WYSO

Commentary

gas pump
futureatlas.com / Flickr Creative Commons

There has been a buzz in the media over the past couple of years about impending US energy independence. University of Dayton professor Bob Brecha has some thoughts on how likely this scenario is.

Many of us have seen or heard news stories predicting that the U.S. will become the world’s leading oil producer within a decade, and that North America as a whole could become a net exporter of oil in two decades’ time. Energy independence — a goal of U.S. administrations since the energy crises of the 1970s — may be within reach.

New Ways of Thinking

May 6, 2014
Mike Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

When thinking about how much we are willing to do to prevent climate change, University of Dayton professor Bob Brecha wonders if we worry too much about economics alone.

Questions and comments often come up when I start talking about renewable energy. They go something like this: “I would like to install solar panels, but the payback time is just too long.” Or, when I bought a hybrid car ten years ago, friends said, “That’s nice, but how long will it take for gas savings to make up for the extra cost?”

An Airplane Off the Shelf

Apr 18, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Ever since the Wright brothers began selling airplanes, there’s always been a mystique about the airplane owner. Not everyone can or will buy one. Seventy years ago, one man tried to make buying an airplane as easy as buying a shirt.

Richard Barrett-Small / Flickr Creative Commons

Climate change is already being felt by natural systems around the world – and locally. We can see how flowers react to temperatures as they first emerge in the spring. And now, we have a specific record for our area. For more than three decades, one avid local gardener has been keeping a diary of the first-flowering date of many species in her yard, like snowdrops, crocuses, bleeding hearts and crab apples.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

Seventy years ago, the country was deep into World War Two, and the US was on the offensive in the air.  Commentator Dan Patterson says that the big US four engine bombers were being shot down in shocking numbers.

Think about this: on one mission, we lost sixty bombers.  That's six hundred men.  It was just too much.

The US needed a fighter plane with long pegs, one that could go all way deep into Germany and protect the bombers, essentially win the air war and provide the long sought after supremacy of the air.

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

Russia has our attention now, with the Sochi Winter Olympics about to open on February 7th. This got our aviation commentator Dan Patterson thinking about the vast country and how it is connected by flight. And Dan brings us back to the early days of aviation when the Russians were building and flying unique aircraft to shorten those distances.

 

Dan Patterson Collection

History is broken down into the moments we remember about our own lives, like weddings and birthdays and graduations, and then there are days when we pause to remember together, as a nation, an event that affected us all.

Pearl Harbor Day, just passed, when Japanese pilots attacked American navy ships north of Honolulu, is one of those, even though it's now more than 7 decades passed. Commentator Dan Patterson finds himself finds himself turning it over and over in his mind.

Dan Patterson Collection

2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War One.  Millions of soldiers and untold numbers of civilians died on European battlefields during that conflict which was called "the war to end all wars," which, of course, it was not.

We tend to remember the trench warfare of World War One, but it was the first conflict in the history of the world that included an air war as well. Dan Patterson has some thoughts.

Dan Patterson

Seventy years ago, World War 2 was in full cry. American was in combat across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In Europe, during 1943, the US Army Air Force was engaged against Hitler's Germany. The fall was a crucial time for battle, and October was a cruel month.

Defeating an enemy only with air power was experimental back then.  The American plan was this: equip large bomber with heavy machine guns, fly them in a tight formation with hundreds of identical planes and no long range fighters as escorts.  Could it work?

If you're going to fly an airplane, you've got to have the right look.  An aviator's kit is not complete without the real deal flight jacket - plus the big watch, sunglasses, checklist charts and navigational equipment.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterson explains.

Flying the very early airplanes was a breezy affair.  The Wright brothers' aeroplanes offered no protection from the wind.  Their flying machines were wide open, and they sat on the edge of the lower wing, facing the wind.

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