Archive | June 2011

The Friendship Algorithm

If anyone’s ever seen The Big Bang Theory, you might like this. If you haven’t (and I’m in this group), it’s an American sitcom about some bright but socially clueless physicists. Hmmm…that sounds familiar. Do I know somebody like that?

The Algorithm


Troll Physics – an amusing teaching tool?

Olwen sent me a link to a Youtube video about “Troll Physics” – videos that are meant to “troll” or annoy anyone who knows some physics. How To Travel The World Gratis

They’re actually quite funny, but the really interesting part is that some of them can be used to teach physics. For example, take the magnet car. This could be used to help teach something about Newton’s Laws: the magnet and car exert the same force on each other, but the magnet has considerably less mass than the car, so the magnet experiences a larger acceleration than the car and is stuck to the car.

Elsewhere, I found an article where somebody showed Troll Physics to a physics professor. And yes, he apparently gets the joke.

Acoustic “cloaking device”

Back in 2008, a hypothetical cloaking device for sound waves was proposed, and an initial prototype has apparently been built. It uses a similar principle to “cloaking devices” that work in the visible-light spectrum – yes, some scientists are working on something like Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak.

The problem is that most of them require materials that don’t exist in nature, known as metamaterials. Some of these have properties such as negative indices of refraction, which quite obviously don’t occur in nature. Here is a picture of what THAT would look like. Another problem is that it would have to take ALL frequencies of visible light at ALL angles into account, which just adds more potential problems. And on top of that, I bet you’d still be visible in the infra-red part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
So I’m not expecting this to come onto the market for a very long time – I’d say at least 50 years.

What an idiotic troll

I have just come across somebody insisting that the Halo series of video games are based on the Bible “because the plots are similar”. If they are: so fucking what? There are only so many plots/storylines available, and I bet some of those storylines were around BEFORE the Bible.

Of course, this idiot just posted a porn link on the forum as well, so I reported him. What a pathetic troll.

Can you break the “Rule of Thirds”?

In photography, the Rule of Thirds is a rule of thumb for composition which states that an image should be divided into nine equal parts to maintain interest and/or tension. That said, it’s just a rule of thumb.Here is a post I found on when and how to bend or even break it.

Darryl Cunningham on evolution

PZ Myers posted a link to this comic that gives a basic explanation of evolution in 20 slides. It’s pretty basic, but it does explain how to answer some of the basic mistakes/distortions that creationists come up with.

Animal rights extremists declaring war on health charities

An extremist animal rights group in the UK is urging people to stop donating to several charities because these charities support animal testing. The charities in question are: Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Society, and Parkinson’s UK.

All I can say to Animal Aid – partly as the grandson of an Alzheimer’s victim – is this: WHY DON’T YOU VOLUNTEER YOURSELVES FOR THE TESTS!?!?!?!