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January 27th, 2007


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09:51 am
Today, like any other weekday, I packed my laptop up, put my wallet, keys, cell phone, badge, and PDA in my jacket. Fed & watered the kittens as usual. I even petted them a little until Tera and Meg started purring.

The difference is that today isn't a weekday. I'm not going to work today. Today, I'm going to the launch facility.

I'm usually quiet about my work. Usually, it's uninteresting. Frequently, it's minor bit twiddling. However, one of the things I've been asked to look into is plate tectonic movement. There was some very interesting work by Arne Saknussem, verified some thousand years later by A. Lidenbrock, O. Lidenbrock, and H. Bjelke.

It has been thought for some time that earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates moving about. Every schoolboy knows that the lithosphere is broken up into chunks and they move about on the asthenosphere independently between half and 8 and a half centimeters a year. Most people when queried about their initial impetus will say it's the result of convection currents. This was believed to be true, but has been outmoded by a newer theory involving the subduction of denser oceanic plates and a revived theory about tidal forces from our moon.

My research has shown that the moon is primarily the cause.

It turns out to have a number of supporting arguments. Note that Mars and Venus have no tectonic movement. Deimos and Phobos are far too small to have any significant force on Mars and Venus has no moons.

As it turns out, this is our opportunity to rid the world of earthquakes and put cartographers out of a job once and for all. Plates will eventually grind to a halt, the friction transferring the kinetic energy slowly into heat. Some of the more prone to fear believed that this could strongly affect global warming. These fears were put to rest early on when it was shown to be of low magnitude over a relatively long period of time.

Obviously, I have a vested interest in this. The places I plan on living right now are all very near the fast moving Pacific plate. If we can slow that down, California will finally be the paradise it's associated with. The only negative -- earthquakes -- will have been made a thing of the past.

I've taken the precaution of quietly buying up land there whenever possible on speculation. I suppose this is not unlike a boxer betting everything he has on himself before a title bout. The difference is that science is on my side and I needn't only trust myself.

This all comes at an interesting time. It turns out the reason the international community was so quiet about the destruction of the Chinese weather satellite is that it was a test. Not of a space weapon (kinetic kill vehicles are hardly high technology), but of a targeting system.

And we're using it.

One wouldn't think that you'd need to be very accurate to propel something at the moon -- it's awfully hard to miss. Fears from the 1960s notwithstanding. The reason we need that accuracy is that we're about to pull off the biggest pool shot in history. Only the cue ball is being shot from one of the other balls and they all have a lot of gravity involved.

The cue ball in this case needs to provide about 1.78*10^20 kg/m^2 of acceleration to counter Earth's own at apogee. That's about 1.31*10^43 N of force. Consider, for a moment, that the Tsar Bomba generated a mere 2.39*10^14 J and you can see we're in a little bit of trouble here.

The answer (as any CS person could tell you) is to parallelize, amortize, and use better technology. We're doing all of the above.

At exactly 7:46pm PST this evening, you may hear a sonic boom depending on your location. Those in Seattle will be treated to a series of four. You may hear messages about this through a number of news sources.

3 days from now, you'll be treated to the non-sight of the most impressive and precisely timed release of energy that mankind has ever put together.

The reason you haven't heard of it was to prevent protests. Greenpeace activists would be over the displacement of an object from its "natural" state in a second. Let alone that we're using nuclear devices in order to generate that sort of momentum.

It is our hope that with a series of similar launches, we will successfully dislodge the moon from orbit around the Earth. I haven't been privy to much of the orbital calculations. I've heard people say that it'll be captured by Mars, Ceres, and Jupiter. None of which sound right to me. All I know is to expect the moon to be less and less of a feature in the night sky.

Wish us luck, friends. With fortune, we may yet conquer another aspect of nature which so cruelly preys on man and man's work.

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:knight3d
Date:January 27th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
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*checks date*
hmm
not April 1...
good.

Ok, so get rid of the moon, just to avoid some earthquakes? That doesn't seem right. If we could put it in a higher orbit, maybe it would have less of an effect.

What's the projected effect on the oceans? (tidal, marine life)

I'm recalling the remake of the movie The Time Machine, where they set off a burrowing nuke on the moon to create a crater on which they'd float a dome. But the nuke cracks the moon, and big hunks of it fall on Earth and put it into another ice age. I'm sure that's not realistic, but that's what I'm thinking of...
[User Picture]
From:testing4l
Date:January 27th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
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Ok, so get rid of the moon, just to avoid some earthquakes? That doesn't seem right. If we could put it in a higher orbit, maybe it would have less of an effect.

Tidal forces have other effects of course, but earthquakes were the original impetus for the project. Keep in mind that this would also effectively prevent the tsunami in Asia a little while back.

Think of the number of people who have died from such incidents and it stops being "just" to avoid some earthquakes.

The problem is that orbits are not circular, but elliptical. Putting it in a higher orbit would not remove the effects, but protract them when it came to perigee.

What's the projected effect on the oceans? (tidal, marine life)

Minimal. Nature is a sturdy machine. Wind is still a major tide creating force. It's expected that while waves might not be as impressive as surfers may hope, there will be enough to support normal ocean currents. There may be a dropoff of life in the intertidal zone, but by and large, natural selection will adjust and correct.
[User Picture]
From:level_head
Date:January 28th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
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Oh, Yes! Absolutely! I know!
And in fact, if you angle it so
That the hit on old Luna
Brings new opportuna
Ty to making rings on the go

Why then we'll have some shade from the Sun
(Based on how far out rings have begun
And the angle and such)
It won't cool us much
But of course Global Warming is done.

Some might think this approach is too crude
But they'll rethink it, if they are shrewd
For it's got a fair shake
At damping a quake
If it's done to the right magna-tude.

===|==============/ Level Head
[User Picture]
From:level_head
Date:January 28th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
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And I'm not surprised, not at all
By the facts you've revealed in your scrawl
It's not hard to keep score
Arne's been here before
I have seen the "A. S." on the wall!

There is thus no confusion on that.
I commend you; your work beats mine flat.
And I won't tell a soul
Of the Day with a Hole
No, that rabbit will stay in the hat.

===|==============/ Level Head
[User Picture]
From:creativecstasy
Date:January 28th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
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are you CRAZY?? You can't just bump the moon out of orbit? Have you talked to governments and such about this? Some random company can't just decide to send nukes to the moon.
[User Picture]
From:testing4l
Date:January 28th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
Well -- it's not just a "random company". We are doing this with several governments approval. China, Russia, and our own for starters. The European Space Agency is proving launch vehicles for some of the warheads.

Moreover, this is based on sound scientific theory. I'd recommend talking to a geology professor at UCSC about this. They can fill in the gaps for you.

This really is for all of mankind's benefit. Yours and my children will lead a life with less difficulty with the blow we shall strike against Luna in a couple of days time.
[User Picture]
From:creativecstasy
Date:January 28th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
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I *am* taking a geology course this quarter, with a professor who's been here since the university began.

I have no idea what you do, or where you work, it never occurred to me to ask. But as someone who's been through many earthquakes, including the 6 pointer in Northridge, I'd rather have earthquakes than LOSE THE MOON.

When will the media report on this?
[User Picture]
From:testing4l
Date:January 28th, 2007 08:55 am (UTC)
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I'm not certain exactly when -- I'm not dealing with the press. If everything goes according to plan, then I'd imagine they'll hold off until about three days from now which would be when the launch vehicles get there.

Really -- do ask your professor about this. I understand how people are about the natural order of things, but the moon doesn't do anything special. The only difference in removing it -- apart from the difference to the night sky -- is the loss of tidal forces. As I said before, the impact will be minimal and the benefits are great.

I'm not sure why you're reacting so strongly.
[User Picture]
From:knight3d
Date:January 28th, 2007 09:12 am (UTC)
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The moon is a significant part of some people's lives. Many religions as well. I can imagine the reaction will be incredibly strong. If nothing else, humans fear change, and actively work against it. I imagine many people will think the lives taken by earthquakes and other such calamities are well worth having the moon there.
[User Picture]
From:creativecstasy
Date:January 28th, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
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I suppose I'm reacting strongly because the moon has always been there, and it's one of those things you always expect to be there. Think of how many terms and idea are tied into the moon. Stories and culture. Tradition and Mythology.

It also ties in to many religious and cultural concepts and events. As well as women's groups. It's a commonly held belief that women's cycles and lunar cycles are tied.

No offense, but I don't believe this until there's some form of tangible proof.
[User Picture]
From:testing4l
Date:January 28th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
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Well, if you'd like tangible proof, there's a picture I sneaked off of one of the Reuters kids on the entry right after this. Again, don't expect any serious attention for the next couple of days. We aren't trying to create a panic, but we understand that we're asking people to swallow a lot.

The concepts you're pointing out are all of a distant past. No more serious than the Easter bunny and no more scientific than Santa's sleigh ride. Your femininity depends no more on a rock 600,000 km in space than your personality depends on constellations.

We're changing the world and bringing mankind into a future free of pain and suffering. I can imagine nothing more important than the lives that are going to be saved through our actions.
[User Picture]
From:level_head
Date:January 29th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
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Your femininity depends no more on a rock 600,000 km in space than your personality depends on constellations.

A nice turn of phrase, that.

===|==============/ Level Head
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 28th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
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is this sa sick challenger joke?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 28th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
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perhaps an obscure apollo 1 reference?
[User Picture]
From:testing4l
Date:January 28th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
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Neither, mate. It's the real deal!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 28th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
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it was just the calendar date coincidence...
[User Picture]
From:babe_of_beyazit
Date:June 8th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
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I miss earthquakes : (

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