sailing the NorSea


WEEK 1 2014

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Saturday 4 January 2014
Saturday - Not much going on. Did a bit of house cleaning, put up some pictures after moving some furniture about. Tossed a bunch of truly ancient linen, stuff that predates my moving to this house...

Lunch at the Korean place, bulgogi, yummm. It really hit the spot for some reason.

My friends laptop hiccuped again, wouldn't boot, except into Safe Mode. She eventually got it going, but it's probably time to retire the ca. 2006 machine. Even a lower end machine would have a lot more power and storage.

Friday 3 January 2014
Friday - Quiet.

I was thinking about one of the books from last year, #53, The Devil's Eye. This had a bit of mystery, and governmental cover-ups and so on, but the basic premise was that there was a planet located near a star called the "Devil's Eye". The star had gone nova some hundreds of years prior to the time of the story, and when the government discovered this had happened, they covered it up because it would be impossible to evacuate 2 billion people, or shelter them from 3 days of gamma radiation.

There are several interesting things here. One is the idea of knowing ahead of time that you are going to get hit by a nova's radiation. Without faster than light travel, like that in the book, you can't really know this. In the book they have faster than light travel but the nova is discovered too late and only by accident - there are hundreds of billions of stars, after all, and not all of them can be visited and monitored.

Benedict's cosmos is interesting - there is faster than light travel, but the ships are rather small, a few thousand people at most. About the size of a cruise liner in our time. He places the nearest habitable alternate some hundreds of light years away, so that between the small ship sizes, and the round trip distance, and the gamma ray front being only a few years away evacuation isn't an option.

He says that shelter isn't possible, but I don't think I agree. A gamma ray burst is easily survivable, as long as you are under a few centimeters of soil. We can calculate how big a shelter for 2 billion people would be:

The densest place on earth is, according to Wikipedia, Manila. Manila has a population density of 43,000 per square kilometer (one person per a 16ftx16ft room). Dividing 2 billion by 43,000 gives a requirement of 46,000 square kilometers, or a square 215km on a side. Huge, but not crazy huge. If people don't permanently have to live there we might scale that by 50%, 23,000 SKm, or 150Km a side. If we stack living quartrers, or bury them, then we can get away with even less space.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Thursday - Working on the app mostly. Gotta get back on that horse.

I did take a nice 4 mile walk in the bright warm winter weather we're having. Crazy stuff.

S called, said that removing all the images from the laptop, then restoring, fixed things. What? I checked Task Manager, there was plenty of RAM and Disk while all the problems were going on. Voodoo Computer Science. Oh well, as long as it works again.

Suzy now wants to play "fetch", every day. I throw it, she chases, bats it around for a while, then brings it back and drops it at my feet. So cute! I have to be careful in my desk chair not to roll over her by accident, though she's gotten clever and often stands on the chair legs - safe from the wheels. Being a cat she gets distracted and sometimes forgets to bring the toy back with her, sitting at my feet and looking forlorn.

Book #1 was A Talent For War (Alex Benedict #1), by Jack McDevitt. I'd read it before, but so long ago that it isn't even mentioned on this blog. A lot of the details had escaped me. I actually bought it, since I couldn't find my old copy.

The passengers on the Akademik Shokalskiy has been airlifted to the Aurora Australis using the helicopter from the Xue Long, and the AA is slowly (1/4 knot) making it's way out of the ice pack. But they have to go to another Antarctic station before heading back to Australia, so it may be many weeks before all the passengers from the AS get home.

In fact, the diversion of three separate ships - the Aurora Australis, the Xue Long, and (for a time) the L'Astrolabe, is causing a lot of hardship for real Antarctica scientists and personnel, with supplies and equipment not being delivered. And more can be expected if the Polar Star has to spend several weeks getting the Akademik Shokalskiy out of the ice.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Wednesday - New Years Day.

Not much going on. Got up, had breakfast and R&S's, then went home to check on the cats. Everything was fine, I fed them some soft food, took a shower, had a cup of coffee, napped.

Then we went down to Palmdale for lunch, and to looks at laptops at Best Buy. Rather than buy a new one right away she's decided to try to do a reset to factory, then reinstall the s/w, just in case it's some sort of bit rot issue with XP. But as long as we were there we decided to take a look.

The issue with a new one is that it would probably have to be Windows 8, rather than Windows 7. You can, after fiddling about, make Windows 8 work like Windows 7, but it looks like a real bother.
Tuesday 31 December 2013
Tuesday - See last week.

Monday 30 December 2013
Monday - See last week.

Sunday 29 December 2013
Sunday - See last week.

Picture of the Week
Suzy and Jimmy enjoying their presents 
Photo Notes: Suzy and Jimmy opening their box of cat toys...

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