I didn’t want to hijack the GQ thread about ringworlds/Dyson spheres, but it reminded me of some thought on the book that have always bugged me.
In the thread, it was noted that Ringworlds are inherently unstable. They are not in orbit, so they can drift off center very easily. In the novels, Niven posited that even a large solar flare from the laser defense system could knock it noticeably off center within 20 years, and woe! things must be done NOW!
But he ignored several other causes.
I wonder what effect a No 2 GP hull smashing into the ring at a speed high enough to remove the top soil down to the scrith would have?
Or what was the effect of the solar flare that was used to shoot down the Needle?
Or from the impact of a large object that had enough energy to stretch the scrith into a mountain more than 1000 miles high? Ya think that would have had an impact (heh heh) on the stability?
But nope, those were ignored completely. That always bugged me.
As a secondary question, I wonder how many people were killed when the Needle slammed into the ring? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? That didn’t even cause a thought to the author nor the characters.