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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    something different

    This is from a lesser known bicycling publication and has nothing to do with cycling, but a good story anyway. It's re-created here without permission.

    I was in the masters program in interactive telecommunications at NYU about five years ago. We were talking after class about the fact that the old adage, "necessity is the mother of invention", is true only in times of war; the rest of the time, the reverse is true. Most technology is developed long before there is any practical need or use; for example, the fax machine was invented over 120 yrs ago.
    When we do use technology, it's not always the best solution; sometimes we use it because we just spent a fortune developing it. And now to the story:
    In the early '60's NASA quickly learned that pens do not work in zero gravity environments, yet astronauts were spending a significant portion of their orbital times in communications blackout, so a solution was needed. NASA commissioned the Fischer pen company to develope a pen that could work in space. Throwing themselves into the project, Fischer engineers believed the best solution was to create a pressurized ink cartridge that would push the ink out regardless of the influence of gravity. The concept required experimenting with a tiny piston within a chamber so air pressure could push the ink into the roller chamber; the constant pressure meant that the ink would need to be different, slightly thicker viscosity so it didn't just flow out of the tip;and the new ink viscosity meant the ink had to have a different, more consistent pigment grain size, while the roller (ball) would need to be etched with a microscopic "brain" pattern to deliver the new ink smoothly on tight fiber surfaces like smooth, thin paper (similar to air mail stationery for the same reason-weight). After three years and considerable expense, Fischer succeeded in creating a pen that would work in space;it soon became a "must have" item for American aerospace engineers.

    The Russian astronauts used pencils.


    Pat
    PS. Maybe this is what keeps me on a single speed....

  2. #2
    No, that's not phonetic
    Reputation: tscheezy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    Maybe this is what keeps me on a single speed....
    That explains why you are only a second-rate superpower too.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  3. #3
    Mr.Secret
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    Or would it be not remembering which shifter goes to which derailleur ?

  4. #4
    Wu-Tang Academy Alumni
    Reputation: bones get broke's Avatar
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    Daaaang

    .....cheatin' life, and peelin' out on the lawn.........
    -Sage Francis

  5. #5
    FatBike Fiend
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    Newton's 2nd Law of Unintended Consequences

    [QUOTE=patirwin]After three years and considerable expense, Fischer succeeded in creating a pen that would work in space;

    Yeah, but it's the best darn carpenter's pencil known to mankind.
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
    Palmer, Alaska
    www.trailwerx.com

  6. #6
    Mr.Secret
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    I think my mailman, and the US Postal service, uses those pens. They're way cool, you can write with them vertically on a door jamb or even upside down I try swipein' 'em but he won't cut loose of any

  7. #7
    Caveman
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    Sorry but I dont get it.

    What does single speeding have to do with NASA engineers, Brain patterns, fluid mechanics and technology?

  8. #8
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    This is from a lesser known bicycling publication and has nothing to do with cycling, but a good story anyway. It's re-created here without permission.

    I was in the masters program in interactive telecommunications at NYU about five years ago. We were talking after class about the fact that the old adage, "necessity is the mother of invention", is true only in times of war; the rest of the time, the reverse is true. Most technology is developed long before there is any practical need or use; for example, the fax machine was invented over 120 yrs ago.
    When we do use technology, it's not always the best solution; sometimes we use it because we just spent a fortune developing it. And now to the story:
    In the early '60's NASA quickly learned that pens do not work in zero gravity environments, yet astronauts were spending a significant portion of their orbital times in communications blackout, so a solution was needed. NASA commissioned the Fischer pen company to develope a pen that could work in space. Throwing themselves into the project, Fischer engineers believed the best solution was to create a pressurized ink cartridge that would push the ink out regardless of the influence of gravity. The concept required experimenting with a tiny piston within a chamber so air pressure could push the ink into the roller chamber; the constant pressure meant that the ink would need to be different, slightly thicker viscosity so it didn't just flow out of the tip;and the new ink viscosity meant the ink had to have a different, more consistent pigment grain size, while the roller (ball) would need to be etched with a microscopic "brain" pattern to deliver the new ink smoothly on tight fiber surfaces like smooth, thin paper (similar to air mail stationery for the same reason-weight). After three years and considerable expense, Fischer succeeded in creating a pen that would work in space;it soon became a "must have" item for American aerospace engineers.

    The Russian astronauts used pencils.


    Pat
    PS. Maybe this is what keeps me on a single speed....
    L and I watched "Man of the year" a few nights ago--one of Robin Williams' more forgettable movies. Somewhere in it this story came up. Factual or not, IIRC they said that ~200+ million bucks were spent on that pen project.

    That's a lotta single speeds.

    MC

  9. #9
    Beware of Doggerel
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    1/2 way

    Good story. Iím a sucker for good mechanical pencil, which is probably why I ride a hardtail with a suspension fork and gears.

    Adam
    I wanna say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet, things will shortly get completely out of hand --T.M.G.

  10. #10
    old format's better
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    Nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait
    Sorry but I dont get it.

    What does single speeding have to do with NASA engineers, Brain patterns, fluid mechanics and technology?
    It has to do with PENCILS.

    I think.

    Ken
    No matter where you go, there you are.

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