1115: "Sky"

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1115: "Sky"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:06 am UTC

Image

Title Text: I dropped a bird and I didn't hear it hit bottom.

Hehe, we take gravity WAY too lightly.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Demosthenes » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:10 am UTC

The enemy's base is DOWN.

EDIT: I did, in fact, mean gate.
Being sleep deprived apparently counteracts having read the book several (or maybe a few) times
Last edited by Demosthenes on Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:04 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby hthall » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:12 am UTC

Beautifully put, Randall. I've thought this many times. In fact:

http://www.thebutteredslice.com/wordpress/archives/31
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Oflick » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:12 am UTC

Today's comic was pretty average. Didn't do much for me at all. I don't mind the idea, though.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Linux0s » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:16 am UTC

How do you drop a bird?
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby TheSavageNorwegian » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:23 am UTC

This has happened to me.

I'm lying on the grass, enjoying the weather, when I suddenly realize that there is nothing to hang on to if gravity turned off.

It freaks me out that there's endless emptiness up/down there.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby amulshah7 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:26 am UTC

I think "dropped a bird" is supposed to mean something along the lines of throwing a live bird into the air and watching it fly away (if you were looking at it upside down, it might look like it "dropped" away from the earth).

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Demosthenes » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:28 am UTC

Imagine being flung sideways into the nearest tree.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby TheSavageNorwegian » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:31 am UTC

Demosthenes wrote:Imagine being flung sideways into the nearest tree.

Not as scary to me as falling up, FOREVER.

Come to think of it, this probably stemmed from reading "Falling Up"!

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Alsadius » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:43 am UTC

How did his beret stay on?

Demosthenes wrote:Imagine being flung sideways into the nearest tree.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7R-PSvvziU

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Cal Engime » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:52 am UTC

To think there are millions of Antipodeans who don't even know they're walking around upside down! I'm so glad I live on the "up" side of Earth.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Primis » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:53 am UTC

I was sitting on a small hill last week, just staring up at the clouds, then night fell. Clouds are nice, stars are creepy, there are WAY too many of them. I had a small existential crisis, realizing that the entire universe is so freaking huge nothing I could ever do would even show up as anything more than line noise on it's radar.
And at that point, the curve of the hill overtook me and I realized just how dizzying looking up at the stars can be...
Dammit the sky is big.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Djehutynakht » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:58 am UTC

Alsadius wrote:How did his beret stay on?


Staples? Glue? Bobby pin?



Anyways, this is a GOOMHR moment for me. I think of this all the time, often when bored.

I'll imagine what would happen if gravity magically reversed, and we all started falling up.

Which then leads me to further plannings, like how I would keep from falling into the great blue abyss, like grabbing onto a building or a tree branch, and then what I would do to secure shelter and such.

And then it leads me to even greater fantasies where the survivors of this new upside down world must first mount a rescue missions (using helicopters and ropes and stuff like that to rescue people and then bring them into buildings and tunnels, and then gradually establishing our own upside-down world where we survive in buildings and tunnels, growing food hanging off from the earth and living with the sky below us instead of on top.

It would be cool. I think there's a piece of art by Frederic Perrin which gives a pretty cool description http://fredericperrin.com/production.html (Galleries -> Animated Movies -> and you'll have to sift through the art till you find it).

Of course I think the episode "Zero Gravity Zone" from the kid's TV Show "Code Lyoko" also influenced my falling-upwards ideas.

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Primis wrote:I was sitting on a small hill last week, just staring up at the clouds, then night fell. Clouds are nice, stars are creepy, there are WAY too many of them. I had a small existential crisis, realizing that the entire universe is so freaking huge nothing I could ever do would even show up as anything more than line noise on it's radar.
And at that point, the curve of the hill overtook me and I realized just how dizzying looking up at the stars can be...
Dammit the sky is big.


http://xkcd.com/1110/


Actually, the whole comic seems to be a touch and nod to "Click and Drag" in some way.

This should be one of the new additions! Upside-down Beret Guy and Mailbox Girl.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby ragraham » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:13 am UTC

Randall's been thinking about this one for a while it seems.

http://xkcd.com/941/

EDIT: Though he thought the abyss had a bottom there!

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby jabelch » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:55 am UTC

This solves the space elevator problem!

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby *** » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:29 am UTC

This is why skyscrapers used to scare me. With an empty sky, there is no perspective, no way to grasp any sort of distance. But next to skyscrapers, you can tell its a really long way down... or up...

This also reminds me of an old Irish saying:
An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto a blade of grass and not fall off the earth.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:58 am UTC

I remember first looking through a telescope when I was twelve or so, and being afraid of open spaces for weeks. At night, only. The blue sky looks... "closed". Safe, particularly with fluffy clouds. At night, there is just the yawning abyss. And it's not "up there". It's all around us. The world is a ridiculously small mote of dust in the darkness, and the only thing between us and it are a few kilometers of air.

"We’re falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go…"
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby flicky1991 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:23 am UTC

Once again, the alt-text made this one for me.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby WanderingLinguist » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:26 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:
Alsadius wrote:How did his beret stay on?
Which then leads me to further plannings, like how I would keep from falling into the great blue abyss, like grabbing onto a building or a tree branch, and then what I would do to secure shelter and such.


I don't think grabbing onto a building would help. Most of them aren't built to withstand inverted gravity. They'd probably fall off too.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby drshrunkel » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:34 am UTC

Nice!

I used to lie on my back on the lawn thinking about this as a kid. Quite scary if you bend your mind into it! Lying on a bed and imagining the roof as the ceiling is also pretty interesting.

Reminds me of this Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge adventure by Don Rosa, where gravity is magically (due to a curse by Magica De Spell) shifted first sideways and later upside down for the ducks, and the consequences are explored in cool and insightful ways. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Matter_of_Some_Gravity

Don Rosa has studied engineering, and has some quite XKCD:ish math and physics related stuff in his comics. Don Rosa was actually the first thing that came to my mind when Randall introduced What-If. Take this one for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Univer ... 8comics%29
Last edited by drshrunkel on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:31 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby eidako » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:36 am UTC

As a kid I would lie on the floor on my side and "climb" the house, pulling myself up on furniture that was anchored to the carpeted wall. I often wished that I could axis-shift to the ceiling, which resembled a skate park. Windows and doors were scary because a bottomless abyss lay beyond.

I've noticed that some people have a related problem with deep water. They swim out and realize just how much space is between them and the bottom, and end up panicking — even though most people have positive buoyancy and will float at the surface even if they hold perfectly still. Unless they're holding a brick.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Haylo » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 am UTC

eidako wrote:I've noticed that some people have a related problem with deep water.

I'm absolutely fine with heights, in fact I'm a climber, and am also a strong swimmer. Deep water isn't something that worries me in the slightest either.

However at El Bells, a dive site in the Red Sea where you enter crystal clear water straight into a 1.8km deep abyss, I actually felt vertigo looking down at it and for a moment thought I felt as if I was going to "fall" which was most a bizarre and interesting sensation!

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:18 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:"We’re falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go…"

Worse than that. We're cells of a bit of slime that manages to grow in the lukewarm parts of the interface between the thin crust of rock coating a huge ball of fission-heated lava and the wispy sheet of air blanketing that lava-ball from the cold vacuum of space, all of that only possible because the mote of dust which is that lava-ball is drifting just close enough to a giant ongoing thermonuclear explosion to not get burnt to a crisp and yet not freeze in the inky voids of the rest of the universe.

Go too far north or south, it gets too hot or cold. Dig too far down or fly to high up, it gets way too hot or way too cold. Fly too close to the sun or too far away, it gets way, way too hot, or way, way too cold. We're desperately clinging to the nicer part of the nicer part of the nicer part of space.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby drshrunkel » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:20 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:I remember first looking through a telescope when I was twelve or so, and being afraid of open spaces for weeks. At night, only. The blue sky looks... "closed". Safe, particularly with fluffy clouds. At night, there is just the yawning abyss. And it's not "up there". It's all around us. The world is a ridiculously small mote of dust in the darkness, and the only thing between us and it are a few kilometers of air.

"We’re falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go…"


Wow, that's a great story!

I had a somewhat similar experience around the same age when I was sleeping under the stars on a canoeing trip. I was staring up at the sky, and was suddenly aware of how I was "standing" with my back against a planet, hurling forward at crazy speed through the vast space among the stars. I was afraid of falling off.

This is kind of how the angelic beings in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" experience planets. They have to manually track the orbital motion of the planet to stay on a spot on the surface.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby ybungalobill » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:57 am UTC

Alsadius wrote:How did his beret stay on?

Staples: http://xkcd.com/291/

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby orthogon » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:23 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:[...]
And then it leads me to even greater fantasies where the survivors of this new upside down world must first mount a rescue missions (using helicopters and ropes and stuff like that to rescue people and then bring them into buildings and tunnels, and then gradually establishing our own upside-down world where we survive in buildings and tunnels, growing food hanging off from the earth and living with the sky below us instead of on top.

Ropes, yes, but how would the helicopters work? Seems to me that all the air falling off the earth would be the biggest problem.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby cantab314 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:32 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:I'll imagine what would happen if gravity magically reversed, and we all started falling up.
It would be a blast - as the shards of the exploding Earth follow you into endless space.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby elej » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:07 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:[...]
And then it leads me to even greater fantasies where the survivors of this new upside down world must first mount a rescue missions (using helicopters and ropes and stuff like that to rescue people and then bring them into buildings and tunnels, and then gradually establishing our own upside-down world where we survive in buildings and tunnels, growing food hanging off from the earth and living with the sky below us instead of on top.

Ropes, yes, but how would the helicopters work? Seems to me that all the air falling off the earth would be the biggest problem.


actually, it would be worse than that. if gravity as a force suddenly turned repulsive, wouldn't the earth explode apart from all the heat in it and nothing to hold it together? (intermolecular forces might work to a certain degree when stuff cools down)

@orthogon: i think i would enjoy that book, kinda similar note as 'skyland'

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby hthall » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:03 pm UTC

drshrunkel wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:I remember first looking through a telescope when I was twelve or so, and being afraid of open spaces for weeks. At night, only. The blue sky looks... "closed". Safe, particularly with fluffy clouds. At night, there is just the yawning abyss. And it's not "up there". It's all around us. The world is a ridiculously small mote of dust in the darkness, and the only thing between us and it are a few kilometers of air.

"We’re falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go…"


Wow, that's a great story!

I had a somewhat similar experience around the same age when I was sleeping under the stars on a canoeing trip. I was staring up at the sky, and was suddenly aware of how I was "standing" with my back against a planet, hurling forward at crazy speed through the vast space among the stars. I was afraid of falling off.

This is kind of how the angelic beings in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" experience planets. They have to manually track the orbital motion of the planet to stay on a spot on the surface.


One of the reasons I long to have the experience, at least once in my life, of a true meteor storm, where the meteors arrive in such rapid succession that there are usually several visible at once, is that it reportedly gives one the distinct sensation of hurtling through space—a sensation that is quite accurate.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby ModestMouse » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:33 pm UTC

TheSavageNorwegian wrote:This has happened to me.

I'm lying on the grass, enjoying the weather, when I suddenly realize that there is nothing to hang on to if gravity turned off.

It freaks me out that there's endless emptiness up/down there.


It's not a matter of if... it's a matter of when...

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby musicgeek » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:59 pm UTC

"Down side up, upside down...." [/Peter Gabriel]

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby J L » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:09 pm UTC

I had a strange case of inverse vertigo this summer when I did my open water diver and went below 10m for the first time. Below me: nothing; above me: nothing; around me: not enough to make me sorry land creature feel comfortable.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Rotherian » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

Demosthenes wrote:The enemy's base is DOWN.

Nice dual Ender's Game reference.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby ElWanderer » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:30 pm UTC

J L wrote:I had a strange case of inverse vertigo this summer when I did my open water diver and went below 10m for the first time. Below me: nothing; above me: nothing; around me: not enough to make me sorry land creature feel comfortable.

Yeah, I always felt very odd swimming over a drop-off - going from "I can see the sea-floor, it's only a metre or two below me" to "argh, it's all empty blackness down there!" was never pleasant.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby mojacardave » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:00 pm UTC

As a Sci-Fi film concept, the sudden reversal of gravity wouldn't work, due to all of the points already made vis-a-vis exploding Earth, insufficient foundation grounding etc.

As a fantasy film concept though, the idea of humans being cursed so that gravity either doesn't apply/acts on us in reverse is an interesting one. Could make for some interesting action sequences.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby FrostBlast » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

This is what a dark and clear nightsky makes me feel like.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Red Hal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

Relevant: http://vimeo.com/4505537

Play it full screen and wait for the bit just before sunrise when you realise that you really are standing on a ball rotating in space.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby Max™ » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

*points at his location*

Oh yeah, this is a decent way to illustrate how small this rock we're whirling through space on really is.
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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby BKNorton3 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:36 pm UTC

Demosthenes wrote:The enemy's base is DOWN.

The enemy's gate is down.

I have read this book far too many times to allow this quote to stand as is.

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Re: 1115: "Sky"

Postby JJH » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

drshrunkel wrote:Reminds me of this Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge adventure by Don Rosa, where gravity is magically (due to a curse by Magica De Spell) shifted first sideways and later upside down for the ducks, and the consequences are explored in cool and insightful ways. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Matter_of_Some_Gravity


That's the third thing that came to my mind after reading today's comic. The second one was "if the gravity would suddenly shift sideways I could probably make it to the wall ok, but then I'd have to roll quickly away before bookshelf carpet bombs me with books. Then I can start worrying about the structural integrity of the building". I keep doing this all the time. :?

And the first one? "I don't want to go outside anymore."


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