Plague Update

Mitch McConnell: “These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible” or they’re locking America down again.

Never has there been a pandemic where they have to threaten or bribe the population to receive treatment, it speaks volumes in itself.


Bang Sticks

I have two of them. Both are now illegal in California. I don’t know if my CCW in CA is good enough to justify ownership or not. Things there are strange.

They are underwater firearms (single shot) for use against sharks or fish that are too large for a spear that you might wish to catch (think large groupers).

Nobody wants to get THAT close to a shark, and you mount them on the end of a pole (Hawaiian sling) so that they fire on contact. The button that you see simply cocks the weapon. The bang stick above fires a .50 BMG, but the .44 Magnum is a far more practical cartridge for this application. The .44 Mag doesn’t hurt the ears of the shooter/diver the way that the discharge of a .50 does.

When you use them, the target fish will expell a lot of blood and tissue: gore – bringing sharks. It’s a one-target, surface-and-gone sort of event.


Magnetars that are also Pulsars – Cool

The magnetar J1818.0-1607 can be seen in this composite image. X-rays from Chandra reveal the object and data from the Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer taken before the discovery of the new magnetar show the wide field of view.

J1818.0-1607 is one of a group of only five known magnetars that act like pulsars — which are fast-spinning neutron stars that emit powerful beams of radiation from their poles.

It’s an interesting time for people who study neutron stars (my favorite class of celestial objects). If I was younger,  I could do that for a living. Now that I’m old, I’m just a magnetar groupie.

Neutron stars are remnants of supernovae, incredibly dense objects — second only to black holes — that compress more than a Sun’s worth of mass into a sphere only about as wide as a city. Magnetars, are a subset of neutron stars that sport the universe’s most powerful magnetic fields. The fields around these stars are roughly a million billion times stronger than the magnetic fields of Earth.

Because of the nucleon binding energy, only elements up to iron can be produced in the conventional way inside of stars. Anything heavier than iron needs to be produced in another way because it is an endothermic reaction and requires huge amounts of energy. Some heavy elements are produced in supernovas but there is a subtle problem with that. While there certainly is enough energy in a supernova explosion to produce the heavier elements, most of the mass that is blown off in a supernova is hydrogen. It would take an immense amount of energy and a string of complex, and highly improbable reactions to convert that much hydrogen into elements as heavy as gold and lead.

In nuclear physics there are two processes that can produce heavier elements, named the r-process and the s-process (unimaginatively the r and s stand for rapid and slow respectively). The s-process takes less energy and much lower neutron flux and can happen over long time scales. In the s-process, heavy elements are built up slowly one neutron at a time and allows for neutrons to decay into protons.

The r-process requires huge amounts of energy and truly astronomical neutron flux. A parent element is bombarded with a huge number of neutrons to make an extremely unstable isotope. The only thing keeping it from decaying into smaller elements is the rate at which neutrons are bombarding the nucleus. While a supernova has enough energy for the r-process, there is a distinct lack of neutrons to achieve the neutron flux necessary for the r-process to take place. It does happen, just not at a high enough rate to explain the amount of gold, lead, uranium, and other really heavy elements we observe in the universe. So while normal stellar processes can explain the carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen we see, and novas and supernovas can explain the amount of aluminum, iron, nickel, and zinc we see, neither of those can explain the amount of gold, silver, lead, and uranium we see.

This is where merging neutron stars come in. In the collision, there certainly is enough energy for the nucleosynthesis to take place, and because there are two massive sources of neutrons being ripped apart, the problem of meeting the minimum neutron flux is solved.


I used to go to the Movies on Weekends

Now there is nothing but woke films, films about people transitioning, slasher movies, cartoons and ethnic flicks. I guess nobody wants my money anymore.

Have you ever noticed that on every Youtube Sasquatch documentary they begin by saying that “Cleetus has been awake for three days and nights, drinking paint thinner, but he knows what he saw.”


  1. Somewhere in the Ancient Beans’ Family estate is my dad’s .30-06 bangstick, circa 1971. Very effective, he only had to use it once during all the diving he did at Kwajalein.

    As to the virus? Nope. Swine Flu was more dangerous than the Covid, and I deeply regretted the two weeks I lost from being forced to take that clusterfruck.

    Movies? I’m looking forward to the new “Deadpool” movie but that’s about it.

    Sasquatch? You ever notice that, even today, the new videos look worse than the Willow Creek film. I mean, my old early 2000’s flipphone took better video. Same with UFOs, chupacabra, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, an honest politician…

    • What about the Godzilla historical chronicles? The pictures are getting clearer as time goes on.

  2. Movies are no longer original or thought-provoking, they’re just remakes of previous dreck.

    • The woke film makers (which accounts for 95%) don’t know what will make a good film and so they do the eighteenth remake of spiderman

  3. Going to the movies?
    Scherie and I had a cheap date often on Sundays after church.
    Hit the matinee for $5 each, buy the popcorn (a constant: good or bad movie, the popcorn was good and we always took a refill out the door with us for later) and then dinner at a Logan’s steakhouse with the afternoon discount.
    Covid broke that habit.

  4. About bang sticks – I read somewhere about a stick with a hollow point that injected compressed gas into the fish in question, which should then begin an uncontrolled ascent while expanding into oblivion. The idea seemed to be getting the dying fish away from the diver so it would lure the sharks away as well.
    Haven’t heard much about it, so I guess it was an idea that didn’t translate well into reality?

    I think the last movie I saw was ‘The Return of the Jedi’, and nothing has spurred my interest since.

    • No, they exist. The compressed-gas stick thingy. It’s seen as more ‘humane’ than using a gas-generator like, well, a bang-stick, which is what does most of the damage to the fishy when one bangs the stick.

      • Frank, when the charge goes off, no matter the source of the charge, it releases a lot of blood into the water. When that happens, sharks come whether or not it’s shark week.

        • I would have thought that a large hypodermic syringe, injecting air into a fish/shark body would make less of an initial mess than a .44 Mag or .50, and with the body rising toward the surface before the expanding gas had a chance to explode the body, then the blood would be away from the diver.
          However, I come from a long line of landlubbers; so my ignorance on the subject is immense. One of the reasons I like stopping by, as I get to learn from those who know.

          • If you inject it with enough to kill it at 100′, it will more or less explode by the time it hits the surface.

  5. I was listening to a podcast, recently, about the process to produce carbon, which we assume is simple. And it seems that it is not.
    That it is very complicated.
    And that the process is marginal and precise.
    That it is part of a design, not luck.

    • And when you continue the process, making heavier and heavier atoms, it all comes to a stop at Iron. Anything past Iron must be made in a star explosion.

      So think about that when you look at gold or silver or other heavier than iron things.

      • Supernovas do make heavy elements. The physics supports at as does spectrographic evidence. But the big metal makers are neutron star collisions – because of the physics.

  6. I’ve got a flight to Japan on Dec 23. I was originally going to do the vacc if that is what it took to go but now it seems that it has been so universally politicized I’m having serious second thoughts. Think Japan will be open to the vacced by then? I’d planned on going to Moscow to do the Trans-Siberian to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Any experience with that?

    .49 inches of rain here at Chez Bandmeeting here in the almost pines of Preskitt yesterday. More on the way.

    • I know people who live in Ishim (used to be a stop on the Trans-Siberian line, and may still be). I started a small company there publishing English Language books that were out of copyright for students. Panda Press is still in operation, and is financially a push.

  7. Sasquatch. Never seen one but may have smelled one. Heard something moving away in the scrub oak and then a bad stench came my way. Some people I personally know, sober and not given to tales, saw a strange creature in the Flattops near Yampa, CO. No pictures. They were gathering cattle at the time.

  8. I tend to not put crap in my body when I can avoid it. Yeah, after a day of ranchette work a little Vitamin ‘I’ fends off the muscle soreness (or where I hit my head on something…again), or some cold meds if I feel something coming on. Getting plenty of sun helps with the Vit. D (new study shows most who were the worst affect had very low Vit D levels).

    This push by every cretinous moron (1st clue) for a non-fully licensed treatment for a respiratory virus that for most people is fully recoverable, is suspect at best. Mandating it smacks of tyranny and coercion for their end game purpose, whatever nefarious reason that is. So no…they can put the needle where the sun don’t shine (to be polite).

    Bigfoot, Aliens, Oak Island, ghosts…contrived at bet, but sometimes entertaining. And why do the little green men show up on some bubba’s farm instead of some tech center?

  9. Fascinating star info, but come on, astronomers, we want DYSON SPHERES.

    And movies are rubbish right now, so I watched Blade 1 last night. Fun. Take that, disco raver vampires.

    • Dyson Spheres won’t work because stars are not predictable. Not even red dwarfs – no political discrimination intended.

  10. Haven’t been to a movie theater in probably 15 years or so. To many loud, unruly people. Also the little signs by the door stating no firearms allowed dissuaded me. For a while if it looked like it might be entertaining I bought the DVD, now I don’t even do that because the movies just don’t appear to be all that good.

    Sasquatch? Doubt it exists but you never know. Certainly with all the technology like game cameras etc. you would think somebody would get a picture that was clear.

  11. “So while normal stellar processes can explain the carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen we see, and novas and supernovas can explain the amount of aluminum, iron, nickel, and zinc we see, neither of those can explain the amount of gold, silver, lead, and uranium we see.”
    When I read something like the above, I’m always reminded of Hamlet’s advice to Horatio in Act I, Scene 5, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    Perhaps we have to revisit our basic concepts.

      • yeah! read that! very to extremely rare
        or possibly the universe is older than we’re estimating or (and I wouldn’t blame you for entering me into the list for a good asylum) this ain’t our first rodeo – we’ve been through this expansion/contraction several times previously and the higher elements are just left-over gunk that somebody didn’t/couldn’t wash out of the reaction vessel

        • Boron, I have a slightly different take on the Big Bang, and I’m not going to rant here in the comments. Old galaxies, (the sky is a clock – so we have a pretty good idea of what is older) show a lack of heavy elements. Current speculation is that the Solar System is a third (or more) generation, which means, that the material has been developed in two previous stars that exploded.

  12. There are some movies that are good.

    If you enjoy 1930’s style romantic comedies, the Hallmark Channel will do it for you. Yeah, see, I like stupid 1930’s style romantic comedies. Fred Astaire rocks, so does Cary Grant.

    Elsewhere, I like movies that don’t take themselves seriously even when taking themselves seriously. Like the John Wick franchise. Just good clean fun, er, okay, maybe not fun but you get my drift.

    And I go to the theater to see these movies. The one located in my bedroom. Where I can pause the movie and go get snacks or go to the bathroom and nobody has stupid cell phones and the bass isn’t turned up to earthquake level and I don’t have to worry about sitting in someone else’s funk.

    I’ll even pay the stupid cable to rent the occasional recent movie release or to watch a movie without commercials (like, well, the Deadpool or John Wick series.)

    I refuse to watch crappy remakes, though. If it’s a good remake, I’ll try to watch it. Bad remakes, no. Like the remake of “The Magnificent Seven.” Which is supposed to be about a bunch of down on their luck samurai, I mean cowboys, who get hired to save a small Japanese village, I mean a Mexican village. So where do they get a goshdarned Gatling gun, which even when they were ‘period’ were still a damned expensive gun? Hmmm? (I also like “The Seven Samurai.” Good movie also.

    • Just good clean fun, er, okay, maybe not fun but you get my drift. – Was supposed to say “Just good clean fun, er, okay, maybe not clean but you get my drift.”

      Stupid brian-finger connection. Dammit, did it again. Stupid brain-finger connection.

    • They are confident that (1) they are your betters; (2) they are a lot smarter than you; (3) that they can spend your money better than you can.

  13. The only bangstick I ever used was a 12gauge one off Hawaii. Worked well, but yes, one and done, get out of the water! 🙂 Re the r and s processes, LOTS of things unexplained (so far)… And I haven’t been to a movie theater in probably 15 years. No desire to…

  14. I haven’t thought about the astrophysics-y stuff like this in a long time. When I was a teenager, I’d read some good sci-fi including Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and you had to have at least a little bit of physics or many of the stories would have made no sense. I appreciate my Grandfather (R.I.P.) more than ever- when I was a youngster, he thought well of me and was always buying me book sets that were years ahead of me (ie some of the sci fi and history books).

    I was at least 5 years behind where he thought I was mentally, but I did get around to reading them eventually and those books got me to learn a lot of things that never would have crossed my mind otherwise.

  15. LSP has a good post on the “Kill Shot”. I’m waiting for our semi-woke DIL to start demanding I get vaxxed for the sake of their newborn. I will, of course, refuse, which could lead to some unpleasant interactions…

    The only bang sticks I remember had a 12ga shell in them. Don’t recall if they used slus or 00 buck.

    Cletus is back on the thinner? Thought he “Took The Cure” and switched to shine….

    • I’ve never used a 12 ga power head but I’ve seen them. I’m sure that they’re effective.

      • So is a handgrenade.

        Wouldn’t want to be around a 12 gauge going off underwater, nor a .50. Watching a .30-06 blank fire off underwater was scary enough.

  16. And yet no concern about vaxing the illegals being actively infiltrated across our nation by the same people demanding we comply. Cant risk decimating the replacement servant class.

    Haven’t been to a movie theater in so long I cant even remember the movie, but I think I will be making an exception for the latest Dune.

  17. The bang sticks I knew of were 12 gauge.
    Recommended for the halibut in the waters off of Alaska that were described as “the size of a pool table” laying on the bottom.
    A wiser person dissuaded me from going after them with a speargun…something about going on a wild ride at 100 feet.

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