atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4168: Spring is sprung.

But the grass is not "riz", and we're not all done with that winter biz. The snow's melted to the point that the ground is mostly visible, though, so I'm going to call that a "win" and move on.

* * *

Neither Mrs. Fungus nor I slept very well last night. The cold and the damp do things to her musculoskeletal system which make them hurt a lot, and I was dealing with the tail end of whatever mild flu-like nonsense I'd been grappling with since Saturday.

Now, Critter is a maine coon (a big cat) and he likes to sleep with us, and he really likes to sleep on our pillows. Two or three times a night I have to move him elsewhere on the bed (or off it completely) as I do not fancy having a cat's rump near my face at any time, particularly when I'm sleeping. If he's taken up a position which does not feature his butt being near my face generally I'll leave him alone; otherwise, he gets moved.

Bosco came to tuck us in, as he usually does, and he'd left the room. Mrs. Fungus, complaining of pain in her legs, had spent about twenty or thirty minutes moving around, trying to find a comfortable position. Meanwhile I had been up and down a few times, making return trips to the can, because gut malf. But now things had quieted down and we were finally dropping off to sleep, and I'd just reached the hazy, drowsy point at which my thoughts go all wonky, when--

FLOP

--about twenty pounds of damp cat landed on my head.

Critter had decided now was the time to crawl into bed with mommy and daddy, at which point--as I said--flop. I went from semi-somnolent to bolt upright, not-quite tossing him off the bed in the process, exploding, "Eww! Why are you wet?"

...which naturally woke up Mrs. Fungus. I couldn't help it; my reaction was pure reflex.

* * *

I think we would have noticed if there were a black hole in the path of the missing Malasia Air's 777. There are several reasons we would have noticed a black hole large enough to swallow a 777:

1) Aurorae at/near the equator.

The accretion disk surrounding a black hole emits a startlingly high amount of radiation, much of it ionizing. Assuming a black hole in the air high enough to intercept an airliner at cruise altitude, the accretion disk and/or the jets from the poles would reach into the ionosphere, where it would cause aurorae.

2) Tides and gravity.

A black hole big enough to swallow a jet airliner and low enough in the atmosphere to do so would exert a hell of a lot of tidal force on the Earth. The ocean under the black hole would pile up, flooding coastlines. Also, the forces would lead to

3) Earthquakes.

Big ones, because the kind of tidal stress exerted by a black hole less than ten miles from the Earth's surface would be stupendous.

And finally

4) The end of the world.

...because the black hole would have had to come from somewhere. It didn't spontaneously form in the atmosphere, and because there isn't enough reinforced concrete in the world to support that kind of mass seven miles up it would be falling through the atmosphere rather than hovering in it. The black hole would in fact be in some kind of orbit around the sun, or else just passing through the solar system, and believe me an approximate stellar mass moving at even interplanetary speeds is no joke. Have you ever seen Harold Edgerton's high-speed photographs of a bullet exploding an apple? That's what it would be like.

I think we would have noticed that.

* * *

There is an SF novel I'm thinking of where a micro black hole fell into an orbit around the Earth's center of mass such that it was orbiting through the Earth every twelve hours or so, and Earth had just a decade or so left before the end of the world--but using SCIENCE! they moved an asteroid into an orbit that could capture the black hole as it reached apogee, and everyone was safe.

I can remember neither the title nor the author. It was pretty good, though; I've read it a few times and enjoyed it.

* * *

I have to agree: a coat hangar necklace to show your support for abortion is pretty tasteless.
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