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Back to Work...

This should be short, because I still need to take a bath and read through "Tears Seven Times Salt" (for the reprint in The Century's Best Horror) before gorging on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, thus clearing the way for bed.

Despite the fact that we're only about two-thirds unpacked, work caught up with me today. It was a Telephone Day. I hate Telephone Days. Sometimes they seem to wear me out a lot more than Writing Days. Today I had multiple conversations with my agent in NYC and my editor at Penguin, plus a long conversation with an editor at Marvel. Those who have been wanting to see me return to comics are probably going to get their wish quite soon. I'll say more when I can. I have another meeting with Marvel next Tuesday. Anyway, it seemed as though every time I started unpacking something, the phone would ring again. I hate the way cell phones heat up during long phone calls. I'm sitting here trying to concentrate on what Merrilee (my agent) is saying to me about, oh, say return rates on a given novel, and all I can think about is those stories I've heard about cell phones overheating from faulty batteries and decapitating small children and old ladies. I wondered what Merrilee would hear on the other end.

"Caitlín? Are you still there?"

"Um...yeah. I was just thinking out how much force an exploding cell phone would have to generate to take off my head."

"Did you hear anything I said."

But I did manage to get the two living-room display cases unpacked today. I played ABBA almost the whole time. I don't listen to ABBA often, but sometimes it works when nothing else will. And there's something very...well...symmetrical about sitting on the floor in nothing but my underwear and leg warmers, singing along to Gimme, Gimme, Gimme while rooting stray styrofoam peanuts out of the orbital sockets of a Maiasaura peeblesorum skull. It's the sort of shit one doesn't appreciate until after the moment has passed, and I think, Damn, I wish I could think of stuff like that when I'm writing.

Whoa. Time's up. Back to work...

Comments

( 4 comments — Have your say! )
setsuled
Dec. 1st, 2004 02:23 am (UTC)
and all I can think about is those stories I've heard about cell phones overheating from faulty batteries and decapitating small children and old ladies.

Wow. Another reason for me to hate phones. So this is how the scanners are doing things now? They've gone high-tech . . .

brokensymmetry
Dec. 1st, 2004 02:56 am (UTC)
I was just thinking out how much force an exploding cell phone would have to generate to take off my head.

According to one web page the tensile strength of human muscle tissue is about 77 pounds per square inch. I couldn't find any data on Nebari tissue (which should be stronger), but that will do as a rough estimate, also assuming all the stuff in your neck averages out.

I'll also assume your neck is about 16 inches in circumference, giving it a cross-sectional area of 20.3 square inches, so a total tensile strength of about 1500 pounds (or in more sensible units 675 newtons). That seems too high, I find it unlikely a neck could support three quarters of a ton, but let's go with that.

According to this a NiCd battery stores 158,400 joules per kilogram, as a random guess say that a cell phone battery is about a quarter of a kilogram, so 39,600 joules.

Say that all this energy is transfered to kinetic energy of your head. If the mass of your head is 5 kilograms, then it will pick up a momentum of 629 kg-m/s.

If the explosion takes place over a tenth of a second, then Δp/Δt = 6290 kg-m/s^2, which by Newton's second law is the force.

Thus, a cell phone battery has about 10 times the required energy to separate your head from your body. Although in reality not all of that energy would be transfered to your head; indeed if the explosion is uniform only a fraction would be. It's also unlikely that all the energy would be discharged at once, and much would be dissipated tearing the phone apart before it reached you. So this probably doesn't really prove anything, but it made for an interesting diversion from the homework I should be doing.
the_numinous_1
Dec. 1st, 2004 03:00 am (UTC)
Leg warmers - ABBA - skulls. There's a certain serendipitous synchronicity to your life that completely astonishes and bamboozles me.
peterburd
Dec. 1st, 2004 05:33 am (UTC)
" ... singing along to Gimme, Gimme, Gimme while rooting stray styrofoam peanuts out of the orbital sockets of a Maiasaura peeblesorum skull."

Alright, that made me giggle.

Peter
( 4 comments — Have your say! )