Showing posts from April, 2022

The right size pipe for falling water

 There are a lot of engineering calculators out there and when the problem I'm dealing with isn't a simple product of units (for which I use wolfram alpha) I make good use of them. However, I recently came across a problem for which I struggled to calculate an answer and for which I struggled to find calculators. Given a reservoir of height h how thick a pipe is required to extract P power. The energy in the water is a simple calculation that comes from mgh (mass times acceleration due to gravity (9.81m/s^2) times the height the mass is raised). However, we don't want to take the whole reservoir we simply want to power something. Water through a pipe travels as a result of pressure differences between the ends of the pipe. Water pressure at a depth is independent of the total volume of water and is the same at the sides of a given depth as it is forcing downwards. This can be calculated by working out the weight of the water atop an area at a depth. The wight of a volume of

Space servers

  One of the benefits of Elon Musks' Starlink space internet is that it provides a lower-latency connection between points on earth. It does this because the speed of light in a vacuum is faster than the speed of light in fibre and so even though the beams have to travel slightly further* they travel that distance faster. Although this is great for long-distance zoom chats the real financial benefit of this is to high-frequency traders who make a living from the small arbitrage opportunities that exist between geographically separate exchanges. To that end, I conjecture that not long after the public release of Starlink and its proven utility to high-frequency traders, those trading firms will start to deploy their algorithms to servers in orbit. Why? To lower the latency. If the algorithm doesn’t need to send the signal to space before it executes then it can receive the signals from both exchanges in L/2 and after deciding to trade send the trading request at L/2 leading to a bli

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