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HAARP facility shuts down and will be dismantled

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) — a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists — has closed down. HAARP’s program manager, Dr James Keeney at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, told ARRL that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.

“Currently the site is abandoned,” he said. “It comes down to money. We don’t have any.” Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off. HAARP’s website through the University of Alaska no longer is available; Keeney said the program can’t afford to pay for the service. “Everything is in secure mode,” he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime a new prime contractor will be coming on board to run the government owned-contractor operated (GOCO) facility.

HAARP put the world on notice two years ago that it would be shutting down and did not submit a budget request for FY 15, Keeney said, “but no one paid any attention.” Now, he says, they’re complaining. “People came unglued,” Keeney said, noting that he’s already had inquiries from Congress. Universities that depended upon HAARP research grants also are upset, he said.

The only bright spot on HAARP’s horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research this fall and winter. DARPA has nearly $8.8 million in its FY 14 budget plan to research “physical aspects of natural phenomena such as magnetospheric sub-storms, fire, lightning and geo-physical phenomena.”

The proximate cause of HAARP’s early May shutdown was less fiscal than environmental, Keeney said. As he explained it, the diesel generators on site no longer pass Clean Air Act muster. Repairing them to meet EPA standards will run $800,000. Beyond that, he said, it costs $300,000 a month just to keep the facility open and $500,000 to run it at full capacity for 10 days.

Jointly funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory, HAARP is an ionospheric research facility. Its best-known apparatus is its 3.6 MW HF (approximately 3 to 10 MHz) ionospheric research instrument (IRI), feeding an extensive system of 180 gain antennas and used to “excite” sections of the ionosphere. Other onsite equipment is used to evaluate the effects.

Larry Ledlow, N1TX, of Fairbanks, Alaska, said HAARP ionosonde and riometer data have been “invaluable, especially being more or less local, to understand current conditions in the high latitudes.” He said data from other sites “simply do not accurately reflect the unique propagation we endure here.”

To fill the gap, Ledlow said, several members of the Arctic Amateur Radio Club — including Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, author of Radio Science for the Radio Amateur and articles in QST — have discussed building their own instruments. “It’s all very preliminary,” he said, “but we really feel the pinch losing HAARP.” Nichols, of North Pole, Alaska, has conducted experiments at HAARP. He called the shutdown “a great loss to interior Alaska hams and many others.”

The ultra-high power facility long has intrigued hams, even outside of Alaska. In 1997, HAARP transmitted test signals on HF (3.4 MHz and 6.99 MHz) and solicited reports from hams and short-wave listeners in the “Lower 48” to determine how well the HAARP transmissions could be heard to the south. In 2007 HAARP succeeded in bouncing a 40 meter signal off the moon. Earlier this year, HAARP scientists successfully produced a sustained high-density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

As things stand, the Air Force has possession for now, but if no other agency steps forward to take over HAARP, the unique facility will be dismantled, Keeney said. He pointed out that it would cost less to bulldoze the antenna field than it would to replace the 180 antennas.

Splashy web postings abound, blaming HAARP for controlling the weather — most recently in the case of Hurricane Sandy and the spate of tornados — and for causing other natural disasters. Quipped Keeney, “If I actually could affect the weather, I’d keep it open.”

http://www.arrl.org

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Science & Technology

Sunlight in a Bottle? Its Real, and its Changing Millions of Lives‏

Alfredo Moser’s invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity – using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach.

In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year.

So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle.

“Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn’t turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better,” he adds.

Wrapping his face in a cloth he makes a hole in a roof tile with a drill. Then, from the bottom upwards, he pushes the bottle into the newly-made hole.
“You fix the bottle in with polyester resin. Even when it rains, the roof never leaks – not one drop.”

The inspiration for the “Moser lamp” came to him during one of the country’s frequent electricity blackouts in 2002. “The only places that had energy were the factories – not people’s houses,” he says, talking about the city where he lives, Uberaba, in southern Brazil.

The lamps work best with a black cap – a film case can also be used

“An engineer came and measured the light,” he says. “It depends on how strong the sun is but it’s more or less 40 to 60 watts,” he says.

While he does earn a few dollars installing them, it’s obvious from his simple house and his 1974 car that his invention hasn’t made him wealthy. What it has given him is a great sense of pride.

Following the Moser method, MyShelter started making the lamps in June 2011. They now train people to create and install the bottles, in order to earn a small income.

In the Philippines, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and electricity is unusually expensive, the idea has really taken off, with Moser lamps now fitted in 140,000 homes.

The idea has also caught on in about 15 other countries, from India and Bangladesh, to Tanzania, Argentina and Fiji.

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The sports car that runs on SALTWATER: Vehicle goes from 0 to 60mph in 2.8 seconds

Sports cars may not have the best reputation for being environmentally-friendly, but this sleek machine has been designed to reach 217.5 mph (350 km/h) – using nothing but saltwater.

Its radical drive system allows the 5,070lbs (2,300kg) Quant e-Sportlimousine to reach 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds, making it as fast as the McLaren P1.

After making its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March, the saltwater technology has now been certified for use on European roads.

The 920 horsepower (680 kW) Quant e-Sportlimousine uses something known as an electrolyte flow cell power system to power four electric motors within the car.
It works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, however, the liquid used for storing energy is saltwater.

The liquid passes through a membrane in between the two tanks, creating an electric charge. This electricity is then stored and distributed by super capacitors.

The car carries the water in two 200-litre tanks, which in one sitting will allow drivers to travel up to 373 miles (600km).

Overall, the four-seater is 5.25 metres (0.4ft) long, 2.2 metres wide (7.2ft), the 1.35 metre (4.4ft).

Its 22-inch wheels sit just beneath double gull-wing doors which feature ‘Chrystal Lake Blue’ paint.

Inside is a full-length interactive dash, with wood-theme features and an Android-based entertainment system.

No price or sale date has yet been revealed, but some experts suggest it could cost more than £1 million ($1.7 million)

NanoFlowcell AG, a Lichtenstein-based company behind the drive, is now planning to test the car on public roads in Germany and elsewhere in Europe as the company prepares for series production.

It claims the technology offers five times the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries of the same weight.

‘We’ve got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry,’ says NanoFlowcell AG Chairman of the Board Professor Jens-Peter Ellermann.

‘The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology.’

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Satirical Depictions of Our Technology-Obsessed Culture

Just in case you all aren’t burned out on the satirical art (we’ve been posting quite a bit lately), I have another artist to showcase. Jean Jullien is a French-born artist who depicts our narcissistic obsessions with technology — one to which I am not particularly immune.

The Art:

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See more artwork at Ignant.

The Film:


A Little Film About… Jean Jullien from Handsome Frank on Vimeo.

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