September 5, 2013
When I found out how gold was made my eyes and brain freaked out. I never thought about it before. I never thought about Higgs Boson either and still don’t think about that….too much. But our elements….how were they made?
Gold is an element. It’s chemical symbol is Au and is derived from Latin. If you have any gold on you right now, you have something that was made billions of years ago…..before the earth was created! Yep, gold wasn’t made in a volcano and it doesn’t come from our sun. You have an element with 79 protons and 79 neutrons and the only energy that could bring all those particles together took place in a supernova and/or perhaps neutron star collisions. That is where gold is made. Freakin’ awesome!
Isn’t that amazing? Most of the gold in our earth is deep down in the earth’s core (because it’s so heavy it sank to the middle) so the gold that we have on top of the earth came from meteorites and asteroids. South Africa got lucky and was probably hit by an asteroid with a huge amount of gold in it. That’s another amazing thing. If we weren’t bombarded by those things we probably wouldn’t know about gold….and honestly, we wouldn’t exist. Period. Carl Sagan said it, “we are made of star dust.” I’ll let you take a moment and think about that.
Every single living thing on this earth is made of atoms that originated in either the big bang or from star explosions. I can’t add enough wows to this.
Now you know why there’s talk of mining meteors and asteroids (for rare and valuable elements). I’ll just leave it at that.
South Africa gold mine
August 15, 2013
What on earth do these two have in common? If you haven’t heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, may I suggest you look him up. I think he might be someone that will go on my hero list. One day I’ll put together my whole list of heroes but some of the people on my list might piss some of you off so I’m holding off on that post until I get you to subscribe to this website! Back to Neil…he did say something about radon or at least I found a website that mentioned the two together. Here’s why I put the two together. If you like smart, intelligent and proactive scientists that are trying to help find ways to get others to understand how nature works and the physics that underlies the process, then I can put radon in the same sentence with anyone like that.
I want to talk about radon for a minute and then Neil. What I know about radon comes from having to buy and sell a house or two. It seems like Texas and Colorado both have some kind of real estate disclosure piece of paper (I don’t know about the law) that says you either have to test for radon or at least say you haven’t done any testing, or something like that. It’s there on that form, somewhere about disclosures. The last real estate transaction bothered me when I had to answer that question. I tried my darndest to find a website that would refute the issue of radon causing any measurable cancer risk in MY basement. I ended up telling the buyer they can test if they want but I won’t be paying for any “remediation.” I’m not calling this radon stuff a joke by any means, it just seems to have taken on a life of it’s own with all the worries about this stuff. I’ve got a link for you at the end that is good to look at from Columbia University regarding radon. I ended up telling my broker that if the buyer wanted to live in my basement for 76 years continuously then we might have a problem with radon and cancer.
In comes Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist I think you should like, like Carl Sagan. I do have to show where he and radon might be connected here, http://www.radonleaders.org/node/18533. But don’t go to that web page. It’s some guy making a comment that he heard Tyson say something about radon. Neil deGrasse Tyson knows about gamma ray bursts, black holes and all those crazy things like carbon stars and rogue planets. You should check out the wikipedia.org page for him because I can’t do his biography justice here. He is an enjoyable to listen to and intelligent scientist who wants to help Americans appreciate the huge accomplishments that science has made and some of which fits in our every day lives. Take away some of our gadgets and you might miss that immediate connection to the world that physics and science provided. I know there are some that might want to do that. Let me know how that goes.
In case you don’t look up Dr. deGrasse Tyson I’m putting his picture here. I know the Kardashians might have the upper hand on publicity these days but just try to recognize this guy next time you see him.
Columbia University radon gas web page
Neil deGrasse Tyson