6 thoughts on “Short fiction publication day

  1. If you put a vertical drinking straw into a sink full of water, with the top just above the surface, the water does not form a fountain at the top of the straw – even though there is a measurable hydrostatic pressure at the bottom of the straw. Similarly, the entire atmosphere of the Earth does not stream off into space, even though there is a significant atmospheric pressure at sea level.

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      1. Not for a moment did I think that establishing a 150 km long open-ended tube would cause some kind of up-draught. I can recall some of the thoughts that flitted through my mind as I tried, in vain, to find an explanation: the Coriolis effect? Convection? I then decided, wrongly, that the ill-defined Beanstalk acted as a suction pump – a term used in the story. But that was not, it seems, what you meant.

        Also, if the atmosphere was, somehow, sucked up the tube at the rate of, say, one tonne per second, it would take millions of years to produce an appreciable reduction in the atmospheric pressure at sea level.

        Also, it is not clear to me how the Sun could be seen through the long telescope – the lower part of the tube would presumably be filled with air contaminated with schmutz.

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  2. Sorry I can’t help you, Clive. It’s a piece of fiction, something meant to amuse or entertain, and perhaps make you think (well, I guess I did succeed on that last point). If it were scientifically accurate, I would have written a paper for the other parts of the magazine.

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