Tagged: physics

SpaceBrew Review: Ancient Shores

Ancient Shores
by Jack McDevitt

as posted on Goodreads

This book was like a “wave” at a football game. You know the one where people stand up in turn waving their arms around and it gives the effect that the stadium is an ocean? Yeah. That. Let me explain the analogy.

Well you probably got that it was up and down with the suspense, drama and general kickassery of the story. It was indeed. The gait would pick up and get me real interested, then it would slow back down and even bog down with unnecessary character introductions and irrelevant loose ends. But it also reminded me of a stadium wave because of how imperfect the wave part of the wave actually was.

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Life Comes At You Fast (And So Do Cars)

It’s weird – I never thought it would happen to me. I am so defensive and cautious and alert, and even what one might call ‘super-ambulatory’. But none of that matters. I even saw it coming. He was turning left, but looking right as he pulled onto Lemmon heading Northwest. I noticed he was turning wide, into the center lane, obviously swerving wide to avoid me. But then at the last second, he changed course and started aiming for the inside lane, right where I was.

People have these theories that if ever a car bears down on them, they’ll jump in the air, do a fancy football juke, or a double-back-flip over the car. Well I just thought I’d be able to dash out of the way real fast. Well, as it turns out, time isn’t very elastic, and it just marches forward, second for second. And by the time I realized he wasn’t seeing me, I was out of options. So I turned and faced the truck. A Tahoe, it was. A white one with a black driver. And faster than lightning, he hit me.

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SpaceBrew Review: Dooms Day Book

I have so many things to say about this book. I’ve never really read anything like it. I do love time-travel tales. It follows that I love anachronistic situations, people getting stuck in a different time, and – well, just a bunch of bad schlit happening. This book has all that. I also rather enjoy tales set in medieval times, or the Middle Ages, as it were. I’m not, however, big on fantasy. You show me a dragon or a wizard, and I’ll show you how to set down a book so fast you risk injury to the wrist. Alas, this novel had nothing of the sort. This book was more like a National Geographic presentation about the Middle Ages.

I hesitate to say anything about what happens in the book for fear of the spoiler. It seems to be that every other review on the book sort of just expects you to know it though. The thing that perplexes me is that if Connie Willis had expected you to know the preliminary twist, why did she write so deeply into the book trying to add suspense and mystery over it? Why did she not just advertise it on the dust jacket? Well, I don’t know. But assuming you aren’t only going to read one review – my review – of the book, I’m going to have to go with the notion that you probably already know what the book was about, and that huge plot device that seems so carefully hidden by Connie yet so destructively advertised by every other reviewer I’ve seen. Further, if I don’t talk about it, then I really can’t tell you why I thought so highly of this story.

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Time Machine Status: Repaired

Some time ago, I requested your help with finding the cause of my failing Fonga Plug on my time machine. I’m sure you remember the column. It ended up not being the Reticulating Cockball Assembly, after all, and instead the Hyperflux Induction Modulator. And since you cannot buy one of those at Auto Zone, I had to craft one myself.

So I started with the basics. Of course you have to have the Hatford Loop. Without a Hatford Loop, your temporal course will never stabilize. You can literally get lost in the ether between seconds, trying to find your way back to 2254. I have heard horror stories about guys tearing off into the mezazoic period with a camera and a dream of photographing a dinosaur and turning up fossilized in the future. Don’t even ask.

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SpaceBrew Review: The Prestige

Occasionally there comes along a film that is so great it makes you say a cuss word and choke on your bourbon. And even more remotely, there comes one that makes you rearrange and alter your top-five favorites list. Well, friends and enemies, this here is one of those.

This film came out around the same time The Illusionist arrived on scene. Just like Deep Impact and Armageddon, The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor, and Little House On The Prairie: The Movie and James Bond in Casino Royale. Like movies always seem to hit the scene at the same time. Like they both thought of it at the same time and one of them didn’t copy the other’s idea. (Like Leeanne Rimes suddenly deciding she needed to sing How Do I Live Without You shortly after the superior Trisha Yearwood had already sung it. And sang it well. And there’s your introduction.

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SpaceBrew Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

After several years of deliberating and delaying and any other excuses I could find to put it off, I’ve finally finished building my HTPC. To you lay folk out there, that stands for Home Theater Personal Computer. And let me tell you: you need to get yourself one of these bad boys.

Anyway, the point is that since I have finally finished it out, my red-haired wife and I have been watching a lot more movies. And she’s even stayed awake for a few of them. I know, I know, most of what I write on this site is fictitious, but trust me, this is true! And last night she stayed awake through the entire viewing of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

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Bacon Talk: Breasts

Good morning, friends. Welcome to Bacon Talk: our award-winning weekly segment, where we get together and discuss whatever’s on our minds, over a hot pot of coffee and a greasy plate of bacon. Really, can you think of anything more perfect? I think – excuse me. Uh, Haycomet, please make a note to remind me to get with Butch and Bruno after our talk. I want to go ahead and have a balcony built outside the 23rd floor conference room windows. I’d like to have bacon outside next week.

Sigh. Okay. Sorry about that, readers. Anyway, here on Bacon Talk we’ve been covering some really ground-breaking topics that are both newsworthy and relevant to your lives in a way you and I can’t really begin to express. Yes, friends, we do listen to our readers. And we do talk about the very things that make you happy. Because making you happy makes us happy. And when SpaceBrew is – okay, I’ll shut up.

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The Heisenberg Handbag

Are any of you married? I don’t know if that really matters. I think the more relevant question is, “Do you know a woman?” This question is really only aimed at the men though. So, men, do you know a woman? And secondly, does she have a purse? Because OH MY GOD. My wife does. And I’m not talking about the two-hundred-dollar job she bought from some online French retailer. It cost sixty bucks to ship the damn thing. And when it got here it looked like a nylon bag to me. I mean, props for the orange rubber handle, but dude – seriously? It looked like a ten-dollar cheap-ass Target job.

Well, I guess I sort of am talking about it. See, I’m actually going to talk about all of her purses. She has several thousand, I’m sure. It’s ridiculous. I actually had to build an add-on to our closet just to house all her fine luxury purses. And we’re not talking Target job shit here. She only buys the finest handbags made from the finest material. Like Indonesian Batwing Silk, South African Lion Mane Weave, Alaskan Malimute Pelt and Egyptian Dung Beetle Chiton. And she always tells me how great of a deal she got on them. “Oh but honey, this Hungarian Elephant Scrotum Silk one was on sale for half off!” Oh, that’s great, babe. So how much was it? “Three hundred and sixty dollars. Can you believe that deal?” she says, wrinkling her nose. No. I can’t believe it. How could anyone pass that up? Why didn’t you get four of them, sugar?

:what:

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Bacon Talk: Space Travel

Hey Space! Look at this huge silver tray full of bacon and that gigantic pot of hot coffee- what a beautiful sight! It’s nice to see you too Space, but for as awesome as you are, you really can’t compete with bacon. Who can? So anyway, how are you doing, Space? What would you like to discuss this morning, Space? I’m a little spaced-out, so I’ll give you some space to talk about whatever you want. Anything in particular come to mind?

Good morning, Haycomet. I’m great, thank you. Well, I’ve been thinking about that, and I think I’d like to ask you a few questions about something very dear to me, and that I someday hope to make near to me. Space Travel! Yes, I went there. I capitalized both words. Because Space Travel – from what I hear – is awesome. Well, not really. The traveling through space part of Space Travel is probably very boring and very slow.
So do you ever spend any time thinking about Space Travel? Where would you go if you could just hop in your HayShip and take off? (See, I’d call mine my SpaceShip…)

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The Time Traveler Convention

We had a little get-together the other night with a few friends, and I think some of the things that happened that night are worth mentioning. It was a hot summer night, just like every other night has been this year, here in Texas. It’s so hot that when my wife and I sit outside and just enjoy the cool night air after the kids are in bed, it’s actually still over 100 degrees. And we’re talking about after nine o’clock. But there is one good thing about it. At least we’re not in Oklahoma.

So Haycomet and Byronic came over and brought their tinycomet – who (and this is another story, but) installed Open Solaris on one of my print servers and re-allocated a slash 28 from my DHCP scope to serve as her science lab, then delved into some hard coding time, whereupon she ran all six of my computers at 98% CPU usage for over two hours grinding out application for her theory about relativistic dimensional vacillation. So in short, we spent a few hours sipping cognac in a fine 17th century hall surrounded by warpainted women in loincloths and pasties who thought we were Norse gods. Thanks, tinycomet!

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Universal Solvents

Have you ever heard of the universal solvent? Well basically it’s a solvent that will eat through anything. Or rather, everything. You pour it on the concrete and it will just fizzle away until it all burns up eating stuff. See that’s the thing, it won’t eat its way all the way through the earth. Think about it. As it eats away at whatever it’s eating away, it uses itself up. So if you pour some on a steel table, it will eat through it, then whatever drips to the floor beneath will be a little less. It then eats through the tile, then the concrete, then some soil, and it’s pretty much down to nothing left at that point. But you do have a nice little hole through your table, foundation and the ground beneath.

So, of course, the question at the end of the riddle is, “What do you put it in?” The old anecdote mentions a guy walking into his boss’s office and saying, “Hey, boss, I finally did it! I finally created the universal solvent!” And his boss looks him up and down and says, “Why isn’t it eating through the beaker?”

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Space’s Shuttle Repair and Bacon Shop

I had to open two car doors yesterday. It’s unusual to have to open even just one in a given day. But two? Yes, friends, I’m as serious as a bowl full of mustard-covered lion feces. The crazy thing about opening car doors is that they all open differently. So you have to find the right way to do it. And yesterday, I actually had to get inside the pickup to be able to figure out how to open the back door. Well how about I just tell you what the hell I’m talking about?

My red-haired wife, Two-Step, Protector of the Grapefruits, somehow managed to break the back door of the pickup a few days ago. She said she broke a nail on the handle, because it just snapped back and wouldn’t open. I tried explaining to her, “Honey, the door handles aren’t held on by nails. It’s usually a torx screw or some very small bolts. But never nails.” I know. Isn’t it adorable when women talk about cars and shit? I patted her on the bottom and went outside to figure out what the problem was. I grabbed my toolbox, my iPod (yes I still have the damn iPhone), and one of those big ass 24-ounce cans of Schlitz and climbed into the truck.

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Multi-Use Material

So I was lying there last night, thinking about some awesome things we have, and I came up with what I think might be the most brilliant idea any man has ever had. This column, though, unfortunately needs to be divided into two sections. One is partly a rant, and the other is the brilliant idea. Which one would you like to read first?

Okay, so here’s the genius: you know that memory foam shit that they always tout was developed for NASA? Yeah, they make mattresses out of it. Well I have come up with an alternative use for it, that I think you’ll agree is probably the smartest thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life in the world. You ready for this shit? Okay. Here’s my idea.

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The Day the World Didn’t End

Space Says:

So what do we do now that the world didn’t end when it was supposed to? Well, I imagine a lot of people will be saying the same thing when December 13, 2012 rolls around. They’ll throw up their hands and say, “Uh, what do we do now? Yesterday was supposed to be it!” And what’s funny is I know some actual people who were preparing themselves for the world to end the other day, when they turned on the large collider. It was thought that it would create some black holes, you know. And the scientists said, “Yeah, well it could, but we’ll be able to manage them.”

Really.

So you have experience with black holes then? You’ve managed them before? You can somehow keep them from sucking in whatever you’re trying to control them with? Uh huh. Just push it into the trash can? Or wait, do you use another black hole to eat up the one that’s causing problems? How, exactly, tell me please, do you plan to control these black holes that might abound? Well, anyway, I’ve gotten off point. There was a lot of fear that the world would end when they switched this thing on. People were even protesting, trying to get the project shut down so it wouldn’t evaporate our world as we know it. Well they didn’t succeed. The thing is now running. And the world, so far as I know, is still here.

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SpaceBrew Review: Star Wars III

We saw the last Star Wars yesterday as a team. My boss took us all out and we saw it, then she took us to the bar afterwards and bought us a hilarious amount of drinks so we would be properly prepared to discuss it at great lengths. I have a few complaints, and a few praises I will share with you. If you’ve not yet seen Episode III, or don’t know the general storyline of Star Wars, then don’t read below here, because there will be spoilers.

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Probability Factor: Zero

I’ve never been what you’d call a “good” golfer. I’m not even mediocre. I’m lucky if I can hit 75. On the front nine. But my dad always tried to teach me, and I just couldn’t catch it. Sure, occasionally I’d hit a real nice drive and actually put it on the fairway. I’ve even chipped into the cup from ten or fifteen yards before. I’ve made some grand putts and chipped out of the sand a few times. But for the most part, I suck royally.

Aaron and I played a round of eighteen last summer and I think it took us somewhere around eight hours to finally finish the game. We had let several teams play through us at various points in the day too. We couldn’t hit that ball straight to save our lives. We sure drank a lot of beer though. Perhaps one is the cause of the other…

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Space Saving 101

I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of governmentally invoked population control methodology. You know, like AIDS and stuff. You know that shit didn’t just happen. It had to be introduced. DNA structures don’t suddenly alter themselves to a detrimental deficit. Not even in African Green Monkeys. If that were the case, then I would expect all you idiots who believe we evolved from lower forms to seriously revise your theoretical foundations.

So anyway, I was thinking about these methods they use among other things, like conspiracy theories and the way people just disappear when they know too much. Shit like that. And I came up with an idea. Why don’t we shrink our problems away?

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Is there anybody out there?

This is another very popular argument on the claim to other life forms in the universe: “The universe is so huge, and we can hardly even go past the moon, so why would there be all that extra space if we couldn’t even use it! Therefore, there has to be other life out there somewhere.” My response? Whatever. For us to think this entire universe is completely useless if we can’t use it is just plain arrogant. We think we own the place. Well, that no more settles an argument than saying, “This garage is too big for just one car, so there must be other cars in it.” The only difference is that the garage actually is yours.

Supposing the entirety of the universe was created especially for us humans, what do you think we will do with it? There is but one planet with sufficient oxygen and perfect atmosphere and proportional water supply as to sustain life. The odds of there being another planet that matches these tight attributes is ridiculously incalculable.

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Where is God in Physics?

It seems as though the efforts of physics and most other sciences is to completely eliminate the need for, and the existence of God. Scientists believe they can bring proof of his non-existence through their studies. I think this obviously has to do with some pre-existing belief of theirs, in that they don’t want to believe he exists.

If, however, there were a scientist that did believe in God before he set out to prove his theories, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he could hypothetically prove that God does exist? It’s all about what you want to believe you want to prove, as far as I am concerned. But I guarantee, no matter how in-depth the study is, or how much research you do, or even how many supporting items you have in your case against his existence, you will not be able to prove he doesn’t exist.

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A Theory of Mine

A friend and I were having a conversation the other night about quantum mechanics and it’s relationship to astrophysics, and the like. The usual, really. When we get together, that’s pretty much all we talk about. Not many people are as fascinated in these subjects as we are. Actually, I don’t know anyone besides him who has this in common with me.

At any rate, we had established some theories and hypotheses concerning inter-dimensional indexing and bi-locational representation. If, of course, any of this is possible, then it would also stand to reason that time-travel could be feasible. There are still doubts as to whether or not one could actually travel back in time, but definitely the possibility would exist to rapidly speed up time as we know it.

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