Friday, 29 October 2010

A few solutions

Tom did quite a few more experiments, and although we can’t even detect a magnetic field on the other side, we did determine that there is no apparent effect on long guns: bullets fly just as expected. (Frank was wrong?) Again, the natives gave Tom quite a party when he brought in all the critters he shot. They even invited the rest of us to the party, but besides the issue of techies being afraid of the sun (are techies really vampires in disguise?), no one was certain that they wanted to eat what was cooked. We’ll continue to leave that up to Tom. He’s daring enough for all of us.
The other problem we’ve been working on wasn’t as easy to solve as we’d hoped. Adding more capacitors just created a different problem with the power: when we start up the charging cycle, the initial in-rush of current shuts down everything for a few miles around. Frank says that we can compensate for it with some kind of fancy resistor, but then that slows down the overall charge, again taking longer, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Apparently part of the problem has to do with the amount of power available here at this site. And that takes us to the next obstacle: location.
We had originally selected this place so that we were well out of view of the public during our design and trial runs, but the town of Timbuctoo, CA (half way between Marysville and Grass Valley on Hwy 20), is apparently just too far out in the boonies, too far off the grid, and we need the grid. Besides once we open up to the public, we’ll need some way to get them in and out. The roads here just don’t support that kind of traffic, so we’ve got folks out looking for a more appropriate place, but at this time we’ve yet to pin anything down. Any suggestions?
We’ll keep you informed when we make a decision.

Friday, 22 October 2010

A few problems

Well, it seems that we’re not quite ready for customers yet, as we still have a few issues, like getting enough power to keep The Door open longer than a few seconds at a time. Tom doesn’t like jumping through, hoping that it doesn’t shut down with him half on one side and half on the other. Besides that the local power company has started to complain about the lights in the city dimming down every time we crank it up. Frank’s got an idea to fix both problems, though. He says that we can tap directly into the power mains and slowly charge up a bunch of capacitors (no, not flux-capacitors; they don’t really exist). When they are fully charged, we can use them all at once to run The Door for almost a whole minute! He says it has something to do with serial or parallel or something like that. Sounds to me like just more of that engineering talk. At least the techies understand it.
Anyway, so Frank and the techies seem to have worked out most of the details. One problem still remains though: at this point it takes about three and a half weeks to save up enough power for that one minute of use. What they need, so I’ve been told, are more Farads (what ever they are). Easy solution, I just sent a few of my ‘friends’ out to dig into a bunch of really old computers destined for the scrap heap. Apparently we can get what we need there, so soon, even that won’t be an obstacle.
Things are working out rather well. Every time a problem pops up, Frank devises a solution and I procure the necessaries to make it work. We’ve become quite the team. We’ll continue adjusting things, and soon, very soon, we’ll be ready to send out more than just a single person. We’ll start off with a few initial expeditionary forays, then expand from there.
Keep an eye on this space, and you may be the first in your neighbourhood to be our guest!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Some Experiments

I notice that one of our readers asked about what level of technology actually works on the 'other side', so we decided to see if we can find out. As I had suggested earlier, there's obviously no problem with a wooden club in the magnetic field, same with simple weapons like bows and arrows (as long as it's not a compound bow replete with pulleys and cables and fancy stuff), but what about higher-tech items? Well, we know from the experiences of the military that IR goggles, GPS systems, laptop computers, and even little LED flashlights don't work at all, so what's left? All the stuff in between.  :-)

We gave a few things to Tom to try out the next time he went through The Door. Starting off with simple things like a flint and steel, we found that even magnetised pocket knives still worked fine to start fires. Next we tried matches; also just fine. Then Frank suggested we try some fireworks. Apparently we gave some of the natives quite a start, but even the mortars worked as expected (though they scared the bejeebers out of the locals!).

Tom (always the adventurous one) suggested plain old firearms. Of course the military had an opportunity to test those when they went through, but they were so focused on all the problems with the techie gizmos, I don’t think they ever got a chance to get a shot off. Tom, on the other hand, just carted his .45 through and took a few potshots at some critters; works fine. (He gave all the critters he hit to the locals, and they had quite a party for him.)

According to Frank the magnetised barrels of long guns might have a bit of a problem when the bullet passes through, something about induced eddy currents and reverse fields, but from what Tom says, they seem to work just fine. So I guess that answers the question of technology: electronics don’t work, chemical reactions do.

We may try a few other things, but we’ll have to wait ‘til next week to see any results.
(P.S. I'm also trying to accommodate the reader who liked all the links.)

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Employees

Once Frank got a bunch of blueprints and schematics drawn up, we needed to enlist the help of a bunch of techie-types to do the grunt-work and physically hook up all the couplings. Thanks to our local temp agency, we were able to hire a few … a few that is who could manage to keep their mouths shut about what we were doing here. Not that it’s really secret, or dangerous or anything, we just didn’t want to have any problems with industrial espionage. Frank never thinks of things like that. Everything seemed to be going well until we tried to get one of the techies to step through The Door. (Frank has taken to calling it the “The Gauss-Jacobi Door” as if he knew who created it.)
Well, it turns out most techie-type folks, including Frank, aren’t much of the adventurous outdoorsy type. I’m no guinea pig either, so you aren’t going to see me risking everything just to test it out. We were stuck on that part, but Frank and his crew kept tweaking other things, and I was left to find someone, anyone, who could escort groups of adventurers to the other side. After only a short search, we found him.
We would like to welcome to Ex Terra Expeditions as our guide, chaperon, and the best tracker we could find: Tom. His upbringing in the Australian outback only set the stage. Using his training from the military, he worked for a while in a wilderness camp taking city folk for adventures in bush country. Having to take the winters off annoyed him, so we acquired his talents and are proud of the friends he’s already made on the other side. He’s even picked up a few words in their native tongue.
If you have any problems on your trip, just seek out Tom: he’s prepared to care of everything.

See ya next week!

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Technology

All right, you probably want to know more about this device that Frank had somehow managed to appropriate from the government. If I were to let Frank tell you how it worked, you’d be inundated by a bunch of mathematics and physics equations. Nobody understands half of what he says, so I’ll just tell you what I know about it. (If you really want to know more, he says it’s based on the discoveries of Gauss and Jacobi, and something about Cauchy.) The simple reality is that when supplied with enough power, it creates a magnetic field, a huge magnetic field. Then that field gets twisted around, and when it’s twisted enough so that it crosses over itself and overlaps, it opens a door. The big question was a door to where?

Well, when the Army sent their troops through to check it out, the first thing they found was that all their fancy-pantsy weapons didn’t work anymore. Apparently the magnetic field messed things up big time. After the troops got done looking around, a bunch of scientists checked it out, but they finally gave up, too. As I said before, there wasn’t much use for a door that didn’t go anywhere the Army wanted to go, so they were getting ready to dump it when Frank talked them out of it. They didn’t believe it to be a security risk, because nothing seemed to work on the other side.

What they neglected to consider was low-tech tools. Think about it. How much damage can a magnetic field do to a wooden club? Or a spear with a flint tip? How about a bow and arrow? See what I mean??

We figured that if we kept the level of technology low enough, then it wouldn’t matter. We planned to send regular folks on hunting and camping excursions and are now working out all the details.

I’ll keep updating the info here, and when we’re ready for civilian trips, we’ll let you know.