clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Leftover Lies

I write fiction. I lie with abandon.

At left, a nuclear powered jet engine configuration. I'll tell you about it in a bit. Yes, it works. No, that's not a lie.

I like to fish for trout on a fly rod. Don't fly fish? I'll explain.

Using a fly rod to catch a trout is akin to using a washing machine to catch a rhinoceros. It is singularly the least effective technique (outside of merely sitting on a bar stool) to do the job.

See why sitting in an empty room in order to engage in communication through fiction appeals to me?  It doesn't make any sense either.

Fly fishing: brought to you by the people that brought you golf, I'm convinced. Lots of debate exists over the origin of fly fishing. I suspect the Scots because its just the sort of thing they'd do to the rest of us.

No characters tell lies all the time successfully when those lies are predictable.

The key with their lies is to lie to the reader. Having a character lie to the police about where he was last Tuesday night when the reader already knows he has a mistress is not good enough. Having him lie to the police AND to the mistress begins to carry weight especially if he asks her to lie for him to the police as an alibi.

You knew that already.

I like fishing because it is a sport of liars. The obvious part "what did you catch" is cliche. That's not the lie.

In fly fishing "what did you catch it on" can be the real lie. "Oh - I used a #16 Soft Hackle Sparkle Dun right there as the sun started behind the tree."  That's the lie. Bobby could no more see to tie on a size #16 fly in the twilight than he could sprout wings and fly himself. He used a #10 caddis and prayed that he didn't snag because he'd never get another threaded in that light.

Saying you fished the fly your could thread onto the tippet instead of the fly conditions dictated would be a kind of loss of face. So, a lie. "I'm smart enough to do the right thing ...but I did the precise wrong thing and had success. Can't admit that."

Lies are funny things. That's my point here.

And above, the nuclear jet engines: not lies. They worked.

Nothing wrong with the theory and the reactor construction was quite the stroke of brilliance. What normally would be air expansion because of burning fuel was instead air expansion because of the enormous gaseous heat transfer of the power plant. It was an air-cooled reactor that in this case just wasn't very air cooled.

Problems? The air was a single stage direct loop so what came out of the jet exhaust had been inside the reactor and it carrier more residual radiation than was "good." By that, the jet could not be allowed to fly over the continental US. Meh. Bad guys live elsewhere so no big deal. Airbase the beast on the coast.

Also, the crew needed a bit more shielding than initially designed. Again - not the end of the world. Kennedy killed the program because of inadequate progress for this component of the triad. Conventional bombers that refueled did the job. [ During the cold war, entire wings of bombers would remain airborne just short of the "go" points to launch an attack. Really. Stopped in 1968, mostly.].

The Soviets tried the same thing in nearly the same way.

Both countries flew live reactors over their own territories for a while testing the shielding process for a live reactor - though neither airplane was powered by their reactor, yet.

These are all truths that sound like lies. They're not. They true.

What is worse: the flying reactor is actually a good means of handling a two-stage life device. I'll explain.

A significant portion of any vehicle to go into orbit is fuel. Most of the fuel is used in the first 20,000 meters of flight .. say about 60K feet. That's right: most of the fuel is used close to the ground. Staged rockets - like Apollo - throw away parts of the craft after the fuel it carriers is used up.

Now, to get to space from the ground, carry the rocket to - oh - 60K feet. Much smaller rocket, much less fuel needed. Cheaper craft.

The nuclear airplane takes off and lands with the same amount of fuel aboard. (OKAY - negligible mass is lost in the form of matter-to-energy from radiation and nuclear decay emission. Nothing near the mass of an average high school cheerleader though. More like the mass of a nice hamburger at most). That 747-800 carries nearly 425,000 pounds of fuel. It's got about  four times the thrust of the B-52 bombers of the 1960s. (upgraded B-52's have more thrust).

So, reusable launch vehicle, fly over the pacific ocean, put things into space cheaply. Mad science stuff. It works, though. It works.

So, I'm done with the truth for awhile. It's too bloody strange.

 I'm back to my strength: lies.

Write some yourself tonight. Sleep tight. Aren't you glad I told you the truth about your government's mad science programs.

What about the ones you haven't heard about? Bwaaaaaaahahahahahahaaa.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Truth is stranger than fiction, for sure!

Hadn't thought about the fact that fishing and writing have a lot in common...especially the part about them both revolving around lies. :)

jack welling said...

I do love it when the truth goes all wiggledy-poo.

Thanks for stopping by!