Thursday, May 07, 2015

Naturalness




A neat movie of zooming into a fractal. I must have zoned-out for a good five minutes while watching it.

I tend to make a game of minimizing fees with currency conversions, and so I tend to have lots of cash leftover in various world currencies. I feel a bit like a spy when preparing for another foreign trip going to my secret stash of money. Too bad that I only have a single passport and, horrors upon horrors, it's in my real name! In any case, the amounts are not significant (to me at least) but it does expose me a bit to valuation risk. Right I've lost quite a bit on my Euros (not counting my conversion-fee savings).

I've always been fascinated by music. I have a strong affinity for listening (with little ability in performing), but why? I've read some that evolution explains it, but never convincingly so. And why do I like some songs right away (e.g. ``Rude'') and others only upon many listenings or never at all. And the one-hit wonders...why don't they ever have another hit? What's the relationship of hits to songs I like? I mean that I generally like the hits, but I like some music that many have never heard of.

More than you ever wanted to know about the gunk that builds up in your eyes when you sleep.

I'm almost to the point of giving up on Japanese and Thai restaurants in North America. It seems that folks think "hey, why open yet another Chinese restaurant when I can open a Thai or Japanese restaurant and charge twice as much."

I saw a strap hanging from the back of a box truck while driving down the highway. It was frayed on the end. And so, as a scientist/physicist, I was curious about how it might have gotten that way. In particular, I figured it got frayed from being dragged along the road surface. However, the strap was clearly too short to reach the ground (by at least a couple feet). Do I, guided by "naturalness", invoke something along the lines of the Anthropic Principle and say the strap just happens to be the length it is...long enough for me to see it swinging, but not long enough for me to understand why its length is what it is?


Visualizing thunder...there's a movie but somewhere I had seen a pretty picture as well. Apparently, the thunder originates from the part of the lightning near the ground.

Pretty neat story of a device arising from NASA research saving lives in Nepal.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Physics with Global Implications

An interesting article in the NYT about two MIT-trained physicists central to the negotiations between the US and Iran.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Value-added

  • Despite the assertions of this piece in the Atlantic, it's not that hard to setup and run a mail server. I used to do so before my campus IT was finally successful in getting me not to. And I'm not much of an outlier.
  • Interesting study of icicles in the NYT:

    They do not yet understand the physics of the ripple formations. But they have uncovered some strange facts. The spacing of the ripples doesn't seem to vary with different levels of impurities. "The ripples have a universal wavelength of exactly one centimeter, no matter what you do," Dr. Morris said. "That's the real mystery"

  • I'm truly pissed with my colleagues on some committee related to dreaded outcomes assessment. Their ability to waste so much time on such trivial matters is not so surprising, but their lack of appreciation for science (even among some ostensible scientists) is astonishing and disappointing. And I suppose much of my anger is that I let myself invest a little time and allowed them to ensure it would be in vain.