Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLV Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLV
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    Default Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLV

    Time to stop gazing out of the window at the unremitting greyness and start enjoying the wonderful world of the Internet

    • How Four Americans Robbed the Bank of England - It was a fraud, not a robbery, but still: ”The plan involved the forgery of bills of exchange… It was Mac who made the ‘great discovery’ that the Bank of England accepted them on sight, without verifying they were genuine. Instead, the bank relied on the apparent trustworthiness of the customer presenting the bills.”

    • Growing Anomalies at the Large Hadron Collider Raise Hopes - Fun times for particle physicists: ”Several measurements involving the decay of B mesons conflict slightly with the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics… Their collective drift suggests that the aberrations may be breadcrumbs leading beyond the Standard Model to a more complete theory.”

    • Some memories from meeting Einstein in 1951 – 1952 - Mathematician Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat recalls her visits to Einstein’s office: ”That first time, I summarized in French my thesis on Einstein’s blackboard. Einstein listened with interest, congratulated me for the results which gave rigorous proofs of properties he expected from the gravitational field. When I left Einstein told me I would be welcome in his office any time I would feel like knocking at his door… Free access to Einstein’s office was a great favor. In those years Einstein did not mingle much with other people at the Institute, he did not come to receptions, nor to the daily traditional tea in the common room.”

    • Unlocking North Korean songs on a karaoke machine - DRM in the DPRK: ”In this post, I take a look at the Tianchi v700, a Chinese karaoke machine that has been localized for the North Korean market… While the Chinese songs on the hard drive can be played on any computer they are connected to, the 42 gigabytes of North Korean media is encrypted, and the files cannot be opened on other devices.”

    • The Incredible Ice Formations of Lake Baikal - ”Lake Baikal, in the Russian region of Siberia, is a massive body of water—the world’s deepest and most voluminous freshwater lake. Its location and the surrounding geography can lead to fascinating phenomena in the winter, as ferocious winds and cycles of melting and refreezing build and sculpt works of structural beauty—stones supported on wind-worn pedestals, undulating surface ice, encrusted beaches, crazy icicles, frozen methane bubbles, and more.”


    • Is the alien chunk 'Oumuamua actually a hydrogen iceberg? - ”Every time I wonder just how weird 'Oumuamua is, some scientists step in and come up with ideas that are even weirder… The newest: It may be a hydrogen iceberg slowly grown in the core of a gigantic star-making factory and nudged into a galactic orbit.” Here’s the paper in question (PDF): Evidence that 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) was composed of molecular hydrogen ice.

    • Things I Won’t Work With - When DoctorStrangelove sent me this I thought I’d definitely posted it before, some years ago. Turns out I hadn’t, and I have no idea why as I certainly knew about it. So here it is: Derek Lowe's posts on chemicals so insanely dangerous that you’d have to mad, or extremely dedicated, to even think about letting them in your lab. Consider, for example, chlorine trifluoride: ” It is apparently about the most vigorous fluorinating agent known, and is much more difficult to handle than fluorine gas. That’s one of those statements you don’t get to hear very often, and it should be enough to make any sensible chemist turn around smartly and head down the hall in the other direction… A practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile… It’s bad enough when your reagent ignites wet sand, but the clouds of hot hydrofluoric acid are your special door prize if you’re foolhardy enough to hang around and watch the fireworks.”

    • The tiny ‘country’ between England and Scotland - HT to ladymuck for this interesting article about the Debatable Lands: ”The Debatable Lands is believed to have been the last great territorial division in Britain. Here, from the 13th to the 16th Centuries, the region's clans plundered land and livestock and endless blood was shed. Straddling the border, the Debatable Lands flourished as a sort of anarchic no-man's land, not independent but too dangerous and lawless for either Scotland or England to be able – or want – to take control of.”

    • SimRefinery recovered - Following on from the story of SimCity creator Maxis’s little-known business spinoffs a couple of weeks ago, somebody has found a copy of SimRefinery: ”One of the games they produced was SimRefinery, an oil refinery simulation for Chevron. Very little was widely known about the game until now… One reader, postbebop, reported that they knew a retired chemical engineer who worked at Chevron, who confirmed that he owned a copy of the game. postbebop walked the engineer through the process of reading the data from the original floppy disk, and he was able to create a digital copy.” You can play it at the Internet Archive - type “simref” (and hit return) when the C:\> prompt appears

    • Boring Postcards from Portugal - ”Uninteresting collection by Cristiana Couceiro.” As you’re unlikely to be going there on holiday this year, what could be better than this extensive collection of postcards of all the undistinguished places you’re not really missing at all. This is the Porto Santo Hotel, Madeira



    Happy invoicing!
    Last edited by NickFitz; 8th June 2020 at 11:47.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post

    The Incredible Ice Formations of Lake Baikal - ”Lake Baikal, in the Russian region of Siberia, is a massive body of water—the world’s deepest and most voluminous freshwater lake. Its location and the surrounding geography can lead to fascinating phenomena in the winter, as ferocious winds and cycles of melting and refreezing build and sculpt works of structural beauty—stones supported on wind-worn pedestals, undulating surface ice, encrusted beaches, crazy icicles, frozen methane bubbles, and more.”
    Very cool pictures. I'd love to know how deep the ice goes. It looks like it could be well in to double figures looking at the frozen methane picture in picture 9. That said it could be just feet if each step of the freezing bubbles is very thin.
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    The inneresting thing about Chlorine triFluoride is that when combined with hydrogen it produces the highest specific impulse in the unlikely event you manage to keep your rocket engine in one piece.

    Storing the stuff is hard enough, it requiring metal containers that have a layer of fluorine between the CF3 and the metal.

    Unfortunate things happen if said layer of fluorine gets scratched.

    Naturally enough the Nazis made a lot of it.
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    Here us the video of the French nutters Chlorine Triflouride experiments missing from the page talking about the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorStrangelove View Post
    The inneresting thing about Chlorine triFluoride is that when combined with hydrogen it produces the highest specific impulse in the unlikely event you manage to keep your rocket engine in one piece.

    Storing the stuff is hard enough, it requiring metal containers that have a layer of fluorine between the CF3 and the metal.

    Unfortunate things happen if said layer of fluorine gets scratched.

    Naturally enough the Nazis made a lot of it.
    From a linked page:
    It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively.
    "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

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    Merde as the French experimenters lunatics failed to say.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post

    • How Four Americans Robbed the Bank of England - It was a fraud, not a robbery, but still: ”The plan involved the forgery of bills of exchange… It was Mac who made the ‘great discovery’ that the Bank of England accepted them on sight, without verifying they were genuine. Instead, the bank relied on the apparent trustworthiness of the customer presenting the bills.”

    Excellent selection as always. Enjoyed this and had a chuckle at this part:

    ... they were often seen in gentlemen’s clubs and coffee houses with criminal acquaintances. One of these acquaintances was forger Walter Sheridan, who had planned to be involved in the robbery, but went home after determining the gang was “associating with disreputable women.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladymuck View Post
    Excellent selection as always. Enjoyed this and had a chuckle at this part:

    ... they were often seen in gentlemen’s clubs and coffee houses with criminal acquaintances. One of these acquaintances was forger Walter Sheridan, who had planned to be involved in the robbery, but went home after determining the gang was “associating with disreputable women.”
    One has to maintain certain standards, don't you know

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    To celebrate Einstein and the B meson, enjoy this:

    When the fun stops, STOP.

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