OPEN THREAD 20191225

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

Citizen U

Day 49 – INDIUM.

19 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20191225

  1. Indium. I was able to cut small pieces of it with my fingernail, and melt it with a match.

    Needless to say this isn’t the sort of stuff you’d want for making, say, a tap and die set, so when I bought a really, really shitty one of those by mistake one time, I joked that it had been made of indium.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, and given Corney/Comey and other creative misspellings that have come to light recently, I should point out that indium (I-N-D-I-U-M) is not to be confused with iridium (I-R-I-D-I-U-M) which is absolutely NOT soft and low-melting.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. But of course talking about spectra reminded me of something.

        Sometime around the mid 1800s someone said that we would probably never be able to determine what the stars were made of. After all, we’d have to go to them (inconceivable back then, barely conceivable now) and take samples (still inconceivable due to their high temperatures).

        A mere handful of years later people studied the absorption lines in stellar spectra (including that of the sun) and we knew what the stars were made of–at least, on their visible surfaces (known as photospheres, the layer that emits the light we see). By this means, a strong set of lines was discovered in the sun’s spectrum that corresponded to no known element; it was assumed this was a new element and the element was named “Helium” after the sun. Later on the element was found in natural gas from the south-central United States, at which time we realized it was a gas, not a metal. The -ium prefix was thus inappropriate; helium “should” be named “helion” for consistency with the other noble gases, but it was too late.

        The helium in the sun is there due largely to being created in the Big Bang (in a proportion predicted by the theory) but some was created in the sun via nuclear fusion. By contrast, any helium from the big bang that was in the earth is long since gone. Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the atoms in an object. Helium, being a very light atom, has to be moving faster than anything else at the same temperature, and it’s largely beyond exape velocity–so any helium in our atmosphere will eventaully rise to the top of the atmosphere…and leave earth forever.

        So where does the helium in our planet come from? It’s all the result of alpha decay. An alpha particle is just a helium nucleus. Once emitted by a radioactive atom, it simply picks up two electrons and becomes a helium atom. Underground uranium and thorium near natural gas deposits simply ends up creating helium and dumping it there.

        Yeah, so your buoyant party balloons are filled with old radioactivity. Freaky thought.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Didn’t get anything recently, and it’s not even a remotely white Christmas. But winter started early here with significant snowfalls twice before the end of October.


  3. PSA — I don’t think I’m going to make it to the next one of these. I got zero productive sleep last night and am feeling woozy. Which is really too bad, because I planned to do a humongous digression on ancient tin mines and trade routes, including an inquiry regarding Hadrian’s wall and the economics of tin. Not to forget the political science of “tin-plated dictators.”

    I was really looking forward to it, but I’ve almost nodded off three times in the last 20 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

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