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Old 16-07-2009, 23:10   #1
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Story of the Monkey and the Frozen Balls

Interesting tid bit of info...

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It
was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon.

However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck?

The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid

with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine,

which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon

balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the

cannon. There was only one problem...how to prevent the

bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others.

The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16

round indentations.



However, if this plate were

made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The

solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass

Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much

more and much faster than iron when chilled.

Consequently, when the

temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would

shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right

off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough

to freeze the balls off a brass monkey ..'
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Old 16-07-2009, 23:39   #2
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Sorry, KevinE, but this urban legend is bogus. It has been thrown up here before, and shot down before. It is only believed by those who want to believe it. See:

Term: brass monkey

When Gord and/or Paul see this, they can give you chapter and verse why this old wives' tale is nonsense.

TaoJones
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Old 17-07-2009, 00:00   #3
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Doggone it Tao, I like his story better. I hadn't heard KevinE's version, before.
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Old 17-07-2009, 00:36   #4
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Monkey fist

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Doggone it Tao, I like his story better. I hadn't heard KevinE's version, before.

Absolutely with cap58 on this one. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with balderdash like that. Anyone know the origin of MONKEY FIST?
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Old 17-07-2009, 05:00   #5
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"Monkey Fist" - it's the opposite of the cold story. When the fist gets warm enough it can not be pilled out of a certain place (you decide the place).

before the researches get going - I just made this up!
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Old 17-07-2009, 08:21   #6
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The worst part about the "brass monkey" story was that I heard it told by staff on HMS Victory!

I've kind of thought that the other one they told might not be true:

You know why in all of those paintings of sailing warships why there's a tender towed behind the ship? Because that's where all of the good furniture from the captain's quarters is placed so it doesn't get damaged in battle. Hmm.
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Old 17-07-2009, 09:03   #7
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Brass expands and contracts with a coefficient of 0.000104 per Fahrenheit degree. Lets say for example that the temperature went from 70F to -10 F. This makes for a temperature difference of 80F. I don't know how large the cannon balls were so lets just estimate 9 inches each. A rack of 16 cannon balls would lay 4 x 4. So 9 inches times four balls is 36 inches. So if you multiply the coefficient times 80 degrees times the length of 36 inches you get .2995 inches.

I think its safe to say the myth is busted
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Old 17-07-2009, 11:04   #8
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Originally Posted by David M View Post
So if you multiply the coefficient times 80 degrees times the length of 36 inches you get .2995 inches.

I think its safe to say the myth is busted
Pfft! You boffins with your numbers and physics and such. Next you'll tell me that my boat isn't pushed along by small invisible sprites who blow on the sail! Or that the saltwater-fuelled engine I just bought on the Internet is a scam!
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Old 17-07-2009, 13:56   #9
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Thankyou DavidM..... I was about to run the calc's myself..!
I still ike the story though....
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Old 17-07-2009, 14:40   #10
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Monkey fist

This is no BS. All good story/act usually begins with that or 'Hey, hold my beer I'm a gonna try sumtin'. This story was told to me as the origin of the monkey fist. Ancient monks were not allowed to wear anything that came from animals. Therefore, in order to hold their robes shut, they crafted the knot then known as the monks fist. Over time, sailors found use for the same knot as a heaving line. The name changes over time to become what we commonly refer to as the Monkey Fist knot. I did some internet research and could not definitively debunk this theory. I love the game BALDERDASH. What's your best BS story?
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Old 26-07-2009, 12:35   #11
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Monkey Fist = "Form of corporal punishment administered to Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes 1968 version " ... it has to be true its in a movie !!
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Old 26-07-2009, 12:58   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Mantis View Post
Pfft! You boffins with your numbers and physics and such. Next you'll tell me that my boat isn't pushed along by small invisible sprites* who blow on the sail! Or that the saltwater-fuelled engine I just bought on the Internet is a scam!
You’d probably need a REALLY tall mast to harness the (considerable) energy of Red Sprites*, Blue Jets or elves, to propel a boat. Of course, Sprites aren't invisible.

A sprite is a very brief, luminous glow that occurs in the middle atmosphere. Sprites often start around 45 miles high (in the mesosphere) and extend upwards to the edge of the ionosphere (around 55-60 miles) and sometimes downwards into the stratosphere below (to as low as 15-20 miles). They are primarily red in color, except for some bluish tinge in the downward extending tendrils.
Sprites are the result of extremely powerful lightning discharges sometimes occurring within thunderstorms. They are almost always triggered by a powerful positive cloud-to-ground (CG) flash which lowers massive amounts of electrical charge to the Earth. This momentarily increases the electric field in the middle atmosphere beyond the point of “dielectric breakdown.” In other words, a giant spark occurs, usually starting around 45 miles above the ground. Electrical streamers then race both downwards and upwards from that point. Though sprites may look rather “solid” in many images, when viewed through telescopes, many sprites are actually composed of networks of thin channels of electrical streamers. Only a very small percentage (<10%) of positive CGs actually produce sprites, and then, only in certain storms.

The elve was first theoretically predicted by scientists at Stanford University in the early 1990s, and then observationally confirmed by imagers on the Space Shuttle and the ground (by Tohoku University scientists), several years thereafter. The elve results from an especially powerful electromagnetic radiation pulse (EMP) that emanates from certain lightning discharges. As the energy passes upwards through the base of the ionosphere it causes the gases to briefly glow. Though as bright as a sprite, the elve only lasts for less than a thousandth of a second. This makes elves virtually impossible to see with the naked eye. They are most likely red in colour, and if you could see them, they would look like giant expanding doughnuts. They occur at a height of around 60-65 miles, and can expand outward to several hundred miles in diameter.

The blue jet was caught, again quite by accident, on low-light cameras from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks onboard a NASA research jet in 1994. The jets appear to spurt upwards from cloud tops at speeds of 50-100 miles per second, reaching heights of up to 25 miles before fading. They last generally less than a quarter of a second, but it is possible to perceive their upward motion with the unaided eye. While generated by storms with high lightning rates, unlike red sprites, blue jets do not appear to be related to specific cloud-to-ground lightning discharges. They also appear more likely to occur near the highest portion of intense thunderstorm cells, such as those which produce tornadoes and severe weather.

Mysterious "Sprites" Light Shows Captured on Film

NASA - Scientists Seek Sprite Light Source

Sprite research
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