0976: "Sail"

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Quicksilver
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0976: "Sail"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:24 am UTC

Image
http://xkcd.com/976/
Alt text: "It only works a few times before you have to capsize the boat in a soap lagoon again."
It looks like some kind of bubble maker.

nothinglikeit22
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby nothinglikeit22 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:30 am UTC

edit: sailing is awesome. this is a blast from the nostalgic past; bubbles used to be the shit.

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KShrike
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby KShrike » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:40 am UTC

Makes me want to blow bubbles.
At first I was like, "Wait, is it possible to use bubble soap as a sail?"
Then I wised up...
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whateveries
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby whateveries » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:49 am UTC

I for one, cannot wait for the physics wonks to battle the chemistry wonks on the feasability of said soap sail. otherwise, this is my favourite since the ball pit apartment.
it's fine.

slaxor
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby slaxor » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:59 am UTC

Could this be feasible? Not with soap, obviously, but is there there the possiblilty of something that could adhere to the mast well enough to pull a boat, and still be able to form a bubble?

Because if so, this is the sort of stuff truly excellent sci-fi is made of.

irishnut
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby irishnut » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:10 am UTC

Since I'm in no way capable of doing the math on it I wonder how much the surface tension on a bubble like that would allow you pull...
Also laughed out loud at this one, for some reason I find this absolutely hilarious lol

Airbuilder7
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Airbuilder7 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:14 am UTC

irishnut wrote:Also laughed out loud at this one, for some reason I find this absolutely hilarious lol

Same here. I think part of it comes from the guy's confused "WTF?" expression in the last panel. :D

v_mulligan
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby v_mulligan » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:27 am UTC

Crazy thought, but could this impart momentum to the boat in the direction opposite to that in which the wind is blowing? I think I'm picturing some sort of bizarre sci-fi solar sail that lets you move towards a parent star, but I might be trying to violate conservation of momentum... It's late and I'm tired.

chapel
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby chapel » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:48 am UTC

Little detail that makes this great. The sail gets smaller in the last panel, no doubt because it lost some of its surface area to the bubble.

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Djehutynakht
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:09 am UTC

This is truely awesome. Great concept, possible or not.

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StClair
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby StClair » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:40 am UTC

My favorite part is how the area of the sail has diminished in the last panel.

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AvatarIII
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:57 am UTC

I'm guessing there is a piece of string making up the 3rd side of the sail right?

great strip though, xkcd visual gags are brilliant,

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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Ideas sleep furiously. » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:58 am UTC

Awesome.

I was getting a tad sick of the 'yeah, okay.' comics.
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby drakvl » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:17 am UTC

I saw it more as the sail just being at a different angle, than shrinking.

richardr
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby richardr » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:34 am UTC

First comic in a while to make me laugh out loud. Excellent! :D

open-collar
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby open-collar » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:40 am UTC

When I saw this I thought of cell division. I think it should be renamed "Meiosis".

fernie
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby fernie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:54 am UTC

I think both the boat and sail get smaller in the last panel, sort of a "zoom out" to be able to catch both the bubble and the ship.

So... in a frictionless surface, or a frozen ocean (lake?) would the wind be able to move the boat before forming a bubble?

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AvatarIII
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:20 am UTC

on a frictionless surface, yes, the wind just blowing on the masts and the boat itself would be able to push the boat,

Isaac
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Isaac » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:46 am UTC

fernie wrote:I think both the boat and sail get smaller in the last panel, sort of a "zoom out" to be able to catch both the bubble and the ship.

So... in a frictionless surface, or a frozen ocean (lake?) would the wind be able to move the boat before forming a bubble?


depends on the inertia of the boat, the aerodynamic drag of the boats body, aerodynamic drag of the bubble-sail and the strength of the wind. Decrease the drag of the body while increasing everything else and you are more likely to blow bubbles, do the opposite and you're more likely to sail and blow no bubbles.

of course, even in the ocean if you increase the drag of the boat while decreasing everything else, you might also be able to sail without blowing bubbles.

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SirMustapha
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:01 am UTC

At first I WTF'd, but then I... WTF'd again.

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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:02 am UTC

nothinglikeit22 wrote:edit: sailing is awesome. this is a blast from the nostalgic past; bubbles used to be are the shit.


FTFY.

Seriously, you're never too old to blow bubbles. I used to keep a bottle of Mr. Bubbles by TootsieToy around for whenever I needed to blow. May get a bottle of the "Miracle Bubbles" soon.

A local hospital has a billboard of a woman blowing bubbles, with a caption about beating depression.

When I was a kid, I remember a toy came out that looked very similar to the sail. It was called "Dip Stix" and the idea was it helped you make bubbles the size of minivans, or even commuter buses. I asked for one for my birthday. I ended up with a "Bubble Thing", which basically did the same thing. It. Was. The. Shit.

You made up your own bubble solution: 1 cup of dish soap to 10 cups of water, and a teaspoon of glycerin. The book recommended using the brands Joy or Dawn. I tried another brand, and sure enough, only Joy or Dawn (we usually bought the latter) worked best.
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Hanyou Hottie
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Hanyou Hottie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:36 am UTC

I thought he was showing how sails reproduce...

ygp
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby ygp » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

Strongly reminiscent of comic 942 to me, though maybe it's just the stick figure scratching his head in the same way.

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Samik
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Samik » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:35 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:When I was a kid, I remember a toy came out that looked very similar to the sail. It was called "Dip Stix" and the idea was it helped you make bubbles the size of minivans, or even commuter buses. I asked for one for my birthday. I ended up with a "Bubble Thing", which basically did the same thing. It. Was. The. Shit.

You made up your own bubble solution: 1 cup of dish soap to 10 cups of water, and a teaspoon of glycerin. The book recommended using the brands Joy or Dawn. I tried another brand, and sure enough, only Joy or Dawn (we usually bought the latter) worked best.

We had some variation on that. A couple of sticks with ropes between them that you dipped in a home made solution involving dish detergent.

We would take it and spin around in circles and try to create as many rings of ~2ft in diamater bubbles around ourselves as possible. I once managed to get three complete rings around myself (stacked vertically, like a spring) before it popped. I know we got a picture of it, but I haven't the slightest idea where it might have gotten off to - this is the first time I've thought about it since, probably.

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Jackpot777
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Jackpot777 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:53 pm UTC

My first thought was: shouldn't the bubble be more ...spherical? Surface tension, and so on? Then I saw this...

Image

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Vnend
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Vnend » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

For those of you who think in terms of classic animation history, this begs to be made into a zoetrope.

For everyone else, this is going to show up as an animated GIF.

DaPwnzlord
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby DaPwnzlord » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

Not to pop anyone's bubble (pun fully intended) but bubbles can be really annoying. I do volunteer research type stuff in a molecular biology lab and bubbles mess up so many things. Gels we're pouring, protein assays, etc. Bubbles made out of soap in the backyard are really cool though. I think I tried to make the huge ones when I was younger too.

YellowRex
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby YellowRex » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:24 pm UTC

Nice rendition of one of MIT's gaff-rigged catboats.

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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby belliott4488 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

YellowRex wrote:Nice rendition of one of MIT's gaff-rigged catboats.

What?? I thought it was a Sunfish ... but you're right - it seems to have a cockpit with gunwales and all.

Love that delta sail, though. :D

newsouthzach
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby newsouthzach » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

That is _so_ not how a lateen rig works...

newsouthzach
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby newsouthzach » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:51 pm UTC

YellowRex wrote:Nice rendition of one of MIT's gaff-rigged catboats.

Gaah! Just saw this. It's not gaff-rigged, and it's not a catboat. It's a lateen sail. As belliot suggested, it's a lot closer to a Sunfish than any sort of catboat rig.

As for the hydrodynamics... it's an interesting question. Obviously you wouldn't get much lift from bubble formation, but I'm not sure the lift would be zero, which means that in principle you might be able to propel a boat with a sail made from a glycerin film. Wouldn't be particularly efficient, but it might move. Assuming an appropriate Reynolds number.

nothinglikeit22
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby nothinglikeit22 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:
nothinglikeit22 wrote:edit: sailing is awesome. this is a blast from the nostalgic past; bubbles used to be are the shit.


FTFY.

Seriously, you're never too old to blow bubbles. I used to keep a bottle of Mr. Bubbles by TootsieToy around for whenever I needed to blow. May get a bottle of the "Miracle Bubbles" soon.


Wow, I should have reread that. they definitely still are. Also that is a very good idea.

rrrebo
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby rrrebo » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

I applaud your choice on the lateen rig. I've sailed my dad's Sunfish for years (it's older than I am, and I'm 41 :shock: ), so my first impression was also Sunfish, but I can see the hull is not quite like one.

Clayh
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Clayh » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

When I saw this I thought of cell division. I think it should be renamed "Meiosis".


Haha, same here! I only made the bubble connection after looking for a few seconds. Not even the title text helped, as i thought it said "soup", not "soap". That confused me even further. Also: "Mitosis" would be more fitting. Sails are not sex cells.

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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

I saw bubble sail cool. Then: wait he's confused so it's not bubble?
If so then it is more like 942 as ygp mentioned but the Alt text has me wondering.

And couldn't the sail work if you just make it pure glycerin? (higher concentration not 100%)
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby RogueCynic » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

No alt text needed. Funny on its own. Randall apparently has been to CBI recently. I remember doing bubbles with dishwasher soap. When the bubbles popped, there was a little film left, dropping through the air. I imagined it was the parachute for the bubble pilot.
Last edited by RogueCynic on Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:46 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby Doyh » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

Really? A sunfish?

a13ean
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby a13ean » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:46 pm UTC

In many sailboats (although not so much in the sunfish or the mit class) when sailing downwind the boom lifts up like this it can push the bow of the boat down into the water. If it's moving too fast and digs in, this can cause the entire boat to flip forward over the bow which is called a "death roll". The boats that were sailed this year at the Americas cup were very prone to this, you can see a few crashes like that at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCpJ289-g6A

This happens all the time in the single-person laser class of boats, especially when they are sailing downwind. Lasers can "sail by the lee" and let their boom extend more than 90 degrees out and tilt the boat in the opposite direction to lift the sail up in the air. This can be very fast, but if you become unbalanced or hit a wave the entire thing can flip forward all at once. I can't find a decent video of this though, guess you'll have to try it for yourselves. Here's roughly what it looks like:

Image
From: http://capsizeimminent.blogspot.com/2009/05/san-francisco-sailing-richmond-yacht.html

WizenedEE
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby WizenedEE » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

Vnend wrote:For everyone else, this is going to show up as an animated GIF.
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tuseroni
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Re: 0976: "Sail"

Postby tuseroni » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:11 pm UTC

i wonder if hagfish slime would work...
Image


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