Saturday, February 27, 2016

PXL buoyancy

Using the same calculations as ones used on on the 4X raft, I added a row of PXLs, creating a 5X, and found this assembly would support almost 12 tons.

Still looking at ways to simplify building, by combining triangles and bladders into single units, I go back into TurboCAD, where the 3D mesh was made to scale. The flange triangle and the center, inflated area are two separate objects, so I queried the volume.

In practice, PXL cells, when connected to others, do not become fully inflated. The volume and water displacement would be less, but would still be good for PXL rafts and structures on top.. Where additional buoyancy is needed, in areas that carry more weight, extra bladders in octahedron cores can be added.

Friday, February 26, 2016


I recently bought TurboCAD software and quickly mastered building my first 3D mesh PXL cell. I can assemble them in Second Life to make illustrations of my invention.
   Here are my latest pics of the new mesh PXLs.

This small island is built from 115 cloth triangle panels, enclosing 31 air bladders. The triangles are one meter on each side. The total volume of the air bladders is 7.18 cubic meters. In ocean water, this little raft can float over 8 tons.

Structures are ultra-light weight, yet rigid and strong. It is a 3D honeycomb. Any force, directed on one section will be distributed to the entire assembly.

I haven't calculated the weigh of this raft, but it would probably be light enough for one person to pick up and move on land.

The principle is so simple, anybody could build them. Instead of bladders, you could fill them with recycled empty water bottles, maybe even pumice or cork.

Two of these small units can support 16 tons. Everything I've owned in this life weighs less than that.

In theory, you could build a bridge over any large body of water. You could build whole cities on water. I have also done calculations of how these could make flying cities.

Monday, February 22, 2016


In our six years in SL, with three accounts, we have played as hundreds of avatars and travelled all over the grid. One of these avatars was created for a special purpose and has a unique name and appearance. His name is Rick and he is the spittin' image of the director of this army of avatars, the guy at the keyboard, Rick Audette. Rick's raison d'etre, in Second Life, is to design, build and photograph structures that he has spent 50 years developing and testing in real life, the Pneumatic Crystal Lattice, PXL for short.
The detailed, scientific description for this building technique can be found at . In short, it involves combining cellular biology with space frame technology to make building components very light weight and strong, by balancing outer tension forces in fabric skins with inner compression forces in air bladders or balloons. The result is a structure that is light and strong, like a football or car tires. The PXL principle works at any scale. It was derived from the study of how microscopic soft cells in the body work together to make rigid, erect, bone-like areas. Several generations of prototypes have tested assemblies of triangles from 6" to 18" sides. The first model was made with (20) 6" cloth triangles laced together to form two octahedron and two tetrahedron chambers. A latex party balloon was inserted into each cavity, leaving the stem sticking out. As each balloon was inflated, until it filled and bulged it's cavity, then the tied off stem was also pushed inside. To test the strength of this tiny assembly, I placed it on a wood stool and challenged my "heavy boned" buddy to sit on it hard enough to pop some balloons. He bounced up and down, until red in the face, but could do no damage. When it was shown to a Mechanical Engineer, you could see a look of awe on his face and a whiff of smoke coming out the top of his head. It blew his mind.
A later style protype was an attempt to combine the outter triangle skin and inner balloon. Triangles, 18" on each side were cut from vinyl shower curtains and glued together to form two octahedron and two tetrahedron balloons. Each balloon had a beach ball fill nozle added, for inflation. This use of the PXL principle proved somewhat impractical, because it required tooling for two types of balloons and it was hard to make them leak-proof.

A third style of prototypes was made, making the triangles into balloons, using a custom made heat sealing tool. These are easier to make than the octahedron and tetrahedron balloons, but assemblies were somewhat less buoyant than the first two prototypes. The work-around for this would be to add balloons to the cavities formed by the inflated triangles. Another impractical feature was, this style would require a supply of vinyl and electricity to manufacture. For PXL technology to truly be a gift to the world, they must be built without any high-tech materials or energy sources. The first prototypes turned out to be the best, for this reason. Making and sewing cloth is ancient technology. Anybody in the world with cloth, needle and thread can make cloth triangles with grommet holes on the edges. The internal cavities don't need to be balloons either. Pieces of Styrofoam, cork and empty plastic bottles could be used for buoyancy. A man in Mexico built his own island, using discarded water bottles. He even has a tree, growing on the island.
The whole reason for inventing PXLs and putting the ideas into Public Domain was to offer mankind greater Freedom. In the past, if you were a member of a minority community, creating a kingdom where your philosophy could flourish meant moving to a swamp or desert that nobody else wanted to live in. With PXL, you can now build your own floating nation and place it in international waters. We'll leave the politics and defense of your island up to you.
When you think about it, a PXL island is much like a Second Life Sim. They both sit on top of the water. We give a special thank you to Erik Mouse, for letting us use the waters around Sunny Beach for our PXL photo shoots and to the SL Newser for letting us share our thought forms with a wider audience. We have been saying, for years, that SL communities could enhance life in the real world, so we also wish to thank you, the readers, for letting us plant these ideas into your imaginations.
Thank you,
Rick, a.k.a. "Grandpa Sha" (name my grand kids call me)

extra illustrations

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PXL Illustrations

Now that I have helped a friend build his dream island, I now have a location to illustrate my floating islands, made of PXLs
Albert, my Italian friend, comes to see my floating island

Inflated, you could support the ship on top.
Deflated, you could carry several of them as cargo on the ship.

The same components are used for houses

Triangles can be any color and texture you like

Sunny Beach sim

Uhre, Dragon Realm

After spending a week developing Sunny Beach, this reporter was so full of been there,done that, she couldn't find another adventure to tempt readers with. Sha comes from a big family. Long before we discovered SL, we created a series of animated 3D characters, of which Katzu Quattle was a favorite. Katzu is a somewhat scary-looking, large purple dragon, who is actually a very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful Makara. When not growling and breathing fire, his voice sounds like Sean Connery's ( bottom video). By getting the Guardian Dragon avatar in our alt account, we were able to bring Katzu into SL. Katzu has already been featured in past Newser articles, including one in which he made the longest, one way flight possible in SL (about 25 miles). We brought Katzu back from his long vacation, to see what kinds of dragon adventures he could get into. We'll let him tell, in his own words.

I knew, as soon as they let me out of inventory, the first place I wanted to visit. In Jan., 2014, Sha wrote about a fantasy RP area, which she called "Vanwenia" (from the Elven word for Hello). The collective of sims, then numbering 39, is only about five kilometers West of the Sunweaver Estates and was divided into realms. There were areas for Elves, Dwarves, Humans and Dragons. Comparing the maps from then with those from today, we see there are now only 34 and some have moved or changed name. Where Sha had visited all the realms and made friends with Kings and Queens, she had seen few dragons. I was determined to meet the local dragons and see life from their perspective. As it turns out, on my first visit I managed to have my first meeting with the local king, Tsargoth Runeclaw, who was giving hunting lessons to a young dragon. At 7.6m tall, when on two legs, I thought I was the biggest dragon around, but Tsargoth made me look like a VW bug, parked next to a passenger airliner. Tsargoth welcomed me to the realm and I spent several sessions exploring all the sims I could get into, without use of a TP. The terrain is beautiful, thickly forested, with mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, caves and hidden valleys. Flying above the mountains, I would swoop down and land at points of interest. If you like castles, you're gonna love this place. On my latest visit, I spotted a group of dragons and flew up to the caldera, where seven were hangin' out.

Given the location, this group was doing anything but chillin'. Three of them were big adults and two children played around and nibbled the claws of adults. Another adult, closer to my size and a human sized biped completed the group. I asked what name I should put on my map for their realm. It is called Uhre and they pulled out a map to show the 12 connected sims (highlighted on map), that make them the largest realm in the area. I listened to their conversation, for a while, to get a feel for how locals interact socially, then brought up that on Sunweaver sims locals seem to like gathering for theme parties, to shake their tails on the dance floor and tell silly puns. I was informed that they too..."might" shake their tails....but that is a secret. Picturing these massive creatures dancing together got me thinking. I did a search and found an adult dance club, called Dragon Spire.

One my first visit to the club, I was alone and noted that the doors were big enough and hall spacious enough to host a large group of dragons. I returned several more times, at different time slots, to see if the club got any traffic or regulars. As I met dragons there, I learned that the club is always open, although probably gets more traffic from noon to early evening. I even made a few new dragon friends there.
So there you have it, my friends. In Second Life, if you can imagine it, there are sims and clubs for it, somewhere on the grid. I'll be sure to join you on the next fantasy, as soon as I've had a bit of rest, upon my hoard of gold coins, which Sha paid me.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Katzu return

Our old friend, Katzu Quattle comes back to do a little dragon hunting for the SL Newser.

Monday, February 8, 2016


  Over the last few years, we have written many articles about great adventures to sims that are fun to explore. The stories are written from the perspective of a person, going there for the first time and what fun can be found there. Since most of the research was done between midnight and six a.m., there were seldom any avs to question, as to the back story of how the sim came to be.  We usually give the impression that the reader can follow in our footsteps and have the same adventure and fun. Where this story of sim development goes, few readers can follow. The opportunities to remodel an entire sim are rare and the politics involved are more than most would dare to get involved in. Still, it is a story worth telling.
   My story began weeks ago, when an old sim mate began asking my help to arbitrate a dispute on the sim he now lived on. Both I and Dr. Philly counseled that, although we cannot force others to comply with our imagined futures, we can place a better picture in our mind, where everybody lives happily ever after and let nature build it for us. It was pointed out that there are large areas on Sunweaver Bay, as well as a whole homestead sim, near by, if he should desire to move. Long story, mercifully shortened, we learn that our friend, Erik Mouse, has retained some of his lots, while also renting all of Sunny Beach sim. I was asked to assist in shaping the sim to fit his imagination. Having some experience in sim design, the idea of designing and building a whole sim had "Sha Adventure" written all over it.
My first orders were to reduce the land area to an island in the middle of the sim. It was suggested that extending a corner of the isle, to keep it connected to the trolley, would open the possibility of having a public beach, to honor the sim name, so that land was left connected. Since we both liked the idea of a central waterfall, I began making some sketches. Selecting what had previously been a duck pond as the bottom of a waterfall, a stream was dug to the southern beach area, giving the island an inverted U shape. Now, the same amount of area has greater length than width, by being folded. The effect is enhanced by adding a backbone ridge of hills, which hosts three waterfalls, one of which has a secret room. While we were still in our Hillbuildy mode, three towering hills got raised. I'm kinda proud of my "Fiddly Bits. The view from each tower is fantastic. The South Tower has a gazebo to chill in, while the North Towers each have a cannon fortification, with working cannons. With a little practice, Doc Philly got to where he could bounce a cannonball off my hat. The balls do not cause any harm, unless they hit objects with scripts allowing harm. Perhaps we can host some ship sinking contest events, in the future.

   As the island took shape, three mesh beaches were placed and wind surfboard rezzers near each. The two beach sections on the South side are "Sunny Beach". There is a raised platform, tiki hut club, for beach gatherings.  On the West side, we find "Sunset Beach". Several incarnations previously, this sim featured a surfing wave. I often went there to try improving my skill, but sometimes would just sit on the beach, contemplating, to the sound of the crashing waves. A search on the Marketplace turned up a similar wave generator that would just fit the water area on the North side of the island. The wave was expensive and could not be copied or transferred. Having seen the sim owned by several, over the years, I was hesitant about gifting a wave to an owner, but if I owned it myself I could always keep it set up on any sim that was willing to host it. After several adjustments for position and depth, it began sporadically putting out waves. A notice, at the top of my viewer, indicated that the sim needed to be re-baked and some things might not operate correctly meanwhile. Shortly after, Rita showed up and restarted the sim. After that, the wave reached full functioning. A surfboard rezzer sits on the shore, near the boat docks. It takes a bit of practice, but you'll be doing tricks in no time. If you fly up to it, just above water level, the wave will face you in it's direction and push you ahead of it, in the air. The water area, all around the island, has been made wide and deep enough to allow for motor and sail boats. Because of bridge height, masts must be under 32m or be set to phantom. There is a LL freebie sailboat that is the ideal size. Travel around the island, by boat or foot is a treat. Erik and Lilly love when I take them on boat rides. I enjoy walking around in "mouselook". The whole sim has a very natural look to it, at ground level. If you fly up 150m and look down, the island looks like a giant koi fish, in a lilly pond.  As if all this beauty and beach fun wasn't enough, the owners have also placed a Stargate on the isle. Sunny Beach is a stepping stone to many new adventures.

   Although the adventure of designing and building a great sim was unique, the new Sunny Beach is now an adventure that the whole community can share. I hope many will join me, in being a friend of Erik and Lilly.