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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Cell size and scale

So that was probably the most boring headline possible but this is actually quite cool. Cell size doesn’t sound interesting and it probably isn’t – unless presented in a way that helps people understand.  This gives scale to  really really small things.

Ok, cool might still be pushing it.

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Derren Brown’s latest series of stunts on Channel 4 has had the whole country talking. Not always positively, but talking nonetheless. For everyone amazed by the lottery prediction there’s someone still angry that he didn’t teach us all how to win it every week. And for every person stuck to their sofas there were several more left just a bit bewildered by the whole thing. Then there’s this guy, who claims to have been stuck for 12 hours – only emerging from the sofa the following morning, half-starved and desperate for the toilet. I’m sure Derren won’t mind the context of discussion so long as people are talking, and the ratings seem to prove the series a massive success.

Something that he touched on in the sofa-bound show was perception and awareness without consciousness – a basic example that he gave being when the song going round and round in your head turns out to have been whistled by the guy you passed on the street earlier that morning. Derren’s ability to plant ideas in people’s heads is obviously aided quite significantly by his hypnosis skills, but it’s still an interesting perspective on messaging and how simple speech patterns and sentence structure can convey thoughts and ideas without explicitly saying them.

If you missed it, take a look at this clip (can’t embed it for some reason) of a confused Simon Pegg and the subsequent explanation of how he did it. I’m off to build some subliminal programming into my next press release.

DB

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We’ve been waiting along time for a proper summer and, not to jinx the whole of Britain Rihanna style, it looks like it’s finally here. Along with white houses. That said, the winter months have made me forget just how hot the office gets between June and August (no we don’t have air conditioning, that’s for wimps…).

I’ve just had a conversation with @PatrickYiu and we’re agreed that our section of the office is by far the hottest – if you come within two metres of our ‘pod’ you get hit by a wall of heat. The fans just about manage to keep you cool until lunchtime but once you make the suicidal decision to exit the building to get lunch, no fan can help you. SO we’re investigating other means to combat the heat because we’re only in June and it’s (hopefully?!) going to get worse.

So the first option we came across is in the video below but it looks highly complicated and probably a little dangerous. Copper wiring and fans can’t be good?

Then we found this. I’m not convinced on this either, anything that involves me using a circular saw is not a good idea and neither is the substantial use of newspaper in the final assembly. Not to mention it looks like something my niece made after watching Blue Peter – she’s four.

In a final act of desperation I suggested intermittent feet dips into a bucket of cold water but looking at my colleagues around me I’m not sensing their enthusiasm. Do let us know if you have any better ideas, particularly tried and tested methods!

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Brilliant post explaining what would and wouldn’t work for time-travel in Discover magazine – via Kottke. A special favourite from his list of rules, particularly given that it features in the new Star Trek movie and involves the word ‘spaghettification,’ which sounds both painful and delicious.

5. Black holes are not time machines.

Sadly, if you fell into a black hole, it would not spit you out at some other time. It wouldn’t spit you out at all — it would gobble you up and grow slightly more corpulent in the process. If the black hole were big enough, you might not even notice when you crossed the point of no return defined by the event horizon. But once you got close to the center of the hole, tidal forces would tug at you — gently at first, but eventually tearing you apart. The technical term is spaghettification. Not a recommended strategy for would-be time adventurers.

Loads of other good tips / facts on Discover.

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