Burn & Crash

A lot of science going on these days. This week’s issue of Science is an all-you-can-eat synthetic biology extravaganza; there’s also a recent paper on sex and death and parasites concerning an old friend, and the wondrous albeit old news that parasitic jellyfish live in the bloodstreams of mammals and birds. (It came out in 2007; I just found out about it this weekend.  I am ashamed.) Unfortunately I blew today’s ration of geek-time on a blog interview for Scientific American that may not even run (well, depending on how they react to my proposal that we build an army of conjoined twins fused at the head), so all I have time for now is a quick mop-up after last week’s festivities.

Paws of Power / Mitts of Might / Squid & Unicorn Unite!There is, however, a tenuous sciencey tie-in to the whole nuptial thing, in that last week’s issue of Science was an all-you-can-eat meteorite extravaganza — and as it happens the BUG and I, eschewing the usual cliché of gold in a plain brown wrapper, had decided to exchange rings which actually have crunchy meteorite centers. Our fingers are currently shackled by pieces of the Gibeon meteorite: a four-billion-year-old chunk of stardust that splashed down across Africa about ten thousand years ago, and which has this weird-ass crystalline internal structure that looks a little bit like the Andromeda Strain. If we’re very lucky, we could be the start of a world-wide spaceborne pandemic.

For the trivia buffs, stalkers1, and absent-invitees-who-suffered-grievous-back-injuries-the-week-before amongst you, here are a few final details about the postnuptial proceedings:

  • Official wine (red): Fuzion (Argentina)
  • Official wine (white): The Gamble (Australia)
  • Official soundtrack: NIN, AFP, Dresden Dolls, Jonathan Coulton, et al (“I Crush Everything”, “Love is Not Enough”, and “Sex Changes” seemed to come up in rotation more frequently than a truly random shuffle would have led one to expect)
  • Official Mixed Drink: Too numerous to mention, but Mike Skeet is the fucking Master.

Hugh might be interested to note that one of the guys on the guest list — an artillery specialist with the CAF — assured me that a large number of enlistees do in fact sign up because they just wanna kick ass.

Next up on the ‘crawl: Eros, Thanatos, and Golden Showers (being actually a science post on Toxoplasma and not — appearances notwithstanding — a continuation of the current coverage).


1Speaking of which, if any of you have recently been approached by someone asking for my home address, could you please contact me off the ‘crawl?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday September 04 2011at 12:09 pm , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

19 Responses to “Burn & Crash”

  1. You’ve arrived! You have a stalker! Congratulations?

    Also, rings made of meteorite is pretty cool. 🙂

  2. …welcome to the Other Side!

  3. Wow! Back when I got married, I told my wife that I wanted a ring made of either aerogel (preferred) or meteorite. She laughed at me and said “no such thing exists.” Now you’ve proven that she wasn’t trying hard enough. (It’s OK, I still love her.)

    Anyway… did you purchase them, get them custom-made, or did you fabricate them yourself? If one of the former options, can you share the source and a ball-park price?

  4. Very cool rings. How’d you go about getting those? I’ve heard meteorites are pretty tough to carve up.

  5. Love the picture, Kiddo. Me thinks you’re probably so-done on all the squishy-love bandying, so…*grin* … I’ll just say that I really, really like your last two blogs. Well done, Peter. And yes, I WILL use a cutsesy fucking icon to close:-)

  6. Gosh, I’ve run my hands over those meteorites in Windhoek!

    What a great idea for rings – and congratulations, Peter.

  7. It all sounds lovely.

    Add me to the folks curious about metorite. Although I’m happy with my ring, I admit I don’t get how my husband’s looks almost pristine and mine is already buffed to a dull patina with innumerable tiny scratches.
    One downside of plain gold alloy.

    I really hope you don’t have a for realsies stalker *shudder*. Or they stop.

  8. re Travis, according to Wikipedia, aerogels can irritate the skin with prolonged contact.

    Maybe better off with some sort of ceramic matrix composite. Not the same look, but the same cool factor.

    And of course there was that couple years back that had rings made of each others’ cultured bone http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/start.html?pg=4

    ( :

  9. So as well as uncomfortable facts about mammalian biology, the topics of discussion also included squid, biological or cultural imperatives for mayhem, and futuristic military zombies? No wonder the officiant ran away 🙂

  10. @V. Yeah, I’d heard that before. I presume it would be possible to encase the aerogel inside an acrylic epoxy for a skin-safe coating. That would also help resist shattering upon (inevitable) impacts.

  11. Loved the pictures. Glad to see Caitlin’s folks still looking good. Good luck, and love the rings!!!

  12. Many congratulations, and are you going to be offering your playlist on CDs or MP3s? Your musical tastes are almost identical to mine.

    Love the rings, too!

    Much happiness to you both.

    – Longtime reader

  13. Congrats! But the picture made me think of Goatse. (sorry!) 🙂

  14. Kind of hoping the Toxoplasmosa post will cover the issue whether the brain parasite is capable of modifying human behavior… and to what extent.

    I mean, Flegr.. etc.. it’s one study, and it hasn’t been replicated anywhere else. Kind of weird, I can’ think of a more interesting topic than figuring out whether toxoplasmosis messes with other than rodent brains.. and to what extent.

  15. @Travis, Lyn, V et al:

    We ordered these from a dude called Johan on etsy; prices range from a few hundred to a few thousand. (Here’s a sample page.) He does a lot of custom work, stuff with wood and more conventional gemstones as well. We’d use him again in a second (in fact, I intend to purchase all my future wedding rings from this guy).

  16. If toxo increases risky behavior, I’m not infected. In fact, I might volunteer for infection. I haven’t been outside in days! 🙂

  17. We had to use stunt rings at my wedding. We still haven’t found the right ones. I’m sure they are around somewhere.

  18. First things first, congratulations Peter on the whole getting married thing.

    “Hugh might be interested to note that one of the guys on the guest list — an artillery specialist with the CAF — assured me that a large number of enlistees do in fact sign up because they just wanna kick ass.”

    I can personally attest that a lot of the guys I went through basic with were there to shoot guns and blow things up. And not necessarely just the front line combat trades either. The difficulty is keeping these new recruits motivated when they won’t be being deployed on any actual combat missions for the forseeable future now that we’ve moved into a support role.

  19. I didn’t know until today. Congrats!