02 August, 2009

Blather Fragments

1) Has any research been done on the viscoelastic properties of instant mashed potatoes? I cannot help but wonder if they'd undergo wave-form or blunt deformation from wind resistance at high velocities. At the same time, could you efficiently pump mashed potatoes through a tube at similarly high velocities or would such an endeavor necessitate the use of gravy to reduce the frictional coefficient? Dr. Isis has already told me how to get the mashed potatoes into a balloon, but it remains to be seen whether those balloons are efficient projectiles. I am concerned that the deformability of mashed potatoes may inherently make mashed potato ballistics very difficult to aim. And if anyone knows where I could get 20kg of instant mashed potatoes, please let me know.

2) I think I truly need one of these, although I'm not sure what for. Anti-bear defense?

3) I have recently found that when you say to someone, "Yeah, I can fix that, just let me go get my gun," it is best to clarify that you mean a soldering gun first.

4) Volleybadminton is a most excellent game. Volleybadminton is, essentially, badminton played with volleyball rules. There are no back-bounds to the court so you can hit the birdie as far away as you'd like and laugh as the other team sprints backwards to try to get it, but beyond the sides of the net remain out-of-bounds. You may pass up to 3 times on one team to get the birdie back over the net, and if you're venal you may spike. Volleybadminton is best played at dusk when it is difficult to see where the birdie is. I play volleybadminton with more grace than skill. Credit for its invention goes to this deranged old professor.

5) What do you suppose the volume of a shopping cart is?

6) In the course of the Scientists' Duel that Hermie and I fought, we have tied to win PLoS Blog Pick of the Month when Coturnix's attention fell upon us. I wonder if he would have noticed our scrap without Twitter? Anyway, we get T-shirts (one each, luckily we do not have to share)! Unfortunately, they do not say "AWESOME BADASS SCIENTIST!" They do, however, say "PLoS", which is just as good. Those two terms are practically synonymous.

7) In a recent local Mad Scientist meeting*, which involved a Godzilla costume, it came up in discussion that I was the least massy of everyone in attendance, weighing even less than Sister Doom. This makes me sad because I'm 10cm taller than everyone there. I have been trying to gain weight for the past year, and although I've had some limited success it is also really difficult to eat 2.5-3Mcals/day without resorting to cake. The problem is that I don't particularly care for cake.

8) Ever since I bought a cape and awesome goggles to play Superhero Tag, I have been having a difficult time resisting the temptation to wear them everywhere (I am using the goggles as sunglasses, though)! I know it isn't entirely rational, but I cannot help but to feel that my experiments would just work so much better if I wore a cape while doing them. In reality, though, it'd probably mean I'd just spend 3X as much time walking to where I need to go because I'd wind up optimizing my routes based on the prevailing wind direction so that I'd always have a head wind. I'm not sure if this would increase or decrease my scientific credibility. I suspect I need tenure before I'm allowed to be eccentric.

9) I've not been cursing as much here as I usually do lately, so instead I'll post something a little bit racy to make up for it (NSFW, contains pasties):

10) I'm very intrigued by the answers that are coming in to the poll on the left of your screen. I hadn't figured that anyone would pick psychologists as holding their own in a fight against molecular biologists. I mean, what would they use as weapons? Therapy couches and hurtled copies of the DSM-IV?

11) This is something well worth reading, if you read German. Spektrum der Wissenschaft interviewed Bora Zivkovic of PLoS and A Blog Around the Clock notoreity fame and did a very thorough job explaining the breadth and relevance of the Open Access publishing movement. For those of you who don't read German, let it be known that I am waiting for permission from Spektrum to post a translation.

*Yes, for reals. We meet monthly.


Ambivalent Academic said...

Yes, you do need one of those do-hickeys in #2. It's for beating whomever fucks with your samples/setting/whatever into a bloody pulp.

And as for Psychologists v. Molecular Biologists...they don't need physical weapons, they just need to feed our Impostor Syndrome.

SimplyHarmonic said...

#5- Do things stacked above the top rail of the shopping cart count as being in the shopping cart?

If so, the volume is probably many thousands of cubic meters. You're really only limited by the strength of Earth's gravitational attraction.

#11- Physicists, man. EVERYTHING is a weapon.

Hermitage said...

It is true that the lack of a 'AWESOME BADASS SCIENTIST' label is distressing. Oh well, you'll have to make do^^.

quietandsmalladventures said...

re mashed potato projectiles: it would depend on the viscosity of the potatoes. obviously thicker is better for sending via catapult, but thinner is necessary for a nice thick spray from, say, a hose.

i have a pretty spectacular PLoS shirt i scored when i signed up for the email version at a conference a couple of years ago... i'll try to scan the design and we can compare.

re not liking cake: milkshakes and lots of dried fruit plus nuts will add to your intake, quickly.

physicists obviously will be dangerous in a mol bio v. other discipline war. they are tricky little buggers.