Categories
Uncategorized

This is Your Brain on Cellphones

Can you pop popcorn with a cellphone?


[Mobile Phone + Maize = Popcorn – YouTube]

Nope.

Categories
physics

Airplane on a Conveyor Belt

So here’s the question of the day:

“A plane is standing on a runway that can move (some sort of band conveyor). The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyor moves in the opposite direction. This conveyor has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyor to be exactly the same (but in the opposite direction). Can the plane take off?”

Personally, my first thought was that the plane would not take off because it wouldn’t have enough lift without moving up to speed relative to the ground. But after thinking about what it is that actually causes a plane to lift off, the wind going around the wings, I wasn’t so sure.

The wheels in planes aren’t generally what cause the plane to move forward, it’s the suction of wind through the propeller or engines. Presumably the plane would pull the same amount of wind whether or not it was riding the conveyor belt, therefore, I think it would take off.

While you’re taking a moment to think about this problem, let me tell you that tonight the Mythbuster’s are putting this question to rest once and for all. Will a plane on a conveyor belt take-off? (We’ll see tonight, but I think yes).

Update: here is the clip:


[Mythbusters – Plane on a Conveyor Belt – YouTube]

Categories
technology

PC World Busts the Biggest PC Myths

PC World Logo
PC World published an article revealing the truth behind some common computer myths. Have you ever wondered:

  • If magnets will damage your data?
  • Does using a cell phone on a plane actually interferes with the navigation and communications systems of the aircraft?
  • If you don’t “eject” a USB device before unplugging it from a PC, will you really screw things up?
  • Do cookies track everything you do on the Internet?
  • What terrible things happen if you turn off your PC without shutting down Windows?
  • Does opting out of spam gets you even more spam?
  • If you don’t periodically run your laptop batteries down to zero, will you lose battery life?

Find out the answer to these questions and more as PC World exposes the myths that waste your time and money.

Categories
humor

Andrew Carlssin – the insider trader from the future

I’ve had quite a few people looking for details about Andrew Carlssin, the insider trader from the future. Here is the low down on the future man:

Andrew Carlssinwwn time traveller

[Collected on the Internet, 2003]
‘TIME-TRAVELER’ BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING
Wednesday March 19, 2003

By CHAD KULTGEN

NEW YORK — Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges — and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

“We don’t believe this guy’s story — he’s either a lunatic or a pathological liar,” says an SEC insider.

“But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks’ time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can’t be pure luck.

“The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He’s going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources.”

[Link to Yahoo article ‘TIME-TRAVELER’ BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING]

All I need to tell you about this article is that it originated in the Weekly World News an entertainment tabloid devoted to arousing curiosity and to catering to popular superstitions. They often do so with flashy headlines designed to astonish (e.g. Half-man Half-woman Makes Self Pregnant and no I don’t have a link). Unfortunately, as I have learned the hard way, Yahoo!, a primary news source for many people on the Internet, makes it a habbit of reprinting some Weekly World News articles under the heading of “Entertainment News & Gossip,” a title that to me doesn’t convey a strong “bogus” warning to readers who don’t notice the original source is the Weekly World News or don’t know what the Weekly World News is.

Dispite this article’s shady origins I have noticed it reprinted in a variety of newspaper and magazine sites verbatim and published as a “real” news item. Apparently FBI and US Security officials have been inundated with a rash of inquiries from reporters and journalists seeking to confirm this outrageous story.

The spokesman at the US Security and Exchange Commission in Washington has been asked a lot about the mysterious time traveller.

“This story is pure fantasy. There is no truth in it at all,” he says. “This is the kind of story that belongs in the same file as ‘Elvis Shrine Found on Mars.’

“You know something? We have had an enormous number of calls from the media on this one. It has been absolutely amazing. Of course, we had to look into it, but as far as we know, it’s just not true.”

At FBI Headquarters in Washington, spokesman Bill Carter is also well aware of the story. “I had a call about this yesterday too,” he sighs. “When I think about it, the other call came from Britain too.

“Look,” he continues. “I doubt very much the veracity of the story. I am not aware of any individual who has made 350 million on the stock market with an 800 stake.”

In a follow-up article on 29 April 2003, the Weekly World News reported that mysterious time-traveling Andrew Carlssin had been bailed out by an “unidentified benefactor” who ponied up $1 million, then jumped bail before an April 3 court hearing and disappeared without a trace.

“Still, it takes more than cold, hard facts to curb a worldwide fascination with time travel. After all, it was none other than Albert Einstein who, using little more than high-school maths, discovered in 1905 that travelling at fast speeds actually slows down time. To put the theory to the test, in 1971 scientists Joe Hafele and Richard Keating put highly accurate atomic clocks into aeroplanes and flew them around the world. According to Einstein’s calculations, on their return they should have read 59 nanoseconds slow compared with identical clocks on the ground — they did. Rack up the speed to a much more significant level and who knows where it might take you. Just remember, the truth is out there…”