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So, err, no Brazil nuts either then?

Will anything be banned from entry? “Bananas!” Barberio exclaims. Rich in potassium, they are slightly radioactive.

25 thoughts on “So, err, no Brazil nuts either then?”

  1. Selenium in brazil nuts isn’t it ? And Head and Shoulders shampoo, so I am led to believe.

    I don’t think dark matter or energy exists. It is just a desperate stab in the dark ( geddit ) because cosmographers can’t get their sums right.

    I was reading yesterday that this new super telescope in space might disprove the Big Bang Theory because it can see in the infra red and is detecting galaxies a lot further away than they are supposed to be.

  2. @O “I don’t think dark matter or energy exists. It is just a desperate stab in the dark ( geddit ) because cosmographers can’t get their sums right”

    So much for ‘following the science’ eh?

    I remember remember reading a magazine article ‘way back’ about Dark Matter – a few days later we had a company wide stock take (I was the Divisional Controller and yeah, it was that long ago and I wasn’t fat then) and at one of the manufacturing units the actual count vs what should’ve been there, according to the books, was way (way) down – I remember commenting acidly when my assistant gave me the rec that if we were physicists we could just put it down as ‘dark stock’ and all would be well.

    Ops Director at the site got the bullet a few weeks later.

  3. @Ottokring: It’s mainly potassium 40 in brazil nuts, plus some uranium and radium IIRC.

    People are radioactive, why aren’t they banned?

  4. This is where the lovely oldie gets trotted out. Yes, banana equivalent dose and all that. Folk are radioactive – as Teller said, the couple leaning against the eactor wall for a smooch are getting more radiation from each other than they are the reactor.

    But Brazil nuts? They can be taken into a reactor site as part of a lunchbox – but not taken out again. They’re more radioactive than what you’re allowed to take out of a plant site.

  5. Tim, demonstrating clearly that the rules governing nukes are designed solely to make operating nukes as difficult and expensive as possible (and to repeat part of my comment of a couple of days ago, ditto the fossil fuel industry and ditto the ICE industry).

  6. “But Brazil nuts? They can be taken into a reactor site as part of a lunchbox – but not taken out again. They’re more radioactive than what you’re allowed to take out of a plant site.”

    Wouldn’t that mean that they wouldn’t let *you* out, until nature had taken its course?

  7. Possibly – although I think it likely that you’ll have significantly diluted it. It’s radiation per kg of mass, right?

  8. Wouldn’t that mean that they wouldn’t let *you* out, until nature had taken its course?

    But then they’d have to manage the turds as radioactive waste!

    I wonder how many people we’d need to convince to eat nothing but bananas and brazil nuts for a day to have the local water company need to treat the sewage as radioactive waste?

  9. I don’t think dark matter or energy exists. It is just a desperate stab in the dark ( geddit ) because cosmographers can’t get their sums right.
    I suspect the same. And it is the sums thing. The scientific community is obsessed with them. Trouble with the sums thing is GIGO. They all depend on assumptions. And with cosmology the assumptions are about 1500 layers deep. Because every measurement depends on a whole lot of assumptions.
    My assumption is that the assumptions are bollox because there is something very fundamental about the universe these bods don’t understand. And they probably don’t because their assumptions prevent them doing so. For instance, does 1+1 always equal 2? Because if it doesn’t the whole fabric of maths collapses. Why wouldn’t it? Because the assumption is that every point in space/time is identical to every other point. It makes the maths work. But what if space/time is granular on a large scale?

  10. BiS: maths has axioms – a few fundamental things you have to assume. Arithmetic has Peano’s axioms, but other axioms are required in other fields. Dunno about cosmology. Of course Gödel had something to say about whether it all hangs together properly!

  11. And cat litter. So to minimise radioactive waste presumably the mice are free to gnaw through the cables and stuff.

  12. “bloke in spain
    August 19, 2022 at 9:41 am”

    If space were granular ok a large scale (rather than at the smallest scales) then we would have seen it.

    And yes, there is an assumption that physical laws are time and space invariant – because we’ve seen no evidence they’re not. Yet.

  13. If space were granular ok a large scale (rather than at the smallest scales) then we would have seen it.
    If C varied in either distance or time, how?
    1+1 might not therefore equal 2. Length AB might not equal BA. X=Y, Y=Z therefore X=Z not be true.
    Certain things are assumed to be true because if they weren’t the maths wouldn’t work. Maybe it doesn’t.

  14. My assumption is that the assumptions are bollox because there is something very fundamental about the universe these bods don’t understand. And they probably don’t because their assumptions prevent them doing so. For instance, does 1+1 always equal 2? Because if it doesn’t the whole fabric of maths collapses. Why wouldn’t it? Because the assumption is that every point in space/time is identical to every other point. It makes the maths work. But what if space/time is granular on a large scale?

    Yup, same here. My own personal opinion is that intergalactic space (as in the massive vacuum space between galaxies) is far emptier than calculations suggest. This is why the shells around galaxies seem “heavier” than they should be.

    Dark matter and dark energy are just ways of balancing those equations. Because if the intergalactic vacuum is less dense than the vacuum between stars in a galaxy then the theory that space is all the same everywhere doesn’t work, hence the fudge factors of dark matter and dark energy.

  15. If you ask an engineer what 1+1 is,(s)he’ll say “Between 1.98 and 2.02”

    When we are dealing with objects that are millions or billions of light years away, then inexactitude is inevitable and even the tiniest margin of error ( or doubt ) becomes magnified beyond scope of our comprehension.

    I agree with JG. We only have the vaguest idea what interstellar space is like, thanks to the Voyagers. Is intergalactic space emptier ? Or is it full of big black things , like in Fifth Element ?

    It is a sci fi trope that galaxies have hard boundaries( Star Trek and Bkakes 7 mention it ), but do galaxies suddenly end or do they peter out, with stray stars and their systems, like the last houses in a village ?

  16. If you ask an engineer what 1+1 is,(s)he’ll say “Between 1.98 and 2.02”

    Which is pretty much the problem with interstellar vacuum because quantum mechanics views intergalactic vacuum as having some average value close to but above zero because of zero point energy fluctuations. Given the enormity of intergalactic space, the cumulative effect could be significant, or zero or some quantity in between.

    All of this is fine for cosmologists, but a pretty hard discussion for the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

  17. There are plenty of serious astrophysicists working to produce MoND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) which could account for the known discrepancies in the large-scale behaviour of matter without invoking new, ‘undetectable’ stuff, and (importantly) keeping it consistent with Einsteinian physics when working at smaller scales (e,g, within the solar system). It’s not easy.

    I was once at a cosmology seminar in Oxford, and got the opportunity to ask a very senior cosmologist how much longer he was prepared to give the failure of earthbound experiments to detect (either in particle accelerators or cosmic rays) the bizarre particles that would be needed to constitute WIMP*-based dark matter. “Another five years” was his answer. That was seven years ago.

    Neutrinos were proposed as a particle in order to preserve conservation of energy and momentum during nuclear decay. As Pauli said at the time “I have done a terrible thing, I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.”, but today nobody doubts that neutrinos exist.

    Sorry to disappoint BiS, but there’s plenty of evidence that fundamental physical constants have been unchanged for billions of years and over billions of parsecs – e.g. they do a very good job of predicting the observed abundance of H/He/Li from the fundamental properties of the big bang. That doesn’t mean that they can’t change, of course, only that they can’t change very much, certainly not enough to account for the anomalous behaviour of matter on galactic and intergalactic scales. And further, yes, 1=1 must always equal 2.

    * Weakly Interacting Massive Particles. The alternative proposal for dark matter is MACHOs – MAssive Compact Halo Objects, i.e. brown dwarfs and similar ‘normal’ stuff – but they’re pretty much ruled out because if they existed in the necessary quantities we’d spot them transiting (and occulting) normal stars, and we don’t.

    HERE ENDETH THE PHYSICS LESSON

  18. @Chris Miller
    …but there’s plenty of evidence that fundamental physical constants have been unchanged for billions of years and over billions of parsecs – e.g. they do a very good job of predicting the observed abundance of H/He/Li from the fundamental properties of the big bang.

    This is not true. Please look up the Cosmological Lithium Problem. Current physics predicts three times the amount of primordial lithium than is observed.

    Modern physics still has a lot of unexplained observations. This Wikipedia page gives an excellent rabbit hole to go down: List of unsolved problems in physics

  19. Existing physical laws might be OK. But there also might be new laws that have not been found yet that explains the movements of objects in deep space. One such proposal is Quantized Inertia (QI) (also called Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC)) which tries to explain the speed at which galaxies rotate. It uses a form of radiation called Unruh radiation.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/briankoberlein/2017/02/15/quantized-inertia-dark-matter-the-emdrive-and-how-to-do-science-wrong/?sh=13568e0e675f

  20. @MG

    It’s a specific isotope of Li (Li-7) that appears to be deficient, and I agree it’s an unsolved problem. Various proposed solutions exist (though how to test them?), but not by requiring changes to fundamental physics, AFAIK.

    Yet the fact remains that the observed abundance of primordial H, He and their isotopes places significant constraints on how much fundamental physical constants can have altered over the last 13 billion years.

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