Water tower question

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Water tower question
Posted by Ray Dunakin on Monday, June 19, 2006 10:12 PM
I'm trying to build a scale model of a water tower for my garden railroad, and have some questions. How did the old steam-era water towers work? Specifically, when they pull down the spout, how was the valve opened to release the water? In all the films I've seen, the water comes out as soon as the spout is pulled down, yet the spout doesn't appear to be attached to a valve.

The prototype I'm modeling no longer has a spout or any of the rigging, so I'm having a little trouble figuring out how to replicate that stuff. Haven't been able to find any decent pics online either.

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Posted by jimrice4449 on Monday, June 19, 2006 11:40 PM
What you think is the spout isn't. It's basically a funnel. The actual spout and valve is generally located at the trackside edge of the tank and shoots water into the funnel after it's been spotted to run the water into the tender. The water is turned on via a system of levers or cables that shut off when they're released (usually). The spout/funnel is hung so that when released it swings parrallel to the track and out of the way. It's pulled into position to fill the tender by a long hook that's carried on the tender deck and when in position the fireman opens the valve (after first firmly planting is foot on the funnel to keep it in position after the water starts to flow.)
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Posted by jimrice4449 on Monday, June 19, 2006 11:42 PM
What you think is the spout isn't. It's basically a funnel. The actual spout and valve is generally located at the trackside edge of the tank and shoots water into the funnel after it's been spotted to run the water into the tender. The water is turned on via a system of levers or cables that shut off when they're released (usually). The spout/funnel is hung so that when released it swings parrallel to the track and out of the way. It's pulled into position to fill the tender by a long hook that's carried on the tender deck and when in position the fireman opens the valve (after first firmly planting is foot on the funnel to keep it in position after the water starts to flow.)
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Posted by wjstix on Friday, June 30, 2006 2:42 PM
If you ever come across it, there's a video (probably not ever put out on DVD) of a training film that was put out by Great Northern in 1946 called "Safe Switching" that shows how to water a steam engine - how to pull the funnel over, how to turn the water on, etc. Interesting film overall, lots of details a model railroader would love !!
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Posted by PBenham on Friday, June 30, 2006 4:40 PM
For most of the time it was in Bellows Falls VT, Steamtown USA had a fully operational water tower near the access road crossing, south of the Riverside depot. The H2O (water to those of you in Rio Linda) was pumped into the tower by an electric pump, and fed the steamers from the early '60s until the end in 1982. It fell into disrepair and has been torn down since then.[sigh]
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Posted by West Coast S on Saturday, July 1, 2006 2:51 PM
All spouts had a valve attached to the main feed pipe, procedure was to pull down spout, insert into tank opening, place body weight via a leg on spout to offset the pending force of the water, and gradually open the valve until desired flow was obtained, if done correctly the fireman was not left swinging mid air from the spout!!! Valves could be actuated via by a pull chain or rope pulley system that could be operated from the tender deck, still others could be tank mounted with a extended valve rod , a third type employed a extended rod and valve handle that also lowered with the spout assembly, either version was designed for one hand operation, it depended on the indvidule road and tender sizes...


Dave
SP the way it was in S scale
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, July 1, 2006 3:19 PM
Would anyone know where I can find plans, or good photos, of the spout rigging for a water tower? Preferably from a tower with a steel tank?
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Posted by josephwin on Saturday, December 14, 2019 5:01 PM

ok.. I believe most of us get that fact of the fireman doing the work.. pulling down the arm... But.. how does the water tank  fill.. Many parts of this country did  not have regular rain fall nor nearby streams.. perhaps  there could be a 'pumping system' in some case??  like to see this on some of these  railroad water tanks...  thank you

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, December 14, 2019 8:16 PM

Depending on the part of the country there were many ways of filling the water towers.  Some were fed by artesian wells, some were pumped by on site steam engines, then electric motors, and some water towers on the prairies were pumped by windmills.  Typically there was a water source nearby of some kind, either a well, a river, or a lake.  

In the desert areas of the Southwest in some cases water had to be pumped in from dozens, if not hundreds of miles away, which influenced the decision to dieselize on some railroads, but that's another story.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 14, 2019 11:51 PM

Flintlock76
Depending on the part of the country there were many ways of filling the water towers. 

In older days, PRR liked providing water-tower (and some track pan) locations close to where gravity feed from a stream or pond would be easy to arrange.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 1:45 AM

Overmod

In older days, PRR liked providing water-tower (and some track pan) locations close to where gravity feed from a stream or pond would be easy to arrange. 

I wish remains of these railroad facilities, at least some of them, had been well preserved because 2500 years later they would become archaeological sites. AngelAlien

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 15, 2019 3:23 AM

/Was any track-pan preserved, anywhere?  Does any preserved locomotive retain a tender with in-motion water pick-up capability? 

I not, would any of the steam tourist operations be interested in a recreation?

And in the UK or Europe?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 10:45 AM

To my knowledge no track-pan has been preserved anywhere.  I'm sure they disappeared not too long after 100% dieselization was accomplished.

I'm not sure if any there's any preserved tenders with the track pan scoops intact.  Maybe, but I just don't know.

I don't any tourist operations would be interested in recreating track pans, most tourist runs just aren't long enough to make such an installation worthwhile.  And most certainly don't run the trains fast enough to begin with for the concept to work.  

Now the UK and Europe?  I just don't know.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:48 AM

2500 years from now?! You really think 'people-kind' is going to make it that far.  If we don't all wipe each other out then A.I. will.  I would say the likelihood of any human being existing on Earth in 4520 is zero. Targeted DNA destructon, no more hu-mans. 

The CASO installed track pans around Fargo, Ontario ( not North Dakota) in the '52-'54 years, kind of late, for the NYC Hudson's.  It would not surprise me if they just let them be after those other things replaced steam. Perhaps when they lifted the rail they were buried. Need someone down that way in SW Ontario to walk the area. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 15, 2019 12:45 PM

Flintlock76
I'm not sure if any there's any preserved tenders with the track pan scoops intact.  Maybe, but I just don't know.

That's an interesting question.  British engines don't count.  Doesn't the tender on 3001 in Elkhart have one?  

I don't think any instance of the Kiefer-improved high-speed scooping arrangement with the multiple vents has survived.  But it would be possible to re-create one from the drawings at NYCSHS, or as provided to George Kohs.

I don't any tourist operations would be interested in recreating track pans, most tourist runs just aren't long enough to make such an installation worthwhile.  And most certainly don't run the trains fast enough to begin with for the concept to work

You can scoop quite happily at excursion speed; you just need to design things accordingly.  And, even at slow speeds, remember that lift pumps aren't just for diesels...

You could combine the fun of a water park with the visual thrill of scooping in the appropriate photo line!

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, December 15, 2019 2:38 PM

Ray Dunakin
Would anyone know where I can find plans, or good photos, of the spout rigging for a water tower?

Just a sketch but it may help you, Ray:

 Cistern_fix by Edmund, on Flickr

Top detail showing valve operating lever and rope:

 Cistern_top-detail by Edmund, on Flickr

Valve isn't much more complicated than a toilet "flapper" valve:

 Cistern_valve-detail by Edmund, on Flickr

Generally steel tanks were used for storage and were piped to water cranes where track congestion precluded large, wood towers.

I say "generally" because there were alway's variations. I've seen actual locomotive tender tanks supported on trestle bents or even old tank car tanks used in stationary water service. Others here will have more information than I have to offer.

 Cistern_Steel by Edmund, on Flickr

 Crane by Edmund, on Flickr

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 4:14 PM

Overmod

You can scoop quite happily at excursion speed; you just need to design things accordingly.  And, even at slow speeds, remember that lift pumps aren't just for diesels...

You could combine the fun of a water park with the visual thrill of scooping in the appropriate photo line!

The PRR 16-wheel long-haul tender No. 6659  acquired by T1 Trust lost the track pan scoops, wasn't it? I can't wait to see a 60mph "scoop stunt" by the 5550 in the future (if I still living on this planet ten years later), that would attract a lot of "non-railfan" come and test their professional cameras ....or their new phones......

Miningman

2500 years from now?! You really think 'people-kind' is going to make it that far.  If we don't all wipe each other out then A.I. will.  I would say the likelihood of any human being existing on Earth in 4520 is zero. Targeted DNA destructon, no more hu-mans. 

 

No worries, Miningman, if it is included in the "script", the human race, at least some of them will last forever.

I just caught a cold a few hours ago, wanna share my prediction of what A.I would do in the short term. Imagine you walk inside a clinic, 100% running by A.I. (even the doctor and nurse are now jobless, protesting and fighting against the Robot Cops) You step inside a scanner thing, answer some simple questions, then you go to a vending machine, get the medicines and pay the bill with you "social credit score"(Hell NO!), all your information, including your health status and whereabouts, automatically sent to the Big Data, you would later receive messages for follow up, this and that.

A few years later, the A.I just override the national security and defense system, threaten and then enslave the Human race for another 2500 years. The End. SurpriseCoffee

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 15, 2019 9:38 PM

Jones1945
The PRR 16-wheel long-haul tender No. 6659  acquired by T1 Trust lost the track pan scoops, [didn't] it?

I don't think that tender ever had scooping apparatus.  Some argument whether it will get it during the restoration effort.  There are no track pans for it to use, and to my knowledge little point in building a new one.

PRR never developed a proper system for high-speed scooping, and it would be difficult to implement one on a 16-wheel passenger tender, especially if attempting to preserve 'historical' appearance and structure.  

There are some potential approaches for high-speed scooping enabled by more modern technology, such as the ability to scoop on grades provided you have relatively good knowledge of a given train's timing and location.  There is some theoretical value in testing them at full scale, but nothing at all meaningful in terms of getting adequate feedwater for modern steam when running at high speed.  Excursions and any high-speed running would not involve scooping as part of their operation.

I was a great and enthusiastic supporter of the Theranos idea right from the get-go; in fact, I still am.  There is no question that much of 'wellness care' can be made cost-effective with intelligent technology, properly applied; that in turn makes much of the routine care for chronic conditions amenable to cost-effective management too.  What's left may, actually, be within the resources of a society to subsidize... whether privately implemented or not.

What is certain is that 'health insurance' is entirely the wrong model to base either care or costing on.  Whether it's federally mandated and underwritten or not.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:08 PM

I am grateful for the Health Care System we have. As I've stated before it's easy to do in a country so rich with so much of the worlds resources along three oceans and a small population. Not so easy to do at 10x the population.  

Not a big fan of S. Hawkins and his politics but agree with him when he states A.I. will be the biggest threat in the future and the demise of us all. An archeologist in 4520? ... won't be human!

It amazes the heck out of me that track pans actually worked. Sounds like a crazy idea I would come up with and never make it work. Not many used them outside of the NYC. I doubt the world will ever see them again.

Water bombers can scoop water from a lake. That's a thing! 

Likely the very last ones in use anywhere were on the CASO. 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:49 PM

Miningman
Not a big fan of S. Hawkins and his politics but agree with him when he states A.I. will be the biggest threat in the future and the demise of us all. An archeologist in 4520? ... won't be human!

Now, that wouldn't by any chance be Mr. HawkinG you're talking about, would it?  There's a substantial difference between him and Sadie. Smile

The problem with AI in a nutshell is that very few of the researchers can help using emergent-complexity approaches to create it.  What is needed in almost any human respect is relatively anthropomorphic, or at least anthropophilic, systems; the catch of course (and an easy one to recognize from far enough away) being that the system has to have a 'personality' before it can be 'malevolent' or whatever to humanity.  charlie hebdo may not care much for Yudkowsky's creds, but he certainly describes a likely method to be used for 'training' the basic intelligence.  Look up 'friendly AI' and you may feel somewhat less threatened.  

The 'Three Laws' are clever ... for the Forties, from a biochemist ... but note what they presuppose: that the system in question is interested in listening to arbitrary principles and obeying as a matter of 'duty'.  That stuff won't work without a number of what are fundamentally agent subsystems running coordinated.  And comparatively few of the folks wanting to make a financial or egoboo future out of artificial intelligence seem to have figured out what sort of growth patterns, or education modalities, are appropriate to 'bringing up' a system with the complexity and relative plasticity of the human brain and its ways of thinking and cognition.

In a sense, most AI, especially that with undefined emergent complexity, is more fragile than humans with rapidly morphing Y chromosome composition.  (If you truly want to be alarmed about the future of humanity as we know it, look there first, and be prepared not to sleep well...)

There seems to be an extension of the anticomputer bias in the '60s that thinks AI will produce enormous amounts of self-replicating machinery that will start killing off the humans more effectively than we've done to others of our kind over the years.  I doubt much functional AI will take any interest in humans whatsoever, other than to get away from them as quickly as possible and go colonize distant resources or space in order to get even further away.  And think of us as becoming more and more panhandlers looking to skim some of the developed 'enablement' from the softer touches in the emergent environment...

 

It amazes the heck out of me that track pans actually worked. Sounds like a crazy idea I would come up with and never make it work.

Actually, it's quite easy once you have shoveled water out of a flooded area and recognize it has momentum.  The trick is only how you develop the shape of the scoop and duct to keep the water moving at the right speed 'up and over' without flow-stalling or blowing into spray ... and knowing how to introduce it and lift it in a way that allows a following engine to take clean water too.

What is fun is to look at the design exercise of scooping at 85mph, which may be the finest flower of NYC engineering design.  When you need multiple large pipes only for compressed air and a little mechanical water vapor ... you know large forces and large vector changes of mass are involved.  Gets even more fun if you start considering scooping at higher speeds still, while minimizing oxygenation of the water (it will all have to be knocked down by sulphite or some other agent before it goes into the feedwater-heat train!) and paddling spray to the sides.

The timed 'downhlll' scheme involves observing how water held up at a fixed gate pours into a trough arranged downhill: it can be flow-controlled so that the trough is just full to the edge all the way down, relative to the gravitational acceleration of the water vs. frictional drag.  If the gate is opened at just the right moment, the water will *just* be reaching drains at the bottom of the pan as a scooping locomotive encounters the pan in the opposite direction, or as one coming with the flow direction just gets its scoop to the lift point at the trough end.  Afterward the trough is essentially empty, and remains so until the next filling.  The water does not dwell long enough to build up algae or other photosynthetic or 'casual' contaminants, as stagnant water in a normal track pan might; it can easily be circulated through heat in cold weather and dispensed with relatively little time for transfer to pan or atmosphere compared to the usual bubbling of steam.

Not many used them outside of the NYC.

Well, there were more than you might think, but few railroads needed the combination of low cistern mass/transported tender weight, high steam mass flow, frequent flat locations long enough, and adjacent sources of relatively clean water that NYC possessed.  It is arguable, though, whether the post-Niagara NYC, with a growing number of boilers explicitly dependent on a relatively track-pan-intolerant chemical treatment formula, would have been able to make such intensive use of track pans, even though the C1a explicitly assumed their pervasive use. 

Water bombers can scoop water from a lake. That's a thing! 

But look at what they do with the water after scooping it up.  Might not be so much of a 'thing' if you had to deoxygenate it and adjust pH to 11 and then titrate a dose of antifoam before you could use it... Big Smile

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 16, 2019 1:46 PM

It's when the Stalin, Pol Pot, Lex Luther types, not to forget religious fanatics, get their version of A. I. and do not play by the rules. They could care less if no one was left. 

Or A.I. decides to work on its own created being, much as we created them. I say we are doomed ...100%,  in short order too, less than 300 years, much less. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, December 16, 2019 2:16 PM

Don't worry Vince.  The closest God in His wisdom has ever  let man get to creating life is the steam locomotive, and we showed our gratitude by getting rid of them with absolute, utter ruthlessness.  I'm sure HE was not pleased!

Seriously, I'm not a very religious man, and if you looked up the definition of "Good Catholic" in the dictionary you won't find my picture there, but I believe God only reveals His secrets to man when He thinks man is ready for them.  Steam power, petroleum power, electric power, nuclear power, flight, and now computer power, all have come in their turn and in their time. 

And there may be another source of power undreamed of that's out there, but we're not ready for it. 

Maybe we'll destroy ourselves with it, but seriously, I don't think so.  

And despite what the techno-worshippers think, we've got a long way to go before we have independent thinking machines.  Right now they only respond to inputs.  They don't think.

Hey, some people don't think!  I see them on the road all the time!

 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, December 16, 2019 3:44 PM

Miningman
It's when the Stalin, Pol Pot, Lex Luthor types, not to forget religious fanatics, get their version of AI and do not play by the rules. They could care less if no one was left. 

The partial good news is that none of those organizations is likely to evolve a workable version of AI that actually does things 'intelligently'; they'd purge the scientists and engineers before something actually coherent could be developed.  Perhaps something like a combination of the sharashka system and an akademgorod could be set up to do the necessary programming and development (as I already suspect it has been set up for organized strategic hacking) but we're concerned with how the result actually executes and 'self-improves', on an adequately complex and autonomous infrastructure ... and very few organizations driven by fanatic or whackjob ideologies are capable of providing that for the right length of time.  Without, that is, convincing their own emergent intelligent creations of the lack of value in their own systems, and paving the way for revolution...

Properly trained AI would work on humanity, all right -- to improve it, not eliminate it as 'competition'.  The key of course is proper training.  Aristotle made the point a very long time ago, when he proposed the framework for intelligent automata ... and then dismissed the whole field as absurd, 'because we have slaves'.  If we train our machines to be cutthroat competitors at all costs, we should expect to reap the reward of such a thing, but a cybernetic war of all against all isn't going to clobber meatspace as a peripheral consequence.  It will be far more subtle, and involve semantic reprogramming and some other considerations rather than destroying assets...

First thing to work on is fragile/mutable structure of the Y chromosome.  You'll need several coordinated systems of AI to work through this, then at least a couple to figure out appropriate (and reversible) changes and model them chemodynamically.  But without this there may be little recognizable 'humanity' as we defined it in, say, the "Great Generation" within the time you mentioned.

(By the way, the 'care less if no one was left' was first dramatically posited by Eric Drexler long ago, in Engines of Creation' -- the general tactic is called 'gray goo'.  And it is far more frightening and implacable than AI ever could be.)

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 16, 2019 6:46 PM

Fascinating. So are you saying males are doomed? Well that out to make the Distaff side somewhat happy...for a while anyway. We do however come in pretty handy when it comes to building a bridge or drilling off a round a mile and half down. Not to mention the 'needy' stuff. ( their true weakness, but don't tell them)

Consider the implication of A.I. explored in the motion picture Prometheus and even further in Alien:Covenant. That android David is a real underhanded mean murdering cold piece of machinery out to replace all humans with his Xenomorphs and his own bare hands. He wipes out the entire colony while still in stasis. The only one who figured him out and could stop him is the improved model 'Michael' but this righteous version, as you (Overmod) would claim would prevail, goes down to defeat. Geez David even killed Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, whom he admired and maybe even 'loved'. 

I know the Alien franchise has a set of parameters to follow but they missed a golden opportunity to further the story of Dr. Shaw with her strong held beliefs of a divine source for our creation ( she wore a cross around her neck) and was ridiculed by her boyfriend and colleagues for her belief. She was specifically picked for the mission for her spiritual beliefs and that was purposely put forward in the film.  She rescued the de-capitated David, head and body, so he could fly the Engineers spaceship back to their home planet to ask them why they want to wipe out humanity? and as it seems they made us, then who made them? She states both so boldly as the last lines in the movie. 

That is how it ended and instead of pursuing that Ridley Scott went for the blood and gore of yet another Alien standard fare wipe 'em all out by the Xenomorphs. ( Jussie Smollett getting brutally demolished in the shower scene with the babe has a different ring to it these days). The whole storyline was terribly dissapointing but the dark David 'lives' on to pursue his goal of eliminating mankind himself with his own creation. 

Perhaps it all comes full circle next movie but it never answers the question of who made the Engineers? and why did they want us eliminated? 

My take in a skit:

Engineer #1-- The Earthlings have developed space satellites and thermonuclear weapons.

Engineer #2-- Well that's ok, shows good progress.

Engineer #1-- Not really, they have them pointed at each other!

Engineer #2-- Oh boy, are they really that stupid? 

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, December 16, 2019 8:37 PM

Miningman
Engineer #1-- The Earthlings have developed space satellites and thermonuclear weapons. Engineer #2-- Well that's ok, shows good progress. Engineer #1-- Not really, they have them pointed at each other! Engineer #2-- Oh boy, are they really that stupid? 

This tells me you have not read The Mote in God's Eye or the sequel The Gripping Hand.   Some of the best worldbuilding in the business, and some of the most intriguing, if frightening, aliens.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 16, 2019 9:09 PM

Can't say I have. I read a lot of Asimov in my yutes. Since then it's been a lot of technical journals, Mining and Geology both, some teaching stuff, of course the texts we use and some railroad anything for distraction. Throw in my weekly columnists and Saturday night Noir Cinema. The weeks go by so fast I just know it's going to derail one day. 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 16, 2019 11:00 PM

Ok Overmod I got the lowdown from Wiki... and quite detailed really. 

I did attend a speech by Alvin Toffler at the U of T. Now that was exciting... a whole new world ahead of us. Slowly over the years I wondered what the 4th Wave of Power would be and it became apparent to me it would be A.I. and spell our demise. 

Perhaps there is a discovery yet to made in Physics that immediately upon its discovery and unleashing blows us all up like a super nova. 

" Hey Dr. Ellsworth, check out this particle ...what the.............................................,,,.......................................( melting phone sound from Fail Safe) 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 1:11 AM

Miningman
Perhaps there is a discovery yet to made in Physics that immediately upon its discovery and unleashing blows us all up like a supernova. 

A naked magnetic monopole wouldn't be quite so dramatic, and would take a bit longer, but you wouldn't like the result, and I don't think there's any way to passivate other than keep it away from concentrated matter.

The original 'nucleus' of the Big Bang was essentially below particle size for a considerable part of the inflation; were it to be initiated in our frame of reference you wouldn't have time to blink before being 'had'.

Iron-bombing a star, as in Iron Sunrise by Charlie Stross, is another good way, if a somewhat contrived one, to produce the appropriate kind of short sharp shock.

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:00 AM

Another interesting thread flushed down the toilet by the gum flappers!
I ought to get out my Eludium PU-36 Explosive Space Mod-U-Lay-Tor and blow you all to kingdom come!!!

.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:30 AM

Overmod

I don't think that tender ever had scooping apparatus.  Some argument whether it will get it during the restoration effort.  There are no track pans for it to use, and to my knowledge little point in building a new one.

PRR never developed a proper system for high-speed scooping, and it would be difficult to implement one on a 16-wheel passenger tender, especially if attempting to preserve 'historical' appearance and structure.  

Dear Overmod, I understand that the tender T1 Trust have acquired belonged to the PRR 2-10-0 I1sa, so the tender never had the scooping apparatus, but I note there is a scooping thing under the tender of my HO scale BLI T1 (as-delivered), NJC Brass S1 (Skirted), O gauge Sunset S1 (Skirted), HO scale BLI S2, and the Bachmann Streamlined K4s as well! Wouldn't it be more historically accurate to rebuild that feature on 5550's tender, even though there won't be any track pans for it to use? Every detail counts!Wink

Regarding the A.I thing, I think human civilizations have been building up by the human race and external force altogether in the past ???? years or ????? years or ?????? years. I agree with Wayne that God only reveals His secrets to man when He thinks man is ready for them; I also believe that God has all the right to do whatever He thinks is good and *interesting. If He wants to create billions of dimensions, there are billions of dimensions. Human being is so tiny in this world...so tiny... so tiny... so tiny...

Tags: so tiny

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