Censors of Knowledge

JSTOR1 “This archive contains 18,592 scientific publications totaling 33GiB, all from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and which should be available to everyone at no cost, but most have previously only been made available at high prices through paywall gatekeepers like JSTOR. Limited access to the documents here is typically sold for $19 USD per article, though some of the older ones are available as cheaply as $8. Purchasing access to this collection one article at a time would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Whether or not you are interested in the publications, the accompanying manifest written by Greg Maxwell deserves to be read. Find a summary below. Original manifest + download here. Via Edwin Mijnsbergen.

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Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics: a Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering and the Mechanical Arts

Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics

“Appletons’ cyclopaedia of applied mechanics: a dictionary of mechanical engineering and the mechanical arts (1880): Volume IVolume II” is another great resource on 19th century technology. Via Tecob. Previously:

Wind Farms Can Be Made 10 Times Smaller

Size of wind farms “Modern wind farms comprised of horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) require significant land resources to separate each wind turbine from the adjacent turbine wakes. This aerodynamic constraint limits the amount of power that can be extracted from a given wind farm footprint. The resulting inefficiency of HAWT farms is currently compensated by using taller wind turbines to access greater wind resources at high altitudes, but this solution comes at the expense of higher engineering costs and greater visual, acoustic, radar and environmental impacts.”

“We investigated the use of counter-rotating vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in order to achieve higher power output per unit land area than existing wind farms consisting of HAWTs. Full-scale field tests of 10-m tall VAWTs in various counter-rotating configurations were conducted under natural wind conditions during summer 2010. Whereas modern wind farms consisting of HAWTs produce 2 to 3 watts of power per square meter of land area, these field tests indicate that power densities an order of magnitude greater [21 to 47 watts] can potentially be achieved by arranging VAWTs in layouts that enable them to extract energy from adjacent wakes and from above the wind farm.”

Small wind farm “The results suggest an alternative approach to wind farming that has the potential to concurrently reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms.”

Read more: ‘Potential order-of-magnitude enhancement of wind farm power density via counterrotating vertical-axis wind turbine arrays’, John O. Dabiri. Introduction. Research paper (pdf). Via Ecogeek

Illustrated Inventory of Antique Farm Tools (1600 – 1940)

Rotary seed drill Peter Charles Dorrington collected and restored over 750 antique farm tools between 1985 and 2001. Most of these tools were agricultural hand implements and fenland tools that were used in England, Wales and Scotland, dating from about 1600 to 1940, for example: “chaff cutters”, “flails”, scythes”, “dibbers” and “breast ploughs”. Antique Farm Tools. On the picture: a rotary seed drill. Related: the museum of old techniques.

The Flying Men of Yungas Valley

Wire cables “In Bolivia’s jungles and steep cliffs the Yungas people do not walk. They fly. On ropes. Like birds. Faster than astronauts. These ‘birds’ are known as cocaleros, or coca harvesters. They use ropes to swing across the narrow valleys, suspended from ancient rusting pulleys.” Watch the video. Jerry, thanks for the link. Previously: Aerial ropeways: automatic cargo transport for a bargain.

Covered Bridges: How to Build and Rebuild Them

covered bridges how to build and rebuild them

“This manual is intended to provide comprehensive support to those involved with maintaining, assessing, strengthening, or rehabilitating covered bridges, especially heavy timber truss bridges. At one time, the United States reportedly had 14,000 of these unique bridges dotting the countryside over a surprisingly large area. Now, fewer than 900 of the historic structures survive.

Timber bridges initially were built without coverings and failed in just a few years because of rot and deterioration, because chemical wood preservatives were not available or used. Builders familiar with the construction of houses, barns, and large community structures naturally added siding and roofs to help protect the bridge. They understood that the covering would soon pay for itself.

They believed that regular maintenance and occasional replacement of the light covering was far easier and cheaper than building an entirely new bridge. North American covered bridges still serve after nearly 200 years, due in part to the continued soundness of the trusses, which was possible only with these protective coverings.”

Covered Bridge Manual“, 327 pages, US Department of Transportation, 2005. Via Arquitectura y madera. Previously: wooden bridges / wooden pipelines. Picture by Rainer Ebert.