24 November 2008

I should be working on stuff...

but, a couple things. Bradley Meyer wrote a review article in Astronomy and Astrophysics about p-,r-,s- processes and slipped in a quotation from Confucius:

The Master said, "Ssu, I believe you look upon me as one whose aim is simply to learn and retain in mind as many things as possible." He replied, "That is what I thought. Is it not so?" The Master said, "No; I have one thread on which I string them all."

This appears right after a plot of the solar abundances versus atomic number and right before a discussion on entropy that I skipped because, um, it was difficult to follow.

The best ever line in a prestigious refereed journal, however, has to be George Wallerstein's last line in his paper with Chris Sneden (my thesis advisor) about an especially lithium-enhanced metal-poor star (read: it has a lot of something that it shouldn't and it's really fricken old).

Such putative planetary systems, however, might be good candidates for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence because the inhabitants of their outer planets might be screaming for help as they watch their inner planets disappear into their central star.

Some background: the star had too much lithium in it, so there needed to be some sort of mechanism that created it. One creation scenario involves a star basically engulfing its planets, which are rich in lithium. Think the Sun eating Mercury (yum!). There are other complications that make this an unfavorable enrichment mechanism so he just slipped that last line in for funsies. Granted, this paper was written four years before I was born (1982), so perhaps astronomers were much more footloose and fancy free?

More posts later about what I'm making for Thanksgiving and how. But that's for later. I have to go work on a stupid outreach project that I've been putting off for weeks and write a talk explaining the s-process element abundances in planetary nebulae. Not fun. Although, I may finally use that kitchenaid stand mixer to make a batch of cookies because, um, I sort of don't have any motivation to be awake other than cooking.

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