Stargate is a mid-‘90s cult sci-fi film about a US Air Force team that travels through the titular stargate (a massive ring shaped device covered in constellations) to another planet called Abydos. There they discover that 10,000 years ago an alien used the gate to pose as the Egyptian sun god Ra and enslave the humans of Earth. The team must then focus on defending the people of Abydos from Ra’s return while trying to find a way back home. The film sets the ground for a complex mythology that is expanded upon in the following three spin-off television series, two DVD movies, and countless novels.
Weird Science and Technology
From Silver Cube to Rainbow Stairs
You would be forgiven if you assumed the element Bismuth (83Bi) was just like any other metal. In fact, most people did up until the 18th century. However, there are some interesting characteristics that set it apart from the rest. It is an uncommonly poor conductor, extremely dense, expands when cooled, and has a half-life equal to one billion times the age of the universe! Though bismuth is not a very well-known metal, it is likely that you have used it in the past. It has become the go-to metal for producing alloys to replace lead and is the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol. That being said, recent attention has been paid to it for a very different reason. When bismuth cools down after being heated to its melting point it forms a unique crystal structure best described as an iridescent rainbow staircase. Because it is common, safe, easy to melt, and very attractive to look at, bismuth is now a staple for amateur jewelry makers.
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