Sunday, August 28, 2011

What is Cold Fusion?

Imagine you have two balls. These balls really don't want to touch each other but if you put a lot of energy into forcing them to, they explode releasing tons of energy.

This is called nuclear fusion. The balls are certain atoms and the energy is usually extremely high temperatures(millions of degrees). Instead of making the two atoms touch you are combining them into one larger atom. This process is what the sun is doing to create all of its energy.

Cold fusion is the term for a Nuclear Fusion reaction that can be done at a relatively cooler temperature and other conditions that we can create on earth. Although currently there is no cold fusion technique that produces more energy than what is required to sustain the reaction, Emc2 is currently working on a Polywell fusor that seems to produce more energy than it consumes. It is currently being funded by the Navy.

I'm pretty sure, though, that they wouldn't want to be associated with the term cold fusion, owing to its pseudoscientific stigma.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What happens at the atomic level when you cut something in two?

Let's say you cut a piece of stainless steel in half with a magic knife that maintains the structure of all the atoms but just separates them. That would be an ideal cut; just breaking the chemical bonds that hold the material together. Now, what if you tried to put it back together a few minutes later? Somewhat surprisingly, the pieces wouldn't stick together. The reason is that the surfaces of many materials are different from the bulk material on the inside. In the case of stainless steel, the surface gets oxidized by the atmosphere to make a layer of iron oxide a few atoms thick. This prevents the surfaces from making a perfect match again.

So why does this happen? There are two reasons, really. The first is that oxygen will react with pretty much anything it can get its hands on. It makes especially strong bonds with iron. The second is that when you break a bond, you're actually adding energy to the atoms, and this energy can be used to facilitate a chemical reaction with something else that they come in contact with.

Now you decide to get clever and do this same experiment in space, or a good vacuum chamber. If you still use your magic knife so that there is no grain (crystal lattice, really) mismatch when you put your pieces back together, they should stick.

This phenomenon of separate two pieces of metal stick together does happen in our atmosphere, especially with stainless steel. It's usually not a good idea to use stainless steel screws to hold together something made of stainless steel. If you screw it in really tight, you can scratch off the protective layer of iron oxide on the surfaces, exposing the pure metal underneath, which can then, over time, form new metal-metal bonds. This process is called galling.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feynman point

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999 and so on.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gödel's universe

Kurt Gödel found a solution to Einstein's equations for General Relativity where time is meaningless, because every point in spacetime can access every other point in spacetime through Closed Timelike Curves.

In other words, he found a solution to Einstein's equation where you can trivially time travel to any point in history from any point in space, a clear violation of Einstein (and most every other physicist's) views on the nature of time.

It can be defined as follows:

where ω is a nonzero real constant, which turns out to be the angular velocity, as measured by a nonspinning observer riding any one of the arbitrary points.

Gödel never explained how he found his solution, but there are many possible derivations. Let's see one here:

Start with a simple frame in a cylindrical type chart, featuring two undetermined functions of the radial coordinate:


Think of the timelike unit vector field e0 as a tangent to the lines of arbitrary points.

Following Gödel, we can interpret the arbitrary points as galaxies, so that the Gödel interpretation becomes a cosmological model of a rotating universe. Because this model exhibits no Hubble expansion, it is not a realistic model of the universe in which we live, but can be taken as illustrating an alternative universe which would in principle be allowed by general relativity (if one admits the legitimacy of a nonzero cosmological constant).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The gauntlet

I've pumped enough Quetiapine into myself to kill you three times over, but you're still here. Still mocking me with your lingering and your deadbelly comminations.

Rest assured, your days are numbered. I will kill you, one way or the other.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory was created by Adolf and Rudolf, two brothers. They specialized in track/athletic spikes. They became estranged during the rise of Hitler, during and after the war, and, as a result of this, Rudolf left the company and Adi renamed the company after his own nickname: Adi-das. His brother went across town and started a new shoe company known to us as Puma.

In 2009, both companies decided to bury the hatchet by playing a friendly game of soccer football to end the 60-year rift. The match took place between workers from both companies within the framework of the “Peace One Day” initiative, an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

The ensuing riot killed 3 and injured 18.