Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mingus Amongus

"Psychopath! psychopath!"
I'm alone in my living room and I'm yelling at my TV. "Forget rehabilitation -- that guy is a psychopath." 

Ever since I visited Dr. Robert Hare in Vancouver, I can see them, the psychopaths. It's pretty easy, once you know how to look. I'm watching a documentary about an American prison trying to rehabilitate teen murderers. They're using an emotionally intense kind of group therapy, and I can see, as plain as day, that one of the inmates is a psychopath. He tries, but he can't muster a convincing breakdown, can't fake any feeling for his dead victims. He's learned the words, as Bob Hare would put it, but not the music. 

The incredible thing, the reason I'm yelling, is that no one in this documentary -- the therapists, the warden, the omniscient narrator -- seems to know the word "psychopath." It is never uttered, yet it changes everything. A psychopath can never be made to feel the horror of murder. Weeks of intense therapy, which are producing real breakthroughs in the other youths, will probably make a psychopath more likely to reoffend. Psychopaths are not like the rest of us, and everyone who studies them agrees they should not be treated as if they were. 

I think of Bob Hare, who's in New Orleans receiving yet another award, and wonder if he's watching the same show in his hotel room and feeling the same frustration. A lifetime spent looking into the heads of psychopaths has made the slight, slightly anxious emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia the world's best-known expert on the species. Hare hasn't merely changed our understanding of psychopaths. It would be more accurate to say he has created it. 


Thursday, September 6, 2012


The metal has the highest melting point of all metals, and at temperatures over 1650 oC also has the highest tensile strength. Pure tungsten is ductile, and tungsten wires, even of a very small diameter, have a very high tensile strength.

Tungsten is highly resistant to corrosion...

Tungsten is one of the five major refractory metals (metals with very high resistance to heat and wear). The other refactory metals are molybdenum, tantalum, rhenium and niobium.

Tungsten and its alloys are widely used for filaments in older style (not energy saving) electric bulbs and electronic tubes...

High speed steel (which can cut material at higher speeds than carbon steel), contains up to 18% tungsten.


Monday, September 3, 2012

My Great Uncle's Coins

My great uncle was a really interesting guy who lived in Wisconsin. I inherited a bunch of his junk coins when he passed away and figured this is a great place to share them, a very nice intersection of art, commerce, and history. Hopefully the first in a long series, I have a lot of coins...

One of my favorites. The quarter-millennial celebration coin. I am unclear on what the 1677 date means, but it's a lovely coin.


If you click on the link, you'll notice the one I have is a master--the holes were never bored and the inlayed coin and top piece were never attached, In fact, I have extra metal all around the edge. A prototype? Very cool metal art. I like mine better than the finished versions.