Home / Journal / September 2001
Facing inside back
Here at invention corner, where Isambard casts his sceptical yet
discerning eye over the attempts of engineers to re-invent the
wheel, I was particularly interested and slightly bemused by an
email regarding ‘Dan Pestana's "Gyrospoke Hovercraft"
“I am writing here to disclose and showcase my simple gyroscope
levitation or hovercraft invention called the "Gyrospoke."
Illustrations are located at my website -
Dubbed by Pestana as a flying car engine, the device consists of
two sets of four levers, strategically and symmetrically connected
at eight hinged fulcrums, which are fixed pivot points. These
fulcrums support the load surface and are connected to two hub
planes supporting the two sets of spoke levers. Each of the eight
spoke levers is equipped with its own motorized gyroscope on the
outer end of the rimless spoke.
Pestana gives his permission to any person wishing to construct
the device to test his theory, so if you’re brave enough and have
time to spare why not give it a go. Beware Pestana has been working
on the project for 15 years!
Engineers Go to Sweden
Isambard heard a story recently that reinforced my belief in the
engineer/ normal people divide. Five young male engineers went to
Stockholm for a weekend with three ‘normal people’ friends. The
whole gang went to visit the world famous warship Vasa, built and
lost within minute’s of its maiden voyage in 1628, it was salvaged
40 years ago and now is a tourist highlight in Stockholm’s Vasa
The trip was going well, really well until the normal people
finished their tour after 90 minutes or so. Looking around the exit,
they found the engineers were nowhere to be found. Three hours later
the engineers stumbled out ooohhing and ahhhhing about the wonders
of the magnificent ship.
Although the normal people had enjoyed the tour, they just
couldn’t understand why over four hours were necessary. One of the
normal people quipped, “For Christ sake, it sank minutes into its
first voyage.” The engineers resigned to the bewilderment of normal
people just shook their heads in disbelief. Normal people will just
never get it will they?
Dilbert's Salary Theorem
Dilbert's “Salary Theorem” states that “Engineers and scientists
can never earn as much as business executives, sales people,
accountants and especially liberal arts majors.” This theorem can
now be supported by a mathematical equation based on the following
two well-known postulates:
Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.
As every engineer knows: Power = Work / Time. Since: Knowledge =
Power, then Knowledge = Work / Time, and Time = Money, then
Knowledge = Work / Money. Solving for Money, we get: Money = Work /
Knowledge. Thus, as
Knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless
of the amount of work done.
Wisdom from Above
A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He
reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon
further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering
30 feet above this field." "You must be an engineer," says the
balloonist. "I am," replies the man. "How did you know?" "Well,"
says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's of no use to anyone."
The man below says, "You must be in management." "I am," replies
the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," says the man, "you
don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me
to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we
met, but now it's my fault."