"There's a poetry in the materials we use to construct our world of artifacts; it speaks of our long history as a technological species."
The Magnus Effect is a real phenomenon; as far as I know there are no real-world vehicles that actually use it.
The Magnus Effect is the generation of a sidewise force on a spinning cylindrical or spherical solid immersed in a fluid (physicists count gas and liquid here) when there is relative motion between the spinning body and the fluid. It was named after the German physicist H.G. Magnus, who first experimentally investigated the effect in 1853. This is why a ping pong ball or tennis ball will curve when hit with "English."
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