Gas!

No, no – not the kind of gas that guy who sits a couple of cubicles away from me has.  This is about deadly chemical use during war – specifically the risk of chemical attack against Americans during World War II.  The Modern Mechanix blog has all the gory details, as revealed in the April 1946 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine.  This is a long article, but it has lots of interesting information in it.

America was ready to give and take if the Axis had turned loose with the most inhumane of all modern weapons!

LOOK carefully at the pictures on these pages—if you’ve been wondering what we would have done in case the Axis powers had introduced deadly chemicals in the recent war.

It seems fantastic, weird and remote, now that the shooting is over. But here are the brutal facts, revealed for the first time by the Army’s Chemical Warfare Service. It was alert and ready to retaliate in heaping measure had our enemies used gas. Although the U. S. is not a party to any treaty or other agreement not to use gas, we have long been committed to the policy that we would not resort to this horrible weapon unless it was first employed by our foes. The fact that our troops were fully prepared for offensive and defensive gas warfare undoubtedly stopped the Axis from challenging us on this score.

Continue reading Gas!

Flight Simulator X demo

flightsimxlogo.gifIn case you haven’t already heard, the demo for Microsoft’s newest incarnation of Flight Simulator, called Flight Simulator X, is now available for download.

Flight Simulator X Trial Version

The Flight Simulator X trial version includes two airports, three missions, and three different aircraft. All of the missions take place at St. Maarten in the Caribbean.

Missions:

Getting Started (Novice)
flightsimx-img13.jpgPlane: de Havilland Beaver DHC2
Details: Geared towards first time flyers, this step-by-step tutorial mission shows you how to get off the ground and up in the air so you can explore the ocean and island of St. Maarten. Of special note is the fact that the Beaver is a float plane so you won’t have any runways to worry about. You’ll be taking off and landing in the ocean.

Flour Power
Plane: AirCreation Trike Ultralight
Details: This mission has you behind the controls of an ultralight, a very easy to fly glider. The object of the mission is to drop sacks of flour attached to your ultralight onto various objects and targets scattered throughout the area surrounding St. Maarten. You’ll be scored on both speed and accuracy. Try not to drop any flour on spectators or dolphins, as you’ll be assessed a time penalty.

Caribbean Landing
Plane: Bombardier CRJ700
Details: The most challenging of the three included in the trial version, this mission will essentially be a take-off and landing of a Bombardier CRJ700 in a technically challenging airport. You’ll need to manage air traffic chatter and surrounding AI planes efficiently to succeed.

My flight abilities are nil.  Yet I still love flight simulators.  I have the past 3 versions, and will likely pick this one up, too.  I also have the last 3 versions of XPlane.  If you want to try your hand at flying, I can easily recommend either of these simulators, but be prepared to spend time really learning your stuff if you want to do anything that feels even remotely not “OMFG I suck at this” when using either sim.

[tags]Flight Simulator X, Flight Sim news[/tags]

Posting via email

I have set up email posting for the site. This means that I can more
easily put articles up when I’m at work (where I can no longer access
the site). Hopefully I’ll be more regular in posting with this feature
enabled.

The end of food allergies?

(via Blue’s News)
This article at the BBC indicates that scientists believe we could well eliminate food allergies in the next 10 years.

Experts at the BA Festival of Science, in Norwich, heard that vaccines could be created against the molecules which trigger allergies.

The scientist leading the research – Dr Ronald van Ree, from Amsterdam University – said a vaccine with no side effects was in sight.

. . .

Speaking about the research, Dr van Ree told festival delegates: “Taken together, these new developments provide good opportunities to develop strategies for the treatment of food allergies, both preventive and curative.”

He said it was now possible to produce altered versions of food allergy molecules in the laboratory.

“Importantly, this allows scientists to develop hypo-allergenic variants of these molecules for application in safer immunotherapy that will induce little or no side effects,” the scientist told the meeting at the University of East Anglia.

“Effective treatment will end the fear that food-allergic patients have for unwanted exposure to food allergens.”

Some of you already know me as a bit of a skeptic.  I’ll continue that tradition here.  In 5-6 years, we’ll get an update on this that we’ve moved slower than initially expected, and that now (i.e., the year 2011 or so), we really are just 10 years away from eliminating food allergies.  And this time, we really mean it.  At least, until 5-6 years later when scientists confirm that things are progressing slower than anticipated, but really, it will only be 10 more years, at most, before food allergies are wiped out.

I hope I’m wrong – I’d love to see food allergies eliminated.  But the body is damn tricky in how it works.  And as Jurassic Park taught us, any time you try to alter nature, nature finds a way around your changes (or something like that).

[tags]End of food allergies, Sciencists predict 10 years to end food allergies[/tags]

Smart speed monitor gives speed and license plate

(via Engadget)

smart_speed_check.jpg

Drive too fast in the UK and you might get a more personal notice of it than you are used to seeing. A new speed checking device is being tested that not only puts up your speed, but if you are going too fast also puts up your license plate number. I’m guessing this wouldn’t work as well for a lot of US states, since many don’t have front license plates. But if this catches on over-seas, expect mandatory front license plates and the import of this gadget to keep an eye on more motorists. And shortly after, be prepared for automated tickets based on this device.

Highways consultant firm Atkins came up with the idea in a bid to boost safety for road workers. A radar detects the speed of oncoming cars and flashes the words ‘slow down’ and the reg plate of vehicles exceeding 55mph. In a trial on the M42 in the Midlands, almost half of drivers breaking the limit slowed.

[tags]Speed monitor shows speed and license[/tags]