Tag Archive: Discovery Documentary

The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998, replacing Kai Tak, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with over 40 destinations) and the rest of Asia. Despite a relatively short history, Hong Kong International Airport has won seven Skytrax World Airport Awards in just ten years.

The amazing feet of raising a new airport on a separate island is dwarfed by cutting edge engineering.

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100 Greatest Discoveries

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

1. The Law of Falling Bodies (1604)
Galileo Galilei overturns nearly 2,000 years of Aristotelian belief that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones by proving that all bodies fall at the same rate.

2. Universal Gravitation (1666)
Isaac Newton comes to the conclusion that all objects in the universe, from apples to planets, exert gravitational attraction on each other.

3. Laws of Motion (1687)
Isaac Newton changes our understanding of the universe by formulating three laws to describe the movement of objects. 1) An object in motion remains in motion unless an external force is applied to it. 2) The relationship between an object’s mass (m), its acceleration (a) and the applied force (F) is F = ma. 3) For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (1824 – 1850)
Scientists working to improve the efficiency of steam engines develop an understanding of the conversion of heat into work. They learn that the flow of heat from higher to lower temperatures is what drives a steam engine, likening the process to the flow of water that turns a mill wheel. Their work leads to three principles: heat flows spontaneously from a hot to a cold body; heat cannot be completely converted into other forms of energy; and systems become more disorganized over time.

5. Electromagnetism (1807 – 1873)
Pioneering experiments uncover the relationship between electricity and magnetism and lead to a set of equations that express the basic laws governing them. One of those experiments unexpectedly yields results in a classroom. In 1820, Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted is speaking to students about the possibility that electricity and magnetism are related. During the lecture, an experiment demonstrates the veracity of his theory in front of the whole class.

6. Special Relativity (1905)
Albert Einstein overthrows basic assumptions about time and space by describing how clocks tick slower and distances appear to stretch as objects approach the speed of light.

7. E = mc^2 (1905)
Or energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared. Albert Einstein’s famous formula proves that mass and energy are different manifestations of the same thing, and that a very small amount of mass can be converted into a very large amount of energy. One profound implication of his discovery is that no object with mass can ever go faster than the speed of light.

8. The Quantum Leap (1900 – 1935)
To describe the behavior of subatomic particles, a new set of natural laws is developed by Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrodinger. A quantum leap is defined as the change of an electron within an atom from one energy state to another. This change happens all at once, not gradually.

9. The Nature of Light (1704 – 1905)
Thought and experimentation by Isaac Newton, Thomas Young and Albert Einstein lead to an understanding of what light is, how it behaves, and how it is transmitted. Newton uses a prism to split white light into its constituent colors and another prism to mix the colors into white light, proving that colored light mixed together makes white light. Young establishes that light is a wave and that wavelength determines color. Finally, Einstein recognizes that light always travels at a constant speed, no matter the speed of the measurer.

10. The Neutron (1935)
James Chadwick discovers neutrons, which, together with protons and electrons comprise the atom. This finding dramatically changes the atomic model and accelerates discoveries in atomic physics.

11. Superconductors (1911 – 1986)
The unexpected discovery that some materials have no resistance to the flow of electricity promises to revolutionize industry and technology. Superconductivity occurs in a wide variety of materials, including simple elements like tin and aluminum, various metallic alloys and certain ceramic compounds.

12. Quarks (1962)
Murray Gell-Mann proposes the existence of fundamental particles that combine to form composite objects such as protons and neutrons. A quark has both an electric and a “strong” charge. Protons and neutrons each contain three quarks.

13. Nuclear Forces (1666 – 1957)
Discoveries of the basic forces at work on the subatomic level lead to the realization that all interactions in the universe are the result of four fundamental forces of nature — the strong and weak nuclear forces, the electromagnetic force and gravitation.

Documentary- Future Wings

We live in Exponential times and technology is progressing rapidly. To have a look into the future of space travel, watch the video. Extremely insightful.

This Discovery Channel documentary looks at the role of the unseen aerial equipment: drones, UAVs, stealth planes, satellites, etc. We learn that not all of these Eyes in the Sky are used for military purposes…..

We start by looking at the world’s most notorious spy plane, the U-2, and its role in the Cuban missile crisis during the Cold War, before moving on to some of the most significant ‘eyes’ in today’s sky:

  • Global Hawk: a large, unmanned aerial vehicle – it has a 116 ft wingspan, a V-shaped tail and can cover 5,000 miles at a time, staying airborne for almost 2 whole days without refuelling – it is flown entirely by computer and feeds its info directly to a satellite to provide tactical reconnaissance
  • Dark Star: the world’s first unmanned stealth plane – first flown in 1996, it can fly without being noticed – it produces incredibly sharp images which it can bounce around the world in less then 2 seconds
  • Outrider: a small, unmanned bi-plane introduced in 1997 – it uses GPS to land
  • Cipher: a doughnut-shaped UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that is hard to see on radar – it flies at a height of 8,000 ft, uses GPS and is able to take off and land vertically
  • Pathfinder: an environmental research plane which cruises at only 15 miles per hour but at a height of 18 miles above the earth – it can fly for months at a time
  • Centurion: huge, solar-powered UAV with a 200 ft wingspan – it stays in the air for months and can monitor agriculture, tropical storms, forests fires, etc.

Other interesting surveillance and reconnaissance equipment included in this film:

  • the Airborne Laser Project which is able to shoot down Scud missiles,
  • the AST (Airborne Surveillance Testbed) – ultra-sensitive infra-red sensors in an adapted Boeing 767 monitor missiles
  • JSTARS: a satellite-linked reconnaissance system in an adapted Boeing 707

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