atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2595: ...but life goes on.

As awful as the disaster in Japan is, I got my own problems, so I'm going to have to put that aside and deal with my own stuff.

I'm getting up early tomorrow morning to go down to Rantoul, IL, to interview for a job. (Yes on a Saturday.) Of course, going from 0-60 in the space of about a day means I'm going to be frantically getting my shit together tonight, but that's also fine.

I don't have any idea what this is going to entail, but all I have to do is turn in about as good an interview as I did at #1 and I'll probably do well.

So: get up with the dawn and 3S, then climb into the monkey suit; and then drive for two freakin' hours.

* * *

Very cold brown dwarf. Forget K, M, N, R, S, and T class stars; they have to invent a new stellar classification for this one: Y, which applies to any star with a surface temperature below 225° celcius.

I didn't know about T-class stars until I read the article. It's been a few years since I last seriously looked at astronomy; in 2000, "S" was the bottom of the scale, and anything below that was merely "sub-S". Now we've got T and Y. "Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me" now needs to append words to add N, R, S, T, and Y. (It's a mnemonic device: O B A F G K M are the spectral types of main sequence stars.) ("Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me NRSTY!") ("Nersty"?)

* * *

And that led me to this article about "electroweak stars".

Degenerate matter is strange stuff. The most commonly-known form of it is neutronium, which is matter composed entirely of neutrons. Compared with neutronium, even the nucleus of a uranium atom is wispy thin, with plenty of room between particles; neutronium is neutrons packed together like ball bearings in a sack.

This makes it heavy. A blob of neutronium the size of a Honda Civic would weigh as much as the Moon, and if you got too close to the thing you'd end up becoming one with it, permanently. (You'd be a thin scum of degenerate normal matter atop the neutronium. Yes you'd be dead.)

But neutronium isn't the densest possible state of matter. No; quark matter is the densest one I know of, and at that I'm probably ignorant of something even denser. (Like Al Gore. No, that was a cheap shot. Besides, it was too obvious. Maybe Joe Biden. *rimshot*) In quark matter, you have a blob of quarks all packed together like ball bearings in a sack, and quark matter makes neutronium look like angel food cake!

The notion that quarks can be "burned" to make energy in the core of a quark star is itself pretty damn cool, but the theory that one of these things could last longer than a couple seconds makes it even more fascinating to me.

As an energy source, a quark star would leave a lot to be desired. Seems like its output would primarily be neutrinos, which are not well-known for their ability to interact with matter. And if you converted our sun into a quark star, it would end up being about the size of Pluto, anyway. Not very "warm and bright", if you know what I mean.

Finding one with a telescope ain't gonna be easy, not when they don't last long, the conditions required to form them are very rare, and they're not radiating much in the EM spectrum. And it seems to me that the stars would--after radiating away a sufficient quantity of mass--convert into either neutron stars, or plain old white dwarves.

If quark stars are strange matter, then all bets are off, of course; but I have a bit of trouble with the concept of strange matter, anyway. "Drop this particle and the whole world turns into strange matter!" It sounds like something from a comic book....

* * *

I tried Google Chrome yesterday, and I don't like it.

Well--it's fast, I'll give it that. I like that part; Firefox has become idiotic bloatware--much the same way Netscape did--and I wouldn't mind replacing it with something faster. Internet Explorer is out; it's the prime target for hackers and it's worse bloatware than Firefox is to begin with.

But thanks to Firefox I'm used to there being a bookmark sidebar, and Chrome has no such thing. (Much the same way Netscape was, in fact.) The best it has is a drop-down menu on the right side of the window, and you can't reposition it.

The lack of a sidebar is so turn-of-the-century. Give me that, Googe, and I'll switch; but I'm not going to use a browser that doesn't give me convenient access to my bookmarks right out of the box. And it turns out that there's a whole bunch of people who feel the same as me on the subject; so I bet Googe will make the change soon enough.

* * *

Program bloat seems inevitable. You get something working, then you "improve" it by adding bells and whistles and gewgaws; and the next thing you know, you've got this gigantic green slime of code that devours everything in its path, and you can't wipe the slate and start over because everyone expects that code, and their stuff will break if it's not there.

That's why Windows is the way it is. Hell, Microsoft rewrote a lot of stuff for Vista, and look what happened: a lot of software simply did not work under Vista, even though the APIs were functionally equivalent to the prior versions. in a couple years, I expect I'll toss Firefox and adopt Chrome (assuming they add the damn sidebar I want), and some time after all that another browser will come along that I'll switch to because Chrome has become useless bloatware.

Life, as they say, goes on.

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