Random Quarks

Random quarks of information of relevance to me and hopefully to the random reader of this blog. You may encounter posts on math, science, history, film noir, baseball, economics, and whatever else catches my eye.
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Posts I Like

centerpunch:

In Liz Kaszynski’s job interview for Lockheed Martin, she was asked: “How do you feel about flying in a high performance fighter aircraft?”

Her answer to that question would determine her career path for the next twelve years.

Liz, the F-35’s sole female aerial photographer, takes to the skies in an F-16 chase plane to capture high-octane images of the F-35, F-22 and F-16 aircraft.

Mathematics allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness.
(Stendhal) Source/Notes: The Life of Henry Brulard (published 1890). Variant translation/complete quotation: “Moreover, I loved, and still love, mathematics for itself, since it does not admit of hypocrisy or vagueness, my two pet aversions.” Read more at http://izquotes.com/

cosmiccantina:

1. Dune (1965)

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2. Ender’s Game (1985)

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3. The Foundation Trilogy (1951)

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4. Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

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5. 1984 (1949)

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6. Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

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7. Fahrenheit 451 (1954)

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8. Neuromancer (1984)

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9.

Finished Enders Game — highly recommended.

Still to read:

1. Dune (Will read it soon)

2. Fahrenheit 451 (mixed reviews — maybe I won’t read it)

3. Necromancer

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” Confucius

21 books that changed Science Fiction and Fantasy

sciencesoup:

What’s up with all those giant volcanoes on Mars?

Mount Everest is an enormous and awe-inspiring sight, towering 9 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. But if you were to stick it on Mars right next to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, it would look foolishly small—Olympus Mons triples the height of Everest and spans the state of Arizona.

Mars is sprinkled with huge volcanoes, hundreds of kilometres in diameter and dozens of kilometres tall. The largest volcano on Earth, on the other hand, is Mauna Loa in Hawaii, which rises only 4 km above sea level.

So why is Mars blessed with these monsters of the solar system? Why doesn’t Earth have any massive lava-spewing structures?

Geology, my friends.

Earth’s crust is split up into plates that move and collide. Usually, volcanoes are formed at the boundaries where two plates meet, and one subducts below the other and melts in the heat below the surface. This melt rises as magma and causes volcanism.

But in some places on Earth, there are “hot spots” in the middle of plates, where magma rises up from the core-mantle mantle in plumes. When this magma is spewed up onto the surface, it cools and solidifies into rock, and over the years, the rock builds up and up. When plumes open out in the middle of the ocean, the magma builds islands.

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Plumes are fixed, always pushing magma up to one spot, but the Earth’s plates don’t stop for anything. While the magma rises, the plates move over the hotspot—at a rate of only a few centimetres a year, but still, they move and take the newly-made volcanoes with them. So, gradually, the plates and volcanoes move on, while the plume remains in the same spot, building a whole new volcano on the next bit of the plate. As the plate moves on and on, the plume builds up a whole chain of islands, called island arcs. This is how the Hawaiian Islands were formed.

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The island-volcanoes never get too big, because the plates keep moving onwards. On Mars, however, the volcanoes are enormous because the magma appears to keep rising, cooling and solidifying in the same place, taking its sweet time to build up colossal mounds of volcanic rock kilometres high.

So far, we’ve seen no volcanic arcs like we do on Earth, and this is generally taken as evidence that Mars has no tectonic plates.

And Sheldon says Geology is not real science. Bazinga to you Shelly.

projectdom:

Roberto ClementeOne of the greatest baseball players of all-time BUT bigger than that, Clemente was a humanitarian and provider for his people in his homeland of Puerto Rico and other countries in Latin America. Clemente died in plane crash on December 31, 1972, while attempting to deliver aide to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua.

projectdom:

Roberto Clemente
One of the greatest baseball players of all-time BUT bigger than that, Clemente was a humanitarian and provider for his people in his homeland of Puerto Rico and other countries in Latin America.

Clemente died in plane crash on December 31, 1972, while attempting to deliver aide to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua.

(via vintageclothing66)

operationfailure:

My friend Maggie, at the young age of 34, just found out she has a twin, and now it’s up to all of us to help her find them!

I love a mystery!

Please share this photo!

(via coolchicksfromhistory)

cosmiccantina:

1. Dune (1965)

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2. Ender’s Game (1985)

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3. The Foundation Trilogy (1951)

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4. Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

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5. 1984 (1949)

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6. Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

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7. Fahrenheit 451 (1954)

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8. Neuromancer (1984)

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9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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10. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

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List taken from sci-fi lists

What’s your top 10? , Which sci-fi books do you like the most?

I’ve read five of these, and now I’m reading Ender’s game and will read Dune later this fall. You can’t go wrong reading the works of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein.

randommarius:

Archimedes and the quadrature of the parabola

Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287–212 BC) was a Greek mathematician, scientist and engineer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

One of Archimedes’ works was called The Quadrature of the Parabola. This proved various results about parabolas, and explained how to find the area of a parabolic segment, which is a finite region enclosed by a parabola and a line. This is easy to do nowadays using the well-known theory of integral calculus, but this was not developed until the 17th century, about 1900 years after the time of Archimedes.

Integral calculus calculates areas by approximating the area to be measured by a union of geometric shapes whose exact areas are known, and then applying a limiting process. Archimedes’ technique was very similar to this. The key to his idea was to inscribe into the parabolic segment a triangle with the same base and height. In other words, the triangle had the original line segment as its base, and touched the curved part of the parabola at the point where the tangent line to the parabola was parallel to the line segment. Archimedes proved that if the triangle has area T, then the area A of the parabolic segment was given by 4T/3.

Archimedes described a method of filling up the rest of the parabolic segment by exhaustion, using smaller and smaller triangles. The graphic shows two lighter blue triangles, four yellow triangles, eight (barely visible) red triangles, and so on. There are twice as many triangles of each successive colour as there were of the previous colour. Archimedes proved that the area of a triangle of each successive colour is 1/8 of the area of the previous type of triangle, although this is not an obvious result. For example, each light blue triangle has an area of T/8.

These observations reduce the problem of finding the area A to evaluating the sum at the bottom of the picture, which is a geometric series. Nowadays, there is a well-known formula that applies in this situation, but Archimedes summed the series using a clever ad hoc geometric argument instead.

Archimedes made some other very significant discoveries using integration-like methods. He proved that the area of a circle of radius r is equal to πr^2, and he also discovered the formulae for the surface area and volume of a sphere, and for the volume and area of a cone. Archimedes is also known for inventing the Claw of Archimedes and the Archimedes heat ray, both of which were weapons to defend the city of Syracuse. The claw was a kind of mobile grappling hook that could lift enemy ships out of the water, and modern experiments suggest that this would have been a workable device. The heat ray was a system of mirrors to focus reflected sunlight on to enemy ships, thus setting them on fire. Modern attempts to reproduce the heat ray have concluded that it would not have worked quickly enough in typical weather conditions to be able to burn enemy ships.

Relevant links
Wikipedia on Archimedes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes

Wikipedia on The Quadrature of the Parabola (including the graphic here): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quadrature_of_the_Parabola

Picture of Archimedes from http://totallyhistory.com/archimedes/

I stole the joke in the picture from Dan McQuillan on Twitter.

Here’s another good joke about Newton and Leibniz developing calculus in the 17th century, which someone in my department has on their office door: http://xkcd.com/626/

#mathematics   #sciencesunday

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/95IQ/53e952d4

Interesting math history. Archimedes came within epsilon of discovering calculus.

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
(Isaac Asimov)

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
(Albert Einstein)

Nice science fiction artwork. #scifi

Friday, June 20, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) — There’s something very strange in the ocean off Point Dume, but is it a sign that space aliens have landed in Malibu?

Thanks to Google Earth, which uses satellite images to look underwater, the mystery has surfaced and triggered an out-of-this world theory.

Watch mythbuster Rob Hayes’ investigative report above on Eyewitness News.

mapsontheweb:

US Suicide Rate by County

Very interesting. There seems to be a correlation between remoteness and suicide. Desolation is extreme sadness caused by loss or loneliness. Would be interesting to overlay a number of other socio economic factors; e.g., population density, per capita income …