Difference between revisions of "482: Height"
(→Explanation: Added space elevator explanation.)
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::Cueball: Woo Python!
::Cueball: Woo Python!
::Burj Dubai (~800 m)
::Burj Dubai (~800 m)
::Eiffel Tower (325 m)
::Eiffel Tower (325 m)
Revision as of 07:09, 13 March 2014
Title text: Interestingly, on a true vertical log plot, I think the Eiffel Tower's sides would really be straight lines.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Lots of the little references aren't even mentioned, e.g. Human Altitude record, the space elevator, and I just added an explanation for "All Hail Discordia!" This is nearly there, but not yet.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
The comic is a companion piece to 485: Depth, which explores a logarithmic scale from Earth's atmosphere down to the interior of a single proton. Height begins this process by viewing logarithmically smaller scales showing several objects in the universe, both real and fictional, from farthest (top) to closest (bottom). The comic starts with Black Hat throwing a cat off the edge of the universe, probably a reference to Schrodinger's cat (as since it is outside the observable universe (for us), it exists in a super-position of both living and dead until we actually 'observe' it and force it to be in one of the states). It may also refer to the common myth that a cat will always land on its feet, a myth Black Hat appears to be testing to the extreme. The top of the universe is shown as the distance from which the oldest rays of light reach Earth.
Displaying height logarithmically while displaying width linearly noticeably distorts the shapes of the terrestrial objects. The title text notes that this distortion would approximately cancel out the curve of the Eiffel Tower's profile, and speculates that the cancellation might in fact be exact enough to convert its silhouette to a straight-edged triangle.
- Cat on a keyboard in space.
- Ford Prefect, character from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (franchise), shown near his home star; Betelgeuse.
- The Romulan Neutral Zone, marking the edge of the Star Trek Federation.
- Federation Sector 0-0-1, the sector of space assigned to Earth in Star Trek.
- "missing WMDs", a reference to the controversy about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
- Bupkis is Yiddish for "nothing". Only a handful of objects are known to orbit between the outer edge of the Kuiper Belt and the inner edge of the Oort Cloud, hence "Bupkis".
- A comet scheduled to hit earth in 2063, to coincide with the latest date for a supposed Biblically prophesized end of the world.
- Life on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, which may or may not exist.
- The arrows most likely points to the following moons:
- Jupiter’s moon Europa which may be covered by a deep ocean of water - which is again covered by layer of ice many kilometers thick. In such an ocean life could have formed.
- Saturn’s moon Titan is the only known moon to have an atmosphere - although nothing like the one on earth. There may be oceans on the moon, but not filled with water but with liquid methane and ethane. It is way too cold for liquid water. Still in such oceans life could also have formed.
- For either moon the oceans cannot be viewed from earth either due to thick ice or opaque atmosphere.
- The little spaceship from Asteroids (video game).
- The Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey, referring to the quote "open the pod bay door, HAL."
- The spaceplane is most likely the Planet Express from Futurama, where Fry once discussed "a big heaping bowl of salt." However, it could conceivably refer to these instead:
- A lunar lander with someone inside proclaming "In retrospect, they shouldn't have sent a poet. I have no idea how to land". The goal of Lunar Lander (arcade game) is to land the vehicle without crashing it. The quote is a reference to Contact (1997 film) where the main character Ellie Arroway after witnessing a celestial light show up close says "Poetry! They should've sent a poet.". The actual vehicle in the movie was round and not shaped like a lunar lander.
- Cory Doctorow's balloon. (first referenced in 239.)
- Cueball, who is apparently still using Python as shown in comic 353.
- A Space elevator is a proposed method of transporting cargo or people into orbit, consisting of a station in a geosynchronous orbit, a cable connecting it to the Earth, and a climber that can scale the cable. No space elevator has been built to date, but according to the comic, one will be deployed "one of these days, promise!"
- Hubble Deep Field, a long-exposure photograph of extremely distant galaxies.
- Great Attractor, an unusual concentration of intergalactic mass.
- Antennae Galaxies, a pair of colliding galaxies.
- Andromeda Galaxy, a sibling to our Milky Way.
- Magellanic Clouds, a pair of nearby dwarf galaxies.
- Crab Nebula, Orion Nebula, and Horsehead Nebula, supernova remnants.
- Pleiades, Rigel, and Betelgeuse, stars. The Pleiades also have a derogatory remark, as per 66: Abusive Astronomy
- The distance that human radio transmissions have traveled so far. See Contact (1997 film) for a depiction of this. This is also referenced in 1212.
- Pollux, Arcturus, Sirius, Alpha Centauri, and Barnard's Star, nearby stars.
- Oort cloud, a halo of ice balls surrounding our solar system.
- Pioneer 10 and Voyager 1, two early probes headed out of the solar system.
- Eris and Pluto, a pair of TNOs now classified as dwarf planets. The "All hail Discordia!" after Eris is a reference to Discordianism, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek religion based around the goddess Eris.
- Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter, giant gas planets at our solar system.
- The Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
- Mars, Venus, and Mercury, our neighboring inner planets. Note that Venus and Mars are shown with looping paths, reflecting the fact that their distances from Earth vary as the planets move in their orbits (this is true for all planets, but more noticeable for these two because the ratio of smallest to greatest distance is particularly large).
- The Sun and the Moon.
- [Map of the universe from observable universe to Earth. Each area of item is labelled.]
- [Labels left to right, up to down:]
- [Black Hat is standing on top, throwing a black kitty down.]
- Black Cat: mrowl!
- Top of Observable Universe
- 46 Billion Light Years Up
- Hubble Deep Field Objects
- -One Billion Light Years-
- Great Attractor
- Antennae Galaxies (Colliding)
- Holy Crap Lots of Space
- -One Million Light Years-
- Magellanic Clouds
- Edge of Galaxy
- Galactic Center
- Crab Nebula
- Orion Nebula
- Horsehead Nebula
- Romulan Neutral Zone
- The PLEIADES, Duh.
- Ford Prefect
- -Expanding Shell of Radio Transmissions [Arrows are pointing up.]-
- Edge of Federation Sector 0-0-1
- Missing WMDs
- Alpha Centauri
- Barnard's Star
- -One Parsec-
- -One Light Year-
- Oort Cloud (?)
- Comet which will destroy Earth in late 2063
- Pioneer 10
- Eris (All hail Discordia!)
- Voyager I
- Pluto (Not a planet. Neener neener.)
- Aircraft: Hey a heaping bowl of salt!
- "Open the fridge door, Hal."
- Human Altitude Record (Apollo 13)
- 2nd Place: Snoop Dogg
- Space Elevator - One of these days, promise!
- -Geosynchronous Orbit-
- GPS Satellites
- Lunar lander: In retrospect, they shouldn't have sent a poet. I have no idea how to land
- International Space Station
- Space Junk
- -Official Edge of Space (100 km)-
- -1/10 ATM-
- High Altitude Balloons
- -1/2 ATM-
- Cory Doctrow
- Shuttle Columbia Lost
- Cueball: Woo Python!
- [vertical scale along right side of image, starting at 1 km and getting progressivly smaller and smaller.]
- -800 m-
- Burj Dubai (~800 m)
- Eiffel Tower (325 m)
- Great Pyramid (140 m)
- Redwood (115 m)
- Pop Fly
- Oak (20 m)
- "Hey Squirrels!"
- Tallest Stilts
- Brachiosaur (13 m)
- Giraffe (8 m)
- [Megan and Cueball.] Folks
- The Observable Universe, from Top to Bottom ~On a log scale~
- Sizes are not to scale, but heights above the Earth's surface are accurate on a log scale (that is, each step up is double the height.)
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