Random Points of Interest

Blog Post

(link) Vanadium dioxide has been found to conduct electricity without generating heat. The article at the link is a fascinating read. Additionally, when the researchers mixed the vanadium dioxide with other materials, they found that they could could ‘tune’ the amount of both electricity and heat that it could conduct – which could be incredibly useful for future applications. For example, when the researchers added the metal tungsten to vanadium dioxide, they lowered the temperature at which the material became metallic, and also made it a better heat conductor.

Abstract: In electrically conductive solids, the Wiedemann-Franz law requires the electronic contribution to thermal conductivity to be proportional to electrical conductivity. Violations of the Wiedemann-Franz law are typically an indication of unconventional quasiparticle dynamics, such as inelastic scattering, or hydrodynamic collective motion of charge carriers, typically pronounced only at cryogenic temperatures. We report an order-of-magnitude breakdown of the Wiedemann-Franz law at high temperatures ranging from 240 to 340 kelvin in metallic vanadium dioxide in the vicinity of its metal-insulator transition. Different from previously established mechanisms, the unusually low electronic thermal conductivity is a signature of the absence of quasiparticles in a strongly correlated electron fluid where heat and charge diffuse independently.

Solar Activity

(link)  There is a great deal that we don’t know about the Sun, even though it’s there, with its nuclear furnace giving us light and life (and impacting the climate while it does what it does.

Some 2,700 years ago, a massive solar storm bombarded Earth. High-energy particles pinged into the atmosphere, sending a cascade of unstable atoms raining down onto the planet’s surface. 

Today, only faint chemical echoes of this ancient collision remain. But according to a study published yesterday in the journal PNAS, scientists have now uncovered these radioactive remnants of the tempest in ice cores from Greenland. 

Though this particular storm, which battered Earth sometime around 660 BCE, is one of many recorded, it’s thought to be at least 10 times more powerful than any detected in the past 70 years—suggesting that we might still have incomplete picture of “what the Sun can do.”

Riddle me That

The meme does not include the ButtGuy (also white), who is gaining in popularity as he campaigns with his husband.

22 thoughts on “Random Points of Interest

  1. Funny that you should post about solar activity, I am currently reading a book ( one of the authors of which is Dr. Travis S. Taylor ) which features a solar storm which is called a CME ( Coronal Mass Ejection ). The story is set in a future in which humans are living on Earth's moon and a group is on the far side from Earth which is facing the Sun and therefore in danger from the event. The book is titled " Moon Beam " and published in 2017, in case of any interest.

    Anyway, that is my two bits worth for today.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  2. Breakthrough. Dad was the engineer of the family and one of the smartest men I ever knew. He would have found this fascinating.
    The frontrunners. Lately I've been subject to an uncontrollable urge to expand the armory to new calibers. This has resulted in a 6.5 Grendel coming to roost and now 6.8 SPC parts seem to be arriving. I blame memes such as that above to the culprit.

  3. CME is naturally a bigger threat to the sun-facing Moon than it is to Earth, but if a large enough one should hit us squarely, even Earth would suffer. Nobody knows to what extent that would be, however it's an interesting end-of-days sort of scenario.

  4. I have my eye on a Barrett REC7 in 6.8 SPC. I haven't laid down the bucks yet because discipline also requires that I buy on the order of 10K rounds of ammo if I buy the rifle.

  5. From things I have read, it ( a square hit by a CME ) would put us ( humanity ) back to the pre-electricity era. A development which I would not enjoy or perhaps even survive. Eric Flint's " 1632 " series somewhat explores this scenario, albeit, he goes beyond just the loss of electricity.


  6. And speaking of low heat, superconductors seem to be advancing. C'mon, boffins, where's our flying cars?

    As for the frontrunners… surely Satan has to drag in someone else or risk being a laughing stock forever.

  7. The ancient solar flare studies are a cool development in the last 20 years or so.

    If you search for ancient visual solar flare record, you'll find records back before that 660BCE. There's a few articles on one found in Babylonian and Assyrian tablets from 775 BC. I've seen an article on one around 1000 AD or somewhat before. The common reporting seems to be red skies – as seen in the auroras that get make it to low latitudes after a strong flare. It seems something like a Carrington event may happen every few hundred years.

  8. Sounds to me like science is closing in on some critical Star Trek and The Jetson's technology…maybe Elon Musk will produce a self-driving flying car (hopefully one that doesn't go up in a ball of flames or require air support diesel generator recharging.) Li-ion batteries generated a leap forward in consumer cordless rechargable's. "What's next?"…will be interesting.

    The media needs to start showcasing these sorts of very cool tech breakthrough's instead of pandering, lying, and shilling for the impeach charade puppeteer's. (Yeah, a platitude, but hey, a guy can hope.)

    The Dem Frontrunner meme reminded me of an old poster of a mountain goat on a cliff, caption was "I'm so far behind…I think I'm in front."

  9. Electrical conductivity with minimal or zero heat is a holy Grail of science. It has almost uncountable benefits from more efficient transmission of electrical power to super conductivity…. which could lead to MRI machines that aren't dependent on expensive cryogens and aren't enormous. The possibilities are kind boggling.

  10. It's an interesting development, but until we can get superconductivity at much warmer temps, it'll remain a niche technology. They were just starting construction of the superconducting magnets at Fermilab when I left. Very interesting things happened to some of the prototype magnets. If they lost the cryogenic cooling, the current had to be turned off NOW, because when the magnet "went normal" (no longer superconducting) the high current density in the coils caused them to expand greatly, and finally explode.

    Made quite a mess from what I heard, not to mention the loss of Helium when it ruptured.

  11. Since these events happen in close to geologic time, the actual impact on the planet must be difficult to calculate. I don't know enough about it to have a valid opinion. But it's very interesting.

  12. Asking the media to report on something other than a political hoax may be asking too much. They're hardwired these days and it's disturbing to the point of being a 'theater of the absurd' – almost a comedic skit. Look at Shifty, AOC and Pelosi and try not to laugh.

  13. Survival would be challenging for those in cities who don't have the capacities to grow their own food. I guess that it would be a "Time Machine" scenario where the Morlocks found their own food supply.

  14. When it's commercially viable, it will change the world.

    Not as profoundly as fusion energy would, but a big deal all the same.

  15. They have lab specimens of things that go superconducting at about -80*C, but coming up with a way to use these Real World is the difficult part.

    The Science might be getting there, but the Engineering has a long way to go…..

  16. Since vanadium is sourced from countries hostile to the USA (China, Russia, South Africa) domestic sources need to be developed. Is agencies like the EPA the problem?

    I won't try to bluff any science understanding.

  17. Russia sells what they have for hard cash. Once the Democrats get beyond the whole Russia hoax narrative, it may be more likely to develop that trading relationship. China is getting far more complicated.

    I don't know if the Trump EPA is a problem — and I'm not bluffing a deep understanding of the science. But the cause and effect of this solution in many applications would be really significant.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top