Into the Wildfire

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratories and elsewhere are investigating other aspects of fire propagation, like how big fires create their own weather — a process that has contributed to some of the most devastating fires in recent years.

The setup in the photo above is known as a “fire-whirl generator” and is used to better understand the physics of a flame.

Read more about fire science here

3D Simulations of Nuclear Explosions

Los Alamos National Laboratory is a security research institution in Los Alamos, New Mexico. It was founded in World War II as a centralised facility to coordinate the research efforts of the Manhattan Project—the first nuclear weapons project. The laboratory’s research led to the creation of the atomic and the hydrogen bombs, but no new nuclear weapons have been developed or tested by the US since 1992, and so the laboratory’s work today primarily relates to preserving existing weaponry—but without using nuclear testing, which is where 3D computer simulations become involved. The creation of these 3D simulations allows scientists to study the complete operation of nuclear explosions, giving them the opportunity to analyse visual data. This enables them to predict the various aspects of the weapons’ performance, and to learn crucial information about the aging stockpile and how to safely maintain it.

(Image Credit: Lynn Johnson)

Los Alamos chemist, Wright H. Langham with Plastic Man, used to simulate human radiation exposures, 1959.

via Los Alamos National Laboratory 

In 1945, three terminally ill cancer patients at the University of Chicago’s Billings Hospital were injected with a solution containing plutonium as part of a U.S. government research project involving 18 subjects. The project was designed to determine how quickly the body rids itself of plutonium. Its purpose was to develop safety criteria for the thousands of workers then handling plutonium.

This research was made public by the Energy Research & Development Administration in 1976. Stories followed in the Washington Post and in Science in 1976. A scientific paper on the experiment, “Distribution and Excretion of Plutonium Administered Intravenously to Man,” was published in Health Physics in June 1980 (written by: Samuel H. Bassett,  Wright Langham).

Two of the three patients who received injections at Chicago died of their cancer within five months, according to the 1976 report. The third patient, an 18-year-old male with Hodgkins disease, left the hospital against medical advice and was “lost to follow-up,” according to the report.

A follow-up study found no evidence that the plutonium injections affected the health of the subjects or their pre-existing illnesses.

Research standards have changed drastically since 1945. Today, no research is or can be performed on any patients without their full knowledge and informed, written consent. (via)

The Department of Energy has mishandled yet another nuclear lab contractor, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars without requesting or recording a single deliverable.

And as it so happens, that contractor was founded by a former Congresswoman who supported the nuclear labs while in office.

Microbial Dark Matter

Is space really the final frontier or are the greatest mysteries closer to home? Researchers estimate that there are more undiscovered microbes on earth than stars in the sky.  These microbes are known as “microbial dark matter” and form the pervasive (yet practically invisible) infrastructure of life on the planet.

A single handful of dirt contains approximately 100 billion microbes, but we have only been able to access the genomes of a few thousand of them.  One large problem is that many microbes are unable to grow outside of their natural environment.  

Researchers at the Joint Genome Institute are try to fill in these gaps of knowledge through new identification techniques (single-cell genomics).

Watch the video →

Here’s an outtake photo (c. 1989) from the installation of the Cray Y-MP supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

Seymore Cray’s first supercomputer, the Cray 1, debuted in 1976 at another UC-run National lab Lab, Los Alamos.  It weighed 10,500 pounds.  It had 1 MB of memory and more speed (80 million computations in one second) than any other computer in the world.    

These supercomputers may not seem as impressive today (especially compared to smartphones), but it was a huge asset for scientists.  They used the machines to crunch through large data sets and solve problems too large for standard machines.

Here we have some techniques to help you with pronunciation and flow.

As an example of what’s covered, the first video covers Sehen/Gesehen, which, to a native English speaker, will sound like one syllable when you hear a German speaker say it. It is two syllables, however, and this shows how and where to stress the word so that it will be easier for German speakers to understand you.

They are all in German, but they use examples that are easy to follow along with if you do not understand what they are saying.


Oh my guh. The OTP’s first meeting in King of Lan Ling is so perfectly manga and so perfectly perfect, it hurts!

He is bathing in the hot springs after battle and she stumbles across him and because of his long hair and the fact that it’s ladies’ springs (which he doesn’t know, being a stranger), assumes he is a beautiful lady. Heeeee. And climbs in with him.

But that was just adorable and cute. No, what really got me was that then they are surrounded by soldiers, who are there to capture the legendary warrior that is Gao Chang Gong, and Xiewu jumps in front of him and attacks the soldiers to protect her new acquaintance. And his face, when he sees this tiny slip of a girl jumping to his defence. His faaaaaaaace.

And she takes out one soldier while he basically decimates the rest in two seconds flat.

And then he turns around and she sees the stranger is a man and eeeeee!!!!

This drama owns me already. So much. Which is going to be baaad, because the legend of Lanling Wang is a tragic one and the drama is ladling it heavily with the foreshadowing…my heart is going to be so broken!

This is gorgeously filmed, the plot moves fast, I love the battles etc but what really gets me and makes this drama work as well as it does is the ridiculously intense chemistry between Ariel Lin and Feng Shao Feng. After all, it’s the story of star-crossed lovers and chemistry is necessary for this. Luckily, it is here in spades. Not surprising, since both Ariel and FSF are capable of chemistry with a stone block and together - oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

Oh, and I remember some netizens commenting that FSF is not gorgeous enough to portray a man who wore a mask into battle lest his beauty distract his enemies. Either they are blind or I am. Because FSF as GCG makes me sort of stop breathing. But then I am a FSF fangirl in general and thus biased. But then, he is one of the only two men I’ve seen pull off the horrific Qing queue and still look like sex on legs (the other man is the inhuman perfection that is Kevin Cheng) so maybe I am not as biased as all that :P