Infra-yellow: Great Moments in Wacked Out SF Science

801 views
Skip to first unread message

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 6:49:14 PM9/24/04
to
"Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"

More or less. I don't have the issue.

What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
the mark they aren't even wrong?

--
"You work for the A-Sharp beings, and you help out the E-flat beings
and you've done considerable for the B Major beings. But what have you
done for the _sound absorbent_ beings?"
Coyu, giving [Rot Lop Fan] a hard time.

Ted Nolan <tednolan>

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 6:57:26 PM9/24/04
to
In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>,

James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>
> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>
> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>the mark they aren't even wrong?
>

That's Green Lantern, significant because his ring doesn't work on yellow
objects (because of a "necessary impurity").

In SF, you're allowed one impossibility (FTL, time travel etc). After that?
I don't know. The "you have to have sex with a horse" stuff from _Walk to
the End of the _World_?


Ted

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 7:19:47 PM9/24/04
to
James Nicoll wrote:
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> the mark they aren't even wrong?

Does it count if it's intentionally bad science? Like starting a
fire by using a spyglass lens to focus moonlight in the middle of a
hurricane?


--KG

Sean O'Hara

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 7:59:09 PM9/24/04
to
In the Year of the Monkey, the Great and Powerful Konrad Gaertner
declared:
Or how about that episode of Futurama where Dr. Zoidberg's underwater
house burns down.

Dr. Z: How could this happen?

Hermes: That's a very good question.

Bender: Oh, that's where I left by cigar.

Hermes: That just raises further questions!

--
Sean O'Hara | http://diogenes-sinope.blogspot.com
Helena: Doctor, has Radius a soul?
Dr. Gall: He's got something nasty.
--Karel Capek
Rossum's Universal Robots

Mike Van Pelt

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 8:23:38 PM9/24/04
to
In article <qD15d.98181$Np2....@bignews4.bellsouth.net>,

Ted Nolan <tednolan> <tednolan> wrote:
>That's Green Lantern, significant because his ring doesn't work
>on yellow objects (because of a "necessary impurity").

Wouldn't this mean that every criminal in whatever city
Green Lantern operated in would paint everything yellow?
Their car, their clothes, their guns, their bullets?

Or is yellow paint illegal in Green Lantern's domain?

(Hmm... group coming into bank is all wearing yellow
shirts. Shoot them. Shoot them now.)
--
Yes, I am the last man to have walked on the moon, | Mike Van Pelt
and that's a very dubious and disappointing honor. | mvp.at.calweb.com
It's been far too long. -- Gene Cernan | KE6BVH

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 9:08:40 PM9/24/04
to
In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:

> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> the mark they aren't even wrong?

Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.

--
John S. Novak, III j...@cegt201.bradley.edu
The Humblest Man on the Net

Ross TenEyck

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 9:47:49 PM9/24/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) writes:

> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"

> More or less. I don't have the issue.

> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>the mark they aren't even wrong?

"It's like a wall of radio waves, of no known frequency!"

From _Atlas Shrugged._ It's immediately before the 50-page
speech by John Galt, so it's possible a lot of people zoned
out right around then; but it's alway annoyed me.

--
================== http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~teneyck ==================
Ross TenEyck Seattle, WA \ Light, kindled in the furnace of hydrogen;
ten...@alumni.caltech.edu \ like smoke, sunlight carries the hot-metal
Are wa yume? Soretomo maboroshi? \ tang of Creation's forge.

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 24, 2004, 10:06:29 PM9/24/04
to
In article <qD15d.98181$Np2....@bignews4.bellsouth.net>,
Ted Nolan <tednolan> <tednolan> wrote:

Well, stuff that's wrong because the author was horribly mis-
informed (or didn't care), not stuff that's wrong because the plot
needed it as a background detail.

John H

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:58:29 AM9/25/04
to

"Mike Van Pelt" <m...@web1.calweb.com> wrote in message
news:4154ba8a$0$99880$d36...@news.calweb.com...

> In article <qD15d.98181$Np2....@bignews4.bellsouth.net>,
> Ted Nolan <tednolan> <tednolan> wrote:
>>That's Green Lantern, significant because his ring doesn't work
>>on yellow objects (because of a "necessary impurity").
>
> Wouldn't this mean that every criminal in whatever city
> Green Lantern operated in would paint everything yellow?
> Their car, their clothes, their guns, their bullets?

I never understood this particular weakness. So what if his ring doesn't
affect anything yellow? He picks up a perfectly normal grey rock and
accelerates to the speed of light at you. You, your yellow car, yellow
sweater vest... everything is instantly vaporized.

John


John H

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 1:03:04 AM9/25/04
to

"Sean O'Hara" <sean...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:2rjqj1F...@uni-berlin.de...

> In the Year of the Monkey, the Great and Powerful Konrad Gaertner
> declared:
>> James Nicoll wrote:
>>
>>> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>>>the mark they aren't even wrong?
>>
>> Does it count if it's intentionally bad science? Like starting a
>> fire by using a spyglass lens to focus moonlight in the middle of a
>> hurricane?
>>
> Or how about that episode of Futurama where Dr. Zoidberg's underwater
> house burns down.
>
Have to give Futurama a bit of slack for stuff like that. Obviously played
for laughs and not for accuracy. The show is actually "more"
scientif-fictionally accurate than, say, Star Trek. Remember the time
travel episode when Fry messed up the meeting between his grandparents? He
spends the rest of the episode trying to get them back together ala Back to
the Future, but fails. As a last resort he does her.

As the Professor says it, "If the Universe is fine with our degenerate
friend, Fry, sleeping with his own grandmother, who are we to judge?"

john


Damien R. Sullivan

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:42:20 AM9/25/04
to
"John H" <chandin169(mung)@yahoo.com> wrote:
>"Sean O'Hara" <sean...@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> In the Year of the Monkey, the Great and Powerful Konrad Gaertner
>> declared:

>>> Does it count if it's intentionally bad science? Like starting a

>> Or how about that episode of Futurama where Dr. Zoidberg's underwater


>> house burns down.
>>
>Have to give Futurama a bit of slack for stuff like that. Obviously played
>for laughs and not for accuracy. The show is actually "more"

I think that's covered under "intentionally bad science."

>scientif-fictionally accurate than, say, Star Trek. Remember the time
>travel episode when Fry messed up the meeting between his grandparents? He
>spends the rest of the episode trying to get them back together ala Back to
>the Future, but fails. As a last resort he does her.
>
>As the Professor says it, "If the Universe is fine with our degenerate
>friend, Fry, sleeping with his own grandmother, who are we to judge?"

I need to get more DVDs.

-xx- Damien X-)

Joseph Nebus

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:58:20 AM9/25/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) writes:

> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>the mark they aren't even wrong?

At the risk of bringing professionals into the corny science
bit -- the various Superfriends cartoons have to win, particularly for
any episode in which Skylab is featured in any fashion.

Nominee #1: An evil overlord type wants to rule the world, so he
tricks a team of scientists into building a time machine and a Stupid Ray
generator. He sends the Stupid Ray beam back a million years, retarding
the development of humanity so that in 1978 mankind hasn't progressed
past the stone age -- which he, of course, is able to dominate.

The Superfriends are fortunately immune to that, as Zan and Jana
are from another, non-Stupid Rayed planet (believe it or not) and the
other Superfriends were outside the beam's reach because they were off
visiting Skylab, which survived fine since it wasn't on the Earth when
the Stupid Ray changed time.

Then Superman, Flash, Green Lantern et al have to find some way
to travel back in time (they steal the plans for the time machine and
bulid a duplicate using Skylab's resources); they go back to find that
the machine is guarded by two vicious ``Brontosaurus Rex'' dinosaurs.

You'd actually need advanced study to get more wrong at that
point. But it was a fun story, and it featured the best reason yet to
support manned exploration of space: so that we have a much-needed
reservoir of high-technology in case an evil overlord send a Stupid Ray
generator back in time to destroy Earthbound civilization before it can
form.


Nominee #2: A routine docking between Shuttle and Skylab (which
uses the proposed-but-not-implemented nose cone docking mechanism, by
the way) goes wrong, trapping the two in an unstable orbit without
power. The astronauts try various things to get unjammed, which results
in an explosion that sends Skylab hurtling into the Sun. In the nick of
time Wonder Woman flies her Invisible Jet out -- even though it's got to
get well within the orbit of Mercury -- and circles around Skylab fast
enough to create an ``artificial planet'' and tow the station back into
Earth orbit, where other Superfriends have saved the Shuttle. At the
end the Superfriends thank the astronauts for ... I really don't know.


Past that ... hm. Stephen Baxter's 'Titan' is specifically
exempted from submission, right?

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Morrison

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:47:22 AM9/25/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

> Well, stuff that's wrong because the author was horribly mis-
>informed (or didn't care), not stuff that's wrong because the plot
>needed it as a background detail.

Does visual SF count?

"Godzilla vs King Kong", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (the film)
and "SeaQuest DSV", all which have shown underwater ice avalanches.

The latter actually required it in order to solve their problem, which
is even worse.

--
Keith

Chad Irby

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 8:25:14 AM9/25/04
to
In article <4154ABE8...@worldnet.att.net>, Konrad Gaertner
<kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> Does it count if it's intentionally bad science? Like starting a
> fire by using a spyglass lens to focus moonlight in the middle of a
> hurricane?

I dunno. What category was the hurricane?

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 9:51:52 AM9/25/04
to
In article <VV65d.1250$JG2...@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>,
Green Lanterns are selected for their lack of fear and force
of will, not for intelligence or imagination. As a result, they don't
tend to have long careers.

Mike Dworetsky

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 10:45:57 AM9/25/04
to
"James Nicoll" <jdni...@panix.com> wrote in message
news:cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com...

> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
> exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
> red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>
> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> the mark they aren't even wrong?

Try this one for laughs.

In _The Star Seekers_ by Milton Lesser (a
generation-starship-in-a-hollowed-out-asteroid novel of the 1950s), the
heroes discover that their Universe is a hollowed out asteroid about to
arrive at Alpha Centauri, but everyone has forgotten that they were on a
mission. And no one will listen to them. So far, so good, but then...

In order to get the "crew's" attention, they shut down the power that keeps
the asteroid rotating to provide artificial gravity. As soon as the power
is switched off, hey presto, the asteroid stops spinning and everyone is
suddenly in free fall.

--
Mike Dworetsky

(Remove "pants" spamblock to send e-mail)


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 10:56:24 AM9/25/04
to
Here, John S. Novak, III <j...@panix.com> wrote:
> In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:
>
> > What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> > the mark they aren't even wrong?
>
> Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
> Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.

I'd just about managed to block out that memory. Drat your eyes.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 11:05:04 AM9/25/04
to
In article <cj40b5$5ut$1...@titan.btinternet.com>,

"Running Down Main Steet", from the 1970s, had a similar
"Conservation laws? What are those?" moment. Space colony spontaneously
de-spun, so the colonials had to go jogging, to spin it back up. They
could stop jogging without it despinning, though.

And I always like to mock the Starfarers series when I can. As
near as I can make out, the series filled with ideas gleaned from panels
the author held on the imaginary TV show "Starfarers", having gotten
tired of being put on Star Trek panels. The problem is, a lot of the ideas
were just plain Do the Goddamn Math stupid, like light sails that can push
a billion tonne colony around like a cigarette boat. OK, it's related to
Trek, so it has to be stupid.

I'm also rather dubious that you can get FTL by flying into
Cosmic String (defects in space/time dating back to the Big Bang):
ultra thin, super-dense, filled with amazing amounts of energy. I'm
not seeing "FTL Shortcut" there.

Mark Blunden

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 11:08:49 AM9/25/04
to
James Nicoll wrote:
> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
> exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
> red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>
> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> the mark they aren't even wrong?

Spider-man 2 (yes, SPOILERS): I know the whole concept of the fusion reactor
presented here was completely nuts to begin with, and I don't expect much
from a summer blockbuster in scientific-realism terms, but still, the
completely-the-wrong-way-round-ness of the final solution bugs me.

"Oh dear, this miniature star is just getting more and more powerful from
eating all this iron it's sucking in. Whatever can we do? Ah, of course -
feed it hydrogen and oxygen instead. That'll snuff it right out."

--
Mark.


James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 11:21:12 AM9/25/04
to
In article <2rlg04F...@uni-berlin.de>,

It helps a bit if you replace "fusion" with "extra-dimensional
gate", and assume the arms were possessed by EDs who Wanted In.

Not sure why H2O would shut the gate down but maybe the
Things aren't water-proof.

Dan Swartzendruber

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 11:55:19 AM9/25/04
to
In article <cj41f0$od1$1...@panix1.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

Let's not forget the original Star Trek series, where shutting down the
engines causes the ship to spiral down into the atmosphere...

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:10:17 PM9/25/04
to
In article <MPG.1bbf5ef57...@news.giganews.com>,

Dan Swartzendruber <dsw...@druber.com> wrote:
>
>Let's not forget the original Star Trek series, where shutting down the
>engines causes the ship to spiral down into the atmosphere...
>
I assumed that the short range of the transporters and the
characteristics of Class M worlds meant that a true geosynch orbit
was out of range of the surface, so they parked in low orbit and used
the impulse drives to stay over the spot they wanted. No power meant
Mr Kepler suddenly had jurisdiction again.

Why they felt their machiens were reliable enough to park in
orbits where power failure = death, I have no idea. I think transporters
cause brain damage.

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:17:31 PM9/25/04
to
In article <nebusj.1...@vcmr-86.server.rpi.edu>, Joseph Nebus wrote:

> At the risk of bringing professionals into the corny science
> bit -- the various Superfriends cartoons have to win, particularly for
> any episode in which Skylab is featured in any fashion.

The Superfriends are, if possible, worse than Star Trek in that
regard. Behold:

http://www.seanbaby.com/superfriends/supermanb.htm

Warning: Not work safe, in that trying not to laugh loudly (if you
watched the show as a kid) may actually cause you to injure your lungs.

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:19:03 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj3t5o$er1$1...@panix1.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:

>>I never understood this particular weakness. So what if his ring doesn't
>>affect anything yellow? He picks up a perfectly normal grey rock and
>>accelerates to the speed of light at you. You, your yellow car, yellow
>>sweater vest... everything is instantly vaporized.

> Green Lanterns are selected for their lack of fear and force
> of will, not for intelligence or imagination. As a result, they don't
> tend to have long careers.

Wasn't Hal Jordan a test pilot/engineer type?
And the new punk kid a comic book artist?

Peter D. Tillman

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:26:03 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>,
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
> exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
> red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>
> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> the mark they aren't even wrong?

"Hidden among the brightly pigmented coatings used on the hulls were a
field generator that could create the illusion of invisibility and a
radiation absorption matrix, or RAM. The two would, between them,
defeat sonar, radar, infra-red, and all other traditional detection
methods used to trace the location of a spacecraft." (Anne McCaffrey
and Elizabeth Scarborough, _Acorna's World_, 2000)

Happy reading!
Pete Tillman
--
Poppycock: did you know this word derives from the Dutch
pappekak, meaning 'soft crap'? Well, now you do....

Stewart Robert Hinsley

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 7:47:56 AM9/25/04
to
In article <t38al0hfrd6l3iojf...@4ax.com>, Keith Morrison
<kei...@polarnet.ca> writes

What's the density of CO2 clathrate? (A quick google found a page
implying that it's denser than water deeper than 3000m.)
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:48:57 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rlk3nF...@uni-berlin.de>,

John S. Novak, III <j...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <cj3t5o$er1$1...@panix1.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:
>
>>>I never understood this particular weakness. So what if his ring doesn't
>>>affect anything yellow? He picks up a perfectly normal grey rock and
>>>accelerates to the speed of light at you. You, your yellow car, yellow
>>>sweater vest... everything is instantly vaporized.
>
>> Green Lanterns are selected for their lack of fear and force
>> of will, not for intelligence or imagination. As a result, they don't
>> tend to have long careers.
>
>Wasn't Hal Jordan a test pilot/engineer type?
>And the new punk kid a comic book artist?

Yes, and John Stewart was an architect and Guy Gardner a teacher,
but none of them were selected on the basis of their professional skills.
Jordan was the closest qualified candidate when Aben Sur died, and Guy
the second closest. Not sure on what basis John was selected and Kyle
was the first person Gathnet ran into, as I recall.

Tomar Re -was- a scientist, but then there's people like Arisa,
Jordon's child-bride, who got the ring because her dad was a GL, and
Katma Tui, who got the ring because she wasn't Sinestro.

Consider that although G'Nort -wasn't- an authentic Green
Lantern, it was considered possible that he might be one.

Danny Sichel

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 12:52:30 PM9/25/04
to
James Nicoll wrote:


>>> Green Lanterns are selected for their lack of fear and force
>>> of will, not for intelligence or imagination. As a result, they don't
>>> tend to have long careers.

>>Wasn't Hal Jordan a test pilot/engineer type?
>>And the new punk kid a comic book artist?

> Yes, and John Stewart was an architect and Guy Gardner a teacher,
> but none of them were selected on the basis of their professional skills.

> Jordan was the closest qualified candidate when Abin Sur died, and Guy


> the second closest. Not sure on what basis John was selected and Kyle
> was the first person Ganthet ran into, as I recall.

Giving a GL ring to some random schmuck in an alley behind a disco.

If Ganthet had landed just *one block* to the left, Earth's new GL would
have been Sidney Speck.

> Tomar Re -was- a scientist, but then there's people like Arisa,
> Jordon's child-bride, who got the ring because her dad was a GL, and
> Katma Tui, who got the ring because she wasn't Sinestro.

That's a bit simplified. Not only was she not Sinestro, she led the
resistance against him. Only by selecting her as his replacement could
the Guardians regain the Korugarians' trust.

Nancy Lebovitz

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 1:17:39 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>,

James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>
> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>
> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>the mark they aren't even wrong?

In _The Cosmic Rape_ by Theodore Sturgeon, it's explained that
telepathy is faster than light--you can demonstrate this by looking
quickly from one star to another even though the stars are light
years apart.

Sturgeon really liked technological cleverness, but afaik, his
interest didn't extend to science. Admittedly, I'm judging this
from his fiction.
--
--
Nancy Lebovitz http://www.nancybuttons.com
"We've tamed the lightning and taught sand to give error messages."
http://livejournal.com/users/nancylebov

Ken from Chicago

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 1:36:29 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rlm6eF...@uni-berlin.de>, dsi...@canada.com says...

Nice to see the Guardians of the universe holds the actions of one person
against an entire race.

-- Ken from Chicago

P.S. Bright enough light overwhelms any color. Enclose an object in light-
proof area and it is no longer yellow. Cover it with mud, use another object
as a battering ram. Too many ways there are to overcome the yellow weakness.
However overcoming bad writing ... no hero can overcome.

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:00:25 PM9/25/04
to
In article <MPG.1bbf689ab...@news.comcast.giganews.com>,

Ken from Chicago <kwicker...@amertech.net> wrote:
>In article <2rlm6eF...@uni-berlin.de>, dsi...@canada.com says...

snip

>> That's a bit simplified. Not only was [Katma] not Sinestro, she led the

>> resistance against him. Only by selecting her as his replacement could
>> the Guardians regain the Korugarians' trust.
>>
>Nice to see the Guardians of the universe holds the actions of one person
>against an entire race.

I think you've taken the dragon by the epiglottis here.

The point wasn't to redeem the Korugarians in the eyes of
of the Oans but to redeem the Oans and the Green Lantern Corps
in the eyes of the Korugarians for having saddled Korugar with the
tyrant Sinestro for years and years.

Damien R. Sullivan

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:15:23 PM9/25/04
to
>> > the second closest. Not sure on what basis John was selected and Kyle
>> > was the first person Ganthet ran into, as I recall.
>>
>> Giving a GL ring to some random schmuck in an alley behind a disco.
>>
>> If Ganthet had landed just *one block* to the left, Earth's new GL would
>> have been Sidney Speck.

>P.S. Bright enough light overwhelms any color. Enclose an object in light-


>proof area and it is no longer yellow. Cover it with mud, use another object
>as a battering ram. Too many ways there are to overcome the yellow weakness.
>However overcoming bad writing ... no hero can overcome.

If Kyle is the one I'm thinking of (from when Jordan went totally batshit)
then he didn't have any trouble affecting yellow things, like Mongol, to the
confusion of Mongol and Superman. I didn't see an explanation while standing
in the bookstore, but I guessed that writer wanted to go in the direction that
the Green Lantern power could always affect yellow things, and the Lanterns
had only believed it couldn't (and if they believe, then it's true for them)
presumably because they were told that by the Guardians, presumably to give
the Lanterns a weakness.

This implies Hal Jordan was told his ring couldn't affect yellow things,
rather than discovering it; I don't know if that's true.

-xx- Damien X-)

Wayne Throop

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:14:06 PM9/25/04
to
: "Mike Dworetsky" <plati...@pants.btinternet.com>
: In _The Star Seekers_ by Milton Lesser (a

: generation-starship-in-a-hollowed-out-asteroid novel of the 1950s), the
: heroes discover that their Universe is a hollowed out asteroid about to
: arrive at Alpha Centauri, but everyone has forgotten that they were on a
: mission. And no one will listen to them. So far, so good, but then...
: In order to get the "crew's" attention, they shut down the power that keeps
: the asteroid rotating to provide artificial gravity. As soon as the power
: is switched off, hey presto, the asteroid stops spinning and everyone is
: suddenly in free fall.

I wonder if there is any SF (this one sounds like apossibility) in which
spin creates towards-spin-center gravity, or (for ring-shaped stations)
along-spin-axis gravity. As I've mentioned before, there seems to be
a disturbingly common meme running around that *earth*s gravity is
caused by its spin, so it wouldn't surprise me to discover somebody'd
put a related bogglosity into an SF work.

Of course, the "directory of gravity in space" brings up the wonderful
trek-ism, where in several episodes both original and ng, e can tell a
starship is in trouble because it's listing as it floats in the viscous
fluid that fills space. And of course, the "drifting to a stop when
the engines cut out". But I suppose those're so common it's unremarkable.


Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw

Damien R. Sullivan

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:21:09 PM9/25/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:
>In article <2rlg04F...@uni-berlin.de>,
>Mark Blunden <m.blundenatn...@address.invalid> wrote:
>>James Nicoll wrote:
>>> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>>> exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>>> red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>>>
>>> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>>>
>>> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>>> the mark they aren't even wrong?
>>
>>Spider-man 2 (yes, SPOILERS): I know the whole concept of the fusion reactor
>>presented here was completely nuts to begin with, and I don't expect much
>>from a summer blockbuster in scientific-realism terms, but still, the
>>completely-the-wrong-way-round-ness of the final solution bugs me.
>>
>>"Oh dear, this miniature star is just getting more and more powerful from
>>eating all this iron it's sucking in. Whatever can we do? Ah, of course -
>>feed it hydrogen and oxygen instead. That'll snuff it right out."
>
> It helps a bit if you replace "fusion" with "extra-dimensional
>gate", and assume the arms were possessed by EDs who Wanted In.
>
> Not sure why H2O would shut the gate down but maybe the
>Things aren't water-proof.

Crossover with "Signs"?

-xx- Damien X-)

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:24:34 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj4cul$e0n$1...@hood.uits.indiana.edu>,
I didn't see that, because 'Unbreakable' led me to think the
overlap in the director's product and my tastes in 'Sixth Sense' was
a fluke.

Brion K. Lienhart

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:36:52 PM9/25/04
to
"Damien R. Sullivan" <dasu...@cs.indiana.edu> wrote in message
news:cj340c$k7$1...@hood.uits.indiana.edu...

At the time that he did the nasty with Mildred, he was convinced that she
wasn't his grandmother.


James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 2:44:26 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj4cjr$dve$1...@hood.uits.indiana.edu>,

I'm fairly certain that Hal's original ring didn't bother
to mention the yellow weakness until just after it became relevant
to Hal to know this. It's not the bearer's belief that matters but
how the ring has been programmed. I think. GLs are probably not
encouraged to hack their own rings, what with so many GLs being on
the edge of power-madness.

Now, Kyle avoided the yellow weakness in two ways. One, he was
supposed to be Kewler than the old GLs, and one way to make characters
kewler is to give them fewer weaknesses (Another way is to make them
reflexively murderous and to give them a name like BludSmurph or
Crushspeen). Second, the ring he got wasn't Hal's original ring but
one he had been tricked into taking off of Lord Malvolio's "dead"
hand, after LM destroyed Hal's first ring. The story told about
Malvolio's past is obviously a pack of lies, and the ring he used,
while indistinguishable from standard issue GL rings, didn't have
that weakness.

Dan Swartzendruber

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:18:13 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj4599$163$1...@panix1.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

> In article <MPG.1bbf5ef57...@news.giganews.com>,
> Dan Swartzendruber <dsw...@druber.com> wrote:
> >
> >Let's not forget the original Star Trek series, where shutting down the
> >engines causes the ship to spiral down into the atmosphere...
> >
> I assumed that the short range of the transporters and the
> characteristics of Class M worlds meant that a true geosynch orbit
> was out of range of the surface, so they parked in low orbit and used
> the impulse drives to stay over the spot they wanted. No power meant
> Mr Kepler suddenly had jurisdiction again.
>
> Why they felt their machiens were reliable enough to park in
> orbits where power failure = death, I have no idea. I think transporters
> cause brain damage.

But this makes no sense. Orbiting so low that you will spiral in within
an hour or two is ridiculous. Even being a 100 miles or so up would
make this a non-issue.

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:31:04 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj4eaa$ef3$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:

> Now, Kyle avoided the yellow weakness in two ways. One, he was
> supposed to be Kewler than the old GLs, and one way to make characters
> kewler is to give them fewer weaknesses (Another way is to make them
> reflexively murderous and to give them a name like BludSmurph or
> Crushspeen). Second, the ring he got wasn't Hal's original ring but
> one he had been tricked into taking off of Lord Malvolio's "dead"
> hand, after LM destroyed Hal's first ring. The story told about
> Malvolio's past is obviously a pack of lies, and the ring he used,
> while indistinguishable from standard issue GL rings, didn't have
> that weakness.

I thought it was supposed to be a New and Improved Ring, without the
"impurity" that causes yellow-weakness, or some such.

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:39:21 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rlvboF...@uni-berlin.de>,

John S. Novak, III <j...@panix.com> wrote:
My memory is that Hal, having trashed Oa and the GLC, dropped
his ring, once Malvolio's ring, on the ground and crushed it underfoot.
Gathnet reformed the ring, then took it to Earth where he handed it over
to Crab Face Guy.

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:54:21 PM9/25/04
to
"John S. Novak, III" wrote:

>
> In article <cj289a$bcn$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:
>
> > What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> > the mark they aren't even wrong?
>
> Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
> Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.

How many parsecs did it take for them to warm up?


--KG

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 3:56:10 PM9/25/04
to
In article <4155CD4D...@worldnet.att.net>, Konrad Gaertner wrote:

>> > What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>> > the mark they aren't even wrong?

>> Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
>> Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.

> How many parsecs did it take for them to warm up?

Ask Han Solo.

Konrad Gaertner

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:04:41 PM9/25/04
to
Chad Irby wrote:
>
> In article <4154ABE8...@worldnet.att.net>, Konrad Gaertner

> <kgae...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
> > Does it count if it's intentionally bad science? Like starting a
> > fire by using a spyglass lens to focus moonlight in the middle of a
> > hurricane?
>
> I dunno. What category was the hurricane?

They didn't say. On the one hand, it was strong enough to weaken a
cliff enough to cause a house to fall into the lake, but on the
other hand, well, we're talking about a "lake".


--KG

Dan Swartzendruber

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:05:33 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rm0qqF...@uni-berlin.de>, j...@panix.com says...

> In article <4155CD4D...@worldnet.att.net>, Konrad Gaertner wrote:
>
> >> > What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
> >> > the mark they aren't even wrong?
>
> >> Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
> >> Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.
>
> > How many parsecs did it take for them to warm up?
>
> Ask Han Solo.

Ouch!

Taki Kogoma

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:13:09 PM9/25/04
to
On 25 Sep 2004 19:56:10 GMT, j...@panix.com
allegedly declared to rec.arts.sf.written...

>In article <4155CD4D...@worldnet.att.net>, Konrad Gaertner wrote:
>
>>> Laser power measured in bits, Scott Westerfield, _The Killing of
>>> Worlds_. That just made my head hurt.
>
>> How many parsecs did it take for them to warm up?
>
>Ask Han Solo.

FWIW, Lucas has endorsed the "course length as measured in hyperspace"
retcon in his director's commentary on the Episode IV DVD.

Gym "Not yet sure how to react to the additional tweaks made to Episode
VI..." Quirk

--
Capt. Gym Z. Quirk (Known to some as Taki Kogoma) quirk @ swcp.com
Just an article detector on the Information Supercollider.

Mark Blunden

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:18:18 PM9/25/04
to
James Nicoll wrote:
> In article <2rlg04F...@uni-berlin.de>,
> Mark Blunden <m.blundenatn...@address.invalid> wrote:
>> James Nicoll wrote:
>>> "Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>>> exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>>> red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>>>
>>> More or less. I don't have the issue.
>>>
>>> What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>>> the mark they aren't even wrong?
>>
>> Spider-man 2 (yes, SPOILERS): I know the whole concept of the fusion
>> reactor presented here was completely nuts to begin with, and I
>> don't expect much from a summer blockbuster in scientific-realism
>> terms, but still, the completely-the-wrong-way-round-ness of the
>> final solution bugs me.
>>
>> "Oh dear, this miniature star is just getting more and more powerful
>> from eating all this iron it's sucking in. Whatever can we do? Ah,
>> of course - feed it hydrogen and oxygen instead. That'll snuff it
>> right out."
>
> It helps a bit if you replace "fusion" with "extra-dimensional
> gate", and assume the arms were possessed by EDs who Wanted In.

And the magnetism? Or are they like those guys in the Lensman series who
cross half the galaxy to steal Earth's iron, because the stuff's just so
damn rare everywhere else?

(Which is another great example of Whacked-out Science - the aliens who come
to Earth to steal some vital resource, which turns out to be something we
already know is available in just-about any given star system. See also 'V',
in which the aliens cross half a galaxy and conquer the planet for a
refreshing drink of water).

--
Mark.


Dan Swartzendruber

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:25:23 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rm247F...@uni-berlin.de>,
m.blundenatn...@address.invalid says...

> And the magnetism? Or are they like those guys in the Lensman series who
> cross half the galaxy to steal Earth's iron, because the stuff's just so
> damn rare everywhere else?
>
> (Which is another great example of Whacked-out Science - the aliens who come
> to Earth to steal some vital resource, which turns out to be something we
> already know is available in just-about any given star system. See also 'V',
> in which the aliens cross half a galaxy and conquer the planet for a
> refreshing drink of water).

Remember how rare salt was in the Skylark series?

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:29:40 PM9/25/04
to
In article <2rm247F...@uni-berlin.de>,

Nah, that's a just a side-effect.

>(Which is another great example of Whacked-out Science - the aliens who come
>to Earth to steal some vital resource, which turns out to be something we
>already know is available in just-about any given star system. See also 'V',
>in which the aliens cross half a galaxy and conquer the planet for a
>refreshing drink of water).

That was just a stupid cover story for the even more stupid truth.

Bryan Derksen

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:32:31 PM9/25/04
to
On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 18:14:06 GMT, thr...@sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
wrote:

>I wonder if there is any SF (this one sounds like apossibility) in which
>spin creates towards-spin-center gravity, or (for ring-shaped stations)
>along-spin-axis gravity.

Within 1.5 Schwartzchild radii of a black hole, centrifugal force
actually _does_ reverse direction like this. It's due to the way light
(and by extension space itself) is bent so that a circle around the
black hole at 1.5 radii is actually a straight line, and a circle
inside that radius is bent "outward" so that one's effectively
circling around the entire outside universe instead of circling the
black hole.

Or something. :)

Anyway, I came across a book a little while back called "The
Architects of Hyperspace" by Thomas R. McDonough that had a situation
where this could almost have been relevant. Human explorers discover
an ancient alien space station built around a neutron star that
consists of thousands and thousands of concentric rings, each rotating
at the orbital velocity for its radius and thus in free-fall, all the
way down to within a few meters of the star's surface (yes, the author
realizes what the tides on human-sized objects would be down there -
the characters calculate it, and then conclude that they simply don't
understand the magic technology the aliens used to neutralize it :).
The neutron star in the book was only 1.2 Msun, (which is actually
just under the Chandrasekhar limit and therefore impossible) but would
it be possible to have a neutron star massive enough that you got
centrifugal force reversal near its surface? You wouldn't be able to
orbit inside that limit.

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:39:01 PM9/25/04
to

There's also 'sticky' gravity, the sort where a passing moon
or ship is doomed to become stuck in orbit around the world in question,
and amplified gravity through density, where collapsing a world into
a black hole also somehow increases its gravitational effect on bodies
in orbit.

Terrafamilia

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:40:05 PM9/25/04
to

James Nicoll wrote:

> In article <2rlvboF...@uni-berlin.de>,
> John S. Novak, III <j...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>>In article <cj4eaa$ef3$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Now, Kyle avoided the yellow weakness in two ways. One, he was
>>>supposed to be Kewler than the old GLs, and one way to make characters
>>>kewler is to give them fewer weaknesses (Another way is to make them
>>>reflexively murderous and to give them a name like BludSmurph or
>>>Crushspeen). Second, the ring he got wasn't Hal's original ring but
>>>one he had been tricked into taking off of Lord Malvolio's "dead"
>>>hand, after LM destroyed Hal's first ring. The story told about
>>>Malvolio's past is obviously a pack of lies, and the ring he used,
>>>while indistinguishable from standard issue GL rings, didn't have
>>>that weakness.
>>
>>I thought it was supposed to be a New and Improved Ring, without the
>>"impurity" that causes yellow-weakness, or some such.
>>
>
> My memory is that Hal, having trashed Oa and the GLC, dropped
> his ring, once Malvolio's ring, on the ground and crushed it underfoot.
> Gathnet reformed the ring, then took it to Earth where he handed it over
> to Crab Face Guy.

IIRC Kyle's ring doesn't have the 24 hr time limit either. It just runs
until its out of power which depends on how much and what for it's being
used. Instead of watching the clock he has to watch the fuel gage.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Gerry Quinn

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:46:12 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj41f0$od1$1...@panix1.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

> I'm also rather dubious that you can get FTL by flying into
> Cosmic String (defects in space/time dating back to the Big Bang):
> ultra thin, super-dense, filled with amazing amounts of energy. I'm
> not seeing "FTL Shortcut" there.

My favourite "impossible technology" is from Gene Wolfe-s _Urth of the
New Sun_, in which the spaceship (which has a solar sail) tacks to
travel faster than light.

It's a nice idea, though, since ordinary sailboats can tack to go faster
than the wind.

- Gerry Quinn


Damien R. Sullivan

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:45:29 PM9/25/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

> I'm fairly certain that Hal's original ring didn't bother
>to mention the yellow weakness until just after it became relevant
>to Hal to know this. It's not the bearer's belief that matters but
>how the ring has been programmed. I think. GLs are probably not

Oh, that could make sense. Ring would need to be tuned to the wielder's
visual system. I guess we'll ignore that color is not a physical concept, and
that aliens might well not see the same colors we do.

-xx- Damien X-)

Damien R. Sullivan

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:50:31 PM9/25/04
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

>>(Which is another great example of Whacked-out Science - the aliens who come
>>to Earth to steal some vital resource, which turns out to be something we
>>already know is available in just-about any given star system. See also 'V',
>>in which the aliens cross half a galaxy and conquer the planet for a
>>refreshing drink of water).
>
> That was just a stupid cover story for the even more stupid truth.

They're just weeding.
"Any species which buys this story deserves to be eaten."

-xx- Damien X-)

Terrafamilia

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:58:02 PM9/25/04
to

Wayne Throop wrote:

> : "Mike Dworetsky" <plati...@pants.btinternet.com>
> : In _The Star Seekers_ by Milton Lesser (a
> : generation-starship-in-a-hollowed-out-asteroid novel of the 1950s), the
> : heroes discover that their Universe is a hollowed out asteroid about to
> : arrive at Alpha Centauri, but everyone has forgotten that they were on a
> : mission. And no one will listen to them. So far, so good, but then...
> : In order to get the "crew's" attention, they shut down the power that keeps
> : the asteroid rotating to provide artificial gravity. As soon as the power
> : is switched off, hey presto, the asteroid stops spinning and everyone is
> : suddenly in free fall.
>
> I wonder if there is any SF (this one sounds like apossibility) in which
> spin creates towards-spin-center gravity, or (for ring-shaped stations)
> along-spin-axis gravity. As I've mentioned before, there seems to be
> a disturbingly common meme running around that *earth*s gravity is
> caused by its spin, so it wouldn't surprise me to discover somebody'd
> put a related bogglosity into an SF work.

In the movie MOONRAKER the space station is spun for gravity but the
orientation of the various habitation pods and connecting walkways
indicate that "down" was in the general direction of the bottom of the
screen rather than away from the spin axis.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Danny Sichel

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 4:59:29 PM9/25/04
to
Damien R. Sullivan wrote:

Case in point, Rot Lop Fan (mentioned in James's sig.)

"In (untranslatable), in (untranslatable),
No evil shall escape my (untranslatable)!
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power: (untranslatable)"

"Mm - perhaps it loses something in translation?"

(Katma Tui and Rot Lop Fan, whose species lacks the concepts of
brightness, daytime, darkness, nighttime, sight, greenness, lanterns,
and light.)

Terrafamilia

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:01:47 PM9/25/04
to

James Nicoll wrote:

> In article <2rlg04F...@uni-berlin.de>,
> Mark Blunden <m.blundenatn...@address.invalid> wrote:
>
>>James Nicoll wrote:
>>
>>>"Infra-yellow" is a reference to one of the great bits of
>>>exposition in comic book SF: "Just as infra-red rays are invisible
>>>red light, infra-yellow rays are invisible *yellow* light!"
>>>
>>>More or less. I don't have the issue.
>>>
>>>What are the greatest examples of SF science so far off
>>>the mark they aren't even wrong?
>>
>>Spider-man 2 (yes, SPOILERS): I know the whole concept of the fusion reactor
>>presented here was completely nuts to begin with, and I don't expect much
>
>>from a summer blockbuster in scientific-realism terms, but still, the
>
>>completely-the-wrong-way-round-ness of the final solution bugs me.
>>
>>"Oh dear, this miniature star is just getting more and more powerful from
>>eating all this iron it's sucking in. Whatever can we do? Ah, of course -
>>feed it hydrogen and oxygen instead. That'll snuff it right out."
>
>
> It helps a bit if you replace "fusion" with "extra-dimensional
> gate", and assume the arms were possessed by EDs who Wanted In.
>

> Not sure why H2O would shut the gate down but maybe the
> Things aren't water-proof.

Sun big fire. Little sun little fire. Water put out fire. See collosal
explosion of superheated steam engulf NYC as water put out fire. Oh,
sorry, that last part didn't happen.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:03:27 PM9/25/04
to
In article <cj4ld9$gqv$1...@hood.uits.indiana.edu>,

Damien R. Sullivan <dasu...@cs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:
>
>> I'm fairly certain that Hal's original ring didn't bother
>>to mention the yellow weakness until just after it became relevant
>>to Hal to know this. It's not the bearer's belief that matters but
>>how the ring has been programmed. I think. GLs are probably not
>
>Oh, that could make sense. Ring would need to be tuned to the wielder's
>visual system. I guess we'll ignore that color is not a physical concept,

In the real world, if I were an Oan I'd be even shorter^H^H
set the ring to refuse to touch a specific range of wavelengths, and
let the bearers label the range as they like.

Actually, I wouldn't, because that is just so stupid. I'd
institute a better sorting system to select Lanterns, I'd invent
Internal Affairs (maybe get the Darkstars to run it or, heh heh,
Vril Dox) and I'd put backdoors into their rings so I could cut them
off if they went Hal, Sinestro or Universo on me. I mean, at this point
I'd have made the Manhunters, so the idea that agents and institutions
could go sour should be something I've grasped.

> and
>that aliens might well not see the same colors we do.

Colour is just plain different in the DC universe. Kinda
like how charge on fundamental particles has a moral element....

James Nicoll

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:05:47 PM9/25/04
to
In article <%0l5d.10296$o06....@news.flashnewsgroups.com>,

On this side of the gate, anyway. Kinda like tricking the
EDs in _The Gods Themselves_ into taking some LiD, not that they
ever fell for that.

Robert Shaw

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:12:31 PM9/25/04
to

"James Nicoll" <jdni...@panix.com> wrote

>
> I'm also rather dubious that you can get FTL by flying into
> Cosmic String (defects in space/time dating back to the Big Bang):
> ultra thin, super-dense, filled with amazing amounts of energy. I'm
> not seeing "FTL Shortcut" there.
>

Flying into a cosmic string is suicidal.
Flying round one is a different story.

Cosmic strings contain negative pressures, which makes them
ideal for stabilising wormholes, and they create odd geometries.

Wormholes are FTL devices anyway. Using a naked string
for the same purpose sounds plausible enough.


--
Matter is fundamentally lazy:- It always takes the path of least effort
Matter is fundamentally stupid:- It tries every other path first.
That is the heart of physics - The rest is details.- Robert Shaw


Wayne Throop

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:11:14 PM9/25/04
to
::: Let's not forget the original Star Trek series, where shutting down

::: the engines causes the ship to spiral down into the atmosphere...

:: I assumed that the short range of the transporters and the
:: characteristics of Class M worlds meant that a true geosynch orbit
:: was out of range of the surface, so they parked in low orbit and used
:: the impulse drives to stay over the spot they wanted. No power meant
:: Mr Kepler suddenly had jurisdiction again.

Which doesn't really help much. Because in such a situation, you
wouldn't "apiral" in; you'd just be on an elispse that intersects
the surface. And if we're in LEO, you don't have hours to impact,
you have minutes.

: But this makes no sense. Orbiting so low that you will spiral in


: within an hour or two is ridiculous. Even being a 100 miles or so up
: would make this a non-issue.

Well, I agree the justification makes little sense, but if the issue is
"using thrust to stay over one spot", then it's not friction that's
the issue, it's that you aren't in orbit, you are hovering. Being
a hundred miles up and going only a thousand miles an hour (to stay
over one spot) doesn't make crashing a non-issue.

But... jdnicoll knows that, so clearly I'm misunderstanding the hypothesis.

Closest I can come is, you are a few thousand miles out, but not high
enough to be in geosynch, and you always get as close to the surface
as you can without a direct intercept orbit upon engine failure, so
that friction is an issue each perigee... then things come *close*.
But still no substantial cigar, since you wouldn't monotonically approach,
as in... um... what was the episode name... ah: The Naked Time, iirc.

IMO the way to deal with treknology is to realize that major engine components,
such as the warp core and/or intermix chamber and/or whatever they called
things in the original series, interact directly with the viscous fluid
that fills SUBspace; hence, drifting to a halt, spiraling in, banking
on turns, a prefered orientation, etc, all explained in one swell foop.


Or, since as everybody knows, orbits are little imaginary lions
running around the earth, and starship engines are what glues you to
a particular such line or wire, shutting down the engines obviously
will cause you to fall off of the wire or monorail or whatnot
you are clinging to.


Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Sep 25, 2004, 5:55:25 PM9/25/04