My Sign-Off

I totally missed the point of Goose’s question on a previous thread. I do respect Troll and the Tea Party. I’d like to relate my experience of being a Washingtonian during the TP rallies. I saw a lot of folks out and about. My impression was that they were simply good people who care about their country. They’re not my enemy, even though I think they are profoundly mistaken.

So, why does the Fairlington Blade sign his posts with BB? It’s shorthand for buh-bye. Also for BuckyBall. Kraetschmer and Huffman first figured out how to synthesize buckyballs when I was a graduate student. My first big paper was on magnetic resonance spectroscopy of buckyballs and they’ve come back in my career. I recently submitted a paper on a study of zinc phthalocyanine and buckyballs. [Note – if you’ve used blue paint, you’ve used a phthalocyanine.]

Buckyball is shorthand for Buckminsterfullerene. Put in your mind a soccer ball. Black pentagons and white hexagons. Put a carbon atom at every corner. You’ll find that there are 60 corners. A buckyball is a geodesic sphere. It’s also a truncated icoshedron (a 20 sided die for us D&D geeks). Buckminster Fuller was an architect who invented the geodesic dome and so this molecule is named in his honor.

At some point, I decided to have a sign-off. My favorite might be Chevy Chase (I’m Chevy Chase and you’re…. not). Dennis Miller had a pretty good one too (I am out of here). Mine is succinct and says a little about me.

Wait for it.


9 Responses

  1. Bucky Balls. I should have known. Just goes to show that everybody has multiple layers of awesomeness, just waiting to be peeled back. Or, almost everyone. Everyone here, at any rate. Is Spaceship Earth at Epcot really a geodesic dome, ala Buckminster Fuller? I know it was supposed to be.


  2. Ha! I knew it was something good! Thanks, FB!!Did I ever tell you that my car is named Bucky? After Buckminster Fuller. . . for the very reason you've explained (I just love the name and the fact that a chemical structure is named after him). Geeks rule!!!!!


  3. One of my favorite columns of the local alternate newspaper in which odd questions are posed and answered. [My favorite is Savage Love.] Someone wrote in to ask what would the Earth be like if it were a cube. The corners, in essence, are enormous mountains that would stretch out into space. The atmosphere would pool in the center of each side Mathematically, the center of a side is one half the length of a side from the center. A corner is roughly 1.7 times as far away from the center (square root of 3). For sides 6000 miles on a side, the corner would be at the top of a mountain 4000 miles tall.Such a geometry is structurally unsound, but cool to think about. Reminds me of the work of Dyson and Niven (Ringworld).BB


  4. Have you ever read any of Piers Anthony's Xanth novels? In some of them he has "alternate universe" Xanths, where they have different shapes (a torus, a pyramid, a string, etc.) and different geographies and rules–for instance, on one alternate Xanth going "east" ages you and "west" youthens you. IIRC he got the idea from Ringworld.And is "Savage Love" Dan Savage's column?


  5. Many years ago. The first trilogy was pretty good, though the later ones seemed more of an excuse to make puns than write a story. Oddly enough, the opposite occurred for the Harry Potter stories.I just checked and see that there are now 27 books in the series. Woah.Paul


  6. I've missed many Xanth novels. I enjoyed them when I was in high school, not so much later on. I did listen (again) to the Incarnations of Immortality series. He remains light and frothy even when writing over weighty matters, and a little silly, but it was still pretty fun.


  7. I like the cube question and thought experiments like it, although I believe a cube planet is a physical impossibility.I once wondered what it would really look like to stand on an infinite plane or flat Earth.


  8. It's totally impossible. Well, one would need a material with tensile strength exceeding anything known. Perhaps Larry Niven could help us out in that regard.BB


  9. I loved the Incarnations series. Particularly starting out with Death as a sympathetic figure. It's true. Without death, I would not exist. Nor would my sons. It's fair exchange for me.BB


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