Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Surgical & Aircraft Grade Marketing BS

Let me vent regarding a pet peeve of mine, educate the blogosphere's collective mind, and perhaps influence consumer perception.

I get really pissed off when I see consumer products marketed that are constructed of "surgical grade" or "aircraft grade" alloy/steel/aluminum/titanium. The inkling that this stuff is made out of some kind of advanced superalloy is totally bogus and misleading assertion.

First things first.

The two greatest criteria in selecting a metals for use within the body are:
1) that it is inert to blood and other body fluids
2) it will not undergo corrosion in the time from manufacture, sterilization, and aging. Or in the body if it's implantable.

Strength is often an afterthought for most medical materials. Fitting into the "almost never a consideration" category would be weight. Oh yeah, and stainless steel is relatively cheap.

Check this out. They should really be calling it Cutlery steel. This is from 1915, when most surgery was generally performed with a hacksaw.

The greatest criteria in selecting a metal for use in an airplane are
1) Strength to weight ratio (specific strength, for you geeks out there)
2) Fatigue resistance
3) Creep resistance (for the layman, creep is an engineering term for the weakening of a metal at high temperatures over long periods. I'm not talking about that guy mumbling to himself on a downtown street corner, that is an entirely different creep resistance -- a steely gaze and big biceps are the best in this regard)
4) ability to form into complex shapes
5) corrosion resistance - although aircraft often employ complex coating systems as well.

Anways, generally you hear "aircraft grade" applied to 6061-T6 and 6Al-4V titanium. Incidentally, these are the most common alloys of the two respective base elements you'll find.

Here's something you probably didn't know. simple carbon steel is stronger than pure titanium, most titanium alloys, and almost all aluminum alloys. Care to know what you add to aluminum to make it as strong as steel? Guess! I bet you're wrong! Answer: Copper. about 3% by weight and then a sophisticated heat treatment.

Even better yet, sometimes 6Al-4V is sometimes reffered to "military grade!" That's gotta have every basement nerd jizzing their pants in ecstasy. Actually, 6Al4V is by design almost identical in property to common stainless steel, just lighter. That's about it.

Here's what you'll never see. Some company hocking a "surgical grade" gadget made out of Nickel Titanium, MP35N, Cobalt Chrome, Tantalum, Tungsten, 17-4PH(my favorite flavor of stainless steel), or Platinum.

sidebar: Speaking of Platinum, I don't understand the fascination. Platinum is not an attractive metal -- its a dull grey, nor can it become shiny unless you alloy it with something -- Iridium is generally the choice. But even then it can't hold a mirror polish like stainless steel can, and it's not nearly as hard, and will scratch & mar quite easily.

I bet you've never seen an "aircraft grade" doohicky made from Hastelloy, Waspalloy, Inconel, or CMSX single crystal alloys.

Now. Let me tell you about some cool metals. Brace yourself, this is going to be AWESOME.

Palladium - indistinguishable from platinum but about 1/3 the price, it absorbs up to 900 times its volume of hydrogen under standard conditions.
Beryllium- the lightest of all (mostly) non-reactive metals, it is also extremely stiff. Used primarily in satellites, missles, and supersonic aircraft.
Rhenium - the last metal on the periodic table to be discovered; it is about as dense as platinum, has a melting point second only to tungsten, and its one of the most rare metals on the planet - many times more rare than platinum or gold.
Indium-a relatively weak metal that makes high pitched screams when you bend it.
Astatine- Its isotopes have half lifes of between 8 hours and 125 nanoseconds, so you could have kilos of it in your hand, and it would dissappear before your eyes. Actually, it would emit so much radiation that it would probably cook you down to charcoal in the process, but that's cool, right? Too bad that in all of North & South America to a depth of 10 miles deep, there's probably only about 1 trillion At atoms at any given time. (found that on wikipedia)
Tellurium- a metal that when exposed to humans, even in very low concentrations, gives them a garlicly smelling breathe.
Thermite - a mixture of steel and aluminum that gets so hot that when ignited, a dollop of it could pass through the block of a V8 engine.

So now you can laugh the same way I do when you hear all this nonsense.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top albums of 2008

My top albums of 2008, ranked by my iPod/music player of choice play. I'm not going to write any reviews, because, in the words of Chuck Klosterman, "when reading criticism, you learn more about the critic than you do the music." or something like that.

Mystery Jets - 21
Vampire Weekend
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Protest the Hero - Fortress
The Kills - Midnight Boom
The Mars Volta - The bedlam in Goliath
Jolie Holland - The Living and the Dead
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Los Campesinos - We are Beautiful, We are doomed.

Stuff I haven't heard yet:
TV on the Radio
Black Mountain

I don't think I've given Fleet Foxes or Portishead a fair listen yet either.

Maybe that means I don't have alot to say.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another "Hell Yeah!" for Henry

Henry blasts out a very concise and eloquent rant on a topic I've been spouting about for years.

Holy Accurate Economic Prediction, Batman!

This guy either has a time machine or knows what he's talking about.

Check the date -- March 2008. Almost every single one of his predictions has been accurate thus far. Who knows...if John McCain would've listened to this guy, and acknowledged economic weakness, he might have been a much stronger opponent to Obama.

Perhaps the most poignant:

Expect 3 years before the bottom, as a very optimistic best case scenario.

So I'm going to travel with my money instead. With the exception of my 401k, my savings have outperformed the market quite well to date. I'm planning a trip to New Zealand in April.

Key Bush insider set to testify dies in plane crash.

You probably heard about flight 1404 crashing in Denver the other day. However, there's a plane crash probably you didn't hear about. This should be one of the biggest stories for 2008, but it probably won't be. I'm usually a very skeptical person, but this has my conspiracy detector off the charts.

Michael Connell was an IT expert for the Bush Whitehouse and Karl Rove. He died on the evening of Dec. 19th when his single engine airplane crashed. The plane is purported to have ran out of fuel. Pretty conspicuous for a man who was known to be a very experienced pilot. And on top of that, running out of fuel does not mean airplanes just fall out of the sky. as long as they don't stall out, they can glide long distances provided that the hydraulics work, and can land if there's a clear place to do it.

Who is this guy? Remember the US attourney scandal? This was when we learned that the Bush Whitehouse didn't actually use government computers, but instead used Republican party owned equipment, and a GWB43 domain name. My understanding is that after a freedom of information request was made to get emails from the Republican party, they apparently "lost a few million emails." Well, he was Rove & Bush's #1 computer man --he was also under investigation for vote tampering in 2004. A non-profit watchdog group has been collecting information on him for years.

Well, he decided to testify, was threatened by Karl Rove, denied protective custody, and is now dead.

From PRNewswire-USNewswire

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VelvetRevolution(a non-profit investigating Mr. Connell over the last 2 years) in July that Mr. Connell's life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR's attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell's not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.

On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.

The Bush administration is now trying to erase the truth from the history book. This is par for Soviet Russia, not America. Expect GWB to pardon lots of people who had direct contact with his administration at the end of his term. The idea that a witness dies in a suspicious manner is far beyond chilling to me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In the words of George Carlin

Some people are fuckin' stupid

Who votes for Franken AND Michelle Bachman?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2010 Goals

It's my intention to apply to a master's program in 2010. I will be applying for Rotary's Ambassadorial scholarship, a program where I would be studying overseas. I will select 5 different schools -- and quite possibly need to learn a new language. It's my intention that more than 3 of these schools will be in Scandinavia.

This will be a great challenge, and I'm willing to sacrifice quite a bit for this. I've had dreams of not only becoming bilingual, but also living abroad for quite some time. This will help realize them.

What I decide to study is of some question at this time. Rotary is interested in humanitarianism and intercultural understanding as a key goal, so in order to be selected I will need to fit those interests as well as my own........ so I begin to wonder if Biomedical engineering would fit this mold.

So I'm planning......

A whole lot of awesome.

Finally I found a video of this.

Norwegian pro freeskier Fred Syversen unintentionally hit the world record cliff drop, got buried in the snow and skied away to the waiting rescue helicopter. At the hospital they found that he only had some minor internal bruising on his liver. This all happened in the Alps while filming. The cliff was said to be 351 feet(!) high and Fred Syversen’s speed at take off was around 80 km/h.

From Fred himself.

Some facts for u guys


Somebody told me about this discussion (couldn’t read it trough, too much), and I like to add a few facts, the rest I will leave for the film and the pics. I can’t give you any proof, that’s not for me to decide.

My ski philosophy is that you should always stick your landings, that’s gonna progress our sport! Going this BIG we’ll leave to the BASE jumpers.

This was the warm up run at the beginning of the day during heli-filming, and it turned out that I missed the end of my line with not to many meters (difficult route finding cause of similar terrain features ). I let my skis go pretty much into the falline and picks up speed instantly, and just thereafter realized my fault and that I will go out something, probably huge.

The mind works amazingly fast under stressed situations; breaking or trying to stop was no longer an option, it simply went too fast. If I had tried that I wouldn’t write this. So that left one choice; go for it, and do it right!

For a fraction of a second I thought this is it, but managed to get in a slight right turn to avoid the cliffs on my left side in the landing area. Then comes the take off at an amazing speed (it felt like that), I see snow underneath, and I realized that it’s not over yet.

In the air I tried to keep a position as long as I could, but air pressure finally pushed the tips of my skis up. That’s what I wanted as well, because landing it anything else than horizontally was out of the question!

I had an ABS avalanche back pack, and for those who know, it has a little metal/aluminum bottle ? near the lower back, not good if you land on your back. So I tilted my body slightly to left before impact and that probably saved my spine.

I didn’t want this to come out, but with mobile phones around……

Nuit de la Glisse Films / Perfect Moment Clothing company, producer Thierry Donard
Photographer : Felix St. Clair RĂ©nard
Measure of the jump 330 feet.

For the skiing watch Free Radicals : Rising and Snowblind and Nuit de la Glisse: Perfect Moment ”The Contact”.

And as far as I know; I am not 42 yet, but hope I will be.

Fred Syversen

2 things:

This is incredible to me. This goes to show how limitless we are as a human race. Every day in our life, we see and imagine things that we don't believe are possible. Who would've thought anyone could survive this? Fred wouldn't have, had you asked him minutes before....but he had the basic tools necessary to succeed (i.e. live), focused, and achieved. It turns out, self doubt is really what keeps us from realizing our full potential.

Whether this actually counts as a world record is of some question to people. The previous record was held by Minnetonka, MN native Jamie Pierre, who jumped a 235' cliff in Wyoming two years ago--Intentionally. Fred also believes that it doesn't count if you don't land on your feet, and keep going.