Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Electric Grandmother

Here is a grandmother who most definitely does not suck eggs. But she can teach you a thing or two about how to go fly a kite.




The Electric Grandmother — Ray Bradbury

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Am a Man of Constant Comment

Title: I Am a Man of Constant Comment
Artist: Abd Lomax and The Soggy Tea Bag Boyz
Composer: Soggy Tea Bag Boyz and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow — Soggy Bottom Boys (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou)

I am a man of Constant Comment
I've seen trouble all my day.
I bid farewell to Wikipedia
The place where I was scorned and chased.

The place where he was scorned and chased.

For six long years I've been in trouble
No treasures here my search hath found
For in these threads I'm bound to ramble
I have no friends to slap me down.

He has no friends to slap him down.

It's fare thee well my trollish bugger
I never expect to see you win
For I'm bound to ride that wretched railroad
Perhaps I'll wreck upon this train.

Perhaps he'll wreck upon this train.

You can bury me in wordy blizzards
For many years where I may lie
Then you may learn to nudge a brother
While I am ranting in my rave.

While he is ranting in his rave.

Maybe your friends think I'm just a wanker
My trace you'll never see no more.
But there is one promise that is given
I'll meet you on Cold Fusion's lore.

He'll meet you on Cold Fusion's lore.

CopyClef 2011 The Soggy Tea Bag Boyz and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.




I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow — The Soggy Bottom Boys
(George Clooney, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, 2000)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Junk Science

Title: Junk Science
Artist: Moulton
Composer: Lady Gaga and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Bad Romance — Lady Gaga
YouTube: Bad Project — Lady Science

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad defense

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad defense

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
Check your junk science

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
Chuck your junk science

I want your fusion
I want your disease
I want your excess heat
As long as it’s free
I want your heat
Heat-heat-heat
I want your heat

I want your drama
Mere words are too bland
I want your irritated fist pounding sand
And I want your heat
Heat-heat-heat
I want your heat
Excess heat
I want your heat

You know that I troll you
And you know that I feed you
I want some junk, your junk science

I want your anger
And I want your revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance
I want your anger and
All your words spell revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad defense

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Check out your junk science

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
I want your junk science

I want your horror
I want your design
‘Cause you’re subliminal
As long as you whine
I want your heat
Heat-heat-heat
I want your heat

I want your scope trace
Your vertical blips
Get thee behind me
'Cause Abd you're sick
I want your heat
Heat-heat-heat
I want your heat
Excess heat
I want your heat

You know that I troll you
And you know that I feed you
I want some junk, some junk science

I want your anger
And I want your revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance
I want your anger and
All your words spell revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Check out your junk science

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Chuck out your junk science

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
I want your junk science

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
I want your junk science

Talk talk fusion, maybe
Juice it
Move that itch crazy
Talk talk fusion, maybe
Juice it
Move that itch crazy
Talk talk fusion, maybe
Juice it
Move that itch crazy
Talk talk fusion, maybe
Juice it
Frog legs twitch, maybe

I want your anger
And I want your revenge
I want your heat
Cuz we'll never be friends

Ich will dein Zorn
Und ich will deine Rache
Ich will dein Zorn
And I feel your heartbreak

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Check out your junk science

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Chuck out your junk science

I want your anger
And I want your revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance
I want your heat and
All your words spell revenge
You and me perform a tragic dance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Check out your junk science

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh!
Chuck out your junk science

Dah-dah-ah-ah-ah!
Blah-Blah-Dah-ah!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
Want your junk science

CopyClef 2011 Lady Gaga and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.




Bad Project — Lady Science
(Parody by Zheng Lab at Baylor College of Medicine)




Bad Romance — Lady Gaga


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hysteresis

Hysteresis is the name of a phenomenon in electrical systems in which the state of a system depends on the history of how it arrived at its current state. Hysteresis is most commonly observed in magnetism (and hence in AC transformer circuits), but it can arise in many other contexts, both in electrical circuits and in any system which can be said to have memory.

The word, hysteresis, comes from a Greek root that variously means deficiency, shortcoming, or falling behind. The etymology of hysteresis is not related to the similar sounding word, hysteria, which comes from the Latin word for womb (or uterus).

One of the most interesting explanations of hysteresis comes from a model of the Bose-Einstein Condensate, in which a tiny perturbation in some arbitrary direction seeds a macroscopic departure in that direction. Imagine something delicately balanced on the razor's edge. Then the tiniest perturbation in one direction or another will determine which way the balanced object falls.

Once a system subject to hysteresis has arrived at a given state, it can take a substantial amount of energy to bring it to a different state.

There is a related model of how hysteresis works in neural networks to form persistent memories and beliefs that, once formed, become immune to revision, even when the evidence for revising a belief is considerably stronger than the original evidence for forming a belief in the first place. When that happens, a paradigm shift cannot take place until the evidence for revising a memorized state exceeds some fairly large threshold called the tipping point.

Oddly enough, when the tipping point is reached and a sudden paradigm shift occurs, the phenomenon is reminiscent of hysteria, which Freud and others of his age imagined to be a sudden disturbance of the womb.

Isn't that hysterical?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Final Absolution

When last we left our intrepid playwright, he was musing on the working title of the next comic opera in the Rinse Cycle...
The Ring of the Neener Bomb

Previously, Schadenfreude Theatre presented a pair of seemingly unrelated operas, one entitled Fear and Loathing in Lost Vagueness and one entitled No One Expects the Spammish Inquisition!.

Those two productions were in addition to an earlier Soap Opera entitled, Bildungsroman in the Age of Character Assassination, which featured Bela, Klaatu, Moulton, and a variety of walk-on cameos by various and sundry characters from the Original ATI/RI/PDR Soap Opera which Bela graciously kicked off some seven years ago.

Now the third opera in the Ring of the Neener Bomb is getting underway at the English Wikipedia and at Wikiversity. This one is tentatively called The Final Absolution and promises to have considerably better music than the utter atrocities previously composed by Barsoom Tork Associates.
The tentative plan was to place the proposed drama aboard a Ship, the HMS Final Absolution. On the prow of the Ship, in lieu of a statue of a naked lady, there was to be a sculpture of a Fucshia Foofy Loofah. The cargo was slated to be Vanilla Bean Soap-On-a-Rope.

However, I'm now thinking that instead of a Fucshia Foofy Loofah, I'll use a piece of Stainless Steel Wool as an Anode, and a Deuterated Palladium Cathode in lieu of the Vanilla Bean Soap-On-a-Rope. The Ship will be propelled by a noisy burst of pulsing energy through a fabulous spray of swirling mist.

I'm especially looking forward to crafting the grand finale, "The Riot of the Mockeries."

_______________________________


Title: The Riot of the Mockeries
Artist: The Wikipedia Outcast Opera Company
Producer: The Schadenfreude Post-Modern Theatre of the Absurd
Composer: Richard Wagner and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: The Ride of the Valkyries — Vienna Philharmonic
YouTube: The Ride of the Valkyries — Domine (with English lyrics)

Oh Jimbo on high,
I am calling you like a wiki clown
And as I fake my last laugh
I call for the flightiest of mockeries

For none but the brave, be he admin or a knave
With adrenalin pumping in his heart
Will be able to riot when the mockeries fly
And be summoned to the dreadful review

Oh Jimbo on high
Listen to my praise
I lived my life by your rules
Oh let banhammers clobber me now

For none but the brave, be he admin or a knave
With cojones throbbing in his loins
Will be able to riot when the mockeries fly
And be summoned to the dreadful review

With the mockeries, scroll over the battleground
Wield your banhammers and summon me
I'm waiting for you to rake my coals,
Dying to fight with ArbCom of old

Mockeries, riot over the battleground
I'm losing and glad to feud
Because I know today I will take my place
With the martyrs in ArbCom of old

For none but the brave, be he admin or a knave
With dopamine surging in his brain
Will be able to riot when the mockeries fly
And be summoned to the dreadful review

With the mockeries, riot over the battleground
Wield your banhammers and summon me
I'm wading into der Sturm und der Drang,
Nem zich a vaneh mit ArbCom of old

Mockeries, riot over the battleground
I'm dying and glad to feud
Because I know today I will jump in the lake
With the heroes in ArbCom of old

In the land of the outcasts I finally take my place
With my wounds and my trophies I enter Moulton's realm
I'm an immortal spirit now with a heart not so brittle
With the gods on high forever I will muse
And laugh at the fears of man

CopyClef 2011 Richard Wagner and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All wrongs reversed.





The Ride of the Valkyries — Vienna Philharmonic




The Ride of the Valkyries — Domine (with English lyrics)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wallucinations

If you look at the copious comments on the last half dozen blog posts here, you will note a curious phenomenon.

Almost all the comments come from just one person — Abd ul-Rahman Lomax — who is illustrating his favorite mode of conversational dialogue.

Abd employs an idiosyncratic style of communication which I frankly had never encountered before.

Since his communication style is one for which I don't have a name, I'll venture to coin a name for it.

Abd's style of communication — which is to bury his dialogue partner under a blizzard of words in which he endlessly presents his fabulous vision — is what I shall henceforth call a textual wallucination.

A wallucination is defined as a wall of text in which someone presents a fantastic hallucinatory pipe dream.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.




The Phantom Tollbooth

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Slew of Noise

The Cold Fusion cells used by researchers like SRI's Michael McKubre operate with a constant-current DC power supply. McKubre is one of the leading researchers in the Cold Fusion field. His work is funded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The advantage of using a constant current DC power supply is that the experimenter can control the DC drive current, which is the faradaic current that is either charging the electrodes or dissociating the electrolyte.
In all the technical models for input electrical power that I've looked at, the electrical input power is modeled as pure DC power, with no AC component. That is, the constant-current DC power supply is treated as an ideal constant current source, with no AC perturbations around the constant DC current.
However, all real constant current power supplies have a characteristic slew rate which specifies how fast they respond when the load impedance changes abruptly. The Kepco BOP 20-20M 400-watt power supply used by McKubre has a slew rate of 1.25 A/μsec in the constant-current mode and 1.0 V/μsec when operated in the constant-voltage mode.
The slew can be modeled as a linear ramp whenever the resistive load changes abruptly from one value to another. Instead of an ideal square wave (instantaneous adjustment), the rise and fall of the square wave is really a ramp, with slope given by the slew rate.
One can model AC power by using sawtooth or triangle waveforms, which are easy enough to integrate with simple calculus. Depending on the fluctuations in the resistive load, there will be corresponding fluctuations in the voltage which ramp up and down at the slew rate to maintain constant current. One can get an idea of how much AC power is going into the resistive load by computing the AC power of a simple triangle wave with a peak-to-peak voltage.
I did this for two examples, corresponding to a pair of experiments in McKubre's EPRI paper. McKubre doesn't say what the peak-to-peak voltage excursions are when his cells are bubbling, so I assumed a 2 V peak-to-peak swing around his reported DC values, to make the math easy to do. For the case of 2 A going into a nominal 2.5 Ω resistive load at 5 V for a DC power of 10 W, a 2-V peak-to-peak triangle wave riding on top of the DC comes out as 0.5 W of AC, for a total of 10.5 W electrical power. For the case of 7 A going into 6/7 Ω resistive load at 6 V for a DC power of 42 W, a 2-V peak-to-peak triangle wave riding on top of the DC comes out as 1.8 W of AC power, for a total of 43.8 W.
Thus a voltage excursion of the order of magnitude of 2 V peak-to-peak works out to about 4-5% of the electrical power being AC noise power at a frequency related to the slew rate of the power supply.
The CBS News film crew that accompanied 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley to McKubre's lab at SRI may have missed an opportunity to measure the peak-to-peak AC (audio) power going into McKubre's cell. All they had to do was slap one of their audio VU meters across the terminals of McKubre's cells to see if there was any AC (audio) power that McKubre was leaving out of his calculations.


Title: Hot Vibrations
Artist: Michael McKubre
Composer: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Good Vibrations — The Beach Boys

I love the effervescent fizz and spritz
And the way the sunlight plays upon the mist
I hear the sound of a gentle hiss
On the wind that lifts warm vapors with a twist

I'm picking up hot vibrations
It's giving me excitations
Click, pop pop, hot vibrations
Pop, pop, excitations
Click, pop, pop, hot vibrations

Close my eyes, I can listen closer now
Softly now, I calculate the mean
When I reckon swirling steam
It chatters me with a static whirl

I'm picking up hot vibrations
It's giving me excitations
Click, pop, pop, hot vibrations
Pop, pop, excitations
Click, pop, pop, hot vibrations

I don't know why but it sounds like fries
Oh my my my, what a sensation
Oh my my, noise generation
Got to keep those frying hot vibrations
Happening forever

CopyClef 2011 Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.



Good Vibrations — The Beach Boys

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tiny Bubbles


Perk up, Abd
You Geyser
Not Seeing
What you Mist



HHO Mist


“For those who have not witnessed the HHO as it comes out of the water, here it is. You cannot help but notice the gases popping out of the water. The mist you see is the wet gas. It was not visible until we moved it into the sunlight. This is not hot water.”

Mist Opportunity

The Miles-Fleischmann Calorimetry Model is the central technical model of isoperibolic Cold Fusion calorimetry. This model has a term, Pgas, that accounts for heat lost through the venting of D2, O2, and D2O vapors. The model assumes that all the vented D2O is in the vapor phase, and none in the condensed (liquid) phase. This does not appear to be a generally safe assumption.

During operation of the cell, D2 and O2 gas is bubbling up. When bubbles break the surface, they "spritz" some droplets into the air, much like carbonated beverages do. When cells are run at elevated temperatures (as they often are), there will also be some amount of steam, fog, or mist in the air space. Some amount of moisture in the liquid phase will be swept along with the D2, O2, and D2O vapor as it vents from the cell. But water in the liquid phase does not carry off as much heat as water in the vapor phase. When the lost water is plugged into the Miles-Fleischmann Model, the formula will assume that the amount of heat lost corresponds to that for water in the vapor phase. For every mole of water that was vented in the liquid phase (as steam, fog, or mist), 45 KJ of heat will be left behind, to show up as anomalous "excess heat."

There is no express term in the Miles-Fleischmann Model for heat from nuclear reactions; rather there is a term, Pex, for leftover heat not accounted for by any other explicit term in their model. Pex could be from any number of imaginable processes not expressly modeled in their energy budget equations. One possibility is that Pex could be a placeholder for Pmist, which needs to be expressly incorporated into their model.

Title: There's a Kind of Spritz
Artist: Abd, Moulton, and Dieter Britz
Composer: Les Reed, Geoff Stephens, and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: There's a Kind of Hush - Herman's Hermits (Rare Clip-Synced Version)

There's a kind of spritz all over the fusion cell.
All over the cell you can hear the noise of bubbles in fizz.
You computed the mean.
Just the buzzing hiss that nobody else could hear.
There's nobody else and Kirk's the one who's breaking your spell.

So listen very carefully.
Closer now and you will measure the mean.
It's all been a dream.

La-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la

So listen very carefully.
Closer now and you will measure the mean.
It's all been a dream.
The crackling sound that you will hear
Is popping bubbles in your ear
Fizzing there forever and ever.

There's a kind of spritz all over the fusion cell.
All over the cell you can hear the noise of bubbles in fizz.
Yeah, they're popping in hiss.
Spritz! "They're crackling," says Britz.
Spritz.

CopyClef 2011 Les Reed, Geoff Stephens, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.




There's a Kind of Hush — Herman's Hermits

Monday, January 03, 2011

Classical Gas

A few days ago, we were musing about opium-induced dreams as a metaphor to illustrate the pipe dreams of the Cold Fusion enthusiasts.

This morning, on NPR, science reporter, Joe Palca, told us about smoking a variety of southwestern sage called Salvia Divinorum. Like smoking other opioids, Salvia brings on hallucinogenic dreams in which the subject experiences an altered reality.

Thinking about Salvia and Ions reminded me of Ian and Sylvia, a Canadian folk music duo from the 1960s. They came to mind partly because of their top song titles.

Ian & Sylvia

Four Strong Winds - Four Strong Winds - 2006 - 4:25
Early Morning Rain - Best Of The Vanguard Years - 2006 - 3:58
You Were On My Mind - Northern Journey - 2006 - 2:47
Some Day Soon - Northern Journey - 2006 - 2:21

Each of these song titles has a connection to my recent conversations with Abd ul-Rahman Lomax on his favorite subject of Cold Fusion.

Abd and I were reviewing a particular set of experiments, carried out by a chap named Zhang, who ran his Cold Fusion cell in steampunk mode, at or near the boiling point. In these cells, you need a safety valve to vent the gases if the pressure gets too high. The safety valve kicks in if the catalytic recombiner gets wet and stops working. In that case, there are four components in the steam bath. You have water vapor and steam, plus gaseous Deuterium and Oxygen. These are the "four strong winds" that are vented. The problem is to figure out how much of each one is being vented. It occurred to me that putting a steam whistle on the vent (thereby turning Zhang's Cold Fusion Cell into a Steam Calliope) would do the job. Just as inhaling Helium will change the timbre of your voice, the mix of gases will change the timbre of the Steam Calliope. It occurred to me that Zhang could assay the vented gases by analyzing the audio spectrum of the whistle from his Steam Calliope.

As to the other three songs from Ian and Sylvia, obviously Abd has been on my mind the last few weeks, and we've previously talked about how there is a little raincloud in operation in the cell. And of course, Abd and the Fusioneers expect to demonstrate Cold Fusion someday soon.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Steampunk Fusion Dream

Title: Steampunk Fusion Dream
Artist: Moulton
Composer: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Barsoom Tork Associates
Midi: Yellow Submarine


In the town of Santa Fe
Lives a man who wrote to me
And he told me of his strife
In the land of science dreams

So we rallied up some puns
Till we found the steampunk theme
And we dived beneath the raves
In our steampunk fusion dream

We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream
We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream

And our friends are in a cult
Many more of them need an adult
And the band begins to play

We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream
We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream

As we live a life of tease
Everyone of us has too much greed
Bubbling gas and steampunk theme
In our steampunk fusion dream.

We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream
We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream

We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream
We all believe in our steampunk fusion dream,
Steampunk fusion dream, steampunk fusion dream


CopyClef 2011 John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Barsoom Tork Associates
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.

Up In Smoke

Joseph Priestley was a pioneer in chemistry who shares the credit with Antoine Lavoisier for the discovery of Oxygen. Before Oxygen was discovered — along with an explanation of its crucial role in combustion — chemists generally believed in a now long-forgotten Phlogiston Theory.


A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being impossible to achieve. The term originated in the 19th century as an allusion to the dreams experienced by smokers of opium pipes.
Phlogiston was hypothesized to be a substance that was present in unburned materials that was released during combustion. Quite literally, the Phlogiston went up in smoke. Antoine Lavoisier measured the mass of the smoke along with the mass of the ash, and found that together they weighed more than the fuel. There was too much smoke! This puzzling observation led some to suggest that Phlogiston must have negative mass. Of course the extra mass that Lavoisier found in the smoke was the mass of Oxygen.

Once Lavoisier worked out the mathematics for his Oxygen Combustion Model, most chemists abandoned the Phlogiston Theory. One might say the Phlogiston Theory itself went up in smoke.

But not quite. A number of chemists —notably including Joseph Priestley — clung to the Phlogiston Theory to their dying day. Was Priestley reluctant to concede that Lavoisier had not only joined in the discovery of Oxygen, but also discovered and developed the better scientific theory of the role of Oxygen in the combustion process?

Oddly enough, the Story of Phlogiston and the Excess Smoke is very similar to the Story of Cold Fusion and the Excess Heat. The so-called "excess heat" of Cold Fusion is very much like Phlogiston — a problematic (and demonstrably incorrect) way to account for the gozintas and gozoutas. In Cold Fusion some of the heat from the apparatus escapes without passing through the device that carefully measures heat flow. How do they account for this heat that sneaks past the meter? They use a complex mathematical model that has a term for every imaginable way some heat can escape undetected. The smallest error in that complicated mathematical model can throw off the estimate of the unmeasured or unaccounted fraction of heat in the overall system.

Like Antoine Lavoisier, who carefully captured all the smoke and carefully assayed it, modern replications of the Cold Fusion experiment are finding that the "excess heat" isn't really there. Rather it was an artifact of subtle errors in the complicated mathematical model that purportedly accounted for the unmeasured heat that bypassed the meter.

And so Cold Fusion, like Phlogiston, goes up in smoke.

And yet the Fusioneers, like Joseph Priestley, will continue to believe in their fabulous pipe dream until their dying day.