Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ultimate Hot

Let’s start this fun fact with something else, black-body radiation. Black-body radiation is light given off by any object with a temperature of more than 0K, or absolute zero (very,very cold). Basically, everything glows, but not necessarily in visible light. Humans glow in infrared, the sun’s surface glows in the visible to ultraviolet range, and the sun’s core glows in the x-ray to gamma radiation range. We can extrapolate on these observations (I’ll be making extensive reference to Wien’s displacement law) to find out when something is absolutely hot, that is, when things are so hot they make no sense in our current models of the physical universe. This point occurs when the black-body radiation that is given off by an object with a temperature around 10^32 Kelvin. For the rest of you out there, that’s so hot your molecules will break apart, the atoms in them will break apart, the nuclei in those will break apart, the protons and neutrons in those will break apart, and that’s it. Physics can predict nothing beyond what is now know as absolute hot.

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Filed under Physics, Science

Double Post: Exponential growth and “free energy”

Okay, since I missed yesterday, here’s two fun facts. Exponential growth and “free energy”

First, exponential growth. Say you have a piece of paper a millimeter thick (yes, I realize paper isn’t normally that thick, but the point is the same). If you fold the paper in half (assuming there’s no air in the fold) you will have a piece of paper two millimeters thick. Folding the paper again will give 4 millimeters, then 8, then 16, and so on. This process, the increase by a certain ratio over each fixed period of time, is exponential growth, but only if the ratio is greater than 1 (in this case, the ratio is 2). Now let’s take the area of the same paper starting with, say, 10 square centimeters. After one fold the area of the paper is now 5 square centimeters, after another it’s 2.5, then 1.25, and so on again. This process, which is the same as with thickness, but with a ratio between 0 and 1 (in this case 1/2) is exponential decay.

Finally, free energy. That’s be great right? But that’s where we get to free energy suppression. The governments, oil and gas companies, and scientific communities of the world don’t want you to know that there are machines that can harvest energy from perpetual motion and zero-point energy. But those of you versed in physics will know that there is no such thing as a “perpetual motion machine” and that zero-point energy cannot be “harvested”. But that’s where suppression comes in. If you say those things then either you have been manipulated by the scientific establishment into believing them, or you are actively participating in the cover-up. One popular free energy concept is the “motionless electromagnetic generator” which harnesses vacuum energy to provide power without any input into the generator itself. Its inventor, Dr. Thomas E. Bearden, stated in 2001 that it would be in production in a year. I haven’t seen any motionless electromagnetic generator, likely because, even in 2012, ten years behind schedule, no working MEG has been built. It also doesn’t help that “Dr.” Bearden holds a Ph.D., which he bought, from one Trinity College and University, which has “no building, campus, faculty, or president, and run from a post office box in Sioux Falls, South Dakota”
PS: I’d like to note, although it may be obvious, that I in no way endorse the “free energy suppression” conspiracy theory because that’s exactly what it is, a pseudo-scientific conspiracy theory.

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Filed under Mathematics, Physics, Science

From the Archives: Operation Bernhard (August 17)

Notice: the following post is an obligatory fulfillment of Godwin’s Law, which may or may not be discussed in a later post.

Beginning in 1942 Nazi Germany devised Operation Bernhard, a plan to bomb and demolish the British economy. Using prisoners primarily from Sachsenhausen but also Auschwitz and other concentration camps, SS Major Krüger directed a team of about 140 prisoners to forge £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes which, at the program’s end in 1945, would end up totaling £134,610,810. The forged notes are considered the best counterfeits ever produced, being virtually indistinguishable from official Bank of England notes. The notes were never dropped on England, but were used by the Nazi foreign intelligence to pay for their activities. In early 1945 another similar operation was in the works to forge American $100 bills, but was cancelled one day after starting.

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Filed under Economics, From the Archives, History

From the Archives: Football, football, and football (August 6)

Of the three types of football only one (association football, aka soccer) is played regularly at the Olympics [Association football has been an event in every Summer Olympic Games except the 1896 and 1932 Games]. Rugby union was a part of the men’s competitions at the 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics and Rugby sevens is expected to be played at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero. Gridiron (aka American) football has never been played at the Olympics, but used to be so similar to rugby union that the American team actually took home the gold medal in the 1920 and 1924 competitions.

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Filed under Culture, From the Archives, Sports

Metapost: College

So I’m a college student and classes start tomorrow. I’m not sure how my schedule will fit in with the blog, but I will assure everyone who sees this that I will do my absolute best to maintain the blog and post new content every day.

Thanks in advance,


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Writing and Thinking

Between most and all of the information for this post comes from Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the World by Dr. Walter Ong, particularly a section in Chapter 3 on the findings of studies performed by A.R. Luria. Luria was studying differences in the ways of thinking between the illiterate and the literate. Ong, in his book, uses Luria’s findings to promote the idea that being able to write drastically changes a persons ways of thinking. Luria’s observations of the illiterate, or as Ong puts it, the oral thinkers, include describing shapes by using familiar objects, rather than names of geometrical figures. The oral thinker lacks some ability to grasp pure logic, that is, they can use logic, but not separate pure logical functions from practical life. They refuse to define what a mundane object, such as a tree or a car, is, and they have difficulty describing themselves without using external measures such as income, current events or the opinions of others. Generally speaking, people with no access, or limited access, to writing tend to be more practical and don’t do as well in  non-practical functions as the literate do.

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Filed under Culture, Language, Neurology, Science

Carnivorous Plants Part 2: Snappers, Bladders and Lobster-pots

Snapping traps are most commonly associated with the famous Venus flytrap, which quickly closes in response to a trigger hair being touched, however there is another plant, the waterwheel plant, which closes its feeding parts when triggered by aquatic prey. After the trap is closed and the prey contained the plant releases its digestive fluid. Bladder trap plants pump ions out of their bladders, which causes water to also leave the bladders, creating a partial vacuum. Trigger hairs alert the plant to nearby prey and cause the bladders to open up. The flow created by the bladder opening pulls prey into the bladder where it is digested. Finally, lobster-pot trap plants use small hairs inside specialized leaves to easily allow prey in, but not out. Water flow in the trap may encourage prey to continue toward their doom,  a stomach-like region of the leaf where the prey is dissolved.

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Filed under Biology, Botany, Science

Carnivorous Plants Part 1: Pitfalls and Flypaper

Many plants that grow in nutrient poor environments need to develop a method of obtaining the nutrients they need. Now, since plants can’t just get up and move to find their nutrients they have to get them where they are. This has lead to the development of five methods for catching prey, which usually consist of small arthropods, such as insects. Pitfall traps are the trapping mechanism of pitcher plants. Insects land on the smooth walls of the pitcher and fall into a small pool of digestive fluid where they are broken down into the nutrients the plant needs. Flypaper traps are based on a sticky digestive fluid, which holds insects in place while they are dissolved. Some sundews wrap around their prey to facilitate this process. Tomorrow will involve the snapping traps, bladder traps and lobster-pot traps.

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Filed under Biology, Botany, Science

Mashups (Short)

I just thought I’d share some mashups (songs made from other songs put together).

Oppa Spacejam Style

Psychosocial Baby

Sad But Superstitious

Thunder Busters

Of course, you can always check out the mashup subreddit, or soundcloud for more mashups.

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Filed under Culture, Music

Richest American Presidents

I’m going to keep this as unbiased as I can. Since the ratification of the Constitution of the United States only nine presidents have had a net worth of less than one million dollars (adjusted for inflation, all figures are in 2010 US Dollars, some presidents who are considered to be millionaires now may not have been when they were alive). The richest American President to date was John F. Kennedy who had a net worth (again, in 2010 dollars) of around one billion dollars. The next richest President was George Washington, with a net worth of 525 million dollars. The current president, Barack Obama, has a net worth of around 5 million dollars, largely from book sales, and is currently the 28th wealthiest. The nine Presidents who were not millionaires are, in order of the dates they were President, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Harry Truman. Finally, since the 2012 United States Presidential Elections are approaching, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney currently has a net worth of about 200 million dollars and, should he be elected President, he would be the fourth wealthiest, behind Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.

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Filed under Culture, History, Politics