Friday, September 25, 2015

A Wreath of Stars

Subject WK's dependence on juggling was fueled by the grandiose inflation of self-concept induced during sessions.

The subject's fantasies were evidently reinforced by exposure at a susceptible age to novels which present juggling as not only a social accomplishment, but also useful training for world dictatorship as Lord Coronal, making one adept in dividing attention between diverse constituencies and power bases, fobbing off each one for long enough to deal with the next one.

Quite how exposure to a 1980 novel occurred in turn-of-the-20th-century Germany is an open question but temporal backflow is a well-documented phenomenon. Considering the alternative circus skills that the subject could have adopted in preparation for the pinnacle of power, such as fire-breathing, or sword-swallowing, we reckon that everyone got off lightly.
With the help of the Riddled Dream Machine we were able to inflict WK with the nightmare that convinced him to abandon his ill-considered career as a juggler and to turn his interest to designing rockets & Zeppelins & planetary systems, and mis-spelling his name.

A Kemplerer rosette. How very odd.
Take three or more equal masses. Set them at the points of an equilateral polygon and give them equal angular velocities about their center of mass.
Then the figure has stable equilibrium. The orbits of the masses may be circular or elliptical. Another mass may occupy the center of mass of the figure, or the center of mass may be empty. It doesn't matter. The figure is stable, like a pair of Trojan points.
The difficulty is that there are several easy ways in which a mass can be captured by a Trojan point. (Consider the Trojan asteroids in Jupiter's orbit.) But there is no easy way for five masses to fall accidentally into a Kemplerer rosette.
"That's wild," Louis murmured. "Unique. Nobody's ever found a Kemplerer rosette ..." He let it trail off.

In fact Klemperer did not rate for the fully symmetric condition, which he flicked off as a trivial "well-known case". He was more interested in the hybrid situation of alternating large planet / small planet configurations.

Bonus skull-juggery from C. Hiassen (1995):

UPDATE: Oregon Beer Snob is going on about "creepy skull things". Those are worship words! Riddled worship! You will not speak them!

Wolfgang Klemperer deserves to be better known. Among his non-star-juggling accomplishments, he worked on the design of aerial aircraft-carriers: the USS Macon and USS Akron, the largest helium airships ever flown.

[Actual airships not as depicted]
Both zeppelins crashed within two years... a survival rate of -50% because the Navy also lost a blimp that was searching for the Akron. Progress in airborne aircraft carriers never really recovered from these two setbacks.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Skull jiggery-pokery, shirley?

rhwombat said...

...the origin of the term flying trapeze was not what I thought.