Im an 18 year old trying to make the most out of life. I enjoy travelling and hope to see most of the world before I die. My other hobbies include playing sports such as football and swimming, forex trading and art. I love cars and motorcycles and like learning about and seeing how they are built and the history behind different vehicle companies. I am eager to learn new things and make new friends.
I am currently studying Maths, Physics and Accounting and hope to read mechanical engineering at university in 2020.
KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.
KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.
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Dev is an avid motor enthusiast, both cars and motorcycles, as the topics he chooses to write about, demonstrate clearly. He want a career as a mechanical engineer working on vehicles, preferably in the world of racing to which end he is studying Maths, Physics and Accounting at present.
Two wars that played a big part in the fall of the Qing dynasty and were fought so that the British could get their hands on more tea. The Opium wars spanned from 1839 to 1860 and is what made China what it is today. They show us just how terrible the British Empire was when they wanted something.
The British Empire’s love for tea is what essentially lead to it to go to war with China. China sold large amounts of tea to Britain but with the empire losing North America and a lot of money used up to fight the war to keep it ,Britain was struggling to fund their tea craze. They had to find something that China wanted that they could give in exchange for tea and that is where opium enters the picture. Opium was used medicinally in China for centuries, but was popular for recreational use although it was regulated and even banned if use got out of control. The British Empire had India under its control and this came as a big advantage due to its geographical location being close to China aswell as it being a powerhouse for producing Opium. The East India Company which held control of parts of India for the empire began to produce opium at large scales however they could not directly import it into China due to restrictions and so it was instead snuck in using the black market and British traders, since it was harder to regulate what went in and out through them. The amount of opium entering China slowly increased over time until millions of pounds of it were being sent in. With so much opium in China that could be sold for cheap ,opium addiction became widespread and helped to further increase opium sales .
The British were making a lot of money from the opium trade and could now continue to fund their tea craze as well as helping the empire get back on its feet financially after losing so much currency to the war for America. The wide spread addiction of opium in China caused a lot of social and economic problems and in 1839 the Chinese government confiscated and destroyed more than 20,000 chests of opium that were found belonging to British merchants in a warehouse in Canton. This lead to increased tensions between the British and Chinese as the destroy opium had costed the British a lot of money. The delicate peace was destroyed later in the year when British warships destroyed a chinese blockade of the Pearl River estuary at Hong Kong. The British government then decided in 1840 to send a large fleet of warships to China, which arrived at Hong Kong in June. The fleet sailed up the Pearl River estuary to Canton where they attacked and occupied the city in May 1841. The British continued to successfully capture and occupy different parts of China for the next year against Chinese forces despite facing resistance. They then went on to occupy and capture Nanjing in August and the first opium war came to an end with China admitting defeat. Capturing Nanjing was far better than capturing Beijing which was the capital of China because Nanjing stood at the entrance to the Yangtze river which was considered the heart of China since all supplies to Beijing came through there. By controlling what could get through to Beijing the British had already won the war without having to actually capture the capital and risking soldier’s lives.
Peace negotiations between the British and China resulted in the Treaty of Nanjing, signed on the 29th of August 1842. The treaty meant that China was required to pay Britain reparations by giving them Hong Kong Island and increasing the number of ports where the British could trade. The British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue signed on the 8th of October 1843 ,gave British citizens in China extraterritoriality which meant they could be sent back to Britain to be tried for any crimes they committed. China still refused to allow the sale of Opium which did anger leadership back in Britain but was not pursued further however this is what lead to the second opium war later on. The British manage to take China by force relatively easily even though they were disadvantaged by being on foreign soil and having an army far smaller in number compared to China’s army and this is because of how well trained the army was compared to the Chinese army which was mostly made up of farmers with no experience in war and because of how far ahead the British was in terms of technology. The British had warships and weapons that were far more advanced and effective than anything the Chinese army had and this meant that during the war the Chinese had much higher casualties than the British. The first opium war showed the world how powerful the British Empire really was even after being defeated in North America.
I first encountered what I know now as tuning cars when I watched the first Fast and Furious film. In one scene where the crew is building a car, a computer can be seen connected to the car and all sorts of analytics are displayed on its screen. Many car enthusiasts who own cars tune them to squeeze out as much performance as they can and I find it very interesting that a vehicle may not be performing at its best when it leaves the factory and that the owner of a car is actually able to control different aspects of the internals of a car so that the car performs differently.
For many years now cars owners have been trying to make their cars faster while car manufacturers have been trying to make them more reliable and safe. Cars were built and sent out from the factory with a bunch of things designed to make it run safely and efficiently but what if you wanted to change the way your car worked so that it performed to your liking. This is known as tuning. Tuning can be described as trying to find the right mix of variables so that a car's engine can perform at its best. When cars had no electronics, tuning them was quite similar to tuning a musical instrument. You would fiddle around with some screws and then listen to the engine and if it sounded right, you had tuned your car. To explain it properly, it mostly meant tuning a carburettor. The carburettor is where the air and the fuel mix before they go into the engine, too much gas and not enough air makes the engine run rich while too much air and not enough gas makes the engine run lean. The degree to which the flaps in the carburettor can open and let in air is determined by screws. The chamber where the gas and air mix is also tweakable on a car.
In the late 70s and early 80s. Manufacturers were tuning down engines to make less horsepower and get better fuel economy due to the Oil Crisis at the time. To stop people from tuning their own cars, they put caps on top of the carburettors adjustment screws. To make sure the air-fuel mix was staying efficient manufacturers also used ECU’s(Electronic Control Unite). Early ECUs mostly measured oxygen, going into the engine and coming out and then they used that to control a solenoid that would determine how much the carb would open or close and how much fuel would be getting mixed with the air. They had essentially taken the option to tune a car away from the owner. If you wanted a different air-fuel mix, you would have to find a way to trick the computer or reprogram it. This is when the tuning we do now-a-days started to take shape. ECU's have developed a lot since then and are now little computer’s that can gather information from sensors placed all around your car such as wheel-speed sensors, engine sensors, O2 sensors and temperature sensors. The ECU takes all of the data provided by the sensors and calculates what to control such as the air-fuel mix or transmission shift so that the car can perform well. ECU’s can also identify problems with the car using all the data it is sent.
As ECU's became more common in cars, engine and emissions equipment became increasingly electronic and the government made it mandatory that all cars came with a standardized onboard diagnostic system so they could monitor emissions and keep a car running efficiently and environmentally friendly. So from 1996 and onwards every car was equipped with a universal OBD II port. An OBD reader can be connected to the OBD II port and will let you view all information on what is going on inside the engine and this can help with tuning your car. Things such as valve timing, ignition timing, air-fuel ratios could now all be monitored and changed using a computer because of the OBD 11 port found in every car. Tuning had changed from physically messing around with the car's internals to using a computer to change different variables and optimize the engine’s performance to your liking. Just tuning your car however will not help get you extra horse-power, you would need to add new hardware to the car like a blower or NOS injection. The engine would have to be recalibrated when new hardware is added to the car and that is when you can tune your car so it performs at its best with the new hardware.
It’s best not to try tuning your car unless you really know what you're doing. People who do tune their cars are usually are well versed at it and know how to do it safely. Most car companies are factory tuning their cars for optimum performance now as well as they want you to have a well-performing car so tuning is only necessary for some people.
Elon Musk, surpassing Warren Buffett is now the seventh richest man in the world and is someone who is continuously present in the media whether it's for showing his support for Kanye West running as president or because his company was the first private company to send astronauts out to space.
Elon Musk first became a millionaire at the age of 27 in 1999 after selling his first company ,Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million. His next company now known as PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion and so this is where he amassed enough money to fund his ambitions ideas. Musk wasted no time founding SpaceX in 2002 to make his dream of colonising Mars a reality as well as co-founding Tesla in 2003. Musk has stated that one of his goals with SpaceX is to reduce the cost and improve the reliability of access to space also stating that he wishes to make space travel available for almost anyone. It was in 2016 at the International Astronautical Congress that Elon Musk announced his intentions to build spaceships that would be sent to Mars, his plan being to send two cargo ships with no crew to Mars in 2022 and then to fly four additional ships to Mars in 2024 including the first people. Musk would then hope to fund more missions that would work to establish a colony on Mars. His ideals and character have made many people label him the real life Tony Stark.
Through-out the year's since its founding SpaceX has manage to achieve a lot even as a private company, from developing a rapidly reusable launch system to being the first private company to send astronauts to the international space station, however it didn't not start of like this. Six years after SpaceX was founded and following three failed launches for its flagship rocket, the company looked like it was destined to fail. Musk was down to his last $75 million which is a fortune for many start-ups, but considering the rockets at the time cost approximately $90 million to build and he was the sole funder of SpaceX at the time, another launch failure would have likely meant the end of SpaceX as there was also no way to rely on his other company, Tesla for help as it was also not in a good position since the release of its first electric car in 2008, a $100,000 Roadster, which encountered multiple quality issues that led to many recalls. The fourth launch that took place in September 2008 however was successful and as a result, the company was awarded several multibillion-dollar contracts from NASA to help the U.S. resupply the International Space Station and re-establish astronaut travel to and from the space station.
With two successful companies at Musk's hands many wonder how he is able to keep both of them doing so well and one reason for this maybe that both companies inter-depend on one another for both operation as well as to make headlines. While Tesla and SpaceX are very different companies from one another in terms of area of expertise, both have been feeding off each other in recent times to attain their respective objectives. SpaceX has bought $600,000 worth of car parts from Tesla in just the first quarter of 2020 and Musk himself has said that the SpaceX uses battery packs supplied from Tesla on their spacecraft. Musk even launched a Tesla Roadster into space using SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. Publicity stunts like this are why both companies are constantly in the media and is why the public follow both companies so closely. Elon Musk himself also knows how to use publicity to his advantage. Musk is very active on twitter and for the better or worse his tweets do have an effect on his companies. At one time Tesla's stock price was unusually high and Musk tweeted that the stock price was "too high" causing the price of Tesla to fall 12% from its position. Although this event can be seen as bad for Tesla it also once again drew a lot of publicity and as many say "all publicity is good publicity". Using Tesla profits to fund SpaceX when needed is also another reason why SpaceX has made it so far although now that there is confidence in SpaceX's service it will continue to receive more contracts from NASA such as the contract to to launch the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) spacecraft on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December 2022. This contract is valued at $80.4 million.
With Tesla's stock recently pushing all-time highs and within grasp of joining the S&P 500 index and SpaceX just recently being the first private company to successfully launch astronauts into space, Elon Musk's seems to be in a very good position, his name becoming well known around the world and it looks like his achievements can only continue to pile up from here. If Musk somehow manages to commercialise space travel in the future, so that nearly any one can experience it he will almost definitely end up becoming the richest man in the world.
The 1960's was a decade of innovation with achievements such as satellites, and moon landings the world was changing quickly and In just a few years, aircraft powered by jets had replaced propeller driven aircraft . A propeller driven aircraft would take 15 hours to fly from London to New York while a jet powered aircraft could make that same flight in around 7 hours and many were expecting that by the 1970's, supersonic transports would have replaced jets and would fly two or even three times their speed however the technological hurdles alone, to build super-sonic transport were intimidating and they would need to be fast as well as also economical enough for airlines to operate frequently. The U.S. held a monopoly on most of the commercial aviation market so there wasn't much need to invest the massive amounts of money needed to get any plans for super-sonic transport off the ground.
In 1962 the British and French announced their partnership to build the what we know now as the Concorde, and this marked the first serious effort to actually build a super-sonic aircraft for commercial use, a few months later, the Soviets also announced their first SST (super-sonic transport), the Tupolev 144. This worried American officials because if the British and French were to be the first to open up the SST market uncontested, that could threaten America's monopoly over the aviation industry and thousands of American aero-space jobs would be at stake. So in 1963, the race to build super-sonic transport was on and President Kennedy announced that the U.S government would fund the development of an American super-sonic transport. Manufacturers were invited to participate in a design competition which held one condition, design an aircraft that is faster and larger than Concorde. It was Boeing's design that ended up being chosen in 1967 named the 2707.
Like all supersonic transports, the Boeing 2707's shape was extremely streamlined and had a retractable wing. During landings and take-offs the 2707's retractable wings would be moved out to allow more control and during flight, its wings would be moved back in to reduce the drag it would experience as it approached three times the speed of sound. The aircraft would be powered by four Turbojets and to counter the heat they generated; they were positioned under the aircraft at the rear. Since it would fly faster than a Concorde, atmospheric friction would heat the 2707's exterior to 370 degrees Celsius which is hot enough to soften aircraft aluminium and this meant it would need a fuselage built out of titanium as well as having components and systems all designed to withstand high temperatures. The 2707 would be able to flying higher than a typical jet but this also meant it would be imposed to more pressurization hence it had tiny cabin windows . Boeing was confident that the 2707 could enter service with other airlines, by the mid 1970s but they were wrong. The 2707 concept was pushing 1960's technology to its limits and wasn't even close to being finished and so Boeing was forced to go back and rethink their design and ending up with a plane with a more conventional design similar to the Concorde. Apart from the big Engineering problems there was an even bigger problem which involved all super-sonic transport. At super-sonic speeds, loud sonic booms are produced by aircraft, that can be heard along the entire flight path. A sonic boom produced by a 2707 could be heard 30 miles away which can be very disturbing and so to see just how it affected people and their reactions to sonic booms, in 1964 Oklahoma City were subjected to six months of sonic boom testing by the FAA and Air Force. The tests were forced to end early as more than 15 thousand citizens filed complaints and 5 thousand claims for property damage were also made. The Oklahoma boom tests happened a few months after America's SST program was announced and was one of many warning signs that the program would fail.
As the 1960s went on, the SST program had continuous technical setbacks. The 2707 failed to meet the requirements the government had composed and the anti-SST movement had grown and was supported all around the nation. The public's opposition to the SST program grew even more when fears that hundreds of supersonic aircraft, flying at high altitudes would let out enough nitrogen oxide to destroy the ozone layer. In 1969, Nixon took over the presidency but by this point America's Supersonic Transport Program was delayed by years, its budget going out of control, and the public's enthusiasm continuously decreasing. Nixon decided to continue funding the program because he was not willing to let America lose its lead in the aviation industry but by this point, many could see that the Boeing 2707's days were numbered and with a worsening economy in the United States, the program was quickly becoming a political issue. In 1971 the U.S Senate rejected further funding for the project and the Boeing 2707 officially died. Two years later, the FAA banned all civil super-sonic aviation over the United States due to the sonic booms produced, greatly effecting the sales potential the Concorde had, and the viability of any future supersonic transport.
In real life the economy plays a big part in our day to day lives. If the economy is weak or failing people would live in poverty and day to day life would be tough while a strong economy would help people live a much easier life. Virtual Economies are economies found in games and may not have the same effects on people that economies in real life do but they do hold the same characteristics.
I was recently recommended a video on YouTube called "The Rise and Fall of Gaia Online" by the youtuber RedBard. The video goes in to depth on the rise and fall in popularity of the social media platform and why it happened. The video brings up a lot of interesting points that i was not aware of. The first one being that virtual items with enough demand can have real life monetary value. This becoming more common as more massive multiplayer games are released. Developers of games can create and add exclusive or very rare items to a game and if that game has enough players and the demand for that item is high enough like any commodity it can be sold for a lot of real world currency. In Gaia Online's case this item was an exclusive accessory that your characters could wear named the Angelic Halo and it was an item given out to only a few players that donated money to the game when it was not doing so well financially before it had blown up in popularity. Once Gaia online had blown up players started to collect sough after items and the Angelic Halo being only given to a few players and not available at all anywhere else was considered extremely rare and people were willing to pay large amounts of money to have one. One Angelic Halo was sold on eBay for $6000 back in 2008 which is amazing and scary at the same time considering that original owner of this item could have donated 1$/£ to earn it and that people are willing to pay large amounts of money that they could have used to buy a car or pay the mortgage on their house to essentially own a few pixels on a screen.
The appearance of Virtual Items being sold for high amounts in real life currency has only increased in the years since, another example being weapon skins on the popular massive multiplayer fps(first person shooter) game , Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Players can unlock cases by buying or earning case keys and be gifted items of different rarities based on luck . Different cases may be released in different quantities and may contain rarer items than other cases thus their keys being more expensive. Cases containing rarer items or cases released in low quantities would be more sought after by players. In Counter Strike: GO it is pretty common for in-game items to be sold for real world currency so i will talked about one of the most expensive items based on its sheer rarity in the game. The "AK-47 - Case Hardened" had blue, gold and silver hues which changed a lot depending on the float of each given skin. Even though it is not the most expensive skin priced around $75 for a Factory New version, Case Hardened skins came in many patterns with different amount of blue hues. The bluer the hue, the more sought after your skin got and thus the more expensive your skin got. It got to a point at which an anonymous buyer from China bought one for $25,000.
The other point that interested me from the video on Gaia Online was about hyper-inflation, a term used regularly when discussing the economies of real countries. Hyper-inflation is very high and typically accelerating inflation. It quickly destroys the real value of the local currency, as the prices of all goods increase. Countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe have economies that are crippled by hyper-inflation. In the video it is said that Gaia Online's virtual economy also experienced hyper-inflation at a massive scale although since it was only a virtual economy the consequences were much less severe than the consequence of hyper-inflation that occurs in the real world economies. Gaia Online's popularity began to decline due to the hyper-inflation that was effecting its economy and the videos talks about how the hyper-inflation began due to the release of a gold generator named "Flynn's Booty". The gold generator allowed its owner the chance to win gold which was Gaia Online's in-game currency. The maximum amount of gold a player could get from this gold generator being 100 million. With Players now having access to large amounts of gold regularly, prices of items in the market place continued to increase until they reach the trillions. Player traffic began to decrease as people got tired of game and its destroyed economy leading to the "fall" of Gaia online. Although Gaia online is still up and running its player base is vastly lower than it used to be during its golden age.
This video really opened my eyes to how important economics is in our day to day lives and also showed me that massive multiplayer games actually have a lot in similar to the real world even though they are virtual and essential don't actually exist. I recommend you go watch that video on Gaia Online if you are interested in learning more as it goes more in depth into the economic situation of the game than I did here.
During the 1960s railways were seen as slow and outdated since there was a lot of innovation in the transport industry at this time. In Britain some routes were still used by steam trains which were very slow compared to the newly built superhighways and intercity air travel and even Japan's newly introduced bullet train, which was a technical marvel for 1964. Part of the problem was that most railway lines were built decades before with their sharp twists and curves that weren't built for speed. The trains themselves also had one big problem which had to do with the shape of their wheels. Trains wheels were not perfectly cylindrical and had a cone like in shape which kept them on their track especially around curves. While the wheels had flanges, these were just a back-up in case the limits of the conical wheels were exceeded. The conical shape of train wheels meant that speed was capped due to a problem called hunting oscillation. At higher speeds the cone like shape caused the train to move from side to side, the flanges then hitting the track which increased friction making higher speeds inefficient and causing wear and damage. This problem meant that trains essentially had a speed limit built into their design.
The French had already built an aerotrain designed to counter the friction problems, trains with wheels had. They got rid of the wheels entirely and called this new vehicle a hover-train. By feeding high pressure air through lifting pads the train would float on a cushion of air and the track would act as a guide way. Without the resistance caused by wheels, a hover train would be more efficiency and could reach much higher speeds. Leading the way for this technology was a French engineer named Jean Burton. By 1973 ,Burtone had built a hover train that could carry passengers and the world marvelled at its speed and how smooth the ride was. Over the years he develop a number prototypes that worked proving the viability of the hover-train concept and with each success he was rewarded with government funding for his projects. The most advanced aero train was powered by a turbofan taken from an aeroplane and at the front a 400 horse power gas turbine supplied high pressure air to hover the train an inch above its guideway. The guideway was made from pure concrete and the aero-train could easily hover over imperfections. This meant that Hover-train lines were potentially easier to build than conventional railway lines and cheaper to maintain. On the 5th of March 1974 Burton's aerotrain proved it could travel at nearly 418 km/h during a speed run. The success of Burtone's prototypes led to plans for aero train links throughout France. The British had come up with their own innovation to make trains faster. Their prototype was designed around the linear induction motor. Aero trains were fan or jet propelled but linear induction motors were more efficient. Instead of the rotary movement of a motor it provided a linear force for forward movement without producing the noise or pollution which aerotrains produced due the turbofan they had. American not wanting to be left behind were also researching different technologies for trains and in 1965 the High Speed Ground Transportation act was passed in an effort to introduce faster railway service to America. Funding was put towards developing new technologies and even licencing Bertone's aerotrain designs.
Although it seemed like hover trains would transform the train industry at the start of the 1970s, just a few years later not a single country was using them. Plans for aero-train routes throughout France never became a reality and all that can be found today are the abandoned test tracks. The global recession in the 1970s caused governments to cut funding for ambitious projects such as hover-trains and some technical problems were never solved such as at high speeds hover trains could travel more efficiently than conventional trains but at low speeds they were less efficient, although that is not the main reason they failed. In the 1970s the first maglev (Magnetic levitation) trains were introduced and they would use Electro-magnets to levitate over a guide way instead of hovering using high pressure air like the aero-trains did and so maglev trains promised even more efficiency and speed over hover-trains but maglev's also failed. High speed trains today are still largely conventional wheeled trains. This is because the problems of railways could not be solved by one innovation but by small improvements to different parts of the system that made up railway services. Old Railway networks were modernised so that they could handle higher speeds and new signalling technologies were put in place as well as more advanced suspension systems. Precision machined wheels and yard dampers allowed for train wheels with less of a cone angle and so the friction problem was reduced. Mag-Lev trains and Aero-trains were destined to fail as they had to compete with nearly a million miles of old railway line's, stations and infrastructure built out in nearly every city in the world. It became apparent that it's easier to adapt and improve new ideas to the existing world then to have the world adapt to new ideas.
Reconnaissance played a big part during the Cold War. Both the US and Soviets poured large amounts of resources into military technologies but getting an upper hand in this silent war meant knowing what the enemy was doing and in the 1950s the US knew very little about what was happening within the Soviet Union. Surface to air missile sites and air bases kept the US away until 1956, when U2 spy planes began flying over the Soviet Union. The U2s were not fast or stealthy but had one advantage, they could fly at 70,000 feet, far above Soviet's air defences. It was assumed that Soviet radars couldn't detect the U2 at such high altitudes but this was wrong, the Soviets were able to track the U2 but were not able to shoot one down at the time. Simply flying high was not good enough and so even before the U2 began its surveillance missions there were already plans underway to replace it, as true immunity over Soviet airspace could only be gained by a vehicle that had incredible speed, altitude and stealth. This led the US to explore many plane concepts like a ramjet powered aircraft that would be deployed from the bottom of a supersonic B58 but in 1959 the CIA chose Lockheed to develop the next generation of spy plane. In 1960 a Soviet surface to air missile finally managed to bring down a U2 spy plane. The news of the captured pilot and wreckage was broadcasted around the Soviet Union as proof of western aggression. As tensions rose the US needed a replacement for the U2 and what Lockheed developed would become unlike any aircraft ever built, a plane that remains the fastest air-breathing jet to ever fly.
Lockheed's spy plane would be known as the A-12 originally used by the CIA for reconnaissance. The A-12 was also developed into a prototype armed with air to air missiles along with a variant that could launch an unmanned reconnaissance drone but it was the SR-71 Blackbird variant developed for the Air Force that would go on to serve for decades while earlier versions were quickly retired. The Blackbird could cruise at Mach 3.2 right near the edge of space and do it for hours on end ,to achieve this Lockheed engineers had to innovate everything from scratch. To sustain such incredible speeds the SR-71 and its predecessors were powered by powerful engines and below Mach 2 they functioned like conventional afterburning jet engines but above that they behaved more like ramjets as an inlet cone adjusted to bypass air around the engine and directly into the afterburner. At mach 3.2 the SR-71 exterior would heat up to beyond 260 degrees Celsius which is hot enough to soften aircraft aluminium. Engineers used titanium for 92% of the Blackbird and this required inventing entirely new fabrication technologies for its era. its unusual shaped helped reduce its radar signature as did its special black paint which gave the SR-71 it's Blackbird name. The A-12 and SR-71 were first deployed over North Korea and Vietnam where they were unsuccessfully targeted by over 800 surface air missiles but the spy plane never flew into Soviet airspace, at least not officially because another shoot down over the Soviet Union would increase tensions that were already high between the two super power even further and so instead the SR-71 used its powerful side-looking radars and cameras to look hundreds of miles into Soviet territory.
In 1976 Victor Blanco defected to the West by escaping the Soviet Union in his MIG 25, he described the frustration of trying to intercept Blackbirds. The MIG's were Mach three capable but only for a few minutes at a time not for hours like the Blackbird nor could they climb to reach the SR-71's altitude. For years the Blackbirds were practically invulnerable as they could help fly and out climb any threat however by the 1980s MIG 31's were roaming the skies equipped with sophisticated radar and long range missiles and they posed a legitimate threat as did a new generation of Soviet surface to air missiles but the greatest threat to the Blackbird wasn't an enemy missile or jet, it was itself. Not a single Blackbird was ever lost on a mission but more than 1/3 of the 50 built were destroyed in accidents. They were also extremely expensive to operate, each one costing about 300 million dollars a year out of America's defence budget. A fleet of special aerial refuelers and small army of support and maintenance staff were needed just to keep these planes mission ready and advances in spy satellites, aerial drones and the SR-71s inability to deliver surveillance data in real time diminished some of the planes utility. Politics and competition for defence budgets meant that by the late 1980s the SR-71's days were numbered and they were officially retired in 1998 with two sent to NASA for testing .
When I first saw the protests occurring in Hong Kong i did not pay much attention to them, however I then watched a video of a protest and the brutality displayed by the police force and had look in further into the protests and why they are happening. The protests have been happening on and off since 2004 and are to show that the people of Hong Kong are against main-land China's involvement with Hong Kong for certain circumstances and the most recent protests that started in June of 2019 were due to an extradition bill that would allow people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.
China is an authoritarian state meaning the government has complete control over its people and is more concerned about its laws being obeyed rather than people having their own freedoms. Although Hong Kong is part of China it is a semi-autonomous region and run under a different system compared to the rest of China and this is known as the one country two systems arrangement. Hong Kong is run under a different system that allows its people to have freedoms that the rest of China's population does not have. It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China aswell as its own constitution known as the Basic Law. The Basic law protects rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and freedom of the press, none of this freedoms exists for the rest of China. The reason Hong Kong is so different to the rest of China is because it was British colony for 99 years from 1898 to 1997. Hong Kong was given to Britain on lease after losing a number of wars to them known as the Opium Wars. After the lease ended in 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China however Britain and China came to an agreement that Hong Kong would remain a semi-autonomous state and have its own constitution which is the Basic Law. This agreement would be valid for 50 years, after which China would be free to rule Hong Kong however they wished. With the agreement coming to an end in 2047, the people of Hong Kong still have another 27 years before they have to deal with China's involvement in Hong Kong however it now seems as though the CCP (Communist Party of China) are trying to push for bills that will allow them to have more control in Hong Kong.
As mentioned below one of the bills that the people of Hong Kong are against is the extradition bill. The extradition bill was introduced because a man from Hong Kong murdered his fiancé in Taiwan and then returned to Hong Kong where he admitted to the murder however the Hong Kong authorities could not charge him because he did not commit the crime in Hong Kong and he could not be sent back to Taiwan because there was no extradition agreement. This is why Hong Kong officials are pushing for an extradition bill however people fear this bill can be used by Beijing to extradite dissidents to mainland China as well as undermine the judicial independence Hong Kong has. The protests that ensued when this bill was put forward had the streets of Hong Kong filled with protesters and became increasingly violent when the police started harming protesters by firing live bullets and protesters started throwing petrol bombs at the police. The bill was dropped in September of 2019 however the damage had already been done, protests continued and now the people demanded a full democracy and inquiry into the police's actions. Many people that reside in Hong Kong do not even consider themselves to be Chinese and instead have chosen to be called Hong Konger's and I think this goes to show how independent Hong Kong is from the rest of China. China is now pushing to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong which shocked the world and the people of Hong Kong. The law has not been officially published and is not set in stone but will effectively mean that any acts of secession, subversion or terrorism and activities by foreign forces in Hong Kong, will be a criminal act. This law essentially means the loss of freedom to the people of Hong Kong who are against China and many are concerned that it can be used to punish people for criticising Beijing and China's leader as well as affect free speech and their right to protest as in mainland China this would be seen as subversion.
Protests will continue to occur and since they have been happening for so long they are now a lot more organised with cameras being lasered and then spray painted by protesters to hide people's identities and communications being set up so that protesters can disperse and relocate in another location before the police forces arrive, they even have a setup ready that allows them to diffuse tear gas, however none of this matters if Beijing decides to send military forces into Hong Kong to assume full control which is why many are looking to governments around the world to aid Hong Kong.
The Cold War led both the US and the Soviet Union to push for innovation in whatever industry they could in order to prove their dominance to one another. Nikita Khrushchev the leader of the Soviet Union at the time said in a speech in the 1960s that they had ships which could jump over bridges. This confused western nations. Khrushchev was talking about was a vehicle never seen before that could travel at speeds comparable to aircrafts while only travelling a few metres above the water, He was talking about Ekranoplans.
Before the 1960s the fastest boats in the world were known as hydro foils, they were boats that had wings attach to their hulls. At high speeds, they allowed for these boats to lift up above the water and travel even faster since there was less drag due to the water. However hydro foils potentials were limited due to an effect called cavitation which meant that even the fastest hydrofoils could only reach 68 miles per hour. Cavitation is a phenomenon where changes of pressure in a liquid that occur quickly, create small vapor-filled cavities in places where the pressure is relatively low. When the pressure of these cavities gets to high the cavities rapidly collapse, producing a shock wave which can damage the areas where the cavities formed as well as disturbing the lift that occurs when hydro foils reach high speeds. Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev an engineer known for his accomplishments designing hydrofoil ships decided that he could create something better that would not be affected by cavitation. Alexeyev decided that instead of putting wings on the hull they would be placed above the water, so the boat would look similar to a plane. This would mean a shift from hydro-dynamics to aero-dynamics which would allow the vehicle to reach speeds hydro foils could not. This would give the soviets a massive advantage when it came to travelling on water since the rest of the world were still using traditional boats or hydrofoil ships.
Alexeyev wanted to make this new vehicle use the ground effect to its advantage. Pilots would always notice that when landing a plane it would feel like the plane is floating or riding on a cushion of something just above the ground and this would make landing difficult. This occurred because of the ground effect which increases lift while decreasing drag. Alexeyev needed funding in order to bring his ideas to life and the only way to get it was to show the Soviet Union the military potential the vehicle held. The Ekranoplans as they came to be called were able to reach high speeds close to the ground which meant they were hard to detect by radar and since they moved just above the water they would also be invisible to sonar. They would be able to travel into shallow coastlines and beaches which were inaccessible to traditional ships. These reasons alone were enough for Nikita Khrushchev to see the potential of such a vehicle and allowed military funding for Alexeyev's idea. Alexeyev got to work designing and building his Ekranoplans and from 1961 all the way till 1966 he started to scale up his designs until he got to what ended up being called KM (KorbalMaket). The KM was massive and weighed 265 tonnes, it looked like something from the future even when looked at now. It could travel at more than 500km/h and lift 600 tones. At the time of its completion is was the largest flying vehicle however its large size also meant it encountered more problems. Its large size meant it constantly needed maintenance and its jet engines were at constant risk of damage to water and other objects when flying. Its large size also meant that when flying using the ground effect it would be difficult to fly, pilots would be under a lot of pressure and would tire out quickly. The KM also needed large distances to turn meaning smaller ships would have to scout the route ahead to make sure there was no obstacles. This was a big disadvantage military wise.
By the time the KM was produced, Nikita Khrushchev was no longer the leader of the Soviet Union. Leonid Brezhnev took his place and his view on Ekranoplans were entirely different. He felt that traditional military ships were more reliable and appropriate and saw the Ekranoplan project as unnecessary and therefore cut funding on the project. This meant that Alexeyev would have less resources than he needed to improve the KM and therefore set his sights on making a smaller more economically efficient ekranoplans such as the A-90 Orylonok which was made in 1972. With the Soviet Union's economy starting to show cracks, funding for Alexeyev's project were continuously cut throughout the years until the project was eventually cut of all funding. Alexeyev passed away in 1980 and the Ekranoplan projects progress slowly began to decline, only one new ekranoplan was made after Alexeyev's death. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, ekranoplans were forgotten and the ones that existed were taken out of service.
The Space Race was a product of the Cold War. A period of geopolitical tension between the US and Soviet Union and their respective allies. The Cold War was a show of who was the more superior country, and this led to both nations racing each other to be the best at everything including being the first to do anything related to space. During the Cold War, both countries would pour massive amounts of money into different wars such as the Korean and Vietnam War in the hopes of helping their side win. On October the 4th 1957 a Soviet intercontinental missile was used to launch the Sputnik which is Russian for "traveler". The Sputnik was the first artificial satellite and man-made object to orbit the earth. The US people were shocked and frightened by this as Space was seen as the next step in man-kinds journey to expand and the US had to be the first country to take this step. The launch of the Sputnik also meant that the Soviets were able to use their R-7 Intercontinental missiles to fire nuclear war heads at the US which increased tensions between the nations further. The launch of the Sputnik and the Soviets capabilities in terms of intercontinental missiles caused the US to start thinking about space and the benefits it would have to them, military wise. This is where Space Race began.
In 1958, the Explorer 1 Satellite was launched by the US to show the Soviets they were far behind in the "race". The Explorer 1 carried many instruments used to collect data from space the main one being a cosmic ray detector. The detector was designed by James Van Allen and it discovered radiation belts around the Earth that are now called Van Allen Belts. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was formed in the same year, a federal agency dedicated to the exploration of Space. A program led by US air force which focused on learning about the military potential of space and another led by the CIA called the National Reconnaissance Office which used satellites to collect data on the Soviets and its allies, ran alongside NASA however the program led by the CIA remained classified until 1990. The US took a huge step forward in the race in 1958. On December the 18th ,the US launched the world's first communications satellite named SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay). The world's attention was captured by satellite as it broadcasted a Christmas message from the US President Dwight Eisenhower. This was the first broadcast of a human voice from space. Both the US and the Soviets used animals to test their space crafts. The Soviets sent the first animals to space in 1960, they were two dogs named Belka and Strelka and were sent up using the Sputnik 5. The US followed the same route by sending the first hominid to space in 1961, a chimpanzee named Ham was sent to space and also survived the landing. These launches showed that the spacecraft were reliable and safe to be used by humans when in space. Astronauts began to be sent up to space hereafter. The Soviet Union took a big lead in the race in April of 1961 when Yuri Gagarin, aboard the Vostok 1 made a single orbit around the Earth and achieved the title of the first human to reach space. The US caught up a month later when Alan Shepard aboard the Freedom 7 went to space, however he only flew 116 miles high and the flight only lasted 15 minutes. No orbit was maintained, and this was taken as a big loss to the US as the Soviets were far ahead. Both sides lost lives during the Space Race and 1967 proved to the most devasting year of the race. 3 American astronauts died when a fire ignited in the Apollo 1 capsule on the launch pad and a few months later the Soviets lost the cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov when his parachute failed to open on the Soyuz 1 Capsule on re-entry to Earth. These events showed the world how dangerous the Space Race was and also showed both the US and the Soviets that they still had a lot of work to do.
The US began making huge leaps in the race and in 1968 the Apollo 8 became the first human crewed spacecraft to reach the Moon, orbit it and then return back to Earth. The US did not stop there, by 1969 another mission to the Moon took place with the Apollo 11, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin actually landed on the Moon while it was broadcasted to the world. The now famous words by Neil Armstrong, "that's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" while taking the first steps on moon marked history for human kind and many say marked the end of the Space Race with the US beating the Soviets. However, there is no official measure of success and many believe that the Soviets made most of the pioneering achievements that help the US to get their astronauts to the Moon. After the Moon landing, the Soviets focused on building a space station and in 1971, the Soyuz 11 spacecraft successfully docked with the Salyut 1 space laboratory, this showed the world that space exploration would continue. In May 1972, the US and the Soviet Union began to reduce tensions between each other. As the relationship between the two nations improved, cooperation on future missions, and the journey into Space became a joint venture.
I recently watched the film Ford Vs Ferrari and was captivated by its story of rivalry and innovation in racing. The Ford Motor Company, a monolith in the car industry like any big company was looking to expand its reaches and decided that racing would be a good area to attract new, younger customers. Ford's Vice President, Lee Lacocca suggested buying Ferrari, a company known at the time for building luxury cars aswell as race cars that proved to be dominant over all others since Ferraris racing division named Scuderia Ferrari had won many races including 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Spa and 24 Hours of Daytona. Enzo Ferrari (founder of Ferrari and its racing team) was offered 10 million dollars by Henry Ford II for Ferrari and all its assets and the deal nearly went through until Enzo realised that Ford would have control over the funding of the race team basically meaning he would have control of the race team. Ford said this was not negotiable and Enzo therefore walked out on the deal. In the movie Enzo used the Ford deal to increase the price when selling to fiat however this was fiction, Fiat did not buy Ferrari until after Ford had won Le Mans. When rejecting Fords deal Enzo also said he would not "sell to an ugly company that builds ugly cars in an ugly factory". This remark angered Henry Ford II and the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari Began.
Henry Ford II wanted Ford to win the Le Mans and beat Ferrari and so sought help from Carrol Shelby who had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959. Carrol went on to bring a team together that included Ken Miles a mechanic and race car driver. This team worked on fords prototype named the GT40 Mk 1. The GT40 stood at 40 inches in height and although they were very fast , they still had a lot of issues such as gear box failure, head gaskets blowing and the brakes would heat up to such a high temperature very quickly and would stop working. The aerodynamics of the car were also very bad causing it to, at high speeds gain lift and encounter wheelspin. The team Shelby put together fixed these issues over a period of time until the car was perfect. I was very impressed by the way they sorted the brake problem. Shelby read the rules for the 24 hours of Le Mans and came to the conclusion that there was no restrictions to actually replacing parts of the car during the race so the team came up with the solution to make a brake system than can be switched out and replaced in a matter of minutes allowing the GT40 to withstand the 24 hours of racing whilst also not sacrificing speed. I found this solution amazing because the 24 hours of Le Mans is considered the worlds most prestigious race and so its rules would have to be very strict yet Shelby and his team manage to find a loop hole in the rule book that gave them a significant advantage in the race. Another team done something similar to this, early this year in Formula 1. The Mercedes team added something call a DAS(Dual Axis System) to their race cars. This new system allows for their drivers to change the angle at which the front wheels are pointing and the benefits of this are that it allows for the tyres to be straightened on straights which then increase how aerodynamic they are thus increasing speed and reducing tyre wear because the effects of drag on the tires are decreased. This goes to show how important engineering is in F1, it helps people think out the box and promotes innovation with the reward of having an advantage in the race. Another thing Shelby's team did to improve the car which was not included in the film was running the GT40's engine in a dynamometer that simulated Le Mans. To guarantee that the engines would last the entirety of the race, Shelby's team ran them on a dynamometer which is an instrument that measures the power output of an engine. The dynamometer is controlled by a program that simulated durability and performance. The dynamometer then ran or "drove" the engine just as it would be driven at Le Mans including pit stops. The engines were run until they exploded, at which time the engineers would assess and fix the problem and start the process over until their engine design was able to last back-to-back Le Mans simulations. The result was a 427-cubic-inch V-8 engine. This is the engine that helped Ford win the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966.
For anyone who enjoys racing or the construction of cars i would highly recommend this film as it tells the story for one of the greatest rivalries within the car industry as well as how one of the most dominant cars to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans came to be.
Stock exchanges around the world have been hammered by volatility due to the spread of COVID-19 and problems it has caused. Economies around the world are buckling under the stress caused by stock prices dropping by large percentages each day. This blog will seek to explore and understand the different reasons as to why the stock market is taking such a big hit and what the consequences might be in the future.
The mass panic caused by the corona virus has meant uncertainty in the markets have increase and investors have less faith in the long-term survival of companies they have shares in. This has led to panic selling which has then caused stock prices to drop rapidly. Mass panic can occur for a number of reasons and crowd psychology explains these reasons very well. Crowd psychology states mass panic is dependent on the nature of the crowd. Those who study human behaviour have repeatedly found that people tend to follow the general movement of others in the same position as them and in this situation if a large number of investors are panicking this panic will spread to other investors as well like a domino effect. People also tend to look for someone or something with more experience than them in dire situations and if a large majority of people look up to an individual than many more will also follow suit. This individual's advice and actions will then have a big impact on the situation. In this case many people are looking at governments for help and therefore government response can affect stocks much more than usual. This all goes to show that the human mind can respond erratically when put in certain situation and also further backs the point that in order to be good at investing you must be mentally strong as psychology plays a big part when buying shares.
Lockdowns are being enforced all over the world, some being more severe than others. While this is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the impact it has on a country's economy is great as well. This is why different countries are enforcing lockdowns of different conditions so not to cripple their economy's entirely. China locked down 20 provinces during the emergence of COVID-19 preventing anyone from leaving their homes and this has had a large effect on companies that rely heavily on imports from factories based in China. With all production in China stopped ,companies are unable to order goods and the ripple effects caused by this also mean the shipping industry is seeing a decrease in business. Industries hit the hardest by lockdowns being the travel industry. Air lines, cruises and hotels are essentially left to sink into bankruptcy because of the complete lack of income. This is the reason as to why the stock prices of airline companies are plummeting right now.
The pandemic has created a number of bubbles in the stock market since it has started. Lockdowns have meant that more people are at home and looking for things to do. Companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime whose services are in demand due to the large amounts of people bored at home, reek the profits due to COVID-19 .The increase in streaming has led to the European Union to reach out to streaming video providers, asking them to reduce the streaming quality from high definition to standard definition especially during peak times of use so that there is a reduced strain on the broadband data infrastructure. This goes to show how large the increase in streaming is since lockdowns have been enforced. Another bubble in the stock market can be found in the communication industry. Live video conferencing software has seen a massive increase in use due to work places and schools being closed. Companies like Zoom Video Communications and Skype have experienced a big influx in users since the pandemic has started due to schools and work places trying to continue functioning during lockdowns. Once the lockdowns are ended however ,this bubble will pop since people will able to go back to work and schools and will no longer need to use video communication in their day to day.
This pandemic will eventually end, and it is important that we learn from the mistakes that have been made so that when the next pandemic occurs, we will be prepared for it and the stock market does not suffer like it has this time. The Global recession that the countries effected by the virus will have to endure for the next few years will mean that the bears will control the markets for a long time before stocks can begin to increase again. This can be seen as an opportunity to invest in blue chip companies which under normal circumstances would have high value stock.
Although Earth does have some renewable energy sources at its disposal, they are not efficient enough to help its ever growing population sustain. This will eventually lead to the energy sources we are exhausting now such as fossil fuels to run out and at this point it will be too late to rely on renewable sources. An energy crisis would lead to wars breaking out between nations as well as many countries who were once wealthy becoming poor. The only way to avoid this is to convert all sources of energy to renewable sources which would take a long period of time as well as taking up lot of resources and even then, the amount of energy produces is hardly enough. This leaves humanity with one other option which is to get energy from outer space. After doing some research i found a few ways in which we can get sustainable energy from outer space which are stated below.
Wind power converts the kinetic energy in wind to generate electricity or mechanical power. This is done by using a large wind turbine usually consisting of propellers; the turbine can be connected to a generator to generate electricity, or the wind used as mechanical power to perform tasks such as pumping water or grinding grain. As the wind passes the turbines it moves the blades, which spins the shaft. There are currently two different kinds of wind turbines in use, the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) or the Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT). HAWT are the most common wind turbines, displaying the propeller or 'fan-style' blades, and VAWT are usually in an 'egg-beater' style. These turbines can be left on other planets such as Mars with windy climates where they will collect energy into large batteries which are then sent back to Earth using rockets and used up. This is a very expensive operation however with a high margin for error since a lot of things can go wrong. The turbines will also need a lot of maintenance as the weather on the foreign planet could cause damage to them. Since planets like Mars have constant weather patterns unlike Earth which has a constantly changing weather pattern for different regions, the wind turbines should be able to produce a lot of energy easily.
Space Solar Power gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. The solar energy available in space is literally billions of times greater than what we get today on Earth and since the lifetime of the Sun is an estimated to be 4-5 billion years, this makes space solar power a long-term energy solution that has high reward with low risk. As Earth receives only a small part in the 2.3 billion of the Sun's output energy, space solar power is by far the largest potential energy source available that also has the least impact on the environment. Solar energy is already used on nearly all spacecraft today and when made to work in a large scale should be able to collect solar energy that can then be sent to Earth.
Unlike nuclear fission, which splits an atom's nucleus in half causing the release of energy, nuclear fusion combines nuclei to produce energy. While nuclear fusion has already been tested with the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, those reactions give off the majority of their energy as radioactive neutrons, which raise concerns in both safety and production since radioactive waste is produced and the procedure is unstable and can lead to lots of problems. Helium-3, on the other hand, is very safe and it does not give off any pollution or radioactive waste. An isotope of the element helium, helium-3 when it's heated to very high temperatures and combined with deuterium, the reaction releases large amounts of energy. Just one kilogram of helium-3 combined with 0.67 kilograms of deuterium produces 19 megawatt-years of energy. There isn't much helium-3 found on Earth however a lot of it can be found on the moon. Scientists estimate our moon contains more than 1 million tons of helium-3. The energy stored in that much helium-3 is 10 times the amount of energy you'd find in all the fossil fuels on Earth.
The other day I was scrolling through YouTube which recommended the video "My life in North Korea vs South Korea" by the Youtuber Jacob Laukaitis. The video was around 16 minutes and had 13 million views, and showed the two very different worlds of people living on either of side of the border only a few miles from each other. Jacob describes what is happening in each clip and the things he learned.
He had booked a tour of North Korea where he would catch a plane from China and then travel around North Korea for a week. Jacob said that he was instructed to always listen the tour instructors and there was one rule that the tourist must always follow, that being that you cannot go walking around by yourself. This rule meant that the tourists had their freedom taken away and this surprised me a lot since in this day and age almost all people have the freedom to venture where they want to. Jacob also stated how the North Korean citizens never interacted with the tourists and tried their best not to stare. I assume this is because they fear they would be punished. Bearing this in mind something weird that happened near the end of the tour where a surprise was made for the tourist, where they could talk and dance with local citizens in their local park. Jacob stated how unusual this was since throughout the tour, none of citizens chose to interact with them and came to the conclusion that this was a set up event made to make the citizens look happy to the outside world.
In North Korea the leaders are considered to be gods by the citizens and this idea alone can be considered crazy showing just how isolated North Korea is from the rest of the world since no other nation has this view on its leaders. There are public holidays in North Korea where they celebrate their leaders. On these days people don't need to attend work but must go to a statue of their leaders and pay their respects. If it is noticed that you have not done this it can be assumed that you will be heavily punished since that is how important and loved North Koreas leaders are. North Korea is so isolated from the rest of the world that an North Korean that escaped to South Korea told Jacob that back when he was in North Korea they would watch pirated American films and say that the sky scrapers are fake and could not possibly exist. North Korea has lasted this long although being hated by most nations because it has China as an ally. China sends resources and money to North Korea allowing the dictatorship to get richer. The nations other sources of income come from allowing drugs to travel through the country as well as allowing other illegal activities to be carried out on North Korean soil.
The Opium War
Elon Musk and Space Travel
Hong Kong Protest
Space Race of the 20th century
Ford vs Ferrari in F1
The effect of COVID-19 on the stockmarket
Energy from Outer Space