Sunday, January 11, 2009

Story Time: Something Painted

Four Hundredth Eleventh Post: Story Time: Something Painted (20090111)

Ok, so I’m going to tell a story that appears to have nothing in common with recent posts. But that is ok because it’s “story time”. Also this story does have some unmentioned significance.

A long, long time ago, back when I was in second or third grade me and my dad went fishing at a local dam. The weather was nice, but nothing but blue gal seemed to be bitting. Let me explain how my dad fixes his sinker. He places a huge 10 gram sinker a little less than 12 inches below the hook. It looks unconventional, however it is very effective.

Well you know how it goes: the little kid who doesn’t watch his pole gets all the bites. Well it took a while but I finally got a strong bite. I whipped the pole and started to reel it in. All of the sudden I saw a snake head poke out of the water about 25 feet out. I said, “snake, snake. Cut the line, I got a snake.” Or something to that effect, it has been a long time ago. My dad said to calm down and just reel it in. So that it what I did. And it was luck because it wasn’t a snake at all. It was a turtle.

We took it off the hook and but it in a bucket to hold it so we could show my mom when she came to pick us up. We continued to fish when all of the sudden 4 game commission officers just happened to stop by. They were using binoculars to look at the men on the other side of the lake. But pretty soon they wanted to know if we caught anything. That is when 1 of the game officers said, “Hey he’s got a turtle.” And it wasn’t just any turtle it was a state protected painted turtle.

That’s when we ask if I could take it home to so everyone. The head game officer said no, but another game officer pleaded to let me take it home. After about 15 minutes of argument they let me take the turtle home for a week.

Well I keep it a week showed everyone. But then we took it back a week later. A released it in the water and it just glided on top the water like a sailing ship until it just reached the other side of the lake and disappeared. It was quite impressive how fast it could swim.

So concludes the story of the painted turtle.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Toys

Four Hundredth Tenth Post: New Toys (20090109)

This Christmas and also on my Birthday I got some cool new toys. That also means a lot of reading of instruction manuals. I got a digital router (woodworking not computer) and picture binoculars for Christmas. And a PSP and digital pen for my Birthday a few weeks before Christmas.

Now the hard part of learning how to use everything. The router has a sign making attachment. I think I prefer woodworking than to working with metal. Wood just seems easier. I with I could weld, but I don’t try because I don’t have the equipment and more importantly don’t know what I am doing. I don’t want welder’s flash. Also with metal there are lathes and machining tools are complicated, expensive, and hard to maintain.

But the router has potential. Wood is a little more forgiving than metal and much easier to work with. It is something that is at my skill level. But that reminds me of when I was attending Point Park College the instructor told us that they used to have shop tools. You would draw a part than go to the shop to build it. While I was there, the shop tools weren’t used. It had something to do with insurance expense. But if they don’t have it now, they should bring the program back. Many colleges and universities build robots and formula SAE cars.

These “toys”, no matter how cool aren’t any good unless you use them to there full potential. That is my New Year’s resolution: to be more creative, and to use the things I have purchased or received as a gift. I have tons of books, gadgets, and video games. But sometimes you have to use the things you have before you buy more.

And there is the issue of creativity. I will express my beliefs on this subject in future posts. First I want to write-up my impression of dynamics problems. But until then: “read the manual” on all your stuff from Christmas; assemble it; and have some fun. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Instant Centers Understood Not Instantaneous

Four Hundred Ninth Post: Instant Centers Understood Not Instantaneous (20090106)

Well it has taken me almost 10 years from college, but I think I finally understand instant centers of rotation and relative velocity. That is “I think I understand”.

Back when I was in school I had a class in dynamics. Everything was pretty basic and crossed over from physics, but when we started doing the relative velocity I was confused. Of course it didn’t help much that I missed 2 weeks of class.

But now I followed the example of “Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics” 5th edition, Meriam, Kraige and have followed the examples and understand. It is important to note this book is not rated high on Amazon, mostly because of its difficulty. But I believe it is an excellent text filled with great problems.

The reason I never understood the relative velocity is because I couldn’t find which forces to sum and where to start. The angular velocity equations are pretty much clear, but if you don’t understand the forces you cannot solve the problem because you cannot simply “plug and chug”. And it is how you set up the problem. A dynamics problem usually takes 5 to 20 min to solve. It is too easy to get lost in you work. And you start to worry when your taken a test that only has 2 or 3 problems on it.

But that is the past. I’m am looking to the future when I can solve one these problems and show you my approach and technique. As with any problem on Constructors Corner there is a high chance that I will be wrong. However I think I can show this problem and demonstrate why I used to not be able to solve them.

Look for it soon. It is about time I stopped playing with that darn log spiral.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Girls and Cars

Four Hundred Eighth Post: Girls and Cars (20090104)

I haven’t posted in a couple of months. Christmas time is always busy for everyone. I was thinking back to when I was a second grader. Did you ever have grab bag as a kid?

Well, our second grade teacher bought all the kids in class a small gift. The boys got a hand sized, friction car and the girls got some kind of stained glass paint set. Just before time before going home for the Holiday, the class had a few hours to play. And the teacher saw that a couple of girls were playing with the boys’ cars. And as time past it become obvious that more and more girls were playing with the cars. It became so evident that the teacher said next year she was getting all the girls cars.

It’s not the most impressive story, but it is important to note that girls can like cars and some of the other cool stuff boys play with.