Monday, January 17, 2011

Words: Aw, Watta They Mean, Really?

Network News reporter, at a "swimming pool" type research reactor: "The actual core is about 25 feet down. It glows with an incandescent blue light."

No. No, you ninny, it glows all right, and it's even blue. (See also here). But the core is not incandescent. If it ever became incandescent, well, you had better hope it's a very conservative design with plenty of water -- and you'd better hold your breath while you run for the door; the steam's liable to be "hot" as well as hot. Gosh, I hope that wasn't your favorite suit?

Maybe you'd better just preemptively hit the bar. --Pity the report was from inside Iran.

17 comments:

Ritchie said...

Better just leave it at that. If the reporter knew what is really going on down there, um, ok, I'd like to see that too.

TXGunGeek said...

Been into a couple of these. One was in the center of campus under the physics building and the casing was showing signs of age. When the university build a newer better stronger facility at one of the remote off campus research parks and wanted to move the material out of the existing one, the greenies went nuts with protests blocking the trucks saying it was too dangerous to move this material and it needed to be completely removed from the area. Never mind they could not even see the contradictions in their own statements.

Discobobby said...

RX: If you get a bunch of hits from up my way, I passed it to some people who would find it as funny as I did. :)

Midwest Chick said...

Have stood on one as they brought it up to full power (I think for 8 milliseconds). And it glowed, and it was blue, but just for a few seconds. If it had become incandescent, we had a VERY long way to the door.....

Discobobby said...

Don't worry, they're SLOW neutrons. You can probably outrun them.

Ritchie said...

Cherenkov. Ha! Thought so! Another insidulous plot!

Comrade Misfit said...

Crap like that makes me want to bang my head, at times. It's no better with aviation topics.

warlocketx said...

In the Sixties the University had two research reactors. One of them, in an engineering building, looked very much like a storage tank of some kind and was about as regarded. The other, well off-campus in a grove of trees, was a swimming-pool type. The one time I visited there I was quite impressed. The control panel was loaded with Nixies and Decatrons, rather like the originally proposed Nav panels for Vulpine and Lupine -- too bad they went with the odometer-style in the real thing; the glowing numbers were cool.

I see you're from a shim in the stack where they didn't trust Farnsworth (as am I). Too bad. The one short visit I had to a shim where they used his incredible ability to move electrons around, he'd found a way to move the critical parts of the [CLASSIFIED] inside the PA envelope, essentially coupled directly to the plate. It turns out that by moving the electric fields around you can control the vector. DAMN the result is maneuverable! For me, of course, as probably for you, they moved Farnsworth to ITT as part of the disinformation campaign, proving that fusion reactors (like the one that toasts your bread) don't work.

Me, I'm stuck. Paramath says the parts I need to fix my trans won't ever be invented in this shim or something like 10^^9 on either side, and nobody believes my credentials, which are for things that can't exist here anyway. Sky and growing things are pretty, but I want to go home.

Turing word: "azatator". Almost right. Makes me (more) homesick.

Rick T said...

The one at Penn State had the central control rod on an air cylinder.. They could blow the thing out and get the core Prompt Critical for a fraction of a millisecond. The operator giving us the tour said it looked like a flashbulb going off at the bottom of the pool.

JC said...

Cherenkov Radiation? Sounds furrin. Not sure I trust it. There was a big to-do at Rice U when they shut one down and tried to install a parking lot where it had been. Much laughter from the physics dept, but still no parking lot. It had been very near the Admin buildings...

Roberta X said...

Warlocketx: best...comment...EVAR!

Now if we could only find you a 2^(n+1) CNC mill and enough of the right alloy (titanium-aluminum, or did your people use the other one?), you'd be an afternoon of serious machine work away from half-way home.

warlocketx said...

*sigh* Just another reminder that I shouldn't post when drinking and wallowing in maudlin self-pity. I'm actually lucky. That kind of accident usually leaves high-energy subatomic particles smeared across a couple billion shims, and "still warm and breathing" beats "expanding cloud at several thousand K" any time. Ah, well, nobody will believe it anyway.

Couple of misconceptions I should correct:

My bunch doesn't much like to talk about "my people" and "your people". We don't do PC, and I find it infuriating, but you have to get 10^^12 or so off the baseline before it's anything but "our people" -- and then it's mostly slime molds and the like.

Multiple dimensions are a fantasy. Oh, there are lots -- the math boffins think the number might be infinite -- but any given Universe only has two of them, creating the third via the cross product (one guy I talked to said you can get that out of the Einstein equations if you're drunk enough). Warner&Swasey make stuff with up to seventeen axes, but it works in three dimensions whether it's making coffeepot parts or the [CLASSIFIED] for the [CLASSIFIED]. From your description of the Drive I'd guess you're rotating a max of 2-3 microradians out of plane, and you know from experience the power needed and the mess that can happen if you do it wrong.

And *sigh again* I'm a tech, not an engineer, and certainly not a scientist. There are several places and a few hobbyists right here in this podunk town who could make a shift-block from scratch if they had the program, or even printed plans, and a functional (if less efficient) one could be made of 6061-T4 -- but I don't have the CNC program or the knowledge and theory to create it, and I'm told by people I trust that the mathematical formulations developed in this stack totally prevent the line of thought necessary to invent it. I can't, either. Screwdrivers, yes. Pot-hooks on the printed page make my head hurt.

It's not so bad. At least this stack has the Internet. I wish I was qualified to work with you folks, though. It sounds like fun.

Jim said...

Reporters, huh, what are they good for?

Jim

Eck! said...

Ack! I keep hearin from them re-port-ers that science and math is hard.

Never stopped a girl me though.. ;)

My first contact with a pool reactor was a very tiny one at Science Building in the 1964 NY Worlds Fair. Didn't believe it was real till years later. I believe the NY Hall of Science Museum is that building.

Eck!

Midwest Chick said...

Discobobby, it was at a university so I figure we could just throw grad students on the core and use them as shielding if there was a problem.

One of the department heads had a pen that had sat on the core for an entire day's running. It was a gift from his dad, so he just put a bunch of lead bricks around it and surveyed it periodically to wait for it to cool off.

Tam said...

Jim,

Absolutely nothing. ;)

Ian Argent said...

Tam - that's not entirely true. They can be used as pawns/deployable decoys in a disinformation campaign, for one.

WV: some words, once ced, cannot be unced