Monday, May 21, 2018

Physics

The five or six of you who've read previous posts of mine (thereby earning my undying gratitude), may remember this tome from quite a while ago.  Specifically, 38 months ago.  Which in people years is like a million years or so.  But it tells the tale of how I got interested in physics.

I got another taste of physics on my way home from the Big D this morning.  Yes Dallas.  I have a quarterly currency requirement to visit large cities to refresh my memory of why I don't live in one.  This quarter it just happened to be in Dallas.  I attended some training with two of my newer colleagues to start bringing them up to speed in managing and developing databases.

I know, I know.  Wow, juvat! You lead such an exciting life.  Databases?  Who knew?

Awww Shaddup, ya mongrels!  It keeps Mrs J in shoes.

In any case, which is Little Rhody for "Get on with it, juvat!", we were on our way home and making relatively good time in spite of a driving rain storm when we come over a hill approaching an intersection which also happened to be a turn point in our route.  Dimly through the rain, we see a lot of brake lights and a couple of flashing blue lights.

Now, this was intersection was between two county roads as we were attempting to shave a few minutes of time off  a change from US 67 to US281.  But there was a lot of stopped cars.  Coming to a stop, we can see that, all told, there are probably 50 stopped cars. Given the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere, we realize this is a serious incident.  I survey the map and backtracking will result in about a 40 mile detour.  

So we, being patient, (yeah right, patience? juvat? RRRRIIIIGHHHTTT!). Ok, I wasn't driving, so the driver was patient.  

In ANY case, several cars were less patient and turned around, allowing us to get closer to the problem.

When we got close enough, we realized that a truck driver, with an oversize and very heavy load, apparently believed that not only was he excused from the laws of Man regarding speeding, but that he could violate the laws of Physics with equal impunity.

As a refresher, and stolen from the aforementioned post (Beans, you thought you were going to escape the physics lecture dincha? Not so fast, buckwheat!)

Newton’s First Law. “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
Celebrex commercial notwithstanding, this law pretty much is the one immutable law of flying.  In Fighter Pilotese, it says, “You ain’t gonna fly until you light the engines.  You’re going to go in a straight line until you change the pressure level around a portion of your aircraft.  And you’ll only stay flying as long as your engines stay running and you avoid hitting anything.”
Newton’s Second Law.
Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).
Mongo say “Small fighter, Big Engine.  Trees go by fast.”
Newton’s Third Law.
For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.
Newton must have been married.

So, from our brief refresher, our intrepid trucker (a slightly shorter word with the "tr" replaced by a consonant much earlier in the alphabet would be more appropriate, although run afoul of Sarge's family blog rules) was speeding, on a wet, indeed flooded, roadway and needed to change direction to a new highway.  He then proceeded to attempt to do this by turning the steering wheel quickly.
This caused the trailer to "continue to move in the same direction with the same speed", thereby jackknifing his vehicle.  
Not sure what it is, but it was very large.

Smack dab in the middle of the intersection.  Nobody could move.

There was a couple of county deputies there, probably my age, as well as a couple of Highway Patrol guys.  Their combined age looked to us to be about 30.  Finally, after about 45 minutes, the car in front of us actually a van starts moving.  

He then exits the road and goes down in, what Texans call a "bar ditch" and comes up the other side and drives off.

My colleague, the driver, who happens to be female, looks at me and just as I think she's going to ask for advice, a grin breaks out.

"We're going Muddin!!!!!"

Well, the School District transportation department may not be happy that the car wasn't returned in pristine condition.  However, the three of us had a great time.

We were only an hour or so later than advertised.  Mrs J had some time critical chores for me to accomplish on RTB, which I did.

So, Sarge, I apologize if I caused any anguish with the late posting.

I did intend to tell a different story, which I stumbled upon.  But didn't have the time to do the research it deserved, so the good news is....

I've got a subject for next Monday's post.  And that's a good thing.

64 comments:

  1. Well, I don't want to hog the comments, but it reads as though the driver pigged out.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. I'm not sure what pigged out means if it's an actual truck driver expression (other than activities involving food), but if you notice the front end of the trailer is on the roadway. It's going nowhere fast.

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    2. Actually, I was referring to your colleague, the mudder.

      Paul

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    3. Ahhh, so. Pigs in Mud. Got it. Well....we did enjoy the experience. Slip slidin' away as it were.

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  2. One of the many things I like about this blog is the visuals included. Wonder what the weight was on that "thing"? BTW Juvat, when I was your age back then the weapon my parents gifted me was a ......Red Ryder! One pump only and you could follow the flight of that BB as it arced out to the target (not very far nor very fast). Walked a lot in the woods around the homestead carrying that hunk of metal.....ah good times.

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    1. Yeah, there was an area just north of our house that was populated with cedar (juniper) trees. My best friend and I would take our Daisy BB guns and patrol that area in case the bad guys attacked. We were particularly deadly to red ant hills.

      Yes...they were good times.

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    2. my Daisy was my first sniper rifle - had a pile of sand next to the driveway that had congealed into, oh, sandstone (almost) which made it great for carving caves and trenches into it. Which I did, to make my own "Mt. Suribachi", and then equipped the positions with enemy soldiers (the little plastic ones). I then set up my 'hide' in the bushes across the driveway and proceeded to snipe the "Japs" with the Daisy... officers first, then heavy weapons, etc. Good times!

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  3. Wow! So much to comment on, let's start by saying that my first impression of the photo was that it was some monstrous Soviet space thingy. The two protuberances on the left looked like rocket engines to me. Perhaps it was the title of the post which led me down that path. I mean, science, right?

    Paul was in first and scored nicely. Now I just need to figure out if he stayed up all night waiting to be first to comment, or it was just luck. (I mean we publish at 0400 West Coast Time, which is PLQ's time zone, so I wonder.)

    In closing I have to admit that on Sunday afternoons I check the post list to see if Juvat is hard at it, when I see nothing I start to get a little edgy around 1500 local. But with the "tractor-trailer jackknifed on highway carrying weird Soviet looking thingy" excuse, I can't really quibble, Juvat has raised the bar once again.

    Nice post Juvat.

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    1. Thanks.
      Re: PLQ I had the same thought. He's usually at 1000 local commenter. I guess he just stayed up to gain that coveted Chant du Départ "I was first" award.

      Seriously, I took the picture just for that reason. I'm not going to get the real post done in time, I need proof.

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    2. "Now I just need to figure out if he stayed up all night waiting to be first to comment, or it was just luck. (I mean we publish at 0400 West Coast Time, which is PLQ's time zone, so I wonder.)"

      No, I hadn't stayed up all night; as it happens, I woke up around 0315 and since it wasn't that long until 0400, I decided to stay up to catch juvat's post fresh ( as it were ).

      You can send my award certificate to my home address.

      PLQ

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    3. I'm pretty sure it's coming in the same Pony Express saddle pack as my posting paycheck. Come to think of it, maybe that Pony Express rider is what the trucker was trying to avoid and failed. Mrs J ain't gettin' no shoes this week, more's the pity.

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    4. LOL

      Paul L. Quandt

      P.S. Just to be clear, I'm only laughing at the first sentence, not, I say again NOT, at Mrs J.

      Paul

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    5. Gotcher back on that one, Paul.

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    6. Posting paycheck? What's that?

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    7. Is it true that "Sarge" in Swahili means "Scrooge"?

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  4. If I hadda guess, I'd say that there's a heater treater of some description.

    (Any petroleum engineers in house to correct me?)

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    1. That was my impression also. We were not REAL near the Permian Basin, but we were in a line from Houston to there, so that's entirely feasible. Driving a wide load on county roads though, that's likely to raise a lot of people's ire. He succeeded.

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    2. There's a particular intersection near my dad's place (Marcellus shale, woo!) that will high-center any sort of lowboy trailer, 100% without fail. You'd think the well traffic would eventually learn, but no, not so far. (All the $&@#%ing Texan rig drivers coming in, bamboozled by the slightest elevation change.)

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  5. An understanding of Newtonian physics makes winter driving much safer, and less stressful.
    If only more Philly drivers understood physics.
    I also have a theory that the skill set of the city driver is water soluble.
    The paint and the color of the metal on the LUOTLLARE (LARGE UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT THAT LOOKS LIKE A ROCKET ENGINE) is an almost perfect camouflage against the sky and clouds.




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    1. Yeah, I didn't notice that until I pulled the pictures up on the computer from the phone. I was focused on Mud, law enforcement, and laughter. But it did add a certain interest to the picture.

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  6. As my wife and I go back and forth to the Metromess via 281 and 67 from beautiful Bandera, quite often, was that at 67 and 220?

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    1. Bullseye! Since you're familiar with the area, you know that not far from that intersection is a fairly hard blind turn. Driving rain, a blind turn and stopped cars on a highway is setting someone up for a disaster. I think that was the primary reason DPS started sending people mudding.

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  7. I lived down 2 1/2 miles of either dirt or caliche topped road when I was a kid. One of those stretches became impassable, so we shifted to the east road. I was in a 74 Fury with 70 series police tires, then neighbor was in something like a Chevy Citation. When the road is really muddy, slow and steady are the watch words.

    She is going so slow, I'm losing control behind her. I start drifting as she starts a 4000 point turn to the left at the T intersection, and I slide towards the bar ditch on the right, then start to nose into the ditch on the left. I realize then, that I'm doomed, but "I'm not stuck till I can't move!!" I gunned the Fury, and shot into the flooded bar ditch on the left, passed her, and was heading west in the ditch, when up ahead, is the built up spot to go to the neighbors irrigation pump. I whipped the wheel to the right, and swerved all over the road until I got to the house, and managed to get in the drive way. My knees were weak for 10 minutes after that.... I kinda felt sorry for the neighbor, but I was about to face dad with a stuck car, and that never went well....

    (The offending corner.... https://tinyurl.com/y9ccs5p8 Man, that part of the world has gotten trashed.... Those were beautiful cotton fields 40 years ago....)

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    1. I know exactly where that was. Short final to RWY 18 at Lubbock International.

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    2. I hadn't known cotton was grown that far west of here. I do remember reading in a (triggering, non-snowflake-safe) history of Texas by T.R. Fehrenbach of attempted cotton farmers out in that direction being run off at gunpoint by ranchers, "Because cotton brings n***ers."

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    3. Yes, well, there are certainly areas in Texas History that were not pleasant. Course that is true for most, probably all of human history. But Cotton was the primary crop in the panhandle for the entire time I've lived in Texas (since mid 60's).

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    4. Okay, researching a bit, cotton really started taking off in the 1920's and 1930's with widespread irrigation. Which at current rates of use will deplete the aquifer. I think Fehrenbach's bit dated from the 1880's. The ranchers didn't like sheep any more than they liked cotton, but for different reasons.

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    5. Yeah, ranchers generally considered anything other than themselves as encroachers and resisted them as much as possible, even other ranchers. In a slightly different vector to the discussion, an increasing number of acres are being planted in grape vines, which if they discover a cure for cotton root rot in grape vines will result in an exponential increase.

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  8. History first I guess and now STEM. Sarge, the scope and range of Chant du Depart subject matter grows.

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  9. Juvat, I'm afraid that your lesson in applied physics would have been lost on that particular driver. He was what my Marine Gunny would have called a "sexual intellectual." Had you asked the Gunny what that was he would have told you, you know, he's a truckin know it all.

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    1. I think I've added something to my vocabulary. Thanks.

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  10. I’ve just added “trucker” to the lexicon that includes “Me Firster.
    I’m curious about whether or not the dispatcher sent him on that route.

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    1. One would think not as there would be a record then which could come back to haunt them. As it is, I'm thinking there might be a driver looking for work this morning.

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  11. Any idea how many mudders got by before the surface got too soft?

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    1. Well, we were about #15 and it was pretty muddy. My colleague handled it like a pro though, just enough gas to keep it moving, smooth steering corrections. There were still quite a few vehicles behind us though, so I don't know if all made it.

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  12. Excellent post and excellent link back to another excellent post about an excellent time in your life.

    Now that that's said, what in tarnation is that thar thingy? I mean, looks kinda aerospacy-ish with that domed pressure vehicle look on either end and something rocket-engyish off the arse end, but it is just missing any memory collection of missiles that I know of. The diameter is a little larger than for anyting else except a Titan or an Atlas. Hmmmm, lower stage of a Titan, maybe.

    I did notice the proliferation of wire guides all over it, unless those are some strange spy-radio aerials (drJim would know.)

    Isn't the species Homo Trukerians, which I think is a pre-species of Homo Ignoranius, interesting. Able to wrest the large bulky weight of a fully loaded semi into the most impossible places possible just to stymie the wants and desires of us Homo Sapien Chantii?

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    1. It's a horizontal heater treater. No, I didn't make that up.

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    2. That's it! I think the "antenna" Beans was referring to were wire guides to keep protuberances from catching on overhead wires.

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    3. Wires, tree branches, low-flying airplanes....

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    4. Airplanes? I'm not sure it's going to do any good against an airplane, both the heater treater and the airplane are probably going to be considerable worse for wear after the encounter.

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    5. Great googly-moogly. I wonder if you can achieve sub-orbit if something goes wrong with it.. Thanks for the info on the horizontal heater treater. Learn a new thing every day.

      And, yes, I knew the wire guides were just that. I was 'trying' to be funny. Mrs. Andrew says I 'try' to be funny a lot. Emphasis on 'try.'


      Those wire guides might work wonders for knocking off Stetsons from passing cowboys, too.

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    6. Well, wives generally know things. But were you to be standing on top of one of those things and it exploded...Sub-orbit is a distinct possibility.

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    7. Yes, things in the Petro-chemical industry are very safe. For certain definitions of 'safe.' NIMBY works well for people not wanting refineries and chemplants to grow up in their backyard, but I find it weird that people will move near the damned things and then wig out once they realize what is past the fence.

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    8. I spent a good deal of my formative and teen years in Big Spring TX home (at the time) of the Cosden Oil Refinery. I was in college when the refinery blew up. Quite a bit of destruction on that side of town as I recall. Big Spring incurred a localized housing market recession for quite a few years after that.
      On Binging "Cosden Oil Refinery explosion", I found there were several explosive events spread out over a few years. So, your point is valid

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    9. We have people here in my city who want the City to sell the land around the water plant. The one with the large DZ. The zone of Death in case of a chlorine leak...

      So far the stupid city council has yet to cave, but I'm sure there's a mound of Fed Regs supporting their decision. Though it may have something to do with the manager of the water plant inviting the city council once a year for his annual plant progress report. In the really nice conference room, the one with a rack of breather masks on either side of the room. And the plant personnel carrying gasmask bags and practicing drills while the commissioners are there. Smart man.


      The people who want to develop the land? Stupid bastards...

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    10. I think the word would not be Stupid, rather I think it should be Evil. They either know and don't care or haven't done due diligence to learn. Either is deliberate and therefore Evil. Stupid would be reserved for the people who buy from them.

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  13. "caliche". Now there's a word I haven't heard in a year of Sundays.

    /LJ

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    1. It's a wonderful thing, slick as snot when wet and harder than granite when dry, kicks up a nice fine dust that's nearly impossible to get off a car in a drive through car wash.

      OK, maybe not so wonderful.

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  14. Any chance the truck driver had taken emergency action to avoid a hazard?

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    1. I suppose it's possible he swerved to avoid someone else, but the way he was headed had the yield sign, so that would have meant he hadn't seen the other guy.

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  15. Physics: Not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

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  16. So anyone know why the ditch next to the road is called a "bar" ditch??

    It's definitely a term localized to Texas, maybe even north & central Texas. I went to talk in Ohio many years ago by a vet from Wichita Falls. In the talk, he made reference to pulling a cow out of a bar ditch - I went up to him afterwards and introduced myself, told him my dad was from WF, and told him I thought only he and I knew what he meant by a bar ditch. He thought about it and agreed.

    Y'all know a wire in north TX is called a 'wahr' and a tire is called a 'tahr' - so the ditch is made when they 'borrow' the material from it to make the road bed, hence in the same drawl it becomes a 'bahr' ditch

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    1. Okay. That does explain it.

      My wife's from Tennessee, hill-folk region. When you are driving down the road and you see bars, they aren't things drunks come out of, or long round pieces of metal, or even those things Smokey is one of. No, they're barrels. Two syllables shrunk to one. But you say "Hi" and it's two to three syllables...

      Ain't language grand?

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    2. Did not know that, thanks.

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  17. Most illuminating and entertaining post. Thanks, Juvat.

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  18. Snerk... Any excuse to play in the mud... :-)

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    1. She seemed to enjoy the adventure.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)