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The Slings of Silicon Valley... (Read 1497 times)
DesertPilot
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The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Aug 4th, 2007 at 11:50am
 
...sounds like the name of a new soap opera, doesn't it?

Greetings all,

I'm another slinger from Silicon Valley: a hotbed of slingers, where
hundreds of recreational leagues thrive amidst the cubicals!  Well,
perhaps not hundreds.  Perhaps not even one.  But you have to
admit that 'thrive amidst the cubicals' is a thought-provoking phrase! 
(Whoosh!  Thump!  Another Dilbert cartoon bites the dust!)

I've been slinging off and on -- mostly off -- for many years.  My
crude leather slings are noted for their ugliness and inefficiency. 
My style is an awkward varient of the 270-degree sidearm thrown
that combines wild innaccuracy with a stunning lack of power.  My
skill... is a thing out of legend: legends like the 'Titanic'... the
'Hindenberg'... the 'Edsel... the great stock market crash of 1929...

But hey, even for someone of my manifest ineptitude, slinging is fun! 
And as a hang glider pilot, I'm forced to spend many hours standing
around on top of mountains in the high desert waiting for good
flying conditions, surrounded by vast stretches of empty hillside
that are covered with... small rocks...

And that's just asking for trouble, isn't it?  Smiley

This is a great site!  I'd like to thank all you folks for building and
maintaining it.  I've already picked up any amount of useful info,
and I hope that someday I might be able to make some useful
contribution in return.

Thanks,
Paul

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Dravonk
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #1 - Aug 4th, 2007 at 5:46pm
 
Welcome to the forum! So I do not have to worry that after six months most of my shots don't land where I intend them to? I am not content with my range and accuracy, but I hope it will improve over time. Good luck to you! Where and when did you first meet the sling and the urge to try this for yourself?
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #2 - Aug 5th, 2007 at 1:50am
 
Hi Dravonk,

How did I begin?  Martial arts, like it seems inspired many others on this site.  Long ago, shortly after mankind mastered the use of fire, I used to practice medieval combat forms in the Society for Creative Anachronism.  Curiousity, and a bit of experimention, led to the delightful discovery that the 270-degree sidearm shot, starting from the hips, was one of the same blows one uses to swing a broadsword -- this may be why skeletons from medieval battlefields often display such spectacular injuries.  An informal MIT Sling Club was formed, which lasted until a visiting student from some Country Where They Still Use Slings appeared, stared at us in derision, and proceded to embarass us so thoroughly that to this day, I imagine that few of us are willing to even pronounce the word 'sling', let alone use one.

But still I continued to dabble, until one day, years later, when I was standing around a hang glider launch, surrounded by small tantalizing rocks that just begged to be set free from the bounds of gravity, I... well... got tantalized?  A trip to the Baleric Islands to study at the hand of the masters seemed impractical, but a moment's reflection led to the realization that, "Hey, this is the Internet Era!  I wonder if I could find something on the World Wide... oh my!  Look... at... this!"  I've been learning all manner of Useful Things from this site, and who knows, perhaps there may come a time when I am no longer quite such a spectacular disgrace to my Greek ancestors.

Right now, on a good day, I might be able to manage a 6' grouping at a range of 30'.  (At ranges of 50 yards or so, I'm lucky if all of my shots land on the same planet.)  This means I might just barely be able to defend myself if attacked by a medium-sized piece of shrubbery.  On a bad day, it would have to be a somewhat larger piece of shrubbery.  Or perhaps an entire thicket.  But I see this as one of these Eugene Herrigel 'Zen and the Art of Archery' deals: practice the form for its own sake, don't worry too much about the results, and be ready to run if attacked by malevolent vegetation. 

As a physicist by profession, I cannot help but be intrigued by the physics of the actual throw.  I've read George Alsatian's article on this site and the material on the Wiki and they seem like an excellent start, but it seems to me that more could be done.  Do you or anyone else know of any published articles or simulations?

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I also write too much.  One of my many character flaws.  Alas...
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Dravonk
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #3 - Aug 5th, 2007 at 3:38am
 
DesertPilot wrote on Aug 5th, 2007 at 1:50am:
As a physicist by profession, I cannot help but be intrigued by the physics of the actual throw.  I've read George Alsatian's article on this site and the material on the Wiki and they seem like an excellent start, but it seems to me that more could be done.  Do you or anyone else know of any published articles or simulations?

There are some more models and force vector diagrams spread through this forum, I just don't know where they are. I think Yurek and Matthias made a few of them, you might want to search through their old posts.
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #4 - Aug 6th, 2007 at 10:37am
 
Dravonk wrote on Aug 5th, 2007 at 3:38am:
There are some more models and force vector diagrams spread through this forum, I just don't know where they are. I think Yurek and Matthias made a few of them, you might want to search through their old posts.


Thanks!  I tracked down a few m0re posts and they were useful.  I believe what I'll do is take a closer look at the equations of motion for a sling in response to some different throwing styles, compare the results with some of the movies people have posted to this site, and see what turns up.  If the results look at all realistic, I'll post something to the main discussion forum.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #5 - Aug 6th, 2007 at 5:41pm
 
[quote]I hope that someday I might be able to make some useful
contribution in return. 
[/quote]
Well you made me laugh - far as I'm concerned that's all the contribution anyone needs. :-)
So, fancy gliding over to wyoming in september ?

And the obvious question (so obvious no one else asked ;-)
Have you tried slinging from a hangglider in flight ? (yet - 'cos you have to try it now :-)
 
The physics of slinging - hmm my first response is - can't see how that can help much.
But then computer simulation of juggling patterns discovered many that aeons of jugglers had never even imagined. So who knows what might come of it.
Dale (I think) has a program that does something or other (memory like a sieve) to do with slinging. Either dale or Matthias anyway, one of them. I think Matthias originated it - but dale's a packrat so he'll definitely have a copy :-)

But what I REALLY want is a slinging game for my Wii !
It's pretty much the only thing zelda doesn't have.

I'd even consider buying the genuine disc :-)
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Do All things with Honour and Generosity: Regret Nothing, Envy None, Apologise Seldom and Bow your head to No One  - works for me Smiley
 
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #6 - Aug 6th, 2007 at 11:04pm
 
[quote author=curious_aardvark link=1186242642/0#5 date=1186436505]And the obvious question (so obvious no one else asked ;-)
Have you tried slinging from a hangglider in flight ? (yet - 'cos you have to try it now :-)
 
The physics of slinging - hmm my first response is - can't see how that can help much.
[/quote]

The problem with trying to sling from a hang glider -- or even worse, a paraglider -- is the very real possibility of death if one gets tangled up with the controls.  I also don't see any way to get a good hip snap.  But I may try an underhand shot someday if I can figure out a way to do it safely.  I have tried dropping things, such as water balloons, bags of flour, old disk drives, and whatnot -- always following the relevant Federal Aviation Regulation that they must not pose a hazard to 'persons or structures on the ground' -- and I must say that it's a tremendously rewarding experience!  I am now convinced that people didn't invent 'bombing' for military purposes.  They did it because it was fun, and they made up this bogus 'military' justification in order to get government funding.  The use of explosives followed naturally, since this allowed people to combine two fun activities: dropping things and watching them blow up.  Nuclear weapons, etc. were just logical evolutionary steps in this process  :)

You're quite right about the physics of slinging.  Indeed, it's even worse than you suggested -- after I devised a set of equations to describe the motion of a sling in response to the movement of the slinger's hand, I couldn't even [i]drop[/i] a rock successfully, let alone sling the darn thing, for at least three days!  But it's an interesting problem, and hey, if we didn't get obsessed with things like this, we'd give up all the eccentric activities that make us who we are and spend all of our time doing household chores.  A dreadful fate!  Not to be contemplated!
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #7 - Aug 7th, 2007 at 4:15am
 
I start to wonder whether it would work to drop a rope dart from a plane and have that flying below you. But I don't fly. :-( Probably better for humanity...
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #8 - Aug 7th, 2007 at 5:56am
 
you could certainly drop a rope dart - and it would - drop.
lol
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #9 - Aug 7th, 2007 at 9:05am
 
[quote author=curious_aardvark link=1186242642/0#8 date=1186480586]you could certainly drop a rope dart - and it would - drop.
lol
[/quote]
[quote author=Dravonk link=1186242642/0#7 date=1186474531]I start to wonder whether it would work to drop a rope dart from a plane and [b]have that flying below you[/b].[/quote]
With the other end of the rope tied to your plane.
And then of course being able to aim at targets on the ground.
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Re: The Slings of Silicon Valley...
Reply #10 - Aug 8th, 2007 at 12:53am
 
[quote author=Dravonk link=1186242642/0#9 date=1186491905]With the other end of the rope tied to your plane.
And then of course being able to aim at targets on the ground.[/quote]

I believe there is historical precedent for this.  As I recall, on one supersonic bomber, the designers found it necessary to use a swinging arm to throw the bombs clear of the bomb bay.  Staff slings on modern combat aircraft!  ho ho!  More proof, if any was needed, that good ideas never die  :)

The Hang Glider Sling Project is almost certainly going to happen, though it may have to wait the fall, when the summer thermal season is over.  The trick will be figuring out how to manage the sling, projectile, etc, without dropping them 8,000' -- this would surely become the ultimate Lost Sling Story.   Velcro may play an important role in the solution.  But as we all know, velcro was a traditional material in the ancient Middle East, named after the emperor Vel K'ro, who ruled the Hittites during the second millenium BC.

Or maybe he ruled the Ammorites.  Hittites... Ammorites... I always get them confused...

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