The BBotE production window ending October 12th is now up and you may order away to your heart’s delight. Please do. Because that plane ticket to ain’t gonna pay for itself.
In October 19th, as previously mentioned, I will be jumping on a plane to Tel Aviv to join my friend Fr. Gabriel on a bit of a mosey around Israel and Jordan to help him fulfill a holy vow, see some amazing archaeological sites, and help some local communities. Also, holy shit, we will be going to Petra. I have wanted to visit Petra since I first saw it on the big screen as the temple in the Valley of the Crescent Moon in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and learned it was a real place.
This does mean that the coffee engines will go quiet for two weeks as I don’t return until November 1st. I will open another production window after the 12th and leave ordering active on the site but, obviously, nothing will ship while I’m overseas. In that brief window between the 12th and 19th, I will attempt to shove as much BBotE and Steins of Science out the door as I can.
With that, enjoy a bit of Petra and have a good weekend.
I have often said that my physics degrees are primarily used to make more esoteric dumb jokes and puns, especially if I can find a way to work math in to them. As a coworker will be going to a new job soon, I want to immortalize two connected stories that show why I’ll miss him. This is also another moment of satori in my life. To help make sense of the joke, all you need to know is that Hormeisis Theory is borrowed from chemical exposures, which is the idea that a little bit of poison strengthens you. This turned into the idea a low level of radiation damage prompts your body’s cellular self-repair systems to action.
[SCENE – COWORKER 1 and Phil are working at the radiation detection instrument calibration range. The large Cs-137 check sources have been brought out of storage and the radiation area barrier tape has been put up. Phil is setting up ion chambers at set distances on the range.]
COWORKER 1: Are you finished setting up?
Phil: Almost. You can go ahead and get the smaller source out.
COWORKER 1: Alright! Time to get my hormeisis for the day.
Phil: [without missing a beat, without so much as a hesitation for thought, a perfect moment of satori] Your mom’s a hormeisis.
COWORKER 1: [drops the tongs before even opening the source pig, slumps against the range table] You yermom’d me!
Phil: Oh my god. I’m sorry.
COWORKER 1: Do you have any idea how many years it’s been since I’ve been yermom’d? That was amazing.
After that, we had a special bond as he had finally figured out I was a strange garbage person he could relate to. That I was, in fact, weirder than him and could enrich his life with things. Like getting the Picard Song stuck in his head.
A few years of good times pass.
[SCENE – Seated at a table during the departmental holiday dinner, COWORKER 1 and Phil are sharing stories while enjoying refreshing adult beverages. COWORKER 2 enters and takes a seat.]
COWORKER 1: Do you remember when you yermom’d me?
Phil: Of course I do!
COWORKER 2: [incredulous] You yermom’d COWORKER 1? How?
Phil: I said his mom was a hormeisis.
[COWORKER 2 has a spittake. COWORKER 1 recounts the previous scene to him.]
COWORKER 2: Well, you know what means right, COWORKER 1?
COWORKER 1: What?
COWORKER 2: It means a little bit of your mom is good for everyone.
COWORKER 1: [gently rests forehead on the table] Oh god it got worse. How did it get worse?
[Phil and COWORKER 2 make a toast to COWORKER 1’s mom.]
COWORKER 1: Howwwwwwww???
I’m gonna miss him. He’s the only person in the whole department who can properly Slav Squat. All the rest of us have Western Spy Squat. Oh, and he’s gonna be a kickass health physicist.
An amusing conversation happened on Twitter last night and this morning with regards to holy water, it’s creation, dilution and retention of holiness. While I may be an atheist, I am very happy to count both a Dominican and Jesuit priest as friends and can thus aim fascinating questions at them. In this particular case, Fr. Gabriel got to field this one:
In fact yes. If you have a bowl of holy water and you add to it, it retains it’s blessing unless you add more than half the volume. If you do that, it loses it’s blessing. Fun facts.
— Rev Sir Gabriel T Mosher OP KHS (@lukei4655) June 5, 2019
To answer someone else’s question, all the letters after his name signify that he is a Dominican (OP: Order of Preachers) and is a Knight Religious of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher* (KHS: Knight of the Holy Sepulcher). This means he is a level 2 cleric with a prestige class as level 1 knight. Being a knight religious means he is allowed to ride his horse directly into the Vatican but, as a cleric, is still not allowed to have a sword. If you remember from your D&D reading, only clerics of very particular gods are allowed to have edged weapons. Part of why he is my friend is that he isn’t in the least bit offended at being described this way.
Anyway, this leads to obvious questions about mass balancing and making sure that the fonts are always actually holy. The conservative answer would be “Always refill with holy water.” If you start making withdrawls of holy water from the font and then tank it back up with mundane water, without rigorous chain of custody accounting, you run the risk of accidentally losing that holy status in the basin. My Lovely Assistant, with her PhD in Chemistry, started trying to work out the calculus for this and a Theory of Constant Blessedness. She needs better hobbies.
Other people asked questions regarding the possibility of blessings per minute or holy flow if you wanted to try to piping some high pressure holy water on demand. In my reckoning, the limitations here are the available labor resources. There’s only so many priests and most of them are older, tired men unaccustomed to manual labor and this sounds like shift work.
Now, you could go for blessing in mass quantity instead. For places that go through a hell of a lot of holy water per day, they will make up entire vats worth. Depending on traditions, however, this does involve other consumables like salt and oil added during the sanctification. This is why you can’t have a reactor pool filled with holy water; all you’re doing is adding crap that the reactor will activate and the filters beds will immediately remove.
The way I learned that holy water has things added to it is a story of it’s own…
Because I like history, I was totally willing to play chauffeur for my grandmother, who was an at least one mass per day Catholic, to take her to visit some of California’s missions. Most of the original churches are gone, since they were made of adobe, congregations greatly outgrew them, and earthquakes happen. But in ONE CASE the original mission church is still there and it was the original hub mission for Alta California: Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
So, we went. It’s tiny but neat. While grandma fully understood that I wasn’t Catholic, she also wanted to make damn sure I learned how to behave politely in such a space. When we walked in, she whacked me in the shoulder and gestured to the holy water to do a dab & genuflection.
For a moment, please imagine 18yo Phil, clean shaven, short hair, head to toe in black (probably wearing the Alapalooza Tour shirt), wearing SWAT pants and army boots, stepping up to the font, dipping a finger in, touching my forehead and then saying “Ow, fuck that burns!” more loudly than I should have.
The abuelas praying nearby began praying more audibly.
As I discovered, I had a small cut on my forehead because yay scratching tiny pimples and the little bit of oil and salt added to the font was enough to make it sting. Grandma whacked me again for swearing in church.
*: There will be more adventures with Fr. Gabriel this October as I have rules lawyered my way into visiting Israel & Jordan with him to help fulfill his knightly vows. Nowhere in the vow “Lead a pilgrimage of non-order members to the Holy Land” is there a specification that you actually need to take Catholics. I’m helping.