Aug 12th 2017 by FancyScientist • 19 Questions • 1169 Points
We are Solar Team Twente, a group of 19 students who took a break of a little over a year from our studies in order to build the world’s most efficient solar car. Also, here we are with our solar car and bonus points for finding our mascot in the 360 view of our car and race team.
Our car will be partaking in the biennial World Solar Challenge in Australia, which will be held again this year in October (8-15 October for those wondering). There are multiple classes and we’ll be competing in the Challenger Class, which we like to call the F1 of solar car racing. This basically means that we built a single seat efficiency masterpiece built according to regulations set by the organization.
The team consists of a management team, communications team and technical team and basically functions like a small business, except we don’t get paid ;). We are also proud of the fact that we do almost everything ourselves; from designing, building and testing the solar car to securing all funds and in kind sponsoring and even our own management and public relations. As you would expect we have a great variety of study backgrounds, but let’s not give away everything just yet!
Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper AMA introduction without proof. The image is a little bit outdated (oops sorry), but the guy on the right is clearly so ugly that he can only be me. The two people in the image are also your hosts for this AMA. I, Luc, am one of the aerodynamicists of the team, while Gearte Nynke (good luck pronouncing that) is our communications manager. You can ask us anything you want. Questions could be about the car or other technical aspects, but also about our motivations to join the project or any other aspect of the project you can think off. Don’t be shy, Ask Us Anything!
In /r/travel you often see posts asking about where one can ethically ride an elephant.
Such threads quickly degenerate into half saying "nowhere" and half claiming to have had a "totally legit" experience.
What's your personal take on the elephant riding industry...should it be a 100% no-go if you wish to be an ethical traveler or are some elephant sanctuaries truly on the up-and-up to the point that riding with them is an overall win for the animals?
Can you ask Tom Everett Scott if his favorite band is still "Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters?" Tell him it's Lenny
What's your relationship with the guys from Jabo0odyDubs? Find the parodies flattering/insulting? Have you ever met them?
what are the prospects of solar powered planes entering such contests in the near future?
Asian elephants are weird because they are "tame" not domesticated. In other words, they are not bred for thousands of generations to live alongside humans. Captive elephants are still taken from the wild and the have to go through a process in order for them to be tame to humans. I am personally against this and the elephant riding industry because I think this process is too invasive and inhumane. You have to be really careful about places that call themselves "sanctuaries." A true sanctuary does not let you touch animals UNLESS they have an animal that cannot be released to the wild for some reason. But those are usually rare cases. A sanctuary where you can touch babies is likely not a real sanctuary and just a business for tourists.
I will text him now!
I freakin' LOVE Jabo0odyDubs!!!! Yes I have the pleasure of meeting Jabo0ody himself. I cant say enough about how talented him in his guys are. in my view he started and is the original DUB guy, the other ones are okay but Jabo0ody is the OG!! He can dub me anytime
Funny you asked! We actually held a solar plane competition for high schools. In this challenge we tasked them with building a solar powered plane.
We think it is possible that a solar plane challenge will be held in the future. The technology is there, we just need someone to pick up the task of organizing the event. One thing is sure, there is never a shortage of students willing to try their luck at one of these projects!
Why did you ask? Thinking about picking up a project yourself? :)
Has anyone ever pitched an idea to you on the streets, that actually was a good idea? I know alot of people do not have the means to procure a pitch, or solicit their idea, and sometimes these chance meetings are all they got.
What were the biggest challenges you faced while building this car?
Not from the street, I haven't been lucky enough. I've heard some great ideas but the idea is only a portion of it... An idea is just an idea. The execution is as, or even more, important that just the idea itself. It's about the action.
In the beginning of this edition, the regulations of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge changed. Instead of using 6m2 solar panels we were only allowed to use 4m2. That was a really big challenge which could make a really big change to the car. So the designers of our car made a totally new concept. Our car became half a meter smaller which affected all the other technical subteams. They all had to adapt to the winning concept: RED Shift.
It is also really important to have good team. We are a group of 19 students. We did not know each other before the project. The human energy in the team is really determining for the quality of the car. It is a really important to become a dreamteam and to stay a dreamteam. Last weekend we did a racesimulation. In the racesimulation all the teammembers were tested on collaboration. It was a great lesson and our team became a lot stronger by all the scenario's which we were in during the weekend. Is there any specific challenge that you would like to know about?
In the brothers grimsby Sasha bara Cohen and his brother hid in an elephant vagina to avoid being killed by mercenaries. How big is an elephant vagina and could you effectively hide in one???
I stumbled upon I'm Sorry, it's safe to say I am hooked! I just love the scenes with you and Jason together. Do any stories from real life make it into episodes?
I do not know off the top of my head. I would have to look this up, BUT a male elephant's penis is S-shaped. So the human would have to contort their body to fit!
Thank you, JM is the best. This is our 5th or 6th job we have done together. We love it. And oh yes. Ass cubes, porn mom, racist daughter, asshole lesbians, rape therapy. Kind of all of it stems from something in my real life!
Did your two DreamJobbing winners ever wind up going to Florida and working with you? If so, what did they get to work on?
Hi I once started studying Industrieel Ontwerpen at Twente.(never finished it due to my lacking math abilities) Back then there were student projects like this but always wondered what students got picked for those projects and what studies they did. What are you studying and what are your teammembers studying, also how did you get involved in such a great project?
We are working on that now, I am hoping to do something with the book, the pitches were great, hopefully we will be able to do something with the book. I'm good friends with the Dreamjobbing peeps so "Watch This Space"
Epic username by the way, but I digress;
You might think that simply picking the smartest people in the room would create the best team for such a project, but that's not true at all. Obviously, intelligence is important and if you want to be a structural engineer in the team the right background is important. But the team members are selected based on more information than simply being smart and getting good grades. Motivation is an important factor, as is the ability to work closely together with 18 other people in a high stress environment for more than a year.
I personally am doing a Master's in Mechanical Engineering after completing my Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering. However, I do not follow an aerodynamics master (I'm following a structural/mechanics master), yet I got chosen to fill one of the aerodynamics spots in the team anyway. The backgrounds of other team members varies quite a lot. Obviously there are a lot of mechanical engineers and electrical engineers in our team. But there are also students from biomedical engineering (function: structural engineer), applied physics (function: head electrical engineer) and even one from industrial design engineering! (function: technical manager). Outside of the technical team we have Industrial Engineering and Management, Civil Engineering and again someone from industrial design engineering.
We all got involved by simply applying after being fascinated by the project. After a three stage application process we eventually all ended up fulfilling our roles in the team, and we're now at the point that we're almost already done!
What do you do now (study I mean) if I may ask? Did you find it disappointing that you weren't able to continue IO? Or wasn't it enjoyable for you anyway?
Where do elephants sleep? Do they makes nest beds or just lay in grass? Do they lay down together?
Hi Andrea! You liked one of my tweets once and it made my day!
I love I'm Sorry, it's definitely one of the best shows of 2017. It's Curb Your Enthusiasm for parents (and just as funny) Geez I need a question here, don't I?
How much of the show is based on things that actually happened to you?
Also, please tell me you've already been renewed for Season 2?
They sleep anywhere! They can sleep standing up, but I've also (only once) seen them laying down. They do not make nests. They are weird animals in that they can be active really at any time. You'll see them during the day, but then at night they can also be really active. I worked on forest elephants and we suspected that they mostly sleep in the forest (there were some savanna patches in the park I worked in). But we have no idea exactly where for African forest elephants.
Thank you!! And most of the storied are based on things that have actually happened to me. That being said, lots of details and story points are based on other writer's experiences with similar events and exaggerated for comedic purposes! I am much less inappropriate in my real life. Even if I am thinking it, I know better than to say it. Well, usually. Oh god.
What is your favorite outfit to wear in the field? If it depends on climate/location, give us some examples.
Which movie is better, Godfather 1 or Godfather 2?
Yes, it totally depends!
Kenya: You can wear anything! Most of your work will take place in the car because it's too dangerous (because of lions, etc) and too time consuming to be on foot. You can wear regular clothes, but bring layers. It's surprising cold in the morning, but then gets really hot in the afternoon.
Mt. Kenya field work: I did this recently (https://wildlifesnpits.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/expedition-mt-kenya-the-hike-to-the-top/) and although it's Kenya the climate is different. It can get VERY cold and wet so layers are essential. I liked wearing REI or other field pants (because they are light and dry fast) and shirts mostly from sporting brands (Underarmour, Athleta). I loved the fleece running stretch pants. They are really warm and you can wear them under things.
Gabon: If I was in the car (which was most of the time) a t-shirt/tank top and field pants. I would wear sandals but bring muck boots. I tried to collect poop for DNA analysis so I had to go in the swamps. If I was walking a lot in the forest I preferred hiking boots, but Lope was pretty dry compared to other places.
I think a lot of people overthink field clothes. I mostly just wear old stuff! If it gets dirty or destroyed I won't care. I do like high quality field pants though because they last a long time and are tougher.
Do I have to choose? For reals...tied.
Before they were doing like 120 mph.
My favorite part is when i find a new product that blows me away - like when we first found OxiClean - we have a new one were filming tomorrow - and of course working alongside Billy
You might be confusing the top speed the cars can achieve vs. the average speed during the race. Our car is also able to reach 130 kph (electrically limited), but during the race the average speed is more in the range of 90-95 kph. Due to strategy, road conditions, weather conditions, traffic etc.
Hi Dr Schuttler! Thanks for doing an AMA. Do you think we could ever wind up in a planet of the apes scenario but with elephants?
You used to do stand up. Are there any videos for us to watch?
Haha, I am embarrassed to say I have never seen Planet of the Apes! But I think I get the idea of what it is about. What I can say is that elephants are among the most intelligent animals on the planet and have very sophisticated/complex social behaviors.
I actually don't know. I will have to find out. I never did a special, but there must be something, somewhere. I stopped around 2006, so it was right before it would have been posted on the internet automatically.
I work renaissance festivals and I have spent time with the elephants there. After several years around them I know they are very well cared for and are genuinely happy creatures but we constantly have activists around. Is a lot of human contact a positive thing for elephants? Do you feel having an elephant give rides is cruel or inhumane?
Edit: I do not personally handle the animals but I travel the country doing the same events as them and my friends have been the actual workers with them.
Can you wish me a happy birthday?
Aside from yourself, who is the top/next top pitchman/woman on television?
Yes, I think elephant rides are inhumane and I am against them. These elephants are trained through the use of a bullhook, which is a wooden pole with a pointy end. Elephant trainers claim it does not hurt the elephant, but that they just gently "guide" the elephant. If this were true, they could use another instrument that did not have a sharp end. Yet when people try to ban the bullhook, there is a lot of opposition from circuses and other places with elephant rides. Human contact is not a positive thing for elephants and many zoos are moving to or have moved to a protected contact policy. I used to work at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the zookeepers there now train the elephants there (for medical purposes) behind a barrier. The elephants can end training whenever they want. It is also safer for the zookeepers.
Send me a message with your phone number and I'll text you a happy birthday video!
As far as the other question... I like and respect John Florell.
Hey Dr. Schuttler! Thank you for doing this AMA on one of the planet's most amazing animal. How has poaching affected the family structure of Elephants in recent years?
Absolutely because individuals are completely removed from the family. I studied the social structure of African forest elephants, but we don't know to what extent it has affected their social structure: https://wildlifesnpits.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/behind-the-paper-finding-friendships-in-secretive-elephants/.
In savanna elephants, this has been studied: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01366-4?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982215013664%3Fshowall%3Dtrue. It doesn't upset the family structure completely because the daughters learn the relationships.
What is your favorite and most interesting piece of information about an elephant's trunk?
That it is very dextrous! They have one or two tips at the end of their trunk (depending on species) and can pick up very small things. Heres's an African forest elephant picking a fruit off of a tree in Gabon: https://www.instagram.com/p/BXs8-MmA7m3/?taken-by=fancy_scientist.
I've seen in several of your answers that you used to work at DAK. On Kilimanjaro Safaris they mention research that showed that elephants are afraid of bees so they are trying to get African farmers to put beehives around their land to deter elephants (and prevent farmers from killing them). Do you know anything about this research? It seems pretty interesting, and like a great solution!
I also remember seeing something there about a kind of nut that looks very similar to ivory. Do you think there is any kind of value in items made out of this? Or is part of the appeal of owning ivory the kind of "taboo" nature of it?
Love to hear your thoughts, thanks for doing an AMA!
Yes, bees can be a deterrent to elephants and prevent crop-raiding. Ivory is desirable because of it's carving ability. You can make incredibly intricate statues/trinkets.