A little off-topic, but in a comment long ago, someone asked about the questions that keep me up at night. Here are four. And none of them are all that important.
1) Why is it that even in languages written from right to left, the numbers are written from left to right? First noticed it inBaghdad. One of my translators said that numbers are written from left to right in all languages. True? Don't know. Possibly, if the early writers thought of 24 as 'four and twenty' the flow would be in the same direction as the writing... but that's not how they do it in Hebrew, at least. My memory is fuzzy on Arabic.
2) In the King James version of the Bible, god is addressed in the informal. 'Thee' and 'thine' are the familiar versions, 'you' and 'yours' the formal or plural. It is, you will note, 'your majesty' or 'your grace' when addressing upper nobility. It appears that god is addressed as an equal throughout.
A conscious decision to make a point? An artifact of translating from other sources? Possibly the grammatical rules at the time are not as I was taught?
3) Explosive power decreases by the cube of the difference. In other words, to double the blast radius doubling the powder won't work. Nor will squaring it. You have to cube it. It's based on the formula for the volume of a sphere, 4/3 x pi x r cubed. (Really sucks not to be able to do superscript and notation.) Which makes sense. The force just doesn't increase a line or increase the surface area. The force has to fill the whole sphere.
So why does gravity decrease as a square function? Does that imply that it only acts on the surface of a sphere (where the two masses would be points) and doesn't fill the void in between? A friend (Hey, Justin!) pointed out that this is true for other forms of radiation, such as light, as well. Which to my mind broadens the question, not answers it.
4) Was the lance a one-shot weapon? I'm not talking medieval jousts, but like lancers during the Napoleonic wars, cavalrymen mowing down infantry soldiers. This is what I can't figure out:
Assuming a heavy horse gallops at about 22 mph (28 would, according to one source be the max; a quarterhorse approaches 40mph at short distance) the lancer is going to stick a relatively immobile target that has weight and mass. The second the tip of the spear drops, which it will either due to the threat falling or because (relatively) the horse keeps going and the rider is above the target, that lance becomes an enormous lever arm.
Carried under the arm, like a joust (except impaling instead of blunted so the tip stops) that's eight feet at least of leverage applied with the weight of the target at 22mph to just under your shoulder. Dislocation or ejection? Carried underhand, that same leverage is applied in a rotation on the same axis as some of the better wristlocks. Overhand doesn't seem to be a problem but at least one source, (I believe it was "The Twilight Lords" about the Desmond Rebellions) asserted that the overhand position with the lance disappeared when stirrups were introduced.
So did lancers just stick people and drop the lance and revert to a secondary weapon? Does that imply that the most expensive unit on the battlefield was essentially a single-shot? Does that make sense? Or was there some technique to stab and recover that I haven't been able to find?
This is the stuff I think about. None of these are important, but if you want to bang your heads against them, go for it.
Jan 31st 2015 - If you are in the Bay Area ... This Saturday, 4 - 6pm ish. Book reading/discussion/Q and A on 'The Liar the Cheat and the Thief' + play, at Soja Martial Art...
1 day ago