Speculation about a Hypothetical, Alien’s Culture

A concept which has captured Human imagination for decades, is the possibility of life on other planets, presumably orbiting other stars, than our own Sun. And the first, obvious question people might ask is, ‘If aliens – i.e., ETs – exist, which Solar System – i.e. Star – might they be living on?’ as well as ‘Have they in fact, ever traveled to our solar system?’ What I’d like to do with this posting, is to direct my own thinking sideways, into a mode more speculative, than anything I normally blog about: ‘What culture / societal / ideological ordering might they have, if they exist at all, through which they would judge our society?’

And I’d just like to point out a brief observation, about reported alien abductions: The people who were abducted, at least according to initial reports in the 1970s etc., seemed to detail being taken into rooms on-board spacecraft, which were remarkably devoid of controls. In the 1970s, our aircraft and other platforms had many instruments, buttons, dials, switches and so forth, consistently with our own level of technology, or due to our lack of technology, which prevented us from having glass cockpits, as we do today. And I can really think of only two possible reasons, why the abduction reports would be different in this detail:

  1. No abductions may actually have taken place, and the people reporting them may have had little imagination, as to what the future, or the inside of a spaceship is supposed to look like, or
  2. The aliens live in bare rooms, that don’t have levers, buttons, switches, etc.. They may have illuminated surfaces though, that are more than just illuminated surfaces…

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My Web-site is to be offline, for approximately a week.

One of the facts which I’ve posted about before, is that in a way which is atypical, I host both my Web-site, and therefore also my blog, on my personal computer at home. This does not mean that I recommend other people do it this way, this is only the way I do it.

One implication of that is, that the visibility of my blog is only as good, as the visibility of my PC on the Internet.

In recent days, there has been some problem with my Router / Modem, that has prevented me from defining port-forwarding rules, for inbound connections. And what this means is, that my site, and therefore my blog, cannot be visible on the Internet, obviously.

Even though it’s not obvious what has gone wrong with my router, I’m working with my ISP to resolve the issue. However, we’ve already decided that the technician which my ISP is to send me, will only arrive next Monday, November 19. Therefore, this outage will last for an unusually long time, namely, for about a week in total.

I apologize if this has inconvenienced any of my readers.

Even though my blog is currently not visible on the Internet, this fact does not prevent me from accessing it, and from adding entries to it, as usual, during this outage.

Dirk

 

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How A Hydrogen Bomb, Converts Mass Into Energy

When we have certain reference-books at our disposal, one of the things we can do, is to look up what the atomic mass is, of individual isotopes. And, the CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry, 61st Edition, 1980-1981, already had such information available. The fact that it was so long ago as 1980, did not prevent Mankind from designing H-Bombs etc.. And this is a short excerpt from that handbook:

 


n1      1.008665

H1      1.007825
H2      2.0140
H3      3.01605

He3     3.01603
He4     4.00260

Li5     5.0125
Li6     6.01512
Li7     7.01600

(...)

C12     12

(...)

Fe56    55.9349

(...)

U238    238.0508

 

There’s an important fact to observe about this. The atomic masses listed above, do not result because each naturally-occurring element, occurs as a mixture of more than one isotope. They do, but this does not give rise to the numbers listed above. What we find instead is that for each isotope, except for Carbon-12, the atomic mass is slightly different, from that isotope’s mass-number. This is not an error.

Well, when a fission reactor produces heat, or, when an H-Bomb explodes, it’s from these discrepancies in the atomic mass, that either device realizes energy, according to the famous equation, E=mc2 . So, these discrepancies in mass, are converted into energy, and it’s only when energy is output on such a large scale, that an associated difference in mass starts to become measurable.

What should also be noticed is that for the lightest elements as shown above, the atomic masses are generally slightly greater than the mass-numbers, which is consistent with the fact that Fusion releases energy. For elements much heavier than Iron, such as Uranium, the atomic masses are also generally greater than the mass-numbers, which is consistent with the fact that Fission releases energy. But near the occurrence of Iron in the isotope table, the atomic masses are generally slightly less than the mass-numbers. And this latter fact is consistent with the fact that when Carbon fuses into heavier elements, again, some amount of energy is released. The potential energy is at a minimum, when a given quantity of Iron is being measured. And possible differences, in ? one Iodine nucleus giving rise to two Iron nuclei ? , must also be taken into consideration, when computing the energy balance.

This last detail means, that one Iodine atom may have even-lower potential energy, than one Iron atom. But the depression of one Iodine atom’s mass, below its mass-number, will not be twice as great, as that for Iron.

(Update 11/07/2018, 8h35 : )

When the mass of an atom or a molecule is being stated in Physics or Chemistry, The units used are usually gram /mole.

(Updated 11/10/2018, 18h00 … )

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The Eventual Challenge, of Designing a Closed, Life-Support System

In Science Fiction, a concept which occurs often, is ‘A Closed Life-Support System’. But just like eventual ‘travel at half the speed of light’, a real, closed life-support system has largely remained elusive.

Back in WW2, German Submariners knew a trick to extending the life of the air in their submarines during adverse moments, of sprinkling lime powder – i.e., CaO. But the only real effect this had, was to absorb carbon dioxide out of the air mixture in the submarine, and to hold it in some form of CaCO3 . The lime powder itself did not generate any oxygen, O2, in return for scrubbing the CO2 out of the air mixture. This actually served WW2 submariners well, because until that time, the dangers of CO2 toxicity were usually greater, than the real-life dangers of hypoxia. The era only came later really, that the USA launched various high-altitude platforms, and that hypoxia started to become a common problem, to be dealt with.

CaO reacts vigorously with H2O to form Ca(OH)2 , and nothing else.

This simple fact should not be taken to mean, that WW2 submarines had no way of generating oxygen. It only means, that lime powder as such, or other strong bases, do not generate oxygen by themselves. ( :1 )

What the current International Space Station does, is to collect various forms of moisture from the habitat, and to use ample electricity from its solar collectors, to electrolyze that water into O2 and H2. At the same time, the ISS collects CO2 from the interior air, using ethanolamine, which is a liquid, weak base. And after CO2 has been absorbed by a weak base, this gives the advantage, that the salt which results only needs to be heated to modest temperatures, to re-release the CO2. But a weakness which the ISS exhibits is then to release two waste-gasses back into space: H2 and CO2. If I’m not mistaken in this statement, the ISS falls short of achieving a real, closed life-support system. The CO2 may be released into space, but doing so ‘is made up for’ with fresh carbon introduced into the cycle, in the form of food, which is transported to the ISS.

Well when I was young, I read books, according to which certain technical problems inherent in space travel would soon be solved, which were never solved. One of them was, to devise a catalyst, or some other type of reactor, to combine H2 with CO2, in a way that produces more H2O, which could then be available for electrolysis again, and which would reduce the amount of waste to some unspecified carbonaceous solid. This carbonaceous solid, could then be made up for, in food that Astronauts ate.

But the unfortunate reality which remains is, that reactions that reduce CO2 using H2 remain unharnessed today. The closest to that which we have, is the famous water-gas reactions from the 19th century, that involve some mixture of carbon monoxide ( CO ) and H2. Well unfortunately, CO has not been reduced all the way to Cs .

(Updated 10/27/2018, 15h30 … )

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