• Greg Baker

That’s No Moon Pie

That’s No Moon Pie (reprinted from the Metro Spirit 4-3-14)

Freshly off our celebration of PI day, and as we come to the end of PI month, I hope that you’ve taken the opportunity to ponder over PI.  PI is a magical quantity, and its importance cannot be understated.

We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t recognize that PI has its flaws.  First of all, PI originates from the analysis of a two-dimensional object.  Simply put, PI lacks depth.  We live in a world of three-dimensions.  A certain amount of volume is needed to fill up all that space.  PI cannot take us where we need to go.

We need cake.

And when I say we need cake, I’m not referring to miniatures.  Nothing against Delightful Bites or Neapolitan — we love you greatly.  But deep down, I’m old school.  Individual servings of cake come in the form of slices, not cups.   Also, 2D projections are so last millennium.  Don’t doubt that we think the Boll Weevil is awesome, but let’s face it.  No matter how many layers you add on, it’s still just a thick circle.  Cylinders are out.  The new standard is the sphere.

Actually, it’s the Spherical Concentric Layer Cake to be precise.  These amazing cakes created by self-taught cake decorator Rhiannon are featured her blog www.cakecrums.me.  She’s created two science-based cakes – the Earth and Jupiter.  The layers in each of these cakes illustrate the different parts of the planet’s core.  Rhiannon provides an instructional video of the process so others can attempt to recreate Mars, Europa or any of the other celestial bodies.  Of course, the concept isn’t limited to planets or moons.  I’m wondering if anyone could make me a Death Star cake for my birthday.  I can hear Obi-Wan now…

“That’s no moon pie.  It’s a cake-station.”

Wind Power (That May Actually Work)

Go ahead and let me have it if you will, but I’m not a big fan of green energy.  At least not right now.  The science behind green energy has not matured to the point where it’s economically viable.  I believe that we would be better served by putting resources into improving the efficiency and safety of conventional sources (coal, oil, nuclear) rather than forcing adoption of energy sources that just aren’t ready for prime time.

That is, except for maybe the Altaeros Energies’ Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT).  This platform utilizes lighter-than-air flight technology to lift a turbine to an altitude of up to 2000 feet.  At that altitude, the turbine operates in a steady, high-speed wind stream that doesn’t exist on the surface.  In addition, the platform does not depend on a fixed-base station.  The BAT can be transported to rural areas not served by infrastructure power or to areas where infrastructure power has been critically damaged (i.e., a natural disaster).  The Altaeros Energies’ website provides no power specifications for the BAT, but a typical wind turbine provides enough electricity to power approximately 500-1000 households.  In addition to power, radio equipment could be attached to the platform to provide communications over a relatively wide area.  Given the right situation, this platform would provide a great benefit for first responders or any other team that needs to operation away from civilization.

Until next time, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker

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