Sunday May 19, 2013
Book 14: Broken Wind — Part II: Can Full of Sky


NARRATOR: Eina-Afa, 1000km above the "surface" of a giant, rotating can full of sky...

KEVYN: Kong is riding the bow wave on the windward side of this strut, and is slipping around to leeward.

TAGON: Can we use compass points, please?

KEVYN: Don't be ridiculous.  We're navigating a rotating reference frame with an enormous volume.  North, south, east, and west are too ambiguous.

TAGON: Fine.  What would you have us use instead?

KEVYN: Well, generally speaking the atmosphere rotates with the can, but it's fluid and won't behave truly cetrifugally, so there will almost always be wind blowing from spinward.

That gives these massive struts windward and leeward faces, kind of like mountain ranges, but with much more consistent winds.

Of course those scudding whorls twisting along the shear layers suggest that winds can blow into the spin.

So I guess "spinward" is better than "windward," even though I expect to see consistently different ecosystems between windward and leeward faces.

ENNESBY: Light intensity has shifted uniformly along the spindle since our arrival.  There is a day/night cycle here.

KEVYN: Hah!  The "sun" sets in the west and comes up in the east.  Right now Kong is leading us east.

TAGON: So, four compass points, and two of them are "east" and "west"?

KEVYN: Yes.  The other two are spinward and, well... anti-spinward I guess.

TAGON: Which I am now calling "north" and "south."

KEVYN: But... Aaaugh!

M'CONGER: That's exactly how I feel about "Kong."