2115: "Plutonium"

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2115: "Plutonium"

Postby leeharveyosmond » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:52 pm UTC

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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 .

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:05 pm UTC

You recharge it by blowing up a star. That’s why it’s so OP.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Hatless » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:34 pm UTC

Had me thinking they were talking about the sun for a moment.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby grim4593 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:40 pm UTC

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

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:56 pm UTC

Fucking Plutonium: how does it work?

Yes, I know how RTGs work. It's a doggone joke m'kay?
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby americasgijoe » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:12 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:36 pm UTC

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...

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby ijuin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:40 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Heimhenge » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:55 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:10 pm UTC

Any truth to the rumor that Neil DeGrasse Tyson wants to have plutonium reclassified as a dwarf element?

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Heimhenge » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:50 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby eviloatmeal » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:01 am UTC

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
*** FREE SHIPPING ENABLED ***
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:53 am UTC

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.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby ijuin » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:59 am UTC

Nah, it’s because Japanese phonetics doesn’t allow two consonant phonemes together, so “Pluto” is rendered as “Pu-ru-to”.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Bridge Troll » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:00 am UTC

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.
Last edited by Bridge Troll on Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:20 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:17 am UTC

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.)

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Mikeski » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:48 am UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Bridge Troll » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:29 am UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby somitomi » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:26 am UTC

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.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:44 pm UTC

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. ;)

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby PM 2Ring » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:50 am UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby PM 2Ring » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:59 am UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby chridd » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:31 am UTC

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...)
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:59 pm UTC

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)...

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby NeatNit » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:46 pm UTC

How did the comic titled "Plutonium", which discusses exclusively plutonium and plutonium's plutoniumness, end you up taking about Japanese pronunciation?!

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Old Bruce » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:10 am UTC

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.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Bridge Troll » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:35 am UTC

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.

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:47 am UTC

Also, "critical mass" to "mass nouns", an obvious logical step. (Around here, anyway.)

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

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby gormster » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:05 am UTC

"How do we balance this?"

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

"Good enough."
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:26 pm UTC

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.


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You can thank me later.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:07 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Hydrogen-Iodine-Thallium-Erbium.

You can thank me later.


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

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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 pm UTC

...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]
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:09 pm UTC

Man, that can't be a fair fight. Planet versus dwarf planet? Also, Captain is 14 ranks higher than sailor.
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Re: 2115: "Plutonium"

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:40 am UTC

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.


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