Skip to main content

A Cat with Eighteen Half-Lives

NineLivesSpeaking of uranium, who wants a can of uranium ore? You can buy a little tin of it on Amazon for about 40 bucks. The product description says it is useful for testing your Geiger counter, and I’ll take the vendor’s word for it. The main reason to bring this up here is not so much the uranium, but the fun the commenters have with the idea:

I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.

Ran out of toothpaste, and remembered how you're supposed to be able to use baking soda to clean your teeth, so of course, I accidentally used this instead, and Wow! all I can say is, my teeth have never been cleaner! They sparkle, they tingle, and for some reason, they STAY clean now, no matter what. Highly recommended!

I put it on my cat's food and now it has 18 half lives.

I originally purchased this for powering the hovercraft on which my house sits, so when I want to move I can take my house with me.

And of course:

I bought this stuff to power my Delorian on a trip back to 1955. All went well until I got there. At first I was shocked it had all been used up on one trip but then I thought, "my bad, it was -50 years I was travelling, I'll just order some more". I was horrified to discover that they would not deliver to 1955.

Because, of course, the most popular use of nuclear energy will be in the flux capacitor.

There’s some non-proliferation and mutation humor, as you’d expect, but in general, the focus is on the surreal nature of owning a little trough of uranium. Comedy gold – or yellow, as the case may be - for the next Nuclear Energy Assembly.

J.R. Bray has a rather dicey, if still key, role in the history of animation. Pretending to be a journalist, he visited pioneering animator Winsor McCay in 1911 and McCay happily shared his techniques – which Bray promptly patented under his own name. (A later court case reestablished McCay’s interest.)

But Bray controlled the patents like a club and you’ll see “Bray-Hurd” (Ed Hurd was Bray’s business partner) on the credits of many early cartoons that licensed the patents. Bray himself lost interest in cartoons after World War I, moving on to live action shorts, but his company continued producing them until the end of the silent era – The Cat’s Nine Lives is from 1926.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…