Friday, 8 April 2011

What is the Gaussian Count?

All the tweaking Frank has been doing is finally paying off. One of the big things that Frank had noticed was that there were unexplained power drains when certain folks went out but not others, and he hadn't been able to figure out why there was a difference. The drain has gotten so bad a couple times that the voltage on the capacitors dropped below some magic threshold, and the Door slammed shut. And let me tell you, that's not a pretty sight, especially if someone were to be in transit. Fortunately we haven't had any accidents, and all I can say is that we've been extremely lucky.

Well, he's now made the connection. It turns out that when some types of materials pass through the Door, they cause significant changes to the power that the Door draws, and that's what has been causing the capacitors to drain. To find out just which things are the root of the problem, Frank's been opening the Door just a little bit and tossing various things through whilst monitoring the current drawn. The key seems to be metals, especially ferrous substances. Because the Door is created with magnetic fields, it makes sense that anyone carrying any kind of magnet with them would drain the power more, Frank says. (Obvious to him!)

Of couse as soon as he figured it out, Frank had to put a name to it: Gaussian Count. (Named after Gauss who did a bunch of work with magnetics.) That's supposed to be some kind of indicator of how much the item will drain the power. The higher the Gaussian Count, the harder it is to keep the Door open long enough to be of any use. His task now is to test a bunch of different sizes and shapes of different things to see how to predict the drain. He says that if he knows how much drain to expect, we will be able to keep the Door open long enough that no one has to worry about being left half on this side and half on the other side.

I'll see if I can get him to give me a list of the verboten items, and we'll have Tom check over any equipment brought through to avoid accidents.

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