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From: m.driussi@genie.geis.com
Subject: (urth) Time & Map Tidbits
Date: Sun,  1 Feb 98 23:46:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #5381601 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#


Okay, your "Mal & Pal" LOL!

Re: the polychrome sand, I know what you mean, but no, I don't know
where it is at the moment.

Re: the state of the universe expanding.  Doesn't "official" opinion
on this flip-flop a bit?  What was that recent thing in the
news--wasn't it something like "whoops, not enough mass--no
contraction--universal entropy here we come" (again, yet as if for
the first time).  Well, for the fiction of TBOTNS, of course it is
(and has to be) a motor from Big Bang to Grand Gnab; so one has to
pepper one's meditations with knowledge of this cycle, and being in a
run down little dump like Urth, it might be comforting to think that
the whole universe was poised on the edge of decline!

Anywho, here are some new fresh tidbits to play with:

"The billion aeons of its [Urth's] existence" (III, ch. 27).
--Lessee, we're currently at, what, five billion =years=, right?
Well, "aeon" isn't usually used for such a paltry period as five or
ten years . . . (then again, the "collapsing scales" I mentioned
before often have to do with Severian's personal perception: for
example, the citadel seems like a big world until he gets out into
Nessus, which seems large until he crosses the countryside, which
seems vast until he leaves the planet, etc.)

Text to the effect that: It takes 50 generations to shift a group
of colonists into the continent's version of humanity; i.e., 50 times
20 years to transform colonists into neo-autochthons (V, ch. 10).
Right.  Well this means that all the non-autochthons we see in TBOTNS
are offspring of offworlders who have come to Urth =since= the time
of Ymar.  Maybe this also helps explain the exultants, the things they
do to maintain their ways and avoid "going native"?

Mount Typhon: the saddle of jungle is thousands of cubits above Nessus
and lower reaches of Gyol (III, ch. 23).

Sugarcane Groves: after they cross the river (supposedly Gyoll, but
the PLAN[E]T ENGINEER map shows us "Cephisus") at the sandbar (II,
ch. 28) they see some sugarcane groves.  Okay, so what lattitudes can
sugarcane be grown?  Hawaii: 20 degrees N. Louisiana: 30 N. Peru: 18
S. Argentina: 23 S.

Coffee? 23 degrees to 0 degrees. (They drink coffee in Commonwealth.)
Pampas? 37 degrees to 25 degrees. (There are Pampas.)
Steppe/Prairie? 30 degrees to 53 degrees.

HOWEVER, all these numbers are for Earth and assume an Earth-level of
Insolation (Solar energy).  Lower Insolation will require a narrowing
of the bands.

There is talk that Lune at an orbit of 50,000 leagues will cause
enormous tides.

T = M/R^3

(T = Tidal Force of Luna on Earth; M = Mass; R = Radius of orbit)

T = 1/(0.6)^3
  = 1/0.216
  = 4.629 (or about four and a half times the tides we experience)

If Lune has been terraformed into a habitable world then it must have
had its local day spun up from 28 days to something between 96 and 24
hours.  The text is clear that Lune still has an orbital period of 28
days, but is there any indication in the text that Lune is rotating
rather than being tide-locked with one face to Urth?

(raster--the gas loss on Luna isn't as bad as you seem to think.
Fogg in TERRAFORMING states that, once an Earthlike atmosphere is in
place on Luna, it would naturally take longer than 10^8 years to bleed
off.  I wonder if those forests of Lune act as a natural canopy to hold
atmosphere in as well as pollute it with their waste oxygen?)


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