OPEN THREAD 20200120

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 75 – RHENIUM.

23 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200120

  1. Once again, I’m going to clear out a bunch of tabs — so I’m going to do the musical interlude first. But I’m doing something different — I’m putting out a complete live show and letting you select a piece. The show is

    And the individual songs are

    (1) 0:00 Waiting Man
    (2) 9:15 Matte Kudasai
    (3) 13:03 Sheltering Sky
    (4) 23:50 Neal & Jack & Me
    (5) 29:30 Indiscipline
    (6) 36:50 Heartbeat

    “Matte Kudasai” and “Heartbeat” are the most like normal songs; “Sheltering Sky” and “Indiscipline” are far enough out there that you know you’ve experienced King Crimson; “Waiting Man” and “Neal & Jack & Me” are stretching things. Be aware that this show is from 38 years ago.

    The four individuals playing are very influential and talented. On the left is Tony Levin on Chapman Stick, bass, and vocals. He’s also well-known as the long-time bassist for Peter Gabriel. Second position is Adrian Belew, who has played with the Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, and other places. He plays a beat-up strat that he bends, plays above the nut, or below the bridge, and otherwise abuses. He also plays a strat set-up for slide, and a Roland G-303 [ ]. Percussion is played by Bill Bruford — who has also played with Yes and Genesis, and is rated #16 in Rolling Stone’s “Greatest Drummers”. Finally, you end up with the guy in glasses who looks like he showed up to the wrong concert, Robert Fripp…..who is simultaneously the most intelligent, the most talented, and the most coldly insane person on that stage — he plays a G-303 throughout. He actually owns “King Crimson” and everyone else is a hired-hand.

    One of the things to note is that several of these instruments are chameleons — Bruford’s kit is largely electronic and can trigger arbitrary samples (especially highlighted in the first number) — and the G-303 essentially commands a Roland JX-3P synth where the neck pickup, the bridge pickup, and the synth can each run through an arbitrary number of effects. The Chapman stick can sound like a number of different guitars and bases depending on how it is played.

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  2. Rhenium is one of the rarest elements in the earth’s crust — and I won’t try to compare it with anything despite any temptation because at this level, the differences between things are well within the margin of error. It’s rare. It’s the second-last element to be discovered — after hafnium, which we did a couple of days ago. It was named after the river Rhine by dyslexics.

    It has the second highest melting point of any metal (after tungsten) and the third highest melting point of any element (after carbon and tungsten) at 5767F.

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  3. The most common use of rhenium is in metallurgy to make things like jet engine blades and combustion chambers. The second most common use is as part of a catalyst. When various catalysed reactions come online, as in 2008, the price per kilo has spiked as high as $10,600 per kilo. After continued production and when recycling kicked-in, the price returned to $2,844/kilo in July, 2018.

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  4. To give some hint as to how rare rhenium is… the Kuril islands which set off the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean, there is the island of Iturup, which is the northernmost claimed by both Japan and Russia. On this island, there is a volcano, Kudriavy, in the volcanic complex Moyoro-dake (Japanese: 茂世路岳, Russian: Медве́жий, “Medvezhya”). On this volcano, there is a fumarole that discharges 20-60kg of rhenium per year, mainly as rhenium disulfide.

    This is considered a big deal.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The majority of industrial rhenium is a by-product of refining molybdenum and copper ores. nobody in their right mind goes out to mine rhenium…..unless they’re on the slopes of a volcano on a disputed island on the back end of nowhere.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. And if they’re on the slopes of a volcano on a disputed island on the back end of nowhere…they are ipso facto not in their right minds anyway!

          It’s an orphan element, as I explain below.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. An Italian, French, and Polish man are sentenced to death by guillotine…

    The Italian is first and goes up to the executioner. The executioner drops the blade which stops an 16th of an inch from his neck. But he doesn’t flinch, so then the king says, “you’re a brave man go out and be with your people.”

    It is the French man’s turn now. The executioner drops the blade, but it stops an 8th of an inch from his neck. He doesn’t flinch, so the king also says, “go be free, you have proved to be brave.

    But when it is the Polish man’s turn, he refuses. So the king asks why, and the Polish man replies with, “I’m not getting on that thing until you fix it!”


    During the French Revolution, the commoners were busy executing the elite and bourgeoisie by beheading them.
    They dragged a lawyer up on the guillotine, but as the blade dropped toward his neck, it inexplicably stopped. That was taken as a sign from God to spare his life and he was freed.

    Then they brought a wealthy merchant up for execution, but again the blade stopped just short and he, too, was freed.

    An engineer was then dragged up to the guillotine and laid in position. He looked up at the huge blade suspended above him and said, “Oh I see the problem!”

    Incidentally, the last French use of the guillotine was in September, 1977 —

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  6. Rhenium was indeed the second-to-last element to be discovered…but it may have been the most difficult discovery. After all, hafnium was hiding in plain sight, a 5-10 percent impurity in every sample of zirconium, similarly tantalum with niobium. Analagously, rhenium could have been hiding in the element above it…but that element is technetium, which effectively doesn’t exist. (What little does exist is recently created and won’t have time form minerals or to pick up rhenium as an impurity.) And rhenium, until recently, had no known ores. Thus it is basically a “homeless” element. You can find some in ores of the adjacent columns of the periodic table, and that’s how it was found. It’s still only a by-product of the production of other elements.

    Rhenium has been called the “perfect metal” because, apparently, it doesn’t fatigue when heated and cooled repeatedly (should make a durable light bulb filament). That would make it perfect for, say, rocket engines…if it weren”t so damned heavy.

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  7. SteveInCO wrote, “….rhenium could have been hiding in the element above it….” and makes some nice observations. This is the sort of thing that makes chemistry fun.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh, and Cthulhu, you “dissed” spectroscopy yesterday (possibly just kidding–at least I hope so!), but there’s an interesting story there. Just a couple of years before people realized those dark bands in the sun’s spectra (absorption lines) or the bright lines in an element being heated up, could uniquely identify elements, a famous scientist of the day opined that we’d never be able to figure out what the sun and stars are made of, since even if we could travel there (ridiculous, to an 19th century person), we couldn”t safely retrieve a sample off of a star because it was too hot [insert AOC joke about visiting the Sun at night, here].

    Then of course spectroscopy was discovered and now we have no trouble at all determining the visible surface’s composition for ANY star we can resolve with a telescope, and can even bulk-analyze entire galaxies. It turns out the relative proportions of metals (to an astrophysicist, anything other than hydrogen and helium is a metal) are always the same–for example the ratio of carbon to oxygen is always the same; however the total percentage might be greater the younger the star is (because more stars have prereceded that star, brewed metals, and then blown up to seed later stars with more metals). Stars that formed early in the universe’s life are metal poor compared to newer stars.

    Between the Fraunhofer lines and doppler shift (which we detect by looking at the Fraunhofer lines and seeing that they’ve shifted position), we know a LOT more about the universe than we would otherwise. In fact, we probably wouldn’t know 1/20th of what we do about the universe outside of our solar system without spectroscopy

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    1. If I didn’t know it; I couldn’t mock it. You and I are in the 1% that actually know this stuff. You will note that I drew an equivalence between Swedes and eunuch catamites in the same thread — please identify the eunuch catamites in this group of Swedes:

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  9. Apropos of nothing, a Nashville folk singer/songwriter was performing in Florida and died in the middle of a song.

    It was so peaceful and calm that it took his fellow artists onstage some moments to realize that anything was out-of-the-ordinary. He didn’t fall of his stool or drop his guitar. He just stopped his song, said, “I’m sorry” into the mike, and sagged.

    We’re all going to go, and this strikes me as particularly classy. Not as classy as clasping the hands of his grandkids and reciting a prayer with his dying breath…..but possibly less traumatic to the grandkids. And, frankly, I didn’t know Mr. Olney from a hot rock a week ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read in a dead tree book that someone died in a similar fashion during the early 20th century. His last words were, “I’ve changed my mind”–as he suffered a fatal stroke.

      Talk about being literal-minded (ouch).

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Regarding Puerto Rico earthquakes — they seem to have clustered around La Parguera, on the south coast. We did a bunch of diving with Efra Figueroa there, twenty+ years ago. Hopefully everyone is ok.

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