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When people in my line of work refer to something as “Hot” we are not generally talking about temperature. We are talking about radioactive contamination.
This is a hot lab. It has the shielding to protect the researcher or technician (this appears to be a nuclear medicine setup), radiation signage, the absorbent padding on the counter, lead pigs for moving around radiation sources, and a Geiger counter/survey meter for detecting radiation. Radiation and radioactive materials are very useful, while requiring special precautions. Thus was born the field of Health Physics, the science of radiation protection.More
One of these days, I keep telling myself, I will write the quintessential werewolf story.
There are quintessential tales for golems (Frankenstein) and vampires (Dracula) because those stories offer more than mere entertainment. They dig into the darker side of human nature not just for cheap scares but to make us reflect on pride, lust, and daring.More
My father provides ideas for stories from time to time, or the core of the tale itself, upon occasion. Beyond the similarity of our speaking voices, our storytelling and argumentation resonate harmoniously, making for easy writing. The nub of this tale starts with an email from the senior Colonel, in which he offered two images of heat: a blacksmith and an angel standing on the sun. This prompted reflections on people working with heat to create things.
My father grew up in the countryside, outside of Philadelphia. Sure enough, in the 1940s there was still a blacksmith in the community. The blacksmith has lived on in my father’s childhood memories, like the inquisitive postmistress, and his favorite childhood toy. Blacksmiths create things both practical and aesthetically pleasing through the application of so much heat that iron or steel becomes malleable. For some great pictures and description of the process, you should read Scott Wilmot’s “Homesteading: 3 Days of Blacksmithing.” Blacksmiths work in close proximity to extreme heat and can only create with metal heated to such a temperature as could inflict devastating injuries in case of accidental contact.More
Well, actually, soldering on, but I thought that title would be a turn-off. And besides, solder is indeed ‘hot stuff’ According to Wikipedia, “solder is a fusible metal alloy to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces and the word comes from the latin word “solidare” meaning to make solid. Although it is used for […]
The day that the Challenger blew up, I was sitting in a lounge area adjacent to the cafeteria with some friends when another friend came up.
He said in an obviously joking tone, “Hey, do you know what NASA stands for?”More
Happy Birthday to Ann Wilson of Heart, born 19 June 1950. She and her younger sister, Nancy, are the heart of Heart, a band that burst onto the world stage from the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1970s. They were part of the soundtrack of my youth. Wait a minute. 2019-1950= . . . 69. That just can’t be right.
Ann Wilson was the distinctive lead vocalist, while Nancy provided great harmony and kicking guitar licks. Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was released in America our bicentennial year, with “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” propelling them up the radio play charts. They struck while the iron was hot, releasing Little Queen in 1977 and Dog & Butterfly in 1978. These women did their own thing, playing neither the tough girl nor the pop tart. They did not need an image manager, as they actually had musical and songwriting talent.More
My parents have gardened for many decades. While not really “granola,” they have generally moved from synthetic fertilizers to compost and manure. A perennial favorite fertilizer is composted steer manure. All three words matter: manure, from steers, that has been composted. Straight steer manure, like certain other domesticated animals’ waste, is not recommended, in part […]
Our betters had better get a grip on their narrative. We have been assured that the science is settled. Wicked men have offended Mother Earth and she is getting hot under the collar. To deny this is heresy. Heretics must be cast out, silenced, deplatformed, unpersoned. We must unite to denounce and deny the deniers…at Newsweek!
Newsweek is certainly a member in good standing of the church of correct thinking. So how could it possibly be that they would blaspheme Anthropogenic Global Warming? Yet here is the evidence that they have transgressed [emphasis added]:More
“…Then came the Fourth of June
On that sleepless night,
Well, I tossed and I turned
While the thought of her burned
Up and down my mind…”
I almost always have a soundtrack going in my head. Anything can trigger a new song. Even a pattern of syllables can pop something into my head that has a matching rhythm. Or, songs can morph from one into the next in ways that make perfect sense to me, but nobody else.More
People get reputations. Sometimes they work to create a certain reputation. Sometimes it just happens. When I was growing up, I was exposed to spicy food often. One of my daddy’s favorite phrases was, “It’s not hot until it makes your hair sweat.” And he meant hair, not just your scalp. Hair doesn’t have sweat pores? Then up the heat until they grow some. Looking back, this was certainly an example of his trying to create a reputation for himself of being tough and manly. He had been in the U. S. Army. Later, he was a railroad detective and then a municipal policeman. He was surrounded through most of his adult life in an atmosphere of what some now call “toxic masculinity.” Were I to try to analyze him, I would guess that having had polio as a boy might have been a driving factor for him to be tough and do manly things, to overcome physical limitations. But whatever his motivations, it meant that I grew up learning that real men do not use the mild salsa, but go for the hot sauce. I became inured to the heat. I expected the heat. Mild Mexican food? Who would bother to eat that?
As I got out on my own and was cooking for myself, I was always interested in new peppers. Back in the early 1990s, the hottest pepper known in the US was the Habanero. It had some Cod-awful level of heat that was up to 350,000 Scovilles. The Scoville scale is a measure of how hot something is as measured through dilution. They start out by diluting a bit of pureed pepper with water, such as at a million to one ratio, to see if someone can still detect the spiciness. If not, they cut back on the dilution until the spiciness is detected. In the case of the Habanero, it can be detected at a dilution of between 350,000:1 and at the mild end at about 100,000:1. To give some scale for a normal human, a Jalapeño runs between a mild 3,500:1 to a hot Jalapeño at 8,000:1. Thus a Habanero is between about twelve and a hundred times as spicy as your average Jalapeño. Cayenne pepper runs between 30,000 and 50,000 Scovilles for another comparison. Since the 1990s, more peppers have become known or developed that are over a million Scovilles, such as the Carolina Reaper at 1,569,300 Scovilles, but even up to 1999, Guinness was recording Habaneros as the hottest pepper cultivar in the world.More
If you’ve ever flown into Alaska, the first thing you notice as you peer out the airplane windows are the mountains, row upon endless row of snow-peaked ruggedness. The best word to describe them is a word often overused to describe lesser things: majestic.More
We are in the midst, or at the end, of the National Basketball Association’s championship tournament. The Golden State Warriors are the first team to advance to five straight NBA finals since the Boston Celtics, who were in 10 straight finals between 1957 and 1966. There have been other incredibly dominant teams who went on finals streaks, then missed a year, then were back for more. Yet, this has been a very special team. They also have good reputations off the court but have joined the rest of the NBA in their open leftist contempt for American voters’ decision in 2016. Indeed, they act as if the election was illegitimate while championing every left-wing Democrat cause. Yet, they may well lose this finals series to a Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors. President Trump should have tweets drafted and ready to immediately address either eventuality.
The Raptors were up three games to one when they lost Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals by one point. They need only win one of the next two games to unseat the defending champion Warriors. Yet, Game 6 is in the Warriors’ home arena. Suppose they win, making it one game for all the marbles. It would be seasoned champions against first-time-ever contenders, with all the pressure on the Raptors for letting the series slip away.More
The New York City of my youth was a fading star. We grew up on my parents’ stories of New York in the ’40s and ’50s; its heyday many would say. The glamour of Manhattan, the Waldorf and the Plaza, the bustling of its industries, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Yankees, Broadway hits coming one after the other. But all that started to unravel in the ’60s and by the time I was fully conscious in the early ’70s, NYC was on the brink of bankruptcy, the Dodgers long gone, and my parents pretty much abandoned going into the City, as we called it on Long Island, for anything but the Christmas Show at Radio City. But the City was still a major destination for school field trips and the sight of the NY skyline still reminded us that NY was the center of the world. From far away, you couldn’t see the City fraying at the edges.
My best friend in high school loved the theater, and starting around 1975, we would regularly take the train to Manhattan and walk up from Penn Station to Times Square to buy half price tickets for Broadway shows. Sometimes we’d even buy tickets for the Saturday matinee and then an evening show. Twenty dollars went far in those days. I was under strict orders not to wander far from Midtown, even though Midtown by that point was peep shows and massage parlors, interspersed with restaurants, camera discount stores, and theaters. Once I told my mother I had walked through Central Park and remarked how pretty it was. She told me not to ever set foot in Central Park again. I never told her that sometimes we took the subway.More
Few people I know like the heat of a Florida summer. In fact, if people say they enjoy it, we assume they have a screw loose. Part of the culture requires that you complain about the heat at least once in a conversation. And when summer starts early, as it seems to have this year (today it will be 98 degrees), the moaning and groaning are cacophonous.
So, I commiserate with others on the weather; it’s always a good conversation opener. When I meet someone new or am not feeling fully awake, the weather is always a reliable topic. And something we can all agree on.More
The Rolling Stones went disco with “Hot Stuff” from their 1976 Black and Blue album. The lyrics are simple to trite, and the music a repetitive dance track. It did not make the Top 40, unlike the ballad “Fool to Cry.”More
For me, a post on Hot Stuff is a total no-brainer. I can’t hear that phrase without thinking of Hot Stuff, the movie from 1979. Basely extremely loosely on police files, it’s the story of a squad of detectives who set themselves up as fences in order to catch burglars. Starring Dom DeLuise, Jerry Reed, […]
How hot is too hot? How does “too hot” compare to “too cold?” We all have our own preferences and our own experiences, coloring the debate. Yet, it is worth noting that people, given their druthers in a modern society, with cost-efficient building and vehicle climate controls, choose warmer over colder climates. So “too hot” has meaning within the context of our ability to modify our experience of the local environment.
Back in the day, before the invention and wide availability of home and commercial property cooling systems, people who could escape the Desert Southwest heat did so by decamping for the summer to higher altitudes. Indeed, the wealthy citizens of Tucson, Arizona would trek up the nearest mountain to a seasonal community they named “Summerhaven.” They essentially closed up their primary residences, leaving a caretaker servant presence in the frying pan of the desert valley floor.More
It’s 67°F. I have the windows open with a nice cross-breeze. I’m sweating. No, it’s not from exercise. I’m barely moving. Just fingers gliding over the keyboard. I would prefer 55-60°F. It’s just the way I’m constructed. Generations of Vikings and Neanderthals living in cold climes are singing songs of ice and cold sea spray […]