Today is the last Day of Christmas. If you’ve been following the song, your house is filled with leaping Lords, milking maids, two groups of musicians, and an awful lot of birds. But now you can usher them out, take down the lights and decorations, and put the tree out on the curb for pickup.
I’m guessing some of you did the de-decorating on December 26th and didn’t even buy your true love a partridge. On the other hand, the 2015 Christmas season apparently begins on August 31st (and includes “Black November”) so it’ll be back before you know it!
Until then, it’s time to get back to the grindstone.
The Earth orbits our star, Sol, at a distance of roughly 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) — a distance we call an Astronomical Unit (AU). Our little rock is just under 8,000 miles wide (a bit over 12,000 km) and has a surface area (including oceans) of just under 200 million sq miles (510 million sq km). Depending on how you look at it, the Earth seems very large or very small.
What if, instead of a rock spinning around its star, it was a ring encircling it? Suppose the ring spun fast enough (770 miles per second) to create “gravity” on its inner surface? And suppose the ring was one-million miles wide and had walls 1000 miles high long both rims to keep air inside? Such a ring would have a surface area equal to about three-million Earths.
And what you’d have is Larry Niven’s Ringworld!
Here in January we’re almost equally distant from the previous professional baseball season (which ended in September) and from the coming one (which begins in April). Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training in mid-February, position players report later in the month. Spring Training games begin in March.
At various points in 2014, I picked up DVD copies of two (actually four) favorite baseball movies, plus one I’d never heard of, but found in a $4.99 bin somewhere. They’ve all been siting patiently waiting for me to watch them.
I thought: New Year’s Day sounds like the perfect time to do that!