Shut it Down: 00:00:03 … 00:00:02 … 00:00:01 … 00:00:00

May 25, 2010

Man, my favorite show 24 is over. I feel sad now, especially since the ending was sad too. 😦

I am bittersweet on my feelings over the show ending. On one hand, I love the show, one of the most entertaining one I have ever watched. On the other hand, considering this season’s earlier weak storytelling, it seems like it is ready to jump the shark. After all, how many terrorist plot can the writers manage to come up with until the whole thing becomes tiring? Honestly, considering the real time aspect and the difficulty in writing this show, I am surprised that the show lasted this long, and I am glad it did.

Anyways, I really liked the finale episode. It is quiet reminiscent of season 4 finale. While there were very few action scenes, there were many tense scenes and mements which stood out. Firstly, Gregory Itzin as Charles Logan was awesome. I think he earned his place as 24’s best villain. The actor’s performance of his cowardiance, ambition, megalomania, and manipulative personality was outstanding. Everytime Logan opened his mouth to president Taylor, it felt like the devil was channeling him. I say that he must get an Emmy for this role.

Other great moments include Chloe’s confrontation with Jack and the way she had to decide whether to shoot him or not. That was the best moment in the whole episode, and even though I knew Jack wouldn’t die, it was incredibly tense, each one shouting at each other, Jack yelling that there was no other way while Chloe expressing that she couldn’t do it. Meanwhile, time was running out as CTU came to crack down on Jack. Other standout moments include Jack biting off Pillar’s ears, president Taylor’s conflict with herself and Dalia Hassan and her eventual redemption, Charles Logan’s suicide when he learned there was no escape, Jack’s last stand when he was about to get killed, and finally, the bittersweet goodbye between Jack and Chloe. Chloe finally gets her thanks for helping him throughout all those years, and then that is it. Jack Bauer is on the run, and they have to disconnect.

After Chloe’s and 24’s last words: “Shut it down”, there is a cool countdown (which I did in this post’s title) which seals the finality of it all. Overall, while Jack survives, there is an air of sadness and emptiness, since Jack can’t ever go back to America, Taylor has to face the consequences of her action, Chloe, most probably, won’t be able to see one of her best friend ever again, and finally, I won’t be able to catch another new episode of 24 ever again.

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The Sky That Touches the Star

May 24, 2010

Literally.

A newly recently discovered gassy planet that is being eaten by its star. It is so close to it that it orbits in around 1.1 days. In around 10 million years, all the fluff from the huge atmosphere will be gone, and all that will remain is its central rocky core, which will probably orbit around as a giant glob of lava, being so close and all. (the mental image of the giant lava glob orbiting the star is quiet tantalizing, isn’t it?)

(Concept art of what the planet looks like)

I wonder, how close is the planet to the star? Well, that’s why the use of handy dandy physics is in order. So, let’s see, day 1.1 is 95040 seconds, and according to badastronomy (hat tip to the blog also), it orbits with a velocity of 220 km/sec, assuming its orbit is circular, and plugging it all in Kepler’s third law, and I get:

3 million km!

Holy cramolly! It is so close that I imagine that the star would fill pretty much a huge portion, if not, all of the sky. Aside from the fact that my eyeballs would be melting from the brightness (metaphorically, of course), what a view it would be! Especially from a moon of the planet, if any remains that is. Now, I know that 3 million sounds like a lot, but in the cosmic scales, the planet is practically touching the star. You would be amazed at how far away planets in our own Solar System are from the star and from each other. Consider Mercury, whose orbiting distance is 88 days. How much farther is Mercury from the sun? Well, using Kepler’s third law:

R=T^{2/3}

Plugging T for time, 88, since Mercury’s period is 88 times larger, I see that it is around 20 times farther. Which makes sense, since 3 million times 20 is 60 millions and Mercury’s semi major axis*  is around 58 million km, I guess it is a reasonable approximation. Although I would like to remind you that Mercury’s somewhat wild elliptical orbit makes the fact that it matches with the semi-major axis somewhat coincidental.

Awesome planet, by the way, along with that awesome illustration above. Almost makes me want to be there and smell the sweet scent of searing, poisonous gas of hydrogen and heavy metal. Don’t you?

By the way, if any of you want to do the calculation I did above regarding the distance too, you can use the following equation, another more precise form of Kepler’s third law:

T*v_{orb}=2*\pi*R

T being the period, v being the orbital velocity, and r being the radius of the orbit. So, pretty much solve for r, and you will find the distance of the planet from the star. Assuming, of course, that the orbit is nearly circular, instead of yucky oval like Mercury’s. Oh, and one final advice. Remember when calculating to beware of units. Covert km/second to meters/second by multiplying by a thousand when necessary, and if you want to know the result in km instead of meters, just divide by a thousand. Pretty easy, right? (I hope so, I tend to horribly underestimate what is difficult for everyone else since I find this stuff second nature)

*which is basically the farthest distance from the center in an ellipse, not necessarily the star, the star is at a focus, and I decided to use that type of distance because Mercury’s distance varies quiet wildly in its orbit