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Typo: Szilard was born in 1898, not 1848.

Interesting piece. Any idea where to find the animated version of the Einstein-Szilard patent diagram?

tri-powered gas absorption refrigerator units are commonly used in RV units, using either 12V, 110V, or propane flame to heat the process. Tidy, compact and quiet units.

Typo: Einstein worked as a patent clerk in Bern, not Berlin

tcmJoe: Not being up on Szilard's biography, and being easily distracted by simple arithmetic, I took the 1848 date at face value, and by the time I finished the paragraph I'd moved from impressed to astonished to outright incredulous. :)

Just stumbled on your blog while looking up links for the Szilard MHD pump and have been happily enjoying the wonderful views and writings for the past hour or so. As a side note the first proposal for a MHD ship propulsion unit that I am aware of was presented in 1934 or so to the US Office of Naval Research by one Thomas Townsend Brown, later of electro-gravitational / UFO fame. He also collaborated with the father of MHD research, Hannes Alfvén, at the University of California (? Santa Barbara) in the 1950s or 60s when he lived on Catalina Island. UC-Santa Barbara is the place Stewart Way had a senior engineering class build the EMS-1, a ten foot MHD submarine prototype in 1965-66. There are some indications that all of these events, including Szilard's earlier work, were connected but nothing definite.

Jennifer, a few corrections for you.

Freon is a brand name for a refrigerant family known as R-12. It was banned years ago. It is still in some old cars/appliances but often the requirement is to replace convert to the newer refrigerants. R-134a is the main standard today, and is also likely to phase out for various other types in the next few years. Also, R-134a is a fluorocarbon refrigerant, NOT a chlorofluorocarbon, so it is not bad for the ozone like R-12 was. Chlorofluorocarbons (like R-12 and others) are banned in most of the world.

Ammonia is not anywhere near as often as some of the alternatives. Many of the newer paths actually revolve around hydrocarbon refrigerants like butane and propane. R-600 is one that Europe has moved toward in a lot of cases.

Interesting post though!


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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.