Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Flinging Things

Got home last night to find Oldest had indeed survived the day at Grandmama's house, and was awfully perky and chipper. Go figure. The rest of the kids were scattered around doing homework, including Rebecca, who kept tugging on me to show me something in her agenda book.


"We have to look for another experiment on the Internet for class." Oh. The last time she had something like this, Mom found some kind of something or other in one of the multitude of activity books littering the house--"Don't we have something in one of those books Mom has?" No. ::sigh:: I really like puttering and stuff, but I am still recovering from the effort expended getting an "A" on my Rhode Island report, and now this...well.

"What sort of experiment does it have to be about?" "Stuff like forces and things." Well, that clears THAT up. I told her I would look something up after we got back from church.

Force, huh? Hmm. I pondered all during when I was supposed to be listening about Joshua, and then when we got home I asked if her teacher had suggested anything. "She said something with pulleys would be good, or levers. Stuff like that."

ON to the information superhighway--after several fruitless searches, I found a neat little gadget--a genuine Beakman's World electric motor. Simple, elegant, cheap, easy--but not quite what I thought the experiment should be showing. I had in mind something, but I couldn't quite figure what.

It needed to have something where you could SEE the forces at work, something with levers and pulleys and rope and DANGER. Something that could put an eye out. Something to make everyone oooh and aaaah. D'OH!! How could I have not thought about it earlier!?


The most fearsome of medieval seige engines; the very model of applied physics from a time when digital calculators consisted of your ten fingers! It combines the concepts of leverage and gravity and rage and the always captivating throwing heavy stuff a long way! PERFECT!!

NOVA had a really neat special on them a while back, and a quick Google seach gives you more trebuchet information than you can throw a rock at, including trebuchet design software, an online simulation running from a Java applet, cartoons, TV trebuchets, LEGO trebuchets, and, of course, lovely wooden trebuchet models.

The only problem is that I needed something I could get and put together NOW, which would require no money, yet still provide the requisite sense of awe and fright. What I needed was a paper model of a trebuchet! Way cool, and it promises to be able to hurl a grape over 30 feet! The wheeled version (which is more efficient if you've done your reading) costs some actual dollars to download, but I'm going to just use the regular one and slap a set of wheels on it, and we'll be good to go.


(And yes, I better make a good grade on this one, too, or I'll be angry and my self-esteem will be damaged.)

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