# A Primer On Computational Geometry – Part One

Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

### 3 Responses

1. George Turner says:

That wing looks more like a gas turbine compressor blade section.

Here’s a NACA 5-digit airfoil generator, with formulas.

I once wrote a NACA airfoil generator in Lisp so I could print them out in Autocad and use them as templates.

The weird thing about airfoils is that we call them airfoils even though they work the same in any gas, not just standard air. They even work in liquids, though you have to be more careful about cavitation and you generally have to call a water wing a “fin” or a “fluke” or some crazy fishing or nautical term. Our whole aero and hydro dynamic lexicon needs to be reworked. “Launching” a space capsule, for example, should refer to putting it in the ocean, just like launching a ship, but we call that a “splashdown” and use the term “launch” to sending the space capsule far, far away from the water.

Perhaps the whole mess started due to the sloppiness of geometrical terms. We have plenty of inclined planes, but no uninclined ones. Why do we talk so much about “flat” planes when they’re all flat by definition? We have triangles and quadrangles but no biangles or hexangles. For some reason, we don’t use the word “point” to refer to the stabby end of a fixed vector, when it’s clearly a point, very similar to an arrow’s swallowtail broad head. If two points define a line, how come it takes a lot more than two dancers to form a line dance?

Trivia: It was exactly 400 years from the invention of the equals sign in 1557 to its first use in a computer language (FORTRAN) in 1957. For a while, some people preferred to use || for equals, which would give statements in “C” or Java a whole different meaning. Of course now we live in a bizarre society where an equality operator is a genital surgeon, so perhaps we should go back to COBOL and spell things out explicitly.Report

2. James K says:

Very interesting Oscar, geometry isn’t something I’ve had much experience modeling since there’s not much call for it in economics.Report