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Jessica Johan
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Why I Hate Flying
So several of you have read about my fear of flying. Yes, I admit I have a general fear of heights. However, my fear of flying is more about not being in control.

After all when its all said and done, we have to hope the pilot and co-pilot have had a better day than we have and that Mother Nature makes it easy for them.

This picture is an illustration in Mother Nature NOT cooperating. I took this picture after getting back on the ground and OFF the plane. I was in one of these little Canadian Regional Jets (as seen on the right) and we flew through the mess you see on the left.

Suffice to say it made the ride an "EXPERIENCE." Besides, anyone that has ever flown in or out of DIA (Denver International Airport) knows its always bumpy. Which, on a side note is based totally on where they built the airport.

Fortunately for me, The CRJ is a great plane and we made it safely. While this is no contest winning shot, I took it more as validation to myself that even though the weather was utter crap, we made it. The 767 we rode from Denver to Vancouver had an easier job of it, but the CRJ did a great job.

As always.... I thanked the Captain for a "Good Ride" when we got off. Good to me is one in which I can walk off the plane myself and in one piece.


PS- For those keeping score at home, this is shot #3 from my recent trip to Vancouver.

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Good Morning Friends

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I'll know when Google+ becomes a mainstream service.

It will be when people stop posting about it on Google+.
It will be when people stop patting themselves on the back for using it.
It will be when people stop trying to explain to each other how it fits into the bigger picture.
It will be when people stop making excuses for its limitations.

Basically it will when it stops being the story and starts being part of the furniture.

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Heron of Alexandria Hero and the first age of machines

A documentary as an overview, runs 50:36
History Channel - Ancient Discoveries - Heron of Alexandria (Complete Documentary)

Heron of Alexandria created over 80 inventions during his lifetime, and most of them relied on the properties of air and water. One of the most fascinating possibly? The first ever vending machine, created in the first century C.E.
Hero of Alexanderia: UIOWA:

This device was designed to prevent temple denizens from taking more holy water than they had purchased. Heron's holy water device along with several other "miraculous" inventions can still amaze two-thousand years later. A professor and one of the foremost Greek inventors of his era, Heron Alexandrinus (or Hero) spent his days teaching at the Museum in Alexandria, home to the Library at Alexandria, around 60 C.E.

Heron excelled in mathematics, science, and engineering, creating one of the first, possibly the first, steam engine, the aeolipile. Heron also devised a simple method of iteratively solving the square root of any number using only division and addition, as well as fostering the concept of i, the square root of -1 that plagues many equations.
History Rochester: A History Of Greek Mathematics: University of Houston: Princeton University Press:

Heron created the first vending machine not because of curiosity, but to stop temple theft. Patrons of temples commonly took more holy water than they paid for. To correct this, Heron designed and built the first vending machine, that dispensed water blessed by the officials of the temple. By positioning a lever in the path of an external coin slot, a coin placed by a temple goer would rest against the lever, balancing on the lever until the coin eventually fell off. While the coin applied pressure on the lever, the holy water pours forth from an opened spout. Once the coin falls away, a counterweight is released by the movement of the lever and the water spout closes. A simple design, that worked quite well.

Another one, moving in another direction, the bottomless wine glass. An opening in a goblet connected to a supply of wine allowed for a constant level of wine to be kept in a glass. This invention, however, is not applicable in day to day life, as the glass had to stay connected to a wine supply through a series of tubes. So not really very portable, but it did provide for a potable, and ever present supply of wine.

Seven of Heron's books exist today, including the tome Automata, which survived the centuries through translation into Arabic. Automata is an interesting collection, a work detailing how to construct "miracles" to bewilder and astonish temple goers. One of these devices automatically opened doors in temples by lighting a fire. When lit, the fire would increase the temperature of the room. Temperature positively affects pressure, causing a slight increase in the pressure in the room as the fire burned. As the pressure increased, a water placed in a bowl set in the room would flow into a container, with the container initiating a series of levers and pulleys that opened a temple door. It is unknown if any temple actually used this system. An illustration is in the animated gif. Two pages packed with information, videos, and links. Heron of Alexandria:

One of Heron's more bizarre creations consisted of a large device capable of playing a ten minute theater routine. Heron's Theatre Automat used of a system of ropes, knots, and iron balls dropped on drums to produce a thunderous sound. Heron also created a cart that would roll itself in front of an audience and perform.

Submitted for #ScienceSunday | +ScienceSunday
co-curators +Robby Bowles and +Allison Sekuler

animated gif and many links, via Michael Lahanas.

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