Let’s Hear it for Nerds

Don’t panic. I am NOT going to describe this.

Let’s Hear it for Nerds

I know, it’s Monday.

I know, that looks like math, or physics.

I know, I know, I know – but, fair is fair, it’s my blog and I really enjoy this stuff.

However…

Without you, this blog would be a shadow of itself.

So, I will make this short. If you really want to, skip to the gallery and look at the pictures. I won’t be offended.

The following is a quote from – OK, I might as well offend the rest of you – Wikipedia.

The Holyoke Canal System is a system of power canals in Holyoke, Massachusetts…Constructed over a period between 1848 and 1892, the Canal System, along with the Dam, is recognized as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for its use in the development of the Venturi meter by Clemens Herschel, the first means of measuring large-scale flows, and the McCormick-Holyoke Turbine by John B. McCormick.

Wikipedia

This is exciting stuff…at least to some of us.

The Venturi meter was a means of scientifically measuring the amount of water being consumed by a water-powered mill. Whatever form of power a manufacturing facility is using, it is likely to be available in a finite quantity. It is essential to know how much power is available and how much power is being consumed. Clemens Herschel worked at previous water-powered facilities in New England, but it was in Holyoke that he perfected his apparatus. After his work in Holyoke, Herschel worked as a consulting hydraulic engineer. He worked on major projects, including the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls and water tunnel that would deliver water from the Catskill reservoirs to New York City.

Clemens Herschel designed a “Testing Flume” which would ultimately lead to the development of the McCormick-Holyoke Turbine. I sense your anticipation.

OK, enough about Clemens.

John McCormick, an American mechanical engineer, invented the first modern mixed flow water turbine, the “Hercules”, as well as the Holyoke-McCormick, and other turbine designs. The Holyoke-McCormick turbine doubled the efficiency of turbines to more than 80%, and eventually reached an efficiency of close to 90%.

Riveting stuff…am I right?

I could go on. I won’t, but I could. There were many other scientific developments that grew out of the array of projects the comprised the Holyoke dam and canal system.

There, under 400 words. How’s that.


78 comments

  1. Amazing what our ancestors could accomplish. :-) I hate liter too. When someone tosses it, who exactly do they think is going to pick it up, their mother? In the ‘good old days’ of 2019 and before, I’d pick it up and drop it in a receptacle on the way into a store or in my own trash. These days of Covid-19, unless you have gloves on and a picker you’re not picking up someone else’s trash.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m with you on the litter. There was a trash can within sight of this parking lot (Maddie had just made a deposit).

      We tend to think that the people in that era just used manpower and overkill, but they actually did research and developed many inventions and discovered many things that still influence our lives and industries today. They were quiet capable with their pencils and paper.

      Like

  2. ok. ok. so I learned something I did not know and that’s a good thing. Actually, it was a little fascinating. I do realize that without ‘science’ there would be no world. No Tvs, Cell phone, cars . . . So 389 words is not a hardship and our reward is PICTURES! Thanks Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It looks like you didn’t believe me about being under 400, Pam. The mad scientists of this ea put us on a path to discovery that hasn’t really ended. We owe more to them than most people realize. I’m glad you hung in there with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Smokey’s cousin is also sporting a ‘fat’ tail, forecasting a cold winter. Maddie’s fur looks so sleek and shiny, especially where you two are being couch potatoes! Nice to nap after a long walk! Best bunny picture ever!!

    Bravo to the gentlemen mentioned in today’s post. They helped the world get to where we are today. No small feat.

    Litter. Ewwwww. Why can’t folks just hold on to it and throw it in the nearest receptacle or take it home and deposit in their own garbage? It’s not like you need a college degree to do that.
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The nearest trash can was within sight of that post (Maddie had just made a deposit). I hate litter. It’s just so inconsiderate. Smokey’s cousin does look like he’s ready to curl up under that tail for a nap.

      The men of that era brought visions to life, advancing a nation into a new reality.

      Like

  4. Okay, even the dandelions and the ‘face’ look a bit wilted by all this technical talk. 😂That being said, I read every word and was riveted, not because I am particularly enthralled by the details of engineering but because of your enthusiasm towards it. Make no mistake, I love engineering, physics and theory. It is in the details that my mind goes numb. It would seem that Holyoke is one of your magical places and that’s awesome. I never really knew about the industrial aspect of this city. In fact, the name Holyoke on rings a bell due to my having watched Dirty Dancing more than a hundred times and I know every word by heart.
    Sid’s dipnoid grandson to Baby, “I’m going to Mount Holyoke in the Fall.” Pause for moment of silent appreciation. Honestly I’m sure one has nothing to do with the other but it is the only connection I have.
    That being said, I LOVE dams. Every Summer when we went to the family home in the Arkansas mountains we would visit the Bull Shoals Damn (my favorite) and the Norfolk Dam. Both offered incredible views and we got the ‘tour’ from my Grandpa every time. One even had a fish hatchery on it where we got to feed the trout they raised and would release in the river. I have also been to the Hoover dam when visiting same Grandpa after he moved to Vegas. He actually worked on that dam when he was very young. I love that famous photo of all the guys sitting on the edge of the Hoover Dam. See what great memories you have inspired, in spite of your little intimidating squiggles of brain boggling Math near the top of the page? Happy Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you hung in with me, Cheryl. And, Mount Holyoke College is right down the road. It’s possible that I even took some pictures of the doors on campus.

      The chance to see Hoover Dam would be the only reason you could get me to Vegas.

      There is a fish ladder at the Holyoke dam. It was closed to visitors, but I hope to get there in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My Grandpa got me to Vegas. God bless him. He took me to the Golden Nugget and showed me where he played Keno daily. He was strictly on SS but had his routine. He was very calculating about any gambling. At the time my former husband and I were on a ridiculous budget and I took a roll of nickels in with me, played a progressive slot and came out with $60. I put it right in my pocket, just like Grandpa tole me to. I sure miss him. I have no desire to ever see Vegas again. These days it makes me think of Stephen King’s The Stand. 😱

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Dan, please tell me, when you look back on your life, what inspired your curiosity in engineering? I ask because I think not having more advanced science classes in high school or by not having the opportunity to take shop class, I missed learning so much. I do love tools and mechanics, although I do not have the inventor’s curiosity I think you possess. Very interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mostly, I think it comes from my father. Some of my earliest memories with him are of him building something or modifying something for a new purpose. My toys were Kenner’s Girder and Panel Building Set, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys and an Erector set. I was always building something, and I was always helping my dad with his projects. Shop class reinforced the lessons I had already been learning at home. In fact, Shop class was the subject of the second post on this blog, a little over 9 years ago https://nofacilities.com/2011/07/15/shop-class/

      I still love learning how things were/are made and how things work.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What a great post about Shop Class, Dan. I could not like it or comment there, however. I felt much the same about our Home Economics class. But I would have loved Shop class – it was not available to girls.

        My brother had the Girder and Panel set, too. We had Lincoln Logs, too. I loved playing with those toys. We were too early for the Lego phenomena.

        I attribute my love and knowledge of tools to my father and my grandfathers. Perhaps this is why I enjoy the construction of jewelry from metal. The need to be organized and precise and visualizing how to construct something appeals to me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I had to change the comment allowed dates, as I was getting too much spam on the older posts. There are days I wish I could have taken Home Economics. I was so glad our daughter loved her Legos, because I got to play, too.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan, this was actually fairly interesting because there are no math equations here, and you added a bit of humor to boot. I’ve been to canals and dams, and always found them to be interesting. Cheryl reminded me of my visit to Hoover dam many years ago and I remember marveling at the engineering feat of such a massive structure. I’m glad that through the centuries, we’ve had able-bodied scientists, engineers and inventors to make our lives better.

    Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Mary. I figured it would take a few spoonfuls of humor to get this past some of you. These things simply fascinate me, and it’s so interesting to learn that they weren’t only flying by the seat of their pants, they were actually figuring this stuff out, long before computers were tucked into our pockets. Hoover Dam remains one of the things I’d love to see. I’ve toured Grand Coulee Dam, but I’ve never been to Vegas.

      Happy Monday.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. By default equations like that one just make me happy. When I see them I always find myself just pausing over them, studying. For this one, if you remove the flow rate and turbine efficiency, what remains is the pressure due to the weight of the liquid in question, if it has constant density. Thanks for posting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Aaaaaannd…you said McCormick and I thought spices. They make organic spices in glass jars which I love. Litter….at work, our head of HR used to send out an email entitled “I am not your momma!” and it was a rant about cleaning up after ourselves in the kitchen. You have to wonder how some people live. Nasty stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now I have to wonder what you will be cooking/baking later today.

      I used to be the guy sending out that email. We had a guy who would make tea and just drop the teabag into the sink and walk away. I took a picture and sent it around saying, “You Mother Doesn’t Work Here!” He came forward, and I asked, “do you do that at home?” He said, “Yeah, my wife takes care of it.” There’s no shaming some people.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cool stuff, Dan. And I enjoyed the old images. Always nice to see the furry crew too. The bunny looks downright proud to get his picture taken. I beg to differ about the “nerd” title though. I’d call this more of a geek post. While geeks and nerds might look similar, they are not the same. The difference being that “geeks get it done while nerds are just… nerds.” LOL. A very smart post, so geek, not nerd. ;) Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that about geeks vs. nerds. I’ve always used the two terms interchangeably. I sort of feel better about being a geek. The bunny was concerned that Maddie and I were going to make it move. I could see he had found a nice place to eat, so we went the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A dangerous post Dan. I have been all over the internet. Somehow I ended up at Grand Cooulee dam. I am glad you did not get into McCormick’s politics. It is interesting he started out a music teacher. Somehow sliderules got into to the mix. It must have been seeing all those charts for the turbines. Happy Monday

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, it wasn’t hard keeping this post on the short side, John. Interesting is barely a word to describe Mr. McCormick. When I first started reading about him, I was sure there must be two famous guys with that name.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew John Roebling died before the bridge was completed, but I didn’t know he died from tetanus. When I was getting my booster last year (I’ve managed to have at least one in every decade of my life) my doctor said, “you will never know anyone who has had tetanus. That’s because they all die. That’s why you get the booster.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did research on tetanus for my book, Through the Nethergate, that is how I came across this piece of information. My mom had a friend in her town who died of tetanus during WW2 (no antibiotics available to the public). Very traumatic for her and a terrible death for the boy.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the snowblower tuned-up last week, John. It’s tucked away in the remodeled shed, but pretty soon, it will be pointing out the door. When I read that the thought the canal system could power 50 mills, I wondered how they knew that. These two guys are the reason. I guess the last thing you wanted to do was build a mill and find out you didn’t have enough water to run it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sure there are rivets somewhere in these, so that makes it riveting. :-) I love the black squirrel. In Ohio and Illinois, we had brown ones and in Illinois there were also some grey ones. I’ve seen grey ones in Toronto, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black one. If there ever were any in Arizona, they probably died from over-heating in the summer when the black coats absorbed too much heat!

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I hope it was somewhat interesting. I wouldn’t want to be a black squirrel in Arizona. I felt bad for them when they were out in the 90-degree heat we had this summer. We have mostly grey ones, although some have white bellies and some have red/brown bellies.

      Like

  12. Hi Dan – I found it fascinating … didn’t understand – but could learn about that … I nearly worked for a pump company – and my uncle and grandfather were both civil engineers designing bridges … so have a very vague interest. I have an SIL who would understand! But love the looks … and especially Mimi and Maddie … misty mornings – our leaves turned in August … but we’ve been very dry down here. All the best – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Designing bridges – now there’s a couple of guys I would have enjoyed spending a day with. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Our leaves are just starting to turn, but I wonder what effect on fall color the hot dry summer we had will have.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We can learn a lot from those who were here before us. A lot! I’ll admit the math is above me but I can see in my mind’s eye the design of this canal that I’ve seen here and know without a doubt a lot of math figuring went into this project. As for your gallery …. I’m commenting on the colors. Ours are turning a lot sooner then yours and I’m in a position either I begin chasing colors today or wait a few more days. Leaves are turning too fast and many are down on the ground already. This makes it difficult for a photographer to know where those sweet spots are. So far the colors have been muted for lack of rain here. Now however it has begun to rain so I’m crossing fingers these colors behave and decide to POP.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw a patch of (what I think is) orange yesterday. We have a lot of green leaves falling. It’s like they’ve had all they can take for one year.

      We tend to be do full of ourselves and our own accomplishments, that we often ignore the people upon whose work we have built our success. It’s sad. It’s why I like to highlight projects like this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmmm … a lot of our leaves have turned brown and just fallen, Dan. Never really saw that happen before. I always look to the past for direction and wisdom. Always. Too bad most don’t though. What is the propose of history if we don’t even look at it?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. While MiMi ponders going for a walk I’ll ponder the knowledge you’ve shared here. Totally agree that doing your own thing in your blog is what makes a personal blog interesting, even if I don’t understand your topic. Carry on, Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This is definitely riveting to hubby! I actually read this twice to get excited. Really. I’m workin’ on it. The photo gallery was was wonderful. I always need my Maddie and bunny fix. The dandelions hit home with what happened at school this week. Thank you, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

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