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Saturday Evening Open Thread

by Fran Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 12:38:22 PM EST

How was your day and what's on your mind?


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We nearly had two open threads there - I was just in the process of putting one up.

My day was fine until it suddenly turned cold and started pouring really annoying rain. A typical spring day here.

Other than that? It was snowing:

Big grey horse + spring = moulting. You'd be shocked how much hair comes off a ton of horse.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 12:48:20 PM EST
Sorry, I thought you were out for the weekend. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 12:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am normally - I just had the machine on to upload some pictures from my fancy new camera phone. That one came from it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 12:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like you fancy new camera phone was worth it. Nice picture and nice horse. Sounds a little unusual the snow. Here we have now the melting water after the snow from last weekend.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 01:08:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The new phones are great ... this is the full size original of that photo. It's not 100% sharp, but fine for snapshots and good enough to print in 4x6 size. Not that I ever print photos any more. That's what e-mail and the web is for.

(And if it isn't 100% clear, that isn't snow, it's the horse hair I spent 40 minutes brushing off that monster.)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 01:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I finally got it - the snowing was the loosing of hair by the horse. Seems like my mind is a little slow tonight. :-))
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 01:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not hard to be confused by my weekend ramblings. Now I'm off for a hot bath.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 01:14:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always been a sucker for Op-Art.

Bridget Riley's work in particular.

And the new computer generated stuff freaks me out.

by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 12:52:26 PM EST
Nice!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 02:43:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the day was ok, although my morning bike ride was cold enough to inspire me to buy some new gloves.

My mind, I don't know what was on it, now all I can think about is centipedes crawling in spirals...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 01:40:32 PM EST
Having finished the Macedonian piece that I talked about yesterday (and I thought it was this morning... losing sense of time here), I found out that Milosevic is dead. Considering also that I am taking a course on South-East European politics this semester, I am freaked out by how Balkan (no negative connotations here!) my life has become (is becoming...).

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 02:00:04 PM EST
(no negative connotations here!)

Damn, and I was going to joke: Have your arms declared war on your legs yet?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 02:39:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My head has definitely had a rebellious mood and a strife for autonomy lately.

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:35:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ugh, see. that's what I am talking about. "striving," of course.

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you could find an attractive UN peacekeeper to mediate between your body and you mind...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a good one.

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 07:19:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I am spending the week-end in Reims for my birthday, and my wife set up a visit of the caves of Ruinart, a very old Champagne house. Very unexpected (what we visited I mean; I knew where we were going). Thye have kilometers and kilometers of underground caves - which originated as clay mines in Roman times, and are now ideal for Champagne, with constant temperatures and high humidity.

We also visited the Cathédrale, which is very impressive and has spectacular vitraux (how's that in English? Glassworks?) by Chagall - made in 1971, and by other modern artists.

I'll try to do a "tourism blogging" diary when I get back.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 02:42:01 PM EST
I spent a few nights in Reims in 1992. I traveled there to see the Cathedral. I couldn't find lodging anywhere, and we spent about 4 hours driving around. Finally, we took a room above a pizza joint, and it was without heat! We froze.

I was surprised by all the Tudor architecture in Reims. I also had a difficult time pronouncing the city's name.

by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 05:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"vitraux" is stained glass. (stained-glass windows).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 07:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From San Francisco Chronicle

A particle accelerator at Sandia National Laboratories has heated a swarm of charged particles to a record 2 billion degrees Kelvin, a temperature beyond that of a star's interior.

Wow.  That'll get your buns nice and toasty.

[Sandia's Z machine]... normally passes 20 million amps of electrical current through a cluster of tungsten wires about the size of a spool of thread. The massive electrical pulse instantly vaporizes the wires into a cloud of charged, superhot particles known as plasma.

At the same time, the Z machine compresses the plasma in a powerful magnetic field. Almost instantly, the particles smash together in a collision that can emit temperatures in the millions of degrees.

Sandia boosted the Z machine's output into the billions of degrees in part by substituting steel wires around a larger, coffee cup-sized core. Increasing the size of the core increased the distance the ions traveled, giving them more time to gain velocity and therefore energy.

But the larger core did not account for all the heat generated in the collision. It also could not explain why the plasma particles did not stop moving once they collided with one another -- for about 10 billionths of a second, some unknown energy caused them to keep pushing back against the magnetic field.  [emphasis added]

WTF, over?

Haines theorized that the energy of the Z machine's magnetic field itself added energy to the particles.

This is exciting news.  Any of you physicist types know about these experiments?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:03:34 PM EST
a collision that can emit temperatures in the millions of degrees
Huh?

I'll try to read the article and make sense of it...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Skip the SF Chronicle and go directly to Sandia's own press release if you're interested.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sandia release is a bit bombastic for me, too.

Temperatures hotter than the interiors of stars

The interior of stars, man... in the core of a heavy star in the final stages of its development, by the time Si burning sets in, temperature is higher than that - the iron core that forms in the end (before the supernova explosion) can get to 10 billion K. Granted, such a state doesn't last for longer than a day or two, but if a neutron star is born in the process, its core temperature will be in the same range.

But if we are talking normal (main-sequence) stars, the Sun's core is probably 15 million K, the heaviest O stars would have one around 50 million K - now that is too low for comparison, tokamaks like JET exceeded that already by an order of magnitude.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think there's any new (fundamental) physics involved, it's quite possible that the models used to predict the output were simplified. After all, turbulent maghetohydrodynamics is harder than General Relativity. From Sandia:
Haines theorized that the rapid conversion of magnetic energy to a very high ion plasma temperature was achieved by unexpected instabilities at the point of ordinary stagnation: that is, the point at which ions and electrons should have been unable to travel further. The plasma should have collapsed, its internal energy radiated away. But for approximately 10 nanoseconds, some unknown energy was still pushing back against the magnetic field.

Haines' explanation theorizes that Z's magnetic energies create microturbulences that increase the kinetic energies of ions caught in the field's grip. Already hot, the extra jolt of kinetic energy then produces increased heat, as ions and their accompanying electrons release energy through friction-like viscous mixing even after they should have been exhausted.

High temperatures previously had been assumed to be produced entirely by the kinetic flight and intersection of ions and electrons, unaided by accompanying microturbulent fields.

I would guess there was some sort of symmetry assumption built into the theoretical (numerical) calculations.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:16:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After all, turbulent maghetohydrodynamics is harder than General Relativity.

Yeah... and if you have to combine the two...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:57:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the fastest way to calculate a supernova explosion is to let it happen ;-)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:12:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, supernova explosions are tame: I was thinking of gamma-ray bursts and quasars...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we even know what causes those?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:34:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gamma-ray bursts? When I looked at the issue the last time, super-heavy stars collapsing into a black hole (which is a non-isotropic collapse) looked like themost promising model - but things change so fast in this field that I am probably behind the news.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A critical mass of railway diaries was the last theory I read...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:42:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I only slept about 3 hours last night, so I'm really, really tired right now.

Must find something boring to read tonight so I'll be sure to fall asleep.

Other than that, it's been a good day :-)  It snowed off and on today.  That's always nice, at least when you're inside away from the wind, which I was.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:08:16 PM EST
I posted DeAnander's last long comment form the Voltaire thread over on dKos. I'll crosspost over here tomorrow or later.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/3/11/152316/679

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 03:52:33 PM EST
Another great commentary from DeAnander, but the poll you put under it doesn't reflect any understanding of it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ouch.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 04:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 05:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On second thought, that sounds needlessly aggressive. Should I delete it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 05:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My rule is I'm only allowed correct those screw-ups if no-one has commented or rated. You'll have to apologise and explain what you meant instead I'm afraid.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 05:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, sometimes one would like to take back what one has said or written. It happens to the best of us!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 07:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The day flew by. And I can't believe it the spring break is over. Back to school..

I have been looking over this European Commission initiative. It may be interesting for people involved in energy projects: http://www.managenergy.net/

P.S. This picture is making me dizzy..

-- Fighting my own apathy..

by Naneva (mnaneva at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 11th, 2006 at 06:13:46 PM EST


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