How’s your summer going? Have you jumped on the BarbieHeimer cultural zeitgeist yet?
I’ve jumped on half of it.
I went to see Oppenheimer last week, and have already written a couple of things about it. Rather than duplicate those efforts, here’s the links:
First, I started a discussion at fusor.net – the site I create (in 1998!) to explore the one form of nuclear energy (controlled fusion) that we do not have at our disposal (the one Einstein said was “the good part of my theories”!).
I am nobody’s idea of a film critic, but I can play one on the Internet so I posted my idea of a review here – with some links to some useful background material. There are a few add-on thoughts that I posted as well.
What I really wanted to write about is what I have always considered the missing piece in this puzzle.
Now for today’s science lesson:
There are four ways to release nuclear energy. Two of them involve fission – splitting atoms, and two of them involve fusion – squeezing atoms together. In either case – fission or fusion – the reaction can be explosive: ‘Atomic’ bombs are explosive fission and ‘hydrogen’ bombs are explosive fusion. Or the reaction can be controlled: The kind of nuclear reactor that pumps electricity into the grid is controlled fission.
A controlled fusion reaction…that’s the missing piece, the ‘star in a jar’ we seemingly haven’t figured out yet. And that’s what’s fascinated me since 1973.
All of this discussion of atoms and energy started when Einstein whipped up his little equation E=mc2 way back in 1905. There were many steps and many physicists who embellished on Einstein’s theories in the ensuing four decades leading up to the Trinity Test in New Mexico, but Einstein’s equation was (pardon the expression) ‘ground zero’ for the whole undertaking.
So I was intrigued when I kept seeing a scene in the trailer for Oppenheimer that showed an encounter between the title character (Cillian Murphy) and Einstein (Tom Conti) at the edge of a pond. That scene turned out to supply a critical thematic underpinning for the entire three hour film.
Once I’d seen the movie and understood how that scene fit in (never mind that it never actually happened), I knew what I wanted to write about those two characters and the one I’ve been obsessed with. Behold….
I hope y’all have time to click over there and take a gander.
Now then, About Buster…
Those of you who subscribe to my ‘Buster Sez’ occasional weekly newsletter will notice that Buster is dressed a little oddly in this week’s masthead photo.
How shall I say? Buster’s been feeling poorly the past couple of weeks. Something must have bit her on her back, just below the neckline, and she’s licked on it to the point that there’s a big hole in her fur, and I guess that caused some kind of infection. She spent a whole weekend hiding under the covers before I could get her to the vet, who gave her a couple of injections.
She’s mostly recovered since then and is much more like her usual rambunctious self, but that damn sore on her back has been slow to heal, hence the collar. That collar really didn’t work though, so I’m waiting for Amazon to deliver a “kitty onesie” that I hope will cover the bald spot so I an apply the ointment the vet prescribed and keep her from licking it off.
She’s back to spending a lot of time under the covers but I think she’ll be OK. I’m sure she’ll be crawling over me tonight as usual.
So that’s how my summer has been going. How’s yours?
Oh. And. One other thing:
I got a new car. The original Mustang – the one I got back in 2019 just after the divorce – was cursed. Long story short: it was in the shop like ten times this year, ending with the two words you don’t ever want to hear in the same sentence: “engine” and “replacement.”
So fuck it.
I just replaced the whole damn car. And this time –instead of replacing the engine – I got one with twice as many cylinders.
This thing is awesome!