Page 1 of 1

2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:52 pm UTC
by leeharveyosmond
Image

Title text: "It's like someone briefly joined the team running the universe, introduced their idea for a cool mechanic, then left, and now everyone is stuck pretending that this wildly unbalanced dynamic makes sense."

Is plutonium that unrealistic? Much as I love it, that stuff carries seriously bad karma. Even Pu-240 .

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:05 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
You recharge it by blowing up a star. That’s why it’s so OP.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:34 pm UTC
by Hatless
Had me thinking they were talking about the sun for a moment.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:40 pm UTC
by grim4593
How much energy does it take to make enough plutonium to emit 1000W (to start)?
More like an atomic battery really.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:56 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Fucking Plutonium: how does it work?

Yes, I know how RTGs work. It's a doggone joke m'kay?

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:12 pm UTC
by americasgijoe
I mean it helps that plutonium is FANTASTICALLY toxic. Just like the best at making people deadsies. Bonus, even if you keep it contained, if you get enough of it together, it'll create a self sustaining pile and start their own spontaneous fissioning will irradiate you, causing you to die in extremely painful, slow and horrible ways.

So like cool life hack, but it's less useful cause of all the death and stuff.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:36 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
The big factor the comic leaves out is that the energy output will decline appreciably over timescales of decades - with a half-life under a century (87.7 years) the power output will drop to 80% in less than three decades (28.2 years).

Once you take account of the decay in output, it suddenly starts seeming a lot more realistic. Particularly in a universe full of balls of gas that have been emitting energy at a gradually increasing rate for billions of years...

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:40 pm UTC
by ijuin
grim4593 wrote:How much energy does it take to make enough plutonium to emit 1000W (to start)?
More like an atomic battery really.

That depends on how you are producing the plutonium. Plutonium is generated inside uranium fission reactors and can be chemically extracted from spent uranium fuel rods—the PREVENTION of people doing this is a major step in avoiding the proliferation of nuclear weapons production.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:55 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
Hatless wrote:Had me thinking they were talking about the sun for a moment.


Had me thinking they had renamed RTG, or (more likely) that "power orb" was an inside-NASA slang term for RTG.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:10 pm UTC
by da Doctah
Any truth to the rumor that Neil DeGrasse Tyson wants to have plutonium reclassified as a dwarf element?

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:50 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
da Doctah wrote:Any truth to the rumor that Neil DeGrasse Tyson wants to have plutonium reclassified as a dwarf element?


Yeah, I heard it was something about the electron orbits not being cleared.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:01 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
americasgijoe wrote:So like cool life hack, but it's less useful cause of all the death and stuff.
[EXPERIMENT] GLOWING
1000 WATT PLUTONIUM KNIFE VS COCA COLA

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:53 am UTC
by Pfhorrest
In Sailor Moon, “Pu” is the nickname Chibi-Usa gives to Sailor Pluto. I always attributed the lack of “L” there to Japanese having difficulty with that sound but now I’m wondering if it’s a Plutonium pun.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:59 am UTC
by ijuin
Nah, it’s because Japanese phonetics doesn’t allow two consonant phonemes together, so “Pluto” is rendered as “Pu-ru-to”.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:00 am UTC
by Bridge Troll
Additionally, Japanese people don't "have difficulty" transliterating "l" sounds into the language, and there is by no means any attempt at avoiding words with it. To the Japanese ear, when Japanese people speak Japanese with each other, there isn't a concept of a difference between "l" and "r" to begin with, so there's no reason it would be any more difficult to pronounce the ル in プルート than in a basic native word like ある. It's not something a Japanese speaker is even conscious of, let alone struggling with or making decisions around. Which is exactly why it's become such a stereotype among English speakers for Japanese speakers to be unable to differentiate the two when speaking English, but that's accordingly only a problem when speaking English (and other foreign languages)!

I just wanted to bring that up because it's very common for people to view other cultures and languages through the lens of their own culture and language where it's not at all applicable. Different cultures perceive the world in different ways, so it's important to be able to step back and notice that what you take for granted as the natural way of things is actually only one perspective among many.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:17 am UTC
by Soupspoon
Like some people just can't say Llandudno*, in an honest attempt to voice the Ll, without saying Clandudno (even when they make the effort to rhyme it to "did know" and with the correct stressing).

And I know I'm tone-deaf to the subtleties of the Xhosian clicks (except when someone is very obviously enunciating them). So it's probably even more like that.


* Now try Yystradfellte! (For me it doesn't help that I apparently swing tend towards the North Walian accent.)

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:48 am UTC
by Mikeski
Bridge Troll wrote:It's not something a Japanese speaker is even conscious of, let alone struggling with or making decisions around.

To a certain extent, yes. There are some conscious decisions made, though.

Example: "fruit" and "flute" would transliterate to the same phonemes, so they change the last sound instead, to keep them different. fu-ruu-to is an instrument and fu-ruu-tsu is a food.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:29 am UTC
by Bridge Troll
Ehh, not really. First of all, although there might be a conscious decision made about how to transliterate a word by the person or people who first imported it, it's not something that's consciously thought of every time the word is used thereafter. For comparison, English speakers who pronounce "karaoke" the English way aren't consciously aware of the fact that the pronunciation is heavily distorted, nor are they actively making a decision to pronounce that way for a specific reason; it's just the way they say the word because that's how they've always heard other people say it.

Moreover, although decisions are made during initial transliteration, I don't think that "l" vs. "r" plays a role in those decisions. Homophones are extremely common in Japanese already, after all, and there are many examples of homophone "l"/"r" loanwords too - for example, プレイヤー can mean both "player" or "prayer". The reason "fruit" is transliterated with a "tsu" is not to avoid making a homonym with "flute", but rather because the word originally being transliterated was "fruits", the distinguishment between "fruit" and "fruits" being unimportant because Japanese words don't inflect for pluralisation.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:26 am UTC
by somitomi
Pfhorrest wrote:You recharge it by blowing up a star. That’s why it’s so OP.

I'm gonna have to craft a bigger forge then...
Hatless wrote:Had me thinking they were talking about the sun for a moment.

We haven't levelled up enough yet to unlock "portable sun in a can" (also known as "nuclear fusion" to boring people).
rmsgrey wrote:The big factor the comic leaves out is that the energy output will decline appreciably over timescales of decades - with a half-life under a century (87.7 years) the power output will drop to 80% in less than three decades (28.2 years).

Once you take account of the decay in output, it suddenly starts seeming a lot more realistic. Particularly in a universe full of balls of gas that have been emitting energy at a gradually increasing rate for billions of years...

That does sound like the result of someone saying "okay, this is cool, but way OP, we need to balance it somehow" after the creator of plutonium left.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:44 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Bridge Troll wrote:but rather because the word originally being transliterated was "fruits"

"The sheep eat(s)¹ (a)² fruit(s)³." Both ¹ and ² optional, and ³ is an option if no ², according to the meaning(s)⁴ required. ;)

⁴ - At first thought. There may be further permutations!

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:50 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
americasgijoe wrote:I mean it helps that plutonium is FANTASTICALLY toxic. Just like the best at making people deadsies. Bonus, even if you keep it contained, if you get enough of it together, it'll create a self sustaining pile and start their own spontaneous fissioning will irradiate you, causing you to die in extremely painful, slow and horrible ways.

So like cool life hack, but it's less useful cause of all the death and stuff.

Yes, plutonium is very chemically toxic, independent of issues caused by its radioactivity. However,
plutonium-238, the isotope used in RTGs, is not fissile. It mostly emits alpha particles, but they're easily blocked (eg by a sheet of paper), and a lump of Pu-238 is hot because the kinetic energy of the alpha particles emitted inside the lump gets converted to heat.

grim4593 wrote:How much energy does it take to make enough plutonium to emit 1000W (to start)?
More like an atomic battery really.

The Wikipedia article discusses the production of Pu-238, but it's hard to give a solid answer to the energy cost of production because Pu-238 is made by irradiating neptunium-237 (a waste product of uranium fission) or americium (another fission waste product) with neutrons, and neutrons are pretty cheap if you have a fission reactor handy. ;) Of course, processing nuclear waste safely is a tricky (and thus expensive) operation, and it has a tendency to make your equipment radioactive (if the waste contains gamma or neutron emitters).

If you also need to separate different isotopes of the same element it's extremely tricky, since normal chemical techniques are almost useless: different isotopes have the same chemical properties, but heavier isotopes move slower, so the reaction speeds are slightly slower.

1 kg of fresh Pu-238 generates 568 watts of heat. Its density is 19.329 g/cm3, so 1 cubic centimetre generates just under 11 watts.

Here's a pellet of plutonium-238 glowing from its own heat. Image courtesy of the US DoE.

Image

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:59 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
On the "l" vs "r" thing: even in English, the distinction isn't always clear. Eg, the "l" in "walk" & "talk" is pretty close to a (non-rhotic) "r" sound, but I expect most native English speakers don't usually notice that "l" is being weird in those words.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:31 am UTC
by chridd
PM 2Ring wrote:On the "l" vs "r" thing: even in English, the distinction isn't always clear. Eg, the "l" in "walk" & "talk" is pretty close to a (non-rhotic) "r" sound, but I expect most native English speakers don't usually notice that "l" is being weird in those words.
The l in those words is silent (at least in my dialect), so I'd say it's pretty obviously weird (although, compared to the rest of English spelling, it's not that weird). (I can't think of any words where the distinction isn't clear in my (rhotic, American) dialect...)

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:59 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
PM 2Ring wrote:On the "l" vs "r" thing: even in English, the distinction isn't always clear. Eg, the "l" in "walk" & "talk" is pretty close to a (non-rhotic) "r" sound, but I expect most native English speakers don't usually notice that "l" is being weird in those words.


For a Geordie, "work" is pronounced pretty much the same way as RP "walk", and the "al" is pronounced like in "balance", giving rise to the joke about the Geordie attending a health assessment for benefits, who is asked "Can you walk?" and responds "Work? I can hardly walk!" (the joke works much better when you hear it)...

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
The Geordie(/environs*, with apologies to the Sunderlese, etc) there's also a meeting of the 'normal' different "l"s, where pronounced. Famously the Sarth London "l" (especially after a glottelstop) is such that "milk" is sometimes rendered as "miuwk" and "bottle" "bo'uw. Then there's the Northern Irish (give or take) "fillum" for "film", with a version of the adjacent consonant phoneme issue not too unlike the Japanese one as mentioned.


Which has not much to do with any actinide, but whenever has that stopped a comic discussion? ;)


* Yeah, I'm grossly broadening things, and skipping over the myriad of other dialect issues that some experts could use to often identify not just the region or area that one came from, but town or even sometimes the part of a small town, almost to a street. At least before we got mass media to dilute dialectic influences and otherwise end us up with things like Jafaican and South Wales Valley-Girl.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:46 pm UTC
by NeatNit
How did the comic titled "Plutonium", which discusses exclusively plutonium and plutonium's plutoniumness, end you up taking about Japanese pronunciation?!

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:10 am UTC
by Old Bruce
NeatNit wrote:How did the comic titled "Plutonium", which discusses exclusively plutonium and plutonium's plutoniumness, end you up taking about Japanese pronunciation?!

I am personally more interested by the variations in Geordie dialects. Plutonium and/or Japan, meh.
Oh, um, Yay Hard Science!

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:35 am UTC
by Bridge Troll
NeatNit wrote:How did the comic titled "Plutonium", which discusses exclusively plutonium and plutonium's plutoniumness, end you up taking about Japanese pronunciation?!


Well, that's an easy mystery to solve, as far as forum diversions go!
Pfhorrest wrote:In Sailor Moon, “Pu” is the nickname Chibi-Usa gives to Sailor Pluto. I always attributed the lack of “L” there to Japanese having difficulty with that sound but now I’m wondering if it’s a Plutonium pun.


Just be grateful that Godwin's law hasn't been invoked. Yet.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:47 am UTC
by Mikeski
Also, "critical mass" to "mass nouns", an obvious logical step. (Around here, anyway.)

Invoking Sailor Moon to get there was just for style points.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:05 am UTC
by gormster
"How do we balance this?"

"Ummmm… if you go too close to it, you die?"

"Good enough."

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:26 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Bridge Troll wrote:
NeatNit wrote:How did the comic titled "Plutonium", which discusses exclusively plutonium and plutonium's plutoniumness, end you up taking about Japanese pronunciation?!


Well, that's an easy mystery to solve, as far as forum diversions go!
Pfhorrest wrote:In Sailor Moon, “Pu” is the nickname Chibi-Usa gives to Sailor Pluto. I always attributed the lack of “L” there to Japanese having difficulty with that sound but now I’m wondering if it’s a Plutonium pun.


Just be grateful that Godwin's law hasn't been invoked. Yet.


Hydrogen-Iodine-Thallium-Erbium.

You can thank me later.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:07 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
cellocgw wrote:Hydrogen-Iodine-Thallium-Erbium.

You can thank me later.


Carbon-helium-erbium-tetrasulphide-thorium-astatine, Nobellium-tungsten!

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
...by your powers combined, I am Captain Planet! Now stand back Planeteers, it's time I stop Pollute-O and her toxic ways once and for all!

Sailor Pluto: No, no! Not "Pollute-O"! "プルート"!

[cue actual Polluto-O and her toxic pollutonium]

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:09 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Man, that can't be a fair fight. Planet versus dwarf planet? Also, Captain is 14 ranks higher than sailor.

Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:40 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Bridge Troll wrote:English speakers who pronounce "karaoke" the English way aren't consciously aware of the fact that the pronunciation is heavily distorted, nor are they actively making a decision to pronounce that way for a specific reason; it's just the way they say the word because that's how they've always heard other people say it.

Even fewer are aware that the "oke" (オケ) part of "karaoke" actually comes from the Japanese reading of the English "orchestra" as "okesutora" (オーケストラ). So the word has gone all the way around the world back to England, I guess.