I am a recovering engineer and sometimes the absurdness of writers and artist (I write and muddle art) get to me. You’ll have to forgive me.

There’s a new book out by a writer I read. On the cover of the book is a space ship that has square parts. It’s not going to happen. And it’s not going to happen for the same reasons that there are not any square airships. With that statement, any writer that reads this blog is going to have a square airship on his next cover, and that cover will be unique. So send him to this blog. I need the readers.

The reasons there are no square airships are the same reasons there are no square children’s balloons. The reason is air pressure. You want the balloon to be as light as possible and cheap. The gas inside the balloon has to push against the material of the balloon to counter air pressure. Standard air pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch or 101.325 kiloPascals.

That much pressure spread over a square foot (rough estimate of the surface of the balloon) or one third of a square meter would require a thick material for the balloon for it to maintain a square shape. Thick strong material would make the balloon heavy. A heavy balloon will not go as high or as fast, it may sink to the ground it would be so heavy. That’s not what the child wants. Even if you add thin reinforcing threads inside the balloon to give it a square shape you still have added weight and cost.

If your space ship is hauling something from one star to another, then the lighter your space ship is the less fuel you have to use and the more your profit is. If your space ship is a war ship then the lighter your ship is the more weapons you can carry. If you try to build a battleship with thick armor then the ship will use a lot of fuel. The enemy will just send in the light very fast ships (think torpedo boats or the space opera equivalent of torpedo carrying airplanes) that would either directly attack the battleship or make it run. If the ship runs it will need fuel soon. Then the enemy will stage an attack on the ship while it’s refueling.

I know, I know in space opera the guns never need reloading and the ships never run out of fuel. (unless they need a plot device)

One one ever thinks that it would take all the resources of ten to twenty planets to build one Deathstar. That’s people, food, raw material, almost everything from 20 planets (strip them bare) to build one Deathstar. Stripping planets bare of life and resources is enough to cause a rebellion.

Think about the star ship Enterprise. It has its engines sticking out on long poles. If the engines can accelerate the ship to light speed in seconds wouldn’t the engines break off. If the material of the poles or supports is super strong then why can’t they make super good insulating material so the engines don’t need to be suck out on long supports? The reaction and momentum would be terrible. Try to figure out the center of rotation (center of mass) of the ship. You would have to vector the thrust down to get the ship to fly straight. That’s wasted thrust and wasted fuel. And if one engine fails the ship would go around its center of mass (go in circles at light speed, very small circles).

And the bumps. Look at all the useless bumps on the Deathstar or an Imperial cruiser. I’ve worked on warships. There’s not a bump on the ship unless it has a reason. Each bump adds cost, big cost, the bumps add drag. The bumps do look nice, but if they’re not needed they shouldn’t be there. Each bump cost fuel and slows the ship down. It’s even worst for a space ship. And square corners, those corners make great radar reflectors. Radar reflectors make you a great target.

Windows, why ate there windows on a space ship? They are a weak spots. On a war ship you don’t have a window unless you have to.

To see where you are going you would have sensors (radar or sonar). It would be in front to see where you are going. Some air planes have a radar in the rear looking back to see if someone is coming up from behind. The radar is more important than a window with a pretty view, and radar or sonar can see a lot farther than a human eye can see.

What would a deep-space space ship look like. It would look like a submarine with a lump in the middle. Everything would be in line with the engines to keep the ship from going in circles. That’s physic, not visual. The bump in the middle would be for spin to simulate gravity. If you have artificial gravity of one Gee, that means the ship has the mass of one earth size planet to push through space. That’s going to take a lot of fuel and fuel is not free. Why not just use the earth for a space ship? (It’s been done)

The front of a submarine is where they mount the sonar. To the side sonar are the torpedo tubes. The hull is the shape it is to take the outside pressure. A space ship would be the same shape to take the inside pressure.

It’s efficiency and fuel cost.

Recipe is below add.

The Daemon Boat: The Education of a Steampunk Spy by [Voltage, Professor Hyram]


Tuna Fish and Bacon sandwich

I feel there are two types of cooks that publish recipes. The ones that copy someone else’s recipes and changes it a little and calls it their own. Then there are the ones that try new things and generate a recipe no one else has every done.

When you do that you often fail. And a tuna fish and bacon sandwich is a failure.

Adding tomato, onion, lettuce, and olives helped, but it would be an acquired taste at best. Like a peanut butter and banana sandwich. No a Tuna Fish and Bacon sandwich is like a PBBP sandwich (that’s peanut butter and bell pepper sandwich) just doesn’t work. With time I will try a peanut and watercress sandwich, or a peanut and celery sandwich. Making a new recipe is not easy and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Stay strong, write on and when experimenting keep the antacid tablets handy.

Professor Hyram Voltage