Thursday, November 26, 2009

Truth in advertising

We just got back from an excellent cruise to the Bahamas celebrating Stacy's step-mother's birthday.  We were on a brand new ship, the Carnival Dream.  This new ship was HUGE.  It is only 88ft shorter than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.  Here's a to-scale comparison:



This was the first proper cruise to the Bahamas this ship was on, and they were filming a commercial while on the cruise.  The actors dancing to imaginary music, or looking romantically out over a balcony, or pretending to have fun on the waterslides (which were actually a lot of fun) were very diverse in terms of ethnicity and age.  Here's an example of an older ad I found on Youtube:

However, they were not so diverse in terms of weight: All the actors are good looking and thin.  From the actors we saw, you'd assume that all cruisers look like this:

When, in actuality, the vast majority look like this:


Here are two examples of people from the ship.  And these are not the fattest - they could walk on their own two feet, and the ship didn't list when they moved around.  In the second one, use Stacy as a point of reference:



Carnival's slogan is "Carnival: The Fun Ships."  Stacy suggested maybe they should be "Carnival: The Fat Ships."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ohms at MIT, Part 3/3

This is the last of the three part series, Part I, Part II.

I think these co-ohms were inspired by Spaceballs the movie.

My personal favorite is this one.


Very clever anthropomorphism with this one!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Half a time zone

The answer I was looking for to my puzzle last week is:
They all have half a time zone
While time zones are regularly set up in hour increments, a few places have time zones that differ by 30 (and one, by 45) minutes.  So, Tehran is 8.5 hours ahead of New York, for example, in UTC+3:30.  And Kathmandu is UTC+5:45.
For the examples in the puzzle: Labrador, Canada is UTC-3:30, Bombay is UTC+5:30 and Darwin Australia is UTC+9:30.  Beaver, USA varies in time zone (depending on which Beaver), but always is UTC-*.00.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Labrador, Bombay and Darwin

Aryeh posted a puzzle last week, this time it's my turn:
What do Labrador, Bombay and Darwin have in common
[Update (thanks Yoni)] but not in common with Beaver.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Puzzles Part 2

Well no one seemed to look at the first puzzle (from Stargate Atlantis by the way) and as NotElon pointed out the second problem is a topological impossibility. However, me and some fellow engineers found a valid solution that involves no crossing lines. We decided to electrify the gas and water lines into the house that otherwise would not have been able to get power. Now you may say but the gas lines are already electrified (to prevent corrosion which is why you should never ground to your gas piping), well yes they are, we are just raising the voltage a bit. Also, once the water gets into the house you will want to have some sort of ceramic length of pipe sufficiently long to prevent the voltage form arcing through the water, or your morning wake up shower may be a little extra jolting.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ohms at MIT, Part 1/3

While touring a certain dorm at MIT I came across a nice creative work of art.
They were inspired by a certain physics major who used to live in the room, and she really liked the Greek letter Omega and the Units of resistance, the Ohm. For a period of time she would get these little pieces of art slipped under her door by a secret admirer. The identity of this great artist is still unknown but his work will now be published online here.

There are 7 in total, which I will be posting in 3 posts, along with my critical commentary. Thanks to Amber for mailing me the photos.

What we see here is a depiction of the MIT dome, famous location of MIT hacks.

Perhaps the artist has some Spanish influences. By the change in the style of pen I would guess that the "ho(h)mbre" note was added later by another artist. I personally don't approve of this addition because there is no clear "ohm" shape in the person.

Famed blogger Eli has created his own version of this man which I share with you below:

Friday, November 06, 2009

You can tune a piano

For Stacy's birthday this week I made sesame crusted yellowfin (ahi) tuna, following Alton Brown's recipe and directions (part 1, part 2).  Really this food should bear the legend: Warning: Crunchy raw real dead tuna to avoid prosecution, as the tuna is barely seared on the outside.
Anyway, after sourcing and finally purchasing the fresh tuna (not an easy endeavor to find a whole hunk kosher fresh tuna of good quality), I cut and marinated the pieces:

And got the chimney going:

This thing gets super hot, in a very concentrated space:


The recipe itself is actually really easy.  After the marinade, roll in sesame seeds

to coat the outside

Sear for a few seconds on each side

Ogle the results:

Slice:

And eat:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Puzzling Puzzles

Recently I watched a TV show in which the main characters come to puzzle to get a device they want. The puzzle consists of a three by three matrix and nine stones with the number 1-9 written on them. They come to the conclusion that what they need to do is arrange the stones so that in every direction including the diagonals the value of the stones sum to 15, where if they where wrong when they tried to open the compartment that the puzzle was the key to they would be poisoned.

Last week I was in the mood for a good puzzle while bored in an engineering project management course so I decided to take a crack. After a couple of tries consisting of an initial random guess then working out from there I struck on a strategy and found a solution that was almost perfect except that one of the diagonals summed to 12, so I did it once more and found a solution. However, I looked at it and came to the solution that the characters only had a one in eight chance of getting the exact solution with only the center stone fixed. The reason for this is that the rotation or flipping about the center lines will also give a valid solution, so that there is a set of eight dependent solutions. I find this funny because they where talking about the same question having been on a MENSA exam (which caused me to take a mental workout exam on the MENSA website, also a fun endeavor). In this case the center stone/number was given to fit into the center slot and my solution ended up with that value in the center. I have two challengers for you readers find a solution to this problem and determine if there are multiple independent solution sets (where the center values are different between the two sets). The second one is a different puzzle entirely that was given to me by a friend who had gotten it in class (he was told that anyone who solved it would not have to take the classes final and that only one person had done it in the past). It goes as such, you have three houses and three utilities. The objective is to connect all three houses with all three utilities without crossing any of the lines as it is in a 2-D world.
Good Luck to all (just don't spend to much time on the last problem). Plus bonus points to anyone who knows what show this is from.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Browns Stages of Productive Syntax


Notice that that Early I goes from 1.01 to 1.49, and Late I goes from 1.50 to 1.99, with Stage II starting at 2.0 etc.
I find it very interesting that they would have chosen a discontinuous scale whereby children with a reasonable "MLU" of say, 1.995 would not not lie in any of these categories. In fact there are uncountably infinite numbers between 1.99 and 2.00, something that these child linguisticitians are apparently not aware of.