atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6260: HOW FAST?

In the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact, there's a scene where Roy Scheider's character, Heywood Floyd, is aboard the USSR spacecraft Leonov and the Russians are being reluctant to share scientific information with him. Specifically, they find that there is something on Europa which is moving under its own power. He's trying to drag the details out of the Russians while their captain is talking sternly about the degradation in US-USSR relations since Floyd went into hibernation for the trip to Jupiter.

He finally yells, "HOW FAST?" The captain stops her yammering and there's a brief silence, after which a cosmonaut speaks up.

"One meter per minute," he says slowly.

"That's extraordinary," pants Floyd. "Towards the sun?"


I sympathize with Floyd's frustration when I read this article about 'Oumuamua accelerating away from the sun because they leave out the salient detail: HOW FAST?

Obviously it cannot have been very fast, since they had to rule out a panoply of explanations, but they settle on "outgassing" as the reason for the acceleration...despite not seeing any.

The acceleration appears to be proportionate to the thing's distance from the sun--the closer it got, the more acceleration they saw--but there wasn't enough of it to be obvious until they crunched the numbers from a lot of observations. It would be nice to know how fast, even so.

Being a writer of science fiction, I can come up with a whole bunch of ways that thing could be a spaceship.

* * *

Karl Denninger talks about Amazon's new delivery plan. I agree with him: if there were any serious money in this, Amazon would be doing this itself rather than hire a slew of subcontractors.

And once Amazon has elbowed UPS and FedEx out of the residential delivery business--what happens to prices then?

* * *

Add 12. This is a discussion of how Trump is polling--and for a President approaching a midterm election the numbers are simply stunning even if you take them at face value.

* * *

Today, when I woke up, I managed to make it as far as the bathroom before I realized that I wasn't going to make it.

Headache, nausea, cramps, bad and getting worse the longer I was vertical. Called the office and laid back down.

Got up around 10:30 to hit the can. Nausea had been replaced with hunger so I had a PBJ, which was a mistake because the nausea came back after I finished it. Back to bed, cramps worse--everything from diaphagm to navel just hurting.

Got up around noon to hit the can. Nausea gone, not hungry, did what I had to do and returned to bed. Cramping was less bad but still present. Headache was pretty bad--three ibuprofen for that.

Finally about 2-ish I got up feeling better, though not really "good". Cramping about 90% gone, headache still present. Called the gas company to pay the gas bill.

...for some time now--a couple years--when I have the bedroom windows open, if conditions are just right, I could get a whiff of gas. Not a very strong one, and never when the windows were closed. I mentioned it to the phone rep; after the business was done she shunted me over to the "gas leak" line.

They gave me a lot of instructions about getting out of the house etc which I ignored. I mean, it's been two years at least; if it was going to blow up, it would have by now, wouldn't it?

Just as I decided to go outside to have a look at the meter, though, they showed up, so I was outside when they got here. They got out their little sniffer deal and sure enough, there was a leak at the top of the meter, where the dial fit to the body. The sniffer was dead quiet everywhere else, but when he ran the sensor across that seam it started moaning like a sick cow. They shut the gas off, replaced the meter, switched the gas back on, and relit the water heater's pilot.

I'm glad it wasn't my imagination.

As for me, I don't feel very good, but I no longer feel bad. If I'd felt, this morning, the way I do now, I would have gone to work. I'm not kidding; when I was in the bathroom this morning and woke up enough to feel the symptoms, dying where I sat seemed like the most attractive option. And it's that frustrating kind of illness where you wish the system would just blow down and be done with it, but it's not going to be anything like that easy.

No idea what I've got; it's probably some kind of viral gastroenteritis, and that takes a little while to incubate. But no idea where it came from. I'm glad it seems to be the 24 hour variety, though.

* * *

Yeah, that's all I've got. Back to bed.

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