Tuesday January 23, 2001

Book 1: The Tub of Happiness — Bureaucracy Bountiful

Book 1: The Tub of Happiness — Bureaucracy Bountiful

**Precursor to Note:** This note has nasty math in it, but not nearly as much nasty math as I got from readers whom I taunted. I've learned my lesson, I have.

The astute reader has probably already noticed that during the course of a rather short conversation in the strip above, Massey Reynstein and Corporal Schlock have ascended from Tier 3 to Tier 11. Tier 3 is at the edge of the breathable atmosphere on Luna. Tier 11 is a couple of tiers short of being in geosynchronous (well, technically, it would be called "lunasynchronous") orbit. Out past Tiers 11, 12, and 13, you'll find the Counter-Weight Station and the lunastationary point.

How far did Massey and Schlock go in the space of a couple of minutes? Well, 31st century Luna revolves on her axis once every 24 hours, and has a gravitic acceleration of 1.6 meters per second squared. knowing that Tier 11 is roughly 11/14ths of the way to the lunastationary point, you should be able to do the math for yourself, figure out how far they came, and thus how fast. I'm too lazy.

I'll say this much. They are accelerating (and then decelerating) faster than any 20th-century Earth-to-orbit rocket, probably by a couple of orders of magnitude. This means that the Hellevator's express elevators must be equipped with inertiic-logic gravitics, to ensure that passengers don't get squished.

Send me your numbers, and I'll update the footnote. Don't forget to show all your work. This test represents 50% of your grade.

**Addendum to Note:** Schlock fans get an A+. You are all far, far smarter than I gave you credit for. Of the submissions I've recieved within 24 hours of publication of this strip, not one of them contained no math I could not understand. Better yet, roughly half of you agreed (within 100 km) on the height of the Hellevator, from the ground to the lunasynchronous point. "About 8000 kilometers" is all I'm going to say at this point. And to simplify the rest of the math (for those of you still bent on doing it yourselves, you masochists), let's say the trip from Tier 3 to Tier 11 lasted EXACTLY two minutes, and that all fourteen tiers of the Hellevator are evenly spaced, with the ground at one end and Tier 14 at the other.

Narrator:
Welcome to the Hellevator. One end sits on Luna's Helena plain. The other end is in geosynchronous orbit.

Massey:
Get me to a hospital. I want to get this implant out of my head.

Schlock:
Just come with me back to the *Kitesfear*, Mister Reynstein.

Narrator:
It doesn't qualify as the tallest free-standing structure on Luna, though, beacuase it does not stand.

Narrator:
It hangs, in illusory defiance of the laws of nature.

Schlock:
...Ummm, eyes.

Massey:
I need brain surgery. Not a hot date.

Schlock:
But wouldn't it be cool to get both at the same time?

Massey:
I'm trying to understand how you could possibly think that.

Narrator:
Not unlike that last joke, sadly.

Kitesfear: