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Monday, July 12, 2010

Reminds me of a story...

REAL NEWS: An experimental solar-powered aircraft proved it could stay aloft, through the night, for 24 straight hours using only solar power. Wow! (Disclosure: no gas was harmed in the making of this flight.) Imagine... the sun, an unexhaustable energy source (as long as there is life on earth) creating hypothetically, a never-ending scenario... a plane that could fly forever.

This reminded me, in some perverse way, of Icarus, the character in Greek mythology. Against his father's warning, he flew too close to the sun with wings he made of wax. (Who makes wax wings these days?) The wings melted (proving dads are always right) and Icarus fell to his death. (The sun giveth and the sun taketh away--get it?) Well, that was then--and a legend at that--but this is now... and it is real.

The glider-like plane with 12,000 solar panels on its 207-foot wingspan to recharge its batteries as it flew, proved it could, theoretically, stay aloft indefinitely! Kind of like something scientists have believed was impossible... a perpetual motion machine.

Reminds me of a story:

On a trans-Atlantic flight in a four-engine jet, one of the engines failed. The captain quickly told the passengers:

"Ladies and gentlemen. We have just 'lost' one of our engines. I want to assure you that this plane can easily fly on three engines. This will, however, slow us down and we will now land 30 minutes late."

Shortly after, another engine quit and the pilot announced, "Sorry to inform you that we have 'lost' another engine. Not to worry. We can easily fly on. We will, however, now be an hour late at the gate."

After some trepidation in the cabin as the flight grew later and later, a third engine quit. The pilot quickly reassured the passengers: "I has happened again. It is unusual but we can fly on, though we will now be two hours late."

One passenger disgustedly lean to his seat partner and grumbled, "If that other damn engine goes, we could be up here all night."

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