… And I can't Do a Thing With It

Water Wigs

We found a bunch of awesome bald men and hurled water balloons at their heads, to capture the explosion of water at various intervals. The result a new head of of water hair! We used a laser and sound trigger to capture the right moments for each subject to create just the head of hair that fit best with the face.

Going Retro

Retro Science – Part 1
Mostly about Matthew Fontaine Maury, the first superintendent of the US Naval Observatory.

Maury embarked in crowdsourcing data in 1842 when, as a lieutenant, he was placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Navy Department. Sailors followed a strict routine and were systematic in recording very specific observations around the clock. Ships were mobile weather stations, accumulating a standardized set of weather variables with the strictest regularity at 15 minute intervals. As much as sailors emphasized these routines, once a voyage was completed, the logs were practically viewed as rubbish.

But when Maury saw the Navy’s stockpile of old ships logs, he quickly realized the collective information could improve navigation. Maury developed a method to systematically extract key information from each log book.

Now Do the Integrals, Dammit!

All Possible Photons (pdf alert!)

Subtitled “The conceptual and cognitive art of Feynman diagrams”

Made from stainless steel and air, the artworks grow out of Richard Feynman’s famous diagrams describing Nature’s subatomic behavior. Feynman diagrams depict the space-time patterns of particles and waves of quantum electrodynamics. These mathematically derived and empirically verified visualizations represent the space-time paths taken by all subatomic particles in the universe.

Gathered together, as in the 120 diagrams showing all possible space-time paths of 6-photon scattering, the stainless steel lines (and their variable shadow, airspace, light, color, form) reveal the endless complexities that result from multiplying and varying fundamental elements.

The Sky's the Limit

Is There a Limit to How Tall Buildings Can Get?

Ask a building professional or skyscraper expert and they’ll tell you there are many limitations that stop towers from rising ever-higher. Materials, physical human comfort, elevator technology and, most importantly, money all play a role in determining how tall a building can or can’t go.

But surely there must be some physical limitations that would prevent a building from going up too high. We couldn’t, for example, build a building that reached the moon because, in scientific terms, moon hit building and building go boom. But could there be a building with a penthouse in space, beyond earth’s atmosphere? Or a 100-mile tall building? Or even a 1-mile building?

Give Me a Pallet and I Can Move the World

The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy

Companies like Ikea have literally designed products around pallets: Its “Bang” mug, notes Colin White in his book Strategic Management, has had three redesigns, each done not for aesthetics but to ensure that more mugs would fit on a pallet (not to mention in a customer’s cupboard). After the changes, it was possible to fit 2,204 mugs on a pallet, rather than the original 864, which created a 60 percent reduction in shipping costs. There is a whole science of “pallet cube optimization,” a kind of Tetris for packaging; and an associated engineering, filled with analyses of “pallet overhang” (stacking cartons so they hang over the edge of the pallet, resulting in losses of carton strength) and efforts to reduce “pallet gaps” (too much spacing between deckboards). The “pallet loading problem,”—or the question of how to fit the most boxes onto a single pallet—is a common operations research thought exercise.

Slicing it Right Into the Entanglement Hazard

ZapperZ has a takedown of an article that purports to apply QM to golf; the critique is Quantum Physics And ….. Golf?!

He addresses each point but I think he misses one important aspect of the first issue, on entanglement. Creating and maintaining entanglement isn’t easy, but more importantly, there’s the ol’ bugaboo

Entanglement might one day allow us to communicate instantaneously across the light-years of distance between stars. But for golfers, entanglement offers a more practical benefit.

I have watched golfers tee off and then twist and bend their bodies as they follow the flight of their ball, trying to influence the ball’s course through the air. It doesn’t work, of course.

But if the golfer and the ball could somehow be entangled, then every movement the golfer makes would instantly have an effect on the golf ball. The golfer could literally steer the ball in midair.

The body English would work!

No, no, no; a thousand times no. Entanglement does not allow for instantaneous communication and does not allow you to influence distant objects. Entanglement allows you to do one measurement and determine the states of two particles, with one particle possibly being far away — it does not enable you to change that state.