atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5988: 75 years

So, we're fast approaching the 75th anniversary of the first controlled nuclear chain reaction. In early December of 1942, Enrico Fermi and a bunch of other physicists achieved a self-sustaining reaction in the first-ever nuclear reactor.

75 years ago--not even a century--we learned how to access the densest source of energy we'd ever found. "Harnessed the atom" is the poetic way to put it; we figured out ways to artificially increase the natural rate of radioactive decay specifically to extract power from it.

And what's the big deal in power generation today? Solar. Wind. *sigh*

Today, Brickmuppet has this:

Indeed it does.

* * *

Interstellar object turns out to be oblong. They discovered something tumbling through the solar system, faster than planetary speeds, and it turns out to be elongated.

Generally speaking, when an object in space is moving above a certain velocity, it must necessarily have come from outside the solar system. ("The solar system" includes the Oort Cloud, which is so far away from the sun it's the last bastion of the solar system before interstellar space.) This object qualifies; its path through the solar system was a hyperbola. It's on its way outbound now, fast enough that it'll cross the distance between Jupiter and Saturn in about eight months.

It is not going to either of those planets, it must be said. Their orbits are merely convenient yardsticks for describing how fast the thing's going.

And while it's moving fast, it's not moving fast. As it rounded the Sun it was moving at 54.4 miles per second, which is a fair clip, but not compared to interstellar distances. Now it's moving about 24 miles per second. (For comparison, Voyager is moving about 17 miles per second.)

So wherever it heads, it'll take a long time to get there.

But the SF writer part of my head couldn't let it be. I immediately decided that the aliens on board the ship had some kind of problem with their FTL drive, and had to "play dead" while they coasted through the backwater system with the hick and hayseed people who haven't even figured out fusion power yet. (Why are they using windmills? They have nuclear power; why don't they use it, the idiots? Man, it's gonna be a long time before those jerks are invited into the Federation....) That'll give them plenty of time to fix the thing, and once they're out of detection range, they can fire it up and get on with their trip.

(Other idea: it's a scientific mission to study the backwards natives of the third planet of that star.)

* * *

Celebrity Perv Apology Generator seems a bit limited. Three or four clicks and the "Kevin Spacey" defense came up more than once: "In conclusion, I have chosen to live my life as a gay man so if you say anything bad about me now you’re homophobic."

Oh well.

* * *

Air quality test commenced promptly at 9 AM. They put a gizmo into the space and let it run for half an hour. There's a compressor or some kind of air pump in the thing, that's for sure. Anyway we'll know the results later today.

Now I'm waiting for a call from Roto Rooter. I need to know what it'll cost me to have a pro do the job before I can make an intelligent decision about whether to farm it out or try doing it myself.

So much to do today, so little sleep--I went to bed with Mrs. Fungus last night, but woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and had a snack. Went back to bed, fell into that useless insomniac twilight for four hours, then got up at 8 feeling like dog's breakfast.

Maybe tomorrow I can sleep a little later. But I doubt it.

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