The 787 was officially launched at 3:30 PT yesterday at Boeing’s sprawling Everett, Wash. plant. I, for one, could not get the promised live webcast although I was 30-minutes late due to birthday dinner. Boeing says about 100 million viewed via TV feeds and the webcast. But I took the survey on how happy I was with the webcast - since I didn’t get it, I was not happy - and from the questions, they recited all the themes in our now famous Boeing 787 package.
While waiting for Godot, whoops, I mean the live webcast, I did sign up from the 787 World Design Team (click on "Launch 787 Dreamliner site" and then "who’s building." Boeing used Flash pages instead and sometimes URLs are not available.)" The World Design Team is a great idea although for now it doesn’t look like much more than a PR ploy. But let’s face it: the opportunities to hype a good-looking airplane that caters to greater passenger comfort are too good to pass up. If you like planes, there’s lots of new podcasts, videos an other content. Clearly, Boeing has spent lavishly on marketing and why not with 677 orders for the plane worth close to $100 billion at retail pricing (but no one pays retail, anymore!)
As a member of the World Design Team, I will be able to offer feedback and so will the general public whose approval of flying ranks right down there with the citizenry’s ratings of Congress (it’s real low in case you didn’t know). Boeing’s says it wants to hear about your flight experiences to better tailor the plane although let’s face it, the thing is already designed. Who’s want to ride in a plane designed on the fly? Pun intended. Anyhow, my fear is "the game changer" as Boeing likes to call the 787 will be the same old game when the airlines get a hold of it and cram it with butt-busting seats that are a mere 17-inches wide. I said as much in my June 4 column. Of course, Boeing’s video’s show on the interior no less than a business class seat - you know, the seats that cost $8,000 for flying across the Atlantic and that few passengers can afford.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.