December 22, 2016 Leave a comment
September 16, 2016 Leave a comment
July 26, 2016 Leave a comment
If we’re looking at something that can actually shatter Earth, we’re screwed. Pretty much completely. Even a Mars colony might not save the species, something that big will wreck orbits and cause tidal stresses and all sorts of other crap. Our best chance in this case is to start with a distress call- just something a passing ship might notice and investigate, and hope to hell they’ve got some ideas and tech to help us out. Parallel to this, build the largest Orion ship we can, load up the smallest genetically viable founding population we can to crew it, tell them to make babies, and point it at the nearest star that might have an Earth like planet in the habitable zone. And hope they make it, find a habitable planet, and start anew. Chances of failure would be incredibly high, but barring helpful aliens with fleets of FTL transports it’s our best, really only, chance of survival.
Now, as for somewhat smaller scale destruction- wiping out all life on the surface- there might be a few additional options.
A generation ship as in the scenario with Earth actually being destroyed wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible backup plan, but to make the far more plausible Mars attempt work we might not be able to spare the resources. If the resource situation allows, though, the generation ship should be launched.
What’s an Orion ship you ask? Nuclear pulse propulsion. Toss a nuclear bomb out the back of the ship, and ride the shockwave. The basic principles were proven in the 60s, but bans on nukes in space shut down practical research. It’s the only tech we have that can achieve the speeds and load capability to give any of this any chance of working. There are a few ideas discussed in scientific papers that might be better, but we can be sure Orion will work. Will it work well enough? Unclear. But it will work at all, and we can say that with much more certainty than, say, an Alcubierre drive.
June 10, 2016 Leave a comment
So, I have no idea what a tachometer is used for when driving a car, other than “don’t let it get into the red”. Diagnostics, though, here’s a story.
So I’m driving home, and my car is acting a bit funny. Engine runs smooth, but every time I let off on the gas power plummets almost fast enough to feel like a stall, but there’s no shuddering as the engine struggles before giving out. Like highway to idle in an instant is what it felt like. Didn’t notice anything on acceleration.
Running through everything it could be, ruling out all the easy things I can handle on my own, then I catch a glance of my tach. About 2.7k rpm at about 35mph.
So then I nearly shit a brick. This held, it wasn’t a brief spike during acceleration. It was my cruising RPM at that speed. I was thinking my transmission died and couldn’t reach the gears it was trying for. Bad news.
Then I remembered that even automatics have some ability to override the transmission and set a specific gear, and sure enough, I was set to 2 rather than D. Set it properly, and my car ran fine.
I’m not sure I’d have thought to check anything transmission related if not for the tach, which would lead to me being home wondering what the hell was wrong with my car, and being unable to reproduce the problem when my dad came down to look at it.
2.7 at 35, though, makes me wonder how high my engine would go if I went on the highway in 2nd. I redline at 6.5k(never seen past 4 even in hard acceleration) so I probably wouldn’t immediately break anything, but I can’t imagine sustained driving past the ~2.5k I typically see on the highway would be all that great for engine lifespan.
May 24, 2016 Leave a comment
The thing is, though(I think i read about this idea in A Briefer History of Time), being a truly random process, occasionally it’s going to have a period where it appears to exhibit ordered behavior. It won’t, but if a given ordered process is possible, a random process will eventually behave very much like it. This may cause a bunch of particles to jump all to the same place, without other particles jumping out to make room, and staying there long enough for gravity to reassert itself. Over time, the macro level effects of gravity(and other forces) will dominate over the quantum weirdness, triggering a gravitational collapse- everything in the even field will be pulled into this point gravity source. It will get bigger and bigger, squeeze tighter and tighter, and then Big Bang.
Granted, this isn’t certain, but it’s one of many possibilities of what may happen. If Bill has some guts, he could move for dismissal as there will never be a situation where he’s in danger of breaching the contract. There will be a universe in which the debt can be paid and things in this universe will be able to be collected into a suitable payment, forever. Though John could counter on grounds that the information about the debt would be lost, rendering Bill entirely unable, even in principle, to ever pay up. But at the very least, a continuance until heat death(the first time) should be possible, though Bill may be required to take special measures to ensure his heirs remember his obligation.
Wonder why legal language is verbose and painfully precise? This is why. So smartasses can’t pull bullshit like I just outlined here. There’s also vast bodies of case law we keep around to help deal with these sorts of absurdities, I’m sure something in there would prevent “the end of time” being the payment period unless it was explicitly specified.
Realistically… Unless the judge decided that adjudicating the contract itself does not count as a win for the purposes of the payment clause(not a lawyer, so I have no idea if this is realistic), Bill’s going to be paying up either way it goes.
April 15, 2016 Leave a comment