Tuesday, June 09, 2015

If you go to the cricket wear your helmet

Oops. Started typing, thought I'd better add a spoiler warning. Now how many words do I need to add at the top I wonder ...

Just seen the end of the England vs New Zealand cricket. Great day for it, the game was a day night game which ... has finished in sunshine.

Yep ! The sun occasionally shines in GB ! Perhaps not on Thursday, that's when I toddle off to Lords to watch the IST20 games.

It's been a good day's watching of the cricket. Lots of incident, lots going on, England got themselves into a very strong position quite quickly after an early setback. And ... highest score ever posted by England, first time 400 has been scored in a one day over here.

Add to that, a very successful return to England colours for legspinner Adil Rashid. Not only a match winning performance with the ball, he crafted out a wonderful supporting innings with the bat too. Hurrah for sticking it to the detractors and showing us what he could do. He was there all through the West Indies tour as well but didn't play, mostly due to our current Test captain and the as-then coach being muppets.

Yep. 408 scored today with a "BOOM !" from me pretty much every time our boys hit it into the crowd and a "Good Shot Sir !" for most of the fours. Great game for the England boys, New Zealand played pretty well too actually but fell way short with the game ending in a bit of a rush with lots of wickets.

It's distracted me away from :
That's my Diamondback Explorer looking at the galactic core from maybe 25,000 light years out. The starfield is definitely bigger as I've got 3000ly closer to it. That's only 1/9th of the distance. And one thing I'm impressed with in the game is that the starfield gets more prominent as you go away from a star. The brightness of the star suppresses the starfield.

I've been promised sights like the neutron star fields and the black holes. You know what a black hole is right ? Get too close and nothing escapes, not even light, because the gravitational attraction is so much that it pulls everything in.

A neutron star is different. It's formed from the remnant of a star that's gone through the most violent of explosions, a supernova. What's left is maybe 2 times the mass of our sun, in a space only 12-13km across. Here's the wiki info about them.

The basic building blocks of everything (to the atomic level ! it gets weird beyond that) are protons, electrons and neutrons. (Deletes long boring spiel about basic atomic chemisty, you ain't interested in that). Neutrons are mostly inert particles and in a neutron star, there's a massive number of them that collapse in on themselves to become the smallest thing they can become without becoming a black hole.

So you have something massing twice the mass of our sun, in that ball 12-13km across. In comparison, our sun is almost 1.4 million km in diameter. You're getting the idea that a neutron star might be something very dangerous to get close to. Not just that, you might not see them due to them being so smal, unless they are gamma or x-ray pulsars which are also, horrendously unhealthy if you're in the neighbourhood.

The way the game is set up, it has a procedurally generated (translation - guessed at but consistent for everyone) map of our galaxy. It's based on what we know, up to a point. There's only so much our astronomers can see. There's also made up clusters for areas like the starting cluster from the original game. There's a ring of these neutron stars modelled in the game, not just are they dangerous but if you go too far in, you run out of fuel and can't get out. You can only refuel from certain types of star, definitely not from a neutron star.

And then there's the supermassive black hole in the middle of the galaxy.

The game implements black hole lensing effects (where the light beams bend around the black hole) and I'm looking forward to seeing how those appear. Not for a while though, I still have 24000 light years to travel in my little ship.

It has a name by the way : Searching For The Larks

There's a meaning behind that name, I'm curious to see if anyone will guess it ... I may have to get the new Imperial Courier ship :
The Diamondback is small and highly useful but it isn't what you could call "Pretty". Bit too angular. And I know a few small, very gorgeous people who I'd like to name a ship after.

But there's me disappearing into a game world instead of doing stuff in the real world. Perhaps a few busy days ahead :

Wednesday - off to Cheltenham to get a niggle on the car looked at. It's asking for maintenance to be done, which should have been done at the service (someone's missed an electronic tickbox). I'll also look around Cheltenham for Shinies because ... why not ! Shinies are good.
And then it's back here to watch San Andreas which could be ... bad and pretty amusing.
I also need more snacks for :
Thursday - Lords for the cricket ! After flirting with looking at the train, I'm going to take the car. It means more time travelling but I should be able to watch more of the games without being limited by offpeak travel times. It's almost £70 difference between starting at 8am and starting at 9am. That's daylight robbery.

Saturday and Sunday - Le Mans 24 hours. Looking forward to this, there's always a story that develops throughout the race. Sometimes cars get totally rebuilt and carry on to the end. I haven't looked at the entry list yet but I hope there will be a few Brit cars to cheer on.

And more cricket on the telly too.

Ok, have rambled on enough for tonight (including way too much science than I can justify !). Last pic ?
Hope the racing at the weekend is safe but fast and that no one gets hurt this year.

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