Monthly Archives: October 2012

As Promised: Time Zones

Time zones are a social construct. They don’t exist in any real sense, but are convenient for coordinating activities in regions where noon occurs at about the same time (that is, the sun is highest in the sky at about the same time). Standardized time zones occur in multiples of hours (with the occasional 30 or 45 minute difference) from Greenwich Mean Time also known by its official name, Coordinated Universal Time (aka UTC). Time zones are usually notated as UTC+d where d is the time difference between the time zone and UTC. For instance, UTC+0:00 contains Liberia, Ghana, Greenland, Portugal, Iceland, Ireland and the UK, UTC+3:30 contains Iran, UTC+4:30 contains Afghanistan, UTC+8:45 contains part of Western Australia, and UTC+12:00 contains New Zealand. UTC+D means that a location is D hours ahead of UTC, while UTC-D means that the location is D hours behind UTC. For instance, Brazil, Argentina and Suriname are in UTC-3:00, United States Eastern Time is UTC-5:00, United States Pacific Time is UTC-8:00 and the outlying Baker Island is in UTC-12:00.

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Metapost: New fun facts every Sunday

After some consideration, taking into account the amount of material I’d have to discuss otherwise and the amount of work I have, I’ve decided to set up a regular posting schedule. Every Sunday by 7:00pm Pacific Time (PDT is UTC-8, PST is UTC-7, for you time geeks. For the rest of you, Time Zones will be the next fun fact). Thanks for your support!

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Why White Chocolate isn’t Chocolate

The term “white chocolate” refers to a specific type of chocolate candy that has a taste that resembles its brown chocolate counterparts, but lacks a tan of deep brown color. White chocolate, however, is only a derivative of chocolate, not a true chocolate because it lacks the cocoa solids found in the cocoa bean and other types of chocolate. Rather, white chocolate consists primarily of cocoa butter, a fatty substance extracted from the cocoa bean and cocoa bean pod, sugar, milk solids and salt. This lack of cocoa solids mean that white chocolate has only trace amounts of the caffeine and theobromine found in relative abundance in other chocolate products.

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Countable and Uncountable Infinity

Hold on to your pants, this might get interesting here. What if I told you that some types of infinity are bigger than other types of infinity? It’s true. Just think about it for a second. The number of positive whole numbers, or natural numbers, is really big, infinite actually, because for the largest number you can think of I can just add one and there’s a bigger number. The set of natural numbers is what’s called “countably infinite” and any set of numbers that can be paired with the set of natural numbers is also considered “countably infinite”. Theoretically, any countable set can have its entire contents listed if the counter were given enough time. However, the set of all real numbers is not countably infinite because for every two values in the set there are infinitely many values between them. In fact, the set of all numbers between 0 and 1 is greater than the set of all natural numbers, that’s what uncountability does.

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From the Archives: Historical Bad@$$es: The Moonwalkers (August 25)

In memoriam of the first moonwalker, Neil Armstrong, today’s fun fact is about the moonwalkers:

Nine manned missions to the moon have taken place since 1968 when the Apollo 8 mission was launched, and all have been undertaken by the United

States. Of those missions (Apollo 8, 10-17), six (Apollo 11, 12, 14-17) landed on the moon. The following is the list of people who have been to the moon (meaning they have at least been in orbit around the moon), in order of date orbited, then rank for mission. Those marked with an asterisk (*) walked on the moon during the indicated mission, those marked with a caret (^) are appearing on the list for a second time.
Apollo 8: Commander Frank Borman II
Command Module Pilot James Lovell Jr.
Lunar Module Pilot William Anders
Apollo 9: Commander James McDivitt
Command Module Pilot David Scott
Lunar Module Pilot Russell “Rusty” Schweickart
Apollo 10: Commander Thomas Stafford
Command Module Pilot John Young
Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan
Apollo 11: Commander Neil Armstrong*
Command Module Pilot Michael Collins
Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.*
Apollo 12: Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr.*
Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon Jr.
Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean*
Apollo 13: Commander James Lovell Jr.^
Command Module Pilot Thomas Mattingly II
Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise Jr.
Apollo 14: Commander Alan Shepard Jr.*
Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa
Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell*
Apollo 15: Commander David Scott*
Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden
Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin*
Apollo 16: Commander John Young^*
Command Module Pilot Thomas Mattingly II
Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke Jr.*
Apollo 17: Commander Eugene Cernan^*
Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans
Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt*

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Filed under From the Archives, Historical Bad@$$, History, Science, Space

Metapost: Work…

Sorry for not posting lately, but there are probably not going to be any posts until Thursday. Classes have me a bit bogged down, but I’m sure I’ll have more cool things to share with all of you.

DFTBA

-kogan56

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Double Post Part 2: Places and Things With Long Names

So there are places with long names, there are people with long names and there are things with long names. Let’s start with some fun ones. The official name of the Thai city of Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) is actually a shortened version of its full ceremonial name: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. The full name of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland. The Maori name of a New Zealand hill is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a town in Wales, Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is a lake in Massachusetts and the full name of the protein titin is just short of 190,000 letters long.

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