Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Something constructive for a change.

A brief tour of the news sites this morning reveals that lots and lots of people are becoming very alarmed at the things coming out of Barry's Clown Circus, aka the White House.today. 

Good.  Finally.  Nice of y'all to show up, what took ya?

Anyway, now that the viewing with alarm has kicked in, The Illustrious Phantom shall look further afield for some hopeful signs and useful information with which to lift the bruised spirits and salve the abraded nerves.  I found a few things of note today for future development of keen things which will help dig out the economy.

First up, superconductivity. 
Writing in the journal Nature Materials, Dr Alan Drew from Queen Mary's Department of Physics and his colleagues at the University of Fribourg report on the investigation of a new high temperature superconductor, the so-called oxypnictides. They found that these exhibit some striking similarities with the previously known copper-oxide high temperature superconductors - in both cases superconductivity emerges from a magnetic state. Their results go some way to explaining the mechanisms behind high temperature superconductors.

This is very interesting, because it is new physics regarding how electricity moves.  Superconducting wires and batteries would solve a tremendous number of existing issues in resources, transportation, blah blah blah.  Which an enterprising company could make a major buttload of money selling.  Nice.

More superconductivity, this time a bit more general discovery:
Together with three colleagues Professor Peter Oppeneer of Uppsala University has explained the hitherto unsolved mystery in materials science known as 'the hidden order' – how a new phase arises and why. This discovery can be of great importance to our understanding of how new material properties occur, how they can be controlled and exploited in the future.
There are several materials that evince a clear phase transition in all thermodynamic properties when the temperature falls below a certain transitional temperature, but no one has been able to explain the new collective order in the material. Until now, this has been called the hidden order.
This is a bit more profound, they've elucidated the actual mechanism that makes a material change phase with temperature.  Its a computer simulation, but having done that experimental proof becomes possible.  I look forward to hearing that somebody proved or disproved this.

Finally, a new application of previous discoveries in materials science.  Guns!  According to this month's Guns and Ammo magazine, Ruger Inc. has released their newest invention: a plastic framed revolver.  G&A has a whole spread on the newest .38 Special snubbie concept, including a test drive.  The barrel remains steel, crane, cylinder and upper frame are aluminum, but the handle frame and trigger area are all polymer plastic.  They claim non-painful recoil due to special handgrips and the energy absorbing qualities of the polymer frame, which if true is quite an achievement.  Normally snub nose revolvers -hurt- when you shoot full power rounds in them.  You hear BANG "Ow!" at the range.  The high pressure +p rounds are frickin' torture.  So if Ruger has managed to tame that, they will sell a whole lot of these little guns, thereby lifting up the economy and making Barry's Clown Circus look bad.  Awesome.

From superconductivity to anachronistic revolver designs in one post.  Where else can you get that but The Phantom Soapbox?  ~:D

The Fabulously Nonsequitorial Phantom.

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