October 7th, 2014

#4410: Maybe someday I can do this.

Machine my own AR15 lower using a $1,200 CNC machine.

Okay, that's a lot to pay for an AR15, but it's not a lot to pay for the ability to make as many AR15 lowers as you want.

Heh.

* * *

Reading Betrayer of Worlds and got caught flat-footed in the first twelve pages--I definitely have not read this one before.

Today I was thinking about four-dimensional spacetime manifolds and how what we experience as the force of gravity is just such a phenomenon, and trying to reconcile that with momentum.

I've reasoned that when an object is in motion, its tendency to stay in motion is due to the curvature of spacetime. It takes work to get something moving because you're changing the shape of space, because you have to generate the "tilt" in spacetime that keeps that object moving once you let it go.

But: why doesn't it accelerate? If "tilted" spacetime is the cause of acceleration due to gravity, why doesn't an inertial "tilt" also cause acceleration?

Then it hit me: the object in motion is a single body; the object being accelerated by gravity is interacting with another object. That interaction with another object causes the acceleration; the single body cannot act on itself, so whatever motion it has is all it's going to get.

No, it's not a big revelation or anything. All I really did was think of another way to describe the workings of gravity and momentum--but in terms of four-dimensional manifolds rather than "force", "velocity", "momentum", and so on.

More one cannot ask for.

#4411: That time, at least, it WAS a real sound.

Woke this afternoon to a very loud bass humming, and I groaned to myself: The tinnitus is back, and much worse than before, if I can hear it over the fan....

Got out of bed to hit the can and realized that no, this time it was an actual noise from outside: they are resurfacing one of the streets in the immediate vicinity of the bunker, and the humming sound was from the construction equipment doing its thing.

The next time I woke up the actual tinnitus was back, but after a few hours of Valsalva maneuvering and such now it's gone again. In fact, yesterday, I stood in the shower with that ear turned towards the shower head, with the latter set to its most forceful setting, and when I got out of the shower the noise was gone entirely. Later this evening when I take a shower, I'm then going to get out the irrigation bulb and stand over the sink and flush that ear canal most thoroughly.

I mean, I do wash my ears, but I've known for a long time that I produce a prodigious amount of earwax. When I was twelve and suffering an epic earache that kept me out of school for almost two weeks, the first thing the doctor did was to irrigate my ear canals to remove the wax, and my ears had enough wax in them to make a birthday candle (however disgusting). Since then I've kept my ears as clean as I can, but mere washing doesn't always do it, so periodically they need to be roto-rooted clean.

I'm really glad it's just that.

* * *

...now that I've read on a bit in Betrayer of Worlds and I've seen a scene which (I think) I've read before, I am now thinking that I might have read this book as well. Even though I was caught flat-footed on page twelve.

I therefore have no idea which of these books I read previously and which I have not. *sigh*

* * *

To make matters worse, I've had "Reflectia"--the opening theme for True Tears--running through my head incessantly for three days.

Yesterday at work I thought about how neat it would be to buy an SSD, pop it into an external enclosure, and plug that into the Bluray player. Of course, there's no reason to do it that way (least of all because I'd pay more for an SSD and an enclosure than I'd currently pay for a 1 TB external HDD, and have about 1/10th the capacity) but it was a fun thought.

Meanwhile, today I was playing the "what did I blog about on this day in X?" and came across the entries mentioning when I first ordered the components to build El-Hazard. I keep thinking about digging that machine out and tinkering with it; it will (in fact) end up being the PC I use in the "monk's cell" because it has enough guts to run OpenOffice and maybe Pandora at the same time, and I could listen to good music while I wrote.

Whee!

* * *

Gotham continues to impress.

* * *

Over the past couple of days I've been revisiting an idea I had last year. The basic story was about an immortal and invulnerable girl who finds herself stranded on a planet without any resources whatsoever, nothing but her wits and an endless supply of rocks and sand. The planet has a breathable atmosphere--which is explained partway through the extant story by her discovery that the planet is pockmarked with sinkholes that lead to a subterranean sea, one full of life--but otherwise there is absolutely nothing on the surface of the planet other than rocks, sand, dust, and more rocks.

"What does she eat, anus?" You ask. Nothing; see above, "invulnerable and immortal". What made her that way? She doesn't remember; it happened a very long time ago. She suspects it was some kind of alien supertechnology, but without being able to remember what or where or why--well, she's made it her mission to explore the galaxy until she finds the source of her immortality, in hopes it can also take it away.

So how did she end up on the surface of the planet? She fell. At the outer boundary of the star system, her ship encountered some kind of space/time anomaly that wrecked the ship. Her ship's computer--realizing what was happening and that the ship was about to blow up--maneuvered to put her on a collision course with the planet, knowing that she'd survive it handily, and being on a planet was infinitely preferable to drifting through interstellar space forever.

The space/time anomaly is what I've been thinking about. What is it, and why is it there?

"What" is the hard part. Whatever kind of space-time distortion I imagine, I can't see it having any real effect on a starship's systems. A protective field, on the other hand--

So, okay, having discarded "space/time anomaly" for "protective field", what are its properties? Everything I think of would just result in a hard collision, and usually I fall asleep before I get anywhere with it.

But I decided that the field is generated on the (nominally) habitable planet; it's alien tech and old.

Now if I could just figure out what it does and why....

* * *

Something I'm going to comment on now because I finally thought of it:

On my desk is a sugar packet. The front side is graced with three holly leaves, in blue, with three red berries, and the legend "HOLLY SUGAR". The back has a stylized heaping teaspoon of sugar on it, and is bracketed with two halves of an exhortation:
USE REAL SUGAR

If you know what's good for you
What is that, a threat? Have I just been threatened by a packet of sugar? WTF is this?