Sunday, June 05, 2011

There are nine million bicycles in Beijing, it's a fact

I participated in the World Quizzing Championship on Saturday.

Overall, I finished #18 in the USA and #81 in the world.

But, I was tied for #2 in the USA (and tied for #4 in the world) on the Science section!

It was fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dough is what I got

To my pleasant surprise, today yesterday I discovered that my TiVo had recorded a TED talk given by my former groupmate and underwater roboticist AnnMarie Thomas.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Who is the man who arrives at the wall?

TACIT alum David Seal is featured in the New York Times.

Friday, November 06, 2009

You're gonna hit something, but that's the way it goes

A Korean woman passed her multiple-choice driving exam on the 950th try.

She had to get 30 out of 50 multiple choice questions right.

Clearly she wasn't just guessing randomly. Assuming four answer choices per question, on average it would take 6,089,075 tries to pass by guessing randomly on every question.

If she usually knew about 11 of the 50 answers and guessed randomly on the rest, that would be consistent with passing after about 950 tries.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cracked through time/space, godless and dry

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, of course.

I've been reading Octavia Butler's novel Parable of the Sower. The book opens in 2024, but today, July 20th, 2009, is supposedly the day that the protagonist of the novel, Lauren Olamina, is born.

And since Lauren's father is exactly forty years older than she is, that means he was born on the day of the first moon landing.

This surely isn't a coincidence. The character Lauren starts a religion which looks forward to the human colonization of space as a kind of future heaven. But the birthdate significance isn't explicitly spelled out in the book.

I thought it was an interesting little discovery.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

To rouse the Spirit of the Earth

My former labmate Sharon Laubach got a mention in the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Highway run into the midnight sun

Langskaill, Orkney, 12:05 am, June 17