Gravities: Just how much acceleration and deceleration can you take? Math pros, need your help on this one

I was reading another tidbit from Leo, and in it he describes a train that travels 2000 k/hr. It uses the “inertial dampeners” to solve the human body turning into puddles problem of acceleration, but I thought, what if you didn’t have IDs to make the ride all cushy and stuff?

Right. The typical human body doesn’t take sustained gravity loads over 1 very well. We know this from research, not the nazis throwing prisoners in a cold pool kind, but US Air Force volunteer kind. And no, not the volunteer to stand next an atomic blast and charge into it after it happens kind of volunteering. (Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. That cancer you got is from smoking, not running into a recent nuclear explosion.) Right. There were some messed up things happening in the 40s and 50s, just sayin’.

Take a look here to see a nice article about gravities and your body. Okay, back?

Let’s do some math, then. If you have a train that travels at a maximum of 2000 km/hr, and it travels 6000 km, it should take 3 hours. However, there is acceleration and deceleration, so how long does it take to accelerate to 2000 km if you stay within a 1 gravity limit?

I’ll probably get this wrong, and you can correct me and say, “I see that you never made it past college algebra.”

Okay, so if the gravitational constant of 1 g = 35 km/h^2, then you can safely accelerate at 35 km per hour per second, right? That means it would take one minute of acceleration to reach 2000 km/hr, and there’s probably a nice excel formula that would figure out the distance traveled with a for next statement that run the formula 57 times, adding 35 km/hr to the count each time and the overall distance traveled. Thus, at one second, you are going 35 kph, and in that one second you travel 9.72222 meters. In second 2, you’re going 70 kph, and you travel an additional 19.444 meters. At the end of it, you hit 2000 km/h at second 58 and you’ve traveled 16.68 km.  Let’s pretend deceleration is the same, so you will need those two minutes which will cover only 33.36 km. The rest of the time, you’re doing 2000 km/hr or 555 m/s.  This translates to a travel time of 181 minutes, more or less. Are the inertial compensators necessary?  I must have done something wrong with the rate of acceleration, because this doesn’t look quite right. Is increasing by 35 kph per second = gravitation acceleration?

I think I’m out of my pay grade on this one.


Multiple character introduction makes me sad, and then, a surprise author visit on my Kindle! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I opened my Kindle last night, and thought, “Maybe I’ll chew through that book some more that had the 12 new alien species introduced in 2 pages that was so durned hard to read.”  Note to writers: Introducing me to new characters is hard. I can meet about one a page, max, otherwise you’ve exceeded my name-retention-at-a-party buffer and I’ll be like, “whaaa? Who is this person again?”  When you mix that with making new aliens AND stick in a fantastic sequence where they’re all fighting, you are making me work really hard to read this book. I’m not a dummy, so I can get through it, it’s just that I’m going to have concentrate a great deal more to follow and I hope that the payoff down the road is worth it. There just a lot of clutter in the alien/character cavalcade. You feelin’ me here?

It’s the same effect if you have a bunch of new titles to learn in a made-up royalty, for instance. Just use Baron Earl whatever, and get it right, and it’s fine. Your fantasy titles make my head hurt.  I’m lookin at you, Edgar Rice Burroughs. (Who names their child “Rice”?) Kadar, Odwar, Padwar. Oh, I get it, you add a prefix to -war and get a rank. Tricky, tricky, John Carter series.

Anyways, then I see there’s a new book. Hey! There’s a new book! It’s from Leo Champion. Direct email to Kindle, for the win!

I started reading it, and of course the poor main character has a bad start (ship blows up) and it goes to worse within a few pages. I love how Leo puts his characters in a tree and then throws rocks at them. Big rocks.

So I read Leo’s book instead of the 12 Alien Book.  It was a win-win all the way around.

Facts and Fiction: Movies made in LA

I know my hometown pretty well. They do a lot of movie shoots here. Many commercials for cars are filmed downtown and I usually recognize the streets they’re filming on.

I also know how long it takes to go somewhere. That’s where someone gets to Santa Monica from downtown during rush hour in 30 minutes. Sorry, cannot be done. I’m looking at you, 24. This breaks the reality of LA traffic often.

I also clock when a car turns a corner from the area south of Dodger Stadium and boom, they’re on a street in Signal Hill. That gets a bit jarring, the teleportation. I know it doesn’t matter much for the story, but it’s still jarring.

What’s the ideal level of media saturation?

Complete, of course. What a silly question!!

I read a few folks on my Reader this morning who essentially said, “too much too many” and were trying to get back to the basics of writing, instead of social media.  The problem, you see, is that social media is a distraction and detracts from creating content.

I’m sorta right with you, there. It does distract. It does use up your time, time that could be spent writing the next best novel ever. Instead, you’re here, connecting with people. Which isn’t bad; it’s great. A blog, social media should be used for conversation, for exchanging ideas, for giving information, and not just for chewing gum for the brain like cute cat pictures. (Yes. I’ve seen a cute cat picture. There is no need for me to look at another. Seen one, seen ’em all.)

Chances are, you’re never going to be known for your awesome Twitter account. Not 5 years from now. Not 10 years from now. But that book, it’s a legacy.  It may end up being the Next Big Thing.

Getting it right, or correcting it. What do you prefer? Comments preferred, mess with the average. :D

I was reading a book by a successful author, and amidst the rest of what was a splendid manuscript, I hit a snag. A particular kind of airplane was being flown by a particular branch of service.

Normally, this shouldn’t be the slightest issue. Whatever. It’s just equipment. Who cares if it’s a P47 or an F4U? One flew in Europe by the Army Air Corp and the other flew off islands with the Marine Corps, OR it flew off carriers with the Royal Navy during WWII. It did not ever operate off US Navy carriers until after the war.

See the difference there? It’s a glaring error if you say, “Joe’s flight of F4Us swooped in to drop bombs on the nazi scumbags.” If Joe is Army Air Corp, he’s not flying F4Us. If Joe is Royal Navy, he MIGHT be flying them, in the Mediterranean.

This is minutia, you say. “Pontius, nobody cares about that stuff but you.”  Maybe that’s true, and it doesn’t matter, and you can have alternate universes in your books where the F4U was all over Europe countering the FW-190.

Back to how this matters to your book. See, if you make glaring errors like this, it drops your street cred a little. This is near history or near future history, and you either must make a point of saying “this is a fantasy alternate world” or it’s gotta conform to what is and was and is to be.  A technical error is a FULL STOP removal from the immersion of your world.

If you have a technical error, do you want to hear about it? Or are you moving on to the next 27 books? This is true for everything from detective novels to technothrillers to historical romance.

“He ripped her bodice off.” Really? That’s a lousy-made bodice. I can tell you that I’ve run into all sorts of period underwear for women in my 20+ years of faires and re-enacting and all that, and there wasn’t a one I could rip off a woman. Putting them on the women usually was a long and tedious process. They build those things for keeps! That’s a technical error. If you’ve seen the garment in question, you’d know that it isn’t that easy. Victorian sex? The lady would have to lift her skirts unless she wanted to go through a 20 minute disrobing process.

Or wearing armor. Yesterday, I went on a 3 mile hike with my Roman re-enactment group. I used to wear plate (segmentata) and yesterday I wore a 6mm riveted chain shirt (hamata). There was a HUGE difference in comfort between the two. Chainmail on your bare skin? bzzzzt Boris Vallejo! NOT COMFORTABLE AT ALL. And the edges will chafe you and leave marks. And so on. I could tell you about the experience of wearing the plate armor (it does things to my shoulder blades that are not suitable for anyone except mature audiences. Edema, edema!). If you’re doing fantasy and you’ve never worn armor, best you talk to someone who does. SCA people know this stuff backward and forward, and will keep you from your faux pas.

I could go on, but I won’t. Tell me: Once you’ve written a book, do you care about the errors and nitpicky commas and grammar and stuff, or are you done done and moved on to the next thing? What if you’re being harassed by annoying readers like me?

So, ever reread stuff you wrote which didn’t work but you still like it?

Yeah. Same problem. I had about 17,000 words, and the plot wasn’t advancing right, and it was all messed up. I just reread it, and durnit, I LIKE some of the sections.  The tone, the sardonic wit, the humor… of course I like it, I wrote it.

Narcissism aside, though, I’m considering posting it. Why not? Oh, so you can say, “Matt, the plot’s got problems”? Nuh uh. I already know that. Does anyone else have mistake manuscripts that might work with a rewrite?

Blogtistics and Not Commenting – My comment. On not commenting. Which is fine. And you can comment too. On not commenting.

Writer Chick on this post takes up the possibility that the popular blogs may phase out commenting.

In all honesty, it seems to me that there’s a certain point where a blog becomes something a little different. It’s like people who play in bands. When you’re playing at the Whiskey in Hollywood, that’s a small venue. The energy is different, and you’re more engaged with the audience because they’re right there.

Then you go to the Staples Center, and that’s a different performance because it’s a different energy and much bigger venue. You cannot interact with all your fans. You’ve gone from a Ricky Ricardo sized entertainment space to the entire freaking world or whomever could pony up $500 a ticket.

So, maybe up to 2000 people, you get a certain percentage who comment and interact using like buttons. Let’s just throw a number out there of 5%. 1 in 20. Maybe a quarter of that comments, so 1 in 80. If you have 40000 readers, 5000 of them will comment.

I know it’s lower than that, but the comment progression is not linear, it’s a curve. Initially, the post will pick up a lot of comments, and as it gets older and there are more comments, later people may feel like it’s necroposting if the post is over a day old, or two days old, or whatever their random subjective criteria are for deciding something like that. For a yardstick, I’m using Kristen Lamb’s Blog which lists 46,050 subscribers. Over the last 12 posts, it averages 72.25 comments per post. This comes out to be a comment rate of .0001569, or one in 639. Some of those comments are by Kristen, so it might be more like one in 687.

Let’s stick my blog up there, for comparison. I have 152 followers. It could be more if I was attractive or had something interesting to say.  Over the last 14 posts, it averages 8 comments per post. That’s 1 in 19 that comments.  Compared to Kristen, I’ve got a much more dedicated and awesome commenter base. That’s because every one of you readers was handpicked. I know, I love you guys, too.

Also, half those comments are mine, so It’s really about 1 in 40.

I’m still crushing Kristen.  ;D  Not really. Just because the audience doesn’t engage doesn’t mean they’re not engaged. There’s 46 THOUSAND PEOPLE.  That’s like all of La Crescenta, California listening to a blog.  That’s people-glued-to-the-radio-listening-to-FDR kind of stats.

It’s just interesting that there’s a non-linear curve on this whole thing. Blogtistics is an interesting world.

So a large blog kills the commenting? It’s probably not a huge loss. Anything polarizing always seems to have an overwhelming audience of cheerleaders who mutter all the same imprecations about the evil other side, and if someone by change actually begins to address the topic in a logical manner, they are shouted down by the majority. I can see where disabling comments will kill a lot of the negativity that drags along behind some of these posts. It’s res ipsa loquitar, the thing speaks for itself, and the comments are unnecessary.

*I* like comments. I like engaging. I’ll always have comments.  Blogs without comments are losing their most valuable contributor: Me. ;D

Military Sci Fi, well done – Leo Champion

I recently finished one of Chris Nuttall’s books, First Strike, which was decently done. Chris does a great job of doing classic space opera.  At the end was a selection from Leo Champion’s book, Legion, which was a combat scene.  I read through it and bought the book on the spot.  It’s well done!

I’m about a quarter way through.  The book is about a successful copywriter who, while drinking to celebrate his promotion at works, is wooed into joining the US Foreign Legion, and how he must now do everything he can to survive his enlistment.

I like Champion’s writing – there’s nothing that screams Indy about this book (and it is published in softcover).