Eleven

serious, feels like birdshot yellowjacket stings, and now they’ve had a chance to show up, eight additional less intense ones that I didn’t even feel at first. I damned sure do now, they itch like crazy. At one point this afternoon I contemplated lying on a gravel driveway and scooting like a dog with worms, the stings itch so badly. So I came home to stand in the hot shower for a while, and now I’m barely trying to scrape the hide off my back.

Still feverish, though. The dreams last night were messed up. In one I was being deported to Poland, despite my not being from there.

There are

a good deal of things that I haven’t even touched on regarding machining, but lets look at one specific one in some more detail.

NC machining began, more or less, at the same time as the helicopter. Parsons’ rotor segments were so damned hard to make by hand that he had to develop some way to do so reliably and repeatably- it started with Pratt Whitneys tracers, moved to punch card controlled hydraulics and motors, and finally tape controlled nc devices that could make complex shapes.

This is a huge deal. Not just because it makes things easier to manufacture, but because it makes things possible to manufacture that were never possible before. Like quiet gearboxes and propellors that don’t cavitate.

The Russians knew this too. And if you think espionage only takes place in bond books, google “Toshiba scandal”. In the mid 80’s, Toshiba and Kongsberg sold really high tech equipment to the Russians, and all of a sudden, Russian submarines were very quiet.

The Japanese were only a young man’s lifetime away from receipt of the only nuclear weapon ever used in war. They were scared of the Russians and of the US. They didn’t do this lightly, they did this because they knew that the more the two superpowers concentrated on each other, the easier Japan’s life would be. (Well, probably not all Japanese, but certainly the people responsible for cutting this deal)

This tech allowed the Russians to get ahead, perhaps further ahead than they ever would have been able to do by espionage, and it has been a big deal.

I have, in my capability as a robotics guy, had to have some dealings with the office of naval research. They take this very seriously.

Anyway, just because manufacturing is common doesn’t mean it’s always boring.

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