We’re Made of Stars: All Elements Come From Stars (except for the very first two, hydrogen and helium)


“The entire universe shares a common set of elements. In the very early universe, the only elements were hydrogen and helium. But since the formation of stars, lighter elements within the stars began fusing to create heavier elements, producing all the other naturally occurring elements. Under the extremely high temperatures and pressures within the core of stars, atoms collide at high enough speeds to overcome the usual electromagnetic repulsion of nuclei, allowing nuclear fusion to occur.” “All stars live by fusing hydrogen into helium.” From Teachers’ Domain.

Diagram from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. How cool would that be: “Where do you work?” “Oh, at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, no big deal…”

For dramatic effect, read all this while listening to “Million Dollar Baby” by Lil Wayne, produced by Just Blaze (via Nah Right)

“Stars are fueled by nuclear fusion reactions, which take place in their deep interiors, or cores. Hydrogen nuclei fuse, forming helium nuclei. The energy produced by these fusion reactions prevents the star from collapsing under its own gravity. Mature stars contain enough hydrogen nuclei to last billions of years. When a star’s hydrogen fuel supply is spent, however, its core begins to contract. The contraction is so intense that it creates conditions under which helium nuclei fuse. In this way, helium becomes the star’s next fuel source. The fusion of helium nuclei produces carbon and oxygen nuclei, and in the process sufficient energy is released to temporarily sustain the star.

Once helium runs out, the nuclei of carbon, oxygen, and other elements begin to fuse. These new fuel sources are depleted at faster and faster rates. Since the heaviest element created in a star by nuclear fusion reactions is iron, a large iron core eventually forms at the center of everything. At this point, gravity becomes overwhelming, the core collapses, and an explosion occurs, during which outer layers of gas and heavy elements are ejected to space. Such explosions, called supernovas, occur about once a century in our galaxy. The energy created by supernovas produces nuclei heavier than iron. This process is known as supernova nucleosynthesis.” HELL YEAH!!!!!!!
From Teachers’ Domain

From the Greek hydro (water) and genes (forming)

What it is
Hydrogen is the simplest, most abundant, and lightest of the elements. It is colorless, odorless, nonmetallic, highly flammable (think Hindenberg), and able to react chemically with most other elements. It is present in all organic compounds and living organisms … and, oh yeah, in water.”

New Latin, from Greek Helios (“the Sun”)

What it is
Helium is the second most abundant element. It has the lowest melting point and is the only liquid that does not solidify when the temperature is lowered.

When does the next shipment arrive?
Probably never. As it happens, almost all of the Helium on Earth came about is the nuclear fusion that created the Sun so getting another shipment here would be awkward. A small portion comes from radioactive decay and a tiny bit more can be extracted from natural gas. There is, however, no practical way to manufacture large quantities. When the government realized this, it started storing billions of cubic feet of compressed helium in giant storage tanks.”


I just heard a great piece on NPR “The Music of Matter” on how all elements are from stars and on the periodic table. Part of Mendeleev’s genius: inferring that gaps in his periodic table were due to elements not yet discovered, as opposed to his table being wrong. Discusses the periodic, music-like nature of elements, their weights and properties.

Supernova picture from NASA

Elements crib sheet from Seed Magazine

Evolved star diagram from Wikipedia


Josef K–It’s Kind of Funny; Killing Joke–Love Like Blood

Josef K–It’s Kind of Funny. One of the best bands ever. Basically, Franz Ferdinand’s first album was a Josef K tribute, in a good way. Their scrapped first album (included on the Only Fun in Town CD (of which there are several versions, I like the first CD version better where the disc has black ink, the second version with gold disc ink was remixed too bright/trebly) is better than the LP they finally put out, but they’re both amazing! Sort of like–the Cure meets Gang of Four, Chic, Codeine, Talking Heads, the Smiths, Franz Ferdinand, and Sonic Youth?? BTW LTM Records you should re-release this CD for people who don’t have it (or are all the tracks on the Domino Records release?)

Killing Joke–Love Like Blood
Love Like Blood, from Killing Joke’s last really, really good album in the 1980s, the highly influential Nighttime. This is their ultra-poppy breakout 80’s hit. You’ve got to love that yellow shirt with the heart the guy in the crowd in the beginning is wearing; there weren’t ravers that early were there???

Next: Dif Juz

The New Battlestar Galactica is So Good

Okay, so I’m like five years late to the party, but the new Battlestar Galactica series is so good. It’s not all cheesy like the original Battlestar Galactica or limp sci-fi cornball cheesiness like the Star Trek The Next Generation, which I thought was pretty grossly barf-tastic compared with the at least palatable/charming cheese of the original Star Trek series of the 1960s or whenever it was made.

Why did it look like they were in the plush interior of a Mercedes on the bridge of the Enterprise in the Next Generation? Why did everyone wear cheesy spandex pants? Why were the characters so uninteresting? Why was everything so comfortable and boring looking all the time? Data? The guy with the visor? The weird psychologist lady or whatever? Picard? Why was there no drama or interesting characters? Everyone was on like Prozac or something. Barf!!!

So, as further reference, they finally figured out in the latest Star Trek movie that yeah, the Captain should be a bad ass, people should be able to punch people every once in awhile if the situation warrants it, there should be Vulcans and not dumb boring robots like Data, people should be daring and interesting and the plots should be dramatic and there should be something at stake, such as the lives of interesting characters, not just people sitting around talking all the time in a plush spaceship that looks like a Mercedes interior, wearing ugly spandex like in Star Trek The Next Generation–gag, boring!!!

As even further reference, I think the first two Star Wars movies plus Blade Runner are sort of the gold standard for sci-fi, for example with Blade Runner being gritty and realistic and having these amazing themes and ideas and cinematography and character and plot development, and Empire Strikes back being gritty and realistic for outer space sci-fi, dramatic, and pulling no punches–yeah, they’re on the snow planet Hoth cutting open Tauntauns, a big ice monster clocks Luke in the face, Han Solo kisses Leia, C3PO gets dissassembled, Lando betrays Han, Han gets carbon frozen, Darth Vader throws Luke through a window, Luke gets his arm cut off, Luke is like screw you Vader and jumps down an endless pit and dangles upside on an antenna down out the bottom of Cloud City, etc etc etc.

WTF that’s all in one dramatic, exciting, well-written, beautifully conceived and produced movie? Compare that to Star Trek Next Generation garbage and even the cheesiness of Return of the Jedi. The new Battlestar Galactica is the closest I’ve seen to achieving the non-cheesy greatness of the first two Star Wars movies and Blade Runner.

The new Battlestar Galactica is very well written and plot driven, has very great character development, great casting, and has very few cheesy SF cliches. It’s much more Philip K Dick-ian in its treatment of philosophical questions about the meaning of humanity and even subjects like religion than any other sci-fi I’ve seen outside of Blade Runner.

So, I think it ties or even exceeds The Wire for the title of best TV show ever. Well, Dark Shadows went on for ever and was very good despite some low points, so maybe it’s a three-way tie, just for Dark Shadows’ ability to create continuing suspense and interesting plots for so long, teetering for so long on the edge between genius and campy lunacy with genius winning out 3/5s of the time. So yeah, the new Battlestar Galactica rules, and is not just for “sci-fi” fans by any means.

Here’s another interesting comparison of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek that I just saw autogenerated as possibly related to this post by WordPress

This video comparing Star Wars and the new Star Trek movie is also pretty funny–there were so many ripoffs from Star Wars in that new Star Trek movie (especially the scene where they award the medals etc)

80s Aesthetics Mania Has Not Even Begun Yet

The finer points of 80s aesthetics are still just being mined and rediscovered…now people are picking out the best aspects of 80s aesthetics which also had traces of the best of 70s aesthetics in them as well. I think it probably goes way deeper than what has been brought to light so far, as much activity so far has just been picking out superficial signifiers of the 80s. Even though 80s revivalism started back in the mid/late 90s, it is still going strong and has probably the surface has only just been scratched. Here are some recent examples, notable for how mainstream and current everything 80s is beginning to seem…


Housse de Racket – ” Oh Yeah ”
Geez, everything from the Prince album to the NES cartridges to the tennis fashion…and look at all that wonderful 70s/80s gear in the photo above!!!

Evian commercial–Roller Babies

A lot of retro and current design/fashion/style can be seen on the The Cool Hunter (http://www.thecoolhunter.net) website, which has some pretty fantastic stuff.



By the way, speaking of aesthetics, this is like the first photo I’ve ever seen of a real band using/posing for photos with a Fender Squire guitar!!! I only ever played a Squire because it was the only guitar I could buy at the time!!! Now, that is quirky/art!

World of Warcraft Freakout Video

Okay, is this fake or real? What’s with the remote! Actually, there is a whole genre of World of Warcraft freakout videos on Youtube…

Taking Back Sunday–Sink into Me

Taking Back Sunday–Sink into Me

In the 1990s, I don’t think there’s any way a song like this would be on popular radio, it would have been relegated to indie/college radio. It’s good to hear some good music slip through onto popular radio sometimes–sounds something like Foo Fighters meets Swerverdriver and Drive Like Jehu and Quicksand and Fugazi or something in that vein, albeit very much on the poppy side of their output. Oh, wait, they used to be on Victory Records! Wow, I never thought I’d hear a Victory Records band on pop radio and in Spiderman movies etc!