American Elephants

Here Is Another New Material: Metal Foam! by The Elephant's Child

Here’s another. North Carolina State University researchers have found that lightweight composite metal foams they have developed are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high-impact collisions. These findings are promising for use in nuclear power plants, space exploration, and CT-scanner shielding.

“This work means there’s an opportunity to use composite metal foam to develop safer systems for transporting nuclear waste, more efficient designs for spacecraft and nuclear structures, and new shielding for use in CT scanners,” says Afsaneh Rabiei, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State, where they first developed the strong, lightweight metal foam made of steel, tungsten, and and vanadium for use in transportation and military applications.

But she wanted to determine whether the foam could be used for nuclear or space exploration applications — could it provide structural support and protect against high impacts while providing shielding against various forms of radiation?

Metal foams? Vanadium? And uses for blocking harmful rays, and for absorbing the energy of high-impact collisions. Amazing.

The Exciting and Tantalizing Possibilities of the New Materials. by The Elephant's Child


The potential uses of the new materials sound like science fiction: here’s a new electrically conducting fiber for— artificial muscles, exoskeletons and morphing aircraft. The fiber is made from sheets of carbon nanotubes wrapped around a rubber core, and can be stretched to 14 times its original length and actually increases its electrical conductivity while being stretched, without losing any of its resistance.

An international research team based at the University of Texas at Dallas initially targeted the new super fiber for artificial muscles and for capacitors whose storage capacity increase tenfold when the fiber is stretched. The researchers now believe that the material could be used as interconnects in flexible electronics and a host of other related applications.

The team has published research in the Journal Science describing how they devised a method for wrapping electrically conductive sheets of carbon nanotubes around the rubber core in such a way that the fiber’s resistance does not change when stretched, but its conductivity increases.

I wish they had indicated the amount of magnification in the photo above, for those of us who are definitely not materials scientists.

The researchers have also been able to add a thin coat of rubber to the sheath-core fibers and then another carbon nanotube sheath to create strain sensors and artificial muscles. In this setup, the buckled nanotube sheets act as electrodes and the thin rubber coating serves as the dielectric. Voilà! You have a fiber capacitor.

“This technology could be well-suited for rapid commercialization,” said Raquel Ovalle-Robles, one of the paper’s authors, in the press release. “The rubber cores used for these sheath-core fibers are inexpensive and readily available. The only exotic component is the carbon nanotube aerogel sheet used for the fiber sheath.”

As new materials have been discovered or invented, there is a mad rush for patents on potential uses, I  gather based on informed guesses, by corporations hoping to develop what the scientists discover. Free enterprise at work.

For other posts on the new materials, enter “new materials” in the search function over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.

Obama’s Astonishing Speech to the VFW by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama spoke to the VFW National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Tuesday. It was an astonishing speech, in which Mr. Obama laid out his worldview more directly than he has previously done.

For too long, there had been a mindset where the first instinct when facing a challenge in the world was to send in our military — and we have the greatest military in human history.  But we learned, painfully, where that kind of thinking can lead — that rushing into war without thinking through the consequences, and going it alone without broad international support, getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts and spreading our military too thin actually too often would play into the hands of our enemies.  That’s what they wanted us to do.

And who paid the price?  Our men and women in uniform.  Our wounded warriors.  Our fallen heroes who never come home.  Their families, who carry that loss forever.

And so I said then that our brave troops and their families deserve better.  We cannot expect our military to bear the entire burden of our national security alone.  Everybody has to support our national security.

Translation: See, I’m more responsible than the hated Bush who got us into a war in Iraq. And if we cannot expect the military to bear the burden of national security, why do we have a volunteer military?

Mr. Obama has just announced (not in this speech) that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will”bear arms on behalf of the United States” or “perform noncombatant service” in the Armed forces as part of the naturalization process.

And so today, we’re pursuing a new kind of leadership — a smarter, broader vision of American strength, one that relies not only on our outstanding military, but on all elements of our national power.  And that starts with the recognition that our strength in the world depends on our economic strength here at home.

At this point he goes into a lengthy explication of just how wonderful the economy is, how many jobs he has created. manufacturing booming, reducing dependence on foreign oil, affordable health care, and either he has a movie of his own wonderfulness running in his head or he is seriously delusional. He blames his cuts in our military forces on Republicans. But he did actually call ISIL a “barbaric terrorist organization,” though the attack in Chattanooga was, once again, caused by a “lone wolf.”

Real leadership, he says, means “having the courage to lead in a new direction, the wisdom to move beyond policies that haven’t worked in the past, having the confidence to engage in smart principled diplomacy that can lead to a better future.”

“That’s what we’re doing in Cuba, where the new chapter between our peoples will mean more opportunities for the Cuban people.”

The speech is long, but I would urge you to read it with a critical eye, to understand where he is really going and what he seems to believe. And to understand how he lies, and how carefully he presents his actions to a public for whom he has the utmost contempt.

Kuwaiti Born Gunman Killed Four Marines in Tennessee by The Elephant's Child

Today, a gunman identified by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed four Marines at a Naval facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A few minutes earlier Abdulazeez hadsho222oter_345.jpg.cms opened fire at an Armed Forces Career Center, but failed to kill anyone there, a few miles away at a Naval and Marine Reserve Center at the Chattanooga Riverpark, four Marines and one police officer were shot. The killer was killed by police.

A Senior FBI official said the shooting did not initially appear to be related to any international terrorist group.

Abdulazeez had just graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in electrical engineering. He was born in Kuwait. That’s about all we know.

The saddest part of the story is that the facilities were designated as “Gun Free Zones.” The Marines had no way to defend themselves. The current administration has a peculiar relationship with guns. They want to disarm the military because the guns might make them look scary, or authoritarian, or mean. Their timid Rules of Engagement have sacrificed a lot of lives because of their hangups.

I believe it was the Clinton administration that banned weapons being carried on Military reservations, like Fort Hood.

Ideologies, Obama says, Are Not Defeated With Guns. Hell of a way to win a War. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama dropped by the  Pentagon today, for a rare visit for the first time since October 2014. Military leaders including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and General Martin Dempsey provided an update on the campaign against ISIS. Obama spoke to reporters from prepared notes (n0 teleprompter). He said coalition operations have scored successes in Iraq and Syria, but the battle against “the extremist group” promises to be a “generational” one.

Obama stressed “we’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam while fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims.”

We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world. This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland,” the president said. “Now I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we have seen all kinds of home-grown terrorism and tragically recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans.”

He mentioned the attack in Garland,Texas, and added:”And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home. But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex. It’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most different challenges that we face.”…”The good news is that, because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence we are doing a better job at preventing any large scale attacks on the homeland.” Apparently he was worried about the warnings of threats over the Fourth of July weekend.

He said the broader “twisted” ideology behind ISIS and al-Qaeda must be “discredited” and “ideologies are not defeated with guns they’re defeated by better ideas, more attractive and more compelling vision.”

Tell Adolph Hitler and his crew that ‘ideologies are not defeated with guns,’ or tell the militarists in Japan. The “twisted” ideology of ISIS is opposed to modernity and everything it represents. They intend to return to the pure Islam of the Prophet, and eliminate everyone and everything that stands in the way. Obama wants to bomb oil and gas facilities that fund their operations, “We’re going after the ISIS leadership and infrastructure in Syria, the heart of ISIS that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world.”

Although they knew the seven buildings in downtown Raqqa in eastern Syria as the main headquarters of the Islamic State, the buildings have gone untouched  during the 10-month allied air campaign. When convoys of heavily armed ISIS fighters paraded through the streets of the provincial capital of Ramadi after they forced Iraqi troops to flee, they rolled on unscathed by coalition fighter-bombers. Most bombing runs, it is reported, return with their bombs still aboard. because of the rules of engagement.

American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded. But American officials say they are not striking significant, and obvious, Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the fragile American-led coalition.

Obama will not risk harming any civilians. Drones are fine, though there is sometimes”collateral damage.” Strange way to run a war. Really strange.

It wouldn’t Be the Fourth Of July Without John Phillip Souza! by The Elephant's Child

The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus :

The Stars and Stripes Forever

John Phillip Souza’s most famous march.
To see the lyrics please turn on your closed captioning starting at 1:04

Something Very Special by The Elephant's Child
July 4, 2015, 6:55 am
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Military, Music | Tags: , ,

Amazing Grace

Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker

All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project


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