Saturday, November 19, 2005

Smoke on the Water

According to variably-reliable ancient historians, the great Greek scientist Archimedes is said to have devised a system of ship-burning mirrors as part of the formidable defenses of the Sicilian city of Syracuse against a Roman naval attack in 212 BC. An MIT engineering class demonstrates that it is a) technically possible and b) really cool. Not that b) required any proof.

Participants in the next Head of the Charles regatta, beware!

1 comment:

Mike Sauter said...

Hopefully Archimedes' genius doesn't become nightmare of these folks:

"The winter darkness that grips this small town could soon be brightened up with pockets of sunshine. That's because sun is plentiful less than 10 minutes' walk from the town and from Rat Mountain, the 3,000-foot hill that blocks its sunlight between November and February each year. The solution: 30 heliostats, essentially rotating mirrors, mounted on a hillside to grab sunshine off reflectors from the neighboring village of Kramsach."

Methinks a ship-burning mirror could become a town-burning one if not handled properly. At least, that's what a steady diet of Irwin Allen movies have led me to believe.