Archive for May, 2011

Becoming a Fan o’ Flow

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Dance it Up, Furball!

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Every year the Disney theme parks host a Star Wars weekend, which means one thing: more demented “Dancing with the Star Wars Cast” videos. But 2011 may be our new favorite. We give you Chewbacca grinding to Guns N’ Roses.

link

The Drop Thickens

Eau, water picture! Artist makes a splash with his amazing portfolio of liquid droplets

By thickening the water with guar gum he was also able to alter the shape of the splashes, making some of them take on the bizarre look of something from a science-fiction film or a nuclear mushroom cloud.

The shapes, which varied from 3cm to 15cm, were altered even further by adding sugar and, by putting rinse aid in the dish, he was able to increase the height of the droplet splashes.

However, were it not for the advancements of high-speed photography, these images would not exist as they are impossible to see with the naked eye.

flickr: Liquid Splashes

It’s Mathemagical

Mathematical card trick

Eggs Slowly Over Easy

Breakfast Interrupted, A Perfect Breakfast Meets Slow Motion Mayhem

“Breakfast Interrupted” is a whimsical slow motion ode to breakfast. The video begins with luscious imagery of a lavish breakfast spread, before slow motion mayhem begins at the 25 second mark. “Breakfast, Interrupted” is the creation of Bruton Stroube Studios, a St. Louis production company with a focus on food and beverage commercials. They’ve also posted a making of video for the slow mo curious.

Water Helps Them Relax

Flotille

cm-scale origamis unfolding when placed on the surface of water, as the paper absorbs the water from capillary action.

What We Need is More Stats

In honor of Dirk: ‘Points Per Miss’ and his spot among the NBA’s all-time greats

As Bill Simmons tweeted: “48 points, 3 missed shots total (FG + FT). We need a stat like ‘points per miss’ to see if that’s a record for a 40+ point game.”

And as I went to bed last night, Simmons’ tweet had me thinking. Just how useful of a stat would PPM be? So I decided to get up this morning and investigate it a little further.

I like it, because it’s a measure of offensive efficiency. Raw statistics, such as points scored don’t differentiate between good shooting and poor shooting, incorporates points scored or squandered on the free-throw line, and normalizes, to some extent, the increased risk and reward of three-point shots for which shooting percentage fails to account. Efficient shooting leaves more opportunities for teammates, which the author recognizes:

Points per game is an oft-cited stat, but it provides little in the way of efficiency. A player could score 40 points per game and lead the league, but if he just does it because he chucks up half of his team’s shots, his team probably is not very good or balanced on offense. Another player who scores only 25 points per game but who is highly efficient at turning shooting opportunities into points is maximizing his own scoring chances while, theoretically, not wasting his team’s scoring opportunities shooting lower percentage shots (by comparison) than what his teammates could get

Say Cheese

SLR simulator

Practice using an SLR by adjusting the settings, lighting and distance to see how they affect the resulting picture.

Science is Not a Wrestling Match

Refuting Einstein: a media controversy in Ireland

At first, professional physicists paid very little attention to the story. In the few instances where their opinion was sought, the ‘debate’ was portrayed as one voice against another, not as the overwhelming consensus of 100 years of scientific evidence against one engineer. Most of all, the debate was portrayed as Kelly vs Einstein – I do not recall a single journalist draw attention to the fact that physicists’ belief in relativity stems not from a belief in Einstein, but from the mountain of experimental evidence that supports the theory (a confusion of the context of discovery with the context of justification).

The author makes a lot of good observations about what’s bad in science journalism, most of which I agree with and have pointed out a number of times in the past, such as manufacturing controversy by making it appear that both sides have equal merit. Sacrificing scientific accuracy for the sake of the appearance of neutrality is something that ultimately undermines your credibility. When the average reader gets the message that relativity is a religion, you’re doing it wrong.

Houston, We Have a Negative on that Trajectory

Everything Went As Expected of the Day

via @JenLucPiquant

A Project not Requiring Japanese Steel

Kill Math

A project investigating a different way to present math and manipulate mathematical information, leveraging today’s technology.

The power to understand and predict the quantities of the world should not be restricted to those with a freakish knack for manipulating abstract symbols.

We are no longer constrained by pencil and paper. The symbolic shuffle should no longer be taken for granted as the fundamental mechanism for understanding quantity and change. Math needs a new interface.

The site contains an interesting premise — the problems with math instruction aren’t limited to the methodology (a problem pointed out in any number of Vi Hart videos), but also the material itself:

school math is useless, kills inspiration and curiosity, is mind-numbingly tedious, makes no connections to anything, and is forgotten immediately after the test. It’s all negative.

which is also often true of science instruction.

Make sure not to miss

— The animations in the section “A Possibly Embarrassing Personal Anecdote,” which are pretty neat — as visualization of the integral, but also an intriguing visualization of an equation

— The video Interactive Exploration of a Dynamical System, which shows a model of a predator-prey system and the ways one can manipulate the equations to visualize how the variables behave.

Please Enjoy the Enclosed Music Box Whilst I Attempt to Determine the Problem

SMBC: Babbage Analytical Engine Tech Support

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