The Quiet American
The Work is throwing a benefit concert this weekend that features light jazz. There are about four dozen reasons why I don't wish to attend this event, but when my supervisor was offering me a free ticket yesterday, I stuck with what seemed like a safe one. "I dislike jazz," I said.
"Oh, really!?" she asked, seeming sincerely surprised. "I always think that really quiet people must always like jazz."
"Really quiet people"?
Books Are Good. Libraries are Good.
In a rare moment of civic-mindedness, I recently got myself elected to the board of the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. Why? Well, because the MCL is probably the best goddam municipal library on the planet, per capita, and because I am passionate about the enrichment it brings to our city, blah blah blah blah blah blah. You know the drill.
I mention this only to put those of you who live here in the City of Roses on notice. When I come after you in person, wouldn't it be satisfying to produce your little membership card and brightly announce "I'm already a member!"?
Those of you who don't live in Multnomah County, you can support your libraries too. Or, if you would prefer to support our library instead, drop me a line. I'll set you up.
A michael5000 Salute to..... Scandium! the Neglected Element that Gives Its All on the Lacrosse Field!
Scandium, a strong but light metal, has the atomic number of 21 but is only about the 50th most common element. It is found in minerals in Scandinavia, from where it takes its name, and in Madagascar. Its biggest use is in alloys for high-end bicycle frames, but its alloys are often used in a few other specialty products, including tent poles, lacrosse sticks, and some handguns.
It could be a useful material for aerospace vehicles, if there was more of it, but world production is only a few thousand kilograms per year. There appears to be plenty of Scandium in the sun, but at the present time we don't have an efficient means of retrieving solar materials. So for now, titanium and chromium fill the general roles that Scandium doesn't.