Good Monday to you all and I hope you had a happy Mother's day. (Ok, for those of us who are guys, if we survived without major damage we're in
luck.) For me, it was a couple movies, a play, skipping fighter practice, and generally getting up with the baby. (And sleeping a bit in the recliner, for which my back may not forgive me.)
The Play was Alice in Wonderland. I want to congratulate Bob Jones of Madison Alabama for a wonderful play. My son had a relatively obscure part manning a projector under the stage, though he also helped in building the set. I'm glad he is learning a skill in high school.
Movie Reviews: We rented Looper and went to Iron Man 3.
Loopers: I like the concept of a time travel flick. This one is flawed.
What the F' is this gun? Can they not find guns in 2030? They have flying motorcycles, but ...
1) Don't kill people in the future, all crime is solved....
(except the story hinges on a murder and burning a house down... in the future.)
2) Don't kill Loopers in the past, it changes the future. (Except maiming the shit out of them doesn't apparently have any effects until the most recent 10 seconds.)
3) Killing yourself or dying stupidly causes a restart on the loop, except when it doesn't.
There was a very cool moment when our hero or villain saves his memories of a past that no longer exists... or changes something. It seems very important, except it stops being important and has no further impact on the story. I guess it was the only way the hero could shoot the woman in the end...but it frankly didn't get enough explanation for me to figure out before now.
Loopers - sucks. Don't watch it. Maybe 1 star in 5 or something. I wish I had drunk more beer before the 1/2 way point. I left and went to work on dishes.
Iron Man 3: This is obviously the 4th story featuring Iron Man. If you have missed any of the previous stories, go back and watch before you get to this one. Oddly enough, this is the story where he finally breaks down and tries to figure out where he is going.
The Mandarin. ARRRGH!!! Ok, all throughout I thought - "This guy talks like a loony liberal leftist from a freaking demonstration. He plays all the tropes without a single worthwhile concept." Pissed me off. (Turns out, it wasn't supposed to be so obvious, but it was part of the plot.)
Iron Man Mark 42: When they become available for the general public...wait for the upgrade. This is the freaking Windows 2000 of the armor world. The final battle felt like Tony was using 20 suits of Nerf armor and the villain had somehow picked up the "Iconic Villain Slaying Sword" the hero was supposed to have. Hated the final battle
That said, this is easily the best Iron Man movie. Easily. I loved 1 and was ok with 2.Avengers was amazing, of course, but this was a movie. It was long, it had character development, and you got to know the villains and the heroes. It had surprises and it wasn't all "pow" "biff" "bam"
Iron Man 3: If you don't see this movie, there will be no point in having a conversation with you in the future.
Beer : Tried a Milk Stout - Left Hand Nitro. nice beer. Really liked it. So far, I love Left Hand Brewery.
Look at that nice head... I assume they shook the bottle first, I've poured four of them without generating a cm of head.
Look, if you've never had a milk stout, try one. Different. You may hate it, you may love it. I can't tell you what you will think, but frankly, they are dark and creamy and full of flavor. Enough palate nonsense for two beers at least. As a milk stout, the only crime of a milk stout is being thin and weak. I've had a few of those. Brewers look at the library paste they are supposed to be putting in a bottle and think, "Gosh, we should water this down with a couple pale ales so that folks will drink it." *WRONG* If it forms much of a head, then they watered it down. Milk stouts have a tiny, thin, foam that doesn't last. It has a mild hop aroma. it has a strong sweetness that overpowers the malt flavor - but you can smell the chocolate malt they could dump on top of all that lactose sweetness. Tastes sweet with coffee and dirt (chocolate). Good stuff. Oh, the Nitro is 6% alcohol, so it'll give you a wallop. Might should start at the next one down...but damn it was good.
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As I was pointing out to a fellow scientist - this isn't a "Mad Science Project" it is a "Creative Resource Redistribution Device." Yeah, it is part of my mad science street-CRReD. Give me your money or I'll ... destroy the world? Perhaps, at least the tri-state area. hey, Dr. Doofensmirts is my hero. (I want a nemesis.)
Ok, so the Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow are thinking on some CRRDs. Something unique for D*Con. There was a concept for a real Science Faire, but ... well... there are too many weirdos who show up. I'll not have someone torturing puppies and calling it a science project for my show.I may discuss some real work, but I've got a lot of limitations on that. I can talk in broad terms about some associated particle detection devices, neutron generation and detection, real science.
So I guess I have a couple questions for the audience. Mainly: What do you want to see? I think Dr. DNA, Granade, and myself can talk about "Failures in science" a bit. I'd like to rain on some billion dollar budget failures that we have lauded in the past. (No, I won't go on a Global Warming rant, there is a difference between science failures and fraud.) Solar power, wind power, wave power - those aren't science failures. The attempts to model the future of temperature is laudable...if poorly done. Sucking a billion dollars out of public coffers and giving it to your friends is fraud.
A great example is the National Ignition Facility, which I love, but which does not produce what it was designed to do. Of course, neither does the Princeton Tokamak or frankly any other fusion facility. Heck, funny story. A young cadet performed a huge study of a neutron detector to get it properly calibrated to measure output at a fusion facility I shall not name. Afterwards, (as the second half of her senior thesis) she compared her calibration to actual results at the fusion facility. Weirdly enough, the very carefully calibrated detector showed a whole lot of ZERO at the facility. (Much less than their internal and apparently badly uncalibrated system.) Apparently, their system detected the presence of electricity in the detector circuits, not neutrons in the lab.She had no idea why her detector "decided not to measure" that day. ... Yeah. Poor kid. At least one of the fusion experiments the government is pouring money into is producing less neutrons than the average banana.
You know what is really sad? I was trying to get my PhD in fusion. Can you imagine spending your life in that field? That is like a PhD in Bigfoot spotting and UFO analysis, only it doesn't play as well for Reality TV.
Ya know, I think that is what we'll do this year. Science Track, the reality TV Show!!! (I'm sure I'm crazy now.)
Dr. Woozley warned me Friday that there was a high probability for a huge CME - thats a coronal mass ejection - over the weekend. A CME is when the
sun throws off a chunk of hot gas, possibly weighing more than a planet, and the temperature is enough to blow out electronics in space and mess up the magnetic field enough blow out
electronics on the ground. This really is in my job description, so I went to work. I didn't report anything on here for various reasons, but after some research, I didn't worry as much as he
Why? Well, lets take a look at http://www.solarham.net/ I recommend everyone take a look at the sun everyday, and since I like my eyeballs, I use the web instead. Right off the top their x-class flare warning was 15%. (big worry) I looked at it and guessed about half that, but since the CME was hiding behind the sun, I went ahead and took their numbers. Ok, better than 1 in 10 of a big event. So, How big? I looked at the previous events, some previous years, and compared some magnetic field strengths, and decided that an X-class wasn't going to top 3 on my scale. (A Carrington event is an 11, but the usual number we use for comparison is the October 89 event, a solid 9.)
Ok, so a 3 on my scale can shift the Kp index pretty solidly a few points, if we can get Kp above 5, then we are set for a badass geomagnetic storm. Something we would need to be very concerned about. I checked the current Kp... and it was 1. Well, a 3 storm and a 1 Kp ... might make it to 4 Kp. One storm just doesn't really affect the Kp very much, usually a set of storms, a week of bad space weather... it just didn't look like it. Ok, so no geomagnetic storm.
How about a solar storm? Below is a picture of the sun during the Bastille Day solar event. A classic 3 on the Hawk-scale.
Next is a picture of the sun today.
Now, I'll agree that the sun's magnetogram LOOKS like a butterfly chart. With a couple high-density regions (1723) which could produce a particle-rich event. But it just doesn't have the "feel" of the hot sun of the 89 or 2001-2003 time period.
Current sun magnetic field diagram:
This is a butterfly chart:
AND, since solar maximum is ON NOW, any major solar storm this cycle produces will be produced in the next two or three years. But... the sun isn't selling me on a major storm. I decided that while there was a possibility, I'd say it wasn't going to happen at sufficient energies to cause a major worry.
Now, there was a solar event which did produce a good amount of protons and Kp in the 4 region. There is evidence on the far side that we could see more of these and the geomagnetic field could get a good charge. If it keeps up or gets worse, I'll be in touch.
However, the aurora in Alaska is lovely, I wish I were up there this week.
Picture: JFK testifying before the Senate that we need a "less militaristic foreign policy."
Understand that no doing something today is worse than making the wrong choice. NK, today, has one or more nukes that probably can't be missile launched and a handful of missiles capable of reaching our shores. In four years, maybe five, they will have a dozen weapons and twice that many missiles. How many will we have to stop? All of them, of course. A dozen weapons could devastate the West Coast, Japan, and possibly strategic locations. If four years of negotiations get China on their side, we might face a retaliatory strike of over a hundred weapons. What if Iran manages to improve its rockets and NK, China, and Iran become the new Axis, reaching into South America for further allies. Kerry could be the man who decides the shape of WW III. It isn't a comforting thought.
Given that today is Euler's birthday, we should celebrate with a Venn Diagram of some sort. I can't think of one but it should show that WW III would be caused by the intersection of US weakness in response to threats and the ever growing desire of failed regimes to steal more money from us in order to prop up their power for a few more years.
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