May 2nd, 2003

(no subject)

I went home for lunch and turned on TechTV and Tech Of... was on. They were doing the tech of race cars, specifically this one:

I learned some pretty cool stuff about it. When I tuned in, they were talking about downforce. For those of you who don't know, downforce is the same as lift (what makes airplanes fly) only upside down. If a car generates 1000 lbs of downforce at 100 mph, then it has the grip of a car that is 1000 lbs heavier. That means you can take corners and turns much faster without sliding off the track, but the engine doesn't actually have 1000 extra lbs of weight to lug around.

This car weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 or 1300 lbs and generates an astounding 3000 lbs of downforce at 200mph. That means that at 200mph this car could not only stick to the ceiling if it were racing upside down, but even then it would still outperform your average street car dramatically. That is cool. What's also cool is that they showed a CGI animation of an upside down F1 car racing in a tunnel and passing a right side up street car below it. That was fun.

The engine is a modest 2.65 liters, but it's turbocharged and revs up to 15,000 RPM, so it makes between 800 and 900 hp. Think about that kind of power to a car that weighs less than 1500 lbs and you can see why these cars move so amazingly fast.

Also, these cars are highly computerized. They have little computer systems in them that control and record information from about fifty different sensors. Everything from driver input (throttle, steering, braking, etc) to the suspension displacement of each wheel, lateral g's, turbo boost pressure, and so on. That info is radio'd in real time to the pits, and if a slight adjustment needs to be made to the computer's set up (spark timing, suspension stiffness, fuel injection, etc) they can plug into the car during a pit stop, upload the new program, and voila, they're done.

Computers and race cars! Does it get any better?

oh yeah

Another thing that happened yesterday:

Miah shot both black & white and color shots of the lightning Wednesday. He has the ability and knowledge to develop the B&W film himself at his photography class. He did so Thursday morning, and called me to tell me about the results.

Not one shot turned out. Not one. Evidently there just wasn't enough light for it to register on the film. Of course, I believe it was 200 speed film, which means it doesn't absorb light all that quickly. The idea with that was to only catch the really bright stuff and leave the less brilliant shots out, but apparently it didn't work out so well.

I doubt that will happen with his color shots, or mine for that matter, but it makes me just a bit edgy.