OPEN THREAD 20200209

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 95 – AMERICIUM.

42 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200209

  1. LOL.

    Americium-241 is very likely in your home.

    It’s generally kept safe under a layer of gold foil inside that big black thingamabob in your smoke detector.

    That’s an ionization chamber, within which smoke particulates pick up an electric charge (from encountering an alpha or beta particle given off by the americium). The electrically charged smoke sets off the detector.

    Am-241 has a half life of around 432 years. It decays by alpha particle to the much more stable (but not stable enough) neptunium 237, which is the namesake of the neptunium decay series (isotopes of elements heavier than lead, whose numbers have a remainder of 1 when divided by 4).

    The other “common” isotope (remember that spent nuclear reactor fuel has to be gone through to find all this stuff, about 100 grams per tonne) is Am-243, with a half life of 7,370 years.

    One of the metastates of Am-242 hangs around for 141 years, on average.

    Other than that no americium lasts for more than a year.

    Americium was discovered in 1944 by workers on the Manhattan project; they actually found curium (the next element) before they found americium. The discovery was not made public until the next year. (Why announce to the enemy that, with a war on, you’re spending resources on atomic research? They might wonder why and we don’t want them wondering why.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The amount of americium in a typical new smoke detector is 1 microcurie (37 kBq) or 0.29 microgram. This, of course, would be several times the number of milli-microcuries found in Italian mineral water — which is why you seldom find ionization smoke detectors powered by Pelligrino.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In theory, you could build ultra-compact atomic bombs from americium-242m (half-life 141 years) with a critical mass in the 3-5 kg range if a metal reflector is used. Nobody has claimed to have done so. Then, again, nobody has claimed to have actually orbited a “rods from God” weapons system yet…..

    One enterprising young lad removed the americium from approximately 100 smoke detectors in 1994 in hopes of constructing a breeder nuclear reactor in his home shop. I’m not sure that David Hahn, at 17, would have had the wet chemistry chops to actually do anything with a reactor if he had managed to accumulate sufficient material and lit it up…..but we all have to start somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the early 1800s three explorers are captured by a Native American tribe…A Frenchman, an Englishman and a Russian. They are all taken in front of the chief. The chief is furious that they trespassed on the scared ancestral burial land but says they would have one chance to redeem themselves. Next day at noon they are taken into a ravine. The chief points into the sky where an eagle is soaring in circles high above. The chief says, you must first take a shot of the fire water then take a bow and a single arrow. If you can shoot down the eagle, you’ll live….if not….etc…

    So the Frenchman takes a fist crack at it, takes the shot, picks up the bow….shoots….misses. He’s taken away.

    The Englishman is up next, he takes his time sipping the firewater, then slowly raises the bow into the air…..aims……aims…….and still missed the bird. He’s taken away.

    The Russian drinks the shot….kind of liked it, then asks the chief if he could have more? Amused, the chief says….sure have as much as you want. The Russian ends up drinking all the firewater the tribe had. Finally he picks up the bow and takes a shot…..hitting the eagle right through the heart!

    The entire tribe is standing there frozen in sheer bewilderment. How did you do that? They asked. So the Russian goes, every time I drank a few shots there were more and more of those stupid birds up there…..by the time I was done drinking there were so many I practically couldn’t miss!!!

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  5. There have been a few cases of occupational exposure to americium, the worst case being that of chemical operations technician Harold McCluskey, who at the age of 64 was exposed to 500 times the occupational standard for americium-241 as a result of an explosion in his lab. McCluskey died at the age of 75 of unrelated pre-existing disease.

    Sort of reminds me of an anecdote attributed to Voltaire (but more recently thought to be by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle). On being chided for excess coffee consumption, with further admonishment that it is a slow poison, he is said to have replied: “I think it must be slow, for I’ve been drinking it for eighty-five years and am not dead yet.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A jungle explorer is captured by natives and brought before the chief.

    “Trespassing in our jungle is punishable by death.” says the chief, “We can kill you right now quickly and painlessly, or you can try and survive a test of courage and win your freedom.”

    “What’s the test of courage?” asks the explorer.

    “You see those three huts over there?” asks the chief. “Inside the first hut you will find a jug filled with a special elixir. It is a powerful hallucinogen that our tribe uses in our most sacred ceremonies, altering both body and mind. One jug is enough for the whole tribe, you need to drink the entire thing yourself.”

    “In the second hut is a savage tiger. It has rotten tooth, way in the back of it’s mouth. The pain has made it ferocious beyond imagination. You need to go in there and extract the tooth.”

    “In the third hut you will find our fiercest Amazonian warrior. She’s led up our last 6 campaigns and killed dozens of men. She is vicious and brutal. You need seduce her and have sex with her. If you can do all that we’ll let you go.”

    Seeing no other choice the explorer reluctantly opens the door to the first hut. There in the middle of the room is a large jug. The explorer pops off the cork and the smell alone is enough to almost knock him out. With tears streaming from his eyes the explorer starts drinking. It goes down like fire, burning his throat and erupting in his gut. Before he’s even halfway through he begins feeling the effects, his legs get wobbly, his vision blurs, shadows begin to dance along the walls. He chokes down the last drop and staggers back outside.

    The chief catches him just as he’s about to fall over, straightens him out, and pushes him into the second hut. The moment the door slams shut behind him the most horrific sounds begin emanating from the hut. It’s difficult to know if they are being made by man or beast. After almost 10 minutes of nonstop howling and screaming and gnashing and tearing the hut falls silent. A moment later the door opens up and the explorer walks out.

    The man is barely recognizable. He’s covered in blood, his clothes hang in shredded tatters. He limps slowly up the chief and says…

    “Ok, now where’s this bitch with the toothache?”

    Liked by 3 people

          1. Another suggestion for a new series — Chapter Titles from The Golden Bough.

            This is actually more difficult than it looks. The first edition was in two volumes in 1890. The second edition was in three volumes in 1900. The third edition was in twelve volumes released between 1906 and 1915. And, IIRC, Lovecraft’s circle described a 22-volume edition from the 1930’s that included Cthulhu cultists.

            There have been a number of one volume abridgements, and I have no idea if the Chapter Titles carry across. Be a shame if they didn’t.

            “Not to Touch the Earth” and “Not to See the Sun” are adjacent Chapter Titles from The Golden Bough (the underlying subject is menstruation taboos).

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Religious deconstructionists!

              So I see you’re not talking about the “original”! 😉

              OK – in that case, I’ve only read selected bits or derived thinking. And I had NO idea that Cthulhu cultists were even a serious thing – or does The Golden Bough treat even mythical and semi-mythical religion?

              WOW.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu_Mythos_cults

              I think I may be a member of the chorizo cult. 😉

              (And just for added weirdness, when I tried to search on “chorizo cults”, I was led to the “Land of the Lost” remake with Will Ferrell on Amazon. The CIA AI is clearly into Lovecraftian thinking.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. About the only place you can view the 22-volume 4th edition is in the restricted reading room of Miskatonic University — no one else admits to having a copy. The good news is that it’s easy to cross-check it against the Necronomicon while you’re there.

                The 12-volume 3rd edition is entirely downloadable at https://wordandsilence.com/2017/01/21/classic-jam-hits/ — but my understanding is that it does not include Cthulhu cultists.

                Liked by 1 person

  7. The reason that americium is called that is because Seaborg had rearranged the periodic table to put the actinides into a similar separate section like the lanthanides….and this new element was now right under europium.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, I had read that and forgot to mention it, so thanks for doing so!

      It does mean that americium is named after the American continents not after the United States of America. We really don’t have a one-word demonym in this country that makes simple sense. The formal name of most countries is often quite a bit longer than what we call them: e.g., Bundesrepublik Deutschland which we translate to “Federal Republic of Germany” and then we can latch on to “Germany” and call the country that. It’s convenient and works because no part of “Germany” is outside of the FRG.

      However the word “America” often applies to the entire pair of continents, North and South America, from patagonia throughj the mouth of the Amazon and Equador through Panama, then up to Alaska and Greenland. So we have this country called the “United States of America” (may it live long and prosper) that only includes part of this region (and not even the largest part; Canada includes more territory). The only logical way to shorten the name is down to “America” but then you have Americans (geographically) who are not Americans (USA) and in fact are distinctly not welcome to traipse into the USA without prior permission.

      Back in the 1800s there were people who would refer to this place as Fredonia; I remember reading old books that would talk about how something was discovered in “Fredonia” and it was frequent enough it had to be a pretty big and important place. I realized later it was the USA they were talking about. I’ve also seen “Usonian” (from US) used, but not as much.

      I don’t mind “Fredonian” though I’d like to double the E.

      Or (to return to our real tropic) one could troll by claiming americium was named after Amerigo Vespucci.

      Like

  8. ἀεὶ ὁ θεὸς γεωμετρεῖ
    Aei ho theos geōmetreî.
    “God always geometrizes” — Plato

    Plutarch elaborated on this phrase in his essay Πῶς Πλάτων ἔλεγε τὸν θεὸν ἀεί γεωμετρεῖν “What is Plato’s meaning when he says that God always applies geometry”.[2] Based on the phrase of Plato, above, a present-day mnemonic for π (pi) was derived:

    ἀεὶ ὁ θεὸς ὁ μέγας γεωμετρεῖ τὸ σύμπαν
    Aeì ho theòs ho mégas geōmetreî tò sýmpan.
    Always the great God applies geometry to the universe

    π = 3.1415926…

    ἀεὶ………ὁ………..θεὸς………ὁ………….μέγας…….γεωμετρεῖ…….τὸ…………..σύμπαν
    3 letters…1 letter…..4 letters….1 letter…..5 letters…9 letters………..2 letters…..6 letters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, this is beginning to make me think this magazine has some really good stuff.

      I also found this:

      https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/math/g30346822/biggest-math-breakthroughs-2019/

      …..which included this…..

      Number 4 (of the top 10 that they picked)

      The Sensitivity Conjecture

      QUOTE:

      “Posed in 1994, the Sensitivity Conjecture became a major unresolved question in mathematical computer science. That ended this year, thanks to Professor Hao Huang of Emory University. In a frenzied few weeks following the initial announcement, scientists digested Dr. Huang’s proof down to a single page of brilliance.”

      There are two links, but they don’t do nearly as much to explain things as a discussion on reddit:

      After reading this, it’s very clear to me that this whole subject is intimately related to things I’m interested in:

      – analyzing infiltrated organizations by “debugging” erroneous decision-making
      – political correctness as a form of mental constraint and “dumbing down”
      – sensitivity training (yes, the same word) as an Orwellian form of BRAINWASHING
      – how PC dumbs down SCOTUS decision-making, manifest in easily predictable votes
      – Q, military psychology, and “military precision”

      It will be interesting to see where this goes, but I find this whole thing fascinating and potentially useful once I understand it more fully.

      Like

      1. In case you don’t recognize the format…..

        Don Knuth began a work called “The Art of Computer Programming” in 1962. It was originally conceived as a single volume with 12 chapters. This soon grew to an anticipated seven volumes, with the first — “Fundamental Algorithms” — published in 1968. The next two, of seven, were published in 1969 and 1973, respectively. Volume 4A was published in 2011, and volume 4B was expected to be published in 2019 (spoiler: it wasn’t).

        Because (among other things) this was meant to be a university textbook, it includes “study problems”, and these are famously rated by a decimal difficulty level. The smallest difficulty are meant to provide an “aha” moment in a few minutes; slightly larger difficulties were meant as homework; larger difficulties still were class projects; larger difficulties than that were meant as course projects; then Master’s theses; PhD theses; and careers.

        IIRC, one of the career-level study problems was: “prove that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation a^n + b^n = c^n for any integer value of n greater than 2.” This was proposed by Pierre Fermat in 1637, and successfully proven in 1994. Another was, “given any separation of a plane into contiguous regions, producing a figure called a map, prove that no more than four colors are required to color the regions of the map so that no two adjacent regions have the same color.” This was proposed in 1852 by Francis Guthrie and “proven” in 1976, 1997, and 2005 [the initial proof could only be analyzed by computers and couldn’t be verified].

        The formatting of your typeset insert shows that it was once such a “study problem”.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Incidentally, there is a rumored 17-volume complete set of The Art of Computer Programming in the restricted reading area of Miskatonic University, but the last three people to open “The Theory of Context-free Languages” went insane on the spot and now only supervised access is permitted.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Another post by “c” corrected. I’m no longer tossing these “late doubles” directly into the trash, due to the risk that it might trigger some algorithm to throw people into spam. File this under “superstitions will do until we know more, but don’t base trillions of dollars on them unless you’re a lying socialist climate commie autista or her scheming globalist climate Nazi backer, in which case “there’s no time”.

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        2. Incidentally, there is a rumored 17-volume complete set of The Art of Computer Programming in the restricted reading area of Miskatonic University, but the last three people to open “The Theory of Context-free Languages” went insane on the spot….and only supervised access is currently permitted.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It is further rumored that one of the “study problems” for that volume includes the phrase, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. To be filed under the folder AH-230, the Element of Surprise, (in the sub-folder for Ironic Uses of Ah-230), I offer the following “hit piece” published today – the Sunday edition – in the Palm Beach Times. It is so laughable, transparent and amateur (I counted 2 basic typos so far) that it is well-worth the time to read aloud. The tired phrases (even “gilded palace”!!!) and conspiracy silliness (private dinners are really cabals) are hilarious.

    I’m imagining two snowbirds – Sophie and Murray – on the veranda this morning with cawfee and bahgles tawking about “dis ahhtickle”.

    “Murray, didja see dis piece in da Times. No, not New Yawk, Palm Beach. Dat Trump, he’s such a mashugana.”

    “Ahh, so vhat. Dat Melania, now she’s a looka.”

    And so on . . . I wonder what Phil Rucker paid to get the PR for his vile pack of lies?

    https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20200208/trumplsquos-mar-a-lago-strikes-tweets-and-major-decisions-are-made-away-from-public-scrutiny

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BTW, I meant to mention a blog called the Sayfie Review. is the address I receive a morning email digest of the blog site which is:

      https://www.sayfiereview.com/

      It is a Drudge-like compilation of all the stories in all the newspapers in FLORIDA! From Pensacola to the south tip. Justin Sayfie puts up links to all the good stuff every 24 hours. In an election year it is particularly awesome but it’s good almost everyday. Also, if you subscribe to the email you also get an Afternoon Update which highlights the most popular morning stories, the interesting tweets of the day and any stories that broke in the past 9 hours.

      Highly recommended!

      Liked by 1 person

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