Posts Tagged ‘Hell’

Riots ensued.

My daughter Lemurita went to a birthday party of a boy – a critter with XY chromosome pairing, who is by definition my sworn enemy.

She said it was a riot.
“Wait! Riots are a blast!”

“It was not a riot-riot, just a bunch of kids fighting over…”

“No, riots are fun – the thrown glass the pitched bricks, the burning cars and broken windows, the burning tires… and if one is really lucky, flipped cars.  And then the police coming in to beat heads and knock skulls.  Man is a good riot where it is at.”

“I suppose you’ll tell me that you and your little friend who is a boy (and whom I must treat as an enemy regardless of how nice he seems) are fast friends and that he is a wonderful boy.  Well, that may even be true, but he is the enemy.   Men in my family have been making hell the lives of young men chasing after the women in our family a living hell.   How long util we stop doing so?  Until there is no doubt that we are all cray enough to wipe him out and put the body where no one would ever find him.

We do it out of love.

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Yesterday I went to help set up a big shoot – 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8″ shells for a commercial shoot.  We got the kids moving finally – blankets, toys, sunscreen, extra clothing, bug repellant, Red Bull™…

Drove an hour away to get to the shoot, stopped at Taco Bell™ for the kids’ first feeding at the Bell.  Why?  Because it is cheaper than food.

We navigated through the city – dead like a ghost town – 100 degrees with high humidity.  The fields were brown and the hillside fountain was turned off and even had little deltas of dust in the bottom. No one was in the park.  Not one soul.

We drove up to the gate to let ourselves in and saw a padlock across the gate.  Looking up the hill there were no trucks, none of the crew was setting up.

Cruel Wife pulled out her iPad™ and discovered that the shoot had been on July 3, not the 4th.

The truth is, I was dreading hours and hours of work in 100 degree high-humidity mid-day sun.  It was kind of a relief and I couldn’t have gotten Tuesday off even if I had known it.

So we found another fireworks show that would be held in Gregory.  The best way to get to Gregory is to go to Hell, hang right and stay the course.  We drove up from the south and turned on to Darwin, which leads to Hell.

Then we found ourselves in Hell soon enough.  I have ridden through hell on my bicycle twice for 100-mile (century) bike rides and the route planners had good intentions but the paved roads to hell are smooth as glass in some areas and a killer in other.  Driving it wasn’t so bad.  We stopped and had ice cream in Hell.  Cruel Wife, Lemurita, and Hacker-boy had ice cream.  I had pork rinds and iced tea.  And tried out some hot sauce.

It didn’t make my teeth bleed but it was zippy.  A number of people held their breath while I tried it.

We checked out Gregory and figured out where the show would be and where we could park and then drove home for a few hours worth of rest – it was 100 degrees still and still high humidity so just being outside was less than fun.

I will also add that sparklers are very very hot.  Did you know that they are burning 1000C or more?  My thumb knows that now.  I was lighting Hacker-boy’s sparker, the one that died out halfway using a cigarette lighter.  The flames and sparks shot forward and kissed my thumb from the knuckle to the end of my thumb.  I couldn’t find the hose in the dark and I had one kid, two kids, Cruel Wife in the way as I headed towards the kitchen faucet in the house.  CW got in the way and I just said “MOVE.”

So I spent a lot of last night wishing I could chop that thumb off.  Feels all taut-skinned and deadened right now and hot things are really uncomfortable.  Thank God for WaterJel and ice cubes.

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The spacecraft is feeding back all kinds of great data and the instruments are working nicely.

I didn’t see Cruel Wife very much that year of working at the UofM so it is a very pleasant payoff to see the instrument working so darned well… You. Have. No.  Idea. … how tickled I am that the UofM’s instrument is performing so fantastically well.  It was a tense and cranky year when I was there but this made it worthwhile…

This, from JHU-APL…  read the lava part, which is cool, but the really cool part is the exosphere part.


Orbital Observations of Mercury Reveal Flood Lavas, Hollows, and Unprecedented Surface Details

 After only six months in orbit around Mercury, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft is sending back information that has revolutionized the way scientists think about the innermost planet. Analyses of new data from the spacecraft show, among other things, new evidence that flood volcanism has been widespread on Mercury, the first close-up views of Mercury’s “hollows,” the first direct measurements of the chemical composition of Mercury’s surface, and the first global inventory of plasma ions within Mercury’s space environment.

The results are reported in a set of seven papers published in a special section of Science magazine on September 30, 2011.

“MESSENGER’s instruments are capturing data that can be obtained only from orbit,” says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “We have imaged many areas of the surface at unprecedented resolution, we have viewed the polar regions clearly for the first time, we have built up global coverage with our images and other data sets, we are mapping the elemental composition of Mercury’s surface, we are conducting a continuous inventory of the planet’s neutral and ionized exosphere, and we are sorting out the geometry of Mercury’s magnetic field and magnetosphere. And we’ve only just begun. Mercury has many more surprises in store for us as our mission progresses.”

MESSENGER Reveals Flood Volcanism

For decades scientists had puzzled over whether Mercury had volcanic deposits on its surface. MESSENGER’s three flybys answered that question in the affirmative, but the global distribution of volcanic materials was not well constrained. New data from orbit show a huge expanse of volcanic plains surrounding the north polar region of Mercury. These continuous smooth plains cover more than 6% of the total surface of Mercury.

The volcanic deposits are thick. “Analysis of the size of buried ‘ghost’ craters in these deposits shows that the lavas are locally as thick as 2 kilometers” (or 1.2 miles), explains James Head of Brown University, the lead author of one of the Science reports. “If you imagine standing at the base of the Washington Monument, the top of the lavas would be something like 12 Washington Monuments above you.”

According to Head, the deposits appear typical of flood lavas, huge volumes of solidified molten rock similar to those found in the few-million-year-old Columbia River Basalt Group, which at one point covered 150,000 square kilometers (60,000 square miles) in the northwest United States. “Those on Mercury appear to have poured out from long, linear vents and covered the surrounding areas, flooding them to great depths and burying their source vents,” Head says.

Scientists have also discovered vents, measuring up to 25 kilometers (16 miles) in length, that appear to be the source of some of the tremendous volumes of very hot lava that have rushed out over the surface of Mercury and eroded the substrate, carving valleys and creating teardrop-shaped ridges in the underlying terrain. “These amazing landforms and deposits may be related to the types of unusual compositions, similar to terrestrial rocks called komatiites, being seen by other instruments and reported in this same issue of Science,” Head says. “What’s more, such lavas may have been typical of an early period in Earth’s history, one for which only spotty evidence remains today.”

As MESSENGER continues to orbit Mercury, the imaging team is building up a global catalog of these volcanic deposits and is working with other instrument teams to construct a comprehensive view of the history of volcanism on Mercury.


Mercury’s Surface and Exospheric Composition, Up Close and Personal

[Other things were said here]

MESSENGER has also collected the first global observations of plasma ions in Mercury’s magnetosphere. Over 65 days covering more than 120 orbits, MESSENGER’s Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) made the first long-term measurements of Mercury’s ionized exosphere.

The team found that sodium is the most important ion contributed by the planet. “We had previously observed neutral sodium from ground observations, but up close we’ve discovered that charged sodium particles are concentrated near Mercury’s polar regions where they are likely liberated by solar wind ion sputtering, effectively knocking sodium atoms off Mercury’s surface” notes the University of Michigan’s Thomas Zurbuchen, author of one of the Science reports. “We were able to observe the formation process of these ions, one that is comparable to the manner by which auroras are generated in the Earth atmosphere near polar regions.”

The FIPS sensor detected helium ions throughout the entire volume of Mercury’s magnetosphere. “Helium must be generated through surface interactions with the solar wind,” says Zurbuchen. “We surmise that the helium was delivered from the Sun by the solar wind, implanted on the surface of Mercury, and then fanned out in all directions.

“Our results tell us is that Mercury’s weak magnetosphere provides the planet very little protection from the solar wind,” he continued. “Extreme space weather must be a continuing activity at the surface of the planet closest to the Sun.”

“These revelations emphasize that Mercury is a fascinating world that is unmatched in the solar system,” says Blewett. “We have barely begun to understand what Mercury is really like and are eager to discover what Mercury can tell us about the processes that led to formation of the planets as we see them today.”


Universe Today has some neat stuff on MESSENGER/Mercury as well.  (h/t to Black Lab on Meth)


And then one of my bosses sent me this article, too… Mercury is hot as hell and appears to match it pretty closely in the description, but it’s not quite as bad as Hell because Mercury doesn’t play Barry Manilow music.

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