WEEK 40 2004
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Saturday 2 October 2004
It's nice right now in northern California, the weather having cooled a good 20 degree's from when I was here a month ago.
I see that Rutan intends to send SpaceShipOne into space Monday, despite the unplanned roll towards the end of the last mission's boost phase. He, and the pilot, seem to think it safe. It seems odd, but then I'm more used to NASA's excruciatingly cautious way of doing things.
There were several items in the science press a week or two ago about two colliding galaxies imaged by Hubble. I was thinking about that. Each galaxy is supposedly mixed in with vast amounts (10x) of "dark matter" so that dark matter is colliding as well. Can there be any visible results of the dark matter collisions? Normal interstellar gas - thin though it be - heats and begins to give off radio waves and light. Would dark matter? Could spectography distinguish this postulated electromagnetic radiation generated from that of normal interstellar gases? The laws of thermodynamics must apply to this dark matter collision after all. Though what the 'speed of sound' is for dark matter, or what 'gamma', 'Cp' or 'Cv' would be is probably an open question. Do dark matter particles attract each other, as well as ordinary matter? Perhaps the influence of the dark matter on the visible colliding matter would be detectable, a modification of the light paths to us, a 'caustic' effect of some sort?
Note: After reading the above my father smiled, looked over at me and asked: "Does dark matter matter?"
Friday 1 October
I was thinking about the 'speed of gravity' and galactic collisions. If the speed of gravity is that of light, 'c', then for very large interacting objects - galaxies - there is probably an observable effect due to this. If one were to simulate galactic collisions with diffent values of 'c' and compare these simulations to observed galactic collisions what would we see?
In other news the Athletics lost a game tonight. It's do or die tomorrow!
Thursday 30 September 2004
It was a pretty good drive - not too much traffic, decent enough temperature, in the 70's rather than 100's and I had a nice tape to listen to. I got on the road a bit late because of various things. Like the wash, which I think is still in the dryer. Yep, did it, but forgot to put it away in my suitcase. Oh well. Plenty of stores up here. Another delay was an invite to a party this weekend.
Why was that an issue? Well, two neighbors have sons in the military and they've yellow ribbons on their trees and stars in their windows (a custom going back to at least the first world war). And the young men are back, one done with his tour and the other on leave for a couple of weeks and there is a little party for them this Saturday. I would very much have liked to meet them but had other obligations, and spent a wee bit of time composing a letter to that effect. Then I left the letters on the families doors (no-one was home) and continued packing. Later I noticed a car in a driveway and went over and talked to a mother who was very happy that her boy was home. And it looks like they'll be around long enough for me to say "hi" when I get back.
At my dad's place we watched the debates. Frankly I thought Kerry (boo, hiss) crushed my guy Bush (yay, hurrah) like a bug. Oddly the polls today don't seem to reflect that. He clearly lost in my opinion, but no-one thought a guy with a speech impediment would defeat one of the best debaters in the congress, so it's apparently a wash, or possibly minor defeat for Bush amoung the critical swing voters. Time will tell.
29 September 2004
Monday 27 September 2004
Sunday 26 September
Sunday - another nice day spent with
friends. Went to see "Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow".
Fun, if a bit odd. I think the idea is that it's an alternate universe
where the second world war never happened. World War I is mentioned,
but not how it turned out. I didn't see any calendrical clues - is it
the 30's or 40's? But it starts with the 'Hindenberg III' docking at
the Empire State Building. Cool. Not many people know that the
structure on top of that building was originally supposed to be a
dirigible docking station.
We had lunch at the 'Blue Koi' and wandered around Barnes &
Noble for a while.
They picked up Volume 11 of 'A
Series of Unfortunate Events'
. As a practicing engineer I have to say that I am, on occasion,
dubious of the efficacy of some of Violet's inventions. But they
have to get out of unfortunate events
somehow! After dinner chapters 1
and 2 were started, but alas, the white beer caught up with me and I
They are making a movie out of the first couple of books. Hopefully
it will be better than the atrocious 'Cat in the Hat'.