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scientific developments, inventions, design, sci fi

In defence of Twitter

Yesterday I wrote at Twitter that I was “unfollowing” any who posted gratuitous and grotesque images – a person does not wish to see these with breakfast.

Twitter certainly has its downside and does have its Twitterati … and yet methinks you’ve seen that it has its other side too – instant news from across the world, unfiltered through and well before the MSM, plus some really nice images:


First they take Manhattan …

Spiders Ingest Nanotubes, Then Weave Silk Reinforced with Carbon. Spiders sprayed with water containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes have produced the toughest fibers ever measured, say materials scientists.

What could possibly go wrong? All fun and games till they attack New York or Tokyo.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has stated that Australia must stop mining coal.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald;

Speaking at a conference in Melbourne on Wednesday, Christiana Figueres drew a parallel between Australia and the oil kingdom [Saudi Arabia] as countries that would need to diversify their economies as the world grapples with global warming.

What’s the most appropriate response to Ms Figueres?…

Death Star Mimas

As we all know, there is real science:


The DS-1 Orbital Battle Station,[8] known unofficially, but more commonly as the Death Star or Death Star I, and known to the public as the Imperial Planetary Ore Extractor by the propaganda department,[9] was a massive Imperial battlestation/superweapon with a diameter of 120 kilometers designed to enforce law and order throughout the Empire with the threat of planetary destruction.

A simple and effective idea

Hardanger Boat

Why did square sails die out?  Part of the answer is the way they were used – either for the one-sailed Viking boat or the multiple-sailed, stacked, square-rigger ship.  Disadvantage of the former is it needs to shift a heavy craft and therefore, the unsupported area is large, maybe 30 feet by 30 feet.  In a square sail, that’s unwieldy and requires all sorts of braces and brailles, all requiring a crew of many and in a wind, it’s difficult to control.…

Naming the masts and other considerations

The hull

With the pontoon configuration now being built in, I re-ran the major ratios to see how it still looked. I’ll not give the formulae as the post will be too long.

7700 lbs displacement, 6.83 feet beam, 38.25 LWL & LOA, 487 sq ft sail

With displacement to length, a heavy old cruiser might be given a number 400, a new light racer 100, a normal cruiser perhaps 200.  Mine is 61.4, not even heavy enough for “ultralight”.  Yet it’s quite stiff throughout due to epoxy and glass.  Downside is it will be thrown around a lot so that means any ocean passages must be with the tradewinds.…