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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (whorl) More about Physics
Date: Wed,  8 Oct 97 02:33:00 GMT

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

A few more thoughts--

"Zero Gravity" is experienced by the jumping child at apogee; by the
cannonball at apogee; by the passengers of the infamous "vomit comet"
astronaut trainer B-52 when it goes into a steep dive.  Or people in
a free-falling elevator.

So since Silk's floater flight is basically as ballistic as a
cannonball ride, we can try to time the arc, estimate the altitude at
apogee, gauge the time of "true" zero gravity, etc., all as another
approach to analyzing the whole thing and therefore the physical
nature of the whorl.

(The vomit comet goes for ten minute bursts--or was it shorter?  More
like three minutes?  They talked about it regarding the filming of
motion picture "Apollo 13" which used the vomit comet.)

(And while Silk sees things "falling up" in the floater cabin,
suggesting true zero gravity, doesn't it turn out to be the fact that
the floater has rolled over and is upside down?  So that when Silk pokes
his head out for a peek he nearly plummets?)

FWIW, since THE SCIENCE IN SCIENCE FICTION gives 16 km as the max
diameter for a generation starship (as I'm sure I mentioned before),
I ran the formula with that diameter of 10 miles and get a
groundspeed of 628 mph.


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