Saturday, September 22, 2018

Nuclear Pasta


It's complicated.  Story over at Big Think.  From their bullet-point abstract:
  • The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
  • You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
  • This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Oh, and it comes in a variety of textures, in some ways analogous to actual pasta:



I have nothing to add here beyond perhaps lame jokes about my cooking skills.  It's better to move on and let you go read the article, if so inclined.

Beware: Substandard Knock-Off Bike Helmets


Story over at NPR.  Of course, they had to label them "Fake Bike Helmets" for the eye-grab, but it's still a compelling story.  TLDR version: somebody is selling helmet-shaped objects made of non-helmet materials for cheap, usually through eBay.  Naturally, these HSOs don't work in actual crashes.  Manufacturers and retailers are pissed about this, having put good money into engineering and marketing a trustworthy, comfortable safety item.  No mention if someone has actually been injured while wearing one, but that's beside the point and only a matter of time.


If the price is too good to be true, yes it is.


ps: Now is a good time to revisit this old post, Wear your bike helmet.

rrr--crank-crank-crank-crank-rrr rrr-crank-crank-RMMMMM!


Oh man, I ought to run this thing a little more often.  Almost didn't crank up that time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Two Physics Articles


Here are two articles you ought to carve out time to read.  While both are written at a non-specialist's level, they both give good depth and coverage.

Next-Gen Nuclear is Coming – If Society Wants It
These meltdown-proof power reactor designs have been roaming the wilds for three decades now, stuck between the rock of public histrionics and the hard place of obsolete bureaucracy.  It'd be a hell of a note if the "free, open, and fast-innovating" country of The Peoples' Republic of China scooped us on this technology, but it looks like exactly that is happening.  At least somebody is moving on it.

The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature
This is so far removed from my sub-field(s) in physics that I really shouldn't comment.  However, since this is a blog and so I ought to shoot off my mouth from time to time, here goes.  I think it's safe to assume that the peer reviewers of the work have done a competent job and that there are no obvious errors.  Beyond that, the mathematical results seem to align well with both current theory and experimental results, and in a way that nothing else manages.  Looks promising, will stay tuned.

There, two content-rich articles for your summer reading.  Think I'll take a short break from blogging now.  See you in a...  well, whenever another morsel of worthwhile content presents itself.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Ruminating on The Ramones


(1) Does it seem weird to you that The Ramones have been gone (since 1996) for as long as they were around (1974-1996)?  Twenty two years in each case.

(2) Here, listen to their Do You Remember Rock 'n Roll Radio, and recall that in a fundamental way they were always a nostalgia act.

(3) Read this guest post over at The SWLing Post blog: The Days of AM Pop Music in NYC   Tampa's WLCY was about all we could handle on the Gulf coast, I can't even imagine what it was like to have several top-notch DJs competing on the local AM band.

(4) Waste another hour digging around at Ramones videos over at youtube.

Think I'll go mow the grass now before it gets too hot.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Never Gotten That Bad


Although I've never gotten quite this bad (xkcd 2023):


... I will have to admit using a log(log(y)) axis once upon a time.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

And just when I was thinking "this sounds pretty good"...


.... the joke's on me:  yesterday's SMBC.  Be sure to read the mouse-over text.