We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This does raise one, probably naive, question, however. What about that big "rotating drum" idea, as portrayed in '2010' and other space flicks, where centrifugal force creates an artificial gravity. Does centrifugal force not work in space? Sorry for my ignorance, but we didn't do any space projects in shop class and my parents couldn't afford to send me to space camp.
Unbelievable! A murder takes place on live camera, everyone knows who the likely suspect is, and the police do... nothing?
Officials have not said conclusively what happened, but all signs point to murder. Based on their notes, the likely suspect is the biggest and most aggressive of the Eagles, although there are no plans at this time to press charges.
What a disgrace!
So, time to flip on my headline time machine. I'll set it to grab a New York Times article ten years in the future. Let's hope it's some good news this time!
A week ago I linked to an article about a news corporation called Stephens Media that had hired a hit man to go after bloggers quoting articles from their newspapers and sue them for copyright infringement. Hey, anything to make a buck, right?
Under the heading "turnabout's fair play", here's a site that offers a Firefox "boycott" add-on that bars the browser from going to any Stephens Media site. There's also info for Chrome in the comments, and IE can do it, although (as I recall) it's a painful site-by-site process, whereas the other two can use the pasted list of sites. Kudos to you guys.
In theory, hyper- drive isn't as far fetched as you might think. Ccertainly the engineering and technology is lagging behind the quantum physicists but it might be possible.
With respect to the Mars Mission any ship big enough to provide a reasonable gravity by rotation would have to be built in space. We barely have the lift capacity to put a couple of tons into space now and it takes years to do even that.
He's ALL MAN! If more articles like this get spread around, I'd be worried about the 2012 election. When you've got a leader who kicks dark lord butt, you've got somebody special. Everybody knows this.
As for the space stuff, whatever we use will have to be built in space, unless you want to go to Alpha Centauri in a LEM. The question is whether the "rotating drum" principle works or is it just a Hollywood contrivance?
I'm not a physicist, just an avid SF reader and physics hobbyist. I can't tell you the precise explanation; but after the early SF where centrifugal acceleration substituting for gravity was common, someone did some number crunching and found that for smaller ships, centrifugal acceleration was dangerous to your health. The phrase "triphammer" was used. Unless the radius was sufficiently large, your feet would be going so much faster than your head that it could have an adverse effect on blood flow. It could potentially even lead to a stroke. You need the whole body spinning at roughly uniform rate. So either your rotation would have to be very slow (and this not have much centrifugal acceleration), or your ship's radius would have to be huge (and thus have to be constructed in orbit).
This was probably from a Jerry Pournelle article, though I can't find it right now.
Martin L. Shoemaker
Oh, and if you doubt the basic principle... Any number of carnival rides use centrifugal acceleration to toss you around. Chief among these, of course, is the Rotor (also known by many other names), where they spin a large round drum with you flat against the wall. When it's spinning fast enough, they drop out the floor. Centrifugal acceleration (plus friction) keep you pinned to the wall. This isn't that high of a risk, since the acceleration is both low and uniform. Instead of "standing" on the wall, you "lie" on it.
Martin L. Shoemaker
Martin - Thanks very much for the rundown. That makes perfect sense. Given what a relatively weak pump the heart is to begin with, and that it's already fighting gravity, it wouldn't take much to throw things out of whack. But, as you said, by the time the centrifugal difference on the upper and lower body was negligible, the thing would have to be enormous. Thanks again for the clear answer.