Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

The density of Plutonium

Posted in Other by Ziggy Monday November 6, 2017 at 16:36

I noticed that the density numbers were missing from the Plutonium isotope pages on Wikipedia. If we take the Pu244 density of 19.816 g/cm3 from the wikipedia page as veracious, the other isotope densities are easy to derive. Since the chemical density is essentially identical, due to the proton identity, all that is left is to scale the density linearly with atomic weight. This gives us values of:

Pu isotope Density (g/cm3)
244 19.816
243 19.735
242 19.654
241 19.572
240 19.491
239 19.410
238 19.329

Now that there is a reference, we can add this info to Wikipedia, thereby completing the process of citogenesis.

XKCD by Randall Munroe, used without permission.

In order to perform a check against the veracity of this data, let’s figure out how much the released energy will alter the mass of the isotope. For a gram of Pu238, we get 0.568 W, which, over double the half-life period of 87.7 years, yields 3.1 GJ of energy. From E=mC^2, we find that this will reduce the mass of one gram of plutonium by 0.35 μg, seven orders of magnitude below our threshold of accuracy. So the binding energy of the Pu nucleus can not significantly influence the density, which confirms our calculations as valid.

Since “worth his weight in gold” is a common phrase, I wondered what would happen if one was made of their weight in plutonium. Since plutonium is about 20 times denser than water, that gives us a person 2.71 times smaller than a normal person. Since this would also be far above the critical mass for plutonium, this person would promptly explode.

Civilizations, Barbarians, and City States

Posted in Articles by Toad Sunday September 17, 2017 at 21:19

Introduction

Ever played the Civilization series? Maybe Endless Legend? If not, these are both examples of what are often called “4X Games“: they’re turn-based strategy games focused on “exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination”. This sort of game can also be called an “empire building” game, and the general premise is that the player is an external guide for a people group of some description that usually fits with the modern idea of a nation. Typical examples of this game will be played on a more-or-less 2D map, feature some sort of development mechanic (usually in the form of one or more research trees designed to model scientific progress), and a unit-based movement mechanic that usually comprises both combat and exploration. Units can generally build cities and destroy cities and other units. Cities build more units, and can improve themselves and (by some mechanic or another) improve (“exploit”) the land around them. In these games, the player seeks victory through one or more forms of dominance: the classic victory condition is total military conquest, but over the years more options have been added, ranging from scientific victories (where the player’s nation is the first to achieve some developmental milestone) to diplomatic victories (where the player is essentially elected “king of the world”) and more.

Perhaps the most recognizable example of this sort of game is the Civilization series. Started by Sid Meier at Microprose back in 1991, the Civilization games have long set a standard of quality in the genre and are commonly emulated, cloned, and adapted. (more…)

Starship Log: 022

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Thursday July 20, 2017 at 14:57

Nerved out on exterior duty today. Something about EP-61, the dark all around, and the weightlessness triggered my dive-abort reflex. Came out of it in a few seconds, but had to call it in and get help gathering all the tools I scattered. Good news is there’s no coronal scarring on the vac-side power nodes, so the in-flight tweak seems to have worked.

Cathy gave me a check-over after, says it happens to the flight crew during training too. Might be just trying to make me feel better. Appreciated all the same; Earl is going to make sure I remember. I was never this jumpy before. I wonder if the nerve re-balance has anything to do with it.

GR:SO post-mortem

Posted in Articles,Music by Ziggy Friday May 12, 2017 at 06:05

Hey, Paul Spooner here, doing an animation post-mortem of the Good Robot: Space Opera AMV I made.

How it Began

The ground was laid for the project in mid-september 2013. Shamus Young had just started working on a 2d shmup game called Good Robot, and I was inspired to make a 3d model of the eponymous virtuous automaton. The model turned out pretty well, but besides a few renders I didn’t have anything to use it for.

A couple years later, it’s February 2016, and Good Robot is finally scheduled for release. I have the impulse to contribute to the marketing push by making some fanimation. (more…)

Roadside Emergency

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur by Ziggy Tuesday March 28, 2017 at 16:52

I’m riding my motorcycle, having just pulled away from the stop light. The day is cool and overcast, and the clouds are bright in the creases, as if lit by a day-long lightning bolt. The gentle hills to either side rustle in the light breeze, and I can easily imagine the flies rising like pollen from the riotous tangles of grass. As I snap-nod my flip-face helmet closed and lean into the highway on-ramp, my mind begins to wander. (more…)

Parenting Philosophy

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Tuesday March 28, 2017 at 15:42

I have ranted before about raising children, but I figured I’d post this more concise crystalization.

First, Anna and I are both fundamentalist Bible-believing Christians, and that (hopefully) guides our aims and methods. So, you’re going to have to translate these to match your own principles.

Our core principle is “Children are people”
And then any principle which applies to people in general applies to them, especially:
“People can be trained in any ability which they can control.”
and
“People are responsible for any action or possession that they can control.”

On top of this is our belief that “Parents have ownership over their children”
which leads to two further principles:
“Parents are responsible for their children’s actions.”
and
“Children should obey their parents”

From these six principles, follows our principle of parenting and child-rearing:
“Parents can and should train their children both to obey, and to accept responsibility for any of the child’s actions or possessions that the child can control.”

Pondermull Campaign

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Wednesday March 22, 2017 at 16:16

Back in 2010-2011 I ran a D&D campaign. It was my first real attempt at “doing it right” and I feel like I learned a lot in the process. Most of those lessons you can find elsewhere, and I certainly didn’t innovate to any great degree, but as a means of closure (and since I intended to do so eventually) I’m going to chronicle as much as I can of what happened and why. I’m doing this without most of my notes, so many of the details are incomplete.

To start off, here’s:

The Grand Outline (more…)

Composite VTOL

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Saturday January 28, 2017 at 09:05

Our aerospace industry could be more efficient if we built airplanes in two pieces, a take-off tug that did launch assist for a long-range mission core. Details in this report: http://www.tryop.com/Innovation/CompositeVTOL.pdf

Or just read the text below (more…)

Planet by Oskar, Now with Saves and Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted in Articles,Other by Ziggy Sunday September 18, 2016 at 08:46

Oskar Stålberg wrote this lovely little piece of software which he titled his “Polygonal Planet Project”.

Unfortunately, it had no keyboard shortcuts or save/load functionality… so Dru hacked it in! It’s currently a single-file “quicksave” sort of functionality, but it seems to work in the cases we’ve tested. It makes the game much more enjoyable, we think! Currently saves are hard-coded to /path/to/Planet/planetsave.cfg.

F5: Save to File
F9: Load from File

(more…)

Principles of Animation

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Tuesday July 19, 2016 at 10:11

There are a classic set of “Twelve Principles of Animation” which some Disney guys came up with based on their experiences, and by all accounts they have held up fairly well. What I’d like to do here is explore the principles, draw out some patterns I’ve noticed, and then offer some guidelines of my own.

So, for reference, here’s the video that kicked off my drive to write this article. And here is the list of the 12 principles that he lists, and which I’ll be exploring: (more…)

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