Addendum, update

Addendum: Regarding deleted posts

As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t know if there will be future posts on Sublime Curiosity. The thought that I might be closing the cover on it made me want to prune away the fluff posts and posts that seemed stupid, unoriginal, or uninteresting, or that mam ca loc post that a few people found ignorant and disrespectful. What I should’ve done was private the posts, so them and their comments would be preserved. Whether or not I like them, they were part of the blog. Instead I deleted them, believing that, if I slept on it and changed my mind, I could restore them. Apparently not. So here’s a Wayback Machine link that should have a record of the blog as it was before I decided to put it on ice. Most of what’s gone is stuff I thought was irrelevant or uninteresting or tangential, but it’s there if you’re curious.


The future of the blog

I think we have a new winner for “most pretentious post title,” but hey, at least it’s pretentious and accurate.

I’ve been writing this blog for going on eight and a half years. I’ve hardly been consistent about it, but for a scatter-brain like me, eight and a half years is a long time to keep up with anything.

I wanted to write this post to appreciate the people who’ve dropped by. For a tiny blog like this, the comments and interaction always meant a lot to me. I’ve always believed a person should be grateful when another person spends any amount of time on something they’ve written. My readers and commenters could’ve been doing something else with their time, but they decided to spend it on Sublime Curiosity, and I appreciate that.

So what’s the future of the blog, then? I don’t know. Hell, I don’t even know what the past of the blog is. Reading through the archive of posts, I obviously wasn’t ever sure what I wanted it to be. It’s a scattered mess with a lot of parts that didn’t really fit together. Some of them are good. Some are unoriginal. Some are stupid. Some are just fluff.

I will say, though, that the most fun I had writing this blog was running through slightly- to entirely-absurd hypothetical scenarios. This blog was obviously heavily inspired by XKCD’s What If? I think that was the direction I wanted to go in: having fun with numbers and equations and physics and hypotheticals. After all, the subtitle is “a zoo for thought experiments.” But at the same time, I didn’t want to be derivative. I wanted to write good and original content. I wanted the blog to be better and more coherent than it turned out to be. My posts were always going to be silly, because I was the one writing them. But silly is different than fluff or rambling. It might be hard to believe, but I do fear committing the writer’s cardinal sin: making the reader feel like their time was wasted.

I’m not saying that Sublime Curiosity is finished. In fact, I hope it’s not. And if I stumble across an idea I want to explore, I may well be back. But this silly little blog has been weighing on my mind lately, like any other project that doesn’t get enough attention. And, if it does turn out that I never post again, I wanted to say out loud that I’ve enjoyed my time with the blog, and that I appreciate every person who’s spent time with it. And I appreciate the people who took the time to chime in with thoughts of their own.


What’s Coming Up

Because I’ve had too much coffee and I’m all hyper, I feel like writing things. So I’m writing this thing to let you all know what sort of posts to expect in the near future.

One of the next two posts will be part of my Cars series, in which I use awesome physics game BeamNG Drive to simulate what it would actually be like to drop a turboshaft engine into an ordinary car, and all the practical hurdles you face on the road to 500 mph.

The other will be a standalone post going through the math and trying to decide whether it’s possible to have a self-sustaining community on wheels. A little all-terrain rolling town, in other words. It’s gonna be full of cool stuff like pictures of gigantic dump trucks and mining equipment, along with crappy drawings of cruise ships and skyscrapers on wheels. Don’t miss it!


I Wrote a Book!

You may have noticed I’ve been promising new post and not actually writing them. Part of that is procrastination (of course), but the more important reason is that I’ve been working on publishing my book.

I called it Freeze. It’s a short novel, in which a man who owns a diner is trapped by a blizzard that quickly turns North Carolina from the swampy temperate state that it is into a sub-Antarctic wasteland. If you like apocalyptic fiction or disaster fiction, you might enjoy it.

You can buy the paperback edition here for $15 US, 10 British pounds, or 13 Euros. (I think.) There’s also a Kindle edition, which is $10 US.

No pressure, of course. This is meant to be just as much of an update post as a shameless advertisement. If any of you out there read it, please feel free to let me know what you thought of it.

Cars, physics, update

A Toyota on Mars: Addendum

In the comments of my last car post, ECooperZone asked an excellent question that I didn’t even address. I have given myself a literal slap on the wrist for that, because it’s bad thought-experiment etiquette.

The issue is horsepower. I listed the horsepower of my Toyota Yaris’s engine several times, and then just sort of tossed it out, because it didn’t factor into my equations. After reading ECooperZone’s comment, I got that nagging feeling that we nerds get when an equation comes out a little too perfect, and we have to go back and pick through the steps one-by-one to see if we forgot to multiply by pi or something like that.

Luckily, the issue of horsepower doesn’t invalidate my whole thought experiment, because, as I mentioned in my response to the comment, horsepower and torque are intimately related. I found a concise summary of the relation here. The equation is shockingly, pleasantly simple:

horsepower = torque * rotation speed (in radians per second)

Remember the scene from the Arnold Scwharzenegger Conan the Barbarian where Conan becomes a musclebound superhero because some evil bastards make him push a grinding wheel for ten years?

Let’s say Conan has to apply 50 pounds of force. That’s 222 newtons. That lever-arm looks to be about 2 meters long, for 444 newton-meters of torque at the axle. The wheel isn’t turning very fast: I’d judge about 1 rotation per minute, which is 2 * pi radians divided by 60 seconds, or 0.1 radians per second. 444 newton-meters * 0.1 per second (radians isn’t an actual unit, so we can drop it) means 44.4 Watts total power, or a pathetic 0.06 horsepower (Hey, it’s a kid pushing a grindstone. What did you expect?)

That’s the relationship between horsepower and torque as I understand it. If I’ve gotten anything wrong, I’ll slap myself on the wrist again and tell y’all about it.