Quotulatiousness

June 29, 2017

Tank Chats #12 TOG II*

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 17 Dec 2015

This enormous tank was designed on the premise that World War II would evolve in the same way as the First World War. Some believed that existing tanks would not be able to deal with such conditions, and one of the most influential was Sir Albert Stern, who had been secretary to the Landships Committee in the First World War. In company with many others involved in tank design in 1916, including Sir William Tritton, Sir Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt, Sir Ernest Swinton and Walter Wilson, Stern was authorised by the War Office to design a heavy tank on First World War principles.

Two prototypes were built, both known as TOG for The Old Gang and they were even manufactured by the company that built Little Willie and the first tanks in 1916, William Foster & Co. of Lincoln.

http://tankmuseum.org/museum-online/vehicles/object-e1951-49

June 26, 2017

Tank Chats #11 Valentine

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 24 Nov 2015

The eleventh in a series of short films about some of the vehicles in our collection presented by The Tank Museum’s historian David Fletcher MBE.

The Valentine – A popular and reliable British tank. It was designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd., in 1938 and offered to the Army who accepted it for production shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939.

It made quite a name for itself in the North African campaign and also served with New Zealand forces in the Pacific and with Soviet troops on the Russian front.

http://tankmuseum.org/museum-online/vehicles/object-e1949-344

June 7, 2017

Enfield L85A1: Perhaps the Worst Modern Military Rifle

Filed under: Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 29 Dec 2016

The L85A1 (part of the SA80 small arms family) was adopted by the British military in 1985 as a new generation of small arms to replace the L1A1 FAL (one quick note, where “A1” indicates a revision in American designations, it is simply the first iteration in British ones – there was no “L85”). As a bullpup rifle, the L85A1 was intended to replace both the FAL and Sterling SMG, similar to the French replacing the MAS 49/56 and MAT 49 with the FAMAS.

Unfortunately, the L85A1 had massive problems of both reliability and durability. They were kept pretty much hidden until Desert Storm, when it became unavoidably clear that the weapon was seriously flawed. The UK government denied the problems for several years, until finally contracting with H&K (then owned by Royal Ordnance) to redesign and rebuild the rifles. The result, after changes to virtually every part of the rifle, was the L85A2 – a much better rifle that will be tainted with its predecessor’s reputation regardless.

Mechanically, the L85A1 and A2 are basically copies of the Armalite AR-180, with a multi-lug rotating bolt and a short stroke gas piston. It feeds from STANAG magazines, and it universally fitted with the heavy but rugged SUSAT optical sight.

Thanks to the Institute of Military Technology for allowing me to have access to this rifle (which is extremely rare in the US) and bring it to you! Check them out at:

http://www.instmiltech.com

May 20, 2017

Top 10 ugliest Warships (Pre 1930’s)

Filed under: Humour, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Jul 2015

WARNING! Ugly lives here! My Top 10 ugliest warships (Pre 1930’s) This video showcases some of the ugliest warships ever made. From a sunken barn with a gun mounted on top, to a Russian UFO…these ships look better sunk then floating.

May 18, 2017

World of Warships – HMS Hood

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 17 May 2017

Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No don’t be silly, it’s HMS Hood. Bugger off with your Superman jokes, Jingles.

May 17, 2017

Sid Meier interview

Filed under: Business, Gaming, History — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Last week, Chris Suellentrop talked to the legendary Sid Meier about the Civilization series and other games:

The first Civilization was released more than a quarter-century ago in 1991, after being developed by a team of two – Meier and Bruce Shelley – that grew to 10 at its largest. Meier estimated recently that the budget for the game was around $170,000. He did the programming, the design, and the artwork. “It was kind of an audacious game for us to make,” Meier said during a talk about the game’s development at this year’s Game Development Conference in San Francisco. “6,000 years of history in 640k.”

The Civilization series has now sold almost 40 million copies, according to Take Two, which owns Firaxis. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, the most recent entry in the series, was released last year. (Even though Meier’s name is on it, the lead designer was Ed Beach.)

At GDC, Meier talked to Glixel for almost an hour with boyish enthusiasm about what makes Civilization work, why Firaxis turns to a new lead designer with almost every sequel, and that whole thing with having his name on the box.

How did it feel to deliver a postmortem on Civilization at the Game Developers Conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the game’s release?
In between the time Civ 1 came out and now, the Internet appeared, modding appeared, Reddit appeared, mobile appeared. So many things have happened in that time. But it’s all within a lifetime.

At Firaxis, Civ has been the pillar of what we do. We’re able to find a freshness in it by bringing in different designers. It’s one of the unique things about Civilization. Each iteration is led by a different person. There’s almost a Civ burnout. Once you’ve done a Civ, you’re kind of burned out and somebody else comes in with some fresh ideas.

[…]

What makes a good Civ game?
What happens in the player’s imagination. What we discovered afterwards, just by luck, kind of, was what fueled this “one more turn” phenomenon was the idea that, in your mind, you were always projecting what was going to happen next and what was going to happen three turns from now, what was going to happen eight turns from now. You had multiple irons in the fire. You were exploring this continent. You were dealing with troublesome neighbors. And you had this wonder that was always about to be built. So you were always anticipating what comes next.

A good Civ game has that quality, and it’s based in part on the turn-based nature of it. You have the time to imagine what’s going to happen next. You have the time to project your strategy, your ideas into the future. There’s also the anticipation not only of what you’re about to do but what the game’s about to do to you. Genghis Khan is going to show up. Or they’re going to finish the wonder before you. So there’s all those things that you are looking forward to and anticipating.

May 13, 2017

The Physics of World War 1 Planes feat. The Great War Channel

Filed under: History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 29 Apr 2017

April 13, 2017

The Future of Airliners? – Aurora D8

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Mar 2017

Get 10% off Squarespace by following this link: http://squarespace.com/realengineering

Get your Real Engineering shirts at: https://store.dftba.com/collections/real-engineering

Why Are Plane Wings Angled Backwards?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXFpLnPpDtY
Why Are The Dreamliner’s Windows So Big?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-I20Ru9BwM

April 5, 2017

If Walls Could Talk The History of the Home Episode 2: The Bathroom

Filed under: Britain, Health, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Jan 2017

March 26, 2017

Comparing WW1 Helmet Designs I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 25 Mar 2017

Start Your Free Trial For The Great Courses Plus*: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/special-offer?utm_source=US_Influencer&utm_medium=InfluencerYouTube&utm_campaign=143317

It’s time for the Chair of Wisdom again and this week Indy compares World War 1 helmet designs and we talk about the discrimination of Germans in the US during WW1.

March 4, 2017

Let There Be Light – The Invention Of The Light Bulb I THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Filed under: History, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 20 Feb 2015

Welcome to IT’S HISTORY! We are kicking off this new history channel by taking you on a journey through the Industrial Revolution. In our first episode about INVENTIONS, Brad Explains everything about the history of the light bulb – it was a long way from the discovery of fire till the first electrical lightning. Learn who else, besides Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla helped form the technology that illuminates our nights to this day!

January 25, 2017

QotD: Microfibres and innovation

Filed under: Quotations, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

New and improved fabric technologies haven’t attracted public enthusiasm since the backlash against leisure suits and disco shirts made synthetics declassé in the early 1980s. ‘Pity poor polyester. People pick on it,’ wrote The Wall Street Journal’s Ronald Alsop in 1982, describing DuPont’s efforts to rehabilitate the fibre’s image.

What ended the consumer hatred of polyester wasn’t a marketing campaign. It was a quiet series of technical innovations: the development of microfibres. These are synthetics, most often polyester or nylon, that are thinner than silk and incredibly soft, as well as lightweight, strong, washable and quick-drying. Their shapes can be engineered to control how water vapour and heat pass through the fabric or to create microcapsules to add sunscreen, antimicrobial agents or insect repellent. Over the past decade, microfibres have become ubiquitous; they’re found in everything from wickable workout wear to supersoft plush toys.

Microfibres are one reason the ‘air-conditioned’ fabrics Loewy and his fellow designers foresaw in 1939 have finally come to pass. These fabrics just aren’t promoted in the pages of Vogue or highlighted on the racks at Banana Republic. They don’t attract attention during New York Fashion Week. Their tribe gathers instead at the big Outdoor Retailer trade shows held twice a year in Salt Lake City. There, outdoor-apparel makers and their suppliers tout textiles that keep wearers warm in the cold and cool in the heat; that block raindrops but allow sweat to escape; that repel insects, screen out UV rays and control odour. By establishing that truly weather-resistant fabrics were possible, Gore-Tex (first sold in 1976) and Polartec synthetic fleece (1979) created an industry where engineers now vie to find ever-better ways to conquer the elements. For instance, ‘smart textiles’ originally developed for spacesuits use microencapsulated materials that melt when they get hot, keeping wearers comfortable by absorbing body heat; when temperatures fall, the materials solidify and warm the body.

[…]

Looking forward, academic researchers have bigger things in mind. Noting that ‘a large portion of energy continues to be wasted on heating empty space and non‑human objects,’ the materials scientist Yi Cui and his colleagues at Stanford envision replacing central heating systems with ‘personal thermal management’, using breathable fabrics coated in a solution of silver nanowires. The fabrics not only trap body heat: given an imperceptible bit of electric charge, they can actually warm the skin.

Other scientists are looking at ways to make fabric turn body heat or motion into usable energy for low-powered electronics. And some hope to make the temperature-regulating effects of smart textiles work without liquids, whose microencapsulation requires substantial energy use. Shifting the focus from outdoor leisure to indoor life – from fighting the elements to everyday energy use and climate control – dramatically reframes several decades of fabric advances, making textiles part of a larger story about energy and the environment.

Virginia Postrel, “Losing the Thread: Older than bronze and as new as nanowires, textiles are technology — and they have remade our world time and again”, Aeon, 2015-06-05.

January 23, 2017

Ironclads The Great Ships Broadside Collection History Channel Documentary

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 13 Oct 2015

Covering some of the same territory is my post on British battleship design from the end of the Napoleonic era to the 1880s.

January 21, 2017

QotD: 1815’s other triumph

Filed under: Britain, Economics, History, Quotations, Railways — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

[In] 1815, George Stephenson, a humble, self-taught engine-wright with an impenetrable Geordie accent (to which he probably gave the name), put together all the key inventions that — at last — made steam locomotion practicable: the smooth wheels, counter-intuitively less likely to slip if heavily laden; the steam-blast into the chimney to accelerate the draught over the coals; the vertical cylinders connecting directly with the wheels; the connecting rods between the wheels. A year later came his redesign of rails themselves, then later his multi-tubular boiler.

As his biographer, Samuel Smiles, put it:

    “Thus, in the year 1815, Mr Stephenson, by dint of patient and persevering labour … had succeeded in manufacturing an engine which … as a mechanical contrivance, contained the germ of all that has since been effected. It may in fact be regarded as the type of the present locomotive engine.”

Suddenly the movement of goods and people fast and cheaply over long distances became possible for the first time.

Not content with that, in 1815 Stephenson also invented the miner’s safety lamp (though snobbish London grandees, unable to conceive that such a humble man could have done so, gave and have continued to this day to give the credit to Sir Humphry Davy). The year of Waterloo was an annus mirabilis of the industrial revolution, putting Britain on course to dominate and transform the world, whether we beat Boney or not. Steam, followed by its offspring internal combustion and electricity, would catapult humankind into prosperity.

Incidentally, there is a tenuous connection between Napoleon and Stephenson. If Bonaparte’s conquests and the corn laws had not driven up the price of corn, then horse feed would have been cheaper and the coal owners who employed Stephenson would not have risked so much money in letting him build a machine to try to find a less expensive way to pull wagons of coals from the pithead in Killingworth to the staithes on the Tyne.

Matt Ridley, “Waterloo or railways”, Matt Ridley Online, 2015-06-18.

January 16, 2017

“Crafting. Needs. To. End. It is ruining gaming”

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

John Ringo posted this on Facebook, and while I don’t play the particular games he references, I’m also finding that in-game crafting (which seemed like such a cool idea when I first heard of it) is really just an extended PITA:

(more…)

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