Monday, August 13, 2007
Came across this on some random blog out there - a hypothetical question (obviously):
The question: How many 5 year-olds could you take on at once?
- You are in an enclosed area, roughly the size of a basketball court. There are no foreign objects.
- You are not allowed to touch a wall.
- When you are knocked unconscious, you lose. When they are all knocked unconscious, they lose. Once a kid is knocked unconscious, that kid is "out."
- I (or someone else intent on seeing to it you fail) get to choose the kids from a pool that is twice the size of your magic number. The pool will be 50/50 in terms of gender and will have no discernable abnormalities in terms of demographics, other than they are all healthy Americans.
- The kids receive one day of training from hand-to-hand combat experts who will train them specifically to team up to take down one adult. You will receive one hour of "counter-tactics" training.
- There is no protective padding for any combatant other than the standard-issue cup.
* The kids are motivated enough to not get scared, regardless of the bloodshed. Even the very last one will give it his/her best to take you down.
I set my magic number at 30, but upon reflection, I think I could take on a few more. How many could you take on?
See 20+ pages of ramblings, musings, thoughts, and opinions on the subject here. I don't know why I found this so damn funny...
Posted by Gary at 10:52 AM
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4-in-1 tool for prying, splitting, board bending and striking jobs
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The co-development deal is the latest in a series of announcements by the automaker indicating it is moving forward with plans for the Volt, an extremely fuel efficient hybrid. The Volt, first announced in January, will use batteries that can be recharged from a standard electrical outlet and is expected to get 40 miles on a single charge, eliminating trips to the gas station for average daily driving. While GM has not ruled out using batteries from another supplier, the agreement is a vote of confidence that A123's technology can meet the requirements for the vehicle, says Denise Gray, GM's director of hybrid energy storage devices.
A123 uses a new lithium-ion chemistry that allows its batteries to be much lighter and more compact than the nickel metal hydride batteries in existing hybrids today, and safer than the conventional lithium ion batteries found in consumer electronics
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:57 AM
Cells can't be examined under a traditional microscope because they don't absorb very much visible light. So the MIT microscope relies on another optical property of cells: how they refract light. As light passes through a cell, its direction and wavelength shift. Different parts of the cell refract light in different ways, so the MIT microscope can show the parts in all their detail.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:53 AM
Researchers at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, led by Jeffrey Stuart, head of the university's Nanobionics Research Center, based their holographic storage system on reengineered versions of proteins produced by bacteria-like organisms commonly found in salt marshes. Simply shining blue light on the proteins erases any data stored in them.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:51 AM
American libertarian drivers would have you believe it's safer than U.S. freeways (likewise false). The German Autobahn opened on August 6, 1932, a small spit of about 12.5 miles between Cologne and Bonn. Since then, it has been one of the most important testing grounds for automakers in the world. It's not just for the lack of speed limits that this infamous highway is known. It reveals great cultural differences in the ways that car safety is perceived. After you crest one blind hill into Frankfurt, for example, the skid marks are akin to those you'd find on a runway at JFK airport, from cars confronting backed-up traffic. This is at least one reason BMW and Mercedes Benz began work on one of the first anti-lock brake systems. American automakers and regulators, by contrast, tend to be fatalistic, focusing on reducing death and injury rather than preventing them. Even the "Wall Street Journal" recently griped that mandatory fuel mileage standards would force vehicles to lose weight, which would result in rising highway death tolls. The "Journal" failed to note that you're more than four times as likely to be involved in an accident in the first place while driving a 4,000 pound SUV as you would be driving a vehicle weighing 1,000 pounds less with a lower center of gravity. The left lane of the Autobahn is strictly for passing. To wander into it, cell phone in hand, without a clear sense of your car's dimensions and capabilities is to risk suicide from approaching vehicles. The Autobahn demands a driver's engagement with the road. While Americans constantly bemoan our dumbed-down highways by comparison, we seem unwilling to raise the IQ of our cars or the standards for our drivers.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:42 AM
1902: Felix Wankel, inventor of the rotary engine, is born in Lahr, Germany.
Lacking a degree, indeed a university education of any kind, Wankel nevertheless possessed a first-rate technical mind. While still in his early 20s, he conceived of a rotary engine that he hoped would replace the more complicated and less efficient reciprocating piston engine.
Wankel received the first patent for his engine design in 1929, but events were about to overtake him.
On the political front, Wankel couldn't catch a break. After an early flirtation with National Socialism, he ran afoul of the Nazis and was tossed into prison for a few months. Following his release, Wankel spent the prewar years working on rotary valves and sealing technology for several German firms.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:40 AM
Webkinz look like Beanie Babies, but come with a code to unlock a digital doppelgänger children play with in a Sims-like digital world. The combination has proven as habit forming as the Tamagotchi phenomenon, but with a stuffed animal that sleeps in your child's bed. And it might be the ploy that saves the toy industry.
Sold only at specialty stores like Hallmark, more than 1 million Webkinz stuffed animals have been snapped up since their April 2005 debut, making the toy by Ganz a sensation. In February, the Toy Industry Association named Webkinz the Specialty Toy of the Year for 2007.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:38 AM
If you can't make it to Dresden this summer, consider teleporting. The pearl of the city's museum collection, the Old Masters Picture Gallery, recently opened a virtual version of itself in Second Life. Second Life representatives say it's the first real-world museum to "clone" itself online, although virtual versions of other collections (most famously "Second Louvre," which has no official ties to the Paris museum) have popped up.
All 37,700 square feet of the 150-year-old building, plus the grounds outside, have been recreated, down to the trash cans and fountains in the courtyard and ceiling moldings, staircases and furniture within. The highlight, of course, is on the virtual walls: 750 paintings spanning 300 years of European art.
Posted by Chismillionare at 8:35 AM