[personal] Open question thread

The open question threads seem to be proliferating, so I’ll jump off the ice floe with all the other cool penguins. Ask away in comments, I’ll answer in subsequent posts. Anything goes, I’ll answer as honestly and completely as I can.

4 thoughts on “[personal] Open question thread

  1. mensley says:


    In the Mainspring universe, I’ve been trying to figure out the gearing for how seasons work. (Assuming it works like our seasons do, of course)

    If the Earth has its axis of rotation always pointing in the same direction and tilted 23.5 degrees, how would this affect the equatorial and orbital gears? It would seem like they wouldn’t line up properly.

    Apologies if this was explained in the texts and I just happened to miss it. Thanks!

    1. Jay says:

      It’s actually not explained in the text, as the characters are largely unaware of the issue. Some of the sorcerers understand it, as does Paolina (in ESCAPEMENT and PINION). The orbital ring is not aligned normally with respect to the plane of the ecliptic, and has flexion to allow for axial tilt with respect to the sun so that the equinoxes precess.

  2. mensley says:

    Thank you very much for the response, Jay!

    I had first thought of a flexible orbital gear as well, and while it works fine around the solstices, it seems to me (though perhaps I’m not visualizing it correctly) that near the equinoxes the equatorial and orbital rings would be quite out of alignment. I’ll have to go read up on gearing systems for oblique rotational axes and think about this some more, as mechanical engineering really isn’t my area.

Comments are closed.