July 9th, 2020

#7214: Today, short shrift.

Today's shrift will be shorter than yesterday's, because I spent my afternoon after work trying to fix things.

First up: the pool. You see, when I got home yesterday the pool looked flat, as if half the water had run out of it, because that's pretty much what happened. I found muddy raccoon prints on the side of it and reasoned that either a raccoon had gotten caught inside the thing and then floundered out, pushing the inflatable support ring (ISR) below water level and causing a minor deluge; or else the leak on that side had gotten worse.

It was the latter. (Of course it could have been both.)

The water level is low enough now that I could push on the side of the pool, kind of force back the tide as it were, to get a look underneath...and when I did, lo and behold, there was a pretty sizable trickle of water coming out!

Did not take long after that to find the actual hole; and it's about 1/4" long and perhaps 1/16" across. Probably damage from when I hastily shoved it into the garage last October, and only happenstance kept it from leaking very much. But while I was in the pool this last weekend, trying to clean detritus from the bottom, I expect I disturbed it and made the leak worse. Maybe a leaf got pulled into the leak and mostly stoppered it, until I decided to clean things. Who knows.

First I tried tape, expecting failure. Duct tape and this other kind I have, not sure of its providence. Got the failure I expected.

So, went into the cabinet in the garage, dug out an older tube of RTV, and used some of that. That stuck. I'm going to have to wait a couple of hours to see if RTV will actually V underwater. This is just "RTV gasket maker" silicone, nothing special about it; to get stuff specifically for underwater use I'd have to go to the hardware store. I'll do that tomorrow if this doesn't work.

Theoretically the RTV will adhere and cure just fine without air around it--at least, I think it's supposed to--and hopefully that means no more leaks. Refill the dang pool and get on with our summer, etc.

We'll see. This is a "let's try it in case it works" so I will only be a little bit disappoint if it fails.

Second up, lawnmower. Took the new belt off and put the old one on; and by now I'm an expert at doing it, so it took me maybe fifteen minutes to swap the belts. Started it, checked the cable tension, then shut it off to tighten things down. Tried to start it, and it just would not start. It ran badly for several seconds, then quit.

Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull. Pull.

I don't know how many times I did it, but finally it started to cough a bit, and then on the next pull it coughed some more, and the next pull it ran fitfully for a couple of seconds before revving up to full speed.

Probably whatever mechanism it is that lets Toro claim it will always start right up; because it hadn't run much, it flooded or something. I don't know.

Anyway, fiddled with it a bit, adjusted the cable, fiddled some more; now I think it'll be okay for a while.

* * *

They ran Midway on HBO on the 4th, and because there was something my wife wanted to watch we have it--so I set the machine to tape it, and watched it last night.

I know that Midway is not all that historically accurate. A lot of folks whose blogs I read panned it because they did this and that and the other thing, which were ahistorical at best. I sympathize with these people; you folks saw what I thought of Gravity.

...Midway is a telling of the tale of the Battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific war in WW2.

I really, really, really enjoyed it.

I don't know all the trivia and details about it. I only know a few broad strokes; I know who Chester Nimitz was and I know who "Bull" Halsey was and have an incidental familiarity with a couple of the Japanese officers. I know about the water purifier at "AF" and its significance.

So, the historical inaccuracies--I know they are there, but I don't know what they are, and even if I had, I don't think they could have spoiled that movie for me. That was a grand war movie in the old tradition, how they used to be made. There was no simpering over the Japanese being misunderstood or any of that horseshit; they were the bad guys. The Americans were the good guys. Plain and simple.

The aerial combat scenes were 100% computer generated but they looked fantastic and they made me wonder how anyone managed to get out of that shit alive. When it's reported that (Enterprise, I think?) lost half her planes in the fight, it's believable.

The 1975 version couldn't do that. They had to make do with film from WW2, a handful of real planes, and some models.

You need to have nerves of steel to be a dive bomber. Holy crap.

...the only thing they got wrong with the Doolittle Raid is that Doolittle himself should have clanked when he walked. Forget brass; his must've been titanium.

Anyway, I liked it--I liked it a lot. I thought it was funny that the guy at the beginning, the American, had such a bad accent when speaking Japanese that I could hear it.

<* * *>

Incidentally: about 57 minutes have passed on Miller's Planet since Interstellar came out. That's the planet with the huge tidal waves.

* * *

Watching Midway I was struck, partway through, with how much our manners have degraded since the 1940s.

There's a scene where the main character goes to a dance with his wife. USO thingy. Anyway, one of their friends asks her to dance, and as she gets up to go dance, all the men at the table stand up. It's automatic and they all do it simultaneously.

That was a tiny detail, something no one would really have missed if it were not present...but when I saw it, I felt really sad for a little bit. That's a custom that's been summarily ejected from our society by feminism. Men used to stand when a lady entered the room; it was a sign of respect.

Then again, feminism isn't really about respecting women, is it?

* * *

Made chili last night. Tonight, chili dogs. Woohoo.

#7215: Perhaps I should have a gander

Just before dawn a comet should be visible in the eastern sky. I might have to take a little drive to a place where there are no obstructions, but that shouldn't be impossible.

It's just about to pass the sun in the sky; on the 12th it'll be visible before sunrise in the northeast, and on the 13th it'll be visible just after sunset in the northwest.

Last comet I saw was Hale-Bopp, but that was with binoculars. NEOWISE is supposed to be naked-eye visible.

* * *

Incidentally, right below that bit? "Record cold in the mesophere". That's the upper atmosphere. What happened to the global warming? Last I heard, the mesosphere was warming, and the heat was magically teleporting to the deep ocean.

Guess maybe it's not warming after all. Hmm?

* * *

The man is a dumbass, and that's not President Trump's fault. Okay, if you want to invest in the stock market, the last thing you should do is to borrow money to do it.

The guy borrowed $75,000 to play the stock market. At one point he had assets worth close to a million dollars. Of course, then the Democrats crashed the economy over COVID-19 and his stocks are now barely worth $7,000.

The rules for investing in the markets is pretty simple: never risk money you cannot afford to lose. It's the same rule that goes for gambling. If you borrow money to invest, you are doing something egregiously stupid.

* * *

What the hell is this shit? Half of Oklahoma is indian reservation?

A decision today by the Supremee Court, "...holds the United States to an 1866 treaty that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation signed with the United States after the Civil War over land which was home to the 'Five Civilized Tribes'; the Creek, Cherokee Nation, the Seminole, the Chickasaw Nation, and the Choctaw Nation,..."

Oh well.

* * *

Seven years ago commie creep Don Lemon told black people:
Black people, if you really want to fix the problem, here’s just five things that you should think about doing.
5) Pull up your pants.
4) [Stop using the N-word.]
3) Respect where you live.
2) finish school.
1) just because you can have a baby, it doesn't mean you should. Especially without planning for one or getting married first.
Of course, this eminently good advice is considered racist.

* * *

Today I was screwing around with the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction equations, the bits and pieces that make travel near lightspeed so entertaining. I was waiting for a user's data to copy to Google Drive, so I had the time.

The funny thing about those equations is, if you assume that the square root of negative one doesn't mean the equation breaks, it makes for an interesting curve past lightspeed. It actually has to flip into a complex number space (and the graphing application can't handle complex numbers) but I get past this by just pulling i out of the radical, and compute the thing by taking the absolute value of 1-v^2/c^2 before we do the square root. So the actual result is F(V)=i*sqrt (1-(V^2/c^2)). Call this F(V) as I did there.

The rest is just finagling where to use that contraction equation. Then, your relativistic mass equals your rest mass divided by F(V), where i is (of course) the square root of -1 and V>C. Time is time span at rest divided by F(V).

For length, it's your length at rest times F(V).

Interestingly enough, the result of F(V) equals -1 somewhere near 425,000 kilometers a second rather than 600,000 km/s. So I started playing around; for my graph I just assumed my mass was 1. But if I made the mass larger, the curve moved down and to the right. At 2 mass, around 671,000 km/s. At 3 mass, 949,000. And so forth. These speeds were where the relativistic mass was exactly -1 times the rest mass.

...and that fit.

"What the hell could it fit?" You demand.

Well--the way starships work in my universe, that's what. The basic rule is that rest mass is speed in hyperspace. Because mass is inverted (as is everything else past lightspeed in normal space) you can only go as fast, in hyperspace, as satisfies the equations to make your relativistic mass -1 times your ship's mass in normal space. If you go faster than that--even to -0.999..9--you start running the risk of inversion, which would trap you in hyperspace approximately forever. And hyperspace is (for several reasons) a timelike space in that the minimum speed in hyperspace is lightspeed. But you need to accelerate a lot to have enough relativistic energy to get close to that slow.

...when I found this, this afternoon, I was delighted: the equations actually fit the story. I should not have been; I should have expected it (given that many characteristics of hyperspace were drawn from these equations).

Hyperspace has weird rules in my SF universe. But I tried to give them at least some grounding in reality...apparently, with some success.

The graph!

And if that doesn't work, here is the link to the graph.

Some explanation: the asymptote that goes to plus infinity is relativistic mass, also duration; same for the one that comes from negative infinity.

The other curve is relativistic length.

All curves higher than X=300,000 are complex numbers but I've adjusted for that by pretending really hard that it doesn't matter.

* * *

By the way--in some story or another, Heinlein talks about how a certain kind of ship can go faster than light and "gave a little lurch as we skipped over lightspeed" but as you can see from those two asymptotic curves, you can't just "skip" past lightspeed. Just before lightspeed your relativistic mass is arbitrarily positive. Just past lightspeed, your relativistic mass is arbitrarily negative.

Actually it's your rest mass M times i times the contraction, of course. But that's why you need to go to an alternate space to exceed lightspeed.

* * *

Anyway, it's bedtime.