OPEN THREAD 20200103

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 58 – CERIUM.

9 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200103

  1. Cerium is a lanthanide rare earth — and, thus, you get the usual stuff — mischmetal, common though hard to extract, one-two, snicker-snack, galumphing….

    Special things about cerium include: cerium is the most common of the rare earths (just about as common as copper), and the second to be isolated (1803, after yttrium 1794) [This is partially because cerium oxide doesn’t dissolve in nitric acid, while most of the other rare earths’ oxides do.]. Cerium almost-dioxide (ceria) is used as a polishing compound.

    As you can see in this chart — — the price of cerium is likely to be between $3000 and $4000 per tonne……but black swans have been seen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, for tonight’s musical interlude……I’ll tell you up front that it’s Rossini’s William Tell Overture. But I’m not even going to talk about the Lone Ranger part. Instead, I’d like to mention three parts that are probably just as well known, but not known to be in this work. Those parts are the “Prelude”, which opens the piece; “Storm”, where the good part kicks in around 4:12; and “Ranz des vaches”, about 6:12.

    This work is the overture for Rossini’s last opera (he wrote 39). Overtures are important works in operas — they introduce the orchestra, they lull the audience into the proper receptive mindset (and let people with insufferable coughs or screaming babies be ejected), they cover the noises made by cast and run crew in setting up the opening…..and they provide short samples of some of the music that will accompany the ensuing action. As part of the latter, they must quickly portray the mood and movement of that forthcoming scene, without merely recapitulating it.

    This meant that excerpts from these overtures are ideal musical accompaniment to fast-paced, short, chaotic productions. Plus, all the composers are long dead and there are no music royalties. Naturally, these overtures became staples in the production of cartoons.

    So, yes — you’ve heard the Prelude, Storm, and Ranz des vaches sections before…..over and over and over again…..but you probably never mentally connected them to each other or to that other bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so much wanted to translate “Ranz des vaches” to “cattle ranch”, but (a) it’s an idiom, and (b) where “des vaches” is clearly “of cows”, “ranz” seems to be one of those Swiss things that is untranslatable in any one of their four official languages.

      Incidentally, another overture that gets raided frequently is:


    1. I did not know that. I had figured that the temperature alone would be sufficient (having actually called the customer support people for Thermador to find out how hot it actually was).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One would think so, but apparently it does help. I’d read it somewhere, finally found it on wikipedia in the article on self-cleaning ovens.

        Other compounds used too. This is probably a case where any rare earth (as opposed to rare earth element) would do, but cerium oxide’s going to be the commonest one.


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