SPECIAL SECTION: Message For Our “Friends” In The Middle Kingdom
You knuckle-dragging barbarians are still trying to muck with this site, so I’ll just repeat what I said last time.
Up your shit-kicking barbarian asses. Yes, barbarian! It took a bunch of sailors in Western Asia to invent a real alphabet instead of badly drawn cartoons to write with. So much for your “civilization.”
Yeah, the WORLD noticed you had to borrow the Latin alphabet to make Pinyin. Like with every other idea you had to steal from us “Foreign Devils” since you rammed your heads up your asses five centuries ago, you sure managed to bastardize it badly in the process.
Have you stopped eating bats yet? Are you shit-kickers still sleeping with farm animals?
Or maybe even just had the slightest inkling of treating lives as something you don’t just casually dispose of?
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
And here’s my response to barbarian “asshoes” like you:
OK, with that rant out of my system…
Loop it if you like; I will wait.
Justice Must Be Done
The prior election must be acknowledged as fraudulent, and steps must be taken to prosecute the fraudsters and restore integrity to the system.
Nothing else matters at this point. Talking about trying again in 2022 or 2024 is hopeless otherwise. Which is not to say one must never talk about this, but rather that one must account for this in ones planning; if fixing the fraud is not part of the plan, you have no plan.
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Poltical correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. Zeroth rule of gun safety: Don’t let the government get your guns.
5. Rule one of gun safety: The gun is always loaded.
5a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
6. Rule two of gun safety: Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
7. Rule three: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
8. Rule the fourth: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
Spot (i.e., paper) Prices
This week, 3PM Mountain Time, markets have closed for the weekend.
A major hammering for gold, silver and platinum. Conversely, palladium is going nuts again. I guess people are buying catalytic converters (with minor propulsive attachments so they can move around) again. Supposedly, everybody but everybody expects the Fed (I am fed up with the Fed) to raise interest rates. That suddenly makes dollars more attractive than they were last week, even though the rate of inflation hasn’t changed. Hence gold going down when you would think the dollar should be spiraling around the drain (of the toilet).
James Webb Space Telescope Update
OK, it’s all deployed, it’s in its orbit…so what comes next? What’s going to occupy the next five months?
Well, the telescope has to cool down. Yes, 348 degrees below zero F is not cold enough for those infrared sensors. It’s going to take a while. Heat can only be carried away three ways…conduction, convection, and radiation, and two of those are unavailable in space. The spacecraft isn’t touching anything else, so conduction won’t work, and it’s not fluid, so convection can’t work either. (Convection is the process that causes water near or at the boiling point to roil; heated water from the bottom of the pot rises, carrying the heat to the surface; cooler water at the top descends where it will get heated.) So what’s left is radiation, losing the heat by electromagnetic black body radiation. This is what causes an incandescent light bulb filament to cool off and stop glowing (in visible light) the moment you flip the light switch. Sometimes you can see it take a perceptible amount of time to dim. But that’s the heat in the filament being turned into light and radiating away.
A light bulb filament cools off fast, but that’s because it’s very hot. JWST is a mere 112 degrees (F) above absolute zero, so it will radiate much more slowly.
In fact, how much an object radiates is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature. An object at 100 degrees above absolute zero radiates sixteen times as much as one at 50 degrees above absolute zero. JWST, as it gets closer and closer to absolute zero, radiates less and less.
Besides just cooling JWST off, the instruments behind the mirror must be turned on and calibrated, but this can’t be done until the instruments cool down some more…though I believe at least some of them are close to their maximum operating temperature.
So, what can be done right now? The third thing: Mirror alignment. Here’s the last paragraph of the latest entry on the NASA JWST blog.
Next up: HD 84406! That is the first star Webb will point at to gather engineering data to start the mirror alignment process. The team chose a bright star (magnitude 6.7 at a distance of about 260 light-years, as measured by Gaia). The star is a sun-like G star in the Ursa Major constellation, which can be seen by Webb at this time of the year. This is just the first step; HD 84406 will be too bright to study with Webb once the telescope starts to come into focus. But for now, it is the perfect target to begin our search for photons, a search that will lead us to the distant universe.NASA Blog: https://blogs.nasa.gov/webb/2022/01/27/the-webb-team-looks-back-on-successful-deployments/
It’s in astronomese. Fortunately I speak it well enough to translate. (It’s not just for professional astronomers; there are probably millions of amateur astronomers or just general geeky types who will have no problem reading that paragraph. But most here are not among them.)
Short translation: They’re basically going to point Webb at a particular star that’s fairly bright, and fiddle with the individual mirror segments to get them aligned with each other. The eighteen hexagons were all made to look as if they were cut from a parabolic mirror; they must be lined up to within nanometers of that parabolic shape. This is expected to take about three months
Longer translation: As above, but I’m going to do a deep dive on some of the specifics that will seem cryptic.
Let’s start with “HD 84406.” That’s a catalog number, the Henry Draper catalog. This catalog contains over 225,300 stars and was published between 1918 and 1924. (If you thought these posts were boring, go read the catalog. This is part of an index to it, and No, I have no idea why the numbers aren’t sequential: Henry Draper Catalogue – SKY-MAP)
[Annie Jump Cannon, who you might remember from one of my physics posts, was very heavily involved in the publication of this catalog and a couple of extensions to it that have come out since.]
Of course only about 6000 stars are bright enough to be visible to the unaided (naked) eye even far away from city lights, so clearly most of these Henry Draper stars are very, very dim.
“The team chose a bright star (magnitude 6.7…” OK they’re calling HD 84406 a “bright star” because it’s at “magnitude 6.7.” What does “magnitude 6.7” mean?
It’s a historical artifact. The brightness of astronomical objects is given in this funky magnitude scale. The lower the number, the brighter the star, so yes that seems backwards! This is because they would say something like “Spica is a first-magnitude star.” A “second-magnitude” star is clearly a lesser star than a “first magnitude” star. A “sixth magnitude” star was one that was just barely visible under ideal conditions.
Astronomers came up with instruments to objectively measure this sort of thing, however, and the magnitude scale got modified. In 1856 the modern scale was adopted, it was suggested by Norman Pogson at Oxford. Under his system, the scale is logarithmic and a star of magnitude X is 2.512 times as bright as a star of magnitude X+1. OK, so where did they pull that number from? Someone’s rectal database?
Actually that number is the fifth root of 100. Basically, a first magnitude star is 100 times as bright as a sixth magnitude star. That’s five “magnitudes” and it’s a logarithmic scale, so a single magnitude is going to be whatever number you can multiply by itself five times to get 100, i.e., the fifth root of 100, or about 2.512. (Remember, some people take an astronomy class in college because they are severely math challenged and have to take a science class to graduate and figure astronomy won’t have any math in it. But you can’t even describe stars’ brightnesses without logarithms-base-fifth-root-of-100. Bwahahaha!)
With a logarithmic scale, you can have fractional/decimal magnitudes, and more fun ensues. As it turns out many ancient “first magnitude” stars are actually considerably brighter than others. On the modern scale Sirius is -1.46 (a negative number), Arcturus is -0.04 (basically 0 on a 1-6 scale), Aldebaran is 0.85 and Spica is 1.04. Nor do you need to confine it to those little point-like stars in the night sky; nebulae, planets, the Sun and the Moon are on the scale too. The sun is magnitude -27. Sometimes, if you catch it just right the International Space Station is at -6. By the way, if it’s not a pointlike object, the magnitude is totaled up over the entire span of the object, so imagine the sun’s brightness in a single point (much more intense!), and that point is over ten billion times brighter than the point-source we call Sirius. When they describe the brightness of a nebula, it can seem misleadingly bright because the light from the nebula is smeared out over some patch of sky, rather than being gathered together in a point like a star is. So a nebula of a certain magnitude will always look fainter than a star of the same magnitude.
OK, so now when we see that HD 84406 is magnitude 6.7, we can judge that it’s actually not even visible to the unaided human eye! Yet they called it “bright” and even “too bright to study with Webb.”
[Note: some people (authors of books for amateur astronomers in particular) in very dark places (e.g., on the eastern slope of the “Big Island” of Hawaii) claim to be able to see clear down to magnitude 8. I’m not sure I believe them, to be honest.]
But if your eye’s pupil is 22 feet across, that actually will seem to be pretty damned bright! And that’s basically what JWST has going for it. So once they’re done using this blazingly bright star to align the mirrors, they won’t spend time looking at it any longer.
Next, “at a distance of about 260 light-years…” That’s the distance to the star, and a light year is the distance light travels in one year…about six trillion miles. 260×6 = 1560 trillion miles, that’s how far away HD 88406 is.
Next there’s this: “…The star is a sun-like G star in the Ursa Major constellation,” A “G star” is a reference to the star’s spectral class, which is to say the pattern of absorption lines in the spectrum; it so happens that G is the class the Sun is in. It’s mainly a rough shorthand for how hot the star is, and hence what color it is. Yellowish-white is the G type color. “In the Ursa Major constellation” means if you look at the Big Bear constellation, HD 88406 appears to be in it. Ursa Major includes the Big Dipper (but that’s not the whole constellation by any means). Astronomers actually drew boundaries between the 88 recognized constellations quite some time ago so every bit of sky (even apparently empty places) are part of a constellation; a star doesn’t have to be on the line drawings to be considered part of the constellation.
Nor must you be a star to be “in” a constellation. Galaxies, too are in constellations, it’s just a way to indicate where they appear as seen from earth. (For instance “the” Andromeda Galaxy, M31 is in the constellation of Andromeda. And, to expand on things I said earlier, M is for the Messier Catalog which has about 110 objects in it; it’s also cataloged in the New General Catalog as NGC 224. The magnitude of M31 is 3.44 but remember it’s smeared out over a certain part of the sky so it looks very faint. I can barely see it; in fact I’m never quite sure I really am seeing it. It shows up well even in tiny binoculars, though.)
Wow, there’s an awful lot behind that paragraph from NASA, ain’t there?
No Science Post This Week
Having beaten exoplanets into the ground, I’m not sure what I want to take up next. Of course you might be protesting that you just read one, but it’s largely stuff covered earlier, and it’s in what would otherwise seem a totally random order, dictated by the phrasing of a NASA blog post.
Fuck Joe Biden
Biden, you don’t even get ONE scoop of ice cream today.
(Please post this somewhere permanent, as it will continue to be true; the SOB will never deserve a scoop.)
Incidentally, I’m writing this on Friday. This morning I saw a full-sized pickup truck in the oncoming left turn lane with a forest of flags in the bed. Once he turned and drove left-to-right in front of me, I could see two American flags near the cab, and SIX “Let’s Go Brandon” flags near the tailgate. That was unusual; usually there’s a mix of FJB (only not abbreviated) and “Trump Won” and “Trump 2024” flags when someone does this.
I haven’t seen such a display in a few weeks, by the way. Even the guy at the office complex where I work with the FJB flag on his pickup seems to have removed it (or doesn’t work there any more–trucks all look alike to me from the back, and all crossovers look like cockroaches).
Obligatory PSAs and Reminders
China is Lower than Whale Shit
Remember Hong Kong!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
China is in the White House
Since Wednesday, January 20 at Noon EST, the bought-and-paid for His Fraudulency Joseph Biden has been in the White House. It’s as good as having China in the Oval Office.
Joe Biden is Asshoe
China is in the White House, because Joe Biden is in the White House, and Joe Biden is identically equal to China. China is Asshoe. Therefore, Joe Biden is Asshoe.
But of course the much more important thing to realize:
Joe Biden Didn’t Win
Qiáo Bài dēng méi yíng !!!
Joe Biden didn’t win !!!