Are you sure it should not be Lord Dyson... The damn thing looks like a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner
A new bid to break the land speed record using British technology was launched today by the Science Minister, Lord Drayson. The idea is that breaking the previous record (held by the same British team mounting this attempt) will inspire schoolchildren to embark on careers in science and engineering. Bloodhound Car concept art …
Why does the look and aerodynamics of this vehicle remind me of the liquified natural gas-powered "Blue Flame" which set the land speed record at Bonneville in the early '70s:
I was totally into these insane-assed Bonneville speed-record machines as a young kid, and had always wondered if a) anyone would break the sound barrier in a wheeled land vehicle at Bonneville, and b) what kind of handling issues would the driver face, and c) how loud would the sonic boom be on land?
Best of luck, guys. Yee hah!
Well, yes. But it did stick around for the best part of 30 years, and it could go a long way in the time it did manage to stay in the air. And the lack of decent wepons or avionics is hardly the fault of the airframe.
As it happens I didn't know about the U2 intercepts, but I do now. Cheers!
What's this, a UK minister talking up Science?
We can't be having that.
Science is difficult, it's hard for us to water down the examine papers sufficiently to show the whole country has passed the test with tripple A star ratings.
Projects like this certainly can appeal to young would be scientists and engineers. Growing up in the sixties then the US Apollo program was a huge thing for almost all school boys. That's sure what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Is this the sole good idea the current would be dictatorship has come up with since coming to power?
I always thought it was too bad that the land speed record never stipulated wheeled vehicles actually had to be propelled via their wheels like proper cars; there seems a little more thought involved in powering a wheel-driven vehicle to insane speeds as opposed to just strapping bigger and bigger turbojets/rockets or whatever to what is essentially a trolley.
Actually, they do. There's still a category for wheel-driven. This was still held, last time I actually checked, by Donald Campbell with the Bluebird Proteus, but I think someone broke it recently to rapturous cries of "Meh".
The pointy, rockety, jetty things that have held the absolute record since have one sop to "da roolz" which is having two front wheels. This is 'cos if you go for the logical approach to reducing front cross-sectional area and only fit one, you get the record for fastest motorcycle / sidecar combination and not the car one.
Apparently it's the number of wheels that makes something a car (four or more), not how it's propelled. Go figure.
I like dogs, I really do.
I also like high technology projects, things that go fast and all that stuff.
But why do we have to give them cute doggie names? I'm thinking for example of "Beagle", the epic Mars failure. That one behaved exactly like a Beagle that had been left in a garden and stolen by pikeys - we never saw it again.
I wouldn't mind, but Bloodhounds aren't even fast dogs. Surely if you *have* to have a dog name for a land speed record, you'd choose "Greyhound" wouldn't you?
These are not the sort of project names that are likely to inspire young people to stay up all night wrestling with flux capacitors and rubber bands.
What's next - the "King Charles Spaniel" deep sea explorer?
Only a few weeks ago the government said that the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it straight up will encourage children to take an interest in science and technology; now the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it sideways will encourage kids to take an interest in science and technology.
Because obviously no one could be interested in dinosaurs, volcanoes, explosions and radiation just because they're awesome could they????
The only important question these pork barrel projects can answer is - 'What is the effect on science and technology education when the men in spaulas arrive to scrape the test subject into a bucket?'
About a week ago I picked up David Tremayne's book about Richard Noble's achievements, and re-read it, I was just finishing the epilogue this morning when I heard the news about Bloodhound.
I really hope that this has some effect on our children's choice of career, I was talking to a teacher at my daughter's school a few weeks ago and he told me that essentially even in a specialist engineering college (which it styles itself) there is very little real engineering training. Anything that makes people think about what really adds to the wealth of a country is a good idea, after all look what our wonderful financial industry has wreaked upon us. That doesn't happen when the cash coming in is in exchange for bits of machined metal, those are real earnings.
In 1997 when ThrustSSC was setting records on the Black Rock desert I put a fair quantity of money in, I still have my Black Rock Fuel Certificate signed by Richard Noble and Andy Green, and my email from Richard thanking me for an extra donation when they were really running out of cash and may have had to come home before setting a supersonic record.
The reason to do this is because we can, never worry about what it is good for, whether it relates to anything else, how much carbon dioxide it generates. This is about hard work, clever engineering, team work, mutual respect and that electric moment when the double-boom lands on Gerlach and knocks plates off the wall and makes the inhabitants grin.
And the name, why Bloodhound? Maybe because Ron Ayers, the man who designed the ThrustSSC aerodynamics, also designed the Bloodhound missile when working for BAC Guided Weapons Division.
Gets a huge thumbs up from me!
I guess that this "media event" sums up the state of British innovation after years of ministers and civil servants cancelling any programme which involved anything more than rebranding other people's kit and "saving" hundreds of low-end jobs through expensive, publicly funded bail-outs (rather than actually moving the pork-fed industry concerned up the food chain), all while wondering which Jaguar, yacht, stately home or "services" they were going to buy with the savings/kickbacks.
With the current level of contempt for science and engineering from the British government (it's a surprise Britain is still a member of CERN, ESA, ESO, and so on), combined with the contempt for the education sector (kiddyprinting and indoctrination apparently trumps actual teaching or paying teachers a decent wage), the extent to which this will inspire the next generation will probably be limited to lots of suggestions about the logo or which colours should be used for the pilot's/driver's uniform/costume.
Of course, Britain being the only country to have forsaken the capability to launch its own stuff into orbit, and having repeatedly brushed off proposals to actually do anything else in that area, you'd think that government money might be better spent elsewhere, but then I suppose the "nation of middlemen" advocates were happy to see India launch stuff to the moon recently because they now probably see it as yet another area in which the "entrepreneurs" can wave wads of cash at a developing nation and get them to do the dirty work in realising whatever the gadget of the week may be: Twatsat 2.0 in all likelihood.
Let's make a fast car? Call it Thrust PWE. What a penis-waving exercise!
Would this be the same Bloodhound that was used as an antiaircraft missile during the cold war? Capable of accelerating from 0 to Mac 2 within it's own length. Great to see they've finally found a use for the thousands they must have knocking about.
Paris, cos even she goes off at the speed of sound.
"Wing Commander Green has a first in mathematics"
During pub talk, we established that you were awarded the rank of Wing Commander after achieving your pink, red, white and brown wings (we also discussed silver, purple and metal but they were special commendations) ... Has this man got all those then? Sir, I salute you...
Mine's the one with the beer stains on it...
Perhaps someone can show us the evidence that the last endeavor to achieve the land speed record got any significant increase in numbers of children studying science and pursuing a career in the same. Would be nice before they spent the money.
Haven't we already had this story? I mean the one about strapping a rocket to a car and then slamming it into a cliff when the road turned left and the car didn't? I'm sure the Darwin Awards have plenty of mentions.
(apart from the fact that Mythbusters proved you could actually do it if you did it properly and your control helicopter was fast enough)
As others have noted, the original Bloodhound was a SAM, ie. a device designed to accelerate to very high speeds quickly and then go impressively bang - surely not a great name for a human-carrying vehicle? Can't see any Yankee LSR teams calling their car "Sidewinder" or suchlike...
There was a Bristol Bloodhound missile, so they may be harking back to that.
Apparently this one will be powered by a jet engine and a rocket (rather than ram jets and rocket boosters).
Which to my mind sounds more like the Saunders-Roe SR.53 with wheels on.
Now I think on it the Fairey Delta 2 passed 1000 mph back in '54 - see how far we've come.
Keeping a very fast thing on the ground without losing stability is very difficult so from an engineering/scientific point of view, is quite worthwhile. I hope they achieve their aim, a thousand miles an hour on wheels that are not connected to a track is quite something.
As far as encouraging kids to enter science and tech careers? Waste of time! Try re-engineering the style and sylabus of those subjects that relate i.e. maths,physics,chemistry,english, try making them interesting in class and while that's happening try re-engineering the greenie/luddite/hippy/humanities degreed teachers that are responsible for encouraging our children to be the future of the country instead of what holds it back. Parents who try to encourage and teach their kids are often told off by teachers because they think it interferes with their own teaching methods(whatever those are). Parents should be in control of their kids not the state, try getting parents to stop being soap and reality show fikkies and maybe that will influence the kids.
My favourite bit of the Transport Museum in Coventry as a child was the Thrust 2 display at the end, and it always gave goosebumps when they raised the screen and revealed Thrust 2 behind it. I even used to have a toy model of it.
Of course, now they've replaced it with a Thrust SSC simulator, which just doesn't have the same effect.
Anyway, my point is that things like this can make us proud. It shows that we at least still have some engineering talent, and that we can actually achieve things (no matter how pointless they may actually be). I don't know if it had a subconscious effect on me or not, but I did end up doing a degree in physics.
Take a look at Starchaser as another British company trying to promote science and technology in schools. Be worth comparing to see if they are getting anywhere. It about the only way they can keep developing their rockets because of lack of funding IIRC.
It seem to me that the government cannot be arsed to fund this sort of thing, which, if my 6 year old is anything to go by, DOES promote an interest in science and technology. Most of the money comes from donations, which is a bloody sad state of affairs.
"An intelligent child with a good Maths GCSE might look at all this and conclude that the way to success, riches and fame is not a career as an engineer (a real one, not an MCSE). Rather, the nipper might think, it's better to buy and sell companies or become a fighter pilot."
Can't speak for anyone else, but the reason I got into science wasn't because I wanted to be rich and famous. It was because I had an itch to know more about the way the universe works. Also, when I was growing up, I enjoyed these old stories about Donald Campbell, the Supermarine Schneider trophy winners, Chuck Yeager, and all the rest, and they definitely increased my interest in all things scientific and engineering. The same goes for my nephew, now 11. So going from what I remember of my own and other kid's motivations, I think this will probably have the desired effect, and may be worth the 1e-7% of the annual national budget that gets ploughed into it.
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