April 21st, 2005


logical awesomeness


Let's imagine there's this guy, and he's evil. And he's being attacked by someone, and he picks her up and throws her at a wall, maybe thirty feet away, so fast that you basically can't see it. And she lands on the wall, on her feet, and pauses there for maybe five seconds or so.

This is impossible on an amazing number of levels.

First off, he's just plain throwing her too fast. He can't deliver that much kinetic energy into her body.

Second, even if he could, he's just not braced well enough. He'd go flying backwards.

Third, there's no way she can rotate fast enough to land properly. She'd be lucky to get one foot in the right orientation.

Fourth, the wall isn't damaged, and she isn't damaged.

Fifth, she doesn't rebound.

Sixth, she sticks to it.

So let's go through these point by point, and see how they're solvable.

First: He could be really, really strong, with an incredible amount of musculature. Possible? Maybe. Martial artists have done some pretty crazy stuff. I have my doubts, but let's just put this on the "possible in theory" category. (You could build a machine to do this, in theory, therefore it's physically possible, in theory.)

Second: He could be braced better than we see. He might crouch and redirect the force in a way that we're not noticing. Vaguely possible - he'd need an incredible comprehension of what's under him, and exactly where his joints are. If it's not possible, well, magic.

Third: Maybe she somehow bends, as he's throwing her, and manages to uncoil as she's hitting the wall, using the impact itself to end up in the right position. She would need to be absolutely incredible to pull this off, but, hey. It's vaguely possible.

Fourth: The only thing I can think of? She's somehow cushioning it with her limbs - exerting the absolute maximum pressure the stone can stand without it shattering. Obviously this means her limbs are going to need to be just as strong. We'll chalk this up to "badass".

Fifth: Another point in favor of the "cushioning" theory. It's the only way she could pull this off. Also, this is an inelastic collision, folks - all of that energy is being turned into sound or heat, because it's sure not going anywhere else. And it's not even all that loud.

Sixth: This is just plain impossible.

So what we have here is two people, with superhuman strength, agility, toughness, and self-awareness, and . . . also apparently able to bend the laws of physics at will. And all of that is *cool*. But more to the point, it's cool because it goes against our reflexes. The complete lack of rebound is, by far, the best bit - and we realize, mentally, that it's impossible. This should not be a fully inelastic collision. She should rebound *somewhat*.

And yet she doesn't.

Bending the laws of physics is sexy.

Another point, before I wrap this up - chaos theory. The bit with powersliding along a bridge? Impossible. Every little bump, every millisecond earlier or later when the tires happen to grip (which they will, remember they're spinning) will cause such an instant cataclysmic change in the momentum that they'd just crash instantly. It's not the kind of thing you can gradually get used to, or gradually balance - you have to have instant perfect reflexes. And clearly they do, because it works. Again, impossible. Again, badass.

I'll let someone else explain why the flying-fireball-motorcycle-sword-swing is sexy.

(no subject)

I'm modifying an existing piece of code.

It's not a piece of code I'm familiar with, and I'm making some modifications that are very major. But there's only major in certain areas - other areas work fine the way they are, and I really shouldn't touch them.

These modifications that I have to make - they're serious, and big, but mostly they can be made by just shuffling around things that already exist. A few variables, a few conditionals, a few function calls.

A whole lot of looking around to make sure I didn't just break anything.

It's like trying to do surgery on an elephant when you've never seen an elephant before, and your variable laser scalpel can be set anywhere from "vaporize individual molecule" to "bisect cubic kilometer of solid titanium".

Of course, the cool part is when you realize that you can cause a truly spectacular change in behavior by changing, oh, say, one thirty-line function.

In fact I think I can do a significant amount of the project in this single thirty-line function.

Now that's cool.

as posted on the mousekaroo forums

I've been procrastinating on this for a while. Partially I'm not quite sure how to say this, and it's also just plain a hard thing to say.

A while back (I'm thinking maybe two years, I might be misremembering) I posted on my journal that this was the worst comic ever. And I'm reading it now, and . . .

. . . well, it's really really good.

The characters are interesting. The plot's seriously intruiging. The art is flat-out beautiful (and it's not like I could do better), and, what it all comes down to is,

I'm sorry. I screwed up. Out of the 180 webcomics I read (yes, seriously) this is solidly in my top ten. And I hope that this makes up for at least a little stress and uncertainty I might have caused.

Thank you for making this, Sadcat. And I'm really looking forward to more.

(Link to comic is here, and link to my post here.)