Turkey Sanctions, Helical Engine

Grind for October 18th
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”
– Winston Churchill


The Headline

White House announces sanctions on Turkey

The Grind

President Trump on Monday announced economic sanctions on Turkey for its attack on the Kurds in Syria – an attack that was made possible by Trump’s decision to pull US troops from the region.

“Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes,” said Trump. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”

Over the past few days, at least 60 civilians have been killed and more than 900 ISIS family members and supporters have escaped detention camps in Syria.

On Sunday, the Kurds reached a deal with Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Details

With bipartisan support from Congress, the sanctions on Turkey suspend a $100 billion trade deal with Washington, increase tariffs on Turkish steel to 50%, and restrict senior government officials.

“This Order will enable the United States to impose powerful additional sanctions on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria,” said Trump in a statement.

“The Order will authorize a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States.”

Administration officials suggested they would consider additional sanctions unless Turkey agrees to a cease-fire. Vice President Mike Pence will lead a delegation to Turkey this week to begin negotiations.

To Infinity And Beyond

The Headline

NASA engineer: “Helical engine” could reach 99% the speed of light

The Grind

NASA engineer David Burns has been working on a thruster design he believes could reach up to 99% the speed of light, given enough time and power.

The concept is inefficient, admits Burns, but worth studying.

“I’m comfortable with throwing it out there,” says Burns, who worked on the thruster design by himself without funding from NASA. “If someone says it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to say it was worth a shot.”

The Details

The “helical engine” exploits mass-altering effects known to occur at very high speeds in order to achieve forward momentum without propellant.

Burns’s design calls for a helix-shaped particle accelerator, which in theory could create an environment where action exceeds reaction to produce acceleration.

The downside: a helical engine that is 656 feet long would require 165 megawatts of power to generate a single newton of thrust (about the same force needed to blow your nose).

Ergo, the engine would only be able to achieve meaningful speeds in the frictionless environment of space.

“I know that it risks being right up there with the EM drive and cold fusion,” he says, referring to other inertial propulsion methods that never worked. “But you have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.”

Did you know… The average person can live for eleven days without water, assuming an average temperature of 60 degrees fahrenheit.