funranium: (Default)

Cross-posted from Funranium Labs.

If you are in Las Vegas, go to the Atomic Testing Museum. As much fun as gambling and debauchery are, make the time to head out to UNLV and visit. Getting a chance to visit the Trinity Test Site or one of the rare tours of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) is once in a lifetime event for most non-weapons complex employees, but this museum is there every day. Give yourself at least three hours if you really want to take the time to read everything they've put on display. And if any of the NTS retirees who are now docents are there, sit down and listen. It is as simple as that. Make the time as if you were listening to a WWII vet talking about landing in Normandy or Okinawa.


Cut for the sake of your Friends Page )


funranium: (Science Diet)
To explain what the hell I was talking about the other day with the my creation of the word "nuclearche", let's fill you in on the whole story.

[ profile] robyngoodfelloe found this article regarding the oddity of the Dry Valleys near McMurdo in Antarctica.  I would like to bring your attention about two thirds of the way down to the picture of the Most Important Seal Carcass EVAR.  "Why is this most important seal carcass", I hear you ask, "Do you have the brain worms again?"  No, I don't but let me explain myself.  It is so for two reasons:

1) It is a good example of the danger of doing science and not questioning your assumptions. 
2) It is used as a basis of support for Young Earth Creationism (YEC) that is less shaky than the idiocy of carbon dating dinosaur bones and I want you to be able to call bullshit on it.

DISCLAIMER: To people I have given this rant to in person, I have squared away my numbers.  I got several of them wrong in off the cuff conversation due to the rounding and order of magnitude errors of the brain.  As a physicist, getting it within plus or minus an order of magnitude is normally good enough.  Not this time.

First, a quick review of the basis of carbon dating for those that don't know it... 

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Carbon Dating )
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Nuclearche: 1. (n) the onset of nuclear activity by a civilization.

I was talking to [info]benchilada about why carbon dating will not work for future archaeologists trying to date relics of our present due to the massive pollution of the planetary carbon cycle with a lot of Very Old Carbon, skewing the baseline carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratios.

However, I can envision the archaeologists of the future instead doing dating based upon the decay of nuclear weapons testing fission products.  To them, 1945 will be Year Zero by which to scale time.  The Nuclear Age is not just fancy words, we have created a
distinct geologic era.
funranium: (SCIENCE!)

Synthetic Gasoline

In the long, long ago I bought a game called "Cyberpunk" by R. Talsorian Games that was published in 1988.  Towards the back of the book, there is a timeline of future events.  I like to break this book out every now and then to see how the world is progressing.

My father, a connoisseur of hard science fiction, has theory that he shared with me.  I call it the Rule of x5.  Take a given technological advancement in a sci-fi book and note when it was supposed to have happened.  Then note the publishing date of the book.  Multiply the delta in time by five and that is the likely amount of time until the advancement actually happens, relative to publishing date.

According to the timeline, a synthetic gasoline breakthrough was supposed to be achieved in 1991.  The Rule of x5 says we should have had synthetic gasoline by 2003.  So, we're running a little late.  I never said it was an exact rule.


funranium: (Didn't Hurt)
Several friends and I have been experimenting with the concept of the Luther Burger for a month or so now.  I have decided to make my contribution to the body of knowledge accumulated thus far.

This is dedicated to Mr. Benjamin sTone who, because our Internet Monkey King loves us, does so many things So We Don't Have To.  You'll always be my Fly Girl, [ profile] benchilada .

Disclaimer: I had to perform all my own photography and stunts without the assistance of a Lovely Wife Sara (LWS).  I do not have a LWS.  In fact I waited until [ profile] robyngoodfelloe  was out of the house so she wouldn't stop me.  As it is, the pictorial evidence of what I've done is limiting my smooch availability.  Ah, what I do for science.

Now, you might be asking yourself "Why is there a Weinerschnitzel chili cheese dog sitting next to a chocolate glazed custard filled bar?"

For The Faint Of Stomach )

funranium: (SCIENCE!)
The moral of this story is NEVER throw anything of a scientific nature away.  Sometimes that can be problematic, but sometimes it leads to awesome.
funranium: (Default)
Holy crap, where the hell did that paper I wrote for Physics of Stars in 1994 go? Down to the estimated life span of the supermassive star, it looks like I nailed it in this news story.

That's three for three for my finest college thinking whilst urinating.

1) Magnetic pole flips are due to chaotic modes in the differential rotation of Earth's liquid Fe-Ni core. (think of Jupiter's bands to help imagine this)

2) Yes, volcanoes do actually re-erupt material from oceanic plates subducting beneath them because water that has "soaked" into the plate seeps out and changes the physical and chemical processes happening at the 30-300km depth. This fluid sucks up rare earths and metals, making the isotopic signature of the erupting lavas look like the sediments of the subducting plate even though the chemical concentrations may look very screwy.

3) Early stars that are 98%+ H-1 with traces of H-2, He-3, and He-4 are possible all the way up to 200 solar masses. The life span of a 200 solar mass star is somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 years. Beyond that mass, the growing spin of the condensing stellar cloud would fling the nascent superstar apart into a binary.
funranium: (Lazy)
Then there is this rampant asshattery:;_ylt=AvcgCb.XVXcRCJlT.aG57OoPLBIF

Science and technology won't stop but it can be made to go very, very slowly. 

Once again, I find the most vehement invective filled slur I can muster to be "Luddite".

December 2012

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