Monday, May 19, 2014

THHGTTG and Stream of Consciousness

I was listening to a podcast, Science Talk (Scientific American) and there was an interview with author David J. Hand on his book The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day  and he started off on probabilities of a coin flip.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

 It reminded me of math classes from high school where we had to calculate that exact thing.

Which is the most likely outcome of a coin flip 5 times in a row?

and on and on. The correct answer is all of them.

1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 *1/2 for each answer you will have a 1/32 chance of that result.

The outcomes made me think of the abbreviation to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: THHGTTG. So close! What are the chances of a coin flip landing in that order 8 times? The G's will represent the coin landing on its side.

According to Daniel B. Murray and Scott W. Teare of Harvard, the odds of that happening are 1 in 6000. Source


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just a Myth

I listen to a lot of comedy and science podcasts and sometimes I get a crossover of the two: Nerdist,
You Made it Weird, I love it. The comedian host talks to people for as long as they want to talk. He has some questions he asks everyone, their view of God, what happens when you die and when was the last time you laughed really hard and why. This time he talked to one of my top physicists, the order changes but:
Michio Kaku: always #1, his book Beyond Einstein made me love physics 
Phil Plait: the Bad Astronomer, I read his blog in the mid 90s
Neil deGrasse Tyson: one sexy mofo, could sell you science and make you grateful to pay
Brian Greene: The Elegant Universe, loved it so much
Paul Davies: About Time - how fast does time flow? one second per second.
David Deutch: The Quest for the Quantum Computer. Amazing.
Mike Brown: killed Pluto
Jane Luu: discovered the Kuiper Belt!
Jill Tarter: SETI all the way
... there's a lot -I keep adding to this list.
Ok so Pete Holmes is talking to Brian Greene and he says something that makes me incredibly sad. In 1998 it was discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating and one day there won't be any stars. They will be just a myth and beyond that no one will ever know they existed. I know on the evolutionary timescale that's still far away but these things that we gain so much understanding of the universe from will be completely unknown, they will be gone.
Crab Nebula a supernova remnant that was recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054ace.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The hard working alligator

The Swamp House: more pics of the process and final project by John Henry
I am in love with automatons. I want to know how they work so I can make my own weird creations. I have books and kits and papercraft kits so it's going to happen. Soon....
Watching this one is kind of hypnotic so I started to wonder how much this alligator was making based on the apparent speed of the gif. It makes ~$.125/second or ~$450 an hour. Normally you are supposed to take an average of multiple measurements but I don't think the gif will speed up at all.
@10 seconds I counted 5 quarters or $1.25/10seconds = ~$.125/second
$.125/1 sec * 60 sec/ 1 min * 60 min/1 hour =~$450/hour.
Not bad.