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Wednesday, March 5 12:01 AM EDT

BBspot Mailbag

Now you too can enjoy my inbox without the annoying spam. Every week I get some amazing e-mail. Some amazing because of the sheer cluelessness of the sender, some because of the time and energy that went into crafting them and some are just simply amazing. Since I've gotten such a response from posting these messages in the BBlog, I've decided make it a regular feature.


Irony knows no bounds in this comment about one of our older stories...

From: steve []
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 3:39 PM
Subject: stupid story

i just wanted to comment on the retards teachers who thought php was a drug i guess it goes to show how stupid some people really are

Yeah, those teachers are idiots.

Next we see that even Jar-Jaromir can make them question their sanity...

From: Jennifer []
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 3:14 PM
Subject: Re: Fans Outraged at New Character in The Return of the King

please tell me you're kidding...

Thankfully, yes.

More recently the new ATI ASCII-enhanced video card had them scratching their heads...

From: xxxxxxxxx []
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 12:20 PM
Subject: RE:New ATI Card Pushes Limits of ASCII Gaming

Was this a parody? Not that I haven't heard of everything your talking
about but...most of the information looks made up.

We've changed the names to protect the innocent. It was really Nvidia that released the card.

ASCII Gaming

One reader responds with joy to our recent story about ATI's new video card enhanced for ASCII gaming...

From: Michael []
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 7:59 AM
Subject: New ATI Card...

I will certainly like playing MUDs at the frame rates these nethackers are getting!

My current card gets choppy while rendering complex words, like "Bugbear" or "Granxthar the armourer". Once you enable the 4-bit colors PLUS underlined text, it's barely even playable.

Paid Link

One reader expounds on the problem with the recent paid link for Breaking Benjamin on BBspot...

From: Brian []
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 12:09 PM
To: Brian Briggs
Subject: Paid Link

It was quite frustrating to follow the link in Linux/Mozilla and have it do nothing. So I tried Konqueror, still no go. Then Opera and nothing. So over to my Winbox, and still nothing in Mozilla. Then I was thinking "Is it really broken? Could he have gotten a paid link for something that doesn't even work?". So I decided that maybe, just maybe, the designers of this lovely piece would have been so narrow minded to think that a tech related site would only have IE users. Then I did the unthinkable... I dusted off the screen over the link to IE (hasn't been used for so long) and clicked. As my blood ran cold thinking of all the horrible things that will happen to the machine now that I've awoken the beast, I entered in the BBSpot URL and waited. Up came the familiar, friendly, yellow and red dot and the link laid before me. Now the new paid link looked ominously out at me, so I took a deep breath and said to myself "Trust Brian. He has never led you astray before. It will not crash your system or infect you will germs. It will simply entertain as it has every other day.", and then I clicked. Lo and behold it worked! But after all this, I did not feel entertained as usual. It wasn't that the music was bad, it was the unbearable stress from awaking the creature that lurks on the C: drive. "I will never do that again.", I muttered.

The Core Explained

And this reader explains in more detail why The Core is confusing....

From: Damien []
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 5:39 PM
Subject: The Core

Just read your trailer review on "The Core," and I thought I'd help you
along with some of the parts you're confused about.

> I just couldn't get my brain around how a 1000 megaton nuclear
> explosion would get the earth's core spinning again?

Don't worry, I'll bet geologists and physicists can't get their brains around it, either. Furthermore, even if a 1 gigaton uncontrolled explosion could set the core spinning again (it can't), it wouldn't set the core spinning at the exact same rate it was before, anyway. The inner core comprises about 2% of the Earth's overall mass, which pegs it at around 1.2E23 kg (E being a power of ten, so 5.97E24 = 5.97 x 10^24). The Earth's core rotates somewhere between 0.02 and 3 degrees per year. Just for estimation's sake, we'll call it 1 degree per year. That equates to 3.17E-8 degrees per second, or about 5.5E-10 rad/s.

The moment of inertia of a uniform sphere rotating about its center is
I = (2/5)mr^2,
where m is the mass and r is the radius. The radius of the inner core is about 2.6E6 m. So, its moment of inertia is 3.2E35 kg•m^2. Angular momentum is given by
p = Iw,
where w is the angular velocity. Thus, the total angular momentum of the Earth's core is 1.76E26 kg•m^2/s. This is the total amount of momentum that would have to be imparted in order to both stop the Earth's core from spinning (which is the problem in the first place, but no one mentioned where this huge amount of angular momentum traveling in the vector opposite the core's momentum vector comes from ... oh yeah, earthquakes <snicker>).

1 gigaton is about 4.2E18 J of energy. This is a large amount of energy, to be sure, but it's nowhere near enough to get the Earth's core spinning again at the same rate it was before. The linear momentum of an explosion is given by
p = U/c,
where U is the total energy and c is the speed of light. Even if all the linear momentum of the explosion was applied toward getting the Earth's core spinning again (which is can't be; 50% of it will inevitably be radiated away from the core entirely because explosions are omni-directional) and transformed into angular momentum, it would be about 16 orders of magnitude too little.

The actual explanation is a lot more complex and has to do with torques, but I don't feel like writing all that up, and I'm sure you don't feel like reading it. :) The above numbers should give you a good feeling of what 1 gigaton is and what is required, though.

However, the characters state that they are going to use a "nukular" blast to get the core going. While the exact properties of "nukular" weapons are unknown, it is certain that nuclear weapons will not get the job done, and that 1 gigaton of anything won't be enough.

That's all for this week. Next week you should be seeing some e-mail about the redesign and other fun stuff.

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