The Congressional Brain Trust

The line “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” is a part of a nursery rhyme known as “Monday’s Child,” sometimes attributed to Mother Goose; it predicts that children born on Wednesday are sad.

The rhyme is a fortune-telling song, predicting that children born on different days are to lead different lives.

It doesn’t account for 2020.

 

The Electronic Security Blanket

Based on our current understanding, Earth’s atmosphere and its magnetic field protect us from nearly all cosmic rays that bombard our planet. The magnetic field is created primarily by the planet’s core, which generates the protective shield. Mars, by contrast, has a cold(er) core that doesn’t offer the same protection.

Physicists first suspected the presence of cosmic rays more than a century ago when they noticed that electrically charged laboratory objects slowly lost their charge for no apparent reason. Some electrical entity was apparently sneaking into the lab. That it came from the sky was not at all obvious until 1912, however, when Austrian physicist Victor Hess personally carried a charge-measuring instrument aloft in a balloon and found that charges increased as he ascended. Scientists assumed the culprit was some kind of invisible light from outer space, and thus was born the name cosmic ray.

It took until 1950 to prove that these were not electromagnetic beams but solid particles, even though the original name remains. Further studies showed that 89 percent are ordinary protons, while 10 percent are alpha particles — packages of two protons and two neutrons. The remaining 1 percent are electrons. All carry an electric charge and are thus influenced by magnetic fields surrounding our planet (see captioned graphic).

A cosmic ray’s energy depends on its speed because a faster-moving object does more damage than a slower one. Cosmic rays arrive in a wide range of speeds, and their power is expressed in electron volts, or eV. The most common, slower ones were created in the Sun and present little mystery. The higher-energy rays come from deep space and likely are accelerated by black holes or active galactic nuclei (big black hole). Many of them are ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECR), which are incredibly powerful. They account for a small percentage of the total, but an important percentage.

Trip

While most cosmic rays have energies between 10 million and 10 billion eV, much more energetic ones arrive, too, and these are nearly inexplicable. Cosmic rays of more than 100 million trillion eV have been periodically detected since 1991, and these are 40 million times more powerful than anything we can create in a particle accelerator. A single such cosmic-ray particle can deliver a wallop equal to a tennis ball hitting you at 100 mph (160 km/h). They’re assumed to be protons traveling at just under the speed of light.

The most intriguing idea is that UHECR’s materialize when theoretical dark matter particles hypothetically decay into high-speed proton pairs, one of which falls into a black hole while the other is shot across the cosmos. It’s a case where desperate, baffled astronomers are using the bizarre as evidence for the exotic.

Any sustained human presence in space including on the surface of the Moon or Mars will require shielding that works to defend the crew from UHECR’s. The Artemas project with a sustained presence on the Moon will require that excavation takes place almost immediately, to plant habitation modules under enough regolith to keep them safe.

 

Singularities in Space

Sometimes in science, when you set out to find something you had predicted, you instead find something quite different. This was the case recently when astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope examined the core of a globular cluster, a “ball” of densely packed old stars, named NGC 6397, looking for a central intermediate-mass black hole. Instead they found a swarm of small black holes…more here.

 

Firearms CornerTranter M1868 ‘Manstopper’ Revolver

Designed c.1868 and manufactured c.1869 by William Tranter in Birmingham, England and retailed by H.Holland of the future Holland and Holland fame.  The handgun fired .577 Boxer, 5-shot cylinder, double action, engraved solid frame, checkered walnut grip.

For its day, it was a very large handgun meant to outfit British colonials in distant lands from where St Patrick didn’t drive out all the tigers and snakes. Tranter’s M1868 revolver was an evolutionary step forward from his earlier cap lock and rimfire weapons, which is obvious on the large caliber variants and their two-part cylinder design.

Rather than use a loading gate to eject or load cartridges, the revolver’s axis can be pulled out and its cylinder can be removed by putting it on half cock, after which the cylinder shield can be separated from the chambers and used as a ramrod.

In earlier handguns, the shield had been part of a conversion system where either percussion cap nipples or rimfire firing pins could be installed for each chamber of the cylinder. In the more modern M1868,  it was a way to make strengthen the handgun, allowing larger rounds to be fired.

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Great…we’ve been living a year dealing with Wednesday’s dour children with no end in sight. And here I thought being born on a Tuesday would buy me some dispensation.

    Cosmic Rays- Only God.

    If AOC falls in a forest, does something stupid still come out of her mouth? Part of me believes her schtick is an act, getting paid as an actress planted by the Progressive Democrats. Scary part is she’s looking more ‘with it’ than the planted potted plant behind the Resolute desk.

    Was trying to figure how Musk surpassed Bezos in wealth, thinking Jeffy-boy is ticked at being second. It was a great slam…He went up a little in my book.

    • She was hired by audition as an actress by dems who promoted her election, and that could be part of the plan. She’s definitely more with it than the walking corpse. Oh, my dear country…

      • I weep as well. Never in my life…. but history proves when people eschew God’s prescription for their own devices, this is what results.

        Seems Monday the fake weepers were putting on a specious show of solidarity (aka “unity”) at the White House for the “milestone” of 500k SARS Cov-2 “deaths” (scumbags are still lying through their collective teeth), and every news outlet repeated the lie with ease ad nauseam as if it was real.

        I’m starting to get royally pissed at what these AH’s are doing, now a year into 2 weeks of flatten the curve…another sloganeering hit job on the willfully ignorant compliant public that actually means “trash the middle class”. Same Dem/CCP shop probably conjured up that terrific “social distancing” stupidity, or that “we’re all in this together” crap.

        I’d better go split some wood and free the mind, otherwise I might be driven to excessive imbibing of adult beverages. (No, but it may begin sounding like a good option as a fix to block out the massive stupidity all around.)

        • I have enough wood split for this year. And I’d likely rupture myself given the recent surgery, but splitting wood does fix a lot of stuff in your head. You have to focus.

  2. It’s kind of a crude analogy, but Newton’s gravitational attraction equation
    ((G*mass1*mass2)/r^2)
    looks a lot like the electrostatic attraction
    ((k*charge1*charge2)/r^2)

    Charges aren’t exactly mass, but those equations tempt you to compare k and G. The constants remove charge or mass during calculation so all you’re left with is force. The electrostatic force constant, k, is 20 orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational G. That seems to say that if either mass has any electrical charge, the attraction or repulsion would completely wipe out the gravitational effect.

    It gives rise to the idea that the solar wind has big effects on the ionosphere (both are made of charged particles) which affects the Earth’s magnetic field, and the solar wind pushes cosmic rays away from Earth. Cosmic rays penetrate deeper into the atmosphere in weak solar cycles, or at solar minimum than when the solar wind is strong. The deeper they get, the more clouds they form. There’s a hypothesis that these cosmic ray effects are the cause of what they’re calling climate change.

    • And if we pay more taxes? How does that effect k?

      I’ve read that there is a cause and effect with solar cycles, cloud coverage and cosmic rays (rays in the generic sense), but I haven’t read anything compelling by way of studies that provide conclusive proof. Then there is the question of if we knew conclusively that there was a causal relationship, what we might do about it. And our betters do not want that sort of scientific information distributed (should it ever exist) because of the tax thing.

      Pollution is a different matter, of course.

      • I’ve read that there is a cause and effect with solar cycles, cloud coverage and cosmic rays (rays in the generic sense), but I haven’t read anything compelling by way of studies that provide conclusive proof.

        You’ve seen a cloud chamber, where fast-moving nearly-elementary
        particles cause clouds to form in their tracks? Earth’s atmosphere works
        the same way. As Earth’s magnetic field varies, it
        lets more or less of the fast-moving charged particles from the sun
        and elsewhere into the atmosphere. More or less particles mean more
        or less clouds are formed by those particles. Clouds reflect sunlight off their tops,
        keeping some of the sunlight from being absorbed by Earth.

        Then there is the question of if we knew conclusively that there was a causal relationship, what we might do about it.

        Raise taxes.

  3. The British used to make some pretty solid revolvers. I have an old Webley. I’m not sure which model, but it has the earlier style grip and is likely Boer War vintage. It’s a very stout piece and it’s a shame an earlier owner shaved the cylinder to take .45ACP.
    I’m a Friday’s child which is supposed to make me loving and giving. I guess I can be, but don’t push it.

    • I was born on a Monday – fair of face, full of grace, keeping pace, etc. So yeah, the poem works for me. The old .454 break top Webley revolvers were quite effective for their time. The metal, design and so forth made a more powerful cartridge difficult to contain. But for their time, what was better?

  4. I am a Friday child, an only child, and a Taurus. Some days, my demons just whimper in the corner.

    Ever since I first saw the movie “Zardoz”, I have been intrigued with the Webley–Fosbery Automatic Revolver. Possibly and example of “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. Still want one. Would also like to have an M1917 revolver.

    • Democrats don’t understand the concept of “you can’t have too many firearms”. They are cool with the concept that “you can’t have too many abortions”.

  5. Another “Sunday’s Child” here, but I don’t think the poem is valid.

    Always thought the Webly was a cool pistol. Not quite “Mateba Cool” but cool, nonetheless…

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