Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two Seasons

Summer and boat construction. Actually it's summer and ROAD construction, up there in the midwest, but periodically it is nice to have a meterological excuse to sit around doing nothing in particular when it comes to sailing. Maybe lay up a Moth. Take the trash out, clean the bathroom, do the laundry. All those things I can't get done on other weekends due to sailing, or during the week due to work commitments. And I don't even have a family. Kind of makes me wonder how people do it. 

Should have some pics of the ChinchillaZilla coming together soon; helped the Boyz pile some carbon and nomex into their tool this past weekend, and it was all looking good in there. Photos when I have them. Bobby K is off to China later this week and I think they are hoping to have a deck on by then.

Have my eye on some sexy instrumentation for Le Moth so I can better analyse what it is doing. That should be a fun project. 

I could sort everything pretty quickly with some active controls, but that, apparently, would be cheating. Cheating whom is an open question, as I am the only Moth at my club. The temptation is strong, as it would only take a servo and a bit bigger battery -- everything else will be in place for monitoring purposes. But in the end it is probably not necessary.

Just like your parents always said: experimenting with powerful mind altering substances will only get you thrown out of school. Perhaps the situation is analogous to the early 18 era in Australia, where boats had to develop someplace outside the traditional confines of a restricted class to make the next big leap. 

I read a great article about Ry Cooder in the New York Times over the weekend, talking about the hot-rodder culture in California in the 1950s, all these people out on the dry lakebeds on weekends, making their cars go faster and faster. It's kind of crazy to think that lots of people would find this sort of thing appealing, given the complete dearth of development-minded sailors here, but I suppose people tend to focus on developing the technologies at hand. There are certainly oodles of seriously souped-up cars driving around town, though one suspects the only racing they see is between stoplights. 

Aerospace, another formerly dominant local employer that brought a lot of geeky experimenter-types to this area, is only a shadow of what it once was- though we do have a huge UAV company nearby - started semi-paradoxically by the same guy who made those human-powered airplanes in the late 1970s. It's all well and good that the F35 is driving composite tooling development, but who would have thought that a dude who built the Gossamer Albatross would start a company that would in turn go on to build Skynet-type drones? 

Gotta hand it to those sci-fi writers. Asimov wrote I, Robot in the 1950s, for heaven's sake. All that James Cameron Terminator stuff just seems to get closer to reality all the time - life imitating art and all that. But I'm sure Cameron never saw the T1 running for Governor of California, even in his wildest dreams.

Enough annoying links. Have a good week.

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