Intuitive understanding of Rhino

I have always found useful to use a known model as a rough approach to understand an unknown field bearing some resemblance to the known one. As an example, an electric circuit can be pictured as similar to a water circuit, comparing cables to pipes, water pressure to voltage, water flow to amperage, narrow orifices as resistances, Etc.
Browsing the web on NURBS I learnt that the the mathematical concept of splines originated in metal or wooden strips, physically restricted to yield the smooth shapes required to build ship hulls and other objects requiring this type of geometry.
An interesting article, “On the Spline”, posted by Alastair Townsend, (http://www.alatown.com/spline/#more-809) describes the origins and evolution of NURBS, and I thought it may interest other forum members.
Also, it may be interesting if some knowledgeable users and developers could establish associations between NURBS elements (curves, curve points, control points, knots…) and their possible physical counterparts, in they exist.

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