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A Thread for Random Musings


Old Man
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So as part of my "postblogging technology" hobby, I do little appendices where I try to do a deep dive into current problems in technology in the period I'm looking at. Since I'm doing the spring of 1950 right now, a very pressing issue is Edward Teller running around telling everyone that he knows how to make a hydrogen bomb, when, in fact, he doesn't. 

 

So this raises an interesting question about all the mistaken ideas there might have been about hydrogen bombs and related subjects (including how stars work!) specifically in the spring of 1950. To make a long story short, I'm no Edward Whittaker, and anyway much of this stuff didn't get published anyway, but I did learn some things. 

 

Did you know that einsteinium was first discovered in the fallout from Ivy Mike? Did you know that this success led to a series of nuclear tests in the 1950s that aimed at making new transuranic elements, including using bombs make of mixed plutonium, neptunium, americium and thorium? (The higher transuranic elements make disappointing booms in fission bombs --or, at least they did in the 1960s.) Did you know that they detected einsteinium in a star in 2008, for which astrophysics apparently has no explanation whatsoever. Although aliens might be dumping nuclear waste, the star in question is a long way from anywhere you might want a nuclear reactor; a hidden reservoir of slowly decaying "island of stability"  elements is both gonzo and suggestive that there might be a lot more of these elements than theory currently predicts.

 

Anyway, I ask if you knew any of that, because I sure as heck didn't! 

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4 hours ago, Lawnmower Boy said:

... Did you know that they detected einsteinium in a star in 2008, for which astrophysics apparently has no explanation whatsoever. ...

 

As someone who is in that racket, I do not for an instant believe the claim of detection of Es.  Even in Przybylski's Star.  Ap stars be damned.  The magnetic fields are so strong, as well as being variable with location on the star and in time, and the line splittings induced by those fields are so uncontrolled, that no one ought to imagine that as being real.

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8 minutes ago, Cancer said:

 

As someone who is in that racket, I do not for an instant believe the claim of detection of Es.  Even in Przybylski's Star.  Ap stars be damned.  The magnetic fields are so strong, as well as being variable with location on the star and in time, and the line splittings induced by those fields are so uncontrolled, that no one ought to imagine that as being real.

Yeah, well, the most  obvious explanation is that it is an observational artefact, but I do so want it to be true . . . 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Using your laptop while wearing your laser safety glasses (which are kind of the ultimate in blue-blocking, a factor of ten million or more attenuation at wavelengths less than 450 nm) is interesting but generally workable.

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