Tag Archives: science

Einstein, ACME, and science

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A while back I read an article about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and it had a few statistics that seem somewhat embellished to me.  Now, I’m no scientist, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.  And because of the anonymity of the Internet, I could be the smartest person in the room (as far you know).  Whether any of that is factual or not is largely irrelevant to this discussion, because we’re going to have fun with it.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Winding the solenoid coil of the CMS [Compact Muon Solenoid] took five years to complete. When it is fully operational, it will generate a magnetic field 100,000 times stronger than the one produced by the Earth.

What could possibly go wrong?  I first think of a super magnet that Wile E. Coyote bought to catch Bugs Bunny.  It was a 10,000,000,000 volt electric magnet, in a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit sold by ACME (of course).

Actually, there’s a structure made with 12,000 tons of iron to bridle the lines of the magnetic field in the LHC so normal stuff won’t get disturbed.  So they say…  Next!

Components are assembled for A Large Ion Collider Experiment, a.k.a. ALICE, an experiment to measure the matter created in the extraordinarily high temperatures — estimated at 100,000 times hotter than the sun — that existed after the Big Bang and that will be created by the particle collider.

The Earth picks up only 0.45 billionth of the sun’s daily energy output, yet that is more than 239 trillion horsepower each day.  I realize there’s more to energy than heat, but I still question their estimate.  And even more so, I wonder what their electrical bill is…  And upon further thought, would a device creating heat that’s 100,000 times hotter than the sun contribute to global warming any?  Something has to happen to the heat — you can’t just flush it down the toilet — there are those pesky laws of thermodynamics…  🙂

Speaking of ACME, they had everything, didn’t they?  Did you know that the Animaniacs helped Einstein figure out the theory of relativity by singing the ACME song to make him feel better about himself?  I never learned that in school…

But wait, there’s more!  While watching the Wile E. Coyote video with the super magnet, I noticed it said “Zajaxi Dynamos” on one of the boxes instead of ACME.  Maybe it was a subsidiary?  I have no idea.  I’ve never noticed that before and never heard of that, so I googled it, and would you believe my search returned ZERO (0) results?  There is something that’s been around for decades for which Google had no answer whatsoever!  I’ve always figured you could find anything on the Internet, but I just proved otherwise.

So now let Buffet o’ Blog be the FIRST WEBSITE EVER to mention “Zajaxi Dynamos”!  How many times can you say your website is the first to ever do something in the history of the Internet?  We should win an award…  🙂

And since there’s no reference to what that phrase stands for, I suppose we can make it up.  Any ideas?

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a snow hurricane

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This post may seem contrived given the content versus the current news event of Hurricane Sandy combining with a cold front to bring potentially unprecedented devastation, but I assure you this was written a couple of weeks ago.  It’s ironic because we discussed a snow hurricane, but considered it just rambling because that’s impossible, right?  Hurricanes require warmth to survive, yet this one may produce wintry precipitation with this “100-year-storm” / nor’easter / frankenstorm.  Anyway, enough with the irony… let’s get to the rambling.

Recently we had discussed how to prevent hurricanes, and one of our regular readers had the idea of using some of our existing technology that we’ve already invented.  His suggestion was to use our snow machine to create snow in the Sahara Desert.  (Yes, we have built a snow machine from scratch.  Follow the link if this is news to you.)  Based on just those parameters, it sounds like a win-win scenario, but there’s a flaw in the slaw.  However, I am getting ahead of myself.  Let me first explain his idea.

Of course we’d have to scale up our snow making machine many times, but this can be done given enough funds.  But as you might have already surmised, such an idea has a few logistical issues.  Making snow requires water, which is typically scarce in a desert.  (Yeah, yeah, that goes without saying — it’s a desert.  Duh!)

So this “solution” might be impossible.  But for a moment, let’s imagine the possibilities.  Given enough snow injected into the hurricane-forming cycle, could it create a snow hurricane?  (A snowicane?  A hurrisnow?  We’ll have to work on the name.)  But imagine a snowstorm in the form of a hurricane that comes to the southern U.S. and dumps snow everywhere… that would be awesome!  (For those of you not familiar with the southern U.S., it rarely snows here.  It’s a BIG DEAL when we get accumulation on the ground — schools cancel (sometimes even at the mere forecast of snow), businesses close, and people play in the snow and make snow ice cream.  Here in Arkansas, we rarely get more than a couple inches a year.)  Although, besides the awesomeness of it, there would be collateral damages, and then we’d be working on a way to stop it, so perhaps we aren’t really fixing the problem with this “solution”.  But personally, I’d rather have several inches of snow than several inches of rain, so I’m all for it.

Perhaps we should apply science here instead of just rambling.  (What an idea!)  Hurricanes may start with dry desert air, but they have to accumulate moisture at some point.  If we could make that moisture cold enough and somehow get it to stay cold… well, this might be impossible as well.

This idea will require a professional-grade think tank.  Fortunately, the Buffet o’ Blog R&D (Research & Development) team is qualified for such a task.  What we’ll need is (can you guess?): a lot of money.  Now, I know, you’re thinking it doesn’t take money to think, and there’s some truthiness to that.  But a hurricane-scale snow maker isn’t gonna build itself, plus there are numerous logistical impossibilities to overcome, and we’d need time away from our jobs to accomplish this mission.  So if you want a hurricane made of snow, you’re gonna have to send us money.  There’s simply no other way.  Again, we can print off some official certificates saying you’re awesome for contributing to this world-changing project, and you’ll feel warm and toasty inside (except when you’re out playing in the snow).

If you have money but doubt our plan, we could draw up some diagrams and flow charts to send to you in exchange for funding.  🙂  We could also meet to discuss this over good pizza…  (Our R&D department usually meet while eating… we’ve found it’s good for morale and having good ideas.)

Are humans just mutant animals?

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Have you ever wondered what animals think of humans?  We take it for granted that we are many times more intelligent than our pets, but what do they think about us?  Your dog might think you’re a mutant with super powers.  You can do things that transcend his understanding.  Imagine it from his perspective…

Now some scientists think that we may have super powers compared to other animals, that humans are mutants and a “copyediting error” in the brain is what separates us from other animals.  To that I say, “WHATEVER”.  God designed us this way.  Although even if you believe in evolution, does that account for mutants with super powers?  If so, I wasn’t taught that in school.  Science and biology classes would’ve been a lot more interesting if we’d talked about how to get super powers.

It’s impossible to know how an animal would think of all this.  Although it’s probably safe to say that if you were born a cat instead of a human, you wouldn’t be thinking about these things, nor would you even be aware that such a discussion could exist.  Your life would center around eating, sleeping, and playing.  Although I reckon that’s what a lot of humans focus on, not making much use of our superior intellect.  To each their own.  Actually, on second thought, eating a big mound of nachos and taking a nap sounds pretty good right now, super powers or not.

you can help us prevent hurricanes

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A while back I wrote an article about how to prevent hurricanes.  It’s been a really popular post lately, and for good reason — Hurricane Isaac was recently causing a swath of destruction along its path through the southern U.S.

Hurricane Isaac in 2012

The article explained some ways to prevent hurricanes, but there has been a noticeable lack of funds coming in.  So obviously investors either haven’t found it, or they didn’t take it seriously.  I realize the presentation could’ve been made in a more “professional” manner.  It started off with some rambling (also known as digressing), and some of the ideas were intentionally over-the-top for fun.  But I make no apologies for the format — this is a humor blog, after all.  Even when legitimate ideas are released into the blogosphere, they are accompanied with humor.  That’s just how I roll.  (Well, I do have a serious blog, and it could’ve went there, but then I would’ve had to edit out the randomness, and what’s the fun in that?)

The last idea was actually somewhat viable, though.  It could make a difference in so many ways.  Obviously we wouldn’t cover the entire Sahara desert with solar panels, but we’d have to make only a something-eight percent difference to improve the current status quo.  And as the post explains, this would reduce global warming AND save money from hurricane damages AND be a clean, green, unlimited, renewable energy solution.  So what’s the problem?  All we need is appropriate funding (and by appropriate I mean a LOT, like billions of dollars), but it would pay for itself many times over.

There may be some people who worry about tampering with Mother Nature, and there are valid concerns to address, but we’ve been doing it for years already.  If things do change for the negative somehow, people will just blame labels like “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” (partly because it gives them political power and enables them to raise taxes with the cleverly named “Cap and Trade”, but I’d better not rant on that or I will surely digress).  Besides, there are solar panels already installed in the southwest U.S., and nobody complains about that changing the weather.

It’s important that we focus on the key initiative here, and that is to solve numerous global problems at once.  Well, that and make billions of dollars in profit.  But as the saying goes, it takes money to make money.  And it takes money to save the world, unless you’ve got super powers like Superman.  However none of us are Superman, and as far as I know, no one on the Buffet o’ Blog staff has any of the super powers of Superman (or we’d know, because it would be awesome to use them).  So we need investment funding, which is another way of saying “send us your money”.  We’ll send you an official certificate saying you contributed to saving the world.  Plus you’ll feel all warm and toasty inside, and you’ll help extend the life of the Earth, and you can’t put a dollar value on that.

Are dinosaurs extinct because of their farting?

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In the news recently, British scientists (“boffins”) have announced that dinosaurs’ reckless farting might have led to their extinction.  Read for yourself:

Dinosaurs may have farted themselves to extinction, according to a new study from British scientists.

The researchers calculated that the prehistoric beasts pumped out more than 520 million tons (472 million tonnes) of methane a year — enough to warm the planet and hasten their own eventual demise.

Until now, an asteroid strike and volcanic activity around 65 million years ago had seemed the most likely cause of their extinction. …

“Our calculations suggest these dinosaurs may have produced more methane than all the modern sources, natural and human, put together.”

“Not the momma!”

Yeah, I called it reckless farting.  (Have you ever heard those two words together before?)  It’s bad enough to just fart whenever you want, but when the air becomes unsuitable for life, it’s time to change policy.  I realize they’re just animals, but you’d think they could’ve figured it out.  Even animals can learn by conditioning (like Pavlov’s dogs).  Here, you’d think after millions of years, they’d figure out a disturbing pattern.  Por ejemplo: [fart]  “Whew, that stinks.”  [fart again]  “That’s some stank-terribleness.”  [fart again]  “I can hardly breathe…”  [fart again]  “I’m about to die!”  The pattern is obvious.

Doesn’t it seem odd that there are people who get paid to calculate how much dinosaurs passed gas?  Imagine meeting new people and they ask you what you do — “I study dinosaur farts.”  You’d get some weird reactions, I’m sure.  But you’d be a hit at the elementary school on bring-your-parent-to-school day.  🙂

boiling water, freezing air, & thundersnow

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If you take boiling water and toss it into the air when it’s -22 degrees outside, it evaporates into steam before it hits the ground.  Here’s a video of it.  Looks neat. At first it looks like it’s instantly turning into snow, but it’s in fact steam.

I remember hearing that hot water can actually freeze faster than cold water.  Turns out that’s only sometimes true — according to science, water at 100 degrees C will freeze before water warmer than 60 degrees C but not before water cooler than 60 degrees C.  Although if you put hot water and cold water in the freezer at the same time, the hot water can freeze faster because the bottom part of the hot water can start freezing while the top is still warm (and no convection is occurring).  Further explanation is beyond the scope of this article, but you can read more here if you’re feeling particularly nerdy today.  (It’s actually called the Mpemba effect.)

Also on the page right now is a video of Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel getting surprised by “thundersnow“.  It’s basically just thunder and lightning, but it’s more rare in a snowstorm.  His reaction is interesting, which is why this video has been making the rounds on TV.

bacon adds to life

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I was watching a science program on TV the other night, and they were discussing how life might have begun on Earth.  (It’s funny to me that I know, yet so many scientists still don’t know.)  There are numerous theories / hypotheses, and one of the main ones is that life started by accident.  Supposedly amino acids in primordial soup collided with each other many times, until the right combination was formed to produce life.  (And I have to wonder — who was first, male or female?)  Amino acids are part of the building blocks of life.

The second widely-held theory / hypothesis is that an asteroid with frozen organisms deep inside crashed into Earth.  This would mean that we’re all aliens, and that life as we know it came from another planet.  But even if life came from another planet, it still had to start somewhere, somehow, since the Universe was formed by the Big Bang.

So let’s go back to the first theory.  Life had to start somewhere, obviously.  If colliding amino acids can create life, then you could create life by slapping pieces of bacon together enough times.  (You may think I’m being silly, but hold on.)  Bacon contains amino acids.  Actually, science explains that part of the reason we are attracted to the smell of bacon cooking is because of the chemical reaction of amino acids and reducing sugars.   (It’s called a Maillard reaction, if you wish to do further study.  That reaction also contributes to the taste of seared meat and roasted coffee.)  Of course, another reason we’re attracted to the smell of bacon cooking is because it smells awesome.

So since bacon contains amino acids that are essential to life, and life can supposedly start from the random collision of amino acids, then a simple formulaic proof could be constructed proving that slapping strips of bacon together can create life.  (Perhaps that Abstract Algebra class in college could be useful after all…)

Wow… the power of bacon!

Obviously a corollary to this new theory would be that eating bacon adds to your life.