User talk:Sbharris

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency[edit]

Hi, You edited this subject back in 2010 to include under the Treatment section, this statement: Vitamin B12 can be given as intramuscular or subcutaneous injections of hydroxycobalamin, methylcobalamin, or cyanocobalamin. Body stores (in the liver) are partly repleted with half a dozen injections in the first couple of weeks (full repletion of liver stores requires about 20 injections)"

Do you have a citation regarding 20 injections being required to replete liver stores? I'm doing some research on b12 and such a citation would be very useful. Regards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vanguard1824 (talkcontribs) 19:32, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Ernest Hemingway templates[edit]

You are one of a handful of editors with more than 25 edits at Talk:Ernest Hemingway. There is a debate at Talk:Ernest_Hemingway#Ernest_Hemingway_templates regarding the inclusion of {{To Have and Have Not}}, {{The Old Man and the Sea}}, {{The Killers (short story)}}, {{For Whom the Bell Tolls}}, {{A Farewell to Arms}}, {{The Sun Also Rises}} on the article. Previously at WP:NOVEL a discussion was held when editing at Fyodor Dostoyevsky got contentious. The discussion was held in May 2013 at a broad level regarding editors with multiple templates like these. At the time Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Jane Austen, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Louis Stevenson, Agatha Christie, Bram Stoker, Felix Salten, Arthur Conan Doyle, Truman Capote, Curt Siodmak, Dashiell Hammett, Émile Zola, Washington Irving, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Oscar Wilde (mostly plays), Alexandre Dumas, Hans Christian Andersen, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Edgar Allan Poe, A. J. Cronin, Ernest Hemingway, H. P. Lovecraft, John Steinbeck, Herman Melville, Wilkie Collins, H. Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Henryk Sienkiewicz, John Wyndham were all in this group. Since then William Shakespeare has been added based on discussions at WP:BARD. That discussion reached no consensus but the closer suggested reopening debate on the group as a whole or on a subset with five or more templates which might be handled differently than those with fewer templates. He made no suggestion that the debates should devolve to debates at each individual author's page. The group with 5 or more would be Hemingway, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Jane Austen, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Oscar Wilde, and Hans Christian Andersen. My interpretation of the current debate is centering on whether Hemingway should be laid out differently than this peer group of authors in the sense that this article be the only one with these templates removed. Please come join the discussion.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 15:56, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject Elements[edit]

Hi Sbharris, there might be the need of a little help to cool down the talk page of the WikiProject Elements.--Stone (talk) 13:46, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

File:HeliumUsePieChart1996.jpg listed for deletion[edit]

A file that you uploaded or altered, File:HeliumUsePieChart1996.jpg, has been listed at Wikipedia:Files for deletion. Please see the discussion to see why it has been listed (you may have to search for the title of the image to find its entry). Feel free to add your opinion on the matter below the nomination. Thank you. DMacks (talk) 15:23, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

You may wish to see[edit]

...this Talk section, here [1], regarding an article that you have edited. If you, as a more interested editor, wish to move this in the direction of being more proportionate and better sourced per WP policy, all the better. My goal is the endpoint, and respect for fellow contributors. By the by, I worked on Miller-Urey experiments in the 1970s, and was a correspondent with the S. Miller at UCSD, so though pharma now, I am not out of my depths with having to edit this. Cheers. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 18:10, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

See also note at Drbogdan talk page. Cheers. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 18:46, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Degrees of Freedom[edit]

An editor pointed out a possible error in Heat capacity regarding how the number of degrees of freedom is counted. At issue is whether a vibrational mode counts as one or two degrees of freedom. It does contribute twice the heat capacity as a translational mode does, but at issue is whether that should be called two degrees of freedom. I don't know if whether it's just a terminology issue or what, but the article appears to contradict the "Degrees of freedom" article. I figured you would be better at clearing it up than I would. Spiel496 (talk) 22:19, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

How many naturally occurring elements?[edit]

Hi. Have you looked at Chemical element recently? Now the article has returned to 92 which I doubt, but I am not certain. Could you please see my new comment at the end of Talk:Chemical element#Elements found in nature and respond there? Thanks. Dirac66 (talk) 00:19, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Have a look at the alcohol page[edit]

…for a significant move of text to the Talk section, here [2]. This editor has taken upon himself to write something in every article mentioning alcohol, and he is doing it uniformly badly. See what I did, and perhaps also look at the whole new alcohol (drug) article he wrote (with few and poor citations as well). Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 12:06, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Crown Gold[edit]

In trying to find an authoritative breakdown for the actual silver/copper ratio used in the alloy for U.S. "standard gold", the closest I found was the crown gold article, which suggests ~6% silver (and thus ~2.33% copper for 22 kt gold) But the only source given for the article does not have the 6% details. The relevant U.S. coinage Acts of 1772 and 1837 only say that the alloy

...said alloy shall be composed of silver and copper, in such proportions not exceeding one half silver as shall be found convenient;...

This would legally limit the silver content of 22 kt gold to anywhere from 0% to 4.17%. Could you point me toward sources for the ~6% silver value, and the 0% silver starting in 1837. Many thanks, ―MJBurrage(TC) 01:44, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Gads, you have caught an embarrassing error on my part, and will have to be fixed here and in some of the US coin articles like Eagle (United States coin). The figures for gold fineness changes are correct, but the silver content figure is not. What happened is I misinterpreted the 1792 and 1834 coin acts which set gold and silver at 1:15 and 1:16 value ratios, respectively, and misinterpreted that to mean these were the ratios of gold to silver in gold COINS. The first ratio would make 6%. But as you point out, it can't have been more than half of the 2 remaining kt, which would make it 0 to 4.17%. I haven't been able to find any actual analyses of these coins, but I suspect the composition of the non-gold part of the alloy varied from mint to mint. In those days you could even bring your own bullion to the mint and they'd strike it into coins for you! So, you're right. Please change it, and I'll try to undo such damage as I've done in other places. SBHarris 02:52, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
That explains some issues I noticed (and have corrected on Eagle (United States coin)) a few hours after asking. I would have thought there is detailed knowledge of the most common silver/copper ratios actually used for the alloy used in "standard" gold, (if I understand the legal code correctly, said reporting was even required) but I cannot find anything authoritative on the matter. Even if the Mint does not have public production records, you would think there were assay records from those who were melting (or are now collecting) the coins. ―MJBurrage(TC) 16:39, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Natural occurrence of transplutoniums[edit]

Hi Sbharris. While filling up some entries at List of elements I realized something odd about Emsley's claim that Am to Cf occur naturally and noted it down at Talk:List of elements#Abundances for the really rare elements. Did I mess anything up in these very rough estimates? Because they lead to total crustal abundances of Bk and Cf that aren't even close to reaching one atom. Double sharp (talk) 12:23, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

I certainly agree with your numerical reasoning. Does Emsley give any source for Cf on Earth other than this crazy R-process type thing? SBHarris 20:52, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
He also mentions that Cf, along with Np to Fm, would have existed in the Oklo reactor, but at that point you have enough neutrons around to do this. Now, I seriously doubt it could happen today, and all he quotes is the quasi-R-process thing. He says that the Cm isotopes produced have long enough half-lives for them to stick around long enough to get bumped with a neutron, but the thing is, their concentration is so low that it's not likely they will get bumped with one in the first place. Same for Bk.
He quotes in his Cm section that primordial 244Pu beta decays to 244Am (which it doesn't, though it does occasionally double beta decay to Cm...) and in the Am section he just gives the crazy R-process thing...
I think, the only two of the transplutoniums that stand a chance to occur naturally are Am (two neutrons for 239Pu seems JUST about possible) and Cm (this one is for sure from known double beta decay of 244Pu). Not sure about Am though. I've seen some other sources say Am is natural from neutron-bombarded Pu, but they give the natural Am isotope as 239Am (implausible: that decays BACK to 239Pu!) and not the plausible 241Am! And I have still not seen a paper titled "Detection of Americium/Curium in Nature" or something like that. So I think we should go back to H–Pu (maybe + Cm). Double sharp (talk) 07:44, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Note to myself[edit]

Atom lead[edit]

I like that you tried to improve my new version of the lead of the atom article, rather than lazily reverting it like most editors are prone to do.Kurzon (talk) 04:59, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Better quality image of Wyatt Earp[edit]

You uploaded a faded, blurry, B&W image of Wyatt Earp some time ago, and I believe I've found a better quality and much higher resolution image from the collection of Western author Craig Fouts. There is a much smaller version here that shows more detail of Wyatt's coat, buttons, and vest that appear to match the features on your fuzzy B&W version.

I strongly believe they are two versions of the same image. I'm unsure how to replace your image on Commons, or if that's the right course of action. Please advise.

There is another image that some attribute to be Wyatt Earp, but the proof is sketchy.

And I found anoter page with some pictures of Wyatt and Josie that I've never seen before.


btphelps (talk to me) (what I've done) 08:26, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Hey, BT. I'd never seen the Jeff Morey photos, either, but their quality isn't very good and they seem to belong to somebody. Photos are only generally free of copyright problems in the US if taken before 1923, which is why we have no problem with the wild west photos, but I can't put up some nice ones of Wyatt seated in white pants, taken in 1926 by his first biographer John H. Flood, Jr..

Yes, that's a better version of the same photo. Whether "Craig Fouts' collection photo" is the original or not, who knows. The original is probably a glassplate that is lost. It is of Wyatt as young man, ca. late 1869 or early 1870 -- I suspect it is taken in connection with either his marriage or his appointment as constable. It could probably be uploaded to COMMONS with that rationale (and yes, it is a toned-version of the black and white one I have up). Rather than replace mine on COMMONS (which you cannot really do and still keep all the links to it), just upload your own from the biggest one in Fouts. You could even photoshop it back to black and white. I doubt the original was sepia tone, as it's at least a decade too early for that technique; it might be gold tone. Then replace mine with yours IN THE ARTICLE on If it truly is judged as better, it will eventually get replaced in the other articles that now link to the version I first put in COMMONS. Personally, I like black and white, and a revert to grey using photoshop is what I would do if working with this more detailed version (the more so because this would restore it to what was probably original un-toned).

So, in short, go for it with my blessing, but do it separately.

I've seen that other photo, but never thought 1870's cocked-hat "Earp" was Earp. Every last photo of Earp we have that is genuine, including the ~1887 big-mustache photo that begins the article now, shows his eyes absolutely level with each other in his face, and with the plane of the tops of his ears. This is even seen in his child photo with his mother. Any photos where the line between pupils is not level is because the head is cocked to the side (the Alaska photo), and then you see the ears aren't level. But the eye-eye line still goes through the ear tops. Earp had a fairly symmetrical face, and that and his beetle brows give him a characteristic "don't mess with me" look.

That lowering game-face look is not there in cocked-hat guy, who looks like he'd like to whimper a bit. The reason is that his left eye (see the pupil since the eyebrow is hidden) is somewhat below the plane of his right eye, and that is not because his head is cocked. It's because he's just not Wyatt Earp. SBHarris 22:57, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Done. Along with converting it to B&W, I was tempted to clean up the image too, but decided the artifacts lend character and authenticity to the image. — btphelps (talk to me) (what I've done) 06:35, 26 September 2014 (UTC)


What do you think of simplifying and condensing the applications part of Ultraviolet? I thought it could be reorganized to the way in which UV is applied: direct imaging or sensing of UV (photography, astronomy, chemical analysis, etc), use of UV to induce fluorescence (NDT, dayglo paint, stamps and passports), and to induce chemical changes or physical changes (curing plastics, air treatment, germicidal, EPROMs and so on), perhaps with a single sentence for each application instead of the wall'o'text we have now. It should be an overview of techniques, not an exhaustive catalog.

I'd also like to find out more about UV destruction of VOCs and CO for air treatment...the ASHRAE handbook gives about 1 sentence to acknowledge that this can be done, but has none of the usual tables and helpful chatter that would accompany a mainstream technique (like they have for germicidal air UV irradiation, etc.) If this is important, it needs to be expanded somewhat in the article....if it's fringy crystal-fondling, it should be removed.

Thanks for the additions...when you get the burnt couches and car hulks out of the playground, you can see the places to put new benches and maybe a fountain.... --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:37, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

You've been doing well, but this is a long road. I was actually the first to try to make some order of the applications, in Aug. 2012. At that time, it was once just a random list of apps, no particular structure, in an 88 KB article. [3] What structure you see is what I imposed then, but there's always room for improvement. What we have now is organized loosely by field, not by UV-interaction mechanism. So it's:
   8.1 Photography
   8.2 Electrical and electronics industry
   8.3 Fluorescent dye uses
   8.4 Analytic uses
       8.4.1 Forensics
       8.4.2 Enhancing contrast of ink
       8.4.3 Sanitary compliance
       8.4.4 Chemistry
   8.5 Material science uses
       8.5.1 Fire detection
       8.5.2 Photolithography
       8.5.3 Polymers
   8.6 Biology-related uses
       8.6.1 Air purification
       8.6.2 Sterilization
       8.6.3 Biological
       8.6.4 Therapy
       8.6.5 Herpetology

And so on. If you organize it by UV interaction mechanism, all that's going to be mixed up again, since you can use induced fluorescence to look for a gene in a cell making a fluorescent protein, or on a banknote to look for counterfeiting, and now these two things are next to each other. I think my way which organizes by educational and (essentially) Dewey Decimal subject topic is more natural, but that's just how I think. Not all of these above are that great-- why should fire detection go under "material science"? Maybe it needs to go under new "safety". This was a first-shot try.

I do feel strongly that the biology uses should go together, as you very much change the types of people and equipment whenever the life sciences are involved. If you want to try it another way, "have at it," but it's going to be ugly if it ignores boundaries of how it is taught, and who pays for the application, and what kind of degrees and education the people using it have, for the purpose. (Are they engineers, biologists, cops?). It is, after all, a section on APPLICATION, and we traditionally organize applications by job-- industrial or science application, literally. Do we want to go from "top down" (people, jobs, organizations who use it for what), or "bottom up" (UV interaction mechanism). Perhaps a list of both, with the app detail not duplicated, but major apps mentioned in both lists.

As for shortening much more, I am NOT in favor. The article is 51 KB which is about right for a major science article, and now shorter than the infrared one at 54 KB. It was up to a bloated 90 kB once. My opinion is that it is time to stop shortening for the sake of shortening, and take the banner off the top.

This is important enough that I think we should have input of all the editors, so I'm going to copy this to the article TALK page to get other people's inputs. SBHarris 22:31, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Good faith[edit]

Re: "(Before you delete something for lack of cite, make at least a 60 second good faith attempt to find a ref yourself.)" Perhaps before posting rudely in the edit summary, you might want to AGF and consider that I did make an attempt. - Location (talk) 05:44, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

You weren't very good at it. It took me less time. SBHarris 05:45, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Good for you. - Location (talk) 05:47, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
You don't know about Google? It's a "search engine". It came right after AltaVista, and is better. SBHarris 05:57, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, @Location:, @Sbharris:, disagree vehemently here, with presuppositions, argument, and tone. Tagging allows for original editors to return to an article to indicate their source material, or for experts to return to source the article, and it signals readers that all might not be well with the content, meanwhile (it is pointedly honest vis-a-vis the scholarship in play). It is almost always desirable (and certainly most efficient!) for the original editor to provide their source, especially if follow-on editors are not subject matter experts very well versed in the article content in question. For instance, I am a chem prof, and I can tell when material, broadly in chem, natural products, pharmacol, drug discovery, etc. areas lacks a needed source; but I am often not the best to find the best source to appear, or to rigourously check content against source. And the same is obviously true in my leisure time interests in history, literature, etc. "Unsourced" is pretty much always an issue that is prima facie apparent.
Further supportive is the fact that for many articles, many whole sections and paragraphs are unsourced. How on earth are we to expect every editor to fix every mess that they come upon—rather than just marking it? NO, your best trained, most scholarly editors would be doing nothing more than cleaning up other editor's carelessly created textual messes, should this be required.
Also in favour of tagging is the fact that follow-on edits have clearly been shown to follow the pattern of early edits, and so if badly sourced or unsourced text is allowed to stand, without signal as to its impropriety, then other editors will come along to continue the nefarious pattern of commenting or text dumping without attribution.
Moreover, the process of adding a source also means carefully checking to ensure the source supports the very text to which it is attached. This is not a google and paste process—and as a scholar training future scholars in the art of science, and science writing, I utterly reject the notion that post hoc addition of sources by a later editor is in any way desirable, scientifically or otherwise. No, proper source extraction, content creation, and citation creation takes expertise, and time, and in this regard it is a glorious waste of time, for a conscientious editor to try, time after time—when encountering the many, many, many completely unsourced article paragraphs—to stop all other work and do scholarly post hoc sourcing.
Finally, and in that last vein… Any mother or father who, well meaningly but for an overlong period, cleaned up after their growing children—they can attest: for others to come in after the fact, and clean up messes made by others, such a practice only enables the bad behaviour. No, tags should be placed (so incoming editors do not continue tha bad habits of the earlier), and only the original editors, or subject matter experts with sufficient time to check text against source, should make edits that add sources to existing unsourced text.
Again, from me, it is a thousand times no—source addition is not so simple as google a phrase, proof text the article sentence, and add the citation. No. To suggest this is to suggest a discipline that is not even a sixth form university level of scholarship, let alone acceptable encyclopedic writing. No. See my User page, if you wish, for a bit more on this matter. Cheers. Leprof 7272 (talk) 01:10, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I have no problem with people adding [citation needed] tags. I have a problem with them deleting uncited text, unless it's obviously wrong, or conflicts with their own good understanding of the subject. You don't just wipe out something in a field you know nothing about, because you never heard anything like that before, and you didn't even bother to check the net to see if it might actually be true. Most of Wikipedia would disappear if people did that. You've entirely wasted your wall of text above. SBHarris 01:20, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
My missive was to the "make at least a 60 second good faith attempt to find a ref yourself" statement that was attributed to you. If this is a misattribution, please accept my apology. As for the decision to delete or tag, I believe there are cases to be made for each, in particular cases. Then, if the 60 second remark was not a misattribution, should I infer an apology from you, for being unwilling either to admit to an attitude that has since changed, or some similar explanation of the situation? As for the "wall" comment: this suggests your general impatience with argument (in its positive sense of that word), and perhaps your willingness to consider carefully the intellectual positions of others; while there was some emphatic embellishment, the "wall" made at least 8 points in 6 short paragraphs. Well, we can only bring who we are to these things. Cheers. Le Prof. 01:39, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
In this case I certainly did make the "take 60 seconds and find it yourself" comment. But I wasn't making that as a plea for somebody else to add a cite to material that I myself had added. It was somebody else's material. I agree it's the primary responsibility of those who add the text to provide the cite, for all the reasons you have put above. But if you come upon text you see no cite for, and you have no compelling reason to kill it (as in BLP, or you can't really see that it's clearly in error) then merely tagging it is the correct thing to do, as a message to the original author, and so forth, just as you say. The test for deletion is to ask yourself: would this text improve the article if it were true and had the cite it now lacks? If so, you should merely tag it. In the case above, the text deleted had been added by somebody else, not me, but I could clearly see it was helpful material with nothing wrong with it other than lack of a citation. So I went and (with ease) found one, and restored the text-- which is what the deleter should have done, before doing the deleting. Okay? If you have another philosophy, by all means go around Wikipedia deleting all uncited text, without regard to content. Enjoy the results. SBHarris 01:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
All said that needs to be said, and no offense taken at the reductio ad absurdum of my possible practical response. If the wall will be a continuing annoyance, feel free and delete. Cheers. Le Prof. Leprof 7272 (talk) 02:03, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
If you recall, you went out and found with ease an unreliable source (diff) since Mary Moorman never did sell her photograph for $175,000 as you tried to claim. I wish it only took 60 seconds for me to find, format, and add reliable sources for each falsehood like that (diff), but the conspiracy-minded in Wikipedia add gibberish like that to articles faster than I can weed it out. Enjoy your endeavor of maintaining a semi-accurate encyclopedia. - Location (talk) 05:27, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Ordering of sections[edit]

Typically we follow WP:MEDMOS. We put history towards the end of our medical and pharmaceutical articles. Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:46, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

I can live with the history going farther down, though I'm not sure I like it for a vitamin. Vitamins were discovered, like atoms or electrons or chemical elements. The physics and chem articles treat their subjects with more attention to history of discovery. The further you get into the life sciences, the less attention history gets. I came up from chemistry as an undergrad, and noticed that by the time we got to medicine, there's was very little history left (and what their was, was wrong-- I can remember being told that Semmelweiss got push-back because he wanted doctors to use soap and water). In medical school, they tell you this lack is because they have no room in the curriculum for the history of medicine. That's a lie. The truth is they don't care, and would put it at the end even if there was room. As here. But quite often I think it helps understanding to put an abbreviated history up front (with a detailed one later), so the thing you're discussing doesn't just appear to come out of no where. BTW in pharmacology they also are not as likely to slight history. Goodman and Gilman in The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (now in 12th ed.) start out discussion of every drug with its history, and it doesn't seem to hurt.

I know, you're going to tell me to take it to TALK:MEDMOS. Okay, I will. SBHarris 02:29, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Sshhh, don't tell them about Vitamin K. One way of doing it. Wiki CRUK John (talk) 02:46, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
We're fine. The average physician has only heard of vitamin K as something you give to newborns, treat warfarin OD with, or else make yourself. SBHarris 03:02, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I would talk with you about ordering of sections sometime. There has never been codification of this, so far as I know. Recently I helped re-write WP:ORDER. Personally, I favor pushing history further down. I think it is best to present the significance of a thing first, then its nature, then have other sections. I think MEDMOS follows this and like that system, because I feel that most people are seeking general information on topics and not historical information on them. Message me anytime. I saw that you seemed passionate about this, and in my opinion, any clarification and collection of options is better than having many diffused conversations. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:08, 31 December 2014 (UTC)


Do you have a ref for [4]? Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:12, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

For you[edit]

I've just started Wikipedia:Biomedical information. It's pretty seriously incomplete, but my basic idea is that we can't make progress on our sourcing confusion unless and until we figure out what "biomedical information" is.

I wonder if you would mind having a go at expanding and correcting it? I thought that since you've seen this problem from both sides recently, that you might have a good balancing effect on it. Thanks for considering it, WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:57, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Neutron decay[edit]

Hello Sbharris, more than two years ago, you added a paragraph about the minor decay branches of the neutron. More precisely, you indicate that "a very small minority of neutron decays (about 4 per million) are so-called "two-body decays"[...]". Do you have any reference for this number of 4 per million? I did not find any reference that confirms this number. In the last PDG report (page 1382), I found a probability below ~ 3.10-2. It is quite far from the 4 per million that you wrote. Bascially this number can be estimate if we know the analytical form of the beat energy spectrum, but I did not do it. What do you think? Pamputt (talk) 11:57, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

i got the number out of J. Byrne's Neutron book, and since he has a paper on it (paywalled [5]) I believed it. He says 4e-6 in a review, but it may be calculated. [6] A later paper says it hasn't been observed: [7]. SBHarris 22:30, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. I found a more recent paper about this subject (it is a quite good summary with good references). It gave also this number (4.10-6) which comes initially from a Nemenov's paper published in 1980. I started to write an article on the French Wikipedia about free neutron decay where I gave this information. So if you want to add this reference to the neutron article, please do it. Pamputt (talk) 23:04, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Relax duplicate linking rule (again!)[edit]

You might be interested to see that I'm reopening the issue of duplicate links at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Linking#Relax_duplicate_linking_rule. --Slashme (talk) 21:29, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

O.K. Corral gunfight split[edit]

I'd welcome your input on how to split the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral article. See the discussion here. — btphelps (talk to me) (what I've done) 23:24, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

naming conventions - disaster[edit]

Hey, thanks for starting that discussion. :-) МандичкаYO 😜 20:56, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

This discussion? [8]

It ended nowhere and with no policy, just as expected. SBHarris 05:21, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Nuclear force article[edit]

I've been poking at the nuclear force article, with some significant reorganization, edits, and additions. I am, as usual, rather tentative about things - I think what I've done is o.k, an improvement, etc., but an expert review would be useful. I noted that you had made some contributions to the article (which I don't think I've changed), so I thought I could solicit you to take a look at what I've done; is it accurate? (It all started when I wanted to just include a note about the Reid potential.) Thx, Bdushaw (talk) 22:25, 6 June 2015 (UTC)


this is not written to you, but i hope you think about it. The greygoo argument you have been making is, in my view, really corrosive and plays right into the hands of the advocates who try to warp WP all the time. The community has a reasonable, robust sense of what high quality sources are, and what are definitely not. Sure there are some messy things in the middle, but that doesn't mean that everything is up for grabs. Jytdog (talk) 15:40, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Your arbitration request[edit]

Hi Sbharris, there are two additional administrative things which you need to do on your arbitration case request. The first is provide the diff of your talk page notification (Template:Arbcom notice) informing Mark Marathon that you have filed an arbitration case request. The second is to add links showing other attempts to resolve this issue (such as threads on ANI). Regards, Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 06:28, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

First thing done. For the second you simply have to look at people arguing with this guy and admins blocking him. That's trying to fix dispute and it's not working. Warnings are made before blocks. No effects. No resolution. I put those diffs in. SBHarris 07:10, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Arbitration case request declined[edit]

The Mark Marathon arbitration case request, which you were listed as a party to, has been declined by the Arbitration Committee. For the Arbitration Committee, Jim Carter 12:31, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

arbcom post[edit]

Your edit did something bizarre [9] to the arbom case page, so I've reverted it. Probably not your fault, I've seen this happen about every two to three months on various noticeboards... NE Ent 01:30, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Infrared in solar radiance[edit]

Could you please help me understand the following sentence in Infrared#Natural_infrared? I believe it was contributed by you in a batch of big improvements in June 2013: "Sunlight, at an effective temperature of 5,780 kelvins, is composed of nearly thermal-spectrum radiation that is slightly more than half infrared." I just cannot make sense of the phrase "nearly thermal-spectrum." What could be a non-thermal spectrum of radiation? --Egmonster (talk) 02:34, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Anything that doesn't look like the classical Planck's law thermal spectral radiance curve. Solar radiation approximates the Planck's law curve very well, but not perfectly. So it's a "near thermal" spectrum. Both the articles on Planck's law and Sun have comparisons of the Sun's actual spectral irradiance, and that calculated from theory for a black body. SBHarris 00:31, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

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You're being talked about[edit]

Here. :-)

Tony (talk) 06:30, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

ATP and bond energy[edit]

I recently took a look at the ATP talk page and I saw some of your comments. I have no idea how to add a comment to a talk page, so I decided to go directly to your talk page. Hopefully, I'll answer some of your questions and some of other people's questions, so you can then edit whatever needs to be edited about that subject.

The thing I saw that attracted my attention was the talk about the energy "stored" in a high-energy phosphodiester bond in ATP.

Here's the quick and easy answer: the energy is stored in the electrons that participate in the bond. In a high-energy bond, the electron(s) involved first need to get excited to a higher energy level/electron shell ("principal quantum number": one of the 4 quantum numbers of an electron). As the electron gets excited to that shell, it gains kinetic energy. In relativity, kinetic energy is: mc2 - m0c2 where m is the relativistic mass and m0 is the rest mass. The rest mass of a particle never changes, but its relativistic mass changes as its speed increases: m = m0/√(1-v2/c2). When the electron goes back to its normal state (when the bond is broken) the relavistic mass goes down, which account for the high energy released: E = mc2; the m in that case is the mass defect caused by the loss of kinetic energy of the electron(s). In a nuclear reaction, the mass defect is much greater, and the energy released is therefore much greater. No matter has been created in either case: only the relavistic mass of the particle(s) involved has changed (one way to create matter from energy is through a mechanism called pair production, but I won't get into this).

In any bond, the energy of the system as a whole is lower than the energy of its (possible excited) constituents. This is why bonds occur, because they allow the 2 molecules to reach a lower energy state (I explain more of this later). In order to break the bond, even if breaking the bond is exothermic, you'll need to provide energy to the system to make the system reach a higher energy state, so that the molecule can then be separated.

Now, let's look at the chemical aspect of this. A reaction that creates a bond can be seen as: A + B -> AB. The reaction that breaks the bond is: AB -> A + B. Associated to each reaction is what is called Gibbs free energy: ∆G. When ∆G is negative, the reaction occurs easily: all that is necessary is to provide an activation energy, and then much more energy is released than the activation energy. When ∆G is positive, the reaction requires energy to occur, then as the system reaches a lower state because of the bond, a little bit of energy will be released, but much less than the energy that was used to drive the reaction. The universe always tend to reach a higher entropy, so why would a bond that results in lower energy be favorable? That's because the energy released will result in higher entropy in the rest of the universe.

The equation for Gibbs free energy is: ∆G = ∆H - T∆S, where H is enthalpy, T is temperature and S is entropy. What does that mean? Remember that a bonded system has lower energy than the non-bonded system, however molecules also have kinetic energy, which result in entropy. Now, when the system gets bonded, the system has less entropy, therefore ∆s is usually negative in a simple bonding reaction. This means that if the decrease in entropy of the system (times the temperature) is higher than the decrease in enthalpy, then the reaction will not go ahead unless more energy is injected into the system. To make it simple: imagine 2 objects that move a lot, binding them together will reduce their ability to move around, so if the resulting drop in energy level from the bonding process is not very high, the kinetic energy of the objects will re-input the energy that is necessary to break the bond. For example, when 2 proteins bind together via hydrogen bonds and Van der Walls forces, the decrease in enthalpy for each bond is very low, but the decrease in entropy would be quite high, therefore it takes a lot of these bonds to keep 2 proteins in contact with each other to perform a catalytic reaction. Proteins move really fast in a solution through diffusion and have a lot of kinetic energy, they collide together all the time, but only those which can achieve a lot of weak bonds will actually associate together.

Now here's the physical aspect of a bond. The simplest bonded system is the H2+ molecule, where 1 electron is shared by 2 protons. In the bonding state, the energy of the system as a whole is lower. In this case, just approaching the two atoms from each other within a specific distance will make them bond and release energy. This is because the wave function of the electron is different in the presence of 2 nucleus. The energy of the bonding molecular orbital (in function of the distance between the 2 nuclei) is the eigenvalue (eigenenergy) of the system where the eigenstate (eigenvector) is the wave function and the transformation is the Hamiltonian of the wave function. When the wave function of the electron is shown in the bound state, it shows a higher probability that the electron will be found between the 2 nuclei that in the non-bonded state. The energy of the system is at its lowest at the distance R=req.

I introduced a lot of complex principles here, and I omitted a lot of details resulting in oversimplification. It was still as easy as I could present it and still be mostly factually correct. In the end, what I stated at the start is the easiest way to understand it: the energy of a bond is the energy of the electron(s) involved in the bond, and it is its/their extra kinteic energy (which becomes the mass defect when the bond is broken) that is released when the bond is broken.

Hopefully, that clarifies what you wrote a few years ago about "bond energy" and "mass vs matter". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:31, 3 March 2016 (UTC)


Ah, thank you. I think. I have an undergrad degree in chemistry, so all your terms are familiar to me. But I disagree with much that you say.

First of all, there is no such thing as a “high energy bond.” It’s a little lie that biochemists tell each other (though most know better). The ATP reaction is a “high free energy producing reaction” at the concentrations of the reactants normally in the cell, but many bonds are involved. The reaction of gasoline with oxygen in your car produces a lot of free energy also, but not because energy is “stored” in any C-H bonds. It always takes energy to break a gasoline hydrocarbon C-H bond, just as it does any normal chemical bond (the type you find in biomolecules; it has been pointed out to me that some short-lived “bonds” in certain excited molecular ions can have positive bond energies before they spontaneously dissolve to something lower in energy, but we deal with nothing like that here). Energy from burning gasoline comes from the fact that you get more energy from C=O and H-O bonds formed in products, than it takes to split C-H and O-O bonds in the reactants. Similarly, ATP and water provide energy because of the high energy of reaction between the phosphates and water—it is more than the net energy it requires to break down ATP. If you had to break down ATP to ADP and P in vacuum, without getting energy back from hydration of phosphate and AMP in water, you would need to input energy to do it. It is the ATP + water reaction that powers your cells, not some pure breakdown of ATP.

There is some kind of perversion in biochem, led by biochemists who have no idea what they are talking about, that energy can be stored in single molecular bonds in ATP, usually shown with a Lipmann squiggle ~ which makes them look like a spring. AMP~P~P = ATP. Of course, this is nonsense. It makes a chemical bond (in particular one in ATP) look like it could be the nucleus of a uranium atom, just waiting for some activation before breaking down and giving up heat. Wrong! There is no more energy in a kilo of ATP with no water about, then there is in a litter of gasoline on Titan (where there is no oxygen to burn it). Which is to say, there is none.

The problem with comparison to fission is that fission works because energy is indeed stored in a fissile nucleus, as an interplay of two different types of forces (strong nuclear and electromagnetic). So an atom larger than iron (in practice, a lot larger) really does have an energy store, as compared to its fission products. Unlike a chemical bond, a fissile atom really is like a coiled spring. This is also the case with energy released in radioactivity. However, that is certainly never true in chemistry, where (except in very exotic short lived species) single compounds do not break down to give energy. It certainly never happens in your body.

All long-lived normal chemical bonds have negative energy and a mass deficit. That alone tells you no energy is stored there. The loss of energy and the mass defect characterize formation of the bond. It requires energy input to break them. They all have a mass defect (as compared to the elements that form them) BEFORE they are broken. A fissile atom like U-235 has a mass EXCESS (not deficit) with regard to its fission products, so it is the fission products that have a mass defect (as compared with the parent nuclide). That difference is how you know chemistry is different from fission. Elemental chemical products from a bond-fission would in theory weigh MORE (at the same temp) because bond energies are always negative; fission products from a nuclear fission weigh LESS (at the same temp).

The entropy term T∆S added to/subtracted from the reaction ∆H to get ∆G, is a red herring in this discussion. It is just a way of taking care of the fact that chemical reactions happen at a certain concentration and temperature, and this cannot be ignored because if entropy decreases in the reaction, some fraction of the enthalpy must be dissipated to the environment as T∆S heat, to make up for that. That heat is unavailable to do work, so only the remaining ∆H-T∆S energy from reaction is available do metabolic work (rather than produce heat). By contrast, chemical reactions that absorb “thermal energy” from the environment can happen if the entropy term is negative (or whatever balances ∆H). In all cases, the H for a bond is negative, but if entropy allows, this energy can come out of the environment as heat. And of course, entropy always allows this to happen if the concentration of products is low enough.

An example is the really simple reaction between hydrated acid and base: H+ + OH- → H2O.

The ∆H here is positive because energy is released. (acid added to base gets hot)

The opposite reaction breaks a H-O bond, so H is negative:

H2O → OH- + H+

But this reaction happens, just using the thermal energy in the environment, if the concentration of H+ and OH- are low enough. This is the reason pure water always has some H+ and OH- in it (about 10^-7 molar of each). And the amount of both goes UP with high temperature, and DOWN with lower temperature. If you cool water below 25 C, its pH goes up, as [H+] drops toward 10-8 M (so pH is 8). Increase the temp of water and its pH goes down as [H+] increases toward 10-6 M and so pH is 6. These changes are all driven by the entropy of the dissociation reaction. We use these facts in cryo-physiology in looking at the correct pH of cold or hybernating animals.

But none of this has a thing to do with one constant, which is that it takes energy to break that H-O-H bond. If it happens, energy must be supplied. The T∆S term only tells you if this energy can be supplied from the environment, as heat. At chemical equilibrium, ∆G is zero, so ∆H and T∆S are the same. This does not tell you no heat is evolved, the -∆H tells you it certainly is. Rather it tells you that ALL energy in the reaction in these conditions must be supplied as heat or evolved as heat, and none can be used for anything else. Only off-equilibrium concentration reactions have differing ∆H and T∆S terms (since reactant and product concentrations affect ∆S), and thus a ∆G which is other than zero. Only these off-equilibrium concentration reactions for ATP can be used in anabolism (equivalent to work, not heat), which is why cellular concentrations of ATP, AMP, and P are kept so far from equilibrium conditions. SBHarris 02:24, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

OK :)[edit]

I'm a scientist and I can admit when I'm wrong. You are right: the energy required to break the ATP bond is smaller than the energy released by making the bond to water, therefore the process releases energy. This probably means that the wave function of the electrons involved in the bonds are quite different for the various bonds involved in the process, thereby resulting in a different eigenvalue (eigenenergy). I'll have to make more research into this. Cheers. Hψ = E(R)ψ One thing, though: I don't know if I understood your comment properly, but you seem to imply that the mass defect only exist in fission reactions. If that's what you're implying, I can guarantee you that on that point you're wrong: quantum mechanics shows that the kinetic energy of an electron in a bonded state is lower, therefore its relavistic mass would be lower, and it is that mass difference which is released as energy when the bond is created. (EDIT: nevermind, I re-read what you wrote, and I realized that we agree: the mass decreases on "creation" of the bond)

2nd EDIT: As for the role of the concentrations in the bonding process, I calculated this: (let me know if you find anything wrond about it): ∆G = ∆H - T∆S and H = U + pv, so in an isobaric isovolumetric system, ∆H = ∆U. Now we also know that T = ∆Q/∆S so T∆S = ∆Q. We also know that ∆S = R*ln([A]/[B]) (where [A] is the concentration of the products and [b] is the concentration of the reactants). So we can express ∆G as ∆U - ∆Q. Since, in an isobaric isovolumetric system: ∆U = ∆Q + W (where W is the work that can be performed by the system), then we find that ∆G = ∆Q + W - ∆Q, so ∆G = W, so ∆G is the amount of work that can be performed by the system. Conversely, if we want to determine whether or not 2 molecules can bond together without instantly "un-bonding" and without having to consider concentrations, we can say we want a reaction where W <= 0, so we have ∆G = ∆U - ∆Q <= 0, so ∆U <= ∆Q . In other words, we want a bonding process where the decrease in internal energy of the system is larger than the decrease in thermal energy of the system. Since there is a link between the concentration of the products and reactants and thermal energy (since ∆S = ∆Q/T and ∆S = R*ln([A]/[B]) then we can say that ∆Q/T = R*ln([A]/[B]) ), then the equilibrium of the system can also be found by calculating the entropy through concentrations ratio rather than by thermal energy., but it doesn't mean the calculation through thermal energy is not correct: they are both correct.

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 4 March 2016 (UTC) 

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Disambiguation link notification for October 2[edit]

Hi. Thank you for your recent edits. Wikipedia appreciates your help. We noticed though that when you edited Specific relative angular momentum, you added a link pointing to the disambiguation page Specific. Such links are almost always unintended, since a disambiguation page is merely a list of "Did you mean..." article titles. Read the FAQ • Join us at the DPL WikiProject.

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Spontaneous fission and niobium[edit]

Hi Sbharris, in this diff, you added that spontaneous fission may occur in 93Nb and 94Mo. Do you any source where it is written. I looked for a bit and I did not find anything about these nuclei and their hypothetical spontaneous fission. Pamputt (talk) 11:12, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

I think all this started in this article: List of nuclides where you see that everything over Z=40 is theoretically unstable to spontaneous fission, just because of energetics reasons. The source was a Brookhaven chart of the nuclides given in the refs. However that source, which is wallet cards from Jagdish K. Tuli, I believe has stopped listing "theoretically" unstable nuclides in these cases. There is argument about it in the literature. SBHarris 03:08, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Are you really certain that this was ever in there? I do not find hypothetical SF for 93Nb or 94Mo in the 5th, 6th, 7th, or even 8th editions. Though since not even the latest edition lists the alpha decay of 209Bi, perhaps they are outdated in other ways too. Double sharp (talk) 04:57, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Ok, so the first apparition of this "information" has been done by Achim1999 in this version. The source that he gives does not say anything about spontaneous fission. When you say "Every nuclei over Z=40 are theoretically unstable to spontaneous fission", this is exactly the kind of affirmation that I would like to be able to find source. Especially why it is Z=41 and not Z=40 or 38 and why it is mass A=93 and not another one. Could you point out me some articles in the literature saying that? I was not able to find them. Thanks in advance. Pamputt (talk) 16:37, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Well, I'm not married to the idea of putting (SF) on all those things if we can't find the source. The theory makes sense, but that's all I can say. I'm going to copy this whole discussion to Achim1999's user page and see if he has any comment. As for me, you can take all this out if you feel strongly about it. I don't. SBHarris 22:43, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
I can find an admittedly extraordinarily lame source (Emsley's Nature's Building Blocks, which also contains a few howlers like conspiracy theories under Ag reported as fact and natural r-process Cf in the Earth) for the non-SF decay of the elements past dysprosium, but not the SF decay of the elements past zirconium. I do wonder if we should be talking about the theoretical decays at all if they have not been observed, but removing them everywhere would be daunting. Regardless, I do believe I will be taking them all out of the element infoboxes. Double sharp (talk) 02:09, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
...and  Done. Double sharp (talk) 03:36, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

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