The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason

Intriguing title, no? These are the first eleven words of Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves, which set up the remaining 600 pages as an extended treatise on the future of humanity as it copes with certain annihilation. I thoroughly recommend it, as long as you can deal with hundreds of pages of orbital mechanics. In this post I will numerically explore this post-lunar age, to verify for myself if it would be as deadly as described.

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Extractor attractor

Recently the extractor fan in my bathroom has started malfunctioning, occasionally grinding and stalling. The infuriating thing is that the grinding noise isn’t perfectly periodic – it is approximately so, but there are occasionally long gaps and the short gaps vary slightly. This lack of predictability makes the noise incredibly annoying, and hard to tune out. Before getting it fixed, I decided to investigate it a bit further.

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Writing a thesis

It’s done! After 58,627 words, 233 pages, 369 references, 162 figures and 3 lonely tables I finished my PhD thesis. Weighing in at 161.8MB, it was unceremoniously uploaded and that was that. Here are a few tips and observations I made on the way, which are probably only useful to those of you battling through a long Latex document. Never fear, normal blogging service will resume shortly.

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