(Here we have a guest post by NCS reader/commenter Old Man Windbreaker.)
Come, join One to gaze at the red hot glow of… uh… never mind. “Hot blonde blacksmith lady pounding hot metal” is all that needs to be said.
Old Man Windbreaker greets you over the worldwide web, in the manner that you imagine yourself being greeted over the worldwide web by a stranger (or Ziltoid). Greetings.
One recently found Oneself fascinated with the thought of metals – metallic chemical elements, that is. After all, if anything is metal, a metal surely is. With this in mind, One attempted to examine what it means to Oneself when One describes something as metal. One found that anything One considers metal deals with themes of death, destruction and darkness; or at least induces thoughts of such. So, one should simply examine history for the metal most closely associated with death. For reference (and annoyance) here is a picture of the periodic table of chemical elements.
Thinking of death, One can’t help but think of war. Looking at the history of weapons, we first had copper, then bronze (copper+tin), then iron in various forms and alloys, lead and jacketed-lead in bullets, and lately alloys of aluminium in missiles. [Is One’s knowledge of weapon history alright?] Of these, iron and lead seem to be the most heavily blood-laden.
Then again, why should human actions be the means of measurement? If Lovecraft taught us anything, it is that humans are insignificant. So, One moves away from Earth towards the stars.
For those not in the know, here is a summary of (one kind of) stellar evolution – the life of a star:
- A gravitational instability occurs in a molecular cloud of hydrogen (by one of various means). When a region in the cloud gains sufficient density, it begins to collapse under its own gravitational force and heat up, eventually forming a protostar.
On a somewhat unrelated note, here’s a video on how to make a fire piston – a fun and dangerous application of gas compression:
- The star ignites and starts fusing hydrogen into helium in high-temperature & high-pressure reactions near the core. The star will then slowly increase in temperature and luminosity, as well as helium content. A star fusing hydrogen is said to be on the main sequence.
Also, every star generates a stellar wind – a continuous outflow of gas into space. The larger the star, the more rapidly it consumes its fuel, the more gas it lets out every year, and the shorter its life is. The largest stars can lose over half their total mass during their time on the main sequence. [Damn. If only humans like Oneself could lose mass by breaking wind.]
Here is Prof. Stephen W. Hawking to explain steps 3 to 6, using the voice of the mesmerising Benedict Cumberbatch:
As described in One’s half-baked summary of the life of a star – Iron kills stars. And the metal that kills stars must be the most metal thing in the universe, right? Thus, Old Man Windbreaker concludes that the most metal metal is Iron.
Let us further examine the wonders that iron brings to the universe through its passive-aggressive stellar gut-stabbing.
- Iron Maidens and Iron Maiden.
- Mars is red because of iron. [Hey Curiosity!]
- Blood is red because of iron – and you need blood in your important parts when it’s important.
- 20 milligrams of iron per kilogram of body weight is toxic, while 60 milligrams per kilogram is lethal. Eating iron can kill you! But, don’t worry, vampires. Drink all the blood you want.
- The blown-out matter contains the heavier elements necessary for the formation of rocky planets – and all the opportunities for death by jagged rocks and freefall that come with it.
- The blown-out matter contains the elements necessary for life as we know it. Lawrence Kraus says it better than One:
- The stellar remnant is made up of The Heaviest Matter of the Universe.
Anyway, Old Man Windbreaker shall conclude One’s rambling. Iron – the most metal metal.
P.S.: Yes, One lied. There is music.
P.P.S.: On an unrelated note, a star can be put out with water.