January 24th, 2007

Ann Vole

Flushed Away and puns in backgrounds

I watched the Aardman's "Flushed Away" movie a couple days ago. I laughed out loud for much of the movie due to all the puns and cameos and silly things in the background or the objects or background characters. The movie itself was fairly entertaining but paled in comparison for me to the other stuff. All that stuff was completely unnecessary for the story (if you missed it you still got the story 100%) which seems to make those things all the more funny for me. Thinking back to come up with examples, I am having trouble remembering most of them so it must have been the timing and presentation to make them more funny then just discribed. They were floating down some sewer pipe and the sign said "Root Canal" which was funny but then all the roots that showed up just made it even more funny. I think I will have to watch it with my computer which can play movies at half speed including the audio (same pitch but digitally slowed) so I can catch more of that background stuff.

I want my radio plays to have that same sort of needless puns and word play and unique perspective you get through those non-human eyes to make people like me laugh without forcing other people to get those things to understand and enjoy the story itself. Coming up with subtle puns and references is a bit harder then the obvious ones. For beavers, who are dam engineers, I thought of a couple obvious ones: square roots and log rhythms but the subtle ones are a bit harder. I guess I have to add them to the dialog after the story is roughed out and basic gist of the dialog is figured out. At that point I will be turning it from a radio play to a musical so it may be easier to add stuff. In preparation, I am going to have to have a list of important words for the characters and situation and emotional states of each scene to brainstorm for word relationships to exploit while making the final rhyming dialog and even the tune (lots of cameos of tunes possible). This could be lots of fun if it goes well.
Ann Vole

solar to compressed air

I found this article:
http://www.aircaraccess.com/nealtank.htm

and it brought up one of my desired inventions that I have not worked on much.

Compressed air is a very efficient way of storing energy with the only losses in the form of heating and cooling that happens when the air pressure changes (and a little noise energy of compressors and such). Electric batteries are fairly ineffiecent (produce heat and some types give off gasses of higher energy like hydrogen and oxygen) and are often full of nasty substances like lead, mercury, cadmium, and hydrochloric acid and they generally have a short lifespan. An air tank is very simple and chemical-free and the heat produced is not lost if the compressed tank is insulated or the compression and decompression is used as a heat pump to make use of that energy. For wind energy, it is simple to attach an air compressor to the windmill rotor but for solar, things are not so simple. A sterling engine can pump fluids based on heat difference so a solar panel and a heat sink (the colder storage area for that solar heat) can produce fluid flow (such as compressed air in our case) The problem is that sterling engines are not that effective (about 20%) and the temperature difference between solar input and heat sink needs to be quite high.

With electronics, high DC voltages can be created using diodes and capacitors and an input of AC electricity. Modern electronic TVs and monitors usually use this method to create the voltages needed for electron beams in the picture tube. I always wondered if such a technology can be adapted to make high pressure air from occilating low pressure air using "accumilators" and check valves instead of capacitors and diodes. The invention in that article used the ventruli priciple to try to lower the energy needs of the compressor involved. it is kind of similar to the way solar cels work... low grade energy in the form of radiation knocks electrons from one layer to the other in a situation where such electron movement is easy (N to P layers). Some of my ideas used compresser pumps between different tanks of diffferent pressures (placed inside eachother to decrease the pressure drop from inside the higher pressure tank to the outside of that tank (the inside of the next lower pressure). I will have to look at other methods. If my AC air flow to high pressure idea works, then a single air line needs to come from the solar system where the air is moved back and forth in that line and only one tank is needed for that high pressure air. So;ar powered reciprocating systems are fairly good but rarely used. I will have to see about such systems and try building a "pressure ladder" like those high voltage producing units do.