Not Your Parent’s Science Fair Project

November 1, 2006 at 8:18 pm | | everyday science, science@home, wild web

Ever wonder how many licks it takes to get to the centre of a tootsie roll pop? How about what is the meaning of life? I’m guessing no, because you were too busy trying to figure out how many condoms will fit on a simulated phallus, and the ramifications thereof. Well, in a seminal work, researchers at have set a lower bound on the critical condom parameter of 625. They’ve also characterized potential side effects of, uh, 625-bagging, of which priapism is evidently absent.

A first case study of homosexual necrophilia in the Mallard Duck

October 18, 2006 at 3:57 pm | | crazy figure contest, literature, science@home

As promised, an oldy but goody.

Beyond the great title, the article is an even better read, and truly deserving of it’s Ignobel prize status.

Yeah, Baby, Yeah!

Folding in Style

August 23, 2006 at 10:19 pm | | nerd, news, science and the public, science@home, software, wild web

The folding-at-home package has been ported to Sony’s much anticipated PS3 console. The point? None! But, it’ll make Vijay’s group happy and its always nice to see some of our peers get street-cred in the popular media. I hear their groundbreaking cell architecture is a ~10x improvement over your typical PC!

Ah, the irony – this is probably the only software out there that can leverage the PS3’s sweet sweet cpu cycles. Now, if I could only frag more of those proteins … sigh … here is some eye candy:

The official press release from Folding at Home and some coverage from Engadget.

A Call to Arms – for Science!

July 22, 2006 at 9:52 am | | nerd, science@home

Its time to rally the troops against the forces of darkness – literally. Today, I’m embarking on my solar-oven-building adventure. Why? you ask.

Burning Man!!!!

What is burning man? you ask. Shame on you. Now go google until you finally learn something useful in college.

The solar oven is relatively simple – basically a box with a bunch of reflectors that shoot the light inside and can cook food in sunny environments. I plan to build several for the upcoming BMan’06 . The best part is running all the controls to determine optimal cooking conditions: insulation type, angle relative to sun and time of day, black paint or no paint, oh so much science it makes my knees weak!

Pictures of the type of box I am building:


Let me know if you’re interested in helping out with this fun weekend project. If you have some 1337 woodcutting SkillZ or ToolZ that’d be cool. I also have an extra BMan ticket at the lowest price point that I can part with. There will be a group of Stanford chemists going up with me and you’re welcome to join our camp on the playa.


Deflections 2.0?

July 14, 2006 at 2:57 pm | | nerd, science@home

I came across this product advertisment recently:
Wanna shoot my pharoah?

Zap the pharaoh. No, that’s not slang for a questionable act, but the object of the first ever board game to use real lasers! Deflexion is a high-tech game of strategy in which two players try to zap each other’s pharaoh by bouncing a laser beam off Egyptian-themed game pieces bearing one, two, or no mirrored surfaces.

That got me thinking. I’ve got an empty 4 x 8 laser table, more optical elements and mounts than I know what to do with, and plenty of lasers (manly class IV, too)…

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