Monthly Archives: July 2007

Peel an Egg in 5 Seconds, Updated

Update September 8, 2007:

I happened to walk into our kitchen the other morning to discover my wife and a friend chatting over a late breakfast. I said my normal hellos and good mornings but really intellectually engaged at the time. But as I was turning around to go back to my home office, our friend picked up a hard-boiled egg (the first hard-boiled egg I had seen since originally posting the video below) and was preparing to start peeling it.

I have to admit that she dealt with it rather well when I leaped across the kitchen to snatch the egg from her grip before she could begin to break the shell. When everyone had recovered from my surprise leap, largely I suspect in allowance of my somewhat regular odd (nerdly) behaviors, I asked her “how long do you think it would take you to peel this egg?”

“A few minutes,” she responded.

I then asked, “what would you say if I told you I could to do it in under 5 seconds?”

“No. Way.”

“Time me.” I used the technique pictured below. It took 3.5 seconds.

10 seconds of stunned silence followed, whereupon she shouted, “That was TOTALLY COOL!”

Ah yes. Nerd pride.

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Filed under Humor

4th Grade Math Genius Calculates High Probability of Getting Beat Up

The title says it all. I almost couldn’t stop laughing and crying at the same time.

“First, I computed my annoyance ratio to determine the probability that each student would want to beat me up,” said Mosley. “Then I gauged that against the Beatings to Hand Raises Theory along with past historical data from my previous physical assaults.”

“The probability of me remaining this smart, let alone becoming slightly smarter, is very high,” said Mosley. “Given that, getting beat up within the month is an expected result. Furthermore, when taking into account my small stature proportional to the most likely inflictors of given beating, I’m estimating a 30 percent chance of a broken bone.”

Hat tip to The Giant Napkin.

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Rocketcar Day

Usually when one of our model rockets went sideways in the teen years, it was a problem and we were diving for cover. Here’s to making a problem an opportunity! Rocketcar day!

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Filed under Education, Engineering, Physics

i-Limb Bionic Hand Video

Just in time for NBC’s new series reprise of “The Bionic Woman,” reality has caught up with science fiction. Watch this incredible video of the first commercial bionic hand which operates entirely using nerve impulses.

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Filed under Robotics

Photoshop at Work

Apparently, all you need to really look your hottest is Photoshop. Check out this post from Jezebel.

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And don’t miss the annotated step-by-step by-the-numbers summary of all the retouching that was necessary to make Faith hot.

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Filed under Graphics

Make a Jet Engine in an Hour

As most of you loyal readers are aware, one of my ongoing crusades is to transform k-12 science education from boring rote cookbook style exercises in contrived tedium into the interesting explorations they SHOULD be.

So I constantly have science teachers asking me, “…but what sort of experiments should I have the kids do, and how much would the materials cost? Those Pasco kits are just so convenient.”

Yes, the pre-fab shrink-wrapped curriculum materials make it easy on the overloaded teacher, but there ensues no opportunity for student innovation or creativity. An example, you ask?

Well here is an example for any class discussing fuel, or energy, or Newton’s laws of action and reaction. And it involves fire, which tends to keenly engage the teenage mind.

Have your middle or high school science students make jet engines and test them.

  • Sounds dangerous? That’s what protective glasses and gloves are for.
  • Sounds expensive? Try almost free with a recycled jar.
  • Sounds out of reach of most secondary students? Pah! Let them try and they will surprise you.
Make Magazine has a great podcast and written directions on how to make a Pulse-jet engine out of a used jam jar. The parts are very low cost to the point where each student can make their own.

Better yet, the operational principles of the pulse jet are simple enough that this project could be part of a broader series of experiments where the students figure out how to measure, and then optimize the engine thrust by varying the jar materials and shape, exit aperture position and diameter, heat exchanger configuration and so on. They could even go on to explore alternative fuel delivery methods with external tanks and combustion chambers of alternative (more stable) materials.

Get the full written guide here, (the images in this post were excerpt from the article.) or watch the step-by-step video.

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Filed under Education, Science

35 Years of HP Calculators

Here’s the HP nostalgia piece.

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Filed under Consumer Electronics