Monday, November 28, 2011

The Problem is...

...playing the role of idiot-savant is sustainable--sort of like bookending things. Wouldn't it be nice to be all things between?  Easier said than done. Conservation of something demands that moving to a more well-rounded person must involve sucking inwards from both sides of the bookends. That sucks.

They beat Plows into Swords--Male and Female They Created Them

By 1915 the ground war on the Western Front was so entrenched that the British Admiralty, seeking to break the stalemate, developed what were first known as "landships" but which later came to be known by their covert name--tanks. The idea was to develop a machine that could traverse craters, barbed wire, trenches, and bring firepower directly behind enemy lines.

The first landships used a British superstructure atop an American track and chassis built by a Chicago company and originally designed for plowing fields. Early testing and improvements quickly led to a more advanced prototype named "Mother." Her parallelogram-shaped tracks maximized trench crossing and her gun-bearing sponsons, a design borrowed directly from warships, added to her chimerical appearance. The hermaphrodite Mother gave birth to "male" and "female" varieties which were first battle-tested at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Male and female variety tanks differed depending on what protruded from the sponsons. Males had the big guns--naval 6 pounders, while females had water-cooled Vickers or Maxim machine guns (two on each side, four total). The reason for the females was an acute shortage of bigger guns. The differences are apparent in this graphic:
Female (top) and male (bottom) Mark I

It's About Time, It's About Space

Two habits of mind that chemists use are what I call space and time dilation. Space dilation means a habit of thinking about the very small (like molecules) at a visual level. We can't yet really "see" molecules--for good reason--yet it helps immensely to visualize them as if we could.  What we see and call chemical structure is a visual metaphor for the invisible. Time dilation is a way to understand chemical reaction mechanisms--how things change and interact--which happen on very fast and unfamiliar time scales. Slowing things down a bit--dilating microseconds into seconds--brings understanding.

Right after I thought about that title, the inane theme song from the 60's TV comedy "It's About Time" appeared in my brain after 45 plus years of dormancy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"What Is A Week-End?"

We've been watching the British-produced series Downton Abbey and thoroughly enjoying it. There are only two seasons so far, and the first one is available on Netflix. The second season has already aired in Britain and will be shown on PBS here in January.

Here is a memorable scene in which Maggie Smith brings her special talent to the fore:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

History of photo: here

Please enjoy the day whether with family or friends and be extra generous with your hearts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wealth Redistribution and the Global Warming Agenda

There can be no doubt that the stop global warming and wealth redistribution agenda are linked. Look at this gem from the preface to Global Warming A Very Short Introduction:
So to deal with global warming, we must deal with developing countries, and thus we must for the first time in humanity's history tackle the unequal distribution of global wealth. Hence global warming is making us face the forgotten billions of people on the planet, and we must make the world a fairer place. In the 21st century we must deal with both global poverty and global warming. link
This is profoundly misguided logic. First of all, this is not the first time "we" have dealt with developing countries; nor is it the first time "we" have addressed the unequal distribution of global wealth.

I thought the way to deal with global warming was to stop emitting carbon dioxide? This means shutting down a goodly section of American and Western standards of livings.  Why mince words?  What does pumping up Africa have to do with global warming?  Surely the author of this polemic cannot seriously be thinking of improving the lot of Africa's poor.

A profound sense of humanity occurs when something is given to the poor.  A profound sense of propriety is violated when something is taken from someone and given to someone else. Mandated charity is charity destroyed.

I also object to the top-down driven "we" collectivism implicit in the author's grammar and syntax. The author implies that developing countries are unable to help themselves--they need a patriarchal benefactor--a global leveler.
Hence global warming is making us face the forgotten billions of people on the planet, and we must make the world a fairer place.
Imperatives aside, the author of sentence needs a refresher course on economics.  Need we reach back all the way to the Sumerians to show that poverty has always been with us?  Income disparity is a natural phenomenon. This was the implicit "message" of The Parable Of The Gas.

Inequality drives chemical reactivity--for example--electromotive force. Perfect equality is a depressing notion because it implies stasis: there is no potential or driving force for change.  There is no reason to invent because there is no reason to become different.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Conversations with Henry

Henry:  That's how you should think about things: as just protons, electrons, and neutrons---just plus, minus, and neutral. Those notions pervade material science and more.

Me: You mean like materialism?

Henry:  No, I mean atoms.

Forget Natalie Wood...

If this scene doesn't lump your throat, you shouldn't be allowed to celebrate Christmas!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Party Like It's 1848

Tea Partiers may seem to want to party like it's 1773, but the Off-the-Wall Streeters seem to wanna party like it's 1848. Alexander de Tocqueville said of that time period:
Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror. link
I finally bought the book 1848, recommended to me by a commenter several months ago.  I hope to read it next week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amba Schooled Me (again)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859)
While on the topic, the man who built the SS Great Eastern (and the Great Western before her) was Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  There he is, pictured above, in a photo which might have stoked the rage and scorn of Dickensian socialists. Yet today, Brunel ranks highly in polls of "Greatest Britons."

I put this here to celebrate another wealth maker and also to note how Brunel exploited something which Amba schooled me on a few months ago: Surface area to volume ratio.  As a shipbuilder, Brunel understood that the carrying capacity of a ship increases by volume, while the water resistance (friction) only increases with the submerged area of its dimensions. This meant that large ships were intrinsically more fuel efficient, which was very important for long voyages across the Atlantic.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The SS Great Eastern

I forgot to mention back here about my fascination with the ship which laid most of the first transatlantic cable. Launched in 1858, the SS Great Eastern was the biggest vessel of her day until the White Star Line's RMS Oceanic came along a generation later. Christened the SS Leviathan, she was quickly renamed the Great Eastern and crossed the seas as a passenger vessel, mainly ferrying immigrants to the U.S.

What I find cool about this ship is that she resembles a transition state in the sense that she embodied the past, present, and future of ship propulsion: sails, paddle wheels, and a screw propeller. Of course she was steam drivenDiesel hadn't yet invented his eponymous engine.

The Great Eastern was sold and refitted with several spools of wire-thousands of miles of it. She set about laying wire on the ocean floor between Ireland and Newfoundland and elsewhere around the world. Here's a sketch of what the giant reels of copper wire looked like inside her:

Inside the SS Great Eastern, spooling out copper wire to lay across the ocean floor.

The Great Eastern met a rather ignominious end.  Like the RMS Olympic (older sister of the RMS Titanic), she was scrapped.

Stripped carcass of the SS Great Eastern awaiting the scrapper's torch in 1889.

Who Played Madison

I ran across this quite by accident. It brought back memories of seeing that show when I was a teen. They collected all ticket stubs at that show, so I never got my souvenir.

Too bad about the sound quality. Still, I think it's wonderful that someone can save it for all these years and then put it up.

Here is the play list from that show too, which I vaguely remember. link

Friday, November 11, 2011

Letters From Their Eleventh Hour: Wilhelm Wolter (1895-1915)

Student of Philosophy, University of Munich

Born May 28th, 1895, at Kladow, Mecklenburg.
Killed April 16th, 1915, near Vouziers, France

Just shy of his 20th birthday, the teenaged Wolter asks (his parents? a friend? a teacher? us? God?) whether it is fair that a young man should die for a higher cause before having had time to give anything back. Wolter wrote that he had a mission in life--"a message to deliver:"

Letters From Their Eleventh Hour: Ivar Campbell (1891-1916)

Captain Ivar Campbell
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,
Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.
Killed in action at Mesopotamia, January 8, 1916, aged 25 years.

Campbell survived earlier action in France, to which this letter refers:
France, 1915 
...It is difficult to write things out here. Journalists do it, yet miss the note of naturalness which strikes me. For these things are natural. I suppose we have been fighting a thousand years to a thousand years' peace; they miss, too, the beauty of the scene and action as a whole--that beauty defined as something strange, rarefied; our deep passions made lawful and evident; our desires made acceptable; our direction straight. Such will be the impressions to linger, to be handed on to future generations, as the Napoleonic wars are adventures to us. Here, present and glaring to our eyes in trenches and billets, etc., the more abiding and deeper meanings of the war are readable. 
Here is the scene I shall remember always: A misty summer morning--I went along a sap-head* running towards the German line at right-angles to our own. Looking out over the country, flat and uninteresting in peace, I beheld what at first would seem to be a land ploughed by the ploughs of giants. In England you read of concealed trenches--here we don't trouble with that. Trenches rise up, grey clay, three or four feet above the ground. Save for one or two men--snipers--at the sap-head, the country was deserted. No sign of humanity--a dead land. And yet thousands of men were there, like rabbits concealed. The artillery was quiet; there was no sound but a cuckoo in a shell-torn poplar. Then, as a rabbit in the early morning comes out to crop grass, a German stepped over the enemy trench--the only living thing in sight. 'I'll take him,' says the man near me. And like a rabbit the German falls. And again complete silence and desolation...
*A Sap-head was a smaller trench running forward from and perpendicular to a main trench and was used for spying and for sniping.

Letters From Their Eleventh Hour: John L. T. Jones (1895-1917)

Captain John Llewellyn Thomas Jones,
3rd London Regiment
Educated at Llangollen Country School,
A member of a printing firm.
Killed in action, Flanders, August 16, 1917, aged 22.

[To his father and family]      France, 4/4/17 
My Dearest Dad, Ethel and Gwen, 
I have written this letter so that, in the event of anything happening to me, I do not go under without letting all you dear ones at home know how much I owe to your loving care and the little kindnesses that go to make life so pleasant and inviting. 
You know what an undemonstrative nature mine is, but my love for you all is, nevertheless, strong and deep, and though I said nothing about these things before I left England, it was just because--I couldn't--my heart was too full. 
One has to face the prospect of getting knocked out, as many other and probably better fellows than I have been. All I can say is that you do not grieve for me, because, although it may sound exceedingly quixotic, how better can one make one's exit from this world than fighting for the country which has sheltered and nurtured one through all life? 
War is cruel and I detest it, but since it was not possible to keep out of this without loss of prestige and perhaps worse, it behooves us all to carry it on to a successful conclusion. Of course, it entails sacrifices, but that is all in the game. I had hoped to be able to return home and take up what little responsibility lay in my power away from your shoulders, and to care for and look after the girls, but if that is not to be, I want you all to remember that though the break may seem unbearable--there are many other homes which have suffered loses. We should rather, I think, thank God that we have we have been a happy and united little family. I know how hard it is, and, as I write, the thought that I may not see you dear ones again in this world brings a lump to my throat and tears in my eyes. I trust that I shall return, but... 
All I can say to you is that I thank God for giving me the best father in the world and two very dear sisters. I cannot write to all, but send my deepest love to....I don't think that I can write any more, so just good-bye and God bless you all and protect you is my fervent prayer.
            With all my fondest love,
                                         Yours affectionately,

Letters From Their Eleventh Hour: Eduard Bruhn (1890-1915)

Student of Theology, Kiel

Born October 18th, 1890, at Schlamersdorf.
Killed September 17th, 1915, in Russia.

Bruhn writes (or dictates) his last letter:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remember To Remember

Leaving Paris, the train to Luxembourg tracked the Marne River valley, rolling eastwards through the Champagne region and then veered north to Reims. I recall glimpsing the famous cathedral -- not at night but in harsh daylight. But what I remembered the most (and hadn't foreseen) were the haunted place names along that ride. The names confronted me through the train window one-by-one as stops along the way: place names like Verdun-sur-Meuse. This map shows how the train's route between Paris and Luxembourg crossed the Western Front of the First World War:
The French paid a costly human price at Verdun but prevailed. The British mostly fought further north in Flanders, but they also fought around the world. Around a million or so British and Commonwealth men died in the First World War, or about 2% of her population. Other nations lost more and others lost fewer--but all were lost.

Britain was unprepared for land war in 1914. Her traditional military policy had been to have the strongest navy and to field an army just large enough to police the empire and to protect the home islands from invasion. The Royal Navy had adequate manpower, but her army was a different story. Britain had not fought a war on the continent since the Napoleonic Wars. And unlike the Continental armies, her troops were volunteers. They were highly trained and disciplined, and were commanded by a well qualified and highly educated officer corps. Yale historian J. M. Winter explains:
Social class position determined military rank in the early days of the war. Men from the upper and upper middle classes were likely to enlist earlier than men of more modest means; elites passed the rudimentary medical examinations at greater rates and joined the officer corps largely because they were deemed the right sort of people to do so. Since the officer casualty rates as a whole were about twice as high as those of men in the ranks, it follows that the higher a man was in the social scale in 1914 Britain, the greater his chances of joining the 'Lost Generation.' 
~ J. M. Winter, War Letters of Fallen Englishmen 
Years later, around 1997, my wife and I visited London together. We parted ways the first day with different agenda. She went to an art museum while I went straight away to the Imperial War Museum. I walked there from Chelsea, up and along the Thames and past the Houses of Parliament (perfectly timed with noontime chimes from Big Ben). I spent the entire afternoon there alone, viewing the machinery and materiels and remembering the men and the horrors that I read about as a boy. I remembered that haunted train ride. I still think about it around this time every year.

Letters From Their Eleventh Hour

Tomorrow is Veterans Day.  I'm going to honor it the same way I always do, flying the flag, talking to my friends and neighbors--in Oceanside we're surrounded by veterans. I am blessed.  And thank you--all of you!  But also, tomorrow, I'm going to take a historical moment to remember those veterans who are no more. No, I'm not confused about Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

November 11, 1918 marked the end of the First World War. The last combat veteran of the First World War, Claude Choules, died this year. Now there are no more of so many.

The companion books War Letters of Fallen Englishmen and German Students' War Letters are both collections of letters written by British and German soldiers who died in those battles. Yale historian J.M. Winter writes in the preface to the latter:
The entries in the book resemble gravestones, in a general way. There is the name, and instead of military rank, there is his academic affiliation. Then follows the date and place of his birth and his death. So far the parallel with a grave site is similar to that used in other similar ventures, for instance, Laurence Housman's War Letters of Fallen Englishmen. Housman's identification also includes the service arm and rank, which Witkop's book avoids. Still, the similarity to a cemetery stone is clear.

What both editions add, of course, is a letter or several letters. This practice helps establish the individuality of the soldier who died; without such special individuation, he would fade into an army of the dead and therefore into oblivion. Thus these books offer two services to bereaved families. For those whose sons or husbands or brothers had no known grave, these pages provide a kind of surrogate resting place his remains never had. And second, the text of the letters does more than just list his name, date of birth, and date of death. It is a kind of portrait, like those found in East European cemeteries. The letters construct a snapshot of the mind of the fallen soldier. The prose comes to stand for the man himself, his nobility, his beliefs, his aspirations. It was as if he wrote his own epitaph.
I've prepared four memorial posts for two English and two German soldiers. In the case of the two Germans, I made voice recordings of their letters.

[continued here]

A Conservative Notion of Symmetry: Occupy Orbitals

The conservative notion of symmetry is that hand fits glove, plug fits socket, but only in specific ways. Hydrogen for example, will not simply saturate a C=C double bond all by its lonesome, e.g.:

H2 + CH2=CH2 ---> CH3-CH3.

The orbital symmetry is all wrong. The chemistry is forbidden.

The reaction requires a catalyst to break the symmetry and to polarize the electorate. How nature really works (at a chemical level) is polarization followed by attack followed by depolarization.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hermetically Soiled

The Mercury Dime. The winged cap was supposed to be a Phrygian cap, symbolizing free thought: (footnote 1).  The design also featured a fascia on the reverse which was fitting, considering the time period.

I'm getting way ahead of myself in the Periodic Table, but elemental mercury is such cool stuff.  Here is a photo of a man floating on a vat of mercury, originally published in National Geographic Magazine:

Man floats on mercury
The acute toxicity of elemental mercury is overblown. Mercury is mainly a chronic poison, meaning it takes long term exposure to do serious damage. Mercury compounds--especially methyl mercury--are a different story. I have been slowly ridding myself of silver amalgam filings, but the brain damage may be too late. :)

Mercury has a long medicinal history. Alchemists believed that it had healing powers. When I was a kid, my dad would treat us with what we called "sting medicine." Marketed as mercurochrome, merbromin doesn't actually contain any chromium --rather the name "chrome" refers to the bright reddish orange dye attached to the mercuric ion. The last time I saw or used mercurochrome was in Italy in 1979. I "smuggled" some back, thinking it was a controlled substance. It is still freely--though not widely--available here. The Straight Dope wrote a piece on mercurochrome here: link.

Of course I played around with elemental mercury quite a bit as a chemist.  The most mercury I ever saw in one place was in a Toepler pump, a device which uses a mercury piston to collect and measure non condensable gases like methane and carbon monoxide.

Here's a modern quandary: incandescent bulbs use more watts of power than the newer mercury-containing CFL bulbs. Burning coal emits tons of mercury into the atmosphere. The EPA and others claim that smokestack emissions are not scrubbed link, even though the technology exists. Link

I think it's ironic that we need to disperse mercury in order to rid ourselves of mercury.

Copper's Special Nature

GOLD is for the mistress--silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.

from Cold Iron by Rudyard Kipling (1910)
Copper, silver, and gold--we call them coinage metals for obvious reasons. They antedate recorded history because all three were found essentially pure in their uncombined "native" state. Later came smelting and the secrets for winning even more of them from their ores. I once read that around 85 % of all the copper ever mined is still in use.

We had a Copper Age followed by a Bronze Age, during which the metal played a paramount role. But ever since electrification, copper's biggest use has been for wire to conduct electricity. The secrets to copper's utility are its ductility, its conductivity, and its longevity; all three are related to electronics.

Here's a recipe for a metal having high ductility, conductivity, and nobility: Give it a full set of d-orbitals--a resilient layer of 10 perfectly paired electrons surrounding an inner core of 18 perfectly paired electrons (28 in all)--to fend off rapacious oxygen and the harsh world of oxidation. The perfection of copper's 3d subshell adds a sort of resonance like that in the noble gases.

But copper needs one more electron--29 in all. The 29th electron, the outer valence electron, is spherically symmetric. This 29th electron is responsible for copper binding to copper. In theory, just two copper atoms could couple to make a dicopper molecule and it's been studied. But Cu2 is unstable because the bonding is too weak. Instead, the atoms associate into metal.  But there's no directionality to their bonding and the bonds are very weak, lacking covalent character. In a sense, copper is like frozen mercury. This means that copper should easily deform--and so it does. What's more, because each copper atom has a single valence electron, there's room for easily moving electrons; this property translates from metal atoms to bulk metal and copper has an awesome conduction band--thus the conductivity exceeded only by silver for a pure metal.

What about copper's pretty red color? That comes from bathing in visible light. But copper only gives back the reddish portion of the spectrum.

The chemistry of copper is dominated by the chemistry of copper (I), "cuprous ion," from the loss of the 29th electron. But copper can also lose a second electron to make copper (II), "cupric" ion. I once got into an argument over on Althouse over whether copper has one or two valence electrons. Clearly it has two. The word "valence" derives from an atom's combining power and indicates how many electrons an atom can give or take.

What God Hath Wrought, Men First Wrought Of Copper*

I'm always disturbed to hear about copper wire and plumbing being ripped from abandoned and not-so abandoned properties. Thieves are motivated by commodity price inflation, or dollar devaluation--take your pick. It seems like such wanton destruction--an undoing of modern communication and sanitation.  That the copper is probably being recycled and that alternative technologies to copper wire exist for telecommunications, viz., wireless and fiber optics, is small consolation. Those newer technologies bring their own vulnerabilities.

Copper telegraph cable first linked cities beginning around the 1830's. A submarine cable was laid under the English Channel in the 1850's using a continuous length of copper coated with natural rubber. In 1858, the first of several trans-Atlantic cables was laid. A US stamp commemorated the feat:

We may think that we are now safely linked by satellite, but the bulk of Internet communication is still via cable transmission. Not copper, but fiber-optic transmission:

Link to Original
*The title is a pun/homage to Samuel F.B. Morse's first telegram: "What hath God Wrought?"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Brass Balls

Actually, they're pure copper. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

The Language of Chemistry


Beginning students of chemistry encounter chemical symbols which bear little resemblance to their English names. The roots of several common and especially more historical elements caught my fancy, just as other Latin words buried in English did earlier. link

Several names and symbols come from Latin:
  • Sb stands for antimony which comes from the Latin Stibium. The Italians still call antimony stibio. We did too until the Middle Ages. link
  • Cu for copper comes from Cuprum, which is related to the word Cyprus, an ancient source of copper for the Romans.
  • Fe for iron comes from Ferrum. The Italians call their railroads la ferrovia and Spanish calls hardware ferreteria (cf. bilingual signs at Home Depot). English has the vestigial word, farrier.
  • Au for gold comes from Aurum.  We've lost that word in English except for some pretentious words like aureate, aurelia, aureole and the like.
  • Pb for lead comes from Plumbum. There are lots of English cognates, including plumbago, plumbing, plumb lines and plumb bobs.
  • Hg for mercury comes from hydrargyrum. That's confusing because at first glance it could be water-silver. But "hydra" is more generic and means liquid. Mercury used to be called quicksilver which sort of conveys the same notion as hydrargyrum.
  • Ag for silver comes from Argentum. The French still call money l'argent.
A couple names look like Latin but are neologisms coined by Sir Humphry Davy:
  • K for potassium comes from Kalium which derives from Arabic al-kali.
  • Na for sodium comes from Natrium. The Germans still use both words Natrium and Kalium; they never adopted sodium and potassium. I guess they weren't as impressed with Davy as we were.
  • Sn for tin comes from the Latin Stannum. There is some irony here.  The word Stannum is Latin but appears to derive from Irish or Welsh. The Romans got their tin from the British Isles.  Tin is still mined in Cornwall.
  • W for Tungsten comes from an older name, Wolfram, which is still used by the Germans. Tungsten derives from Swedish tung heavy + sten stone. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Does POTUS Mock "In God We Trust"?

The phrase has been on our money since 1864. Why would he mock the continuation of this tradition? Link

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chromium (III)

I ran across a website with interesting monographs on several metals under the rubric "Toxic Metals."

The one on chromium vindicates the element's reputation as besmirched by the movie "Erin Brockovich."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bondage Is A Two-Way Street

The simple "one-way" notion of chemical bonding described back here is part of the "lone pair theory" developed by G.N. Lewis and N.V. Sidgwick. According to that theory, a neutral molecule such as ammonia donates electrons from its lone pair to a metallic Lewis acid.  But things like ethylene, not having any lone pairs, confounded the theory, since they too formed neutral metal complexes very similar to ammonia-metal complexes.

In 1935, Linus Pauling introduced the novel concept of backbonding to explain the shorter than expected Ni-C bonds observed in the electron diffraction structure of Ni(CO)4.  Like many concepts in chemistry, backbonding is better illustrated than described:

In this simplified scheme above, CO gives electronic juice to the metal's empty and receptive d-orbital (left-hand side). At the same time, the metal gives back electrons to the CO (right-hand side) using a different full d-orbital: the two sketches overlap. They are synergistic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cu sooner or later?

Garage Mahal sent me this link to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. link  A northern Wisconsin stream and ecosystem shows higher than allowable levels of both copper and zinc. At first blush, the circumstantial evidence looks incriminating.  However, the last lines of the story make an important point:

One complicating factor in the dispute is that water quality of Stream C was never tested before mining began, so no baseline exists.
'The fact of the matter is that it flows through an ore body,' the DNR's Fauble said. 'It might just have naturally higher levels of copper in it.'

That region of Wisconsin is rich in copper and other minerals that I wrote about back here concerning the Sudbury Basin. Copper Harbor, MI is not that far away as the glacier flowed. When the first European explorers came to this region, they reported finding nuggets and even small boulders of native copper.  The fact that there's a mine there supports the natural occurrence.

Plants and trees sequester metals like copper and zinc; they also provide a chronological record via rings or even carbon-14.  The answer to the question of whether the abnormally higher levels of copper came sooner or later may be found in the arboreal record.

Organic sequestration of copper link

Phytoremediation link

Among the materials in the glacial drift of the Lake Superior Lowland are masses of native copper carried westward by the ice itself and in icebergs. One such mass found near Ontonagon, Michigan, weighs about 3000 pounds, and one from the Bayfield peninsula near La Pointe, Wisconsin, 800 pounds. One of the Jesuit fathers observed in 1669 that there were such bowlder of copper in the Apostle Islands. He relates that the squaws often found copper fragments of 20 to 30 pounds weight in digging holes in the sand to plant their corn, and suggests the transportation of this copper by floating ice, though he did not imply that this was glacial ice.  
Lawrence Martin, The Physical Geography of Wisconsin, 3rd Ed. ; University Of Wisconsin Press: Madison (1965), p. 436.