Does E = mc² or mc³? The Science in Bond Films Thread



  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Science News
    A close Bond: How the CIA exploited 007 for gadget ideas
    and public relations
    Date: July 16, 2013
    Source: University of Warwick
    Summary: The real-life CIA copied outlandish gadgets from Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, according to an analysis of declassified letters and interviews revealing the bond between Ian Fleming and Allen Dulles.
    The real-life CIA copied outlandish gadgets from
    Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, according
    to a University of Warwick analysis of declassified
    letters and interviews revealing the bond between
    Ian Fleming and Allen Dulles.
    However the relationship between the former CIA director and the spy thriller writer went far deeper than raiding the novels for technological inspiration.
    Through Dulles, the agency actively leaned on the British author to paint it in more positive light at a time when US film-makers, authors and journalists were silent about the activities of the CIA, fearful to even mention it by name.

    Dr Christopher Moran from the University of Warwick has trawled through declassified letters and media reports from the 1950 and 60s for the study, Ian Fleming and the Public Profile of the CIA, published in the Journal of Cold War Studies.

    He said: "There was a surprising two-way influence between the CIA and the James Bond novels during the Cold War, stemming from the mutual admiration between Allen Dulles and Ian Fleming.
    "This ranged from the copying of devices, such as the poison-tipped dagger shoe in From Russia With Love, to the agency using the 007 novels to improve its public profile.
    "It's even more striking that this was going on at time when mentioning the CIA was strictly off-limits for the US media and cultural establishment, whereas Fleming, as a British author, could say what he liked.

    "For a long time, the James Bond books had a monopoly on the CIA's public image and the agency used this to its advantage."

    Declassified letters between Allen Dulles and Ian Fleming reveal the former CIA boss's strong affection for the Bond novels -- he even persuaded the author not to pension off 007 in 1963.

    And in a rediscovered [28 August] 1964 edition of Life Magazine, Dulles describes his meeting with the 'brilliant and witty' Fleming in London in 1959 where the author told him that the CIA was not doing enough in the area of 'special devices'.

    On his return to the US, Dulles urged CIA technical staff to replicate as many of Bond's devices as they could.
    The article details how the CIA successfully copied Rosa Klebb's infamous spring-loaded poison knife shoe from the film From Russia with Love.

    But it had less luck with the homing beacon device used in Goldfinger to track the villain's car -- the CIA version had 'too many bugs in it', Dulles said, and stopped working when the enemy entered a crowded city.
    The letters between Dulles and Fleming also show how the CIA tapped into James Bond for public relations support, with the author agreeing to include a number of glowing references to the CIA in his later novels. He did this out of respect for Dulles, a close friend, but the effect was to promote the image of the CIA. In return, Dulles rhapsodised about Fleming in the American press, even saying on one occasion that his organisation "could do with a few James Bonds."

    Dr Moran said: "The early 007 novels, written in the 1950s, introduce millions of readers to the CIA for the first time through the character of its agent Felix Leiter.

    "Although Fleming's portrayal of the CIA is largely favourable, readers are left in no doubt that the British intelligence services are the superior outfit.
    "In Live and Let Die, for example, Leiter comes across as a bit of a bungler, unable to blend in with the locals and forced to rely on paid informants.

    "But in the later books, as the friendship between Dulles and Fleming deepens, a far rosier picture of the CIA emerges.

    "For example, in Thunderball, Bond's boss 'M' dispenses with his characteristic economy of words to speak enthusiastically about the way the CIA is selflessly putting itself in the service of freedom.
    "And Allen Dulles is even the subject of several honourable mentions in the later books.

    "It really does come across as a bit of a mutual appreciation society."

    Story Source: Materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference: Christopher Moran. Ian Fleming and the Public Profile of the CIA. Journal of Cold War Studies, 2013; 15 (1): 119 DOI: 10.1162/JCWS_a_00310

    Cite This Page: University of Warwick. "A close Bond: How the CIA exploited 007 for gadget ideas and public relations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2013. <>.
    Life Magazine August 28,
    1964 – Beatles
    Life Magazine Cover : The Beatles are back in the U.S., raising a ruckus again, mayhem at the San Francisco airport (plus story).
    Special report on Ian Fleming by former CIA director Allen Dulles – Ian wrote the James Bond books (Ian just died at age 56).
    Full page Dr. Pepper ad with “Harmon” cartoon by Johnny Hart, precursor to the B.C. comic?
    Juana Castro’s story of Fidel, her brother, he’s a tyrant and he must go, Cuba.
    Photo of U.S. sightseers with their pick-ups and Airstreams parked in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
    Mohammed Ali marries Sonji Roi in Chicago.
    15 year old Tom Joyner takes 19 hours to land fish.
    Lamb in an artificial womb, experiment to improve heart-lung machines, Dr. John Callaghan of University of Alberta.
    U.S. Customs vs. the Cheaters.
    Elegant fall fashions at the World’s Fair.
    Green Bay’s Paul Hornung is back in the football stadium after a year’s exile for betting.
    Atlantic City ready for Democratic convention.
    Full page Maytag washer ad features musical Eugene and Margaret Browning family of Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
    Wow, interesting story. Didn't know the American press was not allowed to mention the cia
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Wow, interesting story. Didn't know the American press was not allowed to mention the cia

    US papers have been censored by the CIA for a long time.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    "For Special Services" – on James
    Bond's creator, his closeness to the
    CIA, and the real spy gadgets he
    James Holloway | July 17th, 2013

    Bond is well known for his Walther PPK, but a particular .45 Colt revolver reveals more about
    Ian Fleming's relationship with the CIA
    (Photo: Shutterstock)

    It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films … and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy …

    Gizmag: I suppose the first thing to ask you is what your area of interest is.

    Christopher Moran:
    I'm an Assistant Professor in US national security in the Department of Politics and International Studies [at Warwick University.] Three or four years ago myself and my long-time mentor, Professor Richard Aldrich, successfully bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council to undertake a project that looks at and considers the public profile of the Central Intelligence Agency, thinking about how does the public come to know about the CIA, which is a secret organization. It declassifies documents but certainly it's not putting them out into the public domain willy-nilly. And especially thinking about how the public came to know about the CIA at the height of the Cold War.

    So what we've been doing as a project team is considering the various mechanisms of cultural production that talk about the CIA. So we've been looking at what journalists have to say about the CIA. Needless to say they tend to fall into one of two categories. You've got loyalists, some of which have worked very closely with the CIA historically in the cultural Cold War writing quite damaging articles about Moscow, the Russians and all that sort of thing. On the other hand you've also got the muckraking investigative journalists. I've also been looking at memoirists, CIA officers who, in their retirement, decided to write about their lives at Langley and within the agency.

    But then of course another aspect of this is fiction. To what extent has fiction influenced public perceptions of the Central Intelligence Agency? Our contention is that it's quite considerable. As much as us historians and scholars like to think that our books are read widely, they certainly don't have the sort of coverage that a bond film or a bond novel does.

    And this is especially the case in the 1950s, the sort of period I was looking at. In the 1950s the CIA is a publicly avowed agency (it was inscribed in the National Security Act of 1947), but nobody talks about it. Hollywood didn't talk about the CIA in the 1950s. Why? Because a lot of them were scared stiff in the context of McCarthyite witch hunts, of going against the government and talking about things that they really shouldn't. They were also focused more on sort of homeland subversives, the workery, FBI and "Reds under the bed" – that sort of thing.

    Journalists didn't write stories about the CIA. A lot of the prominent ones were hand in glove with the Agency. They were being fed information by the CIA. They didn't want to cut of a key source of their news stories. Historians certainly weren't writing about the CIA. The US Freedom of Information Act didn't come in until '66.

    So in other words there was a real public vacuum in terms of knowledge about the CIA. So who came along to fill that vacuum? It was a British spy fiction writer. It was Ian Fleming. So he's operating outside of the jurisdiction of US law. Ironically, he was forbidden from explicitly mentioning in the James Bond novels that his hero, James Bond, worked for MI6 or the Secret Intelligence Service. Fleming, as a former Naval Intelligence officer, had signed the Official Secrets Act. MI6, its initials, were just not known by the public. They were forbidden initials; completely taboo.

    So Fleming couldn't say that, but what he could use was the name CIA. And he knew about the CIA. He knew about it dating almost right back to the Second World War. Fleming was very very good friends with the head of the immediate predecessor of the CIA, William Donovan who was the Head of the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services. And we have lots of evidence from testimonials from people like Norman Denning, who worked in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War; also Admiral Sir John Godfrey, who was Fleming's boss at Naval Intelligence. Both of these authorities, Godfrey and Denning, confirm that Donovan and Fleming got on extremely well because Fleming worked in Naval Intelligence.

    And they also testify to the fact that Donovan asked Fleming to write a sort of blueprint, to write a charter based on British experience outlining what a peacetime foreign permanent Intelligence service in the United States would look like. Fleming did this, and Godfrey, in one of his testimonials, said that Donovan donated a gift to Fleming for writing this report, and it was a .45 Colt revolver [correction: .38 Police Positive Colt revolver] inscribed with the words For Special Services.

    Allen Dulles and Fleming met for the first time in 1959 at a dinner party arranged by MI6 officers. The relationship between Dulles and Fleming, and the information I've managed to ascertain about that, comes from several sources. One is an article, a really overlooked article (I just don't think anyone really knows it exists) that Dulles wrote in his retirement for Life Magazine in April 1964. Another source: Dulles wrote a book called Great Spy Stories from Fiction in 1968. He published it 6 months before he died, and it was a real commercial flop. But in those two sources he says, you know, "I was just completely seduced by Fleming, and I was completely seduced by his gadgets and gizmos."

    Dulles freely admitted that the CIA at the time didn't really have a kind of tech laboratory. They just weren't doing the kind of stuff that Fleming had seen the Brits do during the Second World War. Fleming worked very closely with SOE, the Special Operations Executive. He'd seen the exploding rats and the briefcases with daggers and gas canisters and all this kind of stuff.

    But Dulles was relatively new to all of this. He would ask his engineers at CIA to try to replicate some of Bond's technology, and he admits in both of those places that the CIA managed to replicate Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped dagger shoe, but completely failed to replicate the tracking device, the homing beacon, which James Bond uses in the film Goldfinger to try to track the whereabouts of Goldfinger's Rolls Royce. And Dulles admits that the CIA built the device but it just didn't work in a city. It sort of got me thinking about my own GPS. Whenever I go into a built-up area the GPS just kind of shuts down, really.
    Gizmag: By the time Fleming's meeting with Dulles, he's been writing novels for some years?
    CM: He has. The first one came out in 1953. It's around book eight or nine that his relationship starts to blossom with Dulles. And that's when I think the representation of the CIA takes a little bit more of a favorable turn in the novels. I think it takes a favorable turn because the two men have become great friends. If you look at the correspondence that the two men had between each other, correspondence that you can see in the Allen Dulles papers at Princeton, but also the Ian Fleming papers at the Lilly Library in Indiana, these are two friends. These are not two professionals communicating with each other. They address each other as "My Dear Ian" and "My Dear Allen."

    Dulles, I think, plays an absolutely pivotal role in convincing Fleming to actually keep the series going. Dulles writes Fleming a letter in 1963. He says "My Dear Ian, I've just finished reading On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I absolutely love it. It looks like Bond's wife is a goner, but please, whatever you do, don't kill off my beloved James Bond."

    Because Fleming, at the time, was at a bit of a low ebb in his life. His marriage was falling apart. He was concerned that his novels wouldn't commercially successful in an era where people were just a bit fed up with the Red-baiting, and, you know, the bashing of "Commies." He was a little bit worried that they just weren't commercially viable any more, and Dulles comes along and cheers his spirits.

    I've had a researcher working for me in the Russian newspaper archives in Moscow, and she's found some fascinating stuff. The Communist Party newspapers from that era, things like Pravda, were commenting on the relationship between Dulles and Fleming, and what they were saying was "how bad must Western Intelligence be? How utterly utterly useless must these individuals be, where you have a scenario where the head of the CIA is taking advice from a fiction writer?" And they tried to use it for their own propaganda.
    Gizmag : Is there any suggestion that Dulles fed Fleming plot ideas?
    CM : I haven't seen any evidence of that. I haven't seen any evidence where Dulles is saying "can you change this in the script?" or "could you possibly include this story line?" I confess I haven't seen any evidence of that. It's really a citation ring. At the end of The Man With the Golden Gun, Bond is recovering from a duel with Scaramanga, and Fleming says "Bond is sat in his hospital bed and he's reading a copy of Allen Dulles' The Craft of Intelligence. In his retirement Dulles wrote a book, and you've got Bond reading it in the novels. But sadly no evidence of manipulation of Bond plots, though that would be very interesting.
    Gizmag : Is Fleming's portrayal of the CIA accurate, would you say?
    CM : It's a little bit of a mixed bag, isn't it? The CIA in that era did have a lot of money, there's no question about that. Was their trade craft any good? I think it would be a disservice to say that it wasn't very good. This was the "golden age" of CIA covert action. I guess it depends what you mean by the word success, but from a CIA perspective, they successfully orchestrated the coup d'etat in Iran in 1953. Whether you and I think toppling a democratically elected government is a success remains to be seen, but from their vantage point that was certainly a success.

    I think the early 50s, the 50s in general, in terms of UK–US Intelligence relations, are interesting because first the Brits are very much the teacher, but then the relationship starts to turn and be inverted, and, if you like, the student becomes the teacher. And it happens really because of moles. In '52 and '53 revelations start emerging about [Guy] Burgess and [Donald Duart] Maclean being Cambridge spies [for the Soviet Union], and obviously Klaus Fuchs, the atomic scientist, was revealed as a traitor.

    The Americans, who really had been trying to model themselves on the British, suddenly were like "wow, you guys need to get your house in order. You are leaking like a sieve. You are leaking from the top." And the mutual trust and respect, I think, started to break down, certainly by the time you got to the Suez Crisis in 1956.
    Gizmag : Did Fleming borrow most of his gadget ideas from things he'd seen during World War II? Did he also come up with his own?
    CM : I think it's an element of both, really. He was a clever man who clearly could come up with his own stuff but I think Fleming was always inspired by the world around him. He was like a sponge, accumulating information, remembering things that he'd seen. He'd see one gadget, he'd see another gadget, he'd splice them together, and he'd come up with a new one for a Bond novel.

    Things like the briefcase in From Russia with Love, the attaché case with the dagger … there was a handbook released about 10 years ago by the National Archives. It was called something like The SOE Handbook of Special Devices [it appears to have been called The Secret Agent's Handbook of Special Devices] which was edited by a guy called Mark Seaman, and it includes photographs of, I would say 30, 40 or 50 gadgets that were used by SOE officers in the Second World War. And you can pretty much go through a lot of them and say, yep, that appears in a Bond novel, or that's pretty close to what Bond was using. It's fairly close to the mark, actually. I think by the time you get to Pinewood Studios in the early 1970s having Lotuses that can go into the ocean … Fleming wasn't doing that. He was basing his gadgets on very doable things from the Second World War that were done.
    Gizmag : Were the poison-tipped dagger shoes and vehicle tracking the only two gadgets referred to by Dulles?
    CM : Sadly that's it. They're the only two we have conclusive evidence of. There was a guy called Robert Wallace who in the 70s, 80s and 90s was a CIA technician. He was director of the CIA's Office of Technical Service, and a couple of years ago he wrote a book called Spycraft, co-authored with a guy called Keith Melton. And in that book he said that quite often Case Officers, Operations Officers, Analysts would come to him and say "We've seen a Bond novel. Can you give us that? We've seen something. We think it would be cool, we think it would work, we think it would be beneficial. Can you do it?" And Wallace would always have to turn round and say "I'll have a go, but it's highly unlikely." But even he doesn't give examples of ones that the CIA successfully managed to copy.
    Gizmag : Is there any suggestion that the dagger shoes might have been used in the field?
    CM : Sadly not. I would love to know if the shoe was used in the field, but alas, I don't even have weak evidence of that.
    Gizmag : Are you a fan of the Bond novels yourself?
    CM (adopting a qualified tone): I am. They need to be taken as relics of their age, so I regard them as historical texts or historical documents, really. Some of it's quite crude. There's no doubt that the portrayal of women and Fleming's handling of race relations is incredibly crude and would be completely unpalatable to audiences in the 21st century. But if you just take them for what they are, which is rattling good yarns which were produced in an era that was emerging out of the Second World War, in an era that was still experiencing rationing, in an era when Britain was contracting as an Imperial power, they're a very very interesting window onto developments on postwar British society.
    Source: University of Warwick

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    For Special Services, John Gardner, 1982.

    In 1941 Fleming accompanied Admiral Godfrey to the
    United States for the purpose of establishing relations
    with the American secret service organisations. In New
    York Fleming met Sir William Stephenson, 'the quiet
    Canadian', who became a life-long friend. Stephenson
    allowed Fleming to take part in a clandestine operation
    against a Japanese cipher expert who had an office in
    Rockefeller Center. Fleming later embellished this story
    and used it in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale
    (1953). Stephenson also introduced Fleming to General
    William Donovan, who had just been appointed Co-
    ordinator of Information, a post which eventually evolved
    into the chairmanship of the Office of Strategic Services
    and then of the Central Intelligence Agency. At Donovan's
    request Fleming wrote a lengthy memorandum describing
    the structure and functions of a secret service organisation.
    This memoranum later became part of the charter of the
    O.S.S. and, thus, of the C.I.A. In appreciation Donovan
    presented Fleming with a .38 Police Positive Colt revolver
    inscribed 'For Special Services'.

    University of Deleware
    (from a dictionary of
    literary biography)

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Of Karst! – short episodes about karst
    Andreas Hartmann 5th April 2017 Groundwater, Research 1 Comment
    Of Karst! – short episodes about karst
    Episode 1 – A different introduction to karst
    by Andreas Hartmann, Lecturer in Hydrology at the University of Freiburg
    Usually, textbooks or lectures start with the theoretical background and basic knowledge of the topic they try to cover. Writing my first contribution to the Water Underground blog I want to take advantage of this less formal environment. I will introduce karst as I and many others around the world see it. As the most beautiful environment to explore and study.

    Some of you may not be familiar with the term karst, its geomorphology or hydrological consequences. But I am almost certain that most of you have seen the landforms in the four pictures below.
    Tower karst (1st photo) is typical of tropical regions. The picture below is taken close to Guilin, Southwest China, and I am sure many of you remember James Bond “The Man with the Golden Gun” and the beautiful tower karst islands at which parts of movie takes place (episode 3 will be a special feature about karst in the movies). Tower karst reaches heights up to 300m and often referred to by its Chinese name Fenglin or Fengcong karst, when occurring in a large number.
    The 2nd photo shows the opposite landform: a huge hole in the forest ground. This is not a crater but a very big collapse sinkhole at Vermillion Creek, Northwest territories, Canada. It has an ellipse shape (60m x 120m) and 40 m below the surface, it has a lake whose depth has not yet been determined. You may not have previously heard the term sinkhole. But on the news one day you will hear stories of holes suddenly swallowing cars or entire houses in Florida or Mexico. If not due to mining, those were most probably collapses that occurred due to karstification.
    Figure 1:
    (1) amazing tower karst Li River, Gulin, China (,
    (2) collapse sinkhole , Vermillion Creek, Northwest territories, Canada (,
    (3) Kalisuci Cave at Jogjakarta, Indonesia (,
    (4) spring of the Loue River, France (

    The most popular features of karst are caves, some of them as large as entire buildings. The 3rd photo shows how it may look inside a karstic cave (Kalisuci Cave at Jogjakarta, Indonesia). Note that there are plenty of stalactites and that there is a lot of water that will eventually find its way back to the surface discharging a karstic spring.

    The 4th photo shows the spring of the Loue River, France, which is one of the largest springs in Europe. The volumes of water coming out easily compare to the discharge of medium size rivers. If you ever saw a spring that big it must have been a karst spring!
    In the Of Karst! series, I will take you on a journey through more of these amazing characteristics of karst. I will show how its evolution over time can produce the landforms shown here. I will show how karstification affects the resulting movement of water on the surface, in caves systems and in karstic rock. And I will explain why karst is so relevant for our societies. In episode 2 (late June 2017) I will speak of how karst evolves. Episode 3 (early October 2017) will a special feature about karst in James Bond [and] other famous movies.
    Andreas Hartmann is a lecturer in
    Hydrology at the University of
    Freiburg. His primary field of inter
    -est is karst hydrology and hydrologi
    -cal modelling. Find out more at his
    personal webpage

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Of Karst! – short episodes about karst
    WaterUnderground 8th July 2017
    Dissolved rock in Zhangjiajie, China (Photo by Matthew Currell)
    Episode 2: Dissolving rock? (or, how karst evolves).
    Post by Andreas Hartmann, Lecturer in Hydrology at the University of Freiburg (Universität Freiburg), in Germany. You can follow Andreas on twitter at @sub_heterogenty.
    In the previous episode, I introduced karst by showing how it looks in different regions in the world. This episode will now deal with the processes that create such amazing surface and subsurface landforms. The widely used term “karstification” refers to the chemical weathering of easily soluble rock composed of carbonate rock or gypsum. Most typical is karstification of limestone (consisting of the mineral calcite, CaCO₃) or dolostone (consisting of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO₃)2). If exposed to CO2 rich water these rocks are dissolved to form aqueous calcium (Ca2+) or magnesium (Mg2 +) and bicarbonate (HCO3 –) ions. For calcite, karstification is described by the following chemical equilibrium:
    The dissolution of carbonate rock depends on various factors. Imagine a solid block of salt, which you pour water on. If completely solid, the water will flow down the salt surface slowly dissolving the block. If fractured, water will eventually enlarge the fractures in the salt block and dissolution will occur much faster. Now imagine smashing the salt block before pouring water on it. In such circumstances the salt will dissolve even faster as the surface area exposed to the water is much larger.
    Karst and its evolution (educational video provided by Eoin Hughes on Youtube).

    The same is true for karstification. If the carbonate rock is heavily fractured, it will dissolve faster than unfractured carbonate rock. Another factor is the availability of CO2, that depends on the relative amount of CO2 in the air, air temperature and soil microbiotic processes. Other factors are the purity of the carbonate rock, the availability of water, and the supply of CO2 from the surface. As soon as karstification takes place, more water will be able to pass the dissolution enlarged fractures providing more and more CO2, and creating a positive feedback between rock dissolution and water flow:
    Positive feedback between carbonate rock dissolution and water flow (Hartmann et al., 2014, modified).

    The hydrochemical processes described in this episode of the Of Karst! Series not only create beautiful karst landscapes but they also have a strong and particular impact on water flow paths in the subsurface, which will the topic of episode 4 that can be expected in early 2018. Before, I will present a special feature about karst in the movies as topic of episode 3 in autumn 2017.

    Further reading

    Hartmann, A., Goldscheider, N., Wagener, T., Lange, J. & Weiler, M. 2014. Karst water resources in a changing world: Review of hydrological modeling approaches. Reviews of Geophysics, 52, 218–242, doi: 10.1002/2013rg000443.
    Ford, D.C. & Williams, P.W. 2013. Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. John Wiley & Sons, 576 pages.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Of Karst! – short episodes about karst
    November 4, 2017
    Posted by Tom Gleeson
    Post by Andreas Hartmann
    Episode 3 – Learning about karst by … KARST IN THE MOVIES!
    Before writing about karst hydrology in “Of Karst! Episode 4”, I have been urged to present some more visual information on karst landforms. Of Karst! Episode 1 focused on the abundance of hilarious karst landforms in nature. This episode focuses more on the appearance of karst features in famous movies and TV programs that may be familiar to some of us, although we may not have watched them through the eyes of a karst fanatic at the time.

    In the next episode, we follow the path of the water from the karstic surface with karstic towers and dolines, through caves and conduits, to spectacular karst springs where waters emerge to the surface.
    Movie makers have their reasons to pick spectacular landscapes for their stories and, Of Karst!, those landscapes are crowded with karst features. Let’s begin with James Bond. Created in the 70s, “The Man with the Golden Gun” finds a spectacular showdown just in front of a lovely tower karst at the Khao Phing Kan island in Thailand. Tower karst is a karst landform that is, characterized by residual hills of limestone rising from a flat plain or the ocean.
    Figure 1: Bond's duel with villain Scaramanga in front of a tower karst rock
    (Khao Phing Kan, Thailand);,
    Similar landforms were chosen as scenery for a recent remake of the King Kong saga. Fighting with intruders and evil monsters from the deep subsurface (karst caves?), Kong had the pleasure living on the beautiful Cat Ba Island in Northern Vietnam, whose characteristic landscape evolved due to the strong dissolution of limestone.
    Figure 2: Silhouette of Kong between the Tower Karst mountains of Cat Ba Island located
    at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam (,
    The opposite landform to tower karst landforms are karstic dolines, which occur commonly as funnel shaped depressions on the surface, also formed by carbonate rock dissolution. These depressions do not only funnel the water downwards to the subsurface, but also create favorable conditions for the installation of (very) large radio telescopes. The largest of those was built a couple of years ago in China but a similarly impressive one can be found in Puerto Rico, where James Bond had to deal with his evil competitor Trevelyan in “Goldeneye”.
    Figure 3: Bond fighting with evil Trevelyan in Goldeneye high above the Arecibo Observatory
    in Puerto Rico that was built just in the middle of a karst doline
    Underneath the tower karst and dolines, karst dissolution creates wide networks of karstic caves and conduits. With increasing dissolution of the carbonate rock, these features may also emerge at the surface, which was probably the case for the Azure Window at Malta. This karst landform was chosen as the background of a conversation of the famous Khaleesi and her spouse Drogo in “Game of Thrones”. Unfortunately, this amazing land form is not available for further movies as it was recently destroyed by a storm.
    Figure 4: Khaleesi speaking to her beloved Drogo in Game of Thrones in front of
    the Azure Window in Malta (

    Deeper in the subsurface, the famous Devetàshka cave in Bulgaria set the stage for a dramatic showdown in “The Expendables 2”, when Stalone’s plane crashed through the cave entrance that used to be the exit of groundwater flows emanating from karst. Imagine the tremendous amounts of water filling the karst system over thousands of years that are capable of forming a cave that can (almost) host an entire airplane!
    Figure 5: Stalone’s plane crashing into the Devetàshka karstic cave in Bulgaria
    in The Expendables 2 (,

    Due to the formation of dolines, caves and channels, karst springs are usually quite large in terms of their discharge. They also provide amazing sets for fantasy movies. Even though the springs of the St. Beatus Caves in Switzerland only inspired Tolkien for the scenery of the Rivendell, the town of the elves, their similarity is obvious.
    Figure 6: Elves’ town Rivendell in Lord of the Rings, whose scenery was inspired
    by the karst spring of the St Beatus caves in Switzerland

    This movie-based tour through karst systems may have given you an impression how rainfall becomes discharge in karst systems. Of Karst!, Episode 4, will combine this impression with the hydrological, and more scientific point of view. It will speak to the complexity of these specific surface and subsurface land forms, and elaborate on why exploring and understanding these processes is worthwhile.
    Andreas Hartmann is an Assistant Professor in Hydrological Modeling and Water Resources at the University of Freiburg. His primary field of interest is karst hydrology and hydrological modelling. Find out more at his personal webpage

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    NSF asks BYU profs to build new
    receiver for one of world's
    largest radio telescopes
    By Todd Hollingshead, August 06, 2018
    Phased array feed will increase the field of view by more than
    five times

    BYU Photo
    For more than a decade, Brian Jeffs and Karl Warnick have worked to help the massive Arecibo Observatory radio telescope (made famous in the James Bond film GoldenEye) better process signals from deep space.

    All that work is literally paying off now that the National Science Foundation has awarded the pair a $5.8 million grant to mount a super-sensitive super-antenna at the focal point of the 1000-foot diameter Arecibo dish. The super-antenna, more accurately named a phased array feed, will increase the telescopes’ observation capabilities five times over.
    The BYU electrical engineering professors, along with researchers from Cornell and the University of Central Florida, will be building and installing the world’s first full sized cryogenically cooled phased array feed there, a computer-controlled group of smaller antennas which create a beam of radio waves that process signals from space.

    “Without steering the dish, we can now cover a significantly larger area of the sky with this new phased array feed,” Jeffs said. “It’s like building a massive digital camera for radio astronomy.”

    Jeffs and Warnick have become two of the world’s foremost experts in phased array feeds and just this month, Cambridge University Press published a 460-page textbook authored by the two on the subject. “Phased Arrays for Radio Astronomy, Remote Sensing, and Satellite Communications,” represents years of research by the professors, including their ongoing work at the Arecibo Observatory

    Nine years ago, the BYU duo installed a gold-plated array of many small antennas at Arecibo that increased the surveying ability of the telescope from one beam of radio waves to seven beams. The new NSF-sponsored phased array feed will have 166 antennas and will increase the field of view of the telescope to 40 beams, providing much smoother and continuous coverage of the sky than conventional receivers.

    “We’re taking the most sensitive radio telescope in the world and opening it up so that it can view a larger part of the sky at one time,” Warnick said. “There’s a lot of things in space you can see with an optical camera, but you can see even more with a radio telescope.”

    One scientific objective of the new feed will be tracking new pulsars — especially millisecond pulsars that help signal the presence of gravity waves. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravity waves in 1916, but humans just detected them for the first time a few years ago. Gravity waves are produced by catastrophic events, such as two colliding black holes, and they cause ripples in the fabric of space-time.

    The phased array feed will also search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, detect Fast Radio Bursts and a carry out a census of gas-bearing dark matter haloes hosting galaxies in the local universe.

    “Every galaxy in the universe has an invisible cloud of dark matter around it that we don’t yet understand,” Warnick said. “This will help solve one of the mysteries of the universe.”

    Nate Edwards/BYU Photo
    Jaren Wilkey/ BYU Photo
    BYU Photo

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited August 2019 Posts: 12,976
    Can Sound Actually Kill You?
    By Interesting Engineering
    October 31st, 2016
    Can Sound Actually Kill You?
    Pressure Wave [Image Source: YouTube]

    The short answer? Yes. Sound can absolutely kill you if it's loud enough.

    The long answer requires looking at what sound really is. Sound is created by a pressure wave which vibrates particles as it travels in an accordion-like manner. A vibrating source pushes particles forwards with a high-pressure wave. The high pressure is immediately followed by a low-pressure which forces the particle back. The waves then oscillate back and forth, moving through a material until it disperses into nothing. The pressure wave can be created from many different sources, but in the end, they all travel the same way.

    The intensity of the wave is measured by how big the difference is between the high and low pressure. The greater the difference, the louder the sound. The intensity of the wave is measured by a decibel. For each increase in loudness (for example 1dB to 2dB), there is a 10-times increase in intensity.

    Sound is simply a pressure wave, and that pressure acts similarly to a regular wave. A big enough wave will 'drown' you with its pressure. The human eardrum picks up vibrations as pressure waves move the thin flap of skin back and forth. However, if the sound is too loud or the pressure too great, the eardrum can vibrate so violently that it ruptures. The same goes for lungs. As low pressure builds on the outside of the lungs, the organs rapidly expand and can potentially burst.

    This happens between 170-200 dB, or about twice the decibels of a live rock concert. However, such an intense sound is practically unheard of and is generally caused by pressure waves generated by massive explosions.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited August 2019 Posts: 12,976
    Can a loud enough sound kill you?
    By Sebastian Anthony on February 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Can sound kill you? The short answer is “yes” — and, rather shockingly, the European Space Agency says that it now has such a sonic weapon in its arsenal that, if it was so inclined, could kill you. For the long answer, read on.

    The huge horn pictured above is one of four giant acoustic orifices at the ESA’s Large European Acoustic Facility in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Rather than killing humans, though, the horns are actually for testing satellites — to see if they can withstand the noise of a rocket launch. (As you may know, the Space Shuttle’s Mobile Launch Platform used to dump 300,000 gallons of water onto the platform during launch, to absorb the intense acoustic energy that would otherwise damage the Shuttle.) The ESA’s horns are essentially giant air horns, using nitrogen gas to produce sounds as loud as 154 decibels.
    Launch Pad 39A, with its water-based sound suppression system

    The question is, is 154 decibels enough to kill you? In all honesty, probably not — unless, perhaps, you were stuck with your head inside the horn for a prolonged period. 150 decibels is usually considered enough to burst your eardrums, but the threshold for death is usually pegged at around 185-200 dB. A passenger car driving by at 25 feet is about 60 dB, being next to a jackhammer or lawn mower is around 100 dB, a nearby chainsaw is 120 dB. Generally, 150 dB (eardrum rupture) is only achieved if you stand really close to a jet aircraft during take-off or you’re near an explosive blast.

    If you actually wanted to intentionally kill someone with a sonic weapon, there isn’t a whole lot of research on how you would actually go about doing it. The general consensus is that a loud enough sound could cause an air embolism in your lungs, which then travels to your heart and kills you. Alternatively, your lungs might simply burst from the increased air pressure. (Acoustic energy is just waves of varying sound pressure; the higher the energy, the higher the pressure, the louder the sound.) In some cases, where there’s some kind of underlying physical weakness, loud sounds might cause a seizure or heart attack — but there’s very little evidence to suggest this.
    Sonic Screwdriver: Lethal in the wrong hands…?

    Perhaps more significantly, though, it’s important to note that a sonic weapon doesn’t have to be lethal or incredibly loud to be effective. High-intensity ultrasonic sound (generally anything above 20KHz) can cause physical damage. Some very low frequencies (infrasound) can apparently cause your eyeballs to vibrate, making it very hard to see. Targeted “sonic bullets” that cause localized pain (or simply burst your eardrums) is probably enough to immobilize most non-action-hero humans.

    So, there you have it: Sound can kill you, but not in the standing-in-front-of-a-giant-speaker-stack-at-a-gig way that you were probably thinking. Unless you’re in an explosive blast (in which case you’d have other concerns, too), or you’re the victim of military testing of sonic weapons, the worst that’ll probably happen is that your eardrums would burst.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Tech by VICE
    A History of Using Sound as a Weapon
    Inside the real Loudness War.
    by Joe Zadeh
    Jul 30 2014, 12:10pm
    Image by Adam Kliczek/Wikimedia Commons

    Last week, a collaborative research project known as AUDiNT (short for Audio Intelligence) released Martial Hauntology, a box set of vinyl and literature that explores the darker history of sound. It's a journey into the lesser known realms of sonic weaponry.

    The project is the latest in-depth study from Glaswegian electronic artist Steve Goodman (perhaps best know as Hyperdub label owner Kode9) and Manchester University research fellow Toby Heys. Heys describes AUDiNT as a "research cell investigating how ultrasonic, sonic and infrasonic frequencies are used to demarcate territory in the soundscape and the ways in which their martial and civil deployments modulate psychological, physiological and architectural states."

    The incorporation of sound into warfare may sound like a modern tactic, but the first reports have their roots in history. Back in 1944, as World War II slipped through Germany's fingertips, it was rumoured that Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer had set up research to explore his own theories of sonic warfare, with the intention of creating tools of death. An episode of the History Channel's Weird Weapons claimed that his device, dubbed an acoustic cannon, was intended to work by igniting a mixture of methane and oxygen in a resonant chamber, and could create a series of over 1,000 explosions per second.

    This sent out a deafening and focused beam of sound which was magnified by huge parabolic reflector dishes. The idea, apparently, was that by repeatedly compressing and releasing particular organs in the human body, the cannon could potentially kill someone standing within a 100-yard radius in around thirty seconds. Fortunately, the weapon was never actually used in battle.

    The actual volume of sound frequency isn't the only way sound has been used in war. In his 2009 book Sonic Warfare, a key body of research in the understanding of contemporary sonic thought, Goodman included a chapter titled "Project Jericho," which explored the US PSYOPS campaigns during the Vietnam War.

    Goodman described a particular campaign known as Operation Wandering Soul. The Curdler, a helicopter-mounted sonic device, produced the "voodoo effects of Wandering Soul, in which haunting sounds said to represent the souls of the dead were played in order to perturb the superstitious snipers, who, while recognizing the artificial source of the wailing noises, could not help but dread what they were hearing was a premonition of their own postdeath dislocated soul."

    It was these operations, Goodman wrote, that directly inspired the famous scene of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, in which a fleet of helicopters fly towards their target whilst blasting Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries."

    And while Wagner might not exactly be a torturous sound, the use of popular music for non-lethal weaponry goes further than Apocalypse Now. In 2003, the BBC reported that US interrogators were using songs by Metallica, Skinny Puppy and, erm, Barney the Dinosaur, in a bid to break the will of Iraqi prisoners of war. As Sergeant Mark Hadsell told Newsweek at the time, "These people haven't heard heavy metal. They can't take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That's when we come in and talk to them."

    All this kicked off a bizarre discussion about whether music used during torture meant royalties were owed to the artists. Skinny Puppy jumped on this and filed a sizeable $666,000 royalties bill claim against the American defence department.

    Jump forward to June 13, 2005, when the late Israeli president Ariel Sharon had just agreed to the disengagement from Gaza. That involved the displacement of settlers from the West Bank area, and stories soon started filtering in that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was trying out a new weapon on the streets. "The knees buckle, the brain aches, the stomach turns, and suddenly nobody feels like protesting anymore" reported the Toronto Star's Middle East Bureau.

    "An Associated Press photographer at the scene said that even after he covered his ears, he continued to hear the sound ringing in the back of his head," wrote Amy Teibel for the Associated Press. This special vehicle-mounted weapon was an LRAD (long range acoustic device). They're mostly used at sea as a defence against pirates, and can fire beams of up to 150-decibel alarm sounds at crowds.

    Its victims on the streets knew it by another name: "The Scream."
    An LRAD on a ship. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Tucker M. Yates

    Other sonic tactics against Palestinians were also reported, like jets breaking the sound barrier at low altitudes over settlements to cause what The Guardian described as "sound bombs."

    And sonic weapons weren't limited to that part of the world, either. In 2004, the American Technology Corporation landed a nearly $5 million deal to supply LRADs to US troops in Iraq.

    By 2011 and 2012, the use of LRADs began domestically in the US, when the government issued devices to various police forces, with their most publicised use coming during the Occupy Wall Street and G20 protests. Only seven months ago, the American-based LRAD Corporation also struck a $4 million deal with "a Middle Eastern country" for their most powerful hailing device yet: the LRAD 2000X, which gazumps previous models by beaming sound over 3,500 metres.

    Despite domestic use elsewhere, the UK is yet to use an LRAD on its own civilians for crowd dispersal. How it feels about the accelerating industry, however, is confusing. When London mayor and water cannon enthusiast Boris Johnson was asked about LRADs in March, he denied knowing of their existence, responding, "Is this some sort of April fool?" Another politician pointed out that the devices were installed on the Thames during the 2012 Olympics.

    In fact, London is home to one of the only non-military or police owners of LRADs in the world: Anschutz Entertainment Group, or as you probably know it, The O2. It was once left outside the venue and unattended, where it was photographed by a worried Twitter user (the O2 insisted it couldn't have been misused).
    Can only conclude from @O2 refusing to publicly answer whether this LRAD could have been misused that the answer is yes
    — esoteric affect (@piombo) November 13, 2012
    The increased use of sonic weapons by armies and police forces around the world, and the growing stock market value of LRAD Corporation, reveal a continuing fascination with utilising sound as a weapon, and the release of ever more in-depth studies like Martial Hauntology offers an insight into how sonic warfare is entering an age of global amplification.
    "Boum!", Charles Trenet.

    "Boom Boom", John Lee Hooker, performed by The Animals.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
    I'd bet the same interrogator would buckle after 24 hours of arab music himself....
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Monkey's fist's_fist
    A monkey's fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as a hand-to-hand weapon, called a slungshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack. Nowadays it is still sometimes used in sandstone, e.g., the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Germany.

    an ornamental monkey's fist with a hard eye splice,
    custom-made at the chandlers Arthur Beale
    The monkey's fist is a spherical covering with six surface parts presenting a regular over-one-and-under-one weave. This weave is commonly doubled or tripled to present an appearance that superficially resembles a Turk's-head. Like the Turk's-head, the knot is tied with a single strand, but here the resemblance ceases. The Turk's-head diagram consists of a single line; the common monkey's fist diagram has three separate lines, which are best represented by three interlocking circles, in the best Ballantine tradition. To tie a knot on this diagram with a single strand, it is necessary to complete each circle in turn—that is, to double or triple it, as the case may be—and when this has been done to deflect the strand into another circle which is completed in turn before commencing the third and last circle.

    — The Ashley Book of Knots
    The monkey's fist knot is most often used as the weight in a heaving line. The line would have the monkey's fist on one end, an eye splice or bowline on the other, with about 30 feet (~10 metres) of line between. A lightweight feeder line would be tied to the bowline, then the weighted heaving line could be hurled between ship and dock. The other end of the lightweight line would be attached to a heavier-weight line, allowing it to be drawn to the target easily.

    The knot is often tied around a small weight, such as a stone, marble, tight fold of paper, grapeshot, or a piece of wood. However, this may be considered unsafe and therefore poor seamanship. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) publication “Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen”, Section 25.3.2, states that “heaving lines should be constructed with a “monkey’s fist” at one end. To prevent personal injury, the ‘fist’ should be made only with rope and should not contain added weighting materials”.
    They should not be attached by metal or plastic clip to the heaving line. Some port authorities instruct linesmen to cut off monkey's fists that use these fastenings.

    tying the Monkeys fist

    A simpler knot to use as weight while throwing a rope is heaving line knot
    heaving line knot, light version
    tied using the same 3 step method as a monkeys fist but with only one turn (light version) or one and a half turns (heavier version) in the first step, most of the rope weight provided by the turns at the second step, and as third step threading the end through the nearest bight pinched by the turns at the second step and tightening.

    The three coils of cordage in a monkey's fist form in effect a set of Borromean rings in three dimensions. This is most obvious when tied flat. The rings should then be started near center, coiled from outside inwards, in all three set of rings, and the third set finished by letting the end exit through the triangular hole at the center. Subsequent tightening should let the outside edges curl to form an opposing triangular hole around the main part. This is suitable if a ring formed object is to be contained in the central cavity around the main part. If the object has no hole, it might be desirable to have the ends exit the knot at or near the central triangular hole.

    Other applications
    A cufflink made from a wire tied
    into a Monkey's fist knot

    A monkey's fist can be used on two ends of a tow lines of one side a fish net which is then thrown from one trawler to another, allowing the net to be cast and set between two boats so the trawl can be used between the two, in pair trawling[2] where the tow or catch is negotiated between both parties. This makes it easier to catch fish given the greater surface area between both boats to turn around and catch missed fish from the sea much more quickly. Once all fish have been hauled up from the sea, tow lines of the fish net is returned by way of thrown both monkey's fists back to the host trawler. Alternatively, a monkey fist can be used as a weight of a heaving line thrown to over to an opposing ship to bring two ships together.

    Monkey's fists are commonly used as a convenient and unobtrusive method of storing and transporting precious gemstones.

    A throwing monkey's fist can be created by tying around a heavy material such as iron ball, or stone. A floating monkey's fist can be created by tying around a buoyant material such as cork, styrofoam, air filled ring or ball.

    It is also the most common knot used in a pair for cufflinks where it is considered a "silk knot."

    Monkey fists have become popular as main deployment handles for sport parachute systems.

    Monkey fists are often used in modern begleri [skill toy] as they are gentler on the knuckles than metal beads.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Heaving Lines: A Fist Full Of Trouble?
    Mar 162015
    MAC has previously posted on the issue of weighted monkeyfists but as the Facebook page of the Maritime Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme, CHIRP, shows, the problem is no going away. Indeed, the photo reproduced here courtesy Robert Wilkinson, indicates that the word isn’t getting through – two of them come from the same vessel even after a complaint was made.

    The knot is intended to give mass to the end of a line to improve both reach and accuracy when throwing a line. Getting hit by lumps of metal wrapped in a monkeyfist is dangerous, and Britannia P&I Club and West of England P&I Club have issued warnings following incidents, including ones resulting in injuries.

    Photo: West of England P&I Club

    In some ports, like the Port of London, weighted monkeyfists are illegal and masters have been prosecuted for allowing them to be used. As CHIRP point out: “the fist should be made only with rope and should not contain added weighted material C.O.S.W.P. 25.3.2. – Please think of the person on the receiving end of the line”.

    The problem is unlikely to go away. Britannia’s Riskwatch observed: “Ships have increased considerably in size over the last few decades and the horizontal and vertical distance that crews are expected to throw heaving lines has probably also increased as a result. It is often not an easy job to get heaving lines across to a tug or to the berth, especially in strong winds.This can prompt crew to insert heavy materials into the monkey’s fist so that better distances can be attained when throwing the heaving line from the deck”.

    There may be alternatives, like this device mentioned by Britannia.

    Throwing rings of soft material have also been suggested.

    Give us your suggestions below.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Dangerous heaving lines
    Gard News 198, May/July 2010 | INSIGHT 198, 2010 | 1 MAY 2010

    Is the art of properly throwing a heaving line being lost?
    A recognised seaman's skill
    In order to bring a hawser from a ship to a jetty, a heaving line is thrown from the ship to the linesmen ashore, who will pull in the hawser and make fast on a puller. When using tug boats, heaving lines are also thrown from the ship, to be picked up by the tug's crew and fastened to a messenger line. The messenger line is then hauled on board the ship and thereafter follows the towing wire of the tug, which is hauled on board the ship by the winch and made fast.
    Being able to throw a heaving line properly, to reach the vicinity of the receiver, has been a recognised seaman's skill from the days of sailing ships. To add weight and body to the end of the heaving line, the tradition was to either use a heaving line knot or a so-called monkey fist, the latter still being the most popular method in use. An experienced seaman will still be proud of knowing how to make a monkey fist out of rope and of being good at throwing the heaving lines. In the old days it was the job of deck boys to coil up the lines, while the able bodied seamen would do the throwing, an indication of status on board.
    A heaving line with a monkey fist made of ropes only.

    Dangerous weights
    The Belgian tug boat company URS, operating more than 30 tugs from their head office in Antwerp, for the servicing of ships on the Belgian coast and in and out of the busy Belgian and Dutch ports on the river Scheldt, has drawn Gard's attention to the growing practice of adding dangerous weights to heaving lines. It is recognised that a monkey fist just made up of rope is a bit on the light side if the skills of the thrower are inadequate, so seamen have always been tempted to dip it in lead-based paint or even to put a steel nut or other heavy object inside it. But it has also always been known among seamen that such practices are not appreciated by people on the receiving end of the heaving line.

    When a port worker or a crew member on a tug boat receives a dangerous heaving line, he is likely to get angry enough to cut off the monkey fist or whatever heavy weight being used as an attachment. Such trophies collected by URS employees and a collection of items on display in the office of the Antwerp Port Authorities show that they look more like medieval weapons or tools employed to frighten off pirates than something used for the passing of lines from a ship: heavy steel shackles, balls of lead, various steel spare parts, sections of solid rubber, bolts and nuts, to mention but a few.

    Monkey fists are normally made up of three turns of rope, and when fists of five and even six turns are found, they are likely to have a heavy object inside. Cutting open such monkey fists, steel nuts, balls of lead or steel, golf balls and even billiard balls have been found. The monkey fist record in Antwerp is 1,070 grams. Someone threw a weight of more than a kilo from the forecastle of a large ship, to pass a heaving line to a person on the small deck of the tugboat far below! As vessels are growing in size, the heights that heaving lines are thrown from make weighted heaving lines more and more dangerous to the receivers.

    Lack of regulations
    There are not many regulations to be found on how to restrict weights of heaving lines, but at least the "Code for Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen" issued by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, is very clear on this subject in section 25.3.2: "Vessels heaving lines should be constructed with a monkey's fist at one end. To prevent personal injury, the fist should not contain any added weighting material."

    As for the Port of Antwerp, Article 19.8 of the Municipal Police Regulations places clear responsibility on the master of a ship if dangerous heaving lines are being used. A free translation from Dutch reads:

    "The use of heaving lines the end of which is weighted in such a way that the action of throwing the line constitutes a hazard and/or cause damage and/or injury is prohibited". This has created a legal basis for the imposition of fines, and the Antwerp Port Authorities have made use of it when incidents involving dangerous heaving lines have happened. The four most serious cases have resulted in 66 man-days off work due to injuries and there are also cases of damage to cars and other equipment. One person received a weighted monkey fist in his face and was lucky to get just a broken nose. The kinetic energy from such a weight thrown from high above could be sufficient to kill a man or make him permanently disabled if hit in the head. If such a hit should result in death, that could also lead to criminal prosecution for manslaughter against the persons found responsible.
    Cutting open a very heavy monkey fist.
    The lead ball from inside the monkey fist.
    A heavy steel bushing on a heaving line. A
    A solid piece of rubber gasket, with
    four steel bolts embedded to gain weight.

    Luckily, many near accidents have caused more fright than injury, but over the years Gard has recorded several accidents with heaving lines. In one case a pedestrian on a pavement was hit in the shoulder while looking at a passenger vessel docking in a Swedish port. The heaving line went too far. As it can not be expected that pedestrians wear hard hats if they look at ships, there has to be some common sense on the part of the people on board, both when making heaving lines and when throwing them.

    Naturally, the linesman ashore or on board a tug has some responsibility for his own safety. A hard hat should be worn and he should be alert and as far as possible keep out of the "line of fire". But his job is to catch the line, and the risk of accident is increased if he is on a slippery surface, in the dark or blinded by floodlights - and hard hats have their limits.

    Seamen should also know that if excessively weighted heaving lines are not cut off by the receivers on a jetty, they will be returned in the same manner and can then cause injuries to people on board.
    A ball of lead was used as a weight on this heaving
    line - a frightening experience for those on the receiving end.
    One monkey fist was found to contain a lead ball
    weighing 810 grams.
    A steel bar used as a weight, covered by a piece
    of reinforced hose.

    It is not always an easy task to get a line from a ship to a tug or a jetty, especially in strong winds. Being good at throwing a heaving line is a seaman's skill, and that is not a skill picked up there and then. Practice makes perfect, so seamen should be challenged to exercise with heaving lines and not just to fix a steel shackle to the monkey fist when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. First of all it is important to have a rope that will fly well through the air. In the old days it would always be a rope of natural fibres and one trick was to wet the rope before throwing it. Coiling the rope properly and how the coils are divided and held in the left and the right hand are very important. When the rope is thrown, it is with a powerful swing by a straight arm. Those good at throwing a line in the old days could develop special personal techniques, like throwing a heaving line with both arms. The main throw by the straight, right arm will be followed by the coils in the left, also thrown from the right side, diagonally across the body. In some navies this is still practised.
    Monkey fist: how to.
    Source: Wikipedia, licensed under the CC-BY-SA common licence.

    Linesmen on tug boats will prefer ship heaving lines to be of a coloured and floating material, being easy to see and less likely to end up in propellers. Small diameter rope of 8-10 mm thickness is preferred, not heavier material that may cause injuries. As the tug will usually follow behind the bow-wave of the ship, lines should not be thrown from the extreme forward end of the forecastle, but rather from the shoulder of the ship, not to hit the wheelhouse, but the aft deck of the tug boat. Monkey fists should be of rope only, never weighted and preferably not even dipped in paint, as that makes them very hard. An alternative to the monkey fist could be a ring or ball of soft rubber like those used for lifelines, or a small leader or canvas bag, partly filled with a small amount of sand. Such a bag should be oversized for its content, to reduce the impact if it hits a person.
    Work safely with tugs.
    Illustration courtesy of URS nv.
    Masters are advised to check all heaving lines on board and remove all heavy monkey fists and dangerous attachments. It is important to understand the dangers involved in throwing an object at a receiver on a lower level and the risk of being prosecuted or fined for causing injury to other people and equipment. And last but not least, crew members should be proud of the traditional seaman's skill of being good at throwing a heaving line. Practice makes perfect.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
    You're tying the not?
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Knot sayin'.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    The Ill-Fated History of the Jet Pack
    The space-age invention still takes our imaginations on our wild ride
    [From the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center (Carolyn Russo / NASM, SI)
    By Jeff MacGregor
    Smithsonian Magazine | | June 2015

    First we tried feathers and wax. Then Leonardo specified linen and wood. No matter the mythology or the machinery, the dream has always been the same: We’re flying. Floating over fields and cities, unstuck, untroubled, cut loose from the dust. The same dream again and again since we came out of the caves, right through Daedalus and Icarus to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. This Bell Aerospace rocket belt is the dream made real—albeit updated by science and science fiction.

    By the late 1950s, Wendell F. Moore of Bell Aerosystems, one of the great crew-cut, pocket-protected engineers at one of the great aviation companies of the postwar jet age, went to the drawing board and came back with the SRLD, the Small Rocket Lift Device, a Commando Cody-style backpack that could carry a single soldier into battle.

    But only if that battle was about a block away.

    The limiting factor for every rocket belt is the fuel load. Enough fuel to carry a flier for more than 20 seconds or so was too heavy to lift. That the SRLD worked at all was an engineering triumph. It could fly, hover, turn, go high or low, but could travel only short distances. Still, it was beautiful. Recognizable by its polished fuel tanks and control arms, custom-machined valves and foil-wrapped exhaust nozzles, stainless hoses and fiberglass backboard, it looks like a hot-rod scuba rig. Today, the second one ever built resides in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM).

    LIFE Magazine advertisement, Jetpack, Helmet
    A Metropolitan Life advertisement in Life in 1966 features Bill Suitor, who made many flights for Bell using a rocket belt. (Carolyn Russo / NASM, SI)



    It works by sending pressurized hydrogen peroxide through a decomposition catalyst—in this case a series of fine-meshed screens made of silver. The peroxide instantly expands into superheated steam, producing a few hundred pounds of thrust at the exhaust nozzles. These are controlled by the pilot’s hand grips. There’s no aerodynamic lift; the thing stays aloft through the physics of brute force. It has the glide angle of an Acme anvil.

    By 1962 the Bell team had a patent, and a flying rocket belt. It flew in trials, in the Pentagon courtyard, in front of President Kennedy. But as soon as you took off, you had to find a place to land. And rocket belts are hard to build, maintain and control, expensive to fuel and relatively dangerous. As a practical matter, they’re a failure.

    But oh man, what a ride! And, NASM curator Thomas Lassman points out, every failure is a kind of scientific necessity, leading away from what doesn’t work to what does. “I think there is much historic value in this artifact because it illustrates so clearly a technological dead end,” he told me, “and shows us how technological enthusiasm can fail to meet expectations. Such failures are frequent in technological innovation.”

    So your commuter rocket belt isn’t around the corner. It was obsolete the day it came out of the shop. It’s also not really a belt, but a pack strapped on by a harness. “Rocket pack” would have been best, but somehow the shorthand term “belt” gained currency. Still, the device works—within strict limits— and it speaks to the age of space travel and to the Rocketeer in every one of us.
    Every so often Bell rocket belts turn up in movies and on television. “Lost in Space,” for example, or “Gilligan’s Island.” The most memorable example likely being the very first, the 1965 James Bond thriller Thunderball.
    Since then, the handful of packs ever built have made it into civilian hands and become air show mainstays and popular halftime attractions. The belt’s appearance at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics remains its peak moment.

    The crowd on its feet below you, roaring. Those awed and upturned faces! Imagine the fame, the glory, the money! So dreamers and shade tree engineers are crazy about these things.

    Down in Houston in the mid-1990s, three schemers formed what they dubbed the American Rocket Belt Corporation. Brad Barker engineered it in Joe Wright’s workshop. Thomas “Larry” Stanley bankrolled it. They built a rocket belt that extended the time aloft from 20 seconds or so to around 30.

    But the partnership came apart over money. The belt disappeared. Wright wound up murdered (the case remains unsolved). Barker was abducted by Stanley, who tried to force his hostage to reveal the rocket belt’s whereabouts. Stanley ended up in prison. No one has seen the device since 1995. The broad outlines of the dark tale are found in Pretty Bird, a regrettable 2008 movie starring Paul Giamatti.

    Better to see the Bell rocket belt in the new traveling exhibition, Above and Beyond, opening at NASM in August. Because even in our jaded age, the jet pack still fires the imagination. It’s just one more future that never got here from the past.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    The Great American Jet Pack by Steve Lehto
    Passengers are now free to move about the troposphere …
    By Mateo Soltero | May 14, 2013 | 11:47am
    Hydrogen-peroxide—expensive to produce, unstable in transport and fundamental to personal flight—pours from tanks through a tube, over a custom-made catalyst. Ignition! A pilot soars into solo flight. Dreams of many generations take flight too. The Great American Jet Pack follows the contrails of visionaries who dare to dream of leaving the ground under their own control.

    These dreams likely began as soon as humans could walk upright. Prehistoric images in caves and in petroglyphs represented humans in solo flight, like birds. The Icarus myth and other stories showed the grip that flight held on the human imagination even millennia ago.

    The dream may be taking flight, thanks to the imaginations of inventors—Wendell Moore, Bob Courter, Bill Suitor and others—who challenge gravity along with society’s skepticism. Such characters fill this book and point the way toward a jet pack in every closet.

    Widely published author Steve Lehto has written several works that chronicle man’s dream to push the boundaries of the modern engine, including Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation. In Jet Pack, the author pulls from nearly 150 sources.

    It’s a wild ride.

    Technology follows imagination. That commodity was in no short supply at West Point in 1940, at a time when Colonel Charles Parkin trained cadets to use flamethrowers that propelled flammable liquid with the use of nitrogen. The Colonel wondered about the nitrogen tanks—he strapped one on, opened the valve and felt the thrust of the tank aid a leap.

    It meant a leap forward for the idea of solo flight.

    Flash forward 21 years, to February 1961. Wendell Moore at Bell Aerosystems designed and patented a rocket belt that held enough fuel to lift a pilot for 21 seconds of flight. During testing, the pilot harnessed himself, but one of the safety tethers scraped a piece of metal near the facility’s ceiling. Compromised, the tether could not support Moore’s weight when his engines stopped. The fall not only shattered Moore’s knee cap but his dream as well. He would not fly his invention again.

    Another pioneer, Bob Courter tested a flying platform called the WASP II in the early 1980s. Courter published a book explaining how a rocket belt works, and he appeared at the Rocket Belt Convention in Niagara in 2006, still an enthusiast for solo flight. Still a dreamer.

    One man made the dream as close to reality as we’ve gotten so far. From Lehto’s book:
    In September, 2008, (Yves) Rossy flew across the English Channel. With National Geographic filming, Rossy stepped out of an airplane at eighty-two hundred feet and fired his turbines. His twenty-two mile trip began above Calais and took him just thirteen minutes as he reached speeds of 125 miles an hour. When he got over the Dover cliffs, he did a couple of loops and deployed his parachute. When he landed, he spoke to reporters. “With that crossing I showed it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird.”
    Such vignettes buoy the reader and add to the intrigue of Jet Pack. At times, though, Lehto weighs down the reader with specifications, measurements and step-by-step instruction. Witness: “One small o-ring had been replaced during testing and it was operating perfectly now. Even the catalyst bed, which reacted with the hydrogen peroxide, showed no noticeable wear from all the firings. It had been subject to 199 runs, 171 of which had been bench firings.”

    Geek-speak aside, where is the dream today? How long till we can walk out the front door and fly to work or school?

    Jet pack flight seems to start, stop, start over again. That said, it does lay claim to a fair share of historic moments: Moore’s first test flight. Hal Graham hovering before President Kennedy, saluting him. Rossy, flying like a bluebird over the white cliffs of Dover and later across the Grand Canyon. When the industry of personal flight takes off—it does simply seem like a matter of time—one of these events will likely become a moment remembered like the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.

    Jet Pack also follows characters who, much like early barnstorming pilots, show off solo flight at air shows, state fairs and other events across the country. They don’t all build their jet packs in garages, but most beginnings seem just about that humble. These pilots scrounge parts, fuse metal and experiment with fuel sources looking for a way to get a few feet higher off the ground.

    That fuel of choice, hydrogen peroxide, matters more than any jet pack component to the experiences of these pioneers. The fuel’s price, volatility and scarcity confound jet pack crusaders from around the globe. (Some even try to manufacture it themselves.) The budding rocket scientists invariably seem able to secure only enough fuel for a half-minute in the air. Igniting it requires a highly customized, painfully intricate tool … and through the years, fewer and fewer machinists produce it. Still, those who believe in the jet pack do not easily give up.

    So … we drive, ride buses, board trains. We Segway. (Overselling the promise of jet packs, BTW, emerges as a strong theme throughout the book. “If you could ride the Segway—you can fly,” one inventor declared.) Meanwhile, inventors still file patent upon patent for solo flight devices.

    Maybe you’ll have luck with a jet pack in your own garage. If you ever wondered how to build one, Jet Pack’s pages of detailed measurements and specifications almost serve as a do-it-yourself manual.

    We’ll keep watching the skies to see what you come up with.

    Mateo Soltero holds a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and recently received his MBA. He lives with his wife and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit his writing at:


  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited November 2019 Posts: 12,976

    A J-turn is a driving maneuver in which a reversing vehicle is spun 180 degrees and continues, facing forward, without changing direction of travel. The J-turn is also called a "moonshiner's turn" (from the evasive driving tactics used by bootleggers), a "reverse 180", a "Rockford Turn", a "Rockford Spin", or simply a "Rockford" popularized by the 1970s TV show The Rockford Files. A J-turn differs from a bootleg turn in that the vehicle begins in reverse gear. It is often performed by stunt drivers in film and television shows. It can be performed both on dry and snowy surfaces; the latter is preferable while learning the skill.

    The turn is achieved by transferring the momentum of the car by reversing quickly in a straight line then turning the wheel sharply while using the foot brake to lock the front wheels. The driver changes into a forward gear as the nose comes about.

    World record
    The narrowest J-turn was performed in a Renault Twingo, between barriers set 3.78 m apart. The diagonal length of the car, 3.70 m, meant stunt driver Terry Grant had a gap of 4 cm on each side. This happened at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, UK, at the Pistonheads show on 11–13 January 2008.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
    Cool! Thanks! Now for a place where I can try that...
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Practice makes perfect, @CommanderRoss.

    Be careful with newer autos and SUV types having a high center of gravity.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    More props to Mr. Rockford.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited November 2019 Posts: 12,976
    Bootleg turn


    A bootleg turn is a driving maneuver intended to reverse the direction of travel of a forward-moving automobile by 180 degrees in a minimum amount of time while staying within the width of a two-lane road. This maneuver is also known as a smuggler's turn, powerslide, or simply a bootlegger.

    The turn is performed by putting the vehicle quickly into a lower gear, usually the second gear, and quickly turning the wheel in the direction of the opposite lane. If performed correctly, the vehicle will enter a controlled skid, enter the opposite lane, and turn completely around. In a perfect bootleg turn, the car will be at a complete stop at the end of the maneuver and ready to accelerate and depart in the opposite direction.

    It is easier to initiate this with some cars by applying a flick of the steering wheel the wrong way initially, before turning it in the direction the driver wants to go. This maneuver (known in racing as a Scandinavian flick) increases the load transfer to the outer wheels.

    Classic bootleg turns can be performed only on cars with a manual transmission and are most easily accomplished with a rear wheel drive car, as the spinning back wheels aid in the turn. This is because the maneuver is essentially a controlled fishtail-like spin-out. Vehicles with an automatic transmission can be modified to make a bootleg turn possible. This is a most common modification for stunt vehicles used in motion pictures, to reduce the stress on the stunt driver to change gears while turning.

    Cars with a handbrake connected to the rear wheels can enter a controlled turning skid by employing the handbrake, locking the wheels, and turning the steering wheel sharply in either direction. This maneuver can also be called a bootleg turn, but is more precisely described as a handbrake turn. Using the handbrake to break the traction of the rear wheels is much simpler than trying to do this by power alone.

    The name of the turn originates from the Prohibition era of the United States, when bootleggers transporting illegal liquor would use the maneuver to escape from police officers. Bootleggers were notorious for using modified high-speed cars to transport their goods and for using daring driving maneuvers to escape authorities. The man credited with inventing the bootlegger turn is Robert Glenn "Junior" Johnson, who ran liquor from his father's moonshine still and went on to become a highly successful NASCAR racer.

    Other nations and languages have their own colloquial names for the maneuver. For instance, it is known as "Cavalo-de-pau" (wooden horse), "Baianada" (a pejorative reference to the state Bahia) in Brazil.

    A "moonshiner's turn", or J-turn, begins instead with a stationary automobile accelerating straight backward for a few seconds before the steering wheel is turned quickly to complete a skidded 180 degree turn.

    In popular culture
    The presidential limousine performs an emergency bootleg turn near the start of "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I", the first episode of season 2 of U.S. television series The West Wing.

    In the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a ship under the command of Jack Sparrow does a bootleg turn by lassoing a nearby rock outcrop and swinging around it, which a character refers to as a "bootleg turn", centuries before the term was coined. Although this term is wrongly applied, it is a spin on a period-correct term of club hauling.
    The bootleg turn can be put to other uses as well.
    Also found in nature.

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Scandinavian flick? What, because it gets slippery here, perhaps?
  • Max_The_ParrotMax_The_Parrot ATAC to St Cyril’s
    Posts: 2,426
    I notice there’s a new book on the science of James Bond coming out in the new year, might be interesting
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,976
    Great to know, @Max_The_Parrot. There's always room for more Bond non-fiction.

    Books for 2020:

    The Science of James Bond: The Super-Villains, Tech, and Spy-Craft Behind the Film and Fiction
    Mark Brake (18 February)
    The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming
    Jim Wright (28 February)
    No Time To Die: The Making of the Film
    Mark Salisbury (14 April)

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