atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4391: More SF meandering

I was thinking about small assault craft ("fighters", approximately) in my stories, and realized something really, really cool.

In a world with fusion propulsion and inertial damping, the maneuverability of a spaceship is limited only by your ability to deal with the power required. Sources and sinks: you need power and you need to dispose of waste energy.

When you accelerate an object which is subject to inertial damping, the damper itself will either require power or return it, depending on the direction of the acceleration vector. In general, increasing speed (the magnitude of the vector) requires power, and reducing speed returns it. Subject to losses, of course, because the Laws of Thermodynamics must be satisfied.

Large ships will have banks of capacitors to handle the efflux during deceleration. Small ships don't have the room, and even if they did, in combat the deltas can be quite high--beyond what a reasonable load of capacitors could handle.

Then I thought, "What about retractable radiators?" Like the brakes on dive bombers, these would swing out only when needed. So, the fighter pilot commands some massive reduction in speed, and these panels flip out from the airframe and rapidly heat to incandescence, then cool off and stow themselves as the maneuver is completed.

It makes a higher acceleration possible, without significantly adding to the mass of the ship. Of course, there is a downside: these white-hot glowing panels will stand out like a searchlight against the black of space, especially to something with a heat-seeking warhead, and they'd stay very hot for a good while after cooling beneath incandescence. Nothing, however, is perfect. (And then: inject water into the still-hot radiator. It makes a cloud of steam which is vented to space. Suddenly the actual target within that large hot cloud is much more difficult to find....)

The thing that appealed to me the most about this, though, was the mental image that accompanied it, and further I realized right away that it would be a dynamite scene to have a couple of guys laying in wait for an enemy ship and when the radiators come out--blammo.

* * *

I think this is a misconception. JayG headlines this piece "I am a bad Christian" and then proceeds to explain why:
Love ISIS? If by "love" you mean "carpet bomb", maybe. I can endorse the idea of killing them with kindness - as long as "kindness" is the name stamped on each MOAB. I don't want to understand them. The only thing I want to feel with regard to ISIS is recoil. They have made their feelings about us perfectly clear. It's about damn time we started feeling the same right back.
It's a common misconception, though. "Love they neighbor as thyself" and "turn the other cheek" are not instructions for you to roll over and be a pussy.

In the latter case, Jesus said that if you're slapped to turn the other cheek. He did not say, "If your cousin is beheaded, send your other cousin over there." The intent was to tell us not to fret over small insults. Generally, when someone slaps you, you are not seriously injured. It stings a bit, and then you get over it. Your willingness to be meek will result in a nicer world, as long as the people around you are reasonable people.

ISIS is not composed of reasonable people. They further are not willing to compromise. And if you read the Scripture you see that Jesus was pretty harsh towards people who misbehaved one way or another.

The key to all this is discernment--knowing when to turn the other cheek and when to haul out the sword. Christians are not expected to let themselves be slaughtered by savages.

* * *

Anyone who nukes his cellphone is an idiot. Sure, throwing your iPhone into a microwave for 90 seconds will recharge it. Of course all it requires to enable this feature is to install a new piece of software.

...if you fall for this, you are too stupid to be allowed to vote let alone own a cell phone costing eight hundred freaking dollars.

I have just been overcome by dread that I will be at the counter when some shithead brings in his iPhone wanting to exchange it because he did this. I dread it for several reasons.

First, because I will be tempted to be bluntly honest about why I am denying him service: "Okay, you put your phone in a microwave oven to charge it? That's 'abuse' because no one should be that fucking stupid, and it should hurt to do something that fucking stupid, and maybe if you have to shell out another $800 for a new phone you'll stop being so fucking stupid. Get out of here before I succumb to the urge to hit you for being so fucking stupid."

Second, because repressing that urge and referring to someone who is clearly mentally inferior to me as "sir" will shorten my lifespan.

Third, because the idiot will complain to a manager, who will tell me to put the claim through, and I will die a little inside.

Even so, the service order will say:
Client description of the issue:
Phone burned out.
Agent description of issue:
Client put phone into microwave oven to charge it.
Agend Recommendations:
Advised client that service center may consider this to be "abuse" and deny the ADH claim.
I am not going to lie for anyone that does this. Not even if it was his kid that did it--which is, I expect, going to be the go-to excuse for anyone who actually tries this. (Kind of like the "I fell on it" excuse that people give to ER doctors when they come in with various objects jammed into their rectums.)

And I will take great pleasure in extracting the $150 accidental damage from handling deductible from the moron.

* * *

Today I am hoping to cut the grass and get the Jeep's oil changed.

Yesterday vanished in a fog. I slept a lot; the previous week had been very tiring and it seems I might have been getting over some kind of bug or other. After going to bed around 2 AM Monday morning and getting up at 11:30, I went back to bed around 3-ish and slept until 7:30. I woke up feeling embalmed but hungry, so Mrs. Fungus and I took a trip to the Burrito Station for some Mexican food. I felt better after that, though bloated (because I ate an entire burrito plus her spanish rice and refried beans) and that left me feeling kind of logy and sick for the rest of the evening. *sigh*

Later (after midnight) we watched the first ep of Outlander and I called the trope that they were going to use. I'm not sure how I like this one yet; it smells like "pink SF" because the main character is a woman and she somehow ends up traveling to 18th century Scotland from the same place in 1945-ish, and so far it feels more like "bodice-ripper" than anything else:
1) Character is a "strong woman" who likes sex: check
2) Time-travels and ends up in the hands of rough men: check
3) Her husband's ancestor who looks just like him is the antagonist: check
4) Going by the blurbs for future eps, ends up forcibly married to another man in the 18th century and falls in love with him: check
5) Witches/druid/pagan ritual and a stone circle is how she gets from 20th to 18th century: check
The first episode was not bad, but from here I have a feeling I'm going to give up on this one in disgust before I see too much more of it, unless something happens to change my mind. Right now it resembles nothing as much as it does a Harlequin Romance with a time-travel element thrown in.

* * *

I've been going through the old notebooks, and last night I found what I'd been looking for: the character designs for Subaru'co, the story about the Japanese girl gang that calls itself "the Seven Sisters" and is headed by Sayoko Igarashi from American Dawn. Including the main antagonists, whose names I'd forgotten. (Actually I'd forgotten one of them. They are Harmony, Melody, and Grace, but I'd forgotten Grace...and of course the first two are jerks and Grace is utterly clumsy, the same way the Seven Sisters are mostly named after the virtues they fail to embody.) As a concept it's fun to play with, but since drawing comics is extremely low on my list of priorities--and because I'm a crappy artist to boot--it's unlikely that I'll ever do anything with it.

Now, if I can ever get published, and if I actually develop a decent following, it might be worthwhile to get someone to draw this crap for me (someone who will take direction fairly well so my visual ideas get incorporated) but as it stands now this stuff will probably never see the light of day.

But Subaru'co is a concept, not an actual story. Same as Sunshine Bird--there are some ideas and the basis for a story, but no plot or characterization or anything of the sort.

Well--when I embarked on all this drawing and stuff I specifically made it a point that this is primarily for my own entertainment, meaning that it was to be strictly recreational, which implied that if it ever got to be drudgery or a pain in the rectum or an albatross around my neck, I'd stop.

I have since discovered that I do my best drawing when I'm supposed to be doing something else; most of the best pages for Megumi's Diary were generated while I sat in the breakroom in the warehouse for the Target store I worked for, waiting for the truck to come. (The best American Dawn pages? Generated during that August in 2000 when the pubs department had run out of budget and we had to look busy until September 1.)

If I sit at the dining room table here in the bunker and try to draw, I end up doing lousy work, and frequently give up after doing less than a page. When I was working steadily on Chicory I could manage perhaps a page of layout per night, before going to bed, but--again--I was drawing instead of sleeping. Yeah.

As a comic artist, I'm a pretty good writer. Oh well.

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