weekly (weekly)

  • ““If the professors of English will complain to me that the students who come to the universities, after all those years of study, still cannot spell ‘friend,’ I say to them that something’s the matter with the way you spell friend.” — Richard Feynman

    This has always been my problem with English. It’s a broken system where we blame the user. Watching kids learn to speak shows you just how many illogical choices there are in the language.

    tags: weekly english spelling

  • “In general, to improve fuel economy in a car, you want to reduce the engine’s RPM. Over the past few decades, the auto industry has been doing that. In the 90s, says Gordon, a 4c engine might be cruising at 3,400 RPM. Today, it’s below 2,000.

    But as you reduce the speed that the drive shaft is rotating, you lower the frequency of the sound it’s making. There comes a lower limit where the engine is making what Gordon calls “groan-y and moan-y” noises which people find unpleasant. The car sounds broken. So cars had to keep the engine’s RPM above a certain level, hurting their fuel efficiency, or risk alienating customers.”

    tags: car sound physics design weekly

  • “”The most dangerous thought you can have as a creative person is to think you know what you’re doing.”

    Richard Hamming — The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, p5 (pdf book)

    In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
    In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
    Of course, you seldom, if ever, see either pure state.”

    tags: programming future creativity weekly

  • ““I think it’s part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to a reality. There’s hardly a scientist or an astronaut I’ve met who wasn’t beholden to some romantic before him who led him to doing something in life.

    I think it’s so important to be excited about life. In order to get the facts we have to be excited to go out and get them, and there’s only one way to do that — through romance. We need this thing which makes us sit bolt upright when we are nine or ten and say, ‘I want to go out and devour the world, I want to do these things.’””

    tags: weekly science interest curiosity sagan clarke bradbury

  • Want to start an interesting discussion on ROI?

    tags: regional cost kids education spending pupil data math government weekly

  • Wonder if we could engineer parasites to absorb enough toxins to actually protect their hosts?

    “It has been known for some time that intestinal parasites such as tapeworms can accumulate high concentrations of heavy metals, acting as a sink for such substances in the host’s body. Back in 2010 a study on shark tapeworms accumulating heavy metals was featured on this blog, but most of such studies comparing the concentration of heavy metals in the host’s organs with that of their parasites have been conducted on fish and fewer studies have looked at the heavy metal concentrations of intestinal parasites in birds and in particular seabirds, which form an important part of the marine ecosystem.

    tags: parasite tapeworm weekly toxins

  • “Engineer Bhushan Karihaloo at the University of Cardiff, UK, and his co-workers say that bees simply make cells that are circular in cross section and are packed together like a layer of bubbles. According to their research, which appears in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface1, the wax, softened by the heat of the bees’ bodies, then gets pulled into hexagonal cells by surface tension at the junctions where three walls meet.

    This finding feeds into a long-standing debate about whether the honeycomb is an example of exquisite biological engineering or blind physics.

    A regular geometric array of identical cells with simple polygonal cross sections can take only one of three forms: triangular, square or hexagonal. Of these, hexagons divide up the space using the smallest wall area, and thus, for a honeycomb, the least wax.

    tags: math physics bees honeycombs weekly

  • The comments on these always make me the happiest. It makes up for YouTube comments.

    ” I think you might be somewhat underestimating the food requirements of Kaiju. Your calculations assume 100% kill-to-food ratio and 100% digestive efficiency. Also, your range for energy stored in the human body relates to healthy, normal adults, disregarding the fact that the first hunted are usually the small and the weak (e.g. children and elderly), whose body contains significantly less energy. There is also the hidden assumption that the Kaiju in question is expected to maintain constant weight, and is not in a growth phase.”

    tags: weekly monster movie kaiju reality calories

  • “Yet the nightmare cast its shroud in the guise of a contagion of a deer-in-the-headlights paralysis.

    tags: writing sentence economist awful english weekly

  • This has everything.

    “Instead, Del Raye began by observing a captive great white at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, measuring its downward drift as it coasted through its tank. Because this shark has a carefully regulated diet, Del Raye could calculate how its buoyancy changed with time after feeding.

    tags: infer shark science liver buoyancy physics weekly

  • “On April 21, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation of the United States authorized a design for an official copper penny,[1] later referred to as the Fugio cent because of its image of the sun shining down on a sundial with the caption, “Fugio” (Latin: I flee/fly). This coin was reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin; as a reminder to its holders, he put at its bottom the message, “Mind Your Business”. The image and the words form a rebus meaning that time flies, do your work. This design was also used on the “Continental dollar” (issued as coins of unknown real denomination, and in paper notes of different fractional denominations) in February 1776.”

    tags: history weekly franklin currency

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