Thursday, 17 July 2014

Open Skies: Easier Access to Space Travel and Flight for the Masses

There was a time before Ford built the Model-T that owning a car was considered the preserve of the wealthy. At that time many believed this would remain the status quo indefinitely. However, improvements in technology and mass production processes introduced to manufacturing revolutionised road transportation making cars affordable to the masses. The same revolution is yet to take place when it comes to the skies.

One of the advantages of driving cars is the ease of operation. Cars for the most part move on flat surfaces and maintain contact with the ground. This makes them easy to steer and control. Planes on the other hand rely on dynamic lift created by wings. They float on air and tend to use engines that generate thrust using air, a precarious substance to remain afloat on that requires a significant level of skill to navigate through, the mastery of which creates pilots. Unlike the road surface the atmosphere is always in a state of flux and pilots; be they for helicopters, airplanes or octocopters must learn how to keep an airplane afloat on a dynamic medium. Consequently, flight that depends on the lift generated by wings is likely to face significant hurdles making it difficult to open the skies to the masses.

There are two areas of human endeavour in technology and investment that I believe will shape the near future. One of these is cheap, affordable energy. The other is open skies created by new technologies that revolutionise access to flight bringing the ability to operate and own vehicles capable of flying to the masses. Congested roads and highways and the need to cover thousands of kilometres quickly will continue to generate the pressure required for the creation of personal flying vehicles that people buy as easily and readily as they purchase cars. What has been lacking in this domain is the technology. Several years ago I challenged myself with what it would take to design a machine or device that would generate lift and allow vehicles to take flight without the use of air or wings. Though it took a few years, I was actually disappointed by how easy it was to design this. Lets refer to it as the Gyroscopic Lift Device (GLD). I want to explain how this simple device works, what it does and how it compares to modern alternatives in common use today, such as the jet engine.

Gyroscopic Lift Device (GLD)

In comparison the GLD I designed in this example would weigh about 45Kg excluding engine that drives it. It consists of a cylindrical harness with two weights suspended and allowed to slide along a metal rod. The centre of rotation of the metal rod is displaced from the centre of the cylindrical housing or harness. It can be driven by any conventional petrol or electrical engine, for example a 1.8 litre petrol engine found in most conventional cars. A diagram of the GLD is explained below:

Stability would be maintained through counter rotation.

How the GLD generates propulsion and lift is explained below.

The GLD concept is an efficient method for converting torque generated by a petrol or electrical engine into thrust for propulsion. It could even outperform the horsepower transmitted by a conventional drive train from the clutch, through the axel to the wheels. The diagram below shows the basic force ouput expected from the GLD.

This video extrapolates the potential thrust that this simple gyroscopic device could generate. The construct for this example is as follows: Each weight weighs 25Kg, the maximum radius is 30cm and minimum radius is reconfigured to 0. This means the 30cm harness used in the video is assumed to be capable of capturing 100% of the energy generated through the rotation of the rod. The rate of rotation or rounds per minute (rpm) is 1,000rpm to 5,000.  At 1,000rpm the device would be expected to create 82,246.7N or 8,386.83kg-force. At 5,000rpm it would be expected to create 2,056.17kN or 209,617kg-force. The device is estimated to weigh 45kg excluding the engine which would be required to drive it to these rates of rpm.

The GE90-115B engine fitted on the Boeing 777-300ER recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds most powerful jet engine has a thrust of 569kN, this much simpler and mu ch smaller device would have the potential to generate 3.6 times more thrust than the Boeing engine. Considering that each harness contains two weights entails that the thrust output of each device can be doubled, making it 7.2 times more powerful than the most powerful engine in the world.

This video simply extrapolates the potential thrust generated by the device which uses Newton's third law of motion. This thrust or lift force is referred to as levitation here because rather than forcing air out as jet engines do it is created by capturing the momentum of the weights by manipulating centripetal and centrifugal forces to act as the equal action and reaction that produces movement. This movement is captured through the circular harness for propulsion. An additional advantage is that it would not take a very powerful engine to rotate the device to 5,000 rpm.

GLD can offer Propulsion for diverse Environments.

Since the device harnesses momentum as the source of propulsion it can be used in diverse environments.The GLD offers propulsion by land and asphalt roads like a car, over water like boat, underwater like a submarine and by air like a plane and in the vacuum of space like a space shuttle.

The Fastest Aircraft and Most Powerful Jet Engine

Best practice requires that we look at the competition in the arena of propulsion, flight and thrust. The fastest aircraft in the world today is the North American X-15 built by Boeing. "The North American X-15 was a rocket-powered aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the X-plane series of experimental aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. As of 2014, the X-15 holds the official world record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft. Its maximum speed was 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h)." (Wikipedia 2014). For its engine and fuel the NA X-15 "Early flights used two Reaction Motors XLR11 engines. Later flights were undertaken with a single Reaction Motors Inc XLR99 rocket engine generating 57,000 pounds-force (250 kN) of thrust. The XLR99 engine used ammonia and liquid oxygen for propellant and hydrogen peroxide to drive the high-speed turbopump that delivered fuel to the engine. It could burn 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of fuel in 80 seconds.The XLR99s could be throttled, and were the first such controllable engines that were man-rated." 

As the video shows the GLD is a smaller design yet at just 5,000rpm it is likely to be capable of generating 8.2 times the thrust or force of the XLR11 engines used in the X-15. The X-15 is hungry for fuel to sustain this level of thrust (6,804kg in 80 seconds) whereas the GLD can achieve and exceed this level of thrust on a simple four stroke car engine, sustain the same thrust for 5 hours burning only as little as 70 liters of conventional petrol.  Since it generates 8.2 times the thrust of the XLR11 engines, under similar conditions it is likely to be able to exceed the X-15's world record mach 4 speed of 7,274 km/h and sustain hypersonic speeds for hours using very little fuel.

On the other hand most powerful jet engine in the world is the Boeing GE90-115B which peaked at 127,900 pounds-force (569 kN). The housing length is 7.29 meters long, the housing diameter is 3.429 meters long, the fan is 3.251 meters wide. The engine's dry weight is 8,283 kg. The GLD at 5,000 rpm generates more thrust than the GE90-115B, would be significantly smaller and would require much less fuel. 

Advantages of GLD propulsion

The GLD offers a universal source of propulsion that can be applied in diverse environments. As depicted in the cartoon on the youtube video above it can drive cars on roads, boats on water, submarines underwater, fly through the air or through space using the same basic design. This means a vehicle able to withstand these environments could be fitted with a GLD and be able to travel in any of them. 

The GLD is an effective method for transmitting torque. A device of the size in the example illustrated above would only require 40rpm, for instance, to generate the same level of thrust a car engine requires 6,000 rpm to produce. 

The GLD has the potential to revolutionize public and personal transportation. Aircraft and personal cars would be able to drive on roads, rise vertically from asphalt roads into the air and travel at hypersonic speeds as high as or higher than mach 4 traveling long distances using very little fuel. Journeys of thousands of kilometers that today take many hours can potentially be reduced to minutes. There's really nothing mysterious about how the device works either, as shown above. It does not require immense resources to build making it readily accessible to poorer countries and a much wider market.

Improvements in Air Safety

The GLD would not use air currents to gain lift. It would withstand being buffeted by strong currents, be highly maneuverable and very easy to fly as the direction of propulsion can be determined by a simple gyroscope. As shown above the device is of exceptionally simple design allowing it to be built anywhere in the world making this kind of travel cheaper and more accessible to the public. It offers the potential for much safer travel involving flying that would avoid many tragedies that occur in air transportation.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Here's to A Great World Cup Hosted by Brazil!

Looking forward to 2018!

Congratulations to the Brazilian people and Government and to FIFA for putting together yet another fantastic world cup! Congratulations to Germany for besting the competition and scooping the coveted cup! 

The world cup was great fun to watch. When it comes to football the final matches between Brazil and Germany then Germany and Argentina are a classic example of technical issues in soccer that FIFA may need to address concerning the beautiful game. The game between Brazil and Germany was way more exciting than the game between Germany and Argentina. I personally loved those 8 goals scored, not because Brazil lost or Germany won, but because of the number of times they made me and everyone in the room scream with abandon. In my view, for any sport that goes on for 90 minutes to end without any points or goals scored is an indication that there are technical problems with the game itself - its rules, not the players; that is the design of the game and how its played. Adding 30 minutes to a game with a 0-0 scoreline is not the solution to this problem. Furthermore. penalties do not come across as a fair way of determining the best team; penalties are more like Russian roulette.

FIFA will have to conduct research in order to find a formula for making serious changes to the rules of soccer by which it is virtually impossible for a game to end without goals being scored. It will have to change the rules and aspects of the game then apply these new rules to teams in order to test the effectiveness of the new rules and ensure the desired outcome of no goalless games is achieved.

For example, FIFA could introduce a rule that at the beginning of each game the kick-off must be performed or assisted by the two goal keepers and no other member of either team. Why is this potentially useful as a new rule? Its useful because it means at the beginning of each half there is no goal keeper in goals and when the two goalies kick-off there is an immediate weakness in either team that players have seconds to exploit as a goal scoring strategy. After kicking off a goal keeper could either sprint for their lives back to their goal posts or form a strategy of play with his or her team-mates that will best exploit the new rule. By introducing this new rule FIFA would create a situation where there is nail biting panic, anticipation and immediate excitement at the beginning of every game the audience will buy into. Teams will have to plan their method of attack knowing that they must exploit and defend for this weakness simultaneously. This means that from the very onset of a soccer match there is intense excitement.

FIFA should ideally begin to view the goal keeper in soccer like the most valuable chess-piece. Force this piece to move around and the excitement surrounding the game changes completely.

Forcing the goal keeper out of the goal area at strategic times of the game would prove very useful in increasing excitement in soccer and opening up vulnerability of the goal post that increases goals. For instance, when a penalty takes place in the opposing teams half of the field, a new rule could be that it must assisted or be taken by the goal keeper. What this means is that though a team may benefit from a free kick near the opposing teams goal post or in the opposing team's half, it is at the same time weakened by the fact that its goal post is no longer protected by the keeper. The team facing the disadvantage of having to face a penalty gains the advantage of an empty goal with no keeper to protect it as he or she is required to assist or take the free kick.As a result penalties become double edged swords. Teams would then have to adopt new strategies for defending the goal post while the keeper is indisposed. Introducing this kind of vulnerability to soccer may not only increase the excitement, tension and difficulty of the game itself but may also ensure that more goals are scored. Forcing the keeper to leave his or her posts to perform duties on the pitch is a wicked strategy FIFA can use to make soccer explode with excitement and ensue there are greater opportunities to score goals. The goal keeper should increasingly be viewed as one of the players whose role is not simply to stand at the goal post and prevent goals from being scored, but who consistently has to be involuntarily forced out of the goal posts deep into the field such that genuine fear is induced in the game and the spectators. FIFA can ensure that the rules of the game require new strategies where more is demanded of the goal keeper than just standing at the goal posts to prevent goals when what the game needs are more goals. 

Also, if the pace of the games is to improve, then a two touch rule can be introduced. That is, when the goal keeper passes on the ball to team-mates on his or her half of the pitch players are only allowed two touches of the ball after which they must pass it on to a team-mate. Violation of this rule is a free kick. If the free kick is in the enemies half of the field it must be taken by the goal keeper who then is forced to leave the goal exposed. This would force players to bring up the ball to mid-field to immediately pass the ball on to team-mates when it's received thus forcing the players to work more closely together to pass on the ball and move it quickly beyond mid-field.  Passing such as this show cases the skill of the players, and the ball moving around more quickly raises the excitement experienced by spectators. The best approach to use, as mentioned earlier, is to arrange games with adjusted rules to then assess the impact of these changes on players and the game.

Games ending without goals that make the crowd begin to doze off and yawn because nothing exciting is happening on the field should not be allowed to take place in football, and really its FIFA's role to ensure that soccer remains the beautiful game.

Once again kudos, a wonderful world cup - looking forward with anticipation to 2018!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Amandla! Victory for All! Let's get the South African economy moving again....

President of South Africa's Association of Mine workers and Construction Union Joseph Mathunjwa
In what is no doubt a victory for the South African Government, Mine owners and Mine workers the longest work stoppage in S.A history has been declared officially over. In the long term the only way to ensure better earnings for Mine owners and ever improving wages for Mine workers is through collaboration and to begin to focus seriously on the operations environment to understudy, improve efficiency, quality and implement best practice throughout this strategic industry. Amanlda! Our final struggle in Africa is to utterly defeat poverty.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Need for African Governments to begin to Backstop Strategic Operations

Siize Punabantu

After the Vedanta boss, Anil Agrawal "speech-gate", it may still not seem to make economic and political sense for the Zambian Government to talk about taking over a business such as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). Above and beyond Agrawal, it brings up an even bigger question concerning how prepared governments are in general for major economic eventualities involving over-dependence on foreign management of strategic businesses.  For instance, the mines in Zambia are such an important strategic national asset that government should ideally begin to prepare and safeguard against any kind of trauma; even that of an investor simply giving up a strategic mine and making a run for the hills. Every nationally strategic mine in Zambia requires a government initiated understudy system. An understudy system that needs to be managed by a centralized authority that requires the establishment of a national operations resource center or system.

It has been proven that the nationalization of the mining sector doesn’t work. It has also been shown that knowledge transfer approaches such as localization, black empowerment or Zambianisation (as it was termed after independence during the Kaunda era) are fraught with real limitations. This is due to the fact that knowledge transfer using this model can be imperfect, incomplete and will not necessarily continue to proceed to new generations of citizens. The problem of how a nation manages its assets in the best interests of its people needs to re-thought. There is a third approach that is more efficient than nationalization and more pertinent than localization that governments have as yet not tapped or applied.  This approach does not concern itself with who runs or owns the mining or natural resource sector, but more importantly focuses on the precise details and machinations or operations of these sectors and the precepts of how these entities are managed. 

The approach that I would recommend for natural resources dependent countries like Zambia, South Africa, Angola and so on is the establishment of a National Agency for Strategic Operations (NASO). The role of this agency is to annually understudy, document and simulate operations in each individual business engaged in the natural resource sector by continuously understudying all the workers and departments in each business and how they function including: the board, human resource management, procurement, sales, finance and accounting practises, information technology, operations, corporate social responsibility, local and international financing, local and international partnerships, support staff and so on specific to each business and its yearly experiences. NASO incorporates each of these areas within itself, that is, it mirrors the professional and non-professional experts and departments who then create research and best practice models of the businesses NASO understudies. NASO then has ongoing best practice research which it applies to simulate what adjustments to the present operations of national strategic industries  can increase profits, output and growth. On the flip side it anticipates or simulates potential problems such as strikes, the loss of any staff member and works out in advance how to quickly resolve these problems. The purpose of this continuous research or understudy is to gain and document extensive and intimate knowledge of the day to day operations of each specific strategic national business unit until this knowledge can be used by means of specifically developed tools, such as software to simulate the operations of a strategic business that is of national interest, its activity, the work done by staff, linkages and the time based role of every individual and each department in the organization including the relationship with external partners, funders, purchasers of what is being produced, pricing and how financing is obtained and sustained. Using this database and simulation even a person entering the business for the first time through NASO’s support would know precisely what operational function they need to implement to achieve the business’ objectives; including the key person contacts and timelines which define when specific actions should normally take place. NASO would simulate and plan for  contingencies then immediately offer solutions which foster continuity to government, management and staff. This knowledge and the database it produces becomes the electronic operations manual or operational process database  for each individual business mapped by this ongoing research. With NASO functioning efficiently it does not matter who runs the mines, whether it is government, locals or foreign investors; the operational knowledge base of NASO provides each business with the intimate know how that empowers anyone who manages it with the complete repository and repertoire of local and international contacts, skills and processes to run it. This in turn ensures that the national economy will not falter and rapid solutions will be found in situations where workers strike, the price of copper, oil, gold, diamonds, copper etc suddenly decline, foreign investors pull out or other kinds of industrial trauma. NASO simulates these, predicts the costs, and prepares solutions in advance based on history and research. The faster solutions are found, the better off government, workers, management and the national economy will be. 

Rather than nationalization which threatens industry or basic knowledge transfer to locals who may not be able to pass on skills, the People, Government and President of a country are assured that the foundation of operations is gathered and maintained by the NASO which will ensure perfect continuity regardless of the management and ownership scenario of strategic industries. Transferring this knowledge to individuals alone often proves inadequate as they may leave the business for greener pasture, retire or expire taking their expertise with them. Instead the nation is assured that the knowledge, contacts, expertise, methodology and operations are maintained by NASO and offered as a support facility to whoever manages a business that is of national strategic interest. From the CEO to financing, to mine shaft personnel, all the way to the Janitors NASO can map and predict the impact of the loss a worker and their expertise at any time and immediately provide whoever occupies any position with the information they need to immediately sustain continuity. NASO efficiently and effectively operationalizes the roles they are meant to play as well as demonstrate the interconnectedness of each individual inside and outside the business.

 In other words understudying operations allows a country’s strategic industries to function on a knowledge base rather than a weak and faulty base that becomes over-dependent on one person or entity. By NASO also running simulations of potential crises and formulating how to resolve them in advance the economy is protected from operational problems. With this system in place the President and his or her government is assured that existential continuity is guaranteed whether these strategic businesses are in local or foreign hands. A handful of experts at the NASO in diverse professional or vocational departments would serve the national interests of numerous businesses that are of national strategic interest by understudying their operations in the country and holding this operations database for them. They maintain the databases and information required for continuity. The systems created by NASO for strategic national business interests are a management failsafe that can support any important sector operationally at any time regardless of who occupies a position; what operational problems it faces, whether it is in private or public hands. This function is in national interest, not only does it improve a government’s position, but also places the country in a stronger economic position in the eyes of the rest of the world since knowledge based economic stability is ensured through a National Agency for Strategic Operations.  Under the ambit of operations the understudy process includes recording, researching. improving, disseminating and applying every activity related to these strategic industries leaving no stone that impacts the knowledge base unturned. When this is achieved a country becomes permanently self sufficient in efficient and effective productivity that fosters wealth management. This is what Zambia needs. NASO needs to be driven 

The NASO Motto:

Leave no stone unturned.  [Every national and international aspect concerning how national strategic businesses in the country function must be understood - without fail]

The NASO Vision

Give a nation fish,and you feed its people for a day;   [we do not want a nation trapped in dependency]
Teach a nation to fish, and you may feed only one prosperous generation; [empowerment of a handful of people can only feed a handful of us for a day]
Record and improve operations concerning how to fish for all generations, [Learn how to run our national strategic industries effectively, efficiently, profitably and effectively operationalize this knowledge and the entire nation will prosper]
And you will build a wealthy nation that will prosper forever. [this kind of prosperity will last forever]

The role of NASO does not have to be isolated to economic sectors. The NASO approach can be used to operationally map and build a working database of every procedural area of activity that is important to government. For instance it can map the operations of Ministry of Education, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and so on such that when reshuffles take place and people are moved around staff can consult the NASO expertise and database which furnishes them with operational knowledge that allows for perfect continuity. Any office bearer’s role can be operationally mapped such that when a person enters office they immediately have access to operational knowledge of their role specific to the organization they serve anywhere in the country. Should they encounter any bumps in the road or protocol based issues through the NASO system or database they are able to immediately know how a similar issue was dealt with in the past or the best approach discovered by simulation and what appropriate action should be taken to quickly resolve the problem ensuring there are no delays or breaks in efficiency. 

When it comes to operations there is a need to stop thinking vertically and start thinking laterally, to stop depending on people or individual investors and start depending on knowledge. Both people and investors themselves depend on a knowledge base in every sphere of their operations. It's time to begin to invest in that knowledge base first then through it the people, the national economy and investors gain rewards rather than the other way round.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The book with ideas that change everything

The Greater Poverty & Wealth of Nations

Economics - Business - Finance

The Greater Poverty and Wealth of Nations is a deeper look into the operational sturcture of economics and the diverse principles arising from economic thought. It evaluates the cognitive processes by which money and transactions take place to determine how productivity, cost and profit should synergise  to  meet the objectives of business. Link 

ISBN: 978-9982-22-076-7

Get your own copy of the e-book
    now for only US$12.99!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Academy Makes Its Choice

Lupita Nyong'o, Best Supporting Actress

Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Garner, Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen : Best picture


12 Years a Slave

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Teaching in the most advanced language in the world

 Siize Punabantu

Education is the foundation upon which great nations are built. Developing countries around the world face the dilemma of fighting back underdevelopment and poverty, yet they do not have the resources they need to invest in education. Developing the mind and preparing the child to grow up able to contribute to society is the role education plays in both the developed and developing world.  However, when the methodology for learning designed in the developed world is examined, it may have been world class a century ago, however, today it is tedious, inadequate and antiquated. This antiquated leaning methodology continues to be applied in schools in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. Zambia is no exception and follows this learning methodology.
Continue reading...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Syrian peace talks in Davos

Siize Punabantu

The Syrian peace talks held in Davos are a brave and an important step towards stabilizing the crisis in Syria and credit must be given to all the people and institutions who have made peace talks possible. Creating a transitional government, however, may persistently reach an impasse as both sides disagree on many issues and some degree of trust needs to first be established therefore a different strategy to find peace may be required. The war in Syria is one based on legitimacy. It is a war of legitimacy. Consequently it will not end until an agenda for legitimacy is put in place...

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Obama's State of the Union : America is back.

Obama wants progress.
Clearly Obama's State of the Union address encourages the United States and all its citizens, businesses, households and partners, democrats and republicans; to for the moment set differences aside to take advantage of and get behind the upward momentum now observed in the US economy and the positive results of policy. The broad message is that there may be differences in approach, opinion and how to get things done, but for now lets take advantage of the wind in the sails and get the nation to a favorable and rewarding destination.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Harnessing a New Strategy for the Industrial Development in Africa

 Siize Punabantu

For the African continent to develop it has to take care of five basic fundamentals, in order of priority these are:

1  Power: the storage and supply of the electrical energy that will support industry
     2 Transportation: the routes and modes of transportation that will strategically connect intra-African     industry to exploit comparative advantage

      3  Natural Resources: electrical power and accessibility into the African interior enabling the efficient exploitation of minerals

      4 Industry: the manufacture of raw materials into finished goods, effective value addition and the efficient and cost effective distribution

      5 Services: effective and efficient service delivery through commercial hubs delivering public services and amenities, housing and accommodation, commercial activity, banking, finance, education, leisure, tourism etc 

 African governments need to be able to conceptualize an African continent ahead of its time, with many of the economic and regional hurdles that keep African countries from finding the synergies they need to advance overcome.  By being able to forecast where major investments should go African countries can gain the ability to commit to major investments that not only mitigate against unemployment and create industrial advancement but that, regardless of how large and expensive are commercial enough to pay for themselves and that will change the African economic landscape forever.

 A cruise ship from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

docked at Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe