Sunday, July 8, 2012

Walt Disney and Man In Space

It was 1955 and the number one TV show in my world was "Disneyland".  Airing on Sunday evenings it was in direct competition with God and his Baptist Training Union and Sermons.  But often I managed to see the program anyway, especially during daylight savings time. It was there I saw "Man In Space".  I was blown away.  My ten year old mind was bent double.  I of course assumed they would all these things in the next few years.

                                   Doctor Wernher Von Braun and the proposed three
                                   stage passenger rocket to take us into space.

I was cleaning out 35 years of storage a few weeks ago when I discover a model of this rocket and of the proposed moon lander from 1955.  Remember these were not the ones that actually went into space.  They were the concepts.

Three Stage Manned Rocket 1955

Moon Lander 1955

I wanted to do this.  I watch both "Man In Space" and "Tomorrow The Moon" as many times as I could in that era , that was just three times on TV and once in the movies.  The time in the movies was just a short companion film to a Disney Feature.  I had it bad.  I bought the Comic and wore it out reading and re-reading it.

The Comic book 

I even found the original books they use to make the movie.  Willy Ley's  "The Conquest of Space" 1949 (with Chesley Bonestell) and The Conquest of the Moon (with Wernher von Braun and Fred Whipple, 1953.

Von Braun was the star of eventually three Disneyland Space programs.

The Germans, of whom Von Braun took the lead had a three step plan.  
One: They would send a space ship into orbit.  
Two: They would built a  Space Station.
Three: They would go to the Moon from the Space Station.

Perhaps I would have become a space engineer but things interfered.   I was after all going to be a Missionary for God and you remember the feature film that the film short  "Man In Space" played in front of?  Well that was "Davy Crockett."

I lost my vision of Space and returned it to the Old West of the man from Tennessee.

Then in 1957 the Russians launched Sputnik and all the careful plans of a systematic exploration of space were lost in Cold War panic.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An Amateur Hypothesis on Sperm Whale Buoyancy

Here is the deal.
Hardly anything is none of my business.
That is why I went into Geography.
Geography is to life as the stage is to the play.
I've live my life that way, studying life as a Geographer and have never really worked as a "Geographer".

                                           How Low Can You Go
An Amateur Hypothesis on Sperm Whale Buoyancy:

How do Sperm Whales dive miles into the ocean depths to feed on squid and then return to the surface, all on one breath and in 90 minutes.

All of those problems have been answered except one. How do they surface?
How do they get the spermaceti to expand to provide buoyancy when they at the bottom of the ocean and it is a cold hard wax?

At first it was thought that the cold wax version of spermaceti was warmed up by its blood and as it warmed up it expanded and brought the whale to the surface like a balloon. But there is not enough heat exchange for the blood to do that.

"The spermaceti organs may also help adjust the whale's buoyancy. It is hypothesized that before the whale dives, cold water enters the organ, and it is likely that the blood vessels constrict, reducing blood flow, and, hence, temperature. The wax therefore solidifies and reduces in volume.[34][44] The increase in specific density generates a down force of about 392 newtons (860 lb) and allows the whale to dive with less effort. During the hunt, oxygen consumption, together with blood vessel dilation, produces heat and melts the spermaceti, increasing its buoyancy and enabling easy surfacing.[57] However, more recent work[47] have found many problems with this theory including the lack of anatomical structures for the actual heat exchange.[58]"

How does the stuff heat up and expand?  Sound.  That's my hypothesis.   The whales organ containing the wax/oil is direct connect to the right nostril which is used to make sound via phonic, aka monkey, lips. Subsonic sound vibrations would heat and expand the wax to oil and up comes the whale.  Problem, well one is that all that biological mechanism has been claimed as imperative territory by the whale talk/sonar imaging biologist.  So that  alone puts a "do not trespass" sign on the whole organ.  I communicated directly with some Sperm Whale experts.  They were kind, but told me that this was outside their expertise and try so and so.  So I'm probably full of bullshit.

I just want to post this here in never blog neverland, maybe to give someone an idea to pursue.  If nothing else, it was an interesting thought exercise.