* * *
In the "I should have known that" department: it always surprises me that they don't insulate high-tension power lines, even though I know better.
See, every substance that's made of actual matter has a dielectric constant, which is a measure of how good of an insulator it is. The problem is, high-tension power lines carry such high voltage that any insulator of reasonable thickness would be completely ineffective. The electricity would jump right through it if the wire came in contact with anything. So, because you have to design the pylons to support the weight of the cables, why would you add insulation to it, when it wouldn't do any good anyway?
Second: saw a video of a guy sitting on a work platform on a helicopter. The helicopter would fly next to the newly-strung high-tension lines (which are already carrying current) and the guy would put separators on the wires. Four parallel cables, a little X-shaped gizmo that clamps to the wires and keeps them apart. Those four cables are all carrying the same phase, of course.
Anyway, the helicopter gets close, and the worker takes out this wand on a coiled wire and brings it into contact with the cable--and while he's doing so, there's arcing from the wire to the wand--and then he just reaches out and grabs the live wires and does his thing.
You see, there's no ground. There's no connection to any other potential. All he has to do, to do this in perfect safety*, is to use that wand thing to make sure that his potential (and that of the helicopter) is the same as what's in the wire. Once he's done, he pulls the wand away from the wire pretty much the same way he put it in contact with it. There's more arcing but no real current flows.
*=as "perfectly" safe as he can be, considering he's strapped to the side of a helicopter that's hovering next to wires charged to 500,000 volts, that is.
* * *
The other day I was looking at layout pages I drew for Megumi's Diary and marveling at the poses I'd drawn. I mean, I can't draw like that now; the poses weren't professional but they did look reasonably natural, not stiff, and approximately correct proportion-wise.
It occurred to me that if I hadn't lost interest in drawing my manga in 2008-2009, if I'd kept at it--I might be a hell of a lot better now than I am, you know?
Still, during downtime at work I've been doodling, and to my surprise it's starting to come back. Everything still looks like ass, but the ass-i-tude is slowly decreasing. If I were to start writing light novels, I think I could do my own illustrations for them, even.
I'd given a lot of thought to that: doing these stories as light novels with more than the usual amount of illustration. A typical light novel will have 2-3-4-5 drawings in it showing the characters in various scenes. Why can't I do that?
* * *
Heard talk there might be an Interstellar 2 and if that happens, I am there. I know that some folks have a lot of problems with that movie, and I agree that it wasn't perfectly-executed hard SF...but when it comes to science fiction--or any fiction, for that matter--perfect realism is not necessary. As long as the wobbly bits fall under "willing suspension of disbelief" then there's no real problem.
Example: "Why do they need a big rocket to get to the spaceship but use single-stage-to-orbit shuttles with such impunity?" Big rocket carrying supplies to the ship, maybe? You know, food, fuel, embryos, stuff like that? Who cares?
...it is such a rarity for Hollywood to make a movie like that, anyway, that I was more than willing to overlook some of the slip-ups. I wasn't there to critique a doctoral dissertation; I was there to have fun, damn it.
I had fun!
The Martian was similar. I know they missed one major point: when Mark Watney recovers the thermoelectric generator that was buried by his shipmates, I wanted to know why he couldn't use it to power his rover? Using it as a heat source was pretty nifty but the thing is designed to generate electricity and there's no reason to take just the radioactive part out and leave the thermal-to-electric convertors behind.
Look: the bits that convert the heat to electricity are integral to the unit which is why they call it thermoelectric in the first place.
But did that spoil the show for me? Hell no.
Arrival was tight. I did not see anything wrong with it, nor did I hear anyone say anything about it.
I love all three of these movies.
Interstellar spent so much time being hopeless, though, that we need something seriously promethean now.
* * *
Well, I've been sitting here for nearly an hour now. I need to sit up for an hour after my last food or drink (except water) to keep GERD at bay. Getting up early tomorrow in order to go vote for Donald J. Trump!