Jury Duty

I’ve been summoned for jury duty. While I hope I get an interesting case, like one involving entropy cops arresting someone for violating the second law of thermodynamics, or the symmetry squad nailing someone on a CPT violation, I know I won’t. They always seem to plead those out.

UPDATE: Much ado about nothing for the first day — I’m still on call for next week. Lots of sitting around and waiting, until finally called in as one of the B-list prospective jurors for one trial, and caught the second half of the voir dire. They ended up with 12 from the original crowd, and apparently all the other trials were done selecting by the time the lunch break was over. So I was set free a couple of hours early.

But I did hear the prosecutor warn that CSI, Law & Order (duh DUH, or is it DUH duh?), et. al are TV, and the jury shouldn’t presume anything from TV would carry over into reality. And the defense’s line of questioning spelled out what the defense strategy would be, and I’m pretty sure that I would have been excused.

The Ralph Mellish Effect

Scarcely able to believe his eyes, Ralph Mellish looked down. But one glance confirmed his suspicions. Behind a bush, on the side of the road, there was *no* severed arm. No dismembered trunk of a man in his late fifties. No head in a bag. Nothing. Not a sausage.

And now for something completely different: a water balloon not exploding in high-speed

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via Talk Like a Physicist

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Lightning and the Runaway Breakdown Theory at the At the Speed of Light! blog.


Oh, and here’s another link, in case you were thinking the title was a reference to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

“The Barents sea heaved and churned like a tortured animal in pain, the howling wind tearing packets of icy green water from the shuddering crests of the waves, atomizing it into mist that was again laid flat by the growing fury of the storm as Kevin Tucker switched off the bedside light in his Tuba City, Arizona, single-wide trailer and by the time the phone woke him at 7:38, had pretty much blown itself out with no damage.”

Googling for "Oops"

Google “turned the lights out” for earth hour.


But if you have an LCD screen, a black pixel draws more current than a white one, because you have to energize the pixel. The low-energy state is “clear,” which lets the backlight through, and gives you white. So this thinking is very CRT, very yesterday. Not Google-y at all.

Carly Simon Physics

I was poking around the blogdom — with the rise of science-y, i.e. non-diary (and, I suppose non-dairy) blogs, surfing the web has become interesting again — and ran across a link to How to Build a Cloud Chamber, and that reminded of the person that built the cloud chamber using a Starbucks cup. (Not sure if he was so vain, however.)

And that reminded me of the question I had back then — TRIUMF had a large, continuously-running chamber in the lobby of the visitors’ entrance last time I was there, and though nobody does it better, I’m sure there are other facilities with similar setups. Why not run a webcam showing it? I haven’t found one.

Second-best is video. Here’s one that shows the construction steps of a good one, and some tracks. That’s at the end, so there will be some anticipation.

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So Many Conspiracies, So Little Time

The many-tentacled PZ over at Pharyngula explains why we need academic freedom…to question Newtonism

We’ve been lofting people into the sky for well over a hundred years, and quite often, they’ve fallen down. How many have died due to the tyranny of the gravity Newton put into the hands of conscienceless materialist scientists?

Oh, crap, he found out about the conspiracy. Things go up all the time, and yet no Newtonist will accept this evidence as against the existence of gravity! We always explain it away, hands a-waving, using buzzwords like “lift” and “buoyancy” to avoid admitting that gravity isn’t solidly established. We thought we were safe by declaring all these Newtonian things to be “laws” so they wouldn’t be questioned.

Time to make relativity and quantum mechanics even more incomprehensible.