August 26, 1998

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On Pondering the Consequences

I am taking it upon myself to continue the tradition of public updates that David started. These ought not to be considered replacements -- merely a different perspective. Nearly two weeks have passed since the conference ended. Looking back with rested eyes, I remain satisfied with what we accomplished in the presentation and the demos. Perhaps "satisfied" is not the right word -- that might imply that I felt no urge to improve upon what we did, to work on a better model, a stronger presentation. Quite the contrary. I think we all hope that next year, having already set the stage and gently readied the engineers for the shock of it, we will go back with a self-lifter, if not a fully-formed spacecraft.

I am digressing already though. I had a request that I relay a bit more about Boulder and food as I had earlier promised. The food really was quite wonderful. The finest experience of it was at a cafe located on the Pearl Street walking mall, which is a lovely paved promenade with boutiques, restaurants, street performers, trees and flowers, and no cars whatsoever.

When David, Rosalie, and I arrived at the mall, we were mightily hungry and very nearly sprinted to the little cafe right in front of us. We were seated outside, in full view of a street musician who was busy gathering up families and children into a little audience, after giving them the warning, "I'M NOT VERY GOOD!!!"

I am addicted to the chai tea lattes at Starbucks, and requested "something similar" from the waitress. The steamed frothed milk and berry tea that she brought me was delicious, but the star on the beverage menu for our lunch was undoubtedly the Fat Tire beer, a local microbrew that David ordered and that we unanimously agreed was fabulous. (Well, I probably used the word fabulous, but looking back, I doubt that David would use such a word.) There was even talk of looking for a case of it in the local liquor store.

David also picked the most unique entree, a white chili, with (if I remember correctly) roasted poblano chilis, navy beans, cilantro, shredded chicken breast, and various other yummy ingredients. Rosalie ordered a marvelous chicken satay with all the requisite Thai sauces -- I can vouch for the fact that it looked beautiful and probably tasted even better. I got a salmon and red potato hash, topped with scrambled eggs and creme fraiche. I enjoyed the dish greatly, though in fact the portion was large enough that by the time I was stuffed, the dish looked as if only a mouse had nibbled 'round the edges. The rest of the menu was a similar sort of California nouvelle cuisine, but somehow it seemed tastier in the presence of bright green grass, burbling brooks, and gregariously pleasant Boulder natives.

After lunch, we wandered all around the mall, stopping in a shop for (wealthy) rock jocks, drooling over the geodes, ammonites, malachite, etc. The lady minding the store was the sister of a Lockheed Martin employee, and David chatted with her and gave her a card. Rosalie and I finally un-pressed our noses from the display cases and wandered out. The store I won't forget was an imported clothing store that we visited soon after this, mostly stocking Peruvian, Guatemalan, and Indian stuff. It was here that I got my beautiful dress that I wore to the banquet and that I treasure so much now. And sometime between the time when I purchased the dress and the time of the banquet, David and Rosalie got me a set of amber earrings to match, which I wore as well. These constitute the bulk of my tangible "precious memory" collection from the Mars Conference.

Enough of the reminiscing -- if you have read this far, you shall be rewarded. We've got some damn good news for you. David repaired and modified DemoGIT (dubbed "Violet" by Rosalie, heh heh), and tested it on an air hockey table. I'll relay the actual words from David regarding the test.

"Testing on the air table showed a right positive tendancy in all positions, it still performed identically overhand, underhand and flat! Trying to eliminate the little friction I did have (it was dragging a bit on the table, and would stop forward movement in about 6 inches when nudged sufficiently to get the 20 lb machine moving), it chugged along at about 2-3 inches per second uphill, on about 2 orbits per second for 2 orbitals, 3 orbits per second with one orbital."

"The air hockey table was slightly dished to the center, and I had to level it before the test, but I don't like the thought of ANY friction entertained as a thrust possibility, so it's on to a bigger, better (doesn't hit the table anywhere or sag like the foam does) air float with a hollow center pocket."

So it's another notch in the experimental belt for us. We've also been contacted by some Mars Conference attendees who are interested in building some GITs of their own; I definitely look forward to hearing the results of those. I've gotten reports of some MegaGITs in the works, very complex machines that ought to show some really substantial results if our theory is correct. David has plans for a spokeGIT in the works -- those of us that care about his health and wellbeing are trying to convince him to modify the design a bit so that when the wires under high tension break at several thousand rpm, David retains important things like eyesight, fingers, etc., but it is tough going, as the design he has in mind would be awfully tempting for any builder.

Finally, I have a major sub-project in mind. The GIT project has accumulated a tremendous amount of written material on the subject, much of it redundant, only some of it online, and none of it indexed. I am hoping to start feeding some of this material into an online searchable knowledge base, so that great ideas are not lost in the dust of someone's D: drive. The software is free, but I will need to code in a few modifications, so don't look for it anytime soon (I've got to wheedle the source code out of my beloved). Just keep in mind that I may ask for volunteers at some later date to help me put together this catalog. Ultimately, being able to search everything ever written on the GIT for such things as "reverse double conic" or "egg-shaped race" ought to help us all out.

Refreshed, relaxed, and revitalized,


Amanda Gilbert, Copywriter, Gyroscopic Inertial Flight Team

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