Thursday, March 08, 2007

Get Medieval on your ass

I received two late, but fantastic birthday gifts this year. First, from Jane, a model trebuchet kit. With just a utility knife and some glue, it went together in a little over an hour. It is a lot of fun. It doesn't always work really well - many missiles end up firing straight down, stay in the sling, or slip off right at the start. I may have to modify the sling, since that seems to be where the trouble is. But that gives me an interesting project. And it is a great demonstration of physics. Energy is conserved - the potential of the counterweight is almost entirely converted into kinetic energy in the missile. I may use it as a starting point for building my own, larger trebuchet at some point. Though, I confess, I'm more interested in building a Floating Arm Trebuchet, a modern update of the concept that is even more efficient. It combines my interest in physics with my childish love of weaponry. Boom boom boom.

The second gift arrived today all the way from Mike over in the sandbox. I'm almost embarrased by this. It's a beautiful carved stone chess set. I'm no geologist, but I think parts of it are marble. Hell, even if it's just rock pulled out of some dirt farmer's field, it's gorgeous. I feel like I should be studying old Kasparov games to be good enough to play on this board. For the record, I suck at chess. I'll have to visit the library for "The Beginners Guide to Chess: The Horsey Moves Up 3, Over 1."

Many thanks to my two very generous friends.

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