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No, not the furry little mammal!
A mole is a chemical measure.
Chemists write equations with numbers of atoms and molecules combining. So when we burn the carbon in coal, we get CO2.
C + O2 –> CO2
One carbon atom reacts with one molecule of oxygen gas gives one molecule of carbon dioxide.
But you need very special circumstances to react one atom with one molecule. We deal with much larger numbers of atoms and molecules. So how to match up the amounts? Every element and molecule has a different mass.
That’s where the chemical mole [...]
David Greenglass died in July, but the New York Times just heard about his death last week. Probably many people under thirty have never heard of him.
Greenglass was a machinist in the Manhattan Project. His sister, Ethel, was married to the leader of a Soviet spy ring. In 1945, Greenglass provided drawings, and possibly even a model, of the nuclear weapon built at Los Alamos. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were tried for spying in 1951, found guilty, and put to death in 1953. Greenglass spent nine and a half years in prison.
Practically all of [...]
The Swedish armed forces are conducting a search for what may be a disabled Russian submarine. They detected a distress call in Russian and have what they consider reliable evidence of a submarine in Swedish waters. A Russian tanker remains in the area.
The Swedish coast around Stockholm and military bases to its south is islands, inlets, and straits. During the Cold War, Russia regularly sent subs into those areas. Russia disguises intelligence-collection ships as tankers and freighters.
Russia has, of course, denied that any of its vessels are in the area [...]
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The deadline for this six-month extension of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and Germany) looms on November 24. Vague optimism is being voiced by the US, but it’s clear that significant differences on a final deal still remain.
I haven’t posted much about the Iran negotiations for a while, because there hasn’t been enough information. Both sides make noises about how the other side needs to get real, but there are not many specifics. The speculations by onlookers settle into the kinds of things I would speculate: differences on enrichment capacity and [...]
A couple of new projects in fusion and a reported confirmation of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat device are in the news.
RT news should always be looked at critically. When you read the story “Russia develops hybrid fusion-fission reactor, offers China role,” about halfway through, you find that in fact no such reactor yet exists.
And building one is “a goal for tomorrow” rather than the distant future, as is the case for a fusion reactor like the famous France-based International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) that Russia collaborates on, Kovalchuk said.
That’s Mikhail Kovalchuk, director of the Kurchatov Institute. [...]
A health-care worker in Dallas has been diagnosed with Ebola fever after having cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who died there from the disease. It seems likely that this worker failed to deal properly with her personal protective equipment (PPE). It’s easy to do if you’re not accustomed to suiting up. I tweeted some of my thoughts, but they’re probably worth a post.
I’ve suited up for working with plutonium and other hazardous chemicals. There are some general things you learn.
Regard all outer surfaces of your PPE as contaminated. Remove them so [...]
In light of the latest Edward Snowden revelations, it’s worth looking back at the CIA career of James Jesus Angleton.
Angleton was a trusted figure in the CIA, the chief of counterintelligence from 1954 to his resignation in 1974. Counterintelligence deals with attempts of other intelligence agencies to mislead or subvert one’s own intelligence agency.
In the early 1960s, a Russian defector, Anatoli Golitsin, claimed that the KGB had infiltrated the CIA. Another defector, Yuri Nosenko, claimed that Golitsin was a KGB plant. A summary of the story can be found here.
One of the prizes of counterintelligence is [...]
I’ve been trying to understand the situation at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. They had a leak in February 2014 and have found a drum that appears to have heated up and blown its top in somewhat less than an explosion. People have gone into the area where the drum burst and experiments have been done in labs, but there isn’t a full understanding of what happened. The records have been searched, and it appears that there is only one other drum like the one that burst.
That’s what I’ve reconstructed from several sources, along [...]