Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daily Mail editors must now decide whether to assign new element to the "Causes Cancer" or "Cures Cancer" list

Synthesising new elements is Serious Business, for he who controls the Periodic Table controls the Jungian Unconscious [Lafferty, 1976]:
This is why it took so long for the IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party to deliberate on the Livermore-Dubna collaboration's claim, in 2003, to have synthesised a few short-lived atoms of Ununpentium (about one for every six members on the research team)... not because they had been been reading about the case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce and had taken it a a challenge to render justice even more slowly. In 2011 the JWP accepted the reports of elements 114 and 116 (allowing the collaboration to name them Livermorium and Flerovium) -- for which the Jungian psychologists on the panel were able to describe the matching archetypes -- but the verdict on #115 was "Insufficient evidence", chiz chiz.

Now a Swedish group has replicated those observations, putting pressure on the JWP to come up with a new Unconscious Archetype in a hurry. This aspect of the story has gone unreported in the press. However, the Daily Torygraph does provides some valuable background information:
Ununpentium makes regular appearances in the Call of Duty computer games where it is used to power weapons and teleporters.
It also appeared in Tomb Raider 3 as part of a meteorite collected by Lara Croft.
Ununpentium was also claimed by UFO conspiracy theorists to be a component in gravity wave generators used by aliens [citation needed].
The AP coverage of the story is more concerned with a different gap in its readers' education:
Well-known chemical elements include carbon, silicon and iron.

As any fule kno, there are two basic ways of acquiring new archetypes:
A. Fling ion #1 at a target of atom #2 with an accelerator in the hope that some nuclei will fuse.

B. Scour the galactic arm for the remains of a planet which was coated with stable isotopes of trans-uranic elements, spawned by the explosion of its star a couple of eons ago. Method B has the flaw that the value of such a planet -- and its rich deposits of Narrativium -- makes it the nexus of intrigue and warfare between rival galactic power blocs.

The problem with A, however, is that none of the practical nucleus / nucleus combinations provide a sufficiently neutron-rich isotope to reach the "Island of Stability" (where proton numbers and neutron numbers would complement one another satisfyingly to pack out a band of quantum states). The nuclei we catapult from the peninsula of stable elements in the direction of the Island are doomed to land south of it, in the millisecond-halflife shallows of semi-stability.

Judging from this authoritative diagram, the answer is to sail across the Sea of Instability.
We have been trying this approach at Riddled Research Laboratory but find ourselves beset by the Demons of Spontaneous Fission on one side and of Beta Decay on the other, while the Demon of Alpha Emission tries to sneak up from behind. It has been a long day with all the bark on it.
I am still waiting for some homeopathy grifter to announce an addition to the Materia Medica in the form of a homeopathic preparation of Ununpentium, suitable for treating symptoms of mental instability and split personality.

Alternative title:

Heavy metal, black and silver
Fallen matter of the sun


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You can go try to vanish in the whirlpool, but you're still gonna get chased.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

where does unobtainium fit in?

Sirius Lunacy said...

Ha!!! I'm way ahead of you guys. I've already pre-ordered my new Dell desktop with the ununpentium processor!!!

Substance McGravitas said...

Fat lot of good the Map of Isotopes is going to do you there in the hemisphere of Isobottomes.

Yastreblyansky said...

As St. Augustine prayed, Lord, make me chased!