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From: "Mike" <lsanto@concentric.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v019.n026
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 07:20:42 

Howdy all,
               With regard to the military effectiveness of Terminus Est...

> From: "Kevin J. Maroney" <kmaroney@crossover.com>
> Subject: Re: (urth) Terminus est--another military procurement fiasco?
> Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 12:48:45 -0400
> MIME-Version: 1.0
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> In-Reply-To: <199810190332.UAA06718@lists1.best.com>
> At 10:29 PM 10/18/98 -0700, Robert Borski [Sgt. Rock] wrote:
> >I have my doubts about whether such a sword would really work, even if
> >ignore the structural problems of a hollow blade (it would either be
weak or
> >very thick, I think). As you swing the blade, there is little
> >force being exerted at the hilt, since it's moving slowly compared to
> >point. Thus, by the time the mercury gets to the tip end of the blade,
> >swing would likely have been completed (assuming the mercury gets that
> >at all). On the other hand, if we assume that the mercury gets there
> >quickly, I think it would have the effect of increasing the effort
> >to make the swing, since you must now accelerate the mass of the mercury
> >along with the rest of the blade.
> Think about the stroke involved in beheading a prisoner. The sword is
> raised overhead and brought down in a smooth circle. Gravity, not the
> centrifugal effect, is what moves the quicksilver. As the sword passes
> point at which it is horizontal to the ground, the tip becomes much
> heavier, and gravity brings the mercury into the tip. Thus, the lichtor
> raise the sword slowly and bring it down very quickly.
> It would be worse in a swordfight than a standard sword, though, for all
> the reasons you explained:
> >In any case, having the balance of the blade shifting about during
> >would be very undesirable. It would make the force required to move the
> >blade unpredictable, as would be the momentum of the blade. In other
> >you might not be able to stop the swing where you want it, or move the
> >quickly enought to parry. The Sergeant prefers plain steel.
> >So my answer to your question, Robert, is that it was military surplus.
> >army got rid of the thing as soon as it could, and sold it quite
> It's a ceremonial sword of office. Who other than the torturers would
want it?
                       The blade is inspired by an actual "weapons" (tool
is more like it), the rounded tip is from French executioners blades (as
used on Ann Boleyn--sp?). The internal reservoir filled with mercury comes
from Chinese BCE era executioners swords. Both apparently worked quite well
for their respective tasks. 

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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