What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

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What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Schmorgluck » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:40 am UTC

Into the Sun

That part made me giggle for the last ten minutes or so:
Spoiler:
Looking back, I notice that I started this paragraph with "there's some good news." I don't know why I did that.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby ruurdjan » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:58 am UTC

Is it just me or aren't there any mouse-overs in this one?

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:20 am UTC

With all that book money coming in through the doors and windows he might soon be able to afford the Citation he needs.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby bachaddict » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:26 am UTC

ruurdjan wrote:Is it just me or aren't there any mouse-overs in this one?

There aren't any. You can check with Inspect Element.

I was hoping to find out just how long you'd have to be on the sun's surface to get nice and warm.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Arancaytar » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:32 am UTC

This reminds me of a part of Myst: The Book of D'ni, where a character is briefly teleported "into the heart of a dying sun" for two seconds. He's wearing some kind of super-advanced protective suit, and somehow survives with severe but not life-threatening injuries. I've always wondered whether this was even remotely possible.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby rhomboidal » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:58 am UTC

Excess is great in traces.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby sudo make me a username » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:10 am UTC

ruurdjan wrote:Is it just me or aren't there any mouse-overs in this one?

Yeah, it drove me crazy. I thought something was wrong with my browser and then I right-clicked almost every picture, using "inspect element" just to see that the "title" attributes are indeed empty...

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby cellocgw » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:29 am UTC

Love this one despite lack of title-texts.
I'm gonna send it over to all my guitar-playing buddies just for that "citation needed" bit, and the homage to Trekkie-transporter theory was great (although the 'official lore' is that all particles are converted to energy and back again. (So no explosion of solar protons in Colorado, sorry!).

Now that I stop a bit to think about it (eh wot? why would we do that? :mrgreen: ), Randall appears to have done all his energy estimates purely on the basis of radiative transfer. Someone (i.e., not me-- I just come up with problems, not solutions) needs to estimate the amount of conductive heat transfer as all the plasma or protons crash into your skin.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby schapel » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:42 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:Love this one despite lack of title-texts.
I'm gonna send it over to all my guitar-playing buddies just for that "citation needed" bit, and the homage to Trekkie-transporter theory was great (although the 'official lore' is that all particles are converted to energy and back again. (So no explosion of solar protons in Colorado, sorry!).

The problem is not about how the transport occurs. It's that if you transport someone where there is currently matter, what happens to the matter that was there? This would be an issue whenever you transport someone who isn't in a spacesuit, because the atmosphere that was there needs to be displaced to somewhere. I suppose it could be displaced outwards before the transported matter arrives. Depending on how fast this displacement occurs, it could cause a sonic boom or just a gentle breeze announcing someone's imminent arrival.

cellocgw wrote:Now that I stop a bit to think about it (eh wot? why would we do that? :mrgreen: ), Randall appears to have done all his energy estimates purely on the basis of radiative transfer. Someone (i.e., not me-- I just come up with problems, not solutions) needs to estimate the amount of conductive heat transfer as all the plasma or protons crash into your skin.

Given that even light can travel only one foot, how far are atoms going to travel, even at millions of degrees? I would suspect that few atoms or other particles would bombard you. On the other hand, they would each have so much energy that mere heating would be the least of your concerns... wouldn't they rip through your tissue causing cell damage deep into your body? I would think hydrogen and helium atoms would constitute ionizing radiation at those temperatures.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Editer » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:01 pm UTC

schapel wrote:The problem is not about how the transport occurs. It's that if you transport someone where there is currently matter, what happens to the matter that was there? This would be an issue whenever you transport someone who isn't in a spacesuit, because the atmosphere that was there needs to be displaced to somewhere. I suppose it could be displaced outwards before the transported matter arrives. Depending on how fast this displacement occurs, it could cause a sonic boom or just a gentle breeze announcing someone's imminent arrival.


<Scottie>That's a turrible oversimplification. What the transporter does is analyze the energy state of each particle in the body and then produce a Dirac jump to an equivalent state somewhere else.</Scottie>

The matter particles at the destination are thus incorporated into the materialized person, as I understand it.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Alcatraz II » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:10 pm UTC

If you get transported back to Earth a nanosecond later, then the solar particles would go back to the sun before they had the chance to completely spread, you might assume. Or is he saying that they are moving so fast that they'll leave the Kirk-sized space before the switch-back happens.

Also, this no title-text business is tripping me out.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Barstro » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:10 pm UTC

Teleporter:

Assuming it does work the way Randall says; swapping matter (instead of converting it).
The round trip takes one second*. Even with the sun particles creating a large explosion, the core of that explosion would be teleported back. How much damage would the aborted explosion do compared to the hypothetical full explosion?

*Why is he interested in changing the length of a foot, but is ok keeping something so arbitrary as "one second"?

Side note (since intelligent people are here and one of you may someday lead a space colony). Get rid of base 10 and make everything base 8 (2^3). Then we get to combine the joys of metric (adding zeroes) and the joys of imperial (dividing by two). It also all translates so well into binary.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby cellocgw » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:19 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:
Side note (since intelligent people are here and one of you may someday lead a space colony). Get rid of base 10 and make everything base 8 (2^3). Then we get to combine the joys of metric (adding zeroes) and the joys of imperial (dividing by two). It also all translates so well into binary.


I can't wait to see this conversion, 'cause all the c++ jocks are gonna say the first room is room number zero, and probably number the rooms from north to south this way:

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, F, E, D, C, B, A, 9, 8 :twisted:
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby estomagordo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:41 pm UTC

The bit about 5 being 5 orders of magnitude greater than 10^-5 bothered me a bit. Shouldn't the cut-off point between 5 and 6 orders of magnitude be at sqrt(10) * 10^5, or circa 3?

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby schapel » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:53 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:*Why is he interested in changing the length of a foot, but is ok keeping something so arbitrary as "one second"?

Compared to things like grams, meters, and amps, a second is not arbitrary at all. It's chosen so that 24*60*60 of them occur each day. It would be very awkward telling time if there weren't some even number of seconds in a day. If the length of a meter or the mass of a gram changed, it wouldn't have much effect. Well, I suppose it could make sense to change meter and gram consistently so that 1 cubic centimeter of water still has a mass of 1 gram, but even that wouldn't matter much unless you're dealing with water in some way.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby pixeldigger » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:56 pm UTC

Image
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This made me L O L

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Barstro » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:53 pm UTC

schapel wrote:. It's chosen so that 24*60*60 of them occur each day. It would be very awkward telling time if there weren't some even number of seconds in a day.


1) 60 and 24 are horrible numbers to work with. I believe it comes from society starting with base 12 (joints on four fingers of a hand; if only we did my base 8 for fingers on each hand (instead of 10 for digits on each hand)).
2) About 24*60*60. It's not exact. We get leap years and leap seconds.
3) It's arbitrary to base time on our speck of a planet.
4) When we take our place in the stars, a second becomes meaningless everywhere except earth. Rather than having everyone convert to arbitrary Earth Time (hopefully we will have done away with time zones by then), everyone can be on universal time.


Since a second on this planet is imprecise anyway, just convert it to something precise. Base it on something to do with hydrogen in binary. (Not a scientist, so I don't know what hydrogen does on a regular basis that can be multiplied by 2^x to get to a reasonable time unit.)

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Khaim » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:03 pm UTC

schapel wrote:This would be an issue whenever you transport someone who isn't in a spacesuit, because the atmosphere that was there needs to be displaced to somewhere.


I don't see how a spacesuit changes this at all. Now, if you teleport someone into empty space, that does simplify things

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby teelo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:15 pm UTC

Was expecting him to mention how many nanoseconds to warm up on the surface at some point. Am disappointed.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby davearonson » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:16 pm UTC

The "footnote" for "reverse blink" says, "Is there a word for that? There should be a word for that."

There is indeed, and it's just what you'd probably think it should be. Google "knilb" for details. (Sorry, I haven't posted enough to be able to post a link. :( )

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby peregrine_crow » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:19 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:1) 60 and 24 are horrible numbers to work with. I believe it comes from society starting with base 12 (joints on four fingers of a hand; if only we did my base 8 for fingers on each hand (instead of 10 for digits on each hand)).


On the contrary, 60 and 24 are beautiful numbers to work with, they divide cleanly by 2, 3, 4 and 6* . 8 (while a better base number than 10) still only divides nicely by 2 and 4. Dividing by 6 and especially 3 is something that comes up a lot in real life, having a power of 2 as a base number is something that comes up a lot when designing computer architectures, but most people are more interested in real life than in designing computer architectures.

*: Plus 8 and 12 for 24 and 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30 for 60, but those are less useful.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby schapel » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:30 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:Since a second on this planet is imprecise anyway, just convert it to something precise. Base it on something to do with hydrogen in binary.

That would be far more arbitrary than the current definition, since most people don't work with hydrogen or in binary. Most people do care about what time of day it is on Earth. Of course, there are some arbitrary things about how a second is chosen, but it's less arbitrary than most of the SI units.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby SierraBravo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:32 pm UTC

bachaddict wrote:I was hoping to find out just how long you'd have to be on the sun's surface to get nice and warm.


Definitely this. I'm guessing somewhere between a nanosecond and a millisecond, but that's as precise as I get.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Barstro » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:32 pm UTC

peregrine_crow wrote:
Barstro wrote:1) 60 and 24 are horrible numbers to work with. I believe it comes from society starting with base 12 (joints on four fingers of a hand; if only we did my base 8 for fingers on each hand (instead of 10 for digits on each hand)).


On the contrary, 60 and 24 are beautiful numbers to work with, they divide cleanly by 2, 3, 4 and 6* .


I gladly concede that issue and forgot to mention that redeeming part of base 12.

Base 8 quickly and easily converts to binary, which can then be, with a bit more trouble, converted to anything else. Base 12 is harder to convert to binary.

I think the usefulness of having an easy way to convert to binary is better than the ability to divide by 3. But, that is merely an opinion. I'm sure we both agree that either base is better than base 7.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Barstro » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:37 pm UTC

schapel wrote:That would be far more arbitrary than the current definition, since most people don't work with hydrogen or in binary. Most people do care about what time of day it is on Earth. Of course, there are some arbitrary things about how a second is chosen, but it's less arbitrary than most of the SI units.


The reason might be considered arbitrary, but the formula would have logic and would be "easily" replicated anywhere to get precise units. Most people don't work in binary for the same reason that most people do work with a seven day week; tradition. Calendars have changed when people finally found a good reason to do so.

Again, not a scientist and I'm not bothering to look anything up right now. I'll just say that the only "SI" units I'm aware of come in February and seem to range from B to DD.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby cellocgw » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

davearonson wrote:The "footnote" for "reverse blink" says, "Is there a word for that? There should be a word for that."

There is indeed, and it's just what you'd probably think it should be. Google "knilb" for details. (Sorry, I haven't posted enough to be able to post a link. :( )


I would have suggested "snapshot," since that really is a reverse-blink.
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:12 pm UTC

bachaddict wrote:
ruurdjan wrote:Is it just me or aren't there any mouse-overs in this one?

There aren't any. You can check with Inspect Element.

I was hoping to find out just how long you'd have to be on the sun's surface to get nice and warm.

Me too. That seemed like a natural, logical path to answering. "A nanosecond" is just a made-up number for most people, but finding out how long you'd need to be there would be helpful.

We can take a stab at it. [stabs bad people] Okay, where were we?

If you're shoveling snow on a very cold day, your primary concern is going to be exposed skin. Sure, your clothed body parts may also be very cold, but spending enough time at the sun to heat you up through your clothing is probably going to give your exposed skin third-degree burns, so we'll focus on the skin aspect. Whatever we end up with, it'll probably heat up the outside of your clothing enough to give you some sort of barrier.

Off the top of my head, it takes one calorie (4.184 J) to heat one gram of water one degree. We're mostly water[citation needed], and since the power flux to your skin is (according to Randal) 1e-5 J/cm2 x nanosecond, and one gram of water is one cubic centimeter, all we need to know is the rough penetration depth of peak-spectrum solar radiation in order to determine how many degrees/nanosecond your outer layer of skin would be warmed.

This site is very very full of hogwash, but the studies it cites are real. It seems that visible laser light is almost completely absorbed by the first 1 mm of skin. So that's the penetration depth we'll use.

If it takes 4.184 J to raise the temperature of one cc of water by one degree, then it will take 0.4184 J to raise the temperature of 0.1 cc of skin (1 cm2 area x 1 mm depth) by one degree. So for each 41,840 nanoseconds you spent there, the temperature of your exposed skin would increase by one degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

I don't know how old AJ is, or where in Colorado he lived before moving to Kansas City, but we can use Denver. The temperature in Denver has dropped below -20F a total of 4 times in the past 40 years, but since no rational parent would send an 8-year-old out to shovel snow in subzero temperatures (I hope?), we can guesstimate that 10F is a more reasonable temperature. 85F is a nice toasty temperature, I think. So going from 10F to 85F is a 75F difference, which translates to a 41.7C difference, which would take 1,743,333 nanoseconds or 1.74 milliseconds. About one fiftieth the duration of the fastest blink.

Of course, in that time period, your eyes would absorb nearly two million times more light than in the prior example. Possibly enough for some retinal damage; the flash would be about half as bright as reverse-blinking directly at the sun at noon. So it's fine for AJ to jump to the surface of the sun for 1.74 milliseconds, but he should keep his eyes closed.

peregrine_crow wrote:
Barstro wrote:1) 60 and 24 are horrible numbers to work with. I believe it comes from society starting with base 12 (joints on four fingers of a hand; if only we did my base 8 for fingers on each hand (instead of 10 for digits on each hand)).


On the contrary, 60 and 24 are beautiful numbers to work with, they divide cleanly by 2, 3, 4 and 6* . 8 (while a better base number than 10) still only divides nicely by 2 and 4. Dividing by 6 and especially 3 is something that comes up a lot in real life, having a power of 2 as a base number is something that comes up a lot when designing computer architectures, but most people are more interested in real life than in designing computer architectures.

Indeed, and this is why the Imperial units system actually DOES make a degree of sense. It's much easier to evenly subdivide 5,280 or 12 or 36 and so on than it is to subdivide metric values.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:48 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:I'm sure we both agree that either base is better than base 7.


Actually, there are benefits to working base-p where p is a prime - I used to know specific examples, but it's been a while since I looked at it...

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby keithl » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:54 pm UTC

I will never ever teleport into superhot plasma, because plasmas do the darndest things.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Heimhenge » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:14 pm UTC

I know what Randall meant, but shouldn't the sign in the first drawing read "Must be 4 light-nanoseconds tall to ride"?

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby keithl » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:19 pm UTC

Wouldn't it be easier to teleport (one way) some solar coronal plasma into the snow you are shovelling, and turn it into warm water? Then you can go inside where it is warm, and Mom will give you hot chocolate with marshmallows to reward you for bending the laws of physics.

At some distance into the sun (which has no "surface") the energy density is just right for this; somewhat higher up, the energy density is just right to warm you, though all those charged protons and electrons would really mess up molecules like DNA.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:20 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:I know what Randall meant, but shouldn't the sign in the first drawing read "Must be 4 light-nanoseconds tall to ride"?


Because space and time are not distinct under Einstein's theories of Relativity, units of time are units of distance...

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby schapel » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:29 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:
schapel wrote:That would be far more arbitrary than the current definition, since most people don't work with hydrogen or in binary. Most people do care about what time of day it is on Earth. Of course, there are some arbitrary things about how a second is chosen, but it's less arbitrary than most of the SI units.

The reason might be considered arbitrary, but the formula would have logic and would be "easily" replicated anywhere to get precise units.

There is a logical formula that is repeatable anywhere to get precise units. A second is defined as:
the duration of 9192631770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

Why the "arbitrary" number 9192631770? Because that's what it takes to make 86400 seconds in one day. It's not really arbitrary at all. We could pick some "clock" other than the vibrations of caesium atoms, and I could tell you the number of "ticks" of that clock that would make one second.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby armandoalvarez » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:54 pm UTC

Did they change the text? Everyone's talking about teleporting techniques and I don't see anything about that.
Also, is there a time when you can be nicely warmed, or would you go straight from cold to burned? I know very little about thermodynamics, but if you put something in the oven at a higher temperature for a shorter time, the result is often that the outside is burned and the inside is still cold, so I would think as you increase the time on the sun, there would never be a time when you got warm, you would either feel nothing or be burned.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:37 pm UTC

He added mouse-over text!

armandoalvarez wrote:Is there a time when you can be nicely warmed, or would you go straight from cold to burned? I know very little about thermodynamics, but if you put something in the oven at a higher temperature for a shorter time, the result is often that the outside is burned and the inside is still cold, so I would think as you increase the time on the sun, there would never be a time when you got warm, you would either feel nothing or be burned.

1.74 milliseconds.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby geniekid » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:37 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:So going from 10F to 85F is a 75F difference, which translates to a 41.7C difference, which would take 1,743,333 nanoseconds or 1.74 milliseconds. About one fiftieth the duration of the fastest blink.


Thanks for the analysis! I, too, was disappointed that the post focused so heavily on "nanosecond" instead of addressing the underlying question that the first part of the explanation so obviously raises - "so how long DO we need to stay at the surface?"

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:52 pm UTC

geniekid wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:So going from 10F to 85F is a 75F difference, which translates to a 41.7C difference, which would take 1,743,333 nanoseconds or 1.74 milliseconds. About one fiftieth the duration of the fastest blink.


Thanks for the analysis! I, too, was disappointed that the post focused so heavily on "nanosecond" instead of addressing the underlying question that the first part of the explanation so obviously raises - "so how long DO we need to stay at the surface?"

Welcome!

For an example of what 1.74 milliseconds feels like...Earth's orbital speed around the sun is roughly 29.8 km/s. So if you teleported to the sun for 1.74 milliseconds and back to the exact same spot you left from, the Earth would have moved underneath you by roughly 100 feet. Let's hope you're shoveling snow close to noon, or you'll end up either underground or floating in midair.

But at least you'd be warm.

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:07 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:
geniekid wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:So going from 10F to 85F is a 75F difference, which translates to a 41.7C difference, which would take 1,743,333 nanoseconds or 1.74 milliseconds. About one fiftieth the duration of the fastest blink.


Thanks for the analysis! I, too, was disappointed that the post focused so heavily on "nanosecond" instead of addressing the underlying question that the first part of the explanation so obviously raises - "so how long DO we need to stay at the surface?"

Welcome!

For an example of what 1.74 milliseconds feels like...Earth's orbital speed around the sun is roughly 29.8 km/s. So if you teleported to the sun for 1.74 milliseconds and back to the exact same spot you left from, the Earth would have moved underneath you by roughly 100 feet. Let's hope you're shoveling snow close to noon, or you'll end up either underground or floating in midair.

But at least you'd be warm.

That does assume the Sun is fixed...

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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:29 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:For an example of what 1.74 milliseconds feels like...Earth's orbital speed around the sun is roughly 29.8 km/s. So if you teleported to the sun for 1.74 milliseconds and back to the exact same spot you left from, the Earth would have moved underneath you by roughly 100 feet. Let's hope you're shoveling snow close to noon, or you'll end up either underground or floating in midair.

But at least you'd be warm.

That does assume the Sun is fixed...

The assumption is that if you're teleporting to something, you're teleporting relative to its inertial reference frame.

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Heimhenge
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Re: What-If 0115: "Into the Sun"

Postby Heimhenge » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:35 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Heimhenge wrote:I know what Randall meant, but shouldn't the sign in the first drawing read "Must be 4 light-nanoseconds tall to ride"?


Because space and time are not distinct under Einstein's theories of Relativity, units of time are units of distance...


Well sure ... but Randall said "tall" and that implies a space metric. So maybe the sign should have read: Must be 4 nanoseconds in space-time interval to ride.
Last edited by Heimhenge on Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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