Monday, October 27, 2008

Flying Prius

Well, it won't be made by Toyota. In fact it may not be made by anyone, but a company called Falx is working on a hybrid tilt-wing design with a gasoline generator powering two electric motors.

It's a pretty cool looking aircraft, but browsing through the website shows that they're still at the early-concept stage (as in, "We have cool ideas, give us money and they might turn in to a product"). Maybe they could build it out of Buckypaper.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Run an Election

It seems funny that the U.S. should look to another country about how to run an election, but Brazil seems to have a pretty good handle on how to do a trusted election on electronic voting machines.

The article details how the hardware is provided by a private company (Diebold), but the software is written by the government election office, and is then reviewed and digitally signed by members of both political parties.

This is, in my opinion, the right way to run an election -- the process of how the election is run is completely under the control of the government and monitored by the affected parties. Colluding to fix an election would require the involvement of three parties, one of whom would presumably be harmed by the result.

Santa Barbara Approach

Joahnna and I flew down to Santa Barbara on sunday to visit my grandparents. We had a quick trip down courtesy of a strong tailwind that set my current speed record for the Comanche (178 knots over the ground). We had an interesting landing as the tower worked us in between a bunch of Air Tractors spraying mulch on the hillside.

Spent the afternoon chatting with my grandparents and Uncle Gregg, who was in the area, then headed back to the airport for the flight home. Joahnna slept all the way back, which was a bit longer since we were now fighting the winds that helped us down, and doing 125-130 knots most of the way.

Touched down at sunset, in what were forecast to be gusty winds but were calm for the moment I landed in. We did hear an ominous call from the tower as we were taxiing in, though -- it seems that one of the planes that landed just behind us crossed over an invisible line in the air, and was told to "taxi to transient and call air traffic control about a possible airspace deviation".

That'd be the equivalent of seeing the flashing blue lights behind you.