Archive: April 4, 2004

<<< April 3, 2004


April 5, 2004 >>>


Sunday,  04/04/04  11:32 AM

Welcome to foursday - 04/04/04.  Pretty cool.  Almost as cool as threesday last year.  I woke up this morning and could not believe it is already April.  This year is absolutely whipping by.  Not good, somehow.

I watched the Final Four semifinals last night (on Tivo, of course).  Is it just me, or are these games just one foul after another?  Seems like there was a foul called on every trip down the floor, and both games were substantially influenced by which players were in foul trouble.  I know basketball is not supposed to be football, but I think the officials could have let more go.  It sure would have been more entertaining...

Tomorrow is Opening Day!  Hope "springs" eternal for us Dodger fans, a new year with new ownership, and new prospects for success.  Hopefully the hot dogs have not changed, however.  Put me in coach, I'm ready to play...

Tim Bray blogs about little league in Vancouver.  I love it!

So - last night I'm putting my daughter Megan to bed, and I'm reading The Phantom Tollbooth to her - one of my favorites.  (I liked it when I was a kid, and I've read it to all four of my kids.)  In the book, there's a character named the Dodecahedron.  And Megan says to me [she's six years old], "Dad, is that like a 3D hexagon?"  Okay, Megan, good night!

The Dodecahedron sighed. “Why, did you know that if a beaver two feet long with a tail a foot and a half long can build a dam twelve feet high and six feet wide in two days, all you would need to build Boulder Damn is a beaver sixty-eight feet long with a fifty-one-foot tail?”

“Where would you find a beaver that big?” grumbled the Humbug.

“I'm sure I don't know,” he replied, “but if you did, you'd certainly know what to do with him.”

“That’s absurd,” objected Milo, whose head was spinning from all the numbers and questions.

“That may be true,” he acknowledged, “but it’s completely accurate, and as long as the answer is right, who cares if the question is wrong?  If you want sense, you'll have to make it yourself.”

The Dodecahedron is obviously an engineer :)

There are only five "regular" polyhedral solids.  The dodecahedron is possibly the most interesting, and exhibits the most varied symmetries.  But if you relax the "regular" requirements just a bit, you can end up with some amazing polyhedra...

[ Later: The post office is releasing a new stamp featuring Buckminster Fuller this July.  Great illustration.  The illustration seems to feature a "tessellated buckyball"; a buckyball is a solid with 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons (no, it isn't quite a "regular" polyhedron), and a tessellated buckyball fills the hexagons and pentagons with triangles. ]

This geometry is the basis for C60, an unusual molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms, also known as Buckminster Fullerene.  "The buckyball is the only molecule of a single atom to form a hollow spheroid, and it spins at over one hundred million times per second."  There are also larger so-called "fullerenes", C70, C76, C85, C90, and C94 have all been synthesized.  Chemists believe C240 and C540 would also be stable! ]


Understanding Engineers, Take 10

Sunday,  04/04/04  11:44 AM

Yet another in our ongoing attempts to understand engineers:

During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, NASA decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules.

After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million.

The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

Note: if you think this series has run its course, sorry.  There are about 1010 engineer jokes in existence.


(new yorker, 3/22/04)

Sunday,  04/04/04  02:51 PM



Return to the archive.