Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bullets and Blunders

Caught up on a bit of telly this evening, including the latest QI and Psych.

On QI, there was the old canard about if you fired a bullet and dropped it simultaneously, which would hit the ground first?  The standard answer is, they would hit at the same time.

Except, that's not strictly true.  They would essentially hit at the same time, but not precisely.  The fired bullet would hit ever so slightly after the dropped bullet.  Stephen even admitted that if the bullet were going FAST enough, it would leave the atmosphere.  So, at one speed does it go from hitting the ground at exactly the same time as a dropped bullet, and NEVER hitting the ground?  It only takes a moment's thought to work out that it must land slightly later.  The greater the speed, the greater the delay, until it reaches a velocity that takes it out of the atmosphere.  BUT, since a bullet's speed is never going to be THAT great, the delay is hardly measurable.  It's like how a spring weighs slightly more compressed than uncompressed; the difference is so small it is hard to quantify.  But it's there.

The bullet blunder on Psych was much more egregious, although technically it was a tree transgression.  In this episode, they found a bullet embedded high in a tree.  It got that high due to the tree's growth over the years.  However, trees do not grow in this manner.  Despite the widely held belief to the contrary, trees actually grow from the top.  All parts of a tree (branches, embedded evidence, etc) will stay pretty much at the same height, no matter how much time passes.

I watched these two shows back-to-back.  I'm beginning to wonder if too much education lessens the enjoyment I would otherwise get from television.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Question: Is 'Slovenly' A =Look=?

Just getting home from job training today. It was long (even though we got out early), but it was a lot of fun. It was mostly women, which was interesting, because they were all swooning over me. One of them even tried to hook me up with her 21-year-old daughter.

However, now that I'm home, I've gotten a glimpse of what I look like in the mirror. See, I overslept this morning, and had to rush to class (and even then, I was late). So I skipped the shower.

So my hair is a mess and I'm unshaven. It's =CLEAR= that I still have bed-head. I look ridiculous, actually, from my perspective.

So what's the deal? Is slovenly a desired look now? Have I been washing up just TOO well? All that wasted effort! And, no wonder that I'm still single!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Radio Lab

"I've got a story to tell you. It's a good one, too. Imagine, 1962, rural village of Kashasha, Tanzania. Girl's boarding school. Girl is sitting in class.

She begins to laugh.

The girl next to her, maybe to her left, hears her laugh and she begins to laugh.

Across the classroom a third girl joins in, the teacher gets upset, but it's too late. Soon four girls, and eight -- the entire class has begun to laugh, and then cry, and then laugh, and then cry..."

"At what?"

"Just 'cause, I don't know. Anyhow, a girl outside at that moment walking down the hall, imagine she hears the laughter from the classroom. She starts to laugh, and as she walks and laughs her laughter goes into other classrooms, and soon the whole school is doing this: laughing, crying, laughing, crying... Teachers cannot control these girls; when they try to, the girls get violent!"

"They get violent?"

"Yup. The principal then has no choice, he's gotta close the school.

They open the school a week later, and it happens again. So they close the school a second time.

Meanwhile, the girls who started all this, they go back to their villages many many miles away, and this ... thing, whatever it is, spreads. Up and down the coast of Lake Victoria..."

"You mean people in the villages start to laugh?"

"Yup. In one village, 217 people start to laugh and cry. A second boarding school has to shut down.

And no one knows why."
Thus begins a Quite Interesting segment from Radio Lab's February 22nd 2008 episode.

I had never heard Radio Lab before (the only other NPR show I've really gotten into is This American Life, and even then I prefer the video adaptation). But now I suddenly =get= why people listen to NPR.

Because it's fascinating.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


So, the latest Joss Whedon project has come to a close with the recent Dollhouse finale. Most of the loose ends were tied up, but one thing really bothered me: It's 10 years later, right? Wherefore does everyone look pretty much exactly the same as before? I mean, even down to HAIRSTYLE?

People's looks change a lot in ten years. Here's a picture of me just five years ago:

Now, compare that to a picture I took of myself this morning:

And that's after only FIVE years! Throughout the finale I had to keep reminding myself that this was 10 years after the previous episode. Could have been so much better.

Anyway. All's well that ends.