(urth) Short Sun blog review

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 21 10:08:14 PDT 2010

On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM, Jack Smith <jack.smith.1946 at gmail.com> wrote:
> " I think I've heard estimates the Whorl is at least 300 years
> old. Typhon was presumably alive on its launching and is still alive when
> Severian meets him
> strapped to his couch. Quite a lifespan."
> Isn't Typhon dead when found by Severian, who then resurrects him?   Typhon
> seems to have dried out after lying on the cold, dry mountain for 1000 or
> 2000 years (in contrast to Dorcas, who is soggy).
> Since the Whorl has traveled near the speed of light on its voyage, time has
> slowed down.  So 1000 or 200 years can have passed on Urth, while only 300
> years have gone by on the Whorl.

I don't remember if our past discussions went into the technical
details, but it's pretty unlikely the Whorl got any significant

Useful link: http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3aj.html#relativity

Notice that to get a slowdown of even 1/3, you need to get up to
somewhere around 0.97 or 0.98 _c_. Given that we're talking an entire
hollowed-out asteroid, and one which needs to slow down to rest at the
end... Well, the energy requirements would be absolutely fantastic.
(And I mean fantastic as in, you'd better have an entire other
anti-asteroid made of anti-matter for propellant.)

Dunno if Wolfe took all this into account, though.


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