Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Tyranny of Large Numbers, Emersen’s Shorts, and Kindle Unlimited

Howdy everyone, blog’s been a bit quiet. Lots of things going on these day, beyond, of course, the Inauguration, and the dripping hot mess that will be travel in/around DC for the next few days.

I'm worried about my youngest, Brunette Sonya, I think she's wants to be a gangster.

I'll full on gangster, daddy!
A small bit of good news, I am getting my books turned into audio books. I'm hoping Junior Inquisitor will be ready to go by this weekend.

Shout out to my twitter buddy Emersen Lee and her collection of short stories A Girl Named Watson: And Other Short Works. You can find it here on Amazon - A Girl Named Watson

A Girl Named Watson
In yet another reason to be careful with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, Adam Dreece ran into a situation where he was believed to be a scammer by Amazon, and for at least a short while, had his books removed. Full story here - http://adamdreece.com/2017/01/17/video-amazon-incident/

Everything is more or less back to normal, but let’s remember Adam is rather successful, to the point that being an author is his job, and that is not true of most folks in the Indie world. Adam called out for help and lots of people came out of the woodwork to help support him. I’d like to believe that Amazon did their investigation and realizing Adam was not the problem reinstated his account. The cynical side of me thinks that without many, many people pinging Jeff Bezos and Amazon, in support of Adam, Adam’s account would still be under review.

Main Rant

I have found mathematics to be a real bitch, not only to master, but to comprehend what it means in the real world and of course in my stories. The concept I’m talking about is what I call ‘The Tyranny of Large Numbers’. Anyone who has gone to college and monitored their Grade Point Average (GPA) has noticed that once you hit about one hundred credit hours it becomes very difficult to move your GPA. It has become fixed. However you wish to describe it, your GPA is sticky, it's not likely to move without a lot of effort, or lack thereof, for a long duration.

First caveat I’m making a point, not working on a mathematical proof. Things are rounded and simplified.

When it comes to The Tyranny of Large Numbers, space travel and space battles are difficult to accurately describe if you have people in them.

Example – Star Wars. Millennium Falcon is escaping from the Death Star and is being pursued by two Tie-fighters. Han and Luke drop into gun turrets and using eyeball targeting blow the bad guys out of the sky. Cool right? Only problem they are traveling in space in really fast ships. Leaving off the physics, (no Virginia you cannot bank in space, that takes gravity) and just dealing with the numbers we run into this problem;

Human reaction time is about 215 Milliseconds

Light travels 186 miles in a Millisecond

Even if the Millennium Falcon was barely escaping at 1/100 the speed of light by the time Han and Luke could even mentally process there were Tie-fighters coming at them, let alone aim and shoot, the Tie-fighter would have travelled about 400 miles, (215 * 1.8 = 387) about the distance from Washington DC to Toronto. Humans are too slow, defense turrets would have to be automated, not as cool as depicting WWII air combat in space, but far more realistic.

The same would be true if you were attacking another ship, they are travelling so fast that the human mind could not accurately target the enemy, unless they both happened to be travelling close together (say less than 50 miles for visual acuity) and a close to the same speed, otherwise they would just blow past each other.

Next issue, troops of the Galactic Empire of Evilness invade the home planet of the Utopian Bunnies of Purity. A million strong the Evil Soldiers of Evilness land at the starport and begin their invasion.  Bunny resistance is strong but the Evil is even stronger, what will happen next?

Realistically either the Bunnies need a new planet because the invasion ship is the size of the Great Pyramid and probably wiped out an area the size of city size in landing (rockets burn) or if it slammed into the dirt, asteroid like, there are earthquakes and a nuclear winter from all the dust thrown into the atmosphere from the impact. Either way it’s not looking good for the Bunnies.

So a person is roughly two meters by one meter by one meter. 2 cubic meters. A million of them means your ship, if you stack everyone like cordwood, will have to be at least 2 million cubic meters. A bit smaller than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Now, to off load them Soldiers of Evil.

Let’s say that to get off of the ship a soldier has to travel 100 meters and there are 10 exits. Even if they all sprint the whole way and they are nearly as fast as Usain Bolt, you will get 600 Soldiers of Evil off every minute. In a bit more than eleven and 1/2 days you will have everyone off loaded.

10 seconds to get to the exit so 6 will make it per minute * 10 exits is 60 per minute

(60 per minute * 60 minutes per hour * 24 hours in a day) = 86,400 per day

1,000,000/ 86,400 = 11.57 days

You can see why this might be a problem for the invaders. When dealing with large numbers things stack up, on D-day the Allies did not land on one beach, but had five different major landing sites, using close to 5,000 landing craft, plus airborne insertions and glider landings. And that was to get about 150,000 troops into France.

However, the same issue holds true for any activity. Mal Reynolds of the starship Almost Serenity is smuggling a million beagles onto a planet some of which have eaten rubies. The local authorities decide to x-ray all of the beagles to find contraband. You get the point on the time, but remember what else do beagles do, besides bark? Dogs poop up to five times a day, let’s say a beagle only poops ten ounces, that works out to be

5 times * 10 ounces * 1,000,000 beagles / 3200 ounces in a ton = 1562 tons per day of beagle poop.

The Tyranny of Large Numbers also plays hell with economics. Rivendell has grown until there are almost half a billion elves. But not all elves are hale and hearty. Some have grown old or are sick and cannot work. The Elf Queen has decreed that every sick or elderly Elf will receive 1000 marks per month, which is less than even the lowest paid elf, but enough to live on. Only eleven percent of the elves receive this aid.

Sounds good right?

Let’s run the numbers; 400 million elves 11 percent receiving The Queen’s stipend of 1,000 marks a month.

400,000,000 * 11 percent = 44 Million * 1,000 marks * 12 months = 528,000,000,000

528 Billion marks a year. I have no idea how big the Elvish economy is, but 528B marks is not going to be a rounding error.

 So keep in mind the issues with large numbers, if a space ship is travelling a long distance a small error can have them way off course. If a smuggler is dropping off a million meals to a starving planet that will feed 100,000 people for ten days. On day eleven there is going to be a problem, make sure it’s in the story. 20,000 soldiers will drain an Olympic size pool of water every day. There are 2.3 million parts in a 787, no one person is going to check them all, a team of 50 to 100 will do so. I would guess starships would have parts in the millions, automation would have to be used to keep track of supplies and replenishment.

Sorry for the ranty post, I’ve been reading and seeing online that some do not understand numbers or refuse to believe that numbers can control them. If only it were so.

Speaking on things that control you, or at least try, how about them witches?
Click on the links and enjoy.
Get it free here - Goth Witch of Philly

Junior Inquisitor Book One  

Soulless Monk Book Two  
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

The Witch’s Lair Book Three 
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
The Vampire of Rome Book Four


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