Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Lightsecond

Read this passage, lightly redacted from one of this year's Hugo nominees, and tell me if you think "lightsecond" is being used (correctly) as a unit of distance or (incorrectly) as a unit of time.
A docking-mouth opened, a whirlpool of matter spinning out and away, and the comet plunged into this vast funnel. For the first lightsecond, magnetic fields induced its braking, absorbing a fraction of its massive kinetic energy. Then a web of lasers met it...
See what I mean? One doesn't normally talk of, say, the first ten metres of braking; rather of the first half-second or so. And if the extruded funnel is really meant to be more than 300,000 km in size, that raises all kinds of problems about just how quickly this can be happening. Let's be charitable and assume it is a misprint for "millisecond"; "lightsecond" really makes no sense here.

(PS: two posts I made by email yesterday turned up on LJ with time-stamps eight hours into the future. I'm emailing this at about 0840 local time.)
Tags: writer: ben rosenbaum, writer: cory doctorow
Subscribe

  • My tweets

    Wed, 12:56: RT @ mrjamesob: More sparkling analysis from @ rafaelbehr, including the observation that, for a succession of Tory leaders,…

  • My tweets

    Tue, 12:08: RT @ peterjbirks: @ nwbrux Yes, started in France (presumably from England in December?), now looking to be in Netherlands. Have to…

  • My tweets

    Mon, 19:00: RT @ OliveBridget: Katherine O'Shea #TodayCB #charlesstewartparnell Mon, 19:32: Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 21 comments

  • My tweets

    Wed, 12:56: RT @ mrjamesob: More sparkling analysis from @ rafaelbehr, including the observation that, for a succession of Tory leaders,…

  • My tweets

    Tue, 12:08: RT @ peterjbirks: @ nwbrux Yes, started in France (presumably from England in December?), now looking to be in Netherlands. Have to…

  • My tweets

    Mon, 19:00: RT @ OliveBridget: Katherine O'Shea #TodayCB #charlesstewartparnell Mon, 19:32: Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake…