OPEN THREAD 20191228

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 52 – TELLURIUM.

18 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20191228

  1. It would appear that the price of a kilo of Tellurium is about $150. I say, “it would appear” because there are a whole lot of papers about price trends out there written in every year but 2018 or 2019. There is not enough tellurium being traded out there for a lot of the regular markets to quote it, and to get to one kilo sized packages you end up in places like alibaba and ebay.

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  2. The city of Telluride, Colorado is named because early settlers had hoped that mines there would produce gold telluride. Sadly, not a one did, and the city had to settle for zinc, lead, copper, silver, and other non-telluride gold ores.

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  3. On the other hand, the city of Kalgoorlie, Australia, was founded on an 1893 gold discovery that was so rich that actual gold flakes and veins were readily visible. While digging for gold, the miners kept encountering pockets of a black, metallic mineral that they’d pile in refuse heaps near the mines. It was found to be a superior material for filling potholes around the town.

    In 1896, that material was found to be calaverite, a relatively uncommon gold telluride first found in Calaveras County, California, in 1861 and named for it in 1868. One might recall the location because of Mark Twain’s 1865 story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

    Discovering that many of Kalgoorlie’s potholes were filled with high-quality gold ore precipitated another gold rush, presumably doing little to improve the quality of road surfaces.

    The city of Telluride got its name in 1887, prior to the Kalgoorlie realization gold rush of 1896, but with all the other rich strikes in the area, I’m thinking they may have had more assay offices than Seattle has Starbucks…..

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  4. There is a smaller percentage of tellurium in the earth’s crust than there is in the cosmos at large. It has an affinity to form hydrides, which had opportunity to boil off into space during planetary formation. It has a low affinity for oxygen, leaving it to form denser, heavier molecules that settled toward the earth’s core. It is approximately as common as platinum.

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  5. Apparently handling pure tellurium is likely to make one reek of garlic for days afterwards.

    As this is one of those rare mistakes I haven’t actually made, I couldn’t say from my own knowledge.

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    1. One of the nice things about the reek of garlic is that it means every exhalation leaves less tellurium in your body. If you try to chelate it, most chelations lead to more toxic byproducts than the original exposure.

      I’m not sure you can get that much of it by a casual touch, but it would be a bad idea to have any sort of longer exposure and/or contact with mucous membranes.

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      1. The impression I got is that yes, it’s a hazard if you casually handle the stuff. I don’t know if that’s “for a few minutes” or just “I put my fingertip on it for a second,” though.

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  6. In 1782, the Austrian official mine inspector of Transylvanian mines, found these minerals that annoyed him.

    Just to back up a bit, Transylvania comes from the Latin and means, “on the other side of the forest” [just like Transalpine Gaul was the part of Gaul that was on the other side of the alps]. Transylvania — like the Levant, the Balkans, and Armenia — is a pleasant region that just happens to be a geographic pinch-point for various empires to have at each other. Accordingly, their history tends to be quite active and based on regional events which they cannot control. In 1782, Transylvania was the Grand Principality of Transylvania (since 1765), a Realm of the Hungarian Crown.

    So, why was there an Austrian official mine inspector of Transylvanian mines? I invite you to learn about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transylvanian_Landler — people expelled from Austria to Transylvania.

    Anyway, getting back to our mine inspector, whose name roughly translates to Franz-Joseph Miller, baron of stony realms….. He’s looking at some ore and it’s contaminated with something. A previous guy said it was antimony, but he rules out antimony and guesses bismuth sulfide. In 1783, he says it isn’t bismuth sulfide…..and isn’t antimony…..but is some unknown substance similar to antimony. By 1786, he knows the specific gravity of the substance; that it imparts a red color to sulfuric acid; and that when this solution is diluted with water, it has a black precipitate. He also reported that the substance emits a white smoke with a radish-like odor when heated [note — tellurium is a toxin]. He calls it “paradoxical gold” or “problem metal” in his papers. I’m sure he had other terms he used privately.

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    1. The primary gold telluride (AuTe2) mineral is sylvanite, which has 25%-50% silver replacement of the gold. Its color goes from steely gray to almost white. Calaverite, which is far less common, has about 3% silver replacement of gold and ranges from silvery white to a brassy yellow. Krennerite has 0-24% silver replacement, but has an orthorhombic crystal structure, as opposed to the monoclinic structure of the other two. It also appears as silver-white to brass-yellow.

      All gold tellurides may appear in a matrix of various colors and might look shiny black in a sufficiently dark matrix.

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  7. For the musical interlude, I have one with a story.

    This is a 1909 composition by Scott Joplin, after he moved to New York in 1907. He had previously composed a ragtime opera, “A Guest of Honor”, to commemorate Theodore Roosevelt hosting a 1901 White House dinner in honor of Booker T. Washington. By 1903, he’d assembled a company of 30 people for a national tour — only to have someone abscond with the funds midway through the tour. The unpaid boarding house seized property of everyone involved and the work is considered lost. In 1904, he married (again), only to have his wife perish of complications from a cold ten weeks later.

    So he moved to NYC, in search of a new beginning….a “reboot”. He would die there, on April 1st, 1917, at the age of 48. His last three months were at the Manhattan State Hospital as syphilis shut down his body, having already taken his mind.

    Tertiary neurosyphilis generally sets in 4-25 years after the initial infection. All of his works in NYC were probably when he was already doomed. By the time that Treemonisha, his other opera (though not exclusively ragtime), was published in 1915, he was already reported to be composing furiously in a race against time.

    But Euphonic Sounds, from 1909, is merely odd. It’s one of his most complex and haunting works, although it is somewhat disjointed and strange. It’s something like the musical equivalent of French Impressionist painters when they were drenched in absinthe. I suspect it’s when he began to hear the choir eternal but wasn’t far enough along to worry about what that meant…..

    Like

  8. Should have done the joke first. I had one all picked-out by noon on Friday, and writing about the musical piece utterly sloughed it from my memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK, you get a replacement joke, in honor of jumping frogs.

      Mark Twain is at a formal dinner with the Ambassador from France, who puts forth the observation that Americans are so unsophisticated that they may not be able to name all four of their grandparents. Twain responds, “yes, this is true — and the French are so sophisticated that they may not know who their father is.”

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  9. Bonus joke — from a company where I worked where the head of R&D was Swiss……

    HEAVEN is where:
    The help is English,
    The cooks are French,
    The lovers are Italian,
    And it’s all managed by the Swiss…..

    HELL is where:
    The help is French,
    The cooks are English,
    The lovers are Swiss,
    And it’s all managed by Italians…..

    Liked by 2 people

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