Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 16, 2018

Previous Week   April 16, 2018 - April 22, 2018  Next Week

Marie and Pierre Curie isolate radium on April 20, 1902

Marie and Pierre Curie isolate radium on April 20, 1902

Curies isolate radium: On April 20, 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolate radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in their laboratory in Paris. In 1898, the Curies discovered the existence of the elements radium and polonium in their research of pitchblende. One year after isolating radium, they would share the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics with French scientist A. Henri Becquerel for their groundbreaking investigations of radioactivity.

Marie Curie was born Marie Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867. The daughter of a physics teacher, she was a gifted student and in 1891 went to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. With highest honors, she received a degree in physical sciences in 1893 and in mathematics in 1894. That year she met Pierre Curie, a noted French physicist and chemist who had done important work in magnetism. Marie and Pierre married in 1895, marking the beginning of a scientific partnership that would achieve world renown.

Looking for a subject for her doctoral thesis, Marie Curie began studying uranium, which was at the heart of Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity in 1896. The term radioactivity, which describes the phenomenon of radiation caused by atomic decay, was in fact coined by Marie Curie. In her husband’s laboratory, she studied the mineral pitchblende, of which uranium is the primary element, and reported the probable existence of one or more other radioactive elements in the mineral. Pierre Curie joined her in her research, and in 1898 they discovered polonium, named after Marie’s native Poland, and radium.

While Pierre investigated the physical properties of the new elements, Marie worked to chemically isolate radium from pitchblende. Unlike uranium and polonium, radium does not occur freely in nature, and Marie and her assistant Andre Debierne laboriously refined several tons of pitchblende in order to isolate one-tenth gram of pure radium chloride in 1902. On the results of this research, she was awarded her doctorate of science in June 1903 and later in the year shared the Nobel Prize in physics with her husband and Becquerel. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Pierre Curie was appointed to the chair of physics at the Sorbonne in 1904, and Marie continued her efforts to isolate pure, non-chloride radium. On April 19, 1906, Pierre Curie was killed in an accident in the Paris streets. Although devastated, Marie Curie vowed to continue her work and in May 1906 was appointed to her husband’s seat at the Sorbonne, thus becoming the university’s first female professor. In 1910, with Debierne, she finally succeeded in isolating pure, metallic radium. For this achievement, she was the sole recipient of the 1911 Nobel Prize in chemistry, making her the first person to win a second Nobel Prize.

She became interested in the medical applications of radioactive substances, working on radiology during World War I and the potential of radium as a cancer therapy. Beginning in 1918, the Radium Institute at the University of Paris began to operate under Curie’s direction and from its inception was a major center for chemistry and nuclear physics. In 1921, she visited the United States, and President Warren G. Harding presented her with a gram of radium.

Curie’s daughter, Irene Curie, was also a physical chemist and, with her husband, Frederic Joliot, was awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of artificial radioactivity. Marie Curie died in 1934 from leukemia caused by four decades of exposure to radioactive substances.

History Channel / Marie and Pierre Curie, Wikipedia / Marie and Pierre Curie, Britannica Encyclopedia / Nobel Prize.org / Biography / Atomic Heritage.org Marie and Pierre Curie (YouTube) video

Photo: Pierre Curie and Marie; Missy Maloney, Irène, Marie and Ève Curie in the USA. (Photo provided by William Brown Maloney Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, USA.), NobelPrize.org

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Military technician

(DOD) A Federal civilian employee providing full-time support to a National Guard, Reserve, or Active Component organization for administration, training, and maintenance of the Selected Reserve. Also called MILTECH.

Joint Chiefs of Staff (3150.13) Joint Reporting Structure

U.S. Navy photo by PH2 (NAC) David C. Mercil

The Old Salt’s Corner

Role of the Composite Warfare Commander (CWC)

In deciding the assignment and location of warfare commanders and coordinators the CWC should take into account the tactical situation, size of force and the capabilities of the available assets to cope with the expected threat. Such analysis may lead the CWC to decide to retain direct control of one or more of the warfare areas. When appropriate, a designated commander may be assigned alternate and supporting functions in addition to his primary responsibility.

1. Location of CWC

The battlegroup commander requires a clean tactical picture to control his forces effectively. To maintain such a picture the CWC must be located where he (a) has ready access to his principal assets; (b) is minimally handicapped by any emission controls (EMCON) or communications limitations; and (c) has optimum facilities for receipt, processing, and display of information concerning unit readiness and the tactical situation.

Within the battlegroup, the CWC can best control combat operations from the carrier. Tightly structured rules of engagement (ROE) may require the CWC to maintain more direct control of assets.

Methodologically speaking, the CWC doctrine provides a structure around which tactics can be executed. However, CWC is not a "tactic" unto itself. Individual mission parameters must dictate how much or how little the doctrine is employed.

2. CWC Limitations

As with any command theory or doctrine, the CWC concept has its limitations. For example, the CWC doctrine is designed for macro battlegroup or task force level operations. Smaller task units or elements may allow a separate Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) to fulfill all sea control functions himself. The CWC doctrine also developed during the Cold War for potential multi-threat combat operations against the former Soviet Union. Contingency operations encompassing lesser threats or politically selective operations involving tightly structured ROEs may require the CWC to maintain even more direct control of assets. Conceptually, the CWC doctrine provides a framework around which tactics are executed. In all cases however, the assigned mission must dictate how much or how little the doctrine is employed. Another limitation is the multiple tasking of battlegroup platforms without clear definition of priorities.

Most importantly, the CWC and his individual warfare commanders must understand their responsibilities and how they may change in different tactical situations or as a limited engagement transitions to hot war.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Remember to look up at the stars

and not down at your feet.

Try to make sense of what you see

and wonder about what makes the universe exist.

Be curious.

And however difficult life may seem,

there is always something

you can do and succeed at.

It matters that you don’t just give up.”

~ Stephen Hawking

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“The people who were

trying to make this world worse

The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion?

are not taking the day off.

Why should I?”

~ Bob Marley

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Life is an echo.

What you send out, comes back.

What you sow, you reap.

What you give, you get.

What you see in others, exists in you.

Remember, life is an echo.

It always gets back to you.

So give goodness.”

~ Anonymous

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Oregon’s New Travel Video May Inspire Acid Trips More Than Vacations

Oregon’s New Travel Video May Inspire Acid Trips More Than Vacations

Giant rabbits? Bicycling caterpillers? Frogs reading newspapers? Yeah, we’re tripping.

A new Oregon travel video seems to suggest a visit to the Beaver State is more like a psychedelic acid trip.

The anime-style video shows children riding giant rabbits, frogs reading newspapers and caterpillars bicycling through the forest. Oh, and the clouds all look like humpback whales.

The video is part of a $5 million campaign to boost state tourism, according to Travel Oregon director of global communications Linea Gagliano.

The video title, “Only Slightly Exaggerated”, suggests that fantastic sights like these are commonplace, though The Oregonian newspaper, in a buzz-killing article, begs to differ:

“In Oregon, it must be noted, frogs cannot and do not sit in chairs, nor do they read. Please, don’t come to Oregon looking for frogs who care about the news.”

“Later in the video, an elephant-sized rabbit bounds through a field of tulips, carrying children on its back. The tulips are accurate but do not attempt to ride the rabbits.”

We felt like the only way to convey the incredible feeling of being in Oregon is through animation,” Gagliano told the Statesman Journal. “It creates much more of that wonder you feel when you travel someplace new.”

Huffington Post (03/13/2018) video

How Did English End Up With There / They're / Their?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Did English End Up With There / They're / Their?

I don’t care how many degrees you have, how steeped you are in the highest register of formal discourse, how vicious you are with the red pen, how many children’s wrists you have slapped with a ruler. You sometimes write there when you mean their or they’re.

You may catch it every time, correct it before pressing “send,” but you do it. The language just makes it so easy to do. Not only are these three words pronounced exactly the same, they are all constantly in use in everyday discourse. Wait and weight or flour and flower just aren’t as frequent. Most people aren’t going to mix those up. So there’s no reason to be especially proud of not mixing them up, or to make smug memes about them. But there/their/they’re is a cleverly laid, dastardly trap. To tout your mastery of this trio is an act of pride in your ability to skip over the trap.

So who set this trap? We did, of course, which is to say all the English speakers who came before us. First, in the earliest stages of Old English, we had the word for “there”, which was then spelled þǽr (thǽr). The word for “their” was hiera, so there was no problem telling them apart. But when Scandinavian settlers starting coming over around the year 1000, we started borrowing a few things from them, including their word for “their”: þaire (thaire).

Now we had two words with somewhat similar, but still different pronunciations and spellings. The following centuries brought a huge upheaval in English pronunciation through the Great Vowel Shift and the development of Middle and Modern English, while at the same time the spread of the printing press and literacy brought stable spelling conventions into being. Through all this, there at one point or another got the spellings thar, thaire, ther, yar, theer, thiar, and thore. Their went through its own changes with thayir, thayre, yaire, and theer. Sometimes they overlapped and had the same spellings, sometimes they didn’t, but when the dust settled and the final habits had been established, we were left with one pronunciation and two spellings.

The latest entry into the trio was they’re. People didn’t write contractions of this kind until the late 16th century, though they did say them before then. Writers began to use the apostrophe to stand for missing letters, as it does in 'tis or o’er. It couldn’t be helped that “they are” shortened into a word that sounded just like their and there. The same thing happened to I’ll/aisle and we’ve/weave, but aisle and weave didn’t show up often enough to turn the similarity into a trap.

It didn’t have to be this way. If things had gone differently, we might have ended up with one spelling for all of them, or at least for the first two. This is what happened to rose (the flower) and rose (the past tense of rise), or rock (stone) and rock (to sway). Those came from totally different words that began to be pronounced the same, and then came to be spelled the same. (Chaucer wrote of “the son that roose as rede as rose”.) Those words don’t cause any confusion, and neither would a word like ther, if that’s what we had somehow ended up with for all members of the trio.

But that’s not what we ended up with, and so we add there/their/they’re to the long list of things that make writing harder than speaking, things to keep track of, double check, and correct, lest you fall into ther traps. Ther everywhere.

BBCCambridge DictionaryMental FlossOxford Dictionaries BlogQuoraWikipediaHow Pencils Are Made? (YouTube) video

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Scuttle: A smaller, sealable, opening in a larger, heavier door or hatch.

Scuttle (verb): To discard something over the side of the ship.

Scuttlebutt: (1) A drinking fountain.

(2) Generally reliable but incomplete information about a subject.

(3) A rumor (because rumors are spread when crew members gather around water fountains). This is the only thing in the universe that can travel faster than light.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

UNQ: Unqualified, usually in reference to training events. Pronounced “unk”.

Unsat Abbreviation of unsatisfactory.

USMC: Acronym for United States Marine Corps.

Also used as a pejorative backronym:

• Uncle Sam's Misguided Children,

• U Signed the Motherfucking Contract,

• U Suckers Missed Christmas,

• Unlimited Shit and Mass Confusion,

• University of Science, Music and Culture,/p>

• Uncomplicated Shit Made Complicated,

• Under Seabee Management Constantly.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-94 - “Mighty Shrikes”
Naval Air Station Lemoore, Kings / Fresno counties, near Lemoore, California - Established March 26, 1952

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth”

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth”  Meaning: Born into a wealthy family.

Origin: This phrase was thought to be British, referring to the upper classes born into privilege.

The first recorded use was in America in 1801, in a speech made in U.S. Congress:

“It was a common proverb that few lawyers were born with silver spoons in their mouths.”

Medieval spoons were usually made of wood. Spoon was also the name of a chip or splinter of wood and it is likely that is how the table utensils derived their name. It has been a tradition in many countries for wealthy godparents to give a silver spoon to their godchildren at christening ceremonies. That may be the source of the phrase, or it may simply be derived from the fact that wealthy people ate from silver while others didn't.

In the keynote speech to the US Democratic National Convention in 1988, the Texas State Treasurer Ann Richards modified the proverb at the expense of the well-born and wealthy George Bush:

“Poor George, he can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timelineResearchers uncover framework for how stem cells determine where to form replacement structuresResearchers measure gene activity in single cellsResearchers create a protein 'mat' that can soak up pollutionStudy with infants suggests language not necessary for reasoning abilityGraphene oxide nanosheets could help bring lithium-metal batteries to marketResearchers find space radiation is increasingly more hazardousExperience trumps youth among jumping fish

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

You Should Be Very Skeptical of Nectome's Deadly 'Mind-Uploading Service'

You Should Be Very Skeptical of Nectome's Deadly 'Mind-Uploading Service'

Four things are true:

One, a startup called Nectome plans to embalm the living brains of dying people, with the promise that the preserved tissues might someday be brought back to life.

Two, the grim plan has gotten a ton of press coverage in the past few days, ever since MIT Technology Review covered it on Tuesday (March 13).

Three, most of that press coverage doesn't cite any outside neuroscience experts.

And four, all of the experts that Live Science contacted to discuss the story have expressed, one way or another, that they found the plan ridiculous.

Nectome plans to insert itself into the process of physician-assisted suicide. The company wants to flood the arteries of living people who have terminal illnesses with embalming fluid to preserve their brain tissue. The idea is that the dead organ would then be converted into a map of all the connections among neurons - constituting a complete, physical "connectome," from which a person's consciousness might one day be resurrected. The evidence that they can pull it off? They've managed to successfully preserve a pig's brain “so well that every synapse inside it could be seen with an electron microscope.”

The company also says, somewhat ghoulishly, that the process is “100 percent fatal”. [Top 10 Weird Ways We Deal With the Dead]

The connectome

Connectome research is a real and interesting scientific pursuit. But, as Scientific American reported in 2012, it's genuinely unclear how much information the connectome can provide even about creatures like the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, which has had its entire connectome mapped. Many neuroscientists believe, Scientific American wrote, that even a complete connectome offers barely enough data to “scratch the surface” of C. elegans' behavior.

“"The connectome is without a doubt necessary for memory, in the sense that if you removed all the connections, you wouldn't remember anything”, Sam Gershman, a computational neuroscientist at Harvard University, wrote in an email. He added that “Most memories don't depend on single neurons (this would be catastrophic, since cells die all the time).”

But just because the connectome is a part of how your memory works, that doesn't prove that future scientists could somehow reconstruct your memory from it, Gershman said. [What Happens When You Die?]

“The important question”, Gershman wrote, “is whether the connectome is sufficient for memory: Can I reconstruct all memories knowing only the connections between neurons? The answer is almost certainly no, given our knowledge about how memories are stored (itself a controversial topic).”

Gershman said that it's “questionable” whether scientists have learned anything meaningful about personality and behavior from connectome mapping.

“The critical thought experiment is to ask whether you could write a computer program that recapitulates these cognitive phenomena using the connectome”, he said.

In other words, does any kind of working model exist that would show how a brain that encoded key information purely in its connectome would work?

Neuroscientists still just don't know what a memory looks like in the brain, which makes any company claiming to be able to preserve memories worth questioning.

Live Science (03/16/2018) video

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Just What I Needed” - The Cars 1973

“Just What I Needed” - The Cars
Album: The Cars
Released 1978 video

This established The Cars as one of New Wave's leading hitmakers and helped get them a deal with Elektra Records.

Lead vocals were by bass player Ben Orr, but it was written by lead singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek.

Ocasek wrote this in a basement at a commune in Newton, Massachusetts where he lived.

This was the group's first single. The Cars evolved from a trio called Milkwood.

The group's manager took The Cars' demo tape to two Boston radio stations and got it regular airplay before the group re-recorded it and released this as a single.

Seven years after it was first released, this made its second appearance on a single - this time as the B-side of The Cars' last Top 10 hit, “Tonight She Comesvideo.

The Cars official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / The Cars

Image: “The Cars (album)” by The Cars



● The meaning of the aviation term, Mach 1 is MOVING AT THE SPEED OF SOUND.

● Africa is so large that China, India, Europe and the U.S. could all fit within.

● Almost every night from the 1960's until the early 1990's, after a drumroll, Ed McMahon would announce: “And now, Heeeeere's Johnny”.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLLEGE FIRSTS” ($400):

“America's first Catholic college was this one founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Niche

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “OFFICE SUPPLYING” (Name the maker of the product for us.) ($600):

“Carla in human resources brought in this alliterative brand's Smirk & Wink doughnuts.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer All Recipes

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “BODY LANGUAGE” ($800):

“To face & endure something unpleasant, even nauseating.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer WebMD

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “LITTLE RED CORVETTE” ($1,000):

“At the 2005 Indy 500, Colin Powell drove a red Corvette that served this pre-contest function.”

● Answer: A Pace Car. Autotrader

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “BAT DANCE” ($1,000):

“With a wingspan of over 5 feet, one of the largest bats is the giant golden-crowned type of this alliterative bat.”

● Answer: The Flying Fox Bat. Bats.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “'U' GOT THE LOOK” ($1,000)

“Referring to its weight, it's the type of recreational aircraft seen here.”

● Answer: Ultralight. EAA.org

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“A Biology Teacher's Demonstration”

A biology teacher wished to demonstrate to his students the harmful effects of alcohol on living organisms.

For his experiment, he showed them a beaker with pond water in which there was a thriving civilization of worms.

When he added some alcohol into the beaker the worms doubled-up and died.

“Now”, he said, “What do you learn from this?”

An eager student gave his answer.

“Well the answer is obvious”, he said “If you drink alcohol, you'll never have worms.”

Joke of the Day

“Q & A”

Q: What do you call 25 attorneys buried up to their chins in cement?

A: Not enough cement.

Q: What do you call 25 skydiving lawyers?

A: Skeet.

Q: What do you throw to a drowning lawyer?

A: His partners.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a prostitute?

A: A prostitute will stop screwing you when you're dead.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a liar?

A: The pronunciation.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?

A: The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.

Q: What's the difference between a mosquito and a lawyer?

A: One is a blood-sucking parasite, the other is an insect.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?

A: The lawyer charges more.

Q: What's the difference between a tick and a lawyer?

A: The tick falls off when you are dead.

Q: Why did God make snakes just before lawyers?

A: To practice.

Q: What do you get when you cross a blonde and a lawyer?

A: I don't know. There are some things even a blonde won't do.