Science and Technology Links 3/23: Einstein Condensates Are Not Headphones!

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Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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33 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    I don’t like not having physical controls in something that flies without a ‘neutral’ aerodynamic configuration.

    I like the Paris building add-ons too, but I wonder how they will age. (not they will go out of style, but how decades of weathering will make the facade look) (this is the main problem with concrete brutalism)

    Re: CERN/LHC justifying the expense. The Texas SCSC was definitely a collision between my ideological priors and my practical wants. I think the correct decision was made, even in retrospect, but it’s still a hard call. (I think the critical part of the LHC was that it was built late enough for some super duper information technology to do wonders with the data – something the SCSC may have missed, because likely it would have been tied to legacy systems for too long, kinda like the habit in military contracting)Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    I have no idea why this style of architecture appeals to me, but it does.

    You’re a software guy these days, right? Nothing like a layer of kludges added on to the core code, and what looks to be a maintenance nightmare over time. Software folks should feel right at home.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I like that kind of architecture because it tries to blend with nature and uses nature to create a sense of privacy (sort of). But it is also the cool kind of modernism instead of an ugly Brutalism (sorry Will). The architect clearly thought about aesthetically pleasing aspects of design.

    There is also a kind of future ruin nature to it. You can imagine that you are stumbling across the abandon buildings of a future society.Report

  4. Avatar Richard Hershberger
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    says:

    Planet definition: For a general audience, I recommend “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming” by Mike Smith, the guy who discovered Eris. It has a bit more human interest padding that I would have favored, but it does a good job explaining why any coherent definition of a plant will either exclude Pluto or include a huge bunch of stuff we don’t currently count as planets.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Richard Hershberger
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      says:

      Yeah. The basic problem here is that orbiting “stuff” exists along a continuum of size and composition. Defining a planet on the basis of size just seems too arbitrary, even if you functionally define the size. I mean… wouldn’t the composition of a body influence how big it had to be to be spherical?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Road Scholar
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        says:

        Yes, although it basically runs along the whole gas/liquid/solid lines (i.e. gas planets are almost always massive, liquid planets are also quite big, rocky planets are smaller). A planet of almost ‘pure’ Uranium could be smaller than a planet of ‘pure’ Iron, but such pure planets are rare birds (‘pure’ asteroids are more common).

        ‘Pure’ is in quotes because there is no such thing as a pure asteroid formed by natural processes. A ‘pure’ asteroid might be mostly Iron, but it won’t be 100% Iron.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          I’m thinking about stuff in that middling range of largish asteroid/comet/moon territory. Where you might have two objects of the (roughly) same size/mass and one is spherical and the other not due to the deformation/flow characteristics of the materials. And how round counts as spherical for that matter? What about something like that newly discovered moon of Saturn with the accretion ring on a mostly spherical core?

          It’s a good thing none of this really matters.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Road Scholar
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            says:

            Pan was discovered in 1990, what’s new is we just got a good look at it and realized it looks like a dumpling.

            enough gravitational heft to retain a roughly round shape

            This is a calculable value, especially if we have a good idea of the body composition. Enough mass means that the material will not flow or deform into a not-round shape absent collisions or strong exterior gravitational forces.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Richard Hershberger
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      says:

      I don’t care about coherence. Mike Smith better don’t walk alone at night in my neighbourhood. I’ve heard bad things sometimes happen to people that aren’t nice to dogs and planetsReport

  5. Avatar gregiank
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    says:

    Eastern Washington is a cool place to visit. Very interesting geology. I’d love to go back with more time to hike. I read a book about the guy who figured out what happened there. Great story.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to gregiank
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      says:

      It’s more badlands than the majestic mountains of the Cascades, but it has a beauty all it’s own.Report

    • Avatar Lyle in reply to gregiank
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      says:

      Actually the story of the discovery of what happened is a perfect example of a scientific revolution.
      J Harlan Bretz came up with the idea in the 1920s but did not have an idea where the water would have come from, and got hooted at by the geological powers that were. Interestingly at the same time work went on in Montana that showed that Glacial Lake Missoula rose and fell because of the failure and return of ice dams. Eventually the idea was accepted and Bretz had the satisfaction of still being alive when the concept became generally approved, having outlived his detractors.

      Interestingly part of the objection was that catastrophies did not happen in geology that geologic processes had to be visible in todays world. Studies since have shown that some processes are episodic with long time periods. (One example near the floods is the Yellowstone Caldera, which if you observed it today only would not appear to be a large caldera, but looking back in geologic history clearly was.Report

  6. Avatar J_A
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    says:

    Sunlight and nanoparticles turn plant matter into hydrogen gas. That’s it, no additional energy inputs needed.

    Mere sunlight, nothing else. Just a trifle. Is not as it sunlight provides much energy for anything

    Planet Earth. Sunlight . That’s it, no additional energy inputs needed.

    Ends sarcasm, and congratulates the author on the interesting tidbits

    (And yes, I know that natural fission and radioactive decay occurs independently of sunlight, but come on, really?)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
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      says:

      As they say, we get sunlight for free, don’t have to extract it out of the ground.

      The larger interesting point to think about is that we are getting much better at harnessing sunlight to do more work than just heat water or excite some electrons in a PV cell. Every process we have where the solar energy can be used directly, rather than being converted, is a defeat for entropy.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    Turns out that there’s quite a bit of skepticism about Dr. Goodenough’s new battery tech. Not so much that it’s a fraud or a mismeasurement, but that the important physics of what’s happening in the cell is not what’s in the paper.Report

  8. Avatar J_A
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    says:

    toring solar energy in chemical bonds. Good idea, but I balk at the conversion rate. I mean, a 100+% increase is awesome, but you are still only converting 1.1% of the solar energy into a chemical bond. That’s something that is not quite ready for prime time.

    What’s the conversion rate from solar energy into glucose? I really have no idea but it must be very low, and yet it’s the most successful idea in the planetReport

  9. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    The first thing I thought when I saw the VAWT was “This would be perfect for a cell tower,” only it looks like the manufacturer thought of that before I did.

    …And then I fantasize about a future in which VAWT’s are on every cell tower and PV panels on every roof in Southern California and @michael-cain needs to recalibrate his geographic resource calculus because the area becomes a net electricity exporter.

    …And then I say to myself, “Get real, and get back to work.”Report

  10. Avatar Francis
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    says:

    Rooftop solar — I get 1,788 hours of usable sunlight but have only 88 square feet available, covering only about 25% of my electric demand. Insignificant annual savings. (boo)Report

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