ROOM TEMPERATURE STARS: Citizen Scientists discover bizarre new brown dwarfs near our Sun. “Althou…

ROOM TEMPERATURE STARS: Citizen Scientists discover bizarre new brown dwarfs near our Sun. “Although the discovery of brown dwarfs is not a new phenomenon, the ones discovered in the recent study have a weird property — they are colder than the boiling point of water.

Source: ROOM TEMPERATURE STARS: Citizen Scientists discover bizarre new brown dwarfs near our Sun. “Althou…

Proof! Just six degrees of separation between us — Lord Buckbeak

After checking 30 billion electronic messages, Microsoft researchers say the theory stands up By David Smith, technology correspondent for The Guardian Sat 2 Aug 2008 19.01 EDT My cmnt: Forget six feet of separation (the WHO says just three feet is fine) which is just another unverified claim by the Left along with face masks – how about […]

Proof! Just six degrees of separation between us — Lord Buckbeak


I remember when the charge was that Dungeons & Dragons led youths to commit suicide. A quick look at the numbers showed the suicide rate among players was below the national average. Conclusion: kids should be forced to learn and play the game in order to lower suicide rates. (Logical flaws left as an exercise for the reader.)

AND THUS, THE CANCEL CULTURE LEFT ONCE AGAIN COMES FULL CIRCLE WITH THE MORAL MAJORITY: The Woke Police Came for Dungeons & Dragons . The legendary role-playing game has become “problematic.” It all begins with the problem of Orcs.


Multiple Myeloma Cure Cloud

This summer, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation started a project called the Cure Cloud. Patients with the disease can create an account in the website and sign up to have a “liquid biopsy” performed. This doesn’t replace the traditional process of sucking bone marrow out of your pelvic bone, since it’s a presence/absence test. But it does let researchers characterize the patient’s chromosomal aberrations.

This information is then matched with the patient’s course of treatment, and helps researchers determine what treatments work best on which aberrations. This supports what’s known as “precision medicine”.

I opened my account and sent in my consent for the blood draw, and hope this will lead to a cure. That would be nice.

For myself would be even nicer.

Improvised filtration devices

I knew I had encountered a list of filtration efficiencies for a number of materials. The point was that in a contamination episode, you had access to any number of improvised filters that were better than nothing. I finally found a book of the handouts for my Physics 468-B class decades ago, and lo and behold!

Respiratory protection provided by common household and personal items against aerosols of 1 to 5 µ particle size

Item# of thicknessesResistance: mm H2O# of ObservationsEfficiency, Geometric mean99% confidence, lower99% confidence, upper
Handkerchief, man’s cotton16363294.292.6395.5
Toilet paper3133291.489.892.8
Handkerchief, man’s cotton8183288.985.591.6
Handkerchief, man’s cottoncrumpled3288.185.190.5
Bath towel, Turkish2113285.183.386.8
Bath towel, Turkish153073.970.778.8
Bed sheet, muslin122327268.874.9
Bath towel, Turkish1 (wet)33170.26872.3
Shirt, cotton1 (wet)>150 (a)1565.957.972.3
Shirt, cotton273065.560.869.6
Handkerchief, woman’s cotton4 (wet)84 (a)326357.358.7
Handkerchief, man’s cotton1 (wet)98 (a)3062.65767.5
Dress material, cotton1 (wet)180 (a)3156.349.662
Handkerchief, woman’s cotton4 (wet)23255.552.258.7
Slip, rayon16325046.253.6
Dress material, cotton153147.641.453.2
Shirt, cotton133234.62939.9
Handkerchief, man’s cotton123227.52232.5

(a) Resistance obtained when checked immediately after hand wringing. This resistance began to decrease after about one minute when the material started to dry.

I’m not sure of the original source. It may be an old version of an OSSHA handbook.

Heartland launches 22 climate science “gatebreakers”

The Heartland Institute has just published a whopping 22 gatebreakers, with more promised. This is a true wealth of important skeptical material, unlike anything we have seen before. My dream is coming true.

A gatebreaker is something a skeptical student can send around to the class when the teacher insists on alarmism. Or something short and simple to send to a journalist in response to an alarmist article, or to a politician making alarmist speeches, or the local blowhard alarmist. It’s power lies in its specificity and its simplicity.

The Heartland website is called “Climate at a Glance” ( which makes it sound softer than it really is, sort of like a pink pistol which you can actually buy. These are not glances; they are hard hitting rebuttals.

Homemade filters

In college, I encountered a list of improvised filters that could be used to guard against inhaling radioactive contamination. I haven’t been able to find that list, but here’s something from the Wall Street Journal: Will homemade filters protect against the coronavirus?

A coronavirus particle is about 0.12 microns, or an eight millionth of a meter. Different materials have been tested for their ability to screen out virus particles.

  • Furnace filters — 98%
  • Automotive filter — 95%
  • Vacuum bag — 90%
  • Swiffer dry sweeping cloth (five layers) 60%
  • T-shirt fabric (five layers) 60%
  • Bed sheets (five layers) 50%
  • Paper towels (five layers) 40%
  • Coffee filters (two layers) 10%

Source: Do DIY Masks Help Stop Coronavirus?

It’s Too Darn Hot

I’ve been slowly collecting notes on the science that science fiction writers get wrong. I have this idea of using them for the basis of a high school level science class. In fairness, I don’t count things like the swamps of Venus or the notion that Mercury’s dark side never faced the sun and was perhaps colder than Pluto. I intend to focus on things that were known at the time a story was written. For example, the notion that gravity would hold structures and an atmosphere against the inside surface of a Dyson sphere.

One thing that crops up from time to time in science fiction stories is helium-II on very cold planets. Pluto is one target. Or imagine a planet that’s tide-locked with its sun, with the dark side near absolute zero. You could imagine streams of superfluid helium flowing uphill because that’s what superfluids do.

Well, it occurred to me to look up the temperature at which liquid helium transitions to superfluid helium-II. This temperature, the so-called lambda point, is 2.1768K, or 2.1768 Celsius degrees above absolute zero.

The cosmic microwave background corresponds to a temperature of 2.7255K, or nearly half a degree above the lambda point for liquid helium. That means a body floating in interstellar space will exchange heat with the surrounding sky by radiation until its temperature is equal to the microwave background temperature. As a result, the planet will remain too hot for superfluid liquid helium to exist.

So good-by superfluid helium based life forms.

Since then, I’ve read that the temperature can be lower inside dust clouds, where the energy from the microwave background hasn’t had time to penetrate into its depths. And that could be the basis for an interesting story.


It’s too darn hot.

It’s too darn hot.

I’d like to go superfluid tonight,

And flow against gravitation tonight,

I’d like to be superfluid tonight,

And flow uphill over walls in the night,

But I ain’t down to transition tonight,

‘Cause it’s too darn hot