Friday, July 10, 2009

Today In Geek History: He did math, too.

On this date in 1796, Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most three triangular numbers. He then went on to design the cannons used by fifty-foot-tall Japanese combat robots.

15 comments:

Joanna said...

He sounds like he would have been fun at parties.

Caleb said...

Gauss rifles suck, yo. They take too long to reload, and don't carry very much ammo. For the weight you can get two PPCs and an extra heat sink, or like 4 medium pulse lasers.

Turk Turon said...

Gauss was an amazing math prodigy. The best-known story about him is that when he was a schoolboy, his teacher gave the class a math assignment that, the teacher thought, would give him time to have lunch. He asked the students to add all of the numbers from one to one hundred. Gauss had the answer before the teacher could leave the room, and the answer was correct: 5,050. Asked how he could add so many numbers so quickly, Gauss explained that the first number, one, and the last number, one hundred, have a sum of 101. And the next pair of numbers, 2 and 99, also have a sum of 101. And so forth for fifty pairs. The last pair is 50 and 51. So 50 x 101 = 5,050.

He was an amazing man.

pdb said...

Damn gauss rifles. Damn stupid 2/3 mechs with four bloody gauss rifles.

Myles said...

Gauss rifles only rock when you head cap a 100 ton assault on double sixes at max range while piloting a 30 ton light. Or, conversely, completely coring a 30 ton light in one shot.

I think I just added three points to my geek street cred.

Vaarok said...

The M72 from Fallout is man-portable!

And let's not forget the Rail Driver from Red Faction.

Personally, in 'mechs, I'd rather have a LBXAC.

Anonymous said...

"Gauss rifles suck, yo."

Not in my ficton, (Traveller, baby) nicest man portable non energy weapon you can buy. Excellent range, penetration and controllability and very low signature.

Unlike the PGMP and FGMP's (Fusion Gun man portable) which require powered armour and light up the user like a , well, a fused bolt of plasma... all my heavy infantry also carried a Gauss rifle and things you can throw.

Ken said...

With access to fusion engines, you can put a PPC in an attack helicopter. Assuming indifference to property damage, it puts MOUT in a whole new light.

No 'mechs in my mercenary cavalry regiment, back in the day. Attack helos, air-mobile infantry in Karnovs, and hovertanks (Savannah Masters for recon and medium I-forget-whats for punch).

Kristopher said...

Dear ghod ...

ermmm ... get back to us when these weapons are actually available, Kay?

Only what's on the shelf, Sport.

John said...

What I remember of the board game made gauss rifles pretty nice, IIRC. You had a finite ammunition supply, but they built up very little heat, did a nice amount of damage, and had excellent range. And ammunition was finite, but more compact than any other non-energy weapon in the game. By comparison, PPCs and laser build heat pretty quickly--you'll need the extra heat sink(s).

I never played, though, so I may be missing all manner of practical considerations.

HTRN said...

Gauss rifles are bad(especially the new Lyran Heavy Gauss guns).

But the clans have worse: HAG 40s - think "Gauss Needler".

Steve Skubinna said...

I really liked the Gauss Cannon in Master of Orion II. The first real ship-killing-in-one-turn weapon, especially once you got three tech upgrades and could install them as Heavy Mount, Auto Fire.

tw: apedness. I'm trying hard to derive a definiton that does not involve primates, and the best I can get so far is "That quality of not having feet."

Tam said...

Oh, man, the geekery I've baited out of the woodwork here!

(I liked the vehicle-mounted VRF Gauss guns in Traveller. Anything with a rate of fire that requires cryogenic cooling is okie-dokie in my book...)

deadcenter said...

and 60 years later, Tesla was born.

Overload in Colorado said...

I came here for Gundam references, but am VERY HAPPY to see all The Battletech/Mechwarrior references. New PC game just announced yesterday.
http://pc.ign.com/articles/100/1002164p1.html