November 19, 2008 1 Comment
Medieval warcraft: 1; modern rocket science: 0.
individualism for the masses
November 19, 2008 2 Comments
While I have not been consistently antiwar all my life, I’m certainly there now. (Thanks to Murray Rothbard via Wendy McElroy, several years ago.) And yet, as I strive to remedy the holes in my historical literacy, I find myself drawn into ancient and medieval engineering, which, of course, leads to military history. I don’t love the culture of that niche, but I sure do see the appeal of the niche itself.
If you’d like to see an example of what I’m talking about, I recommend this episode of Nova, which you can buy on DVD:
I enjoyed it so much, that I built my own trebuchet out of paperclips:
Yes, it can hurl mini marshmallows across the room, although this first trebuchet has terrible aim. Paperclip trebuchet #2 will be better.
You can build a trebuchet with a static counterweight, instead of a swinging counterweight like these suspended batteries, but the swinging counterweight turns out to be better. I suspect, however, that a counterweight that swings in two dimensions (e.g., a padlock) rather than in three would be better still. We’ll see. Another way to improve the effectiveness of a trebuchet is to put it on wheels. To understand the math and physics, watch the Nova episode.
Or, if you’re smarter and more educated than I am, you can explore all the web pages out there, such as “The Algorithmic Beauty of the Trebuchet” (www.AlgoBeautyTreb.com).
(I suspect this will eventually be a big part of Benjamin’s homeschooling.)