north and it might be heading for Daniel’s Island.  I laid in a waypoint in my GPS to create a direct track from my current position to Daniel’s Island so I could check the path I was taking.

I also called up some stored maps on the GPS and noticed that the waters on the northwest side of Bermuda was where all the reefs were for diving that that area was fairly shallow – from 30 to 90 feet deep.  Not deep enough to wade ashore but perhaps it would be shallow enough to reduce the large ocean waves and the presence of deep water white sharks.

I calculated that I had picked up a little speed and flattened my glide slope somewhat to 47 MPH and descending at about 39 feet per minute.  That put me a lot closer but still would need some swimming.  I had not touched the joystick for hours for fear of messing with the autopilot system but I decided to try to see if I could get any altitude – perhaps with a zoom and climb maneuver.  I grabbed the joystick and the glider immediately started resisting my movements.  It shuddered as it tried to respond to two sets of control inputs at once – mine and the ASFS.  It wasn’t working so I stopped.  The only choice was to jerk out the wires and fly fully manual or let continue.  I decided to let it fly for awhile longer.

There wasn’t much to do except sit there and watch the water get closer.  The sky had cleared and the sun was blinding plus I was getting the mirror reflection off the water making it hard to see in the direction of where land might be.  As I came within 20 miles, I began to see the shallower water and a bump on the horizon that was probably Bermuda.  I was down to 1,500 feet and I could see that the AFSF was working much harder now.  It was making flight surface correction every few seconds and making the Mylar skin of the wing vibrate and flex as it tried to maintain level flight in the rough air close to the water.

I thought about the long wire sensor extending down from the glider.  It would act as an anchor and drag me down fast so I got out my multi-tool and prepared to cut it when it was near the water.  I also began thinking of what I might do after I hit the water.  If a boat is nearby, I need only stay afloat until they arrive but if not; I have to get in to dry land somehow.  Swimming is an option but what could I use for a float.  That duffle bag would make an ideal float by simply holding down the zippered end….yeah, that duffle bag that I threw out a few miles back.  Oh! I just remembered the Mylar sleeping bag was just a huge bag that I could fill with air and float on easily.  I felt for it in my jacket pocket and felt secure that it was there.

I was now less than 1,000 feet and the ASFS was working so hard that the fly-by-wire actuators were making a constant clacking and humming sound as they fought the increasing turbulence from the ocean waves and surface winds.  The glider wing tips were weaving and dipping left and right and yawing up and down.  I braced myself on the frame tubes around me and held on.  The sun was bright and shining right in my face but I could see areas of shallower water and the reefs that might be from 10 to 90 feet down since the water was so clear – it was hard to estimate depth.

I was watching the small bulb that was the senor at the end of the long wire extending down from the glider.  It was approaching the water and I reached down with the cutters – getting ready to cut the wire when it touched.  I wanted to wait as long as possible because I did not know what the ASFS would do once it lost that sensor input.  I grabbed the joystick and leaned under the seat to cut the wire.  It was hard to see around the seat and thru the Bombay doors and past the frame rails.  I could only see it with one eye at a time so it was hard to estimate how high it was above the water.  During one violent dip in the rough air, I saw the sensor hit the water and make a small wake of white water.  The reaction by the glider and the ASFS was immediate and dramatic.

I had not even cut the wire yet but the glider jerked several times and I could hear several new actuators moving new areas of the wing.  I spun around in my seat trying to see what was going on but it was hard to see the upper parts of the wing that seemed to be making the noise.  As I moved, the glider was shifting and changing its angle of attack – the pitch up of the front of the wing versus the back of the wing.  I was also shocked that it was actually descending at a much more rapid rate.  I was still at least 10 miles from dry land – that is a long way to swim.  I was now thinking that every second I was in the air, was a few yards I would not have to swim.

I noticed some new LEDs had lit up on the control panel – one was flashing red and one was flashing yellow.  I had no idea what that meant but I was sure it was not good.  The glider was now in a sharp descent that was increasing my speed and moving me very fast toward the water.  I cut the long wire sensor extending down from the glider but it had no effect – except the yellow flashing LED on the dash stopped flashing and was now on steady.  The descent continued.

I figured I was headed for a major crash into the water and I regretted tossing my helmet and gloves.  I figured I was about 50 feet from the water when the glider suddenly pulled up from the dive and slipped into a fast cruise just above the waves.  I was doing 57 MPH and some of the water was hitting my windshield, almost like rain.  I was now passing over exposed reefs and very shallow sand bars and decided that it would not be so bad to ditch out here as I could probably make it to land.

As I looked up, I could now clearly see the island, buildings, telephone poles and cars.  I was about two miles out but I was flying almost level with the buildings.  The glider was going up and down like a roller coaster now and I noticed it was in sync with the waves.  The ASFS was using something called “ground effect” to keep me up.  Air was riding up and down over the waves and as the glider came down, the air between the glider and the waves gets slightly compressed and pushes back up against the glider – giving it a boost in lift.  I had only about a minute to go to make land and I was now for the first time convinced I would make it.  My only concern now was that I was still moving about 40 MPH and that would make for a mighty hard landing on land or water.

I grabbed the joy stick and tried to move it but I could feel the ASFS fighting to control the glider.  I figured even if I muck it up, I still have made it to land.  I pulled back hard on the joystick and the glider shot up to about 200 foot elevation and then nearly stalled and dove back to the water – leveling out just 10 feet above the wave crests.  I was now passing over the surf of the beach – which was not very high because of the long shallow reef that extended out from the north east side of the island.  The glider passed over Daniel’s Island and was coming in to a narrow beach with a long row of small identical cabins.  The glider banked southwest to parallel the beach and then softly and lightly settled onto the beach.  We landed so soft that the glider rolled about 20 feet on the single rear wheel that hung down behind my seat.

It was 9:05AM and the beach was smooth and deserted.  I had approached so low that I was not picked up by any radar and I must have hit a part of a beach resort that was closed.  I grabbed the frame bars and pushed my feet down thru the Bombay doors onto the sand.  Boy did that feel good.   I lifted the glider up and forward and stepped back out from under the glider and let it back down to the ground.  I was standing on the beach and it felt wonderful.  The glider had saved my life – what a story I have to tell Eddy – if he doesn’t have me arrested for messing up his $30 million glider.

I have landed almost exactly 1,000 miles from where I started but the path I took to get here was closer to $1,650 miles.  I sat down on the beach next to the glider and just enjoyed the feeling of being alive.  As I sat there, all I could hear was the small beach waves and a few birds down the beach.  Then I heard a weak voice say, “Hey Gabe!  Are you still alive?”  I looked around but there was no one in sight.  “Hey Gabe, Talk to me”.  The sound was coming from the glider.  I jumped up and stuck my head into the Bombay doors and faced the dashboard just as it said, “Hey Gabe, How you feeling?”  The sound was coming from the dash panel so I just faced it as said, “Who is this”.  “Gabe, it’s me Eddy, we have been tracking you since you left.  Someone will be there in about 30 minutes to pick you and the glider up and bring you back to Vermont”.  I was shocked.  “Eddy, how…what…..why….DAMN….you son of a bitch…..why didn’t you tell me”.  Eddy replied, “Gabe, NASA picked you for this test two years ago.  You fit the profile for a typical trained astronaut and we needed this glider tested in the real world.”  “We have a 727 that is waiting for you at the airport at the north end of the island.  We’ll fly you back and when you get back, you’ll get a new Swift S-1 motorized glider and a payment of $20,000.”  “Is that OK with you, Gabe?”  All I could say was “yes”.

Our Destiny has been Modeled in a Computer

In addition to the space program, NASA funds numerous R&D efforts to examine all aspects of space travel, life in space, the use of technology and the existence of other life out there.  In the realm of SETI, much of the R&D has to do with one of two areas.  One is how and or under what conditions we might actually communicate with other beings and the second is how we humans will react to the news that there is life out there.  Some place in the middle of these two ideas is questions like “Why have we not heard from any other life yet?” and “What level of technology development is necessary to make communications possible?”  Such questions often have to cross over into the realm of sociology, psychology, evolution and logic.  Surprisingly, such analysis lends itself rather easily to computer modeling and to quantifiable analysis.    NASA has been using computer analysis of these kinds of subjects for years and has developed some very good models that allow for the simulation of the past, present and future actions of society, technology and the psychology of the evolving brain.

These models are validated by putting in data about what we knew in 1500 and then letting it predict what would happen to society and morals in 1800.  When it got it wrong, the model was tweaked and run again.  This process was repeated thousands of times until the model predicted what actually happened in 1800.  Then the process began again for different dates.  After thousands of trials like this, they have created social models that very accurately predict the interplay of sociology, psychology, evolution and technology.  

What is not as well known is that once validated for long spans of time, the model is further refined for shorter and shorter periods of time until it can predict social responses on the order of a few decades or less.  Unlike weather modeling that gets more accurate as the period gets shorter, in social modeling, it become more complex because there is no averaging of responses over time.  The short term knee-jerk reactions to immediate news reports can vary the responses wildly.  The processing power needed for shorter periods of time become increasingly very large as the period gets shorter.  In recent years, the power of computers has allowed this model development to reduce the prediction period down to less than 10 years with very high accuracy and under 5 years with accuracies as high as 70%.

It took an incident for NASA to realize how dangerous this model had become.  It was just too tempting to keep from using it to predict the stock market and at least one scientist made a fortune when he use the model to accurately predict the market drop at the end of the third quarter of 2008.  A lot of work went into covering that up and then NASA pulled the black curtain over the whole project.  It has been in deep cover ever since.  I became aware of it because I was the author of a statistical analysis model that could accurately validate the algorithms of other statistical models.  I created my model when I was working for NRL (and later, refined it while working for DARPA) and used it for validating the modeling of new weapons systems in a simulated operational environment.   My model was created to be adaptable to stress other models and NASA knew if it passed my analysis, then they had a good algorithm.  As a result of my involvement, I had full access to their model and tons of reports and prior studies it was used on.  The following is one of the more shocking discoveries I made.

First let me say that after running literally millions of Monte Carlo runs on the NASA model, I validated it to be accurate in its computations.  I found that since 2008, its accuracy has increased 800 fold due mostly to an increase in the processing power of the computers it is running on – a Cray XT5 (Jaguar) now.  It uses a self-correction subroutine that validates its analysis every few seconds – after each 200,000 quadrillion calculations.

I do not and did not know exactly what the algorithms were that it used but for my analysis of their model, I did not have to know that.  I you ask a black box what 2 times 2 is and it gives you an answer of 4, it makes no difference if there are 5,000 computers or 200 monkeys in the box.  If you ask it 600 million such questions and it gets them all right, you can validate its ability to calculate accurately.

I found that the very existence of this model is a huge secret – even from Congress.  The operators and users are screened and watched every day by the Secret Service so they do not abuse the model.  In one document, I discovered that they had named the model “Agora” which in Greek means “a place of assembly and reason” and it was where the famous Greek thinkers (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) met and thought about things.

I read some of the actual R&D that was performed with Agora since 2008 and found them all to be fascinating but I was allowed into one vault that had numerous bright orange folders marked “NFPR” and “TOP SECRET” and “EXEMPT FIA”.  I had to ask and was told that NFPR was NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE and I was told that meant “forever”.  The FIA was for the Freedom of Information Act and these reports were all exempt from every being obtained using the FIA.  This got me very curious so I of course had to read these reports under the excuse that I needed the details to validate my model analysis.

These NFPR reports were all about the same R&D project which was code named “ANT KA” and was shortened to ANTKA which is the Hindi word for TERMINAL.  The meaning of that name was not apparent until I had read most of the report and then it was ominous.

ANTKA began with a simple question.  “Why have we not been able to detect any signals from any other planets?”  It spent many pages showing that with our current detection capability, we should be able to obtain some portions of some elements of the electromagnetic spectrum from other intelligent life.  I was astonished that it said that we could do this from as far away as 2.5 million light years.  That is a really long distance and it reaches out to just over half of all the galaxies in what is called the Local Group and it is estimated that it includes about 1.25 trillion stars.  No one knows how many planets are in that space but if we use Frank Drakes formula and use very conservative values for the unknowns, we come up with about 280 million planets with life and about 3 million with intelligent life that is capable of sending us a message using some aspect of the electro-magnetic spectrum that we are capable of receiving.  This sounds like a lot but Agora validated the estimate with millions of runs of Monte Carlo simulations of all the different kinds of stars and systems in the Local Group.

Having established that there should be signals out there but we are not receiving any, the ANTKA study began trying to determine what was wrong with their reasoning.  Several volumes are filled with various ideas that were tried, analyzed and then discarded as not accounting what is being observed.  Finally, they began looking at the Drake model itself.  If it was wrong, then perhaps the number of viable planets with life is much smaller.  It was at this point that the Agora model was tuned onto the future actions of society, technology and the psychology of the evolving brain.  They built dozens of model variants to examine all aspects of society and technology and slowly began to narrow their analysis onto the issue of how fast the society and technology matures toward the threshold that would allow interplanetary communication to take place.  It was here that the analysis got really scary.

The analysts created models that simulated the growth of society and its technology at a pace that has been verified by countless studies as being an accurate representation of what humans on this planet have exhibited since life first began.  The model included the simulation of such aspects as the diversity of cultures, religions and languages as well as the maturity of social norms and morals.  It accurately modeled this development from our earliest forms of social civilization up to modern times and then it projected it beyond the present into our future.

After doing that, it created a parallel model that mapped out development of technology over time as our brains and our society developed.  This model also included technology in all its forms as it would affect building shelter, food development, transportation, weapons and leisure activities.  This model also accurately modeled technology development from our earliest stone tools up to modern machines and digital systems in our present times and then it projected it beyond the present into our future.  When the two models were joined and the outcome combined as a common destiny, the result was shocking.

What the combined model predicted was that our ability to create very advanced weapons far exceeded our moral or social ability to safely manage those weapons.  The result was that the model predicted that the society would self destruct at a point that is just about where we are today.  In other words, it said that we are incapable of making safe decisions related to the use of the powerful weapons that we are capable of creating an we are now at the exact point in the model in which these models predict that we will self-destruct.

The analysts ran a Monte Carlo simulation allowing multiple variables to be flexed by a wide margin and the results always ended the same – with the destruction of the modeled society.  The Agora model was setup to run 100’s of millions of the Monte Carlo simulations and the usual bell curve was created but with such sharp and steep curves that it virtually proved that except for impossible values of some of the major variables (population growth, education levels, financial markets, etc), we are destined to self destruct because we don’t know how to deal with our own technology.

Among the many scenarios, the actual source or cause of our demise changed from bombs to disease to starvation and others but it always happened.  Speeding up or slowing down one part of the model or the other only delayed or accelerated the end result.  They also tried to imagine what might change in an alien society but they soon discovered that if you create any life form that is capable of any given technology, that same life form is incapable of safely managing it.  When the technology reaches the point that it is capable of destroying large portions of the society, then the society dies and it makes no difference what the technology is or what the form of life is that created the technology.  Essentially the model proved something that social psychologists have known for years – the portion of the brain that creates new ideas develops well in advance of the portion of the brain that makes moral judgments and tempers the aggressive responses of other parts of the brain.  It seems that this is simply a fact of life in all forms – it’s just that we are the first species that has gotten to the point of being able to destroy ourselves.

The ANTKA analysts concluded that the reason we have not received any messages from other planets is because no other life on any other planets have survived long enough to create those messages for any appreciable portion of their existence.

The analysts went on to point out that if this report were to be made public, it would create mass panic and social unrest and could even precipitate the exact destruction that their models predict.  They backed up their conclusions with the results of thousands of simulations that they said not only validate their conclusion but makes it virtually inevitable and imminent.

There was one dissenting vote by one of the analysts.  He wrote that humans were more resilient than the model predicted and that if they knew the results of their research and modeling, they would respond by changing their behavior and avoiding the predicted self-destruction.  He noted that this very scenario was modeled and still resulted in an end of society but he was not convinced even though he also concluded that the model was validated and accurate.

As the author of this expose’, I agree with this one dissenting analyst.  I think he was right.  I think this and have acted on this belief for one simple reason that I think justifies breaking all the security and secrecy barriers involved.  That reason is that….we have no other alternative.  If I am wrong, we all die.  If I am right, we all live.  What would you do?

The Government knows Everything You have Ever Done!

Sometimes our paranoid government wants to do things that technology does not allow or they do not know about yet. As soon as they find out or the technology is developed, then they want it and use it. Case in point is the paranoia that followed 11 Sept 2001 (9/11) in which Cheney and Bush wanted to be able to track and monitor every person in the US. There were immediate efforts to do this with the so-called Patriots Act that bypassed a lot of constitutional and existing laws and rights – like FISA. They also instructed NSA to monitor all domestic radio and phone traffic, which was also illegal, and against the charter of NSA. Lesser known monitoring was the hacking into computer databases and monitoring of emails, voice mails and text messaging by NSA computers. They have computers that can download and read every email or text message on every circuit from every Internet or phone user as well as every form of voice communication.

Such claims of being able to track everyone, everywhere have been made before and it seems that lots of people simply don’t believe that level of monitoring is possible. Well, I’m here to tell you that it not only is possible, but it is all automated and you can read all about the tool that started it all online. Look up “starlight” in combination with “PNNL” on Google and you will find references to a software program that was the first generation of the kind of tool I am talking about.

This massive amount of communications data is screened by a program called STARLIGHT, which was created by the CIA and the Army and a team of contractors led by Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)at a cost of over $10 million. It does two things that very few other programs can do. It can process free-form text and images of text (scanned documents) and it can display complex queries in visual 3-D graphic outputs.

The free-form text processing means that it can read text in its natural form as it is spoken, written in letters and emails and printed or published in documents. For a database program to be able to do this as easily and as fast as it would for formal defined records and fields of a relational database is a remarkable design achievement. Understand this is not just a word search – although that is part of it. It is not just a text-scanning tool; it can treat the text of a book as if it were an interlinked, indexed and cataloged database in which it can recall every aspect of the book (data). It can associate, cross-link and find any word or phrase in relation to any parameter you can think of related to the book – page numbers, nearby words or phrases, words use per page, chapter or book, etc. By using the most sophisticated voice-to-text messaging, it can perform this kind of expansive searching on everything written or spoken, emailed, texted or said on cell phones or landline phones in the US!

The visual presentation of that data is the key to being able to use it without information overload and to have the software prioritize the data for you. It does this by translating the database query parameters into colors and dimensional elements of a 3-D display. To view this data, you have to put on a special set of glasses similar to the ones that put a tiny TV screen in from of each eye. Such eye-mounted viewing is available for watching video and TV – giving the impression you are looking at a 60-inch TV screen from 5 feet away. In the case of STARLIGHT, it gives a completely 3-D effect and more. It can sense which way you are looking so it shows you a full 3-D environment that can be expanded into any size the viewer wants. And then it adds interactive elements. You can put on a special glove that can be seen in the projected image in front of your eyes. As you move this glove in the 3-D space you are in, the glove moves in the 3-D computer images that you see in your binocular eye-mounted screens. Plus this glove can interact with the projected data elements. Let’s see how this might work for a simple example:

The first civilian (unclassified) application of STARLIGHT was for the FAA to analyze private aircraft crashes over a 10-year period. Every scrape of information was scanned from accident reports, FAA investigations and police records – almost all of this was in free-form text. This included full specs on the aircraft, passengers, pilots, type of flight plan (IFR, VFR) etc. It also entered geospatial data that listed departure and destination airports, peak flight plan altitude, elevation of impact, distance and heading data. It also entered temporal data for the times of day, week and year that each event happened. This was hundreds of thousands of documents that would have taken years to key into a computer if a conventional database were used. Instead, high-speed scanners were used that read in reports at a rate of 200 double-sided pages per minute. A half dozen of these scanners completed the data entry in less than two months.

The operator then assigns colors to a variety of ranges of data. For instance, it first assigned red and blue to male and female pilots and then looked at the data projected on a map. What popped up were hundreds of mostly red (male) dots spread out over the entire US map. Not real helpful. Next he assigned a spread of colors to all the makes of aircraft – Cessna, Beachcraft, etc.. Now all the dots change to a rainbow of colors with no particular concentration of any given color in any given geographic area. Next he assigned colors to hours of the day – doing 12 hours at a time – Midnight to Noon and then Noon to Midnight. Now something interesting came up. The colors assigned to 6AM and 6PM (green) and shades of green (before and after 6AM or 6PM) were dominant on the map. This meant that the majority of the accidents happened around dusk or dawn.  Next the operator entered assigned colors to distances from the departing airport – red being within 5 miles, orange was 5 to 10 miles…and so on with blue being the longest (over 100 miles). Again a surprise in the image. The map showed mostly red or blue with very few in between. When he refined the query so that red was either within 5 miles of the departing or destination airport, almost the whole map was red.

Using these simple techniques, an operator was able to determine in a matter of a few hours that 87% of all private aircraft accidents happen within 5 miles of the takeoff or landing runway. 73% happen in the twilight hours of dawn or dusk. 77% happen with the landing gear lowered or with the landing lights on and 61% of the pilots reported being confused by ground lights. This gave the FAA information they needed to improve approach lighting and navigation aids in the terminal control areas (TCAs) of private aircraft airports.

This highly complex data analysis was accomplished by a programmer, not a pilot or an FAA investigator and incorporated 100’s of thousands of reports that were able to be collated into useful data in a matter of hours.  This had never been done before.

As new and innovative as this was, it was a very simple application that used a limited number of visual parameters at a time. But STARLIGHT is capable of so much more. It can assign things like direction and length of a vector, color of the line or tip, curvature and width and taper to various elements of a search. It can give shape to one result and different shape to another result. This gives significance to “seeing” a cube versus a sphere or to seeing rounded corners on a flat surface instead of square corners on an egg-shaped surface.
Everything visual can have meaning but what is important is to spot anomalies, things that are different and nothing is faster doing that than a visual image.

Having 80+ variables at a time that can be interlaced with geospatial and temporal (historical) parameters can allow the program to search an incredible amount of data. Since the operator is looking for trends, anomalies and outflyers, the visual representation of the data is ideal to spot this data without actually scanning the data itself by the operator. Since the operator is visually seeing an image that is devoid of the details of numbers or words, he can easily spot some aspect of the image that warrants a closer look.

In each of these trial queries, the operator can, using his gloved hand to point to any given dot, line or object, call up the original source of the information in the form of a scanned image of the accident report or reference source data. He can also touch virtual screen elements to bring out other data or query elements. For instance, he can merge two queries to see how many accidents near airports (red dots) had more than two passengers or were single engine aircraft, etc. Someone looking on would see a guy with weird glasses waving his hand in the air but in the eyes of the operator, he is pressing buttons, rotating knobs and selecting colors and shapes to alter his room-filling graphic 3-D view of the data.

In its use at NSA, they add one other interesting capability. Pattern Recognition. It can automatically find patterns in the data that would be impossible for any real person to find by looking at the tons of data. For instance, they put in a long list of words that are linked to risk assessments – such as plutonium, bomb, kill, jihad, etc. Then they let it search for patterns.  Suppose there are dozens of phone calls being made to coordinate an attack but the callers are from all over the US. Every caller is calling someone different so no one number or caller can be linked to a lot of risk words. STARLIGHT can collate these calls and find the common linkage between them, and then it can track the calls, caller and discussions in all other media forms.  If the callers are using code words, it can find those words and track them.  It can even find words that are not used in a normal context, such as referring to an “orange blossom” in an unusual manner – a phrase that was once used to describe a nuclear bomb.

Now imagine the list of risk words and phrases to be hundreds of thousands of words long. It includes phrases and code words and words used in other languages. It can include consideration for the source or destination of the call – from public phones or unregistered cell phones. It can link the call to a geographic location within a few feet and then track the caller in all subsequent calls. It can use voice print technology to match calls made on different devices (radio, CB, cell phone, landline, VOIP, etc.) by the same people. This is still just a sample of the possibilities.

STARLIGHT was the first generation and was only as good as the data that was fed into it through scanned documents and other databases of information. A later version, code named Quasar, was created that used advanced data mining and ERP (enterprise resource planning) system architecture that integrated the direct feed from legacy system information gathering resources as well as newer technologies.

(ERP is a special mix of hardware and software that allows a free flow of data between different kinds of machines and different kinds of software and data formats.  For instance the massive COBAL databases at the IRS loaded on older model IBM mainframe computers can now exchange data easily with NSA CRAY computers using the latest and most advanced languages and database designs.  ERP also has resolved the problem that each agency has a different encryption and data security format and process.  ERP does not change any of the existing systems but it makes them all work smoothly and efficiently together.)

For instance, the old STARLIGHT system had to feed recordings of phone calls into a speech-to-text processor and then the text data that was created was fed into STARLIGHT. In the Quasar system, the voice monitoring equipment (radios, cell phones, landlines) is fed directly into Quasar as is the direct feed of emails, telegrams, text messages, Internet traffic, etc.  Quasar was also linked using ERP to existing legacy systems in multiple agencies – FBI, CIA, DIA, IRS, and dozens of other federal and state agencies.

So does the government have the ability to track you? Absolutely! Are they doing so? Absolutely! But wait, there’s more!

Above, I said that Quasar was a “later version”. It’s not the latest version. Thanks to the Patriot Act and Presidential Orders on warrantless searches and the ability to hack into any database, NSA now can do so much more. This newer system is miles ahead of the relatively well known Echelon program of information gathering (which was dead even before it became widely known). It is also beyond another older program called Total Information Awareness (TIA). TIA was compromised by numerous leaks and died because the technology was advancing so fast.

The newest capability is made possible by the new bank of NSA Cray computers and memory storage that are said to make Google’s entire system look like an abacus.  NSA combined that with the latest integration (ERP) software and the latest pattern recognition and visual data representation systems.  Added to all of the Internet and phone monitoring and screening are two more additions into a new program called “Kontur”. Kontur is the Danish word for Profile. You will see why in a moment.

Kontur adds geospatial monitoring of every person’s location to their database. Since 2005, every cell phone now broadcasts its GPS location at the beginning of every transmission as well as at regular intervals even when you are not using it to make a call. This was mandated by the Feds supposedly to assist in 911 emergency calls but the real motive was to be able to track people’s locations at all times. For those few that are still using the older model cell phones, they employ “tower tracking” which uses the relative signal strength and timing of the cell phone signal reaching each of several cell phone towers to pinpoint a person within a few feet.  Of course, landlines are easy to locate as are all internet connections.

A holdover from the Quasar program was the tracking of commercial data which included every purchase made by credit cards or any purchase where a customer discount card is used – like at grocery stores. This not only gives the Feds an idea of a person’s lifestyle and income but by recording what they buy, they can infer other behaviors. When you combine cell phone and purchase tracking with the ability to track other forms of transactions – like banking, doctors, insurance, police and public records, there are relatively few gaps in what they know about you.

Kontur also mixed in something called geofencing that allows the government to create digital virtual fences around anything they want. Then when anyone crosses this virtual fence, they can be tracked. For instance, there is a virtual fence around every government building in Washington DC. Using predictive automated behavior monitoring and cohesion assessment software combined with location monitoring, geofencing and sophisticated social behavior modeling, pattern mining and inference, they are able to recognize patterns of people’s movements and actions as being threatening. Several would-be shooters and bombers have been stopped using this equipment.  You don’t hear about them because they do not want to explain what alerted them to the bad guys presence.

To talk about the “Profile” aspect of Kontur, we must first talk about why or how is it possible because it became possible only when the Feds were able to create very, very large databases of information and still be able to make effective use of that data. It took NSA 35 years of computer use to get to the point of using a terabyte of data. That was back in 1990 using ferrite core memory. It took 10 more years to get to petabyte of storage – that was in early 2001 using 14-inch videodisks and RAID banks of hard drives. It took four more years to create and make use of an exabyte of storage. With the advent of quantum memory using gradient echo and EIT (electromagnetically induced transparency), the NSA computers now have the capacity to store and rapidly search a yottabyte of data and expect to be able to raise that to 1,000 yottabytes of data within two years.  A yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000 gigabytes or 2 to the 80th power.

This is enough storage to store every book that has ever been written in all of history…..a thousand times over.  It is enough storage to record every word of every conversation by every person on earth for a period of 10 years.  It can record, discover, compute and analyze a person’s life from birth to death in less than 12 seconds and repeat that for 200,000 people at the same time.

To search this much data, they use a bank of 16 Cray XT Jaguar computers that do nothing but read and write to and from the QMEM – quantum memory. The look-ahead and read-ahead capabilities are possible because of the massively parallel processing of a bank of 24 other Crays that gives an effective speed of about 270 petaflops. Speeds are increasing at NSA at a rate of about 1 petaflop every two to four weeks. This kind of speed is necessary for things like pattern recognition and making use of the massive profile database of Kontur.

In late 2006, it was decided that NSA and the rest of the intelligence and right wing government agencies would stop this idea of real-time monitoring and begin developing a historical record of what everyone does. Being able to search historical data was seen as essential for back-tracking a person’s movements to find out what he has been doing and whom he has been seeing or talking with. This was so that no one would ever again accuse the government or the intelligence community of not “connecting the dots”.

But that means what EVERYONE does! As you have seen from the above description, they already can track your movements and all your commercial activities as well as what you say on phones or emails, what you buy and what you watch on TV or listen to on the radio. The difference now is that they save this data in a profile about you. All of that and more.

Using geofencing, they have marked out millions of locations around the world to including obvious things like stores that sell pornography, guns, chemicals or lab equipment. Geofenced locations include churches, organizations like Greenpeace and Amnesty International. They have moving geofences around people they are tracking like terrorists but also political opponents, left wing radio and TV personalities and leaders of social movements and churches. If you enter their personal space – close enough to talk, then you are flagged and then you are geofenced and tracked.

If your income level is low and you travel to the rich side of town, you are flagged. If you are rich and travel to the poor side of town, you are flagged. If you buy a gun or ammo and cross the wrong geofence, you will be followed. The pattern recognition of Kontur might match something you said in an email with something you bought and somewhere you drove in your car to determine you are a threat.

Kontur is watching and recording your entire life. There is only one limitation to the system right now. The availability of soldiers or “men in black” to follow-up on people that have been flagged is limited so they are prioritizing whom they act upon. You are still flagged and recorded but they are only acting on the ones that are judged to be a serious threat now.  It is only a matter of time before they can find a way to reach out to anyone they want and curb or destroy them. It might come in the form of a government mandated electronic tag that is inserted under the skin or implanted at birth. They have been testing these devices in use on animals under the disguise of tracking and identification of lost pets. They have tried twice to introduce these to all the people in the military or in prisons. They have also tried to justify putting them into kids for “safety”. They are still pushing them for use in medical monitoring. Perhaps this will take the form of a nanobot.  So small that you won’t even know you have been “tagged”.

These tags need not be complex electronic devices.  Every merchant knows that RFID tags are so cheap that they are now installed at the manufacturing plant for less than 1 cent per item.  They consist if a special coil of wire or foil cut to a very specific length and folded into a special shape.  It can be activated and deactivated remotely.  This RFID tag is then scanned by an RF signal.  If it is active and you have taken it out of the store, it sounds an alarm.  Slightly more sophisticated RFID tags can be scanned to reveal a variety of environmental, location, time and condition data.  All of this information is gathered by a device that has no power source other than the scanning beam from the tag reader.  A 1 cubic millimeter tag – 1/10th the size of a TicTac – can collect and relay a huge amount of data, will have a nearly indefinite operating life and can be made to lodge in the body so you would never know it.

If they are successful in getting the population to accept these devices and then they determine you are a risk, they simply deactivate you by remotely popping open a poison capsule using a radio signal. Such a device might be totally passive in a person that is not a threat but might be lethal or it can be programmed to inhibit the motor-neuron system or otherwise disable a person that is deemed to be a high-risk person

Certainly this sounds like paranoia and you probably say to yourself, that can never happen in a free society.  If you think that, you have just not been paying attention.  Almost everything in this article can be easily researched online.  The code names of Quasar and Kontur are not public knowledge yet but if you look up the design parameters I have described, you will see that they are in common usage by NSA and others.  There is nothing in this article that cannot be verified by independent sources.

As I said in the beginning of this article, if the technology exists and is being used by the government or corporate America and it is public knowledge, then you can bet your last dollar that there is some other technology that is much more effective that is NOT public knowledge that is being used.

Also, you can bet that the public image of “protecting privacy” and “civil rights” have absolutely no limitations or restrictions on the government if they want to do something. The Bush/Cheney assault on our rights is a most recent example but is by no means rare or unusual.  If they want the information, laws against them gathering it have no effect.  They will claim National Security or classified necessity or simply do it illegally and if they get caught, they will deny it.

Here are just a few web links that might convince you that this is worth taking seriously.

http://www.democracynow.org/2006/3/1/how_major_corporations_and_government_plan

http://www.spychips.com/

http://starlight.pnl.gov/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlight_Information_Visualization_System
http://www.google.com/#q=starlight+pnnl&hl=en&prmd=v&source=univ&tbs=vid:1&tbo=u&ei=1zZGTNGkNYSBlAfTsISTBA&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CC8QqwQwAw&fp=d706bc2a5dba00d4

http://gizmodo.com/5395095/the-nsa-to-store-a-yottabyte-of-your-phone-calls-emails-and-other-big-brothery-stuff

http://www.greaterthings.com/News/Chip_Implants/index.html

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/government-see-website1.htm

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/02/18/the-snitch-in-your-pocket.html

http://venturebeat.com/2010/06/25/government-sites-to-track-behavior-target-content/

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/269969_nsaconsumer12.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-11-nsa-reax_x.htm

Another incredible Rifle and “Bullet”

The folks at the Advanced Weapons Research Center (AWRC) at the Aberdeen Test Center have done it again.  I was recently asked to help design a scope for a new rifle and bullet combination that is unlike anything ever seen before.

Imagine this:

A normal size long barrel sniper rifle shooting a common cartridge size bullet that leaves the barrel at an incredible 15,437 feet per second (over 10,000 MPH) but has no more recoil than an M-14.  The bullet has the flattest trajectory of any weapon ever made and is lethal out to a range of more than 12 miles.  The bullet is also almost completely unaffected by cross winds, Despite these incredible speeds and ranges, the bullet is rock solid stable over its entire flight including while passing transonic speeds.

As you might imagine, using some kind of enhanced aiming device is essential to remove the human errors from the equation but much of the credit for a stable trajectory comes from the gun and bullet design.  To begin with, it is a smooth bore rifle – which virtually eliminates errors like spindrift, Magnus effect and Poisson affect.

The barrel also is oddly shaped.  It uses a specially designed De Laval nozzle about half way down the barrel.  This constricts the barrel and then expands it.  The result is that the gases from the gunpowder create an intense high pressure point that accelerates the bullet by more than 40 times.

The bullet is a sabot round but unlike any you have seen before.  It is two stages.  The actual penetrator is a needle about as long and thick as a pencil lead and about half the weight of a dime (about 1.5 grams).  The rear end of it is slightly expanded into a grooved bulb that acts as both the receiver for the center of pressure and the grooves form subtle stabilizing fins that also impart a stabilizing spin to the bullet.  Toward the pointed end is the center of gravity, like an arrow, so that it remains stable even at very high velocities. The bullet is essentially a dart that is a specially tooled hardened steel spear with integrated fins

The base sabot pad receives the casing powder blast and applies the center of pressure to the rear of the base-pad of the first stage sabot.  The bullet accelerates down the barrel until it reaches the De Laval nozzle.  There, the constricting barrel disintegrates the first sabot stage and passes the much smaller second stage spindle type sabot through the De Laval Nozzle where it is accelerated before leaving the barrel.   The dart-bullet is moving at about 15,400 fps at the muzzle.  The grooved bulb end gives it a spin that is just enough to maintain stability without creating the usual spin errors.  It also keeps the center of pressure and force directly behind the center of gravity – keeping it stable.  This design results in a Ballistic Coefficient of about 39.7.

You might recognize this design by its similarity to other sabot rounds used for tank armor penetrators or sabot flechettes but this is different.  It optimizes all aspects of the design to achieve the highest possible velocity.   The velocity boost provided by the De Laval nozzle in the barrel plus the specially selected gun powder pushing a 10 gram bullet down a 37” barrel gives the dart a super accurate flat trajectory and the longest range for any small arms weapon.

Of course, such small projectile, range and speed introduce obvious problems.  The first is the lethality of such a small penetrator.  That is solved by the unique design of the dart.  The tip of the dart is shaped like a long tapered needle, however, it hides a hollow cavity (filled with sodium and phosphorus).  The thin metal walls of the tip are aerodynamically shaped to withstand the high velocity wind forces but are very fragile to forces from other directions.  Similar to the extraordinary strength shown by an egg when squeezed on the ends but it easily crumbles when squeezed from the sides.  The hollow cavity dart is specifically designed to collapse and peel outward when it penetrates even the slightest resistance.  When that happens, it exposes the small tube of sodium and phosphorus that reacts with air and/or any liquid to rapidly cause the disintegration of the dart.

The dart design is even more complex than just being a hollow-cavity spear.  Beginning about two inches back from the hardened steel tip, the shaft and tail of the dart is made in 5 thin layers from the outside to the middle and in four longitudinal sections.  These layers are made of high-tension spring steel that is bound by a softer and more pliable metallic-bonding agent.   At the end of the dart, the slight bulge that makes up the flight stabilizing tail is hardened to bind and hold all these layers.  Just in front of this bulge, is the hollow cavity containing the sodium and phosphorus.  The net effect of this design is that upon encountering any resistance, the dart will peel from the front to the back like a banana and the peeled sections will immediately curl and flare outward from the dart.  This takes the streamlined dart from a fast moving shaft to a 5 or 6 inch diameter ball of razor sharp hardened steel coils that can expand and expend all of its energy in .0005 seconds and over a distance of less than 9 inches.

During testing, it was found that despite hitting a bullet resistant vest, the dart took nearly the same distance and time to create its deformed ball meaning that it penetrated the vest before the deformation started.  The effect on animal test targets was incredible.  A cow was shot from 4,000 yards and the point of entry was 2.7 mm in diameter and the dart did not exit the animal but upon autopsy, the cow was found to have a cavity of nearly 16 inches in diameter that was effectively mush.  When fired at a human sized model made of ballistic jell, the exit wound was 9 inches in diameter.

The next problem was the speed of the bullet.  This speed creates a projectile that remains supersonic out to a range of more than 12,000 meters (7+ miles).  It can travel that distance in less than 4 seconds.  Such speeds resolve a number of problems and might have introduced errors.  Air fraction heat was one that had to be dealt with.  The dart can heat up to 160 degrees C during flight but this was used to advantage.  The bonding agent used in the sectional makeup of the dart was designed to be hard enough to withstand the heat and blast of firing the weapon but had to be fragile enough to expand when it hits a target.  The air fraction heat partially softens this bonding agent and the job is completed by the initial penetration of the target – explaining why it can penetrate the bullet-resistant vests but still expand in soft tissue.  The sodium and phosphorus is added just to ensure that the maximum energy is dissipated in the target.

The final problem is aiming a weapon that can accurately shoot farther than the shooter can see.  This was solved by integrating this weapon into the Digital Rifle System (DRS) described in an earlier report on this blog.  The DRS-192B, which is now deployed, uses the MDR-192B rifle as its basic weapon component.  In the case of this sabot-firing rifle, the same basic rifle is used but has been modified to handle this sabot round and uses a modified barrel.  These relatively minor modifications can be made in the field making the MDR192S out of the MDR192B.    In both cases, it uses the basic DRS192 system to coordinate aim point using advanced video camera sights (VCS), AIR (autonomous information recon) devices and, of course, the central processing and imaging computer.

The sabot firing MDR192S, integrated into the DRS192 creates a weapon system that can actually shoot over the horizon of the shooter.  The computers can aim the rifle so accurately that during the testing at Aberdeen and in Colorado, we were able to deliver kill shots at targets at ranges of 11.2 and 12.7 miles.  Accuracy improved markedly at ranges of less than 9 miles to where a kill shot was made in 19 of 25 shots.  Refinements in the AIR’s and VCS’s should improve accuracy in the next model.

A few curious aspects of this weapon.  At the target end of the trajectory, the impact is almost completely silent.  It sounds like someone rapped their knuckles on the table.  The sound from the muzzle of the rifle arrives as much as 1 minute later and is often so weak that it is not associated with the bullet strike.

The enhanced DRS system allows the shooter to be within visual sight of the target while the weapon is located up to 12 miles away.  The use of high terrain for weapon placement while using a visual spotter makes for a combination that is nearly impossible to locate or defend against.

DARPA is already working on an explosive tipped dart that can be used against people, vehicles, aircraft and communications equipment.

Getting shot at by the US military is getting down right dangerous.

Invisible Eyes – The Army can see EVERYTHING

As an advisor to the Dept. of Defense (DoD) on issues of advanced technology, I have been called into observe or test or evaluate a number of advanced weapons systems and other combat related new technology equipment. Let me tell you about the latest I investigated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was asked to evaluate the combat durability of a new multi-use sensor and communication system that can be deployed from an aircraft. I was flown to Baghlan and after a day’s rest; I was invited on a flight in a C-130. We flew north east over the mountains near Aliabad and approached an outpost base near Khanabad. Just before we landed, we were vectored to a large flat area just north west of the base. The ramp on the C-130 was lowered and we all put on harnesses. A man in combat fatigues carried a large canvas bag to the real of the ramp and pull out one of several devices from the bag. It looked like a small over-inflated inner-tube with two silver colored cylinders on top. It had several visible wires and smaller bumps and boxes in the hub and around the cylinders. It looked like it was perhaps 16 to 18 inches in diameter and perhaps 6 inches thick. The man pulled a tab which pulled out what looked like a collapsible antenna and tossed it out the ramp. He then took others out and did the same as we flow in a large circle – perhaps 20 miles in diameter – over this flat plain near the camp – tossing out 12 of these devices and then a final one that looked different. We then landed at the base.

I was taken to a room where they gave me a slide show about this device. It was called Solar Eye or SE for short. The problem they were addressing is the collection of intelligence on troop movements over a protracted period of time, over a large geographic area. The time periods involved might be weeks or months and the areas involved might be 10 to 25 square miles. It is not cost effective to keep flying aircraft over these areas and even if we did, that covers only the instant that the plane is overhead. Enemy troops can easily hide until the plane or drone is gone and then come out and move again. Even using very small drones gives only a day or two at most of coverage. The vast areas of Afghanistan demanded some other solution.

Stationary transmitters might work but the high mountains and deep valleys make reception very difficult unless a SATCOM dish is used and that is so large that it is easily spotted and destroyed. What was needed was a surveillance system that could monitor movements using visual, RF, infrared and vibration sensors. It had to be able to cover a large area which often meant that it had to be able to look down behind ridge lines and into gullies. It had to be able to operate for weeks or months but not cost much and not provide the enemy any useful parts when and if they found it. This was a tall order but those guys at NRL figured it out. Part of why I was called in is because I worked at NRL and a few of the guys there knew me.

After lunch, we got back to the lecture and I was finally told what this device is. When the device is tossed out, a tiny drogue chute keeps it stable and reduces its speed enough so it can survive the fall. The extended antenna helps to make it land on its bottom or on its side. If it lands on its side, it has a righting mechanism that is amazing. The teacher demonstrated. He dropped an SE on the floor and then stepped back. What I thought was a single vertical antenna was actually made up of several rods that began to bend and expand outward from a single rod left in the center. These other rods began to look like the ribs on an umbrella as then slowly peeled back and bent outward. The effect of these rods was to push the Se upright so that the one center rod was pointing straight up.

When I asked how it did that, I was told it uses memory wire. A special kind of wire that bends to a predetermined shape when it is heated – in this case by an internal battery. After the SE was upright, the wires returned to being straight and aligned around the center vertical rod.

“OK, so the device can right itself – now what?” I said. The instructor referred me back to the slide show on the computer screen. I was shown an animation of what looked like a funny looking balloon expanding from the center of the SE and inflating with a gas that made it rise into the air. He was pointing to the two cylinders and the inflatable inner tube I had seen earlier. The balloon rises into the air and the animation made it appear that it rose very high into the air – thousands of feet high.

The funny looking balloon was shaped like a cartoon airplane with wings and a tail with some odd panels on the top of the wings and tail. I finally said I was tired of being spoon fed these dog and pony shows and I wanted to get to the beef of the device. They all smiled and Ok, here is how it works.

The SE lands and rights itself and then those rods which were used to right it now are rotated and sent downward thru the center of the SE into the ground. They have a small amount of threaded pitch on then and when rotated, they screw into the soil. While they are screwing into the hard ground, they are also being bent again by an electrical current that is making them bend in the soil as they penetrate. The end result looks like someone opened an umbrella under ground beneath the SE. Since these rods are nearly 3 feet long, they anchor the SE to the ground very firmly.

The cylinders then inflate a special balloon that is made of some very special material. The Mylar is coated with a material that makes it act as a solar panel, creating electricity. The special shape of the balloon not only holds it facing into the wind but it also keeps it from blowing too far downwind. Sort of like the way a sailboat can sail into the wind, this balloon can resist the upper level winds by keeping the tether as vertical as possible. The balloon rises to between 5,000 and 15,000 feet – depending on the terrain and the kind of surveillance they want to do. It is held by a very special tether.

I was handed a tangled wad of what looked like the thin fiberglass threads that make up the cloth used for fiberglass boats. It was so lightweight that I could barely feel it. I had a wad about the size of a softball in my hand and the instructor told me I had nearly 2,000 feet in my hand. This tether is made from a combination of carbon fibers and specially made ceramics and it is shaped like an over-inflated triangle. What is really amazing is that it is less than one centimeter wide and made with an unusual color that made it shimmer at times and at other times it seemed to just disappear. The material was actually very complex as I was to learn.

The unique shape and material of the tether uses the qualities of the carbon fiber coating and metallic ceramic core to provide some unusual electromagnetic qualities. The impedance of the tether as seen by the RF signal in it is a function of the time-phased signal modulation. In other words, the modulation of the signal can cause the tether to change its antenna tuning aspects to enhance or attenuate the RF signal being sent or received. Using the central network controller, all of the SEs can be configured to act as alternating transmitters to other SEs and receivers from other SEs. This antenna tuning also comes in handy because every SE base unit also can function as a signal intelligence (SIGINT) receiver – collecting any kind of radiated signal from VLF to SHF. Because the antenna can be tuned to exact signal wavelengths and can simulate any size antenna at any point along its entire length, it can detect even very weak signals. The networking analysis system monitor and processor (SMP) records these signals and sends them via satellite for analysis when instructed to do so by the home central command.

The system combines the unique properties of this tether line with three other technologies. The first is an ultra wide-band (UWB) high frequency, low power and exceptionally long range transceiver that uses the UWB in a well controlled time-phase pulsed system that makes the multiple tethered lines act as a fixed linear array despite their movement and vertical nature. This is sometimes called WiMax using a standard called 802.16 but in this case, the tether functions as a distributed antenna system (DAS) maximizing the passive re-radiation capability of WiMax and making maximum use of the dynamic burst algorithm modulation. This means that when the network controlling system monitor determines that it is an optimum time for a specific SE to transmit, it uses a robust burst mode that enhances the power per bit transmitted while maintaining an optimum signal strength to noise ratio. By using this burst mode method in a smart network deployment topology, the SE overcomes the limitations of WiMax by providing both high average bit rates and long distance transmissions – allowing the SEs to be spaced as much as 100 miles apart. The SE tethers function as both a horizontal and vertical adaptive array antenna in which MIMO is used in combination with a method called Time Delayed Matrix-Pencil method (TDMP) to distinguish direct from reflected signals and to quantify phase shifts between different SE tethers connected to the system monitor. This creates a powerful and highly accurate Direction of Arrival (DOA) capability in very high resolution from nano-scale signal reflections.

Combining the precision DOA capability with an equally precise range capability is accomplished using the time-phased pulse which creates powerful signals that are progressively sent up the tether and then systematically cancelled out at certain distances along the tether using destructive echo resonance pulses. The effect is to move the emitted signal from the bottom of the tether along the tether as if it were a much shorter antenna but was traveling up and down the height of the tether. Since effective range is directly proportional to the height of the transmission, this has the effect of coordinating the emitted signal to distance. Using the range data along with the DOA, every detail of the surrounding topography can be recreated in the computer’s imaging monitor and the processor can accurately detect any movement or unusual objects in the field of coverage.

The second adapted technology is loosely based on a design sometimes referred to as the Leaky Coax or ported coax detector. The unique metallic Mylar and conductive ceramics in the tether give the electrical effect of being a large diameter conductor – making insertion losses almost zero – while allowing for an optimum pattern of non-uniformly spaced slots arranged in a periodic pattern that maximizes and enhances the radiating mode of the simulated leaky coax. The idea is that the emitted signal from one SE is coupled to the receiver in adjacent SEs in a manner that can be nulled out unless changes are made in the area in which the emitted signal is projected. The advantage of using the ported coax coupling method is that the signal needed for this detection process is very low power partly because the system makes use of the re-radiation of the signal in sort of an iterative damper wave that maximizes the detection of any changes in the received direct and reflected signals. In simple terms, the system can detect movement over a very large area by detecting changes in a moving temporal reference signal if anything moves in the covered area. In combination with the ultra wide band, spread spectrum transceiver, this detection method can reach out significant distances with a high degree of accuracy and resolution.

The third adapted technology is loosely based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI’s are used to detect non-metallic and soft tissue in the body by using a method that blankets the subject in a time-phased magnetic field and then looks for minute timed changes to reflections of that magnetic field. In the case of the SE, the magnetic field is the WiMax, ultra wideband time-phased signal emitted by the tethers. It can blanket a large area with an electromagnetic field that senses changes in the signal reflection, strength and phase so that it can detect both metal and non-metal objects, including humans.

Variations on these three technologies are combined with a networking analysis system monitor and processor (SMP) that can receive signals and control the emissions from multiple SEs and process them into intelligence data. The system uses a combination of wires and lasers to speed communications to and from the SMP and the SMP can use any one or all of the SEs for selective analysis of specific geographic or electromagnetic signals.

Finally there is the balloon. It rises up above the clouds and sits in the bright sun. It has a surface that performs several functions. The outer layer acts sort of like the reverse of automatic dimming sunglasses. That is, it turns a pale blue under bright direct sunlight but it gets darker and darker as the light dims so that by the time the sun is down completely, the balloon is almost black. Although moon light does cause it to slightly brighten in color, the moon light is so direct that it only affects the top and most the bottom half remains black. During the day, the balloon is one to three miles up and is almost impossible to see without binoculars and knowing exactly where to look. During the night, the only way to know it is there is to see the stars that it blocks but at the long distances, it only blocks a very few stars at a time so again it is nearly impossible to see it. Since the tether is also nearly invisible, you have to be standing right next to the SE to be able to see any of it.

Just under this outer coating is a layer of flexible solar sensitive material that acts as a giant solar panel. It produces about 25 watts of power at peak performance but the SE system uses only about half that so the rest charges a Lithium-Cobalt Ion battery in the SE base unit. This is more than enough to power the system at night with enough left over to cover several cloudy days.

The bottom half of the balloon is coated with a reflective Mylar facing the inside of the balloon while the upper half of the balloon does not have this coating. This creates a reflective collection surface for RF signals being sent to and from satellites and high flying planes. Inside the balloon are antenna elements in this semi-parabolic reflector of several feet wide – making it easy to send and receive signals at very low energy levels. The SHF signals being sent are brought to the balloon’s internal antenna by superimposing them on top of the UWB signals on the carbon fiber Mylar surface of the tether. This is done with remarkable efficiency and hardly any signal loss.

Now that I had gotten the entire presentation, I was taken back into the C-130 where there was a small desk with a computer monitor and other equipment. The screen showed a map with the 12 SEs marked with red blinking dots. An internal GPS provided exact positions for both the SE base units, the central network SMP and the balloons. Beside each red dot was a blue dot off to one side showing the relative position of the balloon. Around each red dot was a light-blue circle that represented the coverage area – each light blue circle overlapped two or more other coverage area circles. Finally, there was a larger light yellow circle around all of the SEs showing the coverage area of the central networking SMP that dropped near the center of the SEs. Altogether, these circles covered an area of about 100 square miles but were capable of coverage over three times that area.

The operator then flipped a few switches and the screen changed over to what looked like an aerial monochrome view of a 3-D topographical map – showing the covered terrain in very good detail using shading and perspective to relate the 3-D effects. Then the circles on the screen began to pulsate and small lights appeared on the screen. These lights were different colors – red for metal objects, blue for animals or people and green for anything else that was moving or was inconsistent with the topography. It was programmed to flag anything that MIGHT be unusual such as objects that had sharp corners or smooth rounded edges or a symmetrical geographic pattern. When the operator moved a circular cursor (trackball) over any of these objects, the data lines on the bottom of the screen would fill with all kinds of information like its speed, direction, height above ground, past and projected paths, etc. Once an object was “hooked” by the trackball, it was given a bogie number and tracked continuously. The trackball also allowed for zooming in on the bogie to get increased detail. We spotted one blue dot and hooked it and then zoomed in on it. It was about 4 miles outside the SE perimeter but we were able to zoom in until it looked like a grainy picture from a poor signal on an old TV set. Despite that detail, it was clear that the object was a goat – actually a ram because we could see his horns. Considering it was about 1 AM at night and this was a goat that was 69 miles from where we were and 4 miles from the nearest SE, that is resolution that was incredible.

We zoomed out again and began a systematic screening of all of the red, blue and green dots on the screen. For objects the size of cars, we could reach out more than 40 miles out from the ring of SEs. For people, we could reach out about 15 miles outside the ring but inside; we could see down to rabbit size animals and could pick out individual electrical power poles and road signs.

I was shown a map of the other locations when the other Solar Eye arrays were located and their coverage areas. This is the primary reason and basis for the upcoming Marjah campaign into the Helmand Province – a huge flat plateau that is ideal for the invisible Solar Eyes.

Warfare will never be the same….

When I was working for NRL, I had an opportunity to work on a biomarine project that had to do with seeding the ocean with time released pills that would attract sharks and other man-killing creatures (sea snakes, squid, rays, etc.) with the intent of protecting naval vessels.  The object was to find a chemical mix that would be a powerful attractant that could be put into the water and it would work for hours or days.  The attractant would bring in killer sharks or other sea creatures that would reduce or eliminate the underwater threat.  We called the program BAIT – bio-attractant interdiction and targeting. 

 We quickly found that we had to encapsulate the chemicals in a manner similar to time-released medicines in order to make them last more than a few minutes.  I was surprised to find out that the science of micro-encapsulating chemicals was extremely well developed and that precise timing could be achieved with the right selected coating.   

 Even with long time delays of many days, we did not achieve the levels of protection we wanted.  It was decided to try to release these attracting chemicals after they had made actual contact with an enemy diver or min-sub.  Again I was surprised at how much had already been developed in terms of micro-encapsulating chemicals that would release their chemicals upon contact with specific materials – in this case the foam rubber of wet suits.  We got it to work but like a lot of bleeding edge weaponry, it was shelved as being too much trouble for too little gain.  We also to a lot of flack from the Navy Seals that regarded the underwater arena as their battlefield and they did not want it contaminated with other creatures.  The BAIT program was shelved. 

 What it impressed upon me was the whole science of micro-encapsulation and its possibilities.  Late on, when I went to work for DARPA, I recalled this knowledge to solve one of their most ambitious projects.   This is one of those topics that they don’t want me to talk about but technically and officially, the cat is out of the bag and the restrictions are off so here it is…. 

 

The art and science of camouflage is very well developed and getting better all the time.  We are not too far away from near invisibility using light bending materials or projections but those are for what they call Dynamic Camouflage (DC) used for moving objects like aircraft, ships, soldiers and tanks.  There is a much less well developed science for Static Camouflage (SC) used to hide fixed installations, field units, artillery, command posts, and even entrenched soldiers.  SC is actually not much more developed than it was in WWII – using colors and patterns on tarps and netting to hide under.  To be sure, the colors and patterns are getting better at duplicating the environment but they are still pretty crude. 

One advance that has made these cover-ups more effective is that they have been made to reflect or block radar and IR sensors so as to match the surrounding environment.  This is a big gain because it makes everything under the tarps and nets invisible to aircraft or recon autonomous vehicles.  

In fact, the latest covers used in SC are so good that it has proven to be a serious problem to find and disrupt troop movements and supply lines.  Trucks can simply cover up until the aircraft are out of the area. Or they can even travel with the tarps covering most of the vehicles.  With virtually no radar image, no visible contrast with the surroundings and no IR signature – the only give-away to their presence is the small dust or exhaust trail. 

 DARPA has wanted an effective anti-camouflage capability for years.  I gave it to them and called it METs – micro-encapsulated tags.  It is actually a fairly simple idea that uses the same technology that I used at NRL on the BAIT program.  The signature of the materials used to make most of the equipment that the enemy uses can be uniquely defined in terms of precise chemical formulas for the dyes, paints, fuels, metals and plastics used in their manufacture.  As long as we could find one distinctive chemical that separates their vehicle paint or their clothing dye from ours, we could make a tag for that unique item and all like it.

  The METs were simply small (much less than 1 mm) colored glass balls with an opaque gelatin coating outside.  The glass beads are very round and have a unique coating on them.  The outside coating is like the side of a one-way mirror that you can see thru.  The coating facing the interior of the glass bead is like the mirror side of a one-way mirror.  This is not some new technology.  This design has been used on road signs and reflective markers since the early 1960’s.  It is very effective because it reflects light like a corner reflector – back to the light source – no matter what angle the light comes from.  

The gel-coatings were made to react with those unique chemical compounds found in specific enemy equipment.  Until they make that contact, they are almost totally passive but once they make contact with their design target material, they will immediately get sticky to that material and glue themselves to it.  Green glass balls were on METs that reacted to the paint on their vehicles.  When the green glass METs come in contact with an enemy vehicle, the reaction simply consists of the coating on the glass liquefying and flowing off the glass – exposing the glass.  The coatings do not react to any other chemicals and cannot be washed off.  After it melts off of the top of the glass bead, the coating then hardens slightly, holding the glass bead in place for a short time and then it also dissolves and the glass bead will fall off – clean of any gel-coating at all.  That’s all it does.  

Blue glass beads are inside METs that react to a unique quality in their rubber vehicle wheels.  Red glass beads are inside METs that react to the soles of their boots. Yellow beads react with fuels and oils….and so on.  We have over 300 METs now using various shades of colors plus more than 900 others that reflect different colors for the same surfaces or targets.  This helps in long term surveillance. 

 These METs are so small that you would have to get very close to one – inches – to see it.  Since it looks so much like all the rest of the dirt and dust of the combat zone, it is nearly impossible to see, find or remove.  Millions of these METs are discharged from a high flying aircraft to cover a combat area.  As they fall, the winds spread them out over vast areas.  Sometimes, they are released in even larger quantities during storms so as to blend in with the dust or rain.  Since they are unaffected by rain, snow, heat, or cold, they can remain “active” for months after being deployed. 

 Once the METs have been put into an area, a drone recon plane with some special gear on board is dispatched to scan the area.  The special equipment is a rapidly scanning and modulated laser beam that scans out 45 degrees either side of the flight path using a very narrow beam that is linked to an array of sensors and a GPS.  When the laser beam strikes one of the exposed MET glass beads, the laser light is reflected back to the drone.  The reflected beam is verified as being what was sent out by matching the modulation of the light and then it is timed and recorded so as to determine the exact GPS coordinates of the reflected beam.  The light color is analyzed and verified with repeated scans so that it can be determined what color MET was found.  Once found, the drone will scour the area for other METs. 

  Since the beam is modulated and constantly moving and is not visible to the human eye, it is nearly impossible to detect.  Since the drones cannot be heard on the ground and they travel at night and have a very tiny radar cross-section, the drone itself cannot be detected.  This means that both the dropping off and the detecting of these METs are undetectable and almost totally passive.  No emissions to be jammed.  Nothing to shoot down or avoid.  No way to avoid being detected. 

 The temporal aspects of using METs give them even more value.  Dispersing a layer of METs on day one, allows you to see if anything moves in that area for days after.  Putting down a section layer using slightly different color METs, over time can give a record of when travel occurred and by what volume.  Laying down a coating over a large area and then scanning each day for signature reflections can monitor any traffic in the area.  This works great for locating tracks and trails of enemy traffic during times nighttime or when we are not there but it has its greatest benefit to SCs.  

Static Camouflage (SC) used to hide fixed installations is often very good but

METs will penetrate that camouflage easily.  In fact, because the METs can be made to react to the actual materials used to create the camouflage, these locations now light up like Christmas trees to the scanning drones.  SC is no longer a problem for DARPA or our military.  METs can see into the past by showing us where they have been.  It can make the best camouflage in the world obsolete while being unstoppable to deployed, undetectable by the enemy when in place and cannot be blocked, jammed or fooled. 

  Even telling everyone this now serves no advantage to the enemy since they cannot avoid MET detection.  Our ability to adapt to new materials being used and rapidly produce unlimited quantities of METs will keep us ahead of any attempt to alter or disguise their equipment and therefore we will always be able to find them, no matter where or when they hide.  

 The last I heard, a contract had been released that would create smart bombs and cruise missiles that will use METs as a final fire control aim point.  They will be able to target by color of MET and concentration levels so as to be able to pick and choose targets on a cluttered and massive battlefield or combat zone.  This opens the application to being applied to Dynamic Camouflage (DC) targets as well as SC’s.

 You will see in my other report on the new MDR192 (Military Digital Rifle) that its aiming “system” is also adaptable to using METs.   The MDR192 is a semi-autonomous sniper system that can be operated entirely by remote-control.

 I am not working on it but I have heard that DARPA is also working on a MET that works on the RF frequencies so that air-to-air missiles can use previously deployed METs that paint enemy aircraft.   These new RF METs will essentially be nano-size corner reflectors similar to those used in survival situations.  It was discovered that nearly perfect reflectors could be made with bubble technology on a nano-diameter scale while creating a RCS (radar cross section) that appears to be as much as 400 times larger than the actual target.  This almost totally defeats the use of stealth technology, non-metallic construction (carbon fiber) or very small very fast missiles.

 Earlier studies have shown that the size of the MET can be so small that it can be deployed as an aerosol that hangs in the air or is absorbed by clouds.  These METs are on the order of 1/100th or less than one millimeter in diameter and were renamed as Nano-Encapsulated Tags or NETs.   NETs are so small that they hang in the air like smoke and can form clouds of aerosol NETs.

 NETs will allow autonomous defensive weapons called CIWS (close in weapons systems) like the Mk 15 Phalanx to have an additional mechanism to ID an intruder that has simply flown through a cloud of nano-sized NETs.  Using NETs in combination with the new millimeter radar and the forward looking infrared radar (FLIR) and the visual high resolution multi-spectral data acquisition systems will make the ship’s defenses nearly impenetrable.  Even the best stealth anti-ship missiles traveling at MACH 5 or higher will be unable to reach their targets.

 

Finally, DARPA has adapted the NET technology to work above and below the ocean’s surface.  Floating METs and NETs activated by passing ships create trails so visible that they can be tracked by satellite.  Using the same NET technology as in the CIWS aerosols and cloud seeding, the Navy can lay down a barrier of liquid tags released at multiple levels from air-dropped bouys.  These tags respond to the rapid and large scale changes in pressure and movement when something as large and as fast as a submarine moves through the tagged water.  Using visual blue-green lasers scanning from multiple levels of a cable dropped from a bouy, the activated tags can be spotted and tracked using RF transmitted signals from the above-water bouy.  This allows precise location and targeting without the target sub even being aware he has been discovered. 

With the advent of METs or NETs on land, in the air and at sea, the idea of hiding or making a surprise attack is a thing of the past.  Warfare will never be the same again.

We now have a gun you would not believe….

I was recently a part of a beta test group for the MDR192 – Military Digital Rifle.  This new weapon is a cross between a video game and a cannon.  In its prototype form, it begins as a modified Barrett M82, 50 cal. sniper rifle in a bullpup configuration.  This SASR (Special Applications Scoped Rifle) uses an improved version of the moving recoil barrel and muzzle mounted recoil deflector to reduce recoil while improving the ability to reacquire the sight picture.

 

A further modification consists of a small box attached to the monopod socket of the rear shoulder rest and another small box attached to the underside of the fore stock where the detachable bipod would normally be attached.  Inside these two boxes is an intricate mix of servos, gyros and electronics.  There is a quick-mount connection between these boxes and two motorized and articulated tripods that fully support the rifle at any predetermined height and angle.  These boxes are extensions of the Barrett BORS ballistic computer that integrate optical ranging with digital and computer interpolated capabilities. 

 

The sight has been replaced with very sophisticated video camera with superior optics.   The sight’s camera feed and the two control boxes are then connected to another small box that sits beside the rifle with a radio digital transceiver that uses frequency hopping to avoid jamming and detection.

 

The system is not done yet.  There are at least two additional video camera sights (VCS) that are placed at some distance from the rifle on their own motorized and articulated tripods.  Up to 6 scopes can be used with this system and they can be placed to completely surround the target area at distances up to 4,000 yards.  This gives a target circle up to 8,000 yards in diameter or about 3.4 miles.  The rifle mounted sight and the multiple VCS’s all have night vision capabilities and can switch to infrared imaging.

 

The MDR192 shoots a modified M82 50 cal round that uses depleted uranium for weight and an oversized action and barrel to withstand the more powerful gunpowder used to push the 12.7x99mm bullet up to 3,977 fps out the 62 inch barrel.  The rated effective range is 8,290 feet with a maximum range of 29,750 feet; however, this cartridge is lethal out to 24,000 feet.

 

The perimeter video camera sights (VCS) and the one on the MDR192 are all fed into a laptop computer that communicates with all of them by a wireless network.  The shooter can be located as far away as 500 feet from the rifle.  The computer is on his backpack.  He wears a pair of video goggles that gives him a 3-D image of the target area and using the depth of filed, interpolation and imagery of the multiple VCS’s, he can move his point of view to any position in the target zone that can be seen by or interpolated by the VCS’s and computer.  This includes the real time position of moving human targets.

 

Using an arm mounted control panel, which includes a button joystick, he can move a tiny red dot around on the screen of his goggles.  This red dot represents the impact point of the MDR192’s bullet.  The computer will fade the red dot to a yellow one if the bullet must penetrate something before hitting the designated target and it fades to blue when it is unlikely that the bullet can penetrate to the target.

 

The 20 round clip is loaded with Raufoss Mk 211 mod 5 round which is called a multipurpose projectile having the depleted uranium core for armor-piercing, an explosive and incendiary component giving it the HEIAP qualification but these modified rounds also have an adaptive trajectory using one or more of 5 small jets on the boat-tail of the bullet.  These tiny jets do not propel the bullet but rather steer it by injecting air pressure into the slipstream of laminar airflow around the moving bullet.  The gain is the ability to steer the bullet into as much as a 22-degree curve in 2 dimensions.  Given the high explosive aspects of the bullet, hitting within 6 feet of a human would be lethal.

 

The shooter’s target dot placement controls a laser pointer on each of the VCS’s and the rifle in order to place the hit point on anything that can be hit or killed.  The actual laser dot that the shooter sees in his goggles is not actually projected from the VCS’s but rather is created artificially inside the digital camera as if the shooter was placing it.  This gives the advantage of placing a designated hit spot onto a target that is not actually visible but within the capabilities of the rifle to hit using its penetration, explosive or bullet bending capabilities.

 

There is, however, a laser and ultrasonic acoustic emission from each of the VCS’s that allow for the precise determination of the air movements in the target zone.  This includes measures of air density, humidity, movement, elevation, etc.  This data is automatically fed into the computer to correct the rifle aim point to compensate for these parameters.

 

Once the VCS’s are set up and the rifle is mounted on its computerized tripods, the shooter can move away from the rifle’s location and activate the wireless connection to all the scopes and tripods.  The shooter has the ability to move the tripods up and down and left and right.  The rifle’s tripods can actually relocate the rifle by walking the weapon across the ground to reposition it, recover from recoil or to hide it.

 

The computer is preprogrammed with the full capabilities of the rifle and its ammo so that it will give an accurate and very precise aiming of the weapon based on the dot target and the guns capabilities.  This means that it has been programmed with the exact bullet trajectory so that it can accurately aim and him targets at the extreme range of the bullets – out to 24,000 feet (4.5 miles).  The computer uses this data plus the corrections for air movements and the capabilities of the weapon with respect to kill radius, bullet bending and penetration to accurately aim the rifle to hit the point that the shooter has designated.

 

The MDR192 passed its beta testing.  My part in the testing was to work on just the trajectory aspects of the computer programming since I had a hand in the original M82 testing to create the adjustable trajectory optical sight that is used on that weapon.  Since I was working with the weapon’s accuracy, I was privy to all of the tests and results.  The official word has not come back yet but from what I observed, it passed its tests with flying colors.  At just over $15,000 each with three VCS’s, this will be a weapon that will be deployed to Afghanistan within the next year.

 

Modifications that are already being alpha tested include digital timed projectiles similar to the XM25 “smart bullets”.  This will allow for increased reach into protected locations.  They are also developing an add-on to the VCS’s that will sense RF emissions and portray them on the shooters 3-D goggles as shades of colors.  This will allow the pinpointing of cell phones, radios, transmitters, etc.  A third modification is the use of advanced shotgun microphones to pinpoint acoustic emissions.  This will be integrated into existing inputs to refine and improve target locations.

 

As the inventor of the microencapsulated tags (METs), I was asked to create an interface with the MDR192 and METs.  Once this is done, camouflage of any kind will be completely obsolete and it opens the door for all kinds of possibilities.  For instance, a completely automatic sniper rifle that can autonomously fire at targets that have been precisely verified as enemy combatants.  It can prioritize targets by their threat level.  METs also allow the use of Exacto rounds (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance) currently being developed by Teledyne.  Currently laser guided bullets are the focus of the guided bullet program but using MET’s, the bullet could be guided by the target – no matter how the target moves.  My computer modeling is almost done and I will be turning over my finding to DARPA by the end of Sept.  I suspect they will move on it quickly as they have earmarked $10 million to develop a guided bullet.

 

Big Brother is Watching

And He knows Everything You have Ever Done! Sometimes our paranoid government wants to do things that technology does not allow or they do not know about yet. As soon as they find out or the technology is developed, then they do it. Case in point is the paranoia that followed 11 Sept 2001 (9/11) in which Cheny and Bush wanted to be able to track and monitor every person in the US. There were immediate efforts to do this with the so-called Patriots Act that bypassed a lot of constitutional and existing laws and rights – like FISA. They also instructed NSA to monitor all radio and phone traffic, which was also illegal, and against the charter of NSA. Lesser known monitoring was the hacking into computer databases and monitoring of emails by NSA computers. They have computers that can download and read every email on every circuit from every Internet user as well as every form of voice communication. Such claims of being able to track everyone, everywhere have been made before and it seems that lots of people simple don’t believe that level of monitoring is possible. Well, I’m here to tell you that it not only is possible, but it is all automated and you can read all about the tool that started it all online. Look up “starlight” in combination with “PNNL” on Google and you will find references to a software program that was the first generation of the kind of tool I am talking about. This massive amount of communications data is screened by a program called STARLIGHT, which was created by the CIA and the Army and a team of contractors led by Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL). It does two things that very few other programs can do. It can process free-form text and it can display complex queries in visual 3-D outputs. The free-form text processing means that it can read text in its natural form as it is spoken, written in letters and emails and printed or published in documents. For a database program to be able to do this as easily and as fast as it would for formal defined records and fields of a relational database is a remarkable design achievement. Understand this is not just a word search – although that is part of it. It is not just a text-scanning tool; it can treat the text of a book as if it were an interlinked, indexed and cataloged database in which it can recall every aspect of the book (data). It can associate and find any word or phrase in relation to any parameter you can think of related to the book – page numbers, nearby words, word use per page, chapter or book, etc. By using the most sophisticated voice-to-text messaging, it can perform this kind of expansive searching on everything written or spoken, emailed, texted or said on cell phones or landline phones in the US! The visual presentation of that data is the key to being able to use it without information overload and to have the software prioritize the data for you. It does this by translating the database query parameters into colors and dimensional elements of a 3-D display. To view this data, you have to put on a special set of glasses similar to the ones that put a tiny TV screen in from of each eye. Such eye-mounted viewing is available for watching video and TV – giving the impression you are looking at a 60-inch TV screen from 5 feet away. In the case of STARLIGHT, it gives a completely 3-D effect and more. It can sense which way you are looking so it shows you a full 3-D environment that can be expanded into any size the viewer wants. And then they add interactive elements. You can put on a special glove that can be seen in the projected image in front of your eyes. As you move this glove in the 3-D space you are in, it moves in the 3-D computer images that you see in your binocular eye-mounted screens. Plus this glove can interact with the projected data elements. Let’s see how this might work for a simple example: The first civilian application of STARLIGHT was for the FAA to analyze private aircraft crashes over a 10-year period. Every scrape of information was scanned from accident reports, FAA investigations and police records – almost all of this was in free-form text. This included full specs on the aircraft, passengers, pilot, type of flight plan (IFR, VFR) etc. It also entered geospatial data that listed departure and destination airports, peak flight plan altitude, elevation of impact, distance and heading data. It also entered temporal data for the times of day, week and year that each event happened. This was hundreds of thousands of documents that would have taken years to key into a computer if a conventional database were used. Instead, high-speed scanners were used that read in reports at a rate of 200 double-sided pages per minute. Using a half dozen of these scanners completed the data entry in less than one month. The operator then assigned colors to a variety of ranges of data. For instance, it first assigned red and blue to male and female pilots and then looked at the data projected on a map. What popped up were hundreds of mostly red (male) dots spread out over the entire US map. Not real helpful. Next he assigned a spread of colors to all the makes aircraft – Cessna, Beachcraft, etc.. Now all the dots change to a rainbow of colors with no particular concentration of any given color in any given geographic area. Next he assigned colors to hours of the day – doing 12 hours at a time – Midnight to Noon and then Noon to Midnight. Now something interesting came up. The colors assigned to 6AM and 6PM (green) and shades of green (before and after 6AM or 6PM) were dominant on the map. This meant that the majority of the accidents happened around dusk or dawn. Next the operator entered assigned colors to distances from the departing airport – red being within 5 miles, orange was 5 to 10 miles…and so on with blue being the longest (over 100 miles). Again a surprise in the image. The map showed mostly red or blue with very few in between. When he refined the query so that red was either within 5 miles of the departing or destination airport, almost the whole map was red. Using these simple techniques, an operator was able to determine in a matter of a few hours that 87% of all private aircraft accidents happen within 5 miles of the takeoff or landing runway. 73% happen in the twilight hours of dawn or dusk. 77% happen with the landing gear lowered or with the landing lights on and 61% of the pilots reported being confused by ground lights. This gave the FAA information they needed to improve approach lighting and navigation aids in the terminal control areas (TCAs) of private aircraft airports. This was a very simple application that used a limited number of visual parameters at a time. But STARLIGHT is capable of so much more. It can assign things like direction and length of a vector, color of the line or tip, curvature and width and taper to various elements of a search. It can give shape to one result and different shape to another result. This gives significance to “seeing” a cube versus a sphere or to seeing rounded corners on a flat surface instead of square corners on an egg-shaped surface. Everything visual can have meaning.  Having 20+ variables at a time that can be interlaced with geospatial and temporal (historical) parameters can allow the program to search an incredible amount of data. Since the operator is looking for trends, anomalies and outflyers, the visual representation of the data is ideal to spot this data without actually scanning the data itself by the operator. Since the operator is visually seeing an image that is devoid of the details of numbers or words, he can easily spot some aspect of the image that warrants a closer look. In each of these trial queries, the operator can using his gloved hand to point to any given dot and call up the original source of the information in the form of a scanned image of the accident report. He can also touch virtual screen elements to bring out other data or query elements. For instance, he can merge two queries to see how many accidents near airports (red dots) had more than two passengers or were single engine aircraft, etc. Someone looking on would see a guy with weird glasses waving his hand in the air but in his eyes, he is pressing buttons, rotating knobs and selecting colors and shapes to alter his 3-D view of the data. In its use at NSA, they add one other interesting capability. Pattern Recognition. It can automatically find patterns in the data that would be impossible for any real person to by looking at the data. For instance, they put in a long list of words that are linked to risk assessments – such as plutonium, bomb, kill, jihad, etc. Then they let it search for patterns. Suppose there are dozens of phone calls being made to coordinate an attack but the callers are from all over the US. Every caller is calling someone different so no one number or caller can be linked to a lot of risk words. STARLIGHT can collate these calls and find the common linkage between them, and then it can tack the calls, caller and discussions in all other media forms. Now imagine the list of risk words and phrases to be tens of thousands of words long. It includes code words and words used in other languages. It can include consideration for the source or destination of the call – from public phones or unregistered cell phones. It can link the call to a geographic location within a few feet and then track the caller in all subsequent calls. It can use voice print technology to match calls made on different devices (radio, CB, cell phone, landline, VOIP, etc.). This is still just a sample of the possibilities. STARLIGHT was the first generation and was only as good as the data that was fed into it through scanned documents and other databases of information. A later version, code named Quasar, was created that used advanced data mining and ERP (enterprise resource planning) system architecture that integrated the direct feed from information gathering resources. For instance, the old STARLIGHT system had to feed recordings of phone calls into a speech-to-text processor and then the text data that was created was fed into STARLIGHT. In the Quasar system, the voice monitoring equipment (radios, cell phones, landlines) is fed directly into Quasar as is the direct feed of emails, telegrams, text messages, Internet traffic, etc. So does the government have the ability to track you? Absolutely! Are they? Absolutely! But wait, there’s more! Above, I said that Quasar was a “later version”. It’s not the latest version. Thanks to the Patriot Act and Presidential Orders on warrantless searches and the ability to hack into any database, NSA now can do so much more. This newer system is miles ahead of the relatively well known Echelon program of information gathering (which was dead even before it became widely known). It is also beyond another older program called Total Information Awareness (TIA). This new capability is made possible by the bank of NSA Cray computers and memory storage that are said to make Google’s entire system look like an abacus combined with the latest integration (ERP) software and the latest pattern recognition and visual data representation systems. Added to all of the Internet and phone monitoring and screening are two more additions into a new program called “Kontur”. Kontur is the Danish word for Profile. You will see why in a moment. Kontur adds geospatial monitoring of a person’s location to their database. Since 2005, every cell phone now broadcasts its GPS location at the beginning of every transmission as well as at regular intervals even when you are not using it to make a call. This was mandated by the Feds supposedly to assist in 911 emergency calls but the real motive was to be able to track people’s locations at all times. For those few that are still using the older model cell phones, they employ “tower tracking” which uses the relative signal strength and timing of the cell phone signal reaching each of several cell phone towers to pinpoint a person within a few feet. A holdover from the Quasar program was the tracking of commercial data which included every purchase made by credit cards or any purchase where a customer discount card is used – like at grocery stores. This not only gives the Feds an idea of a person’s lifestyle and income but by recording what they buy, they can infer other behaviors. When you combine cell phone and purchase tracking with the ability to track other forms of transactions – like banking, doctors, insurance, police and public records, there are relatively few gaps in what they can know about you. Kontur also mixed in something called geofencing that allows the government to create digital virtual fences around anything they want. Then when anyone crosses this virtual fence, they can be tracked. For instance, there is a virtual fence around every government building in Washington DC. Using predictive automated behavior monitoring and cohesion assessment software combined with location monitoring, geofencing and sophisticated social behavior modeling, pattern mining and inference, they are able to recognize patterns of people’s movements and actions as being threatening. Several would-be shooters and bombers have been stopped using this equipment. To talk about the “Profile” aspect of Kontur, we must first talk about why or how is it possible because it became possible only when the Feds were able to create very, very large databases of information and still be able to make effective use of that data. It took NSA 35 years of computer use to get to the point of using a terabyte (1012) of data. That was back in 1990 using ferrite core memory. It took 10 more years to get to petabyte (1015) of storage – that was in early 2001 using 14-inch videodisks and RAID banks of hard drives. It took four more years to create and make use of an exabyte (1018) of storage. With the advent of quantum memory using gradient echo and EIT (electromagnetically induced transparency), the NSA computers now have the capacity to store and rapidly search a yottabyte (1024) of data and expect to be able to raise that to 1,000 yottabytes of data within two years. To search this much data, they use a bank of Cray XT Jaguar computers that do nothing but read and write to and from the QMEM – quantum memory. The look-ahead and read-ahead capabilities are possible because of the massively parallel processing of a bank of other Crays that gives an effective speed of about 270 petaflops. Speeds are increasing at NSA at a rate of about 1 petaflop every two to four weeks. This kind of speed is necessary for things like pattern recognition and making use of the massive profile database of Kontur. In late 2006, it was decided that NSA and the rest of the intelligence and right wing government agencies would stop this idea of real-time monitoring and begin developing a historical record of what everyone does. Being able to search historical data was seen as essential for back-tracking a person’s movements to find out what he has been doing and whom he has been seeing or talking with. This was so that no one would ever again accuse them on not “connecting the dots”. But that means what EVERYONE does! As you have seen from the above description, they already can track your movements and all your commercial activities as well as what you say on phones or emails, what you buy and what you watch on TV or listen to on the radio. The difference now is that they save this data in a profile about you. All of that and more. Using geofencing, they have marked out millions of locations around the world to including obvious things like stores that sell pornography, guns, chemicals or lab equipment. Geofenced locations include churches, organizations like Greenpeace and Amnesty International. They have moving geofences around people they are tracking like terrorists but also political opponents, left wing radio and TV personalities and leaders of social movements and churches. If you enter their personal space – close enough to talk, then you are flagged and then you are geofenced and tracked. If your income level is low and you travel to the rich side of town, you are flagged. If you are rich and travel to the poor side of town, you are flagged. If you buy a gun or ammo and cross the wrong geofence, you will be followed. The pattern recognition of Kontur might match something you said in an email with something you bought and somewhere you drove in your car to determine you are a threat. Kontur is watching and recording your entire life. There is only one limitation to the system right now. The availability of soldiers or “men in black” to follow-up on people that have been flagged is limited so they are prioritizing whom they act upon. You are still flagged and recorded but they are only acting on the ones that are judged to be a serious threat now.It is only a matter of time before they can find a way to reach out to anyone they want and curb or destroy them. It might come in the form of a government mandated electronic tag that is inserted under the skin or implanted at birth. They have been testing these devices in use on animals under the disguise of tracking and identification of lost pest. They have tried twice to introduce these to all the people in the military. They have also tried to justify putting them into kids for “safety”. They are still pushing them for use in medical monitoring. Perhaps this will take the form of a nanobot. If they are successful in getting the population to accept these devices and then they determine you are a risk, they simply deactivate you by remotely popping open a poison capsule using a radio signal. Such a device might be totally passive in a person that is not a threat but might be lethal or it can be programmed to inhibit the motor-neuron system or otherwise disable a person that is deemed to be a high-risk person. Watch out for things like this. It’s the next thing they will do. You can count on it. 

Nanobots Contamination of over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs

Nanobots Contamination of over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs

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Introduction

Update on FDA’s Investigation

FDA’s Executive Office Warnings/AdvisoriesIntroduction

September 12, 2008: In light of recent evidence from the National Security Agency (NSA), concerning over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs contaminated with nanobots, the FDA has issued a Health Information Advisory to proactively reassure the Office of the President that there is no known health threat from contaminated OTC Drugs manufactured by companies that have met the requirements to sell such products in the United States. Nanobot contamination, if present, poses no apparent risk to health, even to children; however, there may be a risk to privacy.

The nanobots were discovered by NSA because they appear to be activated by an external radio frequency (RF) signal and in response emanate a coded signal. They were found to be less than 1 centimeter long and apparently contain a passive RFID device in addition to a rudimentary mechanism for sensing and memory retention. So far, neither NSA nor FDA has been able to decipher the coded signal. Although this is considerable smaller than the Verichip developed by Kevin Warwick, it is well within the current technology.

These nanites have been found embedded in the center of OTC drugs that come in 325 mgs and larger solid pill form. Contaminated pills range from a low of 1% to a high of 3% of all pills sampled. This is an unusually high level but the method of insertion of these contaminated pills into the manufacturing process of multiple producers has not been determined yet.

Analysis of their exact nature has been complicated by the fact that they seem to be encased with a protective coating that is also highly reactive to light. If a contaminated OTC pill is broken open and the nanite is exposed to light, it immediately disintegrates. Further studies are underway.

The FDA had no knowledge of the presence of these nanobots prior to the notification by NSA in August 2008 and has been hampered in its analysis by a total lack of cooperation from the NSA, however, with NSA’s help, we have been able to determine that in most urban centers, the level of contaminated adults is approximately one in four with slightly greater percentages found in the larger urban centers of New York, Boston, Miami and Dallas.

For some people that take OTC drugs on a regular basis (more than 2 a week), it is possible that they might accumulate more than one nanobot in their system. This does not appear to increase or decrease the health risk to the person but does appear to alter the RF signals emanating from the RFID circuits of the nanites.

The FDA has broadened its domestic and import sampling and testing of OTC drugs from suspected sources but has been unable to define the exact source or sources. FDA has recommended that consumers not consume certain products because of possible contamination with Nanobots. A list of those products is below.

Update on FDA’s InvestigationFebruary 19, 2009: FDA’s ongoing investigation continues to show that the domestic supply of over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs is safe and that consumers can continue using U.S. manufactured OTC Drugs. FDA has concluded that levels of Nanobots alone are at or below 1 pill per thousand (ppt) among all OTC Drugs. This level does not raise public health concerns. FDA has updated its interim risk assessment, issued in early October, with this information:

The FDA has been collecting and analyzing samples of domestically manufactured OTC Drugs for the presence of Nanobots and Nanobots-related RF signal responses. To date, FDA tests have found extremely low levels of Nanobots in one OTC Drugs sample and moderate levels of RF signal responses from concentrations of OTC drugs, such as in a commercial drug store. The benign nature of the nanobots found so far indicate they were designed for tagging, tracking and collection of health information and do not interact with the body or its system and therefore pose no health risk to the public.

To date, statistical data on those individuals that have been contaminated with the nanobots has been limited but several trends have begun to emerge. The number of people contaminated seems to be equally divided among men and women and in a proportional distribution among ethnic and racial groups. The passive RFID tag is responsive to various frequencies in the high UHF and SHF range (922 MHz to 2202 GHz) and appears to makes use of the backscatter coupling method, however, a few known contamination’s could not be activated with any signal source.

Studies have shown that these passive RFID tags can be activated by signals from satellites but have to be read by a receiver located within ten feet. During the testing of nanobots that were actually ingested by people, it was discovered by NSA that the cell phones of the people being tested emanated an unusual signal pattern in response to a band sweep of SHF RF signals. The cell phone activation is being further investigated.

For unknown reasons, some people eliminate or pass their nanobot out of their systems relatively quickly and other people retain the nanobots for either extended periods or permanently (until surgically removed). Further studies are trying to determine what, if any health condition is common among those that retain their nanites. In our sampling of US cities using roaming teams with sweep generators and receivers, it was discovered that the signal being emanated from the RFID tags lasted about 21.7 milliseconds longer than in any other urban center.

As of this FDA Warning, there appears to be no immediate health risk and no reason to unduly alarm the general public with a general public announcement. NSA has indicated they will separately report to the Executive Office of the President on their findings.

Transcript for FDA’s Executive Office Briefing: FDA’s Updated Interim Safety and Risk Assessment of Nanobots and its Analogues in OTC drugs for Humans

November 28, 2008

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Government Secrets #1 – Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid

I was involved in a long career of classified work for the military and then did classified work for the government after I got out of the military. Doing classified work is often misunderstood by the public. If a person has a Top Secret clearance, that does not mean they have access to all classified information. In fact, it is not uncommon for two people to both have Top Secret (TS) clearances and still not be allowed to talk to each other. It has to do with what the government calls “compartments”. You are allowed your clearance only within certain compartments or subject areas. For instance, a guy that has a TS for Navy weapons systems may not know or allowed to know anything about Army weapon systems. If a compartment is very closely held – meaning that it is separately controlled even within the TS cleared people, then it is given a special but often obscure names and additional controls. For instance, for years (back in the days of Corona but not any more) the compartment for satellite reconnaissance was called “talent-keyhole” and “byeman” and was usually restricted to only people within the NRO – National Reconnaissance Office.

These code words were abbreviated with two letters so talent-keyhole became TK and byeman became BY. As a further safeguard, it is forbidden to tell anyone the code word for your compartment – you are only allowed to tell him or her the two-letter abbreviation. And you cannot ask someone if they are cleared for any particular compartment, you have to check with a third party security force. So if you work in a place like CIA or NRL or NSA, and you want to have a meeting with someone from another department, you meet them at the security station outside your department office area (every department has one). When they arrive, you ask the guard if they are cleared for “TK” and “BY”. The guard then looks at the visitor’s badges and then checks them against a picture logbook he keeps. The picture and codes on the badges and the log book have to match and if they do, then gets out another book that has just the visitor’s numeric coded badge number and looks up his clearances. If he has TK and BY after his badge number, then you are told that he can be admitted to your area for discussions on just the TK and BY programs and subjects. In some departments, the visitors are given brightly colored badges identifying them as being cleared only for specific subject areas. This warns others in the department to cover their work or stop talking about other clearance areas when these visitors are nearby.

There are hundreds of these coded compartments covering all aspects of military and civilian classified topics and programs. If you are high enough or if your work involves a lot of cross-discipline work, you might have a long string of these code words after your name….as I did.

If a program has any involvement with intelligence gathering (HUMINT – human intelligence, SIGINT – signal intelligence or IMINT – imagery intelligence), then it may get additional controls that go well beyond the usual TS background checks. For instance, you might be subjected to frequent polygraph tests or be placed in the PRP – Personal Reliability Program. PRP was a program that constantly monitors people’s lives to see if they ever get even close to be vulnerable or easy targets for spies. In the PRP, your phone might be tapped, your checking accounts are monitored, you debt and income are watched, and your computer is hacked. This is all with the intent of making sure you never get into debt or get psychologically unstable. PRP administers a series of psychological tests that can take up to 3 days to complete every year. These tests can peer into your mind so well that they can feel reasonably confidant that you are mentally stable if these tests say so.

Because of my work, I had a TS clearance for more than 40 years and had a string of two-letter codes after my name that went on for three or four lines on a typewritten page. I was in the “Poly” program and in the PRP and some others that I still can’t talk about. The reason I had so many was because I was involved in doing decision support using computer modeling – Operations Research, Math Modeling and Simulations. This meant I had to have access to a huge range of information from a wide variety of intelligence sources as well as other kinds of R&D work. I then had to be able to analyze this information, model it and present it to the senior decision-makers in an easy to understand form. This meant I was often briefing congressmen, senators, people from the CIA, FBI and high ranking officers from all of the services, JCS and OSD as well as the working level analyst that were giving me their classified data for analysis.

Now I can begin telling you some of what I learned by being exposed to all of that intelligence over all those years but I still have to be careful because although most of my limitations have expired, some are still in effect and I can’t violate them or I will join the ranks of the “disappeared”.

First, let me make it clear that the entire military is run by the top most 1% of the people in the services combined with the top 5% within the federal government. Imagine a pyramid in which only the guys at the top point are deciding where all the rest will go. I’ll call them the “Power Elite”

There are just a handful of officers in the Pentagon and in JCS that make all of the decisions of what the services will do and what direction they will take. Perhaps 50 officers total. These guys are so high in rank and so close to retirement that they have, for intents and purposes, ceased being military people and are simply politicians that wear a uniform. They are essentially the liaison officers for the highest ranking congressmen and the office of the President. They cater to these politicians in order to gain additional power through the control of more money or to feather they nest of future involvement in the political arena.

There are of course a few – a very few notable exceptions. Colon Powell and Dwight Eisenhower are two that come to mind. Officers like General Norman Schwarzkopf are not in this group because they chose not to seek political office or extend their power or control beyond doing their military jobs.

It is easy to see why all of the military is controlled by 1% of the officers. This is an organization based on the “chain-of-command” structure and everyone is taught to follow orders. In fact, once you are in the military, you can go to jail if you do not follow orders and in time of war, you can be executed for not following orders. Most of the bulk of the military is so biased by the indoctrination and propaganda created and put out by the government, that they willingly follow orders without questioning them.

What this 1% of high ranking military and 5% of the federal government have in common is that they measure their success in money and power. The source of that money and power comes from commercial, industrial and business sources. By making decisions that favor these businesses, those businesses, in turn, empower and enrich those involved. What is truly tragic is that this is not a recent occurrence but rather thee has been a Power Elite in our government for many decades – going back to the mid 1800’s.

The 5% of the federal government refers to the most powerful members of the Executive branch – President, VP, Sec. of Defense, Sec. of State, etc. and the top most powerful congressmen and senators. The reason that the newer, younger and less powerful legislators do not fall into this group is because of the way the political parties are setup behind the scenes. The most senior congressmen and senators are put into positions of power and influence over the committees and programs that have the most influence on contracts, budget money and funding controls. When one congressman can control or seriously impact the budget for the entire military or any major commerce area, then he has control over all of the people in those areas. To see who these people are, list all of the congressmen and senators by length of service and take the top 5% and you will have 99% of the list. Not surprisingly, this top 55 also includes some of the most corrupt members of congress – Murtha, Stevens, Rangel, Renzi, Mollohan, Don Young and others.

At the highest levels of security clearances, many people gain insights into how this Power Elite manipulate and twist he system to their gain. When Dick Cheney orchestrated the fake intelligence to support his war on Iraq, don’t think for a minute that the CIA, NSA and Pentagon did not know exactly what he was doing but being good little soldiers that are, by law, not allowed to have a political opinion, they kept quiet. If they had not kept quiet, their personal careers would have been destroyed and their departments or agencies would have been punished by under-funded budgets for years to come.

The money and power comes from lobbyists and donations of funds and promises of votes so that the Power Elite can remain in power and extend their control and riches. A study by Transparency International found that of all the professions and jobs in the world, the one job that is most likely to make you a millionaire the soonest is being a congressman and senator in the US. In a job that pays less than $200K peer year, the net income and wealth of most congressmen and senators rises by 30-40% per year while they are active members of the legislature. That’s a fact!

So where’s the SciFi in all this? It’s just this, these members of the Power Elite have so much control that they can operate a virtual parallel government that functions out of sight of the public and often in complete opposition to the actions of their publicly expressed policies. Of course, statements like this cannot be made without positive and verifiable evidence and I can provide facts you can check and a long history of this occurring going back decades. Read about these incidents in the rest of this series of stories – Government Secrets #2, #3 and #4.

Longevity

January 10, 1987

As for longevity, there has been some very serious research going on in this area but it has recently been hidden behind the veil of aids research. There is a belief that the immune system and other recuperative and self‑correcting systems in the body wear‑out and slowly stop working.  This is what gives us old‑age skin and gray hair.  This was an area that was studied very deeply up until the early 1980’s.  Most notably were some studies at the U. of Nebraska that began to make some good progress in slowing the biological aging by a careful stimulation and supplementation of naturally produced chemicals.  When the AIDS problem surfaced a lot of money was shifted into AIDS research.  It was argued that the issues related to biological aging were related to the immune issues of AIDS.  This got the researchers AIDS money and they continued their research, however, they want to keep a very low profile because they are not REALLY doing AIDS research. That is why you have not heard anything about their work. 

Because of my somewhat devious links to some medical resources and a personal interest in the subject, I have kept myself informed and have a good idea of where they are and it is very impressive.  Essentially, in the inner circles of gerontology, there is general agreement that the symptomology of aging is due to metabolic malfunction and not cell damage.  This means that it is treatable.  It is the treatment that is being pursued now and as in other areas of medicine in which there is such a large multiplicity of factors affecting each individuals aging process, successes are made in finite areas, one area at a time.  For instance, senility is one area that has gotten attention because of the mapping to metabolic malfunction induced by the presence of metals along with factors related to emotional environment.  Vision and skin condition are also areas that have had successes in treatments.

  When I put my computer research capability to look at this about a year ago, what I determined was that by the year 2024, humans will have an average life span of about 95‑103 years.  It will go up by about 5% per decade after that for the next century, then it will level out due to the increase of other factors.

Snipers Save Lives Also

October 15, 2002As you may already know I have been a SWAT Sniper for about 3 years. My specialty is Counter Sniper for executives and dignitary or high profile protection. What this basically means is, I am posted at certain locations looking for a sniper/assassin. Once a threat is detected, I am charged in countering his/her ability to attack by early detection and neutralizing (killing) him/her. Now on to business…This Sniper killing people in the DC Metro area is a skilled sharpshooter and very calculated. Unfortunately he appears very disturbed and has just left a calling card stating he was God. What that probably means is he may escalate the matter by increasing the rate of killing in each attack because he acknowledges the police’s hot pursuit. This sniper knows it’s a matter of time before he is discovered. He thinks he is superior to everyone, but knows eventually he will be caught. He is playing a very sick game that he feels he is winning. He will probably want to sensationalize his confrontations with the police and eventually stop running and have a standoff. The police may be his future targets. 

It is very important that you adjust your regular routine because this is a very deadly individual. I am going to give you my Personal/professional advice on the matter. The Sniper’s MO (his methods) are the following. 

a. 1st wave of attacks were concentrated in an area the suspect was very familiar with.b. It appears these initial attacks were closer, probably less than 100 yards away. Witnesses were hearing loud cracks. c. He definitely is showing off. He is trying to maintain 100 %, one shot for one kill. (Sniper’s creed).d. He is probably not shooting the first person that appears. He is looking for the highest probable kill. This encompasses distance, position, and movement of the individual and excludes physical barriers (vehicles, tress, columns, etc). 

e. He is shooting from areas adjacent to major roadways, thoroughfares, highways, etc. (quick egress). First group was within a couple of miles from the beltway. Child shot in Bowie was a block away from the US 50 on the 197. f. He went up to northern Virginia (70 miles away) to throw police off his trail (diversion, used by snipers for stalking targets and eluding enemy). 

g. He is making this to be a giant ‘Stalk’ around the Metro area. It is a game now. He wants them to come after him (like he is in his own war against the enemy). h. He is probably using any foliage (tree line, woods, bushes) that is around the malls, shopping center, gas stations, and parking lots. 

i. He is able to shoot accurately out to 500 yards (5 football fields) with a scope (depends on individual’s abilities). j. The farther out he/she is, the more difficult of course it is to detect or pinpoint location. This aids in egress as well. (He knows this). 

My advice is to consider the following.  1.      Avoid unnecessary errands.2.      Bring someone along.3.      Do not stand outside your vehicle grabbing things out the car.4.      If you go to the store, put items in back seat of car (nothing in trunk) so that you can grab items and exit quickly.5.      When slowing down or at a stop, keep windows closed (glass deflects bullets, he knows this and he is not shooting through glass anymore).6.      Never walk straight to a door more than 20 feet away. Zig zag and walk at angels. The shooter is setting up on doorways/entrances and waiting for victims to line up on entrance. The hardest shot for a sniper is a target traversing laterally to his/her position (perpendicular)6.      Walk between cars, use them for protection, and NEVER walk in a straight line to a doorway. Park as close as possible.7.      Be mindful of wooded areas and any bushes around establishment. More than likely surrounding areas. Look for reflections (glare of the scope or weapon).8.      Use drive-thru at fast food9.      Look around and make it obvious (looking over your shoulder in the distant) he may hesitate if they think someone notices him. Point to what you are looking at as well. You want to telegraph yourself to others and get them involved.10.  Keep clear of abandoned vehicles, but concern yourself with them. He is probably parking along roads and walking to his shooting position.11.  You are probably safer inside the DC area only because congestion will prevent him an easy egress for the sniper. So if there is a toss up for a store then pick the inner city (not the outer boundaries). The main thing is being careful. Everyone is at risk even the police. He is able to pick the time and place so he has the overall advantage over the police; however, his greatest advantage is that he has no particular target.  He can take what is called “targets of opportunity”.  This means that if he thinks a shot isn’t going to be a clean kill shot, he will wait for one that will be.  That may be the next person of 50 people later.  Some additional considerations:You are safer on a windy day than on a calm day.  It is harder to shoot accurately in the windContrast and a clear edge makes for a good target:                At night try not to let yourself be backlit.  A solid dark backlit shape is a high contrast target and is easy to sight-in on.


· At night, wear dark colors.  If you are not backlit, then you will have a very low contrast with the background and hard to sight in on.


·              In the day, wear light colors but not loud or bright colors.  You do not want to attract attention or provide a high contrast target.

·              Wear scarfs, long coats, hats, loose clothes, carry bags, etc.  Anything that will make it hard to detect the exact aim-point on the torso or head.

The one-shot, one-kill credo often causes the shooter to go for a headshot, as has been the case several times so far.  If a zigzag walking path is not possible and dodging and weaving would make you feel like a weirdo, then try just moving your head.  Rubbing your neck while you move your head looks natural and still makes for an almost impossible headshot from any distance. 


 

Plato Rises!

This is one of two email exchanges I had with some other writer/scientists in which we explored the outer edge of science.  You have to remember that way back then, there were some ideas that have since died off – like the monuments and face on Mars and the popularity of UFOs. 

Some of this is part of an on-going dialog so it may seem like there is a part missing because this is a response to a previously received message.  I think you get the gist of what is going on.  Despite the fact that this is mostly from 9 years ago, the science described and projected then is still valid or has not yet been proven wrong. You might find these interesting. 

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October 13, 1998

I want to thank you for letting me post your article about gravity shielding that appeared in the March ‘98 WIRED magazine.  Your comments on my article about lightning sprites and the blue-green flash are also appreciated.  In light of our on-going exchange of ideas, I thought you might be interested in some articles I wrote for my BBS and WEB forums on “bleeding edge science” that I hosted awhile back.  Some of these ideas and articles date back to the mid-90’s, so some of the references are a little dated and some of the software that I use now is generally available as a major improvement over what I had then.

What I was involved with then can be characterized by the books and magazines I read, a combination of Skeptical Enquirer, Scientific American, Discovery and Nature.  I enjoyed the challenge of debunking some space cadet that had made yet another perpetual motion machine or yet another 250 mile-per-gallon carburetor – both claiming that the government or big business was trying to suppress their inventions.  Several of my articles were printed on the bulletin board that pre-dated the publication of the Skeptical Enquirer.

I particularly liked all the far-out inventions attributed to one of my heroes – Nikola Tesla.  To hear some of those fringe groups, you’d think he had to be an alien implant working on an intergalactic defense system.  I got more than one space cadet upset with me by citing real science to shoot down his gospel of zero-point energy forces and free energy.

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These articles deal with the fringe in that I was addressing the “science” behind UFO’s.

  I have done some analysis on life in our solar system other than Earth and the odds against it are very high.  At least, life as we know it.  Even Mars probably did not get past early life stages before the O2 was consumed.  Any biologist will tell you that in our planet evolution, there was any number of critical thresholds of presence or absence of a gas or heat or water that, if crossed, would have returned the planet to a lifeless dust ball.  Frank Drakes formulas are a testament to that.  The only reason that his formulas are used to “prove” life exists is because of the enormous quantities of tries that nature has to get it right in the observable universe and over so much time.

  One potential perspective is that what may be vesting us, as “UFO’s” could be a race or several races of beings that are 500 to 25,000 years more advanced than us.  Given the age of the universe and the fact that our sun is probably second or third generation, this is not difficult to understand.  Some planet somewhere was able to get life started before Earth and they are now where we will be in the far distant future.

  Stanley Miller proved that life, as we know it, could form out of organic and natural events during the normal evolution of a class M planet.  But Drake showed that the chances of that occurring twice in one solar system is very high against it.  If you work backwards from their formulas, given the event of earth as an input of some solution of the equations, you would need something like 100 million planets to get even a slight chance for another planet with high‑tech life on it.

  Taken this into consideration and then comparing it to the chances that the monuments on mars are natural formations or some other claim of extraterrestrial life within our solar system, you must conclude that there is virtually no chance for life in our solar system.  Despite this, there are many that point to “evidence” such as the appearance of a face and pyramids in Mars photographs.  It sounds a lot like an undated version of the “canals” that were first seen in the 19th century.  Now we can “measure” these observations with extreme accuracy – or so they would have you believe.

The so‑called perfect measurements and alignment that are supposedly seen on the pyramids and “faces” are very curious since even the best photos we have of these sites have a resolution that could never support such accuracy in measurements.  When you get down to “measuring” the alignment and sizes of the sides, you can pretty much lay the compass or ruler anywhere you want because of the fuzz and loss of detail caused by the relatively poor resolution.  Don’t let someone tell you that they measured down to the decimal value of degrees and to within inches when the photo has a resolution of meters per pixel!

   As for the multidimensional universe; I believe Stephen Hawkin when he said that there are more than 3 dimensions however, for some complex mathematical reasons, a fifth dimension would not necessarily have any relationship to the first four and objects that have a fifth dimension would have units of the first four (l,w,h & time) that are very small ‑ on the order of atomic units of scale.  This means that according to our present understanding of the math, the only way we could experience more than 4 dimensions is to be able to be reduced to angstrom sizes and to withstand very high excitation from an external energy source.   Lets exclude the size issue for a moment since that is a result of the math model that we have chosen in the theory and may not be correct.

  We generally accept that time is the 4th dimension after l, w, and h which seem to be related as being in the same units but in different directions.  If time is a vector (which we believe it is) and it is so very different than up, down, etc, then what would you imagine a 5th dimension unit to be?

  Most people think of “moving” into another dimension and it being just some variation of the first 4 but this is not the case.  The next dimension, is not capable of being understood by us because we have no frame of reference. 

Hawkin makes a much better explanation of this in one of his book but suffice it to say that we do not know how to explore this question because we cannot conceive of the context of more than 4 dimensions.  The only way we can explore it is with math ‑ we can’t even graph it because we haven’t got a 5-axis coordinate system.  I have seen a 10 dimensional formula graphed but they did only 3 dimensions at a time.  Whatever the relationship of a unit called a “second” has with a unit called a “meter”, may or may not be the same relationship as the meter has with “???????” (Whatever the units of the 5th dimension are called).  What could it possibly be?  You describe it for me, but don’t use any reference to the first 4 dimensions.  For instance, I can describe time or length without reference to any of the other known dimensions.  The bottom line is that this is one area that even a computer cannot help because no one has been able to give a computer an imagination ……..yet.

  As for longevity, there has been some very serious research going on in this area but it has recently been hidden behind the veil of aids research. There is a belief that the immune system and other recuperative and self‑correcting systems in the body wear‑out and slowly stop working.  This is what gives us old‑age skin and gray hair.  This was an area that was studied very deeply up until the early 1980’s.  Most notably were some studies at the U. of Nebraska that began to make some good progress in slowing the biological aging by a careful stimulation and supplementation of naturally produced chemicals.  When the AIDS problem surfaced a lot of money was shifted into AIDS research.  It was argued that the issues related to biological aging were related to the immune issues of AIDS.  This got the researchers AIDS money and they continued their research, however, they want to keep a very low profile because they are not REALLY doing AIDS research. That is why you have not heard anything about their work. 

Because of my somewhat devious links to some medical resources and a personal interest in the subject, I have kept myself informed and have a good idea of where they are and it is very impressive.  Essentially, in the inner circles of gerontology, there is general agreement that the symptomatology of aging is due to metabolic malfunction and not cell damage.  This means that it is treatable.  It is the treatment that is being pursued now and as in other areas of medicine in which there is such a large multiplicity of factors affecting each individuals aging process, successes are made in finite areas, one area at a time.  For instance, senility is one area that has gotten attention because of the mapping to metabolic malfunction induced by the presence of metals along with factors related to emotional environment.  Vision and skin condition are also areas that have had successes in treatments.

  When I put my computer research capability to look at this about a year ago, what I determined was that by the year 2024, humans will have an average life span of about 95‑103 years.  It will go up by about 5% per decade after that for the next century, then it will level out due to the increase of other factors.

_____________ Are They Really There? ___________ Life is Easy to Make:

 Since 1953, with the Stanley Miller experiment, we have, or should have discarded the theory that we are unique in the universe.  Production of organic life and even DNA and RNA have been shown to occur in simple mixtures of hydrogen, ammonia, methane and water when exposed to an electrical discharge (lightning).  The existence of most these components has been frequently verified by spectral analysis in distant stars but, of course, until recently, we can’t see the star’s planets.  Based on the most accepted star and planet formation theories, most star systems would have a significant number of planets with these elements and conditions.

 Quantifying the SETI

 A radio astronomer, Frank Drake developed some equations that were the first serious attempt to quantify the number of technical civilizations in our galaxy.  Unfortunately, his factors were very ambiguous and various scientists have produced numbers ranging from 1 to 10 billion technical civilizations in just our galaxy.  This condition of a formula is referred to as unstable or ill‑conditioned systems.  There are mathematical techniques to reduce the instability of such equations.  I attempted to do so to quantify the probability of the existence of intelligent life.

 I approached the process a little different.  Rather than come up with a single number for the whole galaxy, I decided to relate the probability to distance from Earth.  Later I added directionality.

 Using the basic formulas Drake used to start, I added a finite stochastic process using conditional probability. This produces a tree of event outcomes for each computed conditional probability.  (The conditions being quantified were those in his basic formula: rate of star formation; number of planets in each system with conditions favorable to life; fraction of planets with on which life develops; fraction of planets that develop intelligent life; fraction of planets that develop intelligent life that evolve technical civilizations capable of interstellar communications and the lifetime of such a civilization).

 I then layered one more parameter onto this by increasing the probability of a particular tree path inversely to the relation of one over the square of the distance.  This added a conservative estimate for the increasing probability of intelligent life as the distance from Earth increases and more stars and planets are included in the sample size.

 I Love Simulation Models

 I used standard values used by Gamow and Hawking in their computations, however, I ignored Riemannian geometry and assumed a purely Euclidean universe.  Initially, I assumed the standard cosmological principles of homogeneity and isotropic distributions.  (I changed that later) Of course this produced 1000’s of probable outcomes but by using a Monte Carlo simulation of the probability distribution and the initial computation factors of Drake’s formula (within reasonable limits), I was able to derive a graph of probability of technical civilizations as a function of distance.

 But I Knew That

 As was predictable before I started, the graph is a rising, non‑linear curve, converging on 100%.  Even though the outcome was intuitive, what I gained was a range of distances with a range of corresponding probabilities of technical civilizations.  Obviously, the graph converges to 100% at infinite distances but surprisingly, it is above 99% before leaving the Milky Way Galaxy.  We don’t even have to go to Andromeda to have a very good chance of there being intelligent life in space.  Of course, that is not so unusual since our galaxy may have about 200 billion stars and some unknown multiple of planets.

 Then I made It Directional

 I toyed with one other computation.  The homogeneous and isotropic universe used by Einstein and Hawking is a mathematical convenience to allow them to relate the structure of the universe to their theories of space‑time. These mathematical fudge‑factors are not consistent with observation in small orders of magnitude in distance from earth ‑ out to the limits of what we can observe ‑ about 15 billion light years.  We know that there is inhomogeneous or lumps in the stellar density at these relatively close distances.  The closest lump is called the Local Group with 22 galaxies but it is on the edge of a super cluster of 2500 galaxies.  There is an even larger group called the Great Attractor that may contain tens of thousands of galaxies. 

By altering my formula so that I took into account the equatorial system direction (ascension & declination) of the inhomogeneous clustering.  Predictably, this just gave me a probability of intelligent life based on a vector rather than a scalar measure.  It did however, move the distance for any given probability much closer ‑ in the direction of clusters and super clusters.  So much so that at about 351 million light years, the probability is virtually 100%.  At only about 3 million light years, the probability is over 99%. That is well within the Local Group of galaxies.

 When you consider that there are tens of billions of stars and galaxies within detection range by Earth and some unknown quantity beyond detection – it is estimated that there are galaxies numbering as many as a 1 followed by 21 zeros – that is more that all the grains of sand in all the oceans, beaches and deserts in the entire world.  And in each of those galaxies, there are billions of stars!  Now you can begin to see that the formula to quantify the number of technical civilizations in space results in virtually 100% no matter how conservative you make the input values.  It can do no less than prove that life is out there.