UNPRECEDENTED IDIOCY – Shelby Stage Collapse Organizer Says ‘Safety Protocol Was Followed’

from WCNC Charlotte - Shelby stage collapse photos

from WCNC Charlotte – Shelby stage collapse photos

This article shot me out of bed like a cannon.  Bobby McLamb, the promoter for this potential death machine, says that the rig that tumbled last weekend in Shelby, North Carolina followed safety protocols, and that L&N Productions out of Hickory used all “industry standard” practices.  The mainstream publications need to get ahold of me or another expert in the industry to put an end to this crap.  They are printing garbage that makes the promoter and L&N Productions look like they did no wrong!!!

Get a load of this, from the Charlotte Observer:

The event in Shelby was part of the American Legion World Series concert series and featured three Christian rock bands, including the headliner, the top-selling national group MercyMe.

Eddie Holbrook, co-chair of the local American Legion World Series executive committee and a Cleveland County commissioner, said L&N Productions had worked last year’s Montgomery Gentry concert at the American Legion World series.

“They’ve been very satisfactory,” he said. “We’ve had no problem.”

Holbrook said performers and stage managers expressed no reservations about the stage.

Also, he said the weather had been a concern. Holbrook said officials had been tracking storms on weather radar.

A line of storms in the area of Greenville, S.C., appeared to be edging north of Shelby, he said.

When a severe weather alert for Cleveland County flashed on the radar, Holbrook said, “we immediately started getting people off stage.” The surrounding area with electrical equipment was also evacuated, he said.

The National Weather service had no reports of damaging wind gusts – 50 mph or stronger – in Cleveland County on Aug 10. But an automated weather station on the north side of Shelby measured a wind gust of about 35 mph between 3 and 4 p.m.

At the fairground, which is on the east side of Shelby, a “quick burst of vicious wind” got under the stage roof and “disassembled it,” Holbrook said.

Law enforcement and emergency personnel were already at the fairground. But thankfully, nobody got hurt, Holbrook said.

Looking back, “I don’t know of anything we would have done differently,” he said.

MUST this be posted again?!  Here’s one of the first pages of the Genie tower safety manual:

genie-tower-wind-safetyMore from the article at the Charlotte Observer — apparently L&N’s rig adheres to building codes, according to James Little of L&N Productions:

James Little, owner and president of L&N Productions, Inc., said the company has been in business more than 25 years, carries liability insurance and has done events all over the U.S. Local code officials aren’t required to inspect temporary stages, Little said, but some, like Hickory, do inspect the structures.

Wherever L&N sets up a stage “we adhere to building codes,” Little said. “Ultimately, people can be hurt, and you have to be cautious in what you do.”

In Shelby, Little said the fire marshal inspected the stage, which met industry standards and had been assembled by L&N employees and 30 members of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department.

The stage’s roof was held up by 12 18-foot-tall Genie Super Towers, not four as stated by some on the Internet, Little said. The towers were secured by straps tied to 4-foot metal stakes driven into the ground.

Wind bent the stakes, but didn’t pull them out of the ground, and all the straps held, he said.

According to Little, the roof shifted 10 feet and lodged against a lighting pole, about 5 feet above the stage. No musical instruments or electrical equipment were damaged, and 10 light bulbs out of 108 were broken, Little said. Although he doesn’t have a total damage estimate, he said six of the towers, valued at $3,000 each, are out of commission.

A spokesperson for the Genie lift company said the super towers aren’t designed to support structures like roofs.

But Little said what was used at the fairground wasn’t a load-bearing roof, but a stage cover, and that the towers weren’t supporting the entire rig. He said the Genies supported canvas and lights individually and that the practice was common in the industry.

WHY does the media keep posting this shit without getting ahold of one of us experts in the media?!

THIS is what happens when your rig is NOT UP TO INDUSTRY STANDARD SAFETY PRACTICES, LET ALONE EVEN FOLLOWING THE MANUAL ON THE GEAR YOU USE!  These photos are from L&N’s OWN WEBSITE!  Did the media not even do their research?!

GAH!  This is infuriating!  PLEASE, mainstream media, YOU ARE NOT EXPERTS LIKE WE ARE!  Start asking around!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!

 

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What the what?!  That’s William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, the guy who invented the Kinetoscope, among other completely awesome stuff!  Today is Billy Boy’s birthday!  Happy Birthday, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!

Dickson was one of Edison’s “muckers,” the guys who did all of Edison’s work for him.  What a d-bag he was, that Edison!

Check out the Happy Birthday, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson Official Birthday Post!

 

Workplace Safety in Our Industry — An Awesome Primer from Sound Prospects

Another day, another reminder of how careful we all have to be when we’re out there defying the laws of reality:

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It’s no secret in our business that there are people out doing shows RIGHT NOW that should not be doing work, and companies that are one disaster from screwing up our peace and serenity with their incompetence.  There are also a lot of people out there who have never had their hands on a piece of equipment but feel qualified to give the rest of us advice on how to do things.

The opposite of the two aforementioned groups are folks like the ones at Sound Prospects in Switzerland; Sound Prospects recently wrote a great piece on workplace safety, and I needed to cross-post that article so people hear the safety chant from people OTHER than myself, Erich Friend at Teqniqal Systems (and the awesome Theatre Safety Blog), Richard Cadena from PLASA and the Academy of Production Technology, among other people chanting the Gregorian chant of survival in our business.

Please check out the article at Sound Prospects, written by Alex Schoenknecht.  I recommend also checking out some of Alex’s other articles! — a few highlights from the Workplace Safety article:

Most Common Rigging Mistakes

1.) Unrated Hardware

It is essential that the Safe Working Load (SWL) of all components in a system is known and that the Safe Working Load for the weakest component is not exceeded. Hardware that does not have the SWL clearly forged into it is a “wild card”. Most industrial applications work on a SWL of 5:1. A component that will fail under a load of 5000 lbs. that is given a safety factor of 5:1 has an SWL of 1000 lbs. In the entertainment industry an SWL of 8:1 is the accepted standard.

2.) Incomplete Installation

Even though a component may have a sufficient SWL rating, it becomes a liability if it is not installed correctly. Installations should be neat and clean with hardware properly terminated. An installation that is neat and orderly allows for easier inspections and ensures that the forces on components, such as pulleys, are within the equipment’s design limits.

3.) Damaged Equipment

A piece of damaged equipment becomes the weak link and a liability to the system as a whole. Damaged components must be replaced immediately with ones that are of equal or greater rating. Replacing a broken part, even temporarily, with a substandard piece is putting the integrity of the system at risk.

4.) Wear and Tear

Even the best of systems wear out. This is why it is essential for maintenance to be an ongoing process. Most Countries require yearly inspections of all hoisting equipment. The owner must keep a maintenance and repair log. Since we are often lifting over head the operator must be aware of any changes in how the system is running and investigate the cause immediately to ensure that safe operation is not compromised.

5.) Improper Use

Using equipment for purposes that it was not designed for, or modifying equipment for other purposes, can easily result in overloading and failure. Many components also have strict guidelines as to how and where they should be used by the manufacturer. For example Spectrum 3 proof coil chain is suitable for suspending stationary loads, but if the load will be moving a Spectrum 8 chain is required. It is important to ensure that the components are appropriate for the application.

Thanks for the great article, Alex!

Ken Johnson, Father of Drum Tech Killed in Radiohead’s Stage Collapse in Toronto, Wants Answers

toronto-stage-collapse-radiohead

hi-stage-radiohead-truong-8col

Just over a year ago, Scott Johnson was onstage under a massive roof structure in Toronto, Ontario tuning drums for Radiohead’s upcoming show that night.  This would be the last time he ever tuned the kit again, as later that afternoon the roof structure came tumbling down on top of Scott and three other people.  The others made it.  Scott Johnson was killed.

A year has passed, and Scott Johnson’s dad, Ken, is destroyed.  He’s also pissed at how long this is taking, getting some justice for his dead son — who was doing the one thing he loved to do more than anything.  All he wants is answers, but the Crown hasn’t any for him.  From an interview article at The Spec:

Ken has been searching for answers ever since, crying daily over the loss of his only child, waiting to hear who’s to blame.

The Ministry of Labour recently announced 13 charges against concert organizer Live Nation, a staging company, and an engineer.

A postponed trial is expected to begin Thursday.

“I want to be there,” said Ken, weeping over the phone. “I want to see the people involved and hear what they have to say.”

The charges include eight against Live Nation Canada Inc. and Live Nation Ontario Concerts GP Inc., under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The ministry alleges that Live Nation failed to ensure the stage was adequately designed and that every employer complied with the act.

Optex Staging & Services Inc. faces four charges, and engineer Domenic Cugliari is charged with endangering a worker, resulting from his advice or certification.

The maximum fine against a corporation, if convicted, is $500,000 per charge. Individuals face $25,000 per charge or up to a year in prison.

Ken Johnson, who works for a scaffolding safety association in England, is hoping the trial results in some “lessons” for those involved.

“Maybe people should have done some things differently,” he said. “Whatever the outcome of the trial, I just hope that it’s fair and honest.”

He said Scott was an honest, hard worker living his dream. Tuning drums for Radiohead was a pinnacle in his career, reached after years of determination.

“He always wanted to be a performer, but realized that wasn’t going to pan out,” said Ken, who used to cart his son around to perform small shows as a teen. “This was the next best thing.”

It breaks my heart to read of how this is going.  I know legal matters take time and accidents of this nature need investigated — but one has to wonder just exactly what is going to come of this, who is going to pay, and why.  “Scott’s message in life was to be fair, and none of this is fair,” said Ken Johnson, interviewed over the phone. “I still cry every day.”

Scott had been on the road with The Killers, the Australian Pink Floyd Show and Keane over the previous 8 years, taking on Radiohead in his career as the pinnacle of his performance.  Scott’s dad also talks about calling home once a week or more, spending time with his folks via Skype in his hotel room while on the road.

A memorial fund has been started for Scott Johnson that donates drum kits to students, along with other awesome positive acts for young musicians.  Visit the Scott Johnson Bursary Fund for Young Musicians.

scottdrumkit

 

radiohead-stage-collapse-CTV

Geoff Short’s Gig Lab — A 4th of July Truss Flag!

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This is pretty awesome for the Independence Day mid-week break!  Check out Geoff Short’s LED and truss-based American Flag!  It might not have as many stripes as are there, and there’s about twice the amount of stars, but if you’re a gear nerd, you’ll love this!

I, for example, am a gear nerd.

Happy Fourth of July!

Free Energy Could Change The Lighting Industry – Overunity and Perpetual Motion Explained

Can you imagine a world where it cost nothing to have electricity?  Tesla did, and he died penniless and alone.  Why did the world allow that to happen?

manual-of-free-energy

Have you ever heard of Free Energy?  Have you ever even considered something as ever-present as power being free?  If we even had the concept of that word, we would never need to have the discussion about why tungsten and halogen must go, being replaced by LED and CFL.  It just wouldn’t matter.

It’s a concept that does not consider the profit margins of the Big Energy producers –  oil, coal, and natural gas, but it could completely change our world.  The idea of free energy could also completely change the stakes of the petro-dollar game we play every time we put on a show somewhere that has lighting – can you picture every device you put out there on a show having a locally placed free energy source that powers it instead of running multicables everywhere to provide electricity?  My imagination gives me pictures of little hard drive sized power generators that can be unloaded from a roadcase, added to a truss, and energized without the need for feeder cable, mults, long patch cables, and the like.  We are already as an industry getting behind the idea of wireless DMX and transmitting a DMX network across the airwaves.  Look up LumenRadio‘s work, it will blow your mind – and I mean really blow your mind.

Maybe more importantly…  can you imagine our world without the need to fight over energy?  Look at every war that has taken place over the last 100 years – every single one can been tied to fighting over resources, even if the tie that binds is hidden and disguised as policy.   Our world needs something to give, to break loose – and I think that free energy is the thing that can change our world.  What would the world do if there was no need for the hundreds of defense contractor companies that get worldwide money defending the one thing that we always see the need to blow people up over?  Can you imagine such a world where we could spend more money on something as comparatively mundane as Entertainment Lighting in order to give the world the kinds of mind-blowing productions that we could with the kinds of technologies used in warfare?

Obviously I’m just postulating.  But also postulating are the ideas behind free energy and devices that would potentially (get it?) be able to make some free energy.  I cannot let go of the thought of a color scroller sized power distribution unit that can power several fixtures, or dimmers, or anything that can save money on power by being free.  In my lifetime, I want to make this happen.

I love to spread ideas around our industry like free energy, because we work and live in a very creative industry absolutely full of people who can make stuff like this happen.  We are the industry that has invented wireless data, innovative power and signal distribution systems like the Series 400 stuff from PRG, we’ve improved the jacketing and conductive materials inside of our power distribution systems to work with the power that we get from the power companies, and we’ve invented devices to clean that power up and make it steady, stable, and usable for some of the sensitive equipment we use for our work.  I do worry that some of the people in our business are too centered around how much money that can be made from their technologies that they alienate the entire industry to a small knit group of providers that can afford the costs to harness such things like free energy.  Hopefully some of the more productive generators of free energy will put some free instructions and information out on the web for all of us to try, build, and improve upon for the good of all humans on Earth.

Readers, there are some terms that need to be researched on your part in order to understand some of the intricate details of terms like perpetual motion, zero-point energy, and overunity.  These aren’t difficult concepts and you don’t have to have a PhD in Physics and Electromagnetism to understand these terms.  Let’s start easy:

What is PERPETUAL MOTION, and how does it relate to our world of Light?

This, good people of Earth, is perpetual motion:

When talking about things that make electricity and energy, we have to look at what exactly happens to make energy.  It’s a simple thing – we use some form of simple fuel (like coal, gas, or oil) to turn a magnet inside of a closed-loop of copper wire, or a conductor.  As the magnet spins (albeit very fast), an electromagnetic field is produced from the spinning magnet’s kinetic energy into electricity.  Or, just as useful and still used today, some kind of closed loop of wire spinning between the poles of two magnets.  We can thank Mr. Faraday for this, but everyone has postulated on it in some form or another.

Perpetual motion is, on a whole, the idea of having some kind of electrical energy creation device that will spin on its own, requiring no energy to keep its spin and continuation of power generation.  Remember the Law of Conservation of Energy from high school?  It states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another.  Because of this law of physics, called the 1st law of thermodynamics, the idea of a system of perpetual motion is completely irrelevant, or at least that is what science is debating right now, and has been for decades.  What we’re talking about here is being able to create energy – which goes against the principle of the Law of Conservation of Energy – and to create that energy without having any input to that creation cycle.  This means perpetual motion, or something moving forever on its own, is to generate electricity from the electromagnetic field from which it is derived without adding any energy to get energy.  If that isn’t clear enough, imagine your local power utility being able to use no coal, gas, or oil to make electricity but still being able to charge you whatever they want to use their power.

Let me say that one different way:  If you can figure out how to create a machine that creates energy without using any energy, you can power whatever you want, for free, forever.  Forever in petro-dollar terms is a long time, folks.  Can you imagine being able to live through the winter with all of the heat and electricity you want without the huge bills?  If the power companies patent this technology before its able to be utilized on a free, worldwide scale, we’ll at least have a lower or nonexistent use of oil, coal, and gas for power, but we’ll be paying them for pretty much nothing.  Also, we’ll be paying them forever.

Look at it another way, more directed towards the Entertainment Industry – can you imagine being able to power your show and have no bill?  The last show I designed had a combined wattage of 240,000W, which if we put to costs comes out somewhere in the neighborhood of 960kWh for 4 hours of power, or if you assume a commercial rate of $0.10 per kWh comes to about $100 bucks per 4 hours of the show, if it all were blasting at full at once, of course.  But if we take that 100 bucks a night and multiply by a week’s worth of shows, we’ve got $700 bucks for the week – and $2800 for the month.  See the costs adding up?

Now what if you could save that $2800 bucks for a month of electricity for shows and put it back into the production by having free sources of electricity?  This is why perpetual motion is important, and should be to you, especially if you’re in Light.  If we can solve the issues of a perpetually generating device, we could make them as large or as small as we need for any application.  In Entertainment, this would literally redefine our game.

What is OVERUNITY, and how does it relate to our world of Light?

Overunity is a very interesting concept that is often confused for being something that it is not:  Overunity is NOT a measurement of the efficiency of a system that generates power, it is simply the coefficient of performance (COP) that is derived from how much energy the person operating that specific generator.  The efficiency of a system like a power generator takes into consideration all of the energy put into that system to make it run, like electricity from the grid, environmental energy like wind or water.  A windmill, for example, doesn’t matter how efficient the system is, because there is plenty of energy to be transferred (you know, the wind?) to make the system run.  When we’re talking about overunity with respect to free power, we’re talking about the amount of energy needed to get it moving and keep it moving.

Efficiency is the ability for a system or something that makes power to do so based on the energy you put into it; the Coefficient of Performance is how effectively the energy used in the goal of what the system is doing, in this case, making electricity.  The Coefficient of Performance is how well the system uses the energy you put into it!  So if your system can be started up with no input from you, the COP is obviously greater than 1 – if you have a small battery of something of the sort that you use to energize the system, but the system then can lose the battery and run on its own, you have a device producing more energy you’re putting in, or overunity.  For example – with no conductors, no power sources, and no trickery, the person in this video below flings two magnets at each other while the magnetic fields around them propel them into a cyclic motion.  Watch this:

Is it a perfect explanation?  No, but without going into the depths of thermodynamics, it’ll have to do for now.  More on this subject later, I have a huge amount of interest in this topic – enough to make me want to redo some Calculus classes I should have paid a bit more attention in when I was younger…

Interested in reading DA Kelly’s Manual of Free Energy Devices and Systems?  You definitely should, since it’s free!

 

 

A Grim Reminder of the Latest Deaths in Our Beloved Industry Before Summer Work Kicks Off

indiana-state-fair-collapse-falling

HEY!  YOU! 

You there, with the rigging bag.

You there, with the crescent wrench and fearless attitude.

You there, sporting the “supervisor” face but looking at your cell phone when motors are moving.

You there, new guy and new girl, who are googly-eyed at the awesomeness but should be watching their own backs and paying attention to the work.

The summer season of outdoor music and theatre has started, and no matter if you’re doing corporate shows, theatre, music, or art production, this post needs to serve as a reminder.  Along with orgs like PLASA and the Event Safety Alliance, JimOnLight.com is doing everything they can to NOT have a summer like the last few we’ve had – and what I can do is provide a reminder of the hell that we as an industry have seen, not to mention the families of those killed in these accidents and disasters lately.  If I might reiterate, what we do is entertainment; it may pay the bills, but if you see something less than safe happening or took place in putting something together that you might not feel 100% about once it was finished, SPEAK UP NOW!

YOUR DUTY:  It is your duty to the safety of others and your own personal safety to keep your head in the game once you are onsite.  This includes WEATHER concerns, Safety concerns,

To address an email I got from a guy out there who prefers to remain anonymous out there, who asked me what would happen if a person got fired for refusing to do something unsafe.  My response was something along the lines of:

  1. You are probably working for a company that is a time bomb of fail waiting to happen — don’t be the fuse, and don’t feel bad about not wanting to die at work.
  2. Regardless of Fact #1, you should probably consult an attorney before you go thermonuclear.  Most attorneys do so for free.
  3. Call people like OSHA, PLASA, USITT, anyone you can think of if something shady is going on.  So you lose your job – don’t for a second think that the industry won’t be behind you for saving lives.
  4. You can file unemployment in a case like that – a company doing shady safety work will sooner than later be discovered, it would not be in their interest to fight your claim.  But, your mileage may vary, and frankly, some people have better luck than others in life at these things.
  5. Feel good that you aren’t in that situation anymore, and get right back out there and find another gig if you lose yours.  Do the right thing.  Having deaths on your conscience is good for no human, no matter how little of a part you played in the process.

That’s my opinion, anyway.  That’s what I’d do.  An industry that won’t take care of people who keep it safe is not an industry anyone should participate in, regardless of the possible profits.  Money is less valuable than lives.

Here’s a reminder of sacrifices have been made to further the standardization of safety in our business – please forgive me if I overlooked one close to you, all you have to do is email me and I will append this post.

APRIL 5, 2013: 
RIGGERS, TAKE HEED:  Houston Dean Williams slipped and fell to the stage floor while moving around a beam in San Antonio at the AT&T Center.

RIGGERS-NOT-SKYDIVERS

MAY 6, 2013:
A man was killed when a PA stack fell on him
at a protest rally in Moscow.

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APRIL 17, 2013:
Boston Marathon Bombings claim the lives of three marathongoers, wounding several dozens.  Let’s not forget, this was at an entertainment function.

Boston Marathon Explosions TOPIX

March 15, 2013:
A video wall came apart and fell on stage hands
in Miami for Ultra Music Festival.  No one killed, fortunately, but several people were hurt.

ultra-music-festival-accident

June 16, 2012:
1 dead, 3 wounded at a Radiohead concert in Toronto, Ontario
.

radiohead-stage-collapse-toronto

December 15, 2011:
1 person was killed and 8 people injured when truss collapsed
in Trieste, Italy at a Jovanotti concert.

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August 19, 2011:
5 people killed and 70+ injured when a storm blew over a stage
at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.

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Perhaps the worst of them all lately…  August 15, 2011:
At the Sugarland show at the Indiana State Fair, a storm blew over an outdoor stage loaded with audio and lighting truss, killing 7 people and injuring 58.

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May 13, 2010:
A young lighting tech in West Palm Beach fell to his death from a catwalk while working on a show.

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July 27, 2009:
A Pepsi Battle of the Bands in Guangzhou, China experiences a huge, sudden storm that tips over LED screens and injures several dozen.  Reports of people killed were removed from the web, so I think it’s fair that we can assume several people died in this accident.

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July 16, 2009:
At a Marseilles, France tour stop for Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour, a stage roof collapsed, killing 2 stage hands involved in the load-in.

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Let’s also never forget the Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake truss collapse in August 2003:

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Just don’t forget.  Also, don’t forget that you are responsible for yourself out there, and when you’re putting equipment together, keep in mind that your diligence will mean the difference between you and others going home on the bus and going home in the ambulance – or even worse, getting a ride home with the coroner.

Be safe out there, Road Warriors!

 

In Germany, It’s the Drones that Get Struck – BY A LASER

When I was a kid, I was always so fascinated with my father’s work.  My Dad was in the Navy, a Senior Chief Machinist’s Mate (MMCS), and he always has great stories about his days aboard a ship at sea bound for war.  When you’re a kid, the strangest things fascinate you.  I was always so very fascinated by Dad’s stories of the different systems at work on a Navy ship.  My Dad was the guy who ran the Engine Rooms.  I grew up reading about super-hot steam, hydraulic pressure that would squeeze an elephant into a thin film, and obviously Navy weapons.  If you don’t think about what military weapons systems are really made for, they’re really unbelievably cool.

phalanx-CIWS

One of those technologies was a weapons system called the Phalanx CIWS, or Close-In Weapons System.  The Phalanx was made by General Dynamics back in the late 1970’s, with contractor Raytheon taking a contract to improve the weapons system a few years ago.  Apparently this system has come a long way — I asked my father to describe what his experience was with the weapon since he was on a few shops that had it in its infancy back in the 1970’s:

“The gun sounded like a large weed eater/lawn mower; extremely loud, running past its governor, with lotsa fire and smoke.  Also, when locked on a target it was deadly.”  I asked Dad to clarify what “running past its governor” meant, and he said that the gun would overspeed to the point where you thought it might come apart.  Sounds like it’s come a long way!

What these are used for is generally for protecting the ship of anything that gets past the outer defensive systems on a ship — typically high speed flying missiles.  So, just in case you need a little more explanation, the Phalanx is used to shoot missiles out of the sky that have been fired at the ship.  What makes all of this relevant is what exactly this thing is made of, and a new upgrade that the Germans have developed.  First and foremost, check this out — it’s a video of the Phalanx CIWS firing at a target.  Keep in mind that we’re talking about a weapon that fires 4,500 rounds per minute at a target, tracking it with unbelievable speed and accuracy.  It’s a Gatling Gun that fires 20mm depleted Uranium bullets.  Watch this:

This particular Phalanx system is mounted on the ground:

This one, however, is mounted on a ship:

Now you know all of this hullaballoo that we’ve been hearing on Drones and Drone Strikes lately?  I mean, it has been all over every freaking television and news channel from here to Al Jazeera.  Imagine one of those Phalanx CIWS systems now with a 50kW laser attached to it instead of the 4,500 bullets per minute that it fires.  How do you think that would be in the movies?  Pretty cool?

No need to wait to see it in the movies.  That sh*t is already here, and guess who invented it?  Germany.  Check this video out of a laser-mounted Phalanx-type system shooting down a drone from over 2km:

The German company who made this amazing thing, called Rheinmetall Defence, has created quite the science fiction scenario – a laser that can shoot drones out of the sky from over 3km away.  If that isn’t impressive enough, the German-made system went for broke on their big impressive grand finale, shooting and destroying an 80mm steel ball traveling at 50 meters per second.  That’s quite smaller than a drone and about 50 times as fast.  But, no match for this German death ray machine!

rheinmetall-defence-laser

You might notice two ports on the front of that mammoth thing — it’s a 50kW laser that is run into a combiner that takes a 20kW beam and a 30kW beam and combines them to a 50kW beam!  It’s mounted on a platform similar to that of the Phalanx, and it’s got radar that rivals that of the Phalanx – in short, it is one bad mothertrucker.  The Germans also have plans in the works to produce a 60kW and a 100kW model of the mega-laser that includes a 35mm Gatling cannon as well as the big drone-killing laser.  Overkill?  Who knows.  When it comes to keeping our American sailors safe, I’m sure that most families will say that both is the best way to go.  Even now on some ships the Phalanx is tied to a missile system called a RAM missile, or Rolling Airframe Missile.  The RAM missile is a comglomeration between a Sidewinder and a Stinger missile — you’ve probably heard of these in the movies, right?

From a post at Singularity Hub:

The system isn’t actually a single laser but two laser modules mounted onto Revolver Gun air defense turrets made by Oerlikon and attached to additional power modules. The laser modules are 30 kW and 20 kW, but a Beam Superimposing Technology (BST) combines two lasers to focus in a “superimposed, cumulative manner” that wreaks havoc on its targets.

First, the system sliced through a 15mm- (~0.6 inches) thick steel girder from a kilometer away. Then, from a distance of two kilometers, it shot down a handful of drones as they nose-dived toward the surface at 50 meters per second. The laser’s radar, a widely used system called Skyguard, was capable of tracking the drones through their descent up to three kilometers away.

After successfully testing their 50kW laser system, Rheinmetall Defense has its sights on a truck-mounted mobile system with 100kW of metal-slicing power.

For its finale, the laser’s ability to track a very small ballistic target was demonstrated. It honed in on and destroyed a steel ball 82mm in diameter traveling at 50 meters per second. The small ball was meant to simulate an incoming mortar round. Rheinmetall says their laser will reduce the time required for C-RAM – Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar measures – to a matter of seconds, even in adverse weather conditions. In fact, weather at the Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland where the demonstration was carried out included ice, rain, snow, and extremely bright sunlight – far from ideal.

Wow.

Thanks to Singularity Hub, Motherboard, and DailyTech!

How Energy Efficient Buildings Work [Infographic]

Another infographic that is RELEVANT to my interests!

relevant-to-my-interests

 

I just find these things so very interesting and provocatively helpful; it’s an image, but organized in such a way that you’re led on a journey across, up, down, and along the image.  The jackpot at the end of the rainbow?  You learn something!

For instance, let’s learn about How Energy Efficient Buildings Work!

Energy-Efficient-Buildings-infographic