Santa Claus is Coming! Sometime…

I just read an interesting forum from Sciforums on debunking Santa Claus. I don’t approve of debunking Santa Claus. I love Christmas, and I believe in Santa, just like I believe my stuffed animals have feelings. I’m a fiction writer–I have to believe things, right?

But I remembered hearing an explanation that Santa has to fly at super speeds just to deliver these presents–like close to the speed of light. Which would mean from our perspective standing “still,” he’s moving tremendously fast and also accelerating through time, right? He’s going to miss Christmas Eve!

But, what if, from Santa’s perspective he’s sitting still and the world is moving rapidly around him? So the Earth’s time would be crawling along, and Santa could have plenty of time to get everything done.

Both couldn’t be true, though. My book (Why Does E=mc2? (and why should we care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw) tells me the answer is that as soon as Santa would change direction Santa could no longer claim to be standing still and this effect would be canceled out, so near-speed-of-light would not work.

But Santa can still do it–whether he’s jumping through worm holes or using the “Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics” (which I have not gotten to yet) or folding spacetime like in A Wrinkle in Time,

For those who celebrate Christmas, Santa Claus is coming! Merry Christmas!

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 339-345

Getting SO close to the end…

We are back to the characters and continue with Pierre, who is a changed man. He’s kinder and therefore more popular. He’s not troubled by a lack of happiness; he’s just happy. Even formerly disagreeable people get along with him because he listens and treats them well, and he is able to find things to like in everyone, so he likes everyone, no matter how annoying they are. He’s an all around swell guy.

Then he finds out that Mary is in town, so he goes to visit to console her about Andrew. And he runs into Natasha, who he thought he’d gotten over, but when he sees her he’s fresh in love again. And she loves him back as well as she is able, and Mary tells him that a future wedding is very possible; just wait a little while until she’s recovered more from all the deaths.

So I think this plotline will end in a wedding. At least there’ll be some happiness there. And I see some future happiness for Mary too, I think. If we ever see Nicholas again.

Finding Inspiration and What to Do with It

I have finished a lot of novel manuscripts, and I’ve been pretty steady with my progress on them over the years. After college when I wasn’t working I probably finished about 1 a year (including edits) and since moving and getting a full-time job I’ve probably regressed to 1 and 1/2 to 2 years per book. The whole time I’ve honestly never had a problem coming up with an idea for my next project. Basically, I don’t worry about what my next book will be before the time comes. I try to focus on my current project and let everything else float around in my head as it pleases.

Then, often sometime during the editing process, I’ll get that spark–like for my last one: “I’d like to write something about a mother-child relationship” and that sparks another idea: “The child came unexpectedly and became the mother’s whole life–in the process the mother had to give up her old life and dreams,” which sparks: “the mother had secrets she had to hide from her child” At some point I decided the story had to be told from the child’s point of view, which led me to writing and reading in the young adult area, which was the best career choice I could have made because that was the style I’d been unknowingly writing in anyway with all my unsuccessful adult books.

And so, when the editing process for the previous book had started wrapping up and it was time to start working on something new I had all these ideas to begin to shape into the book I’m currently submitting (which is called Flooded).

And while I was editing that one, I had new ideas for my next book. Except this time I didn’t have one idea–I had 3. There’s the sequel to Flooded, a time travel adventure, and a space sci-fi. If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know which one I went with. The other two ideas have not paled, though. I still add ideas to them here and there, but neither were as “ready” as my current one. I think those two need to sit a while.

And then came the new idea.

I was driving home from doing some shopping last weekend and it came to me. It was shiny and beautiful. Just popped right into my head and said, “Hello, I’m going to be your next book.” And I love it still, and I haven’t dared write any of it down because it’s too new and I still love my current story and need to work on that. So this new shiny idea gets to dance and play and sprout and grow in my head for however long it takes to write this other book, and some time as I start to edit–or more likely, once the 1st draft is done and I need a break from it–then I will put this idea to paper, and it will have its turn in the spotlight.

(And that’s why I never get any short stories written anymore) 🙂

Physcis and E=mc2: How to Get Home Faster for Christmas

Drive faster.

Seriously.

Okay, so what I’ve learned from reading Why Does E=mc2? (and why should we care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw:

This I’m not as clear on as the time thing, but it all follows the same logic line. When objects move faster, the distance they’re traveling shrinks. Literally shrinks. Time, space, distance, matter–all that–nothing is absolute. It can shrink, it can expand. Just fling something around at light speed and you’ll see all kinds of crazy stuff happen.

Well, light speed is absolute.

It all has to do with the quotas think I mentioned last post. You can get from point A to B at one speed taking 10 years, or another speed (as long as it’s not faster than light speed) taking 10 seconds. But you might say, wait, it’s impossible to go that far in such a short time, and maybe it would be. Maybe going the 10 years-speed seems like it’s getting you such a great distance as soon as you possibly can. But when you go super-fast speeds distances begin to shrink dramatically. They just shrink–like your tessaract from A Wrinkle in Time. (I have no idea if it’s like this at all with the wrinkles and stuff, but that’s what I think of).

Basically, if you can get up to speeds close to light speed you can go millions of light years in a very short time. We could galaxy hop without much of a problem at close-to-light-speed. We just would have to bring anyone we care about with us, because we could pretty much never go back because hundreds of thousands of years would pass at the place we left behind.

And anything that works on this large scale has to work on a small scale to some degree too, or it wouldn’t be a universal idea. So yes, the faster you drive, the shorter the distance you’ll have to travel to get home for Christmas. (Just don’t try to use that logic to get out of a speeding ticket, okay?)

Physics and E=mc2: Your Car’s Clock Is Slow

What I’ve learned from reading Why Does E=mc2? (and why should we care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw:

I am learning!

Okay, so suppose your car’s clock is 100% accurate and always keeps perfect time. And suppose your best friend’s watch is also 100% accurate and always keeps perfect time. And both of these time pieces start exactly in synch. You get in your car and drive somewhere, so from your friend’s perspective, you are moving and she is standing still. With me so far? I’m still with me, at least (I understand this in my head, but this is my first attempt to explain it back).

Okay, so according to your friend you are moving (there is always the possibility that from your perspective you are sitting still in one spot and the rest of the world is moving around you, but we’re not going to look at that perspective right now). You are moving, and in your car, your clock continues to keep its perfect time, and outside, not moving, your friend’s watch continues to keep its perfect time.

But after you’ve been driving around for a really long time (there are some equations where you can figure this out exactly, but I’m still at baby-basic level here), you return to your friend and compare clocks. The clock in your car will be slow compared to your friend’s watch.

Your car’s clock didn’t break. Okay, here’s where I try to explain what I’ve learned:

Time is the 4th dimension of space. You can’t really picture this like you can picture the 3D world around you, but it’s there and all intertwined with speed. I like this explanation: Time and Speed have a set quota to reach that will always be the same. If there is no Speed (as in your best friend who is just standing around not moving) then Time gets to fill up the quota itself–so Time will move fastest if there is no Speed. When you start putting Speed in the mix, there is less Time, so Time will start moving slower. So if you end up going the speed of light Time will pretty much stand still because Speed has filled up the quota.

So even though your car doesn’t go anywhere near the speed of light, over time your car’s clock will still run slow.

And that is what I’ve learned.

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 332-338

I’d gotten my hopes up last week, only to have them crushed again this week. We were back to general war-talk with uninteresting characters. The war is kind of over. The Emperor comes to survey things. Kutuzov is criticized, retreats and dies. Interestingly, a Count Tolstoy is mentioned. Could this be a cameo from our author? (I actually have no idea if he was even alive during this conflict to be present–maybe a father/grandfather cameo?)

Then we get one chapter of Pierre, who is recovering under the care of his faithful servants. He’s found God, for real this time, apparently.

Now that Kutuzov is dead I have higher hopes for the rest of the chapters to be focused on the characters I am interested in instead of politics and war and stuff. I’m hoping to hear about Nick Rostov…

Distractions

A moment ago I decided to play a game of Mahjong on my computer while I was trying to think of a post to write (this one). When I finished I wasn’t any closer to getting an idea, but I still felt playing some games, which then gave me the idea of this post. So technically the game helped, I guess.

I am easily distracted by games and hobbies. I work on my many projects with quite a bit of dedication, even if that project is whatever Zelda game is out at the time. And though these distractions take away time I could be writing or reading or doing stuff for work, they are often what I look forward to the most. Knitting has also been a fun distraction for me. If I don’t have a specific knitting project I’ll make a pair of mittens to take to school to loan out, and I’ve had fun experimenting with color combinations and trying to get the size ratio just right.

So I am all for distractions because when I don’t distract myself enough I get stressed out, and that is not good. Yay distractions!