Solar sails: Science Fiction dream come true this week

A Japanese ship was launched on Monday, with two solar sails inside, to be tested in space. Something that until now was only science fiction can be reality in a few days.

(Image: Illustration of the possible form of a solar sail)

We live in a wonderful era where every day are produced dramatic advances in technology. Although I confess that when I was 20. I was convinced that at 30, live in a Martian colony (no kidding). Now that I have 30_y_algunos, I see that everything is going much more slowly. But ceases to amaze me that things like solar sails, which until recently were only a product of science fiction, is now being used to propel spacecraft.

As with the space elevatorArthur C. Clarke in his book "El Viento del Sol" (Alianza Editorial - 1987) tells us among other stories, what a race with solar sailing and what techniques should be used to go in the opposite direction to the sun or travel distances where sunbeams are weak.

In this book Clarke is clear that while the value of the energy produced by photons on the sail of a solar sail is very low, as is a continuous (and free btw) acceleration, it is sufficient for a few days after have left Earth and thanks to the absence of friction, the ship can reach 3,000 km / h with zero fuel.

As this seems Science Fiction 100%, it turns out that it is not. In today's edition of The New Scientist He explained that last Monday on August 9, 2004, a Japanese ship proceeded on the basis Uchino Space Center in Kagoshima (southern Japan) with two candles to be tested in space.

If the sails work, fuel for interplanetary navigation would be virtually unnecessary.

(Image: Another illustration of the possible form of a solar sail)

Now only missing to dispense fuel to overcome Earth's gravity ... but we fixed it already with the space elevator :-)

The theory that speaks of power over the candles, is nothing new, the theoretical basis on solar pressure was established by Maxwell in 1860 and recognized by Einstein in his work on the nature of light. Although so far no one had dared to conduct experiments in space, directly with candles (yes they had done in the upper atmosphere ... and failed).

Anyway ... I hope the Japanese candles work well!

Some clarifications:

  • Solar sails use sunlight, not the solar wind.
  • The solar wind is produced by electrons and protons emitted by the Sun when burning hydrogen. These particles are thrown at high speed through space, but contain very little energy. Solar sails, using the kinetic energy of the photons of sunlight to propel.

interesting and supplementary information pages:

  • Description of different forms of spatial navigation:
    Science fiction
  • article New Scientist which speaks of the launch of the Japanese ship.
  • Interesting article (in Castilian) about how does a solar sail.

I robot. Or how a poor job of marketing can kill a movie

For days I've been following the controversy that "I, Robot" has unleashed in the United States among the ranks of lovers of science fiction. But I refused to write about it until I have seen the film and I could judge for myself, and discern if "I, Robot" by Alex Proyas, attentive or not, against the memory of Isaac Asimov.

And the truth is no. Even if you are only guides for the trailer of the film you would think so ... and the trailer is exactly what triggered the ire of readers of Asimov.

And this time they have looked to the promotion of the film !!
Go crap !!

I bet the creators of the promotional campaign and had watched the film, nor had read any of the books by Asimov.

I can even imagine the team preparing the campaign ...
"Let's see ... we have ... Will Smith + Science Fiction + summer ... OK ... let's see ... what's the argument? ... robots threaten human ... polis against robots ... it come ... make a trailer with some spectacular images of robots against humans, ... Asimov? ... ummm ... let pamphlets with the Three Laws of Robotics (but adding a postscript type "are perfect until something goes wrong") ... okay ... that's it ... the next please? ".

Total, that after the trailers and pamphlets (in Spain have also been distributed), began a movement through the Internet, to boycott the film and apply to all lovers of Science Fiction failure to attend theaters to see the film Proyas.

Cuando vi el tráiler por primera vez, mi reacción inmediata y sanguínea, también fue la de “acordarme de los muertos” del señor Proyas, por haber utilizado el universo de la serie de los robots, a la entrañable Dra. Susan Calvin y a las 3 leyes de la robótica y al nombre de Asimov, para promover un film, que claramente (a juzgar por los tráilers) atentaba contra la memoria de Asimov. Lo que Asimov en realidad, en todos sus libros transmite acerca de los robots, no es otra cosa que simpatía hacia estos seres que por su candidez y por su voluntad de servir a la humanidad, a veces se desvían del camino marcado y dan lugar a innumerables y divertidas situaciones paradójicas.

En el universo de Asimov, las tres leyes de la robótica tampoco son perfectas, de hecho, Asimov se inventa una Ley Cero en la novela “Robots e Imperio” (“Un robot no puede realizar ninguna acción, ni por inacción permitir que nadie la realice, que resulte perjudicial para la humanidad, aun cuando ello entre en conflicto con las otras tres Leyes.”), y hasta tenemos La Fundación, donde no hay robots… (al menos, que sus habitantes sepan…). Pero tras leer cualquiera de sus libros, en ningún caso tienes la sensación de que los robots son malos y que tienen que ser exterminados.

Una vez vista la película, te das cuenta de que si bien el “Yo, Robot” de Proyas no tiene nada que ver alguna de las 9 historias cortas que recoge el libro homónimo, el espíritu final de la historia tampoco está en contradicción con el espíritu de Asimov. Sólo es la campaña de promoción de la película la que debe ser quemada, no la película en sí.

Y definitivamente, “Yo, Robot” es una película que vale la pena ir a ver. Tiene unos efectos especiales apabullantes y tiene escenas que se recordarán durante tiempo (escena del almacén de robots, con robot +1 infiltrado, y escena con contenedores llenos de robots antiguos poniendo carita de “Gato_con_Botas_de_Shrek_2”). El film de Proyas también explora temas como las grandes corporaciones y sus políticas internas, la dependencia humana por todo lo que es tecnología y los prejuicios humanos ante lo desconocido.

I'd rather not explain anything more about the film so that the reader still has not seen it can go to the movies and enjoy it ... even if you've seen the trailer ... better forget about it and enter the projection room with open mind.

(Five minutes from the end, ask yourself who the murderer ... to see if you can guess :-))

Discover how the creator of Radio Rivendell and how a radio works on Internet

Entrevista a Anders Dahlgren

Anders Dahlgren (the one in the picture), A Swede, 29, CapGemini consultant working on Sony Ericsson, is the creator of the first radio station that broadcasts music of epic fantasy genre, 24 hours a day, designed to acclimate roleplaying.

In the article: "If you're an Elf, now you have your radio station"Said the discovery of this radio station where you can listen to any time of day without interruption, the soundtracks of films like" The Lord of the Rings "and" Braveheart "or soundtracks of games like Neverwinter Nights and Warcraft III.

Following the aforementioned article, Anders has been kind enough to satisfy my curiosity about him and this fabulous radio station that broadcasts over the Internet since 2002 and has allowed it to entrevistase

How did Radio Rivendell?

Well ... it began as a diversion from some friends that played a role. We had several CD's with different music we used to liven up the games. One day, I was testing a Shoutcast server and one of my friends suggested us to use this server to listen to our songs, rather than CDs. Radio Rivendell was born that day.

(Note: SHOUTcast is Nullsoft technology that lets you create online radio stations created with Shoutcast stations are automatically tuned with WinAmp [also Nullsoft].).

What is the target, your target audience?

Anyone interested in good fantastic music.

What are the sources of income of Radio Rivendell?

Mainly donations from listeners. Although all the money we receive we use it to pay the new server on which emits Radio Rivendell. So in the background ... returns to the listeners themselves. Unfortunately, with these revenues we do not cover all expenses that yields the station.

It all started as something small, and now we have become a community. Now I have to stay online, as long as listeners, but I have to find a way to reward everyone who makes it possible. Without going any further, a Finnish friend is the one who makes it possible for us now to have 200 users connected simultaneously.

How have you grown the station?

At first only were broadcasting commercial fantastic music (like "Lord of the Rings") we had on CD. But as time has gone by and more people have been known Radio Rivendell, many composers nonprofit, send me your songs. In return, our listeners can appreciate their music and they are disclosed. Now they begin to come some small record companies to offer their titles. And we have some "success stories" explained on several websites.

What makes happiest is to see who can give musicians something they deserve and have earned.

Tell us about your work outside the radio station:

For 4 years, I work as a consultant for one of the largest consulting firms in the world: CapGemini.

Generally, I am assigned to Sony Ericsson, where he developed new mobile phones.

I love work allows me to fully enjoy all kinds of gadgets! And besides, I just trying absolutely all phones are released to the market.

What do you like about the radio station?

Above all, that since has grown, people really appreciate the music that we issue. I do not receive many emails, but I get are really giving me energy to keep working hard.

Another great source of energy is when artists contact me directly and I request that their songs are issued by our radio!

Some labels, such as Waerloga Records (Swedish company), are making music compilations and we apply what songs to include in their CD's. So Radio Rivendell has begun to be a small showcase for lesser known artists. And this is precisely what I want, help all brilliant musicians that are out there that are more known.

What are you most proud of?

As I said before, above all, that artists come to me. I also like Radio Rivendell search on Google and see us mentioned in many places.

When I read that one of the artists being promoted on Radio Rivendell has sold CD's thanks to us, also I'm glad a lot.

And to finish,
where do you see yourself in 10 years?

With Radio Rivendell? Hmmm ... personally, I see vivendo me in a hot country, with beach, cheap drinks and a direct Internet connection :-)

Hopefully in 10 years, Radio Rivendell still alive and has grown tremendously. Now we have reached the 207 simultaneous listeners. Perhaps then we are the largest and Shoutcast station!
It is possible that at this time we are no longer specialized in fantastic music. Now we play some music outside the genre but it sounds good in what is our specialization. But who knows in ten years ...

My dream would be to devote full time Radio Rivendell. Now I can only devote to the station on weekends and some evenings.


That Ehlonna, goddess of forests, hear you and make your wishes come true.
Since we also want it so.

Radio Rivendell can be heard from their own website: Radio Rivendell or by downloading the WinAmp and looking for Radio Rivendell between preset radio stations.