just below 70
Friday, January 3 2014
We had five or six inches of snow on the ground this morning, which I eventually shoveled out of the driveway in the mid-afternoon. Lacking any other sources of dry firewood, last night I'd had to start using the rearmost tranche of firewood in the woodshed. Starting with the wood between the very rafters of the shed, this wood was about as dry as wood can get, and it burned fiercly hot. But with temperatures never rising above the low teens, I still had difficulty getting the woodstove to heat the living room to a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. (I think I only made it to 69.6.)
Today I'd successfully managed to keep myself from Facebook (both as myself and as my various trolls), so later when I got stoned, I went on a wack Wikipedia adventure. The first question that occurred to me that sent me there was about the efficiency of the propagation of a shock wave through rarified gas. (I wanted to know if the amount energy transferred to the earth's surface from the explosion of the Chelyabinsk bolide was reduced by the thin atmosphere of the high stratosphere where it happened.) I didn't get a good answer for that, but I then proceeded to learn a lot about commercial jet aviation. I hadn't known that jets mostly fly above the troposphere (in the low stratosphere) and that their exhaust isn't thought to affect the ozone layer very much. I then read all the boring stuff I'd skimmed over in the past when reading about how jet engines work. I then learned about the De Gavilland Comet, whose square windows led to premature airframe failure. Finally, I read extensively about the Concorde Supersonic jetliner, with a focus on the things that made it different from other jetliners (this includes the series of modifications and compromises needed to produce an airplane that could both fly at Mach 2.0 and land on a conventional civilian runway). This what my first conscious acquittance with the job known as "flight engineer," which has been one of the victims of increased automation.
In the midst of all that research, my childhood friend Nathan called from Virginia. He calls maybe once every two years or so, and I'm the sort of person who never things to call him. It's a shame we talk so little because our conversation is always very easy and natural. Matters discussed included our parents and the fact that they're just going to do what they're going to do, "almost like they're individual people," Nathan added.
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