July 08, 2008

True Geek

Something seemed wrong.

We were at the Irish Well. The band was taking a break, but it was still loud. I wasn't sure I'd heard him right. "How many tons of steel in the station?"

He told me again.

"How long?"

I was skeptical.

"And how fast does it rotate?"

"One full rotation a day. Earth gravity. Earth day."

"That can't be right, can it?"

We looked at each other. I grabbed a napkin. He borrowed a pen from the waitress, explaining what we wanted it for. She said to let her know the answer.

I wrote down a formula. Looked at it funny. It didn't look right, and I didn't think it was just the Guinness. I closed my eyes and tried to see the page from my textbook. No luck.

The band was starting again when I tried to call my ex-boyfriend. If he was home, he'd look it up. He wasn't, but his new girlfriend wanted to know the answer too, once she could hear me over the music. She gave me the formula. I'd been close but not quite there. I promised we'd tell the ex what we found the next time we saw him.

I converted all the numbers to reasonable units and did the math. Really? I checked my work. Oops. One error here, one there. I was drinking Guinness, after all. But they cancelled each other out. The answer was still the same.

We looked at each other again and laughed. "You're not getting me on that space station."

"Half-millimeter steel hull? Huh-uh. Me neither."

Then we went back to the band and the Guinness.

And if that's not geeky enough for you, I can remember the results of the calculation, but I'm really not sure which fictional space station we were talking about.


Christopher said...

If you ever remember, please share. For the time being I'll just go around saying it was the space station in 2001.

Stephanie Zvan said...

I want to say it was a TV show, not a movie. I think they were throwing technical details into multiple scripts without making sure they made sense together. This is why a good SF show needs a "bible."

Based on the timing, Babylon 5 is the most likely option, but I won't swear to it. My friend had the resources to be watching older stuff that wasn't being broadcast at the time.

Ben Zvan said...

I wasn't there, but I've heard the story often enough to say with some confidence that it was Babylon 5.