Posts Tagged ‘prize’

John Harrison’s Contribution To The World

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Self-taught John Harrison spent 43 years overcoming engineering challenges to develop the first marine chronometer. Harrison won a British competition to resolve deep sea navigation problems, but it took him several years to win the full prize.

In 1714, the British government offered a longitude prize for a method of determining longitude at sea, with the awards ranging from £10,000 to £20,000 (£2 million to £4 million in 2019 terms) depending on accuracy. John Harrison, a Yorkshire carpenter, submitted a project in 1730, and in 1735 completed a clock based on a pair of counter-oscillating weighted beams connected by springs whose motion was not influenced by gravity or the motion of a ship. His first two sea timepieces H1 and H2 (completed in 1741) used this system, but he realized that they had a fundamental sensitivity to centrifugal force, which meant that they could never be accurate enough at sea. Construction of his third machine, designated H3, in 1759 included novel circular balances and the invention of the bi-metallic strip and caged roller bearings, inventions which are still widely used. However, H3’s circular balances still proved too inaccurate and he eventually abandoned the large machines.

Harrison solved the precision problems with his much smaller H4 chronometer design in 1761. H4 looked much like a large five-inch (12 cm) diameter pocket watch. In 1761, Harrison submitted H4 for the £20,000 longitude prize. His design used a fast-beating balance wheel controlled by a temperature-compensated spiral spring. These features remained in use until stable electronic oscillators allowed very accurate portable timepieces to be made at affordable cost.

£20,000 in 1714 = ±£3,837,000 in 2018 = ±$4,733,000 USD.

$110k/year is not a bad payoff for a 45 year-long side project. Harrison began as a 21 year-old, and was 66 when he resolved the problem and received the full amount of the prize. He died 17 years later in 1776.

[Image and story here & here.]

A Call for Entries

Sunday, 26 September 2010

After a lot of head scratching, tooth grinding and butt itching, we’ve decided to conduct a joke contest.

This is a competition for all loyal visitors to Tacky Raccoons. There is a nice award to be had at no cost to you, but we can’t tell you what it is. All we can say is you’ll like it, because the winner gets to choose from a wide variety of awesome prizes (and that’s a big ‘ol honkin’ hint right there.)

Here’s the deal:

Submit your best one-line joke in the comments on this thread.

Originality is a definite plus, so claim credit; but if it’s not yours, at least quote the source. Post your best one-liner here, on this thread, and we’ll choose our favorites for a greatest hits poll vote next week.

Keep it clean. –Bunk

[Update– This is a cool dealie. Added a button on upper right that shows visitors from all over the world. Click here.]

[Update 27 September: The prize is being sponsored by CafePress, and as part of the deal, we agreed to post this advert:

You can find millions of personalized gifts, hooded sweatshirts and 2011 wall calendars at CafePress – for any topic, interest or brand!

There you go. The wiener gets to choose their own prize up to $30!]



Thursday, 19 March 2009


Coupla things made my day recently.  Two weeks ago my home computer incompletely crashed due to an incomplete installation of a WidNows update.  Undoing the installation didn’t help, neither did rebooting in safe mode to run the ineffectual WidNows reset program.  Manually uninstalling the corrupt update changed nothing and I was left with a crawling computer… but at least it could still access the internest.

Avanquest’s Fix-It Utilities saved me by allowing me to bypass WidNows and undo what WidNows wouldn’t.  After trying a variety of combinations, SOMETHING GOT FIXED!  I highly recommend Fix-It Utilities for emergency repairs.  Honest unpaid testimony.

But my HP scanner still wouldn’t work, due to a corrupted WidNows install file.  Reinstalling the driver didn’t take, even in Safe Mode.  Uninstalling and reinstalling twice, did.  I’m mystified, but happy.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST NEWS.   I beat the traffic caused by Obama’s motorcade (with a half dozen military helicoptor escort) in time to find out that I won a cool caption contest prize from Reforming Geek.

Made my day.

%d bloggers like this: