Paul died of lung cancer last October at the age of 77. A few months earlier, he had built a flasher for my anti-collision lights, using a clever circuit he had designed. It is a tiny, rather disorderly looking circuit board about the size of two sugar cubes.
It works perfectly.
They Weren’t Under Oath
An airliner, its nosewheel turned sideways and jammed, is approaching to land. Passengers crowd the terminal windows. As the jet is about to touch down, a pickup speeds out onto the runway and places itself under the nose. The nosewheel descends into the bed of the pickup, and airplane and pickup roll safely to a halt together.
It’s a piece of viral advertising, of course, and pretty transparent. The none-too-artfully computer-generated jet is more or less a 727; when did you last see one of those in airline service? The pickup accelerates to the jet’s approach speed — probably on the order of 120 to 130 knots — quite effortlessly — and carries the load with equal aplomb.
The 727’s nose gear probably carries around 7 percent of the airplane weight on the ground. So that pickup — a Nissan Frontier, to give the devil his due — not only had exceptional acceleration and top speed but also remarkable load-carrying capacity: somewhere around 7,000 to 10,000 pounds in the bed.
A similar video, called 405, made to showcase the desktop computer-generated imagery abilities of its creators, involves a dude who is cruising along the notoriously busy 405 freeway in West Los Angeles in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He looks a bit uneasy, because his side of the freeway is, but for him, completely empty. We know the reason: The police have closed the freeway to allow a DC-10 with unspecified mechanical trouble to land on it. Our hero does a horrified double take when he sees the looming jet in his rear-view mirror, like the “closer than they appear” tyrannosaur in Jurassic Park. The jet’s nose gear hits him from behind, the car lurches, the nose strut crumples, and the heavy’s nose settles onto the roof of the car.
The CGI here is quite a bit better than that in the Nissan ad, but the physics isn’t. I hate to split hairs, but the nose load would be somewhere around 15,000 to 20,000 pounds — hard to take, even for a Jeep.
But at least this one isn’t trying to sell you a Jeep.