A tip o’ the ol’ Indiana Jones fedora to Mick Vernon, of Palaeoanthropologica, for pointing me to this story.
*sound of an old Morse code device chattering away*
*in an old Art Deco building* in mid-town Somewhereville, a baritone male voice-over reads from story found at ScienceDaily.com, September 6, 2013*
A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden has designed a microplasma source capable of exciting matter in a controlled, efficient way. This miniature device may . . . revolutionize archaeology.
|Whaddayamean you don’t know what that is. It’s a microplasma source, ya missin’ link!|
*cut to yours truly: highly impressed but completely at a loss to explain what that guy on the radio just said*
Hi. I’m back. Now allow me to elucidate.
The paper under scrutiny is M. Berglund, G. Thornell, and A. Persson, “Microplasma source for optogalvanic spectroscopy of nanogram samples,” Journal of Applied Physics 114, 033302, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4813414
As the researchers describe . . . their new device offers . . . electromagnetic compatibility, an integrated fluidic system, and Langmuir probes for plasma diagnostics.
Plastic dog sticks? Huh? Maybe if I read a little further it’ll help to clarify what it is I’m hearing.
“In this case, the localization, or rather concentration, means that the device itself becomes handy and power-efficient, and also that it consumes small sample amounts, which widens the range of applications far beyond the requirement of simply lightweight or portable instruments,”said [Greger] Thornell.
I think I get it. It’s kinda like a scientific gerbil compared to the old analogue capybara. Hell, we could all use a little of that! The less, the better. Right? Less is more, after all. *scratches head and cuts and pastes another opaque quote from the helpful writers at ScienceDaily* [Who, clearly, are, themselves, scientists. Otherwise how could they even begin to spell this stuff?]
Archaeology . . . applications [are] being investigated right now to help determine the distribution of carbon isotopes in organic samples.
Huzzah! But people already know how to do that. Right? Isn’t that what radiocarbon dating is all about? *getting desparate, now* I’ll just push on . . .
Their plasma source may be used to develop an instrument for field archaeologists, which would allow them to perform measurements while out in the field; this in turn may revolutionize archaeology . . .
Hey. I actually understood that bit. That’s kewl! Almost as cool as iOS 7 or OS X Mavericks are gonna be. Sort of like a Litmus test, or a pregnancy kit, but way better! [Unless you’re a pregnant diabetic archaeologist, in which case it wouldn’t be much use to you. It’d just be an expensive way of finding out something you already knew!] Moving right along . . .
This is still an early study to evaluate the use of this type of plasma source in an optogalvanic spectroscopy setup. “The next step will be to start reiterating and optimizing the signal-to-noise ratios,” said Martin Berglund, doctoral student.
Sounds like a plan to me. I mean, after inventing a micropolar nanoscope, who wouldn’t get straight the the task of making it work in an optic galvanized setup. So, Marty, get reiterating and optimizing that thingy! I’m not gettin’ any younger, and I wanna see this thing working in the field—once it’s all optimized and shit—before they drag me out of here feet first.
Please don’t stand to applaud. It’s kind of embarrasing. But thanks, just the same. Don’t ever forget that you can always count on the Subversive Archaeologist for laser-like insight and fearless gadflynicity. Today’s was just another example of why you keep coming back. Right? No? . . .
* I know, I know. The whole Art Deco thing is kinda random. But I so love the style, I couldn’t resist. Besides, throughout the first half of the twentieth century baritone male voices were carried by the newly discovered radio wave from buildings just like the Chrysler Building. It was an enchanted time. Unless you were poor. Which most were. So. Forget what I said about the enchantment. Running dogs of the capitalist hegemonic whats-its and so on.
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