Tuesday, August 5, 2008/Washington DC/ Assoceated Prass/ In a blockbuster press conference, this week, John McCain’s Presidential Campaign announced that research led by the candidate and financed with grants from a non-partisan Federal Program (that he introduced and co-sponsored along with 3 Democrats) has potentially solved the fuel shortage crisis and made a significant gain in the war to reduce Global Warming.
He has introduced the Wind-Powered car.
Held in secrecy until the press conference, the project, titled, appropriately, “Wind Breaker” has produced a vehicle that operates entirely on the movement of atmospheric air and, hence, is the first vehicle powered entirely by fully renewable energy. The impact of this development, both on the Environment and the Presidential race is almost incalculable. It could very well be the next Segway. Dr. Rubin Fillipino of the University of North Thurston has said about the project, “If wind works, forget hydrogen!”
McCain was ebullient at the press conference, not at all like the tired, aging septuagenarian as has been the perception, struggling, from behind, to make up ground on younger Democrat rival Barack Obama (may he live forever). McCain seemed almost transformed – like a man in his sixties. Throughout the event, he moved back and forth among the press corps, excitedly talking up the invention and pointing out its features. It is clear that both he and his staff fully expect this announcement will turn the campaign around. Aides say the introduction of “Wind Breaker” represents a personal triumph over, literally, years of struggle against the odds for the Arizona Senator.
Back to the Future
Beginning in 2002 with a small nest egg of Public and Private grants totaling only about 50 million dollars, the McCain team has covered a lot of territory in research and development – and all of its history was shared openly here with the press – in the familiar, open and accessible mode of McCain’s “Fast Talk Express.” Reporters were allowed to ask anything and usually got even more information than they asked for in return.
Everyone agrees that “Wind Breaker” was McCain’s personal vision, though it had an unusual beginning ~ in his personal defeat.
It has been suggested that most men of McCain’s age would have given up in his quest for the Presidency after losing the Party’s nomination to George W. Bush in 2000. Not John. McCain just went back to work. In 2001 with money from George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry, he founded the “Reform Institute” that advocated government solutions to popular problems. http://thereaganwing.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/mccain-key-funding-by-soros-teresa-heinz-kerry/
It allowed him to put campaign staff on tax-deductible salaries and build private political agendas with government funds.
His” Energy Reform” division was looking for an issue McCain could use to excite the Environmentalist crowd and McCain sought a breakthrough alternative energy vehicle. He decreed that its goal would be to meet the high standard of his Energy and Environmental Progress Reform:
The United States should support policies that promote the mass production of vehicles that not only will operate on an unlimited amount of energy supply, but also serve as energy sources themselves.”
Experienced aides tried to tell him that the statement was just political rhetoric, but McCain would have none of it. He was convinced it could be done. McCain had, thus, limited himself to endorsing a vehicle that would run on either air, water, vegetables or dirt and produce no waste more harmful than compost. In addition, the structure of the car, itself, had to, at least, be biodegradable. McCain preferred that it also, somehow, be edible (and nutritious). Staff members were incredulous. But the Senator said “If Kennedy can go to the moon, I can have a biodegradable car!” and Senior staff Cecilia Martinez, Dan Ortiz and Juan Hernandez rallied to McCain’s position. They were already seeing the Senator make their dreams a reality in the form of aiding 20 million of their countrymen to slip into America illegally.
“Catching” the Wind
McCain was convinced that someone already had a “wind-powered car” that they could simply endorse and promote. He had seen a picture and article, he thought, somewhere, but couldn’t remember the source. So the Reform Institute initially gave birth to and channeled funding to the “Wind Breaker” project and dispatched Staff just to find the car McCain said he had seen. One team went searching through the enormous mound of “alternative energy” spending records, hoping that they would discover that someone had received a “wind car” research grant. The other team began to contact research firms, directly, looking for the same “holy grail.” Everyone came up empty. Many people were working on windmills generating electrical power and many others were working on electrical cars, but these did not satisfy the Senator.
It was actually Cindy McCain that eventually found John’s original inspiration… while Christmas shopping! Seems that the pictures and description her husband had seen were from Japanese toy manufacturer Tamiya and the product was their “Loopwing Wind Power Generator Set.”
McCain was both dejected and elated. He was dejected to find that there was no real “wind car” to stand behind, only a toy, but elated that he had proven to himself, once again, that he was not completely bonkers. He had seen something, at least. Even the toy was not “wind powered” but ran on batteries recharged with a wind generator (or any other generator).
In a matter of days he formulated an alternative plan to make his “alternative energy” dream an alternate reality. Against the advice of almost everyone, John McCain decided “Wind Breaker” would produce its own vehicle and that it would, indeed, be wind-powered. It was at that moment he faced a crisis when, like Christ, many of his disciples began to leave the project (only to transfer back to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform division, you understand, but still).
Undeterred by research analyses, the Reform Team hired engineers who began to work on aerodynamics for the vehicle (or as McCain called it, “a cool shape”). Being environmentalist engineers they tried to work from nature, diligently studying in-flight films of the most aerodynamic shapes in nature: bird feces.
The following photos are prototypes are from their early work:
The “Sky hawk”
The “Wild Turkey”
The aerodynamics project hit a snag when someone pointed out that some accommodations would, eventually, have to be made for human beings to actually sit inside the vehicle. The green engineers didn’t like that idea at all, but in response began, eventually and grudgingly, to make necessary alterations.
Another team worked on the difficult structural problems of light weight and edibility.
They tested framing members made of twigs, bamboo and bread sticks. They fabricated outer shells, first, of animal skins (but that offended a whole constituency) and then of an innovative composite made of fruit, similar to the construction you may have seen of “fruit by the foot,” called “fruit leather.” At the right temperatures it was perfect. But for use in temperatures above 65º Fahrenheit, where the fruity skin had tendencies to sag, or below 35º, where it would become brittle and shatter, they developed an alternative hard candy shell covered with woven silk skins. (There are very few things that can rumple silk skin.)
The candy/silk skin material soon became a staple. Designers used it extensively in the early prototypes. Eventually they replaced the silk with cellulose-based microfiber fabric skins and thus developed an edible cellulose/sugar-free-hard-candy composite that they claim is the quintessential Environmentalist/Vegan construction material; a sort of “diet fiberglass.” It contains a vitamin E additive. This is, doubtless, one of the most significant by-products of the research and the team is already investigating additional youth-market applications like edible cell phones.