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scientific developments, inventions, design, sci fi

Physics v aesthetics


Engineers such as Ivan and my mate would shake their heads in horror and the latter has done so before.  Used to precise tolerances, they believe in designing the whole kaboodle from the start and once that’s done, it’s not altered nor interfered with.

I, on the other hand, always design choice into the plan.  Some things, e.g. CLR, CB, overall buoyancy, sail spread, hull section shape – these are non-negotiable but even here I an “cheat” at will. A full length keel, longitudinally, buys a hell of a lot of room to move with placement of masts and sail, within tolerances of course.

With that elongated lateral resistance, then as long as the CE of the sail ends up slightly behind the CLR, the actual sail plan can be to my heart’s desire.  Not only that but limitations can actually be designed to work for you.

For example, upwind, it is not at all efficient and results in drag if there’s more than one mast.…

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.…

Antonov AN-2


Lovely aircraft, but the headline claim is complete bollocks. Any aircraft with a low enough stall speed and slats can fly backwards in a headwind. C150, Rallye, Tiger Moth, etc etc.

In my yoof, I watched the Tiger flyers at Virginia airport on a windy day, flying down the runway to level with the control tower, throttling back, drifting back to the beginning of the runway, and repeating.

One wag, took off, got some altitude, throttled back and drifted back to the beginning of the runway, and landed.

Haiku: “Don’t forget the article was written by a millennial (I hesitate to use the
word “journalist”) for an audience of millennials …”


“Antonov An-2R on ski Ryabtsev” by Sergey Ryabtsev – Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons –

Apple watches are the work of the devil

apple watch

Techies in general intensely dislike Apple, Jobs, anything about the brand.  They may be given to saying things like: “God doesn’t love you, and you give him the shits.” LOL. It’s fair to say there’s a certain edge in there.

Some even go so far, in the wake of 1 million pre-orders for the Apple Phone, to post a lengthy, if glossy, debunking of the watch. [H/T Chuckles] LOL again.

This past Friday, the first day that the public was allowed to handle and play with the Apple Watch, everyone who had been obsessing over videos and photographs finally got the chance to use one firsthand. I made it to the Apple Store on Friday and was one of those people.

I came away underwhelmed and a little disheartened. These are my thoughts on the Apple Watch after actually using one.

With the exception of the AW, I quizzed my techie mate on Sunday as to why he disliked Apple so much.…

Thinking boat and computer

Sorry, not much use to NO readers just now – boat needs some core things doing with yardmaster visiting today or tomorrow, plus my device is on the mind.  Might be just the one or two political posts at either end of the day.

Currently considering:

Thinking goes like this.

1.  Repair the MacBookPro.  Issues – £150 before we start, multiple issues, e.g. current 20 minutes battery life, old tech.  At a pinch – it’s OK.

2.  iPadAir2.  16GB storage with external harddrive to store.  Issue is image editing- whether iPA2 has the facility or not. 9+ hour battery a major factor for me on the boat. Issue – connectability.

3.  Mixed sort of laptop, e.g. ACER or Toshiba, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage.  Photo editing.  Blogging, usual things. Issue – keyboard, touchpad [could use mouse, could use Mac keyboard as I’m doing now].

And now a most stupid stipulation but one which has grown on me – I don’t like black in a computer.…

Advice please – new computing device needed

Need your help, people, pretty please.

The DVD player on my wonderful Mac has given up, making too much racket now to keep using the laptop.  Seems to be stuck in search disk mode. This is not to say it’s not bootable and all the data can still be moved across [saved anyway on external].


Rapid blogging, loading pics, obviously Net, YouTubes, photos, maybe a dozen films, tops, music – maybe 200 songs, a few FLVs. Heaps of photos though, maybe 3000 – could go to external harddrive. Documents not worth speaking of in terms of size.

Seems to me there are two ways I can go.  Adjunct to PC or new system in a laptop.…