atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4303: I may be getting too old for geekout allnighters

And ain't that a hell of a thing?

To be fair I slept for a few hours, then woke up in the midst of a panic attack that required half a tab of Xanax to quell, and the sedating side effect of Xanax may have something to do with the fact that I am only just now arising after going to bed at 10 AM after being up all night. But 10a-7p is nine hours, which is actually about right anyway. WTH.

Hot day today, hot enough that I don't feel like I wasted it, but it does mean that I'll have that many chores to attend to on another day. But you know what? A new Dresden Files comes but once in about eighteen months; I think I get to take a day off from everything once in a while. I'm f-ing worth it!

I'm going to have to get after the Jeep's tires pretty soon, though, because that's got to be done and Mrs. Fungus and I have money budgeted now for the necessity. They're not going to be fancy tires, but they'll do the job.

And then I want to adjust the freaking chain on the motorcycle so I can ride it. WTF, it's summertime, damn it!

...and somewhere in there I've got to pick up my wife's laundry from the cleaners. They closed the road that leads to the cleaners and my wife cannot yet navigate the Fungal Vale all that well. But WTH--it's not a marriage without some "honey do", is it?

* * *

One way to move the entire solar system...slowly. There is just one problem that I see with this.

By definition the gigantic mirror is going to weigh less than the solar system. Seems to me that the solar system would push the mirror away much faster than the mirror would push the solar system in the opposite direction. OTOH depending on the mass of the mirror, the thrust might just balance the sun's gravitational pull on the thing. But what happens if you put a fan on a cart and put a sail in front of it?

Nothing. The forces acting on the system are in equilibrium. It doesn't matter if the fan is the sun and the sail is a gigantic reflector and the whole thing is held together with gravity instead of a cart. The sun throws photons in all directions, the sail is held in place by the sun's gravity, and there is no asymmetrical thrust, so what you have in fact done is to suspend a solar sail in one place without it having to orbit the sun. A neat trick, but not a propulsion system. (Robert Forward called such a system a "statite", and it doesn't matter how big the statite is.)

So it has to be a moving mirror system; and in that case it's going to be a damned inefficient propulsion system--inefficient enough that I don't expect it would move the sun very far, nor very fast. So if we want to move Earth to a sun that's not about to enter helium fusion and expand into a red giant we'd better start this project right about...now. Yeah. We've only got five billion years!

But guess what?
The Shkadov Thruster setup is simple (in theory): It's just a colossal, arc-shaped mirror, with the concave side facing the sun. Builders would place the mirror at an arbitrary distance where gravitational attraction from the sun is balanced out by the outward pressure of its radiation. The mirror thus becomes a stable, static satellite in equilibrium between gravity's tug and sunlight's push.
What we have is "fan on cart" writ large, folks, and like I said, it won't work. You only get thrust if there's an asymmetrical force present, and there are no asymmetrical forces in this system.

Nice try, though.

* * *

Last night we had to hit the store for a few sundries. Diet Pepsi was among them. We went to Jewel, because they have the 24 ounce bottles, but they were out, so we went to get some dinner and then went to Meijer...where they were out of diet Pepsi. *sigh*

From 2011 I recalled that Pepsi Max is a fair dinkum substitute, so I picked that up. I can't really tell the difference between it and regular diet (though I probably could if I did a side-by-side taste test).

The other thing we were trying to find was chicken kiev. Regular chicken kiev, the kind with butter and chives inside. They're all over the damned place when I don't want them (I usually get cordon bleu and/or buffalo wing) but when we want actual chicken kiev for dinner--

* * *

Today I discovered that one can pay his Fungal Vale water bill on-line, so I saved myself a trip. They didn't even charge us a "convenience fee" that I could see, so that helps. Who could have foreseen this crummy little money-grubbing town having that much consideration for its residents? "Hey, we have some of the highest property taxes in the world! We can afford to let them pay their water bills on-line for free!" (Yes, I know that Fungal Vale <> Fungal County. Work with me on this.)

Still, it's a nice surprise, not having to pay them extra for making a payment that's entirely automated and requires no human intervention. Charging a convenience fee to someone who is paying you in a fashion that costs you less money to process than a check seems backwards to me. More like you'd want to encourage people to pay you electronically, rather than sending you a check that has to be looked at by a person.

...well, I expect that they have computer scanners which can handle the majority of checks these days, but even so, when I write a check I don't think there's a computer in the world that can decipher my handwriting. I have trouble with it, for crying out loud.

* * *

Well, they say that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, so
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