The Perlan Project

Gliding into the Stratosphere

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The Perlan Project (so named for the pearlescent stratospheric clouds in Scandinavia) is the brainchild of Einar (pronounced “Ay-nar”) Enevoldson, a former test pilot for the Royal Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and NASA. He’s piloted dozens of aircraft, including the F-86, F-14, and F-111. He’s also flown one-of-a-kind experimental craft, among them the odd, oblique-wing AD-1 and the X-24B lifting body. During the golden age of flight research, Enevoldson was a member of the elite community that included Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, and other luminaries pushing the bounds of aviation.

Enevoldson retired from NASA in 1986 and went to work as a test pilot for Grob Aircraft in Germany, where he flew the Strato 2C, a high-altitude research aircraft developed by the German Aerospace Research Center, DLR. That project was canceled, but the work piqued his interest in high-altitude flight. He recalls walking down a corridor at DLR’s offices near Munich in 1992 and noticing an image tacked outside the office of an atmospheric researcher. Made with LIDAR (light detection and ranging), the image showed what Enevoldson recognized as mountain waves, but these were far bigger and extended much higher than any he had seen before. Standing in front of the image, Enevoldson immediately saw the potential to do something unprecedented. He realized that if the waves were associated with enough wind, they could propel a glider to heights previously thought unobtainable. “I really thought at this moment that this could end up being my life’s work,” he says. High-altitude glider pilot Doug Perrenod, a Perlan project team member, says the realization was the project’s eureka moment.

Mountain waves can be compared to water in a stream swiftly running over a boulder. Air is a fluid, and once winds crest over a mountain ridge and roll down the mountain’s other side—the lee side—they push up into a wave. With the right conditions, the wave can rise thousands of feet higher than the summit of the mountains.

The presence of the waves are often indicated by clouds that are lens-shaped, or lenticular. Early aviators quickly learned to avoid flying near or under the convex clouds because they are associated with severe turbulence and downdrafts. But as far back as the 1930s, glider pilots discovered they could use the powerful updrafts to climb to great heights.

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Creative Writing: Top 10 Science Fiction Magazines

Via Creative Writing:

1. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/

This is a professional magazine that began publishing in 1949 which makes it the second oldest continually publishing science fiction magazines in the country. They have one up on the oldest however, popularity. The publication is tremendously popular. It is the most widely read science fiction magazine in the country. It is consistently outstanding and publishing outstanding authors like (from their site) “Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.” This magazine is the cream of the alien crop.” Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines represents all of what’s best in science fiction today. The publication has an Alexa rating of about 135,000.

2. Analog Science Fiction and Fact http://www.analogsf.co.m/0906/issue_06.shtml

This is a professional magazine that began publishing started publishing 1930 and is as they say “often considered the magazine where science fiction grew up.” They do it very well and have published many outstanding science fiction authors including “Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Spider Robinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Michael F. Flynn.” The publication is the oldest science fiction magazine in the country, and they are consistently nominated for award after award. This publication has done an unequivocal job over the last 80 years of keeping great science fiction writing alive in print. They have an Alexa rating of about 691,000.

3. Asimov’s Science Fiction http://www.asimovs.com/

This is a professional magazine that began publishing began publishing in 1977 and is simply a high quality science fiction magazine that showcases some of the best in science fiction today. They publish great authors and the publication is one of the best science fiction magazines ever published, hands down. They have an Alexa rating of about 304,000,

4. Strange Horizons http://www.strangehorizons.com

Began publishing in 2000. They are a very popular online science fiction magazine. In 2007 they were nominated for a Hugo award. Works from their issues are consistently chosen for inclusion in many national anthologies. They are a science fiction magazine of the best kind. Strange Horizons represents where science fiction magazines are going in the future. The publication has an Alexa rating of about 200,000.

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Southern Comfort : Playing with actions in Photoshop

Photos taken at Savannah’s  Bonaventure Cemetery, which became famous when it was featured in the 1994 novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.

The Spanish moss and scenery were charming and spooky at the same time. But it was a sunny day, which didn’t add much to the atmosphere.

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I desaturated the photos a bit, added some diffuse light, warmed the colors and recorded it as “Southern Comfort” in Photoshop Actions.

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Although my version of photoshop is old (C4) I was thinking of posting it on Git Hub –