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3 followers

February 11, 2014

3 Comments and 10 Shares

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knowtheory
3810 days ago
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3 public comments
Dadster
3791 days ago
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NICE!!
New Hampshire
kleer001
3810 days ago
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Hmmmm
ChrisDL
3810 days ago
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hahaha
New York

Cold

7 Comments and 41 Shares
'You see the same pattern all over. Take Detroit--' 'Hold on. Why do you know all these statistics offhand?' 'Oh, um, no idea. I definitely spend my evenings hanging out with friends, and not curating a REALLY NEAT database of temperature statistics. Because, pshh, who would want to do that, right? Also, snowfall records.'
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knowtheory
3828 days ago
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b12
3824 days ago
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So, does it say St. Louis for everyone, or just me?
JohnL4
3828 days ago
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The tooltip is the best part.
gangsterofboats
3828 days ago
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Is global warming happening? Probably. But when more government is the answer, the question is likely crap.
Skotte
3826 days ago
wow, that is actually probably the best response to the topic at hand, like, ever. Perfect!
dgoldsmith
3828 days ago
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Yup.
Silicon Valley
Satri
3828 days ago
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Data don't lie... well... maybe ;-)
Montreal, Canada
JayM
3828 days ago
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.
Atlanta, GA

November 06, 2013

5 Comments and 24 Shares

Here's hoping this experiment goes well. Design by Ross Nover. Crotchety grousing, as ever, by yours truly.

If you'd like a poster version, it's available here.
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knowtheory
3906 days ago
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lelandpaul
3906 days ago
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"We use polar area diagrams. Ever."
San Francisco, CA
oliverzip
3906 days ago
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So convincing... Must buy
Sydney, Balmain, Hornsby.
adamgurri
3907 days ago
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yup
New York, NY

Robots in DISGUST

1 Comment and 3 Shares

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella does not endorse shouting I CONVEY MY APOLOGIES as an actual form of apology, and cannot be held responsible for related damages or injury.

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knowtheory
4030 days ago
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The inner life of robots.
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Bouncy Balls

9 Comments and 28 Shares

Bouncy Balls

What if one were to drop 3,000 bouncy balls from a seven story parking structure onto a person walking on the sidewalk below? Should the person survive, what would be the number of bouncy balls needed to kill them? What injuries would occur and what would the associated crimes be?

—Ginger Bread

After falling from seven stories, the mass of bouncy balls would be moving at about 20 meters per second.

20 meters per second is about how fast an average person with a good arm could throw a bouncy ball. Therefore, to determine the result of an impact, we can make use of what Einstein called a gedankenexperiment, or "thought experiment":

In science, it's important that results be repeatable, so let's try that again:

The tricky thing about this scenario is that 3,000 one-inch bouncy balls is not as many as you probably think—it'd be enough to fill a large bucket.

This bucket would weigh about as much as a small child, which leads us to another gedankenexperiment:

Of course, in reality, the average person can't throw a small child as fast as they can throw a bouncy ball.[citation needed] Furthermore, they won't all fall in one clump. If you poured the balls from a container, they would bounce around and spread out as they fell, and most of them would probably miss the target.

This effect was demonstrated in an experiment by Utah State University students, who poured 20,000 bouncy balls from a helicopter as part of their Geek Week. The balls fell as a cloud, rather than a single mass.

If you wanted to be sure of killing someone, you'd need a lot more balls. 3,000,000 of them—enough to fill a large room—would be be enough to guarantee that the target would either be crushed to death by the impact or buried too deep to dig themselves out.

To your last question, if someone just happened to walk underneath when you dropped the bouncy balls, and they were killed by the impact, you'd most likely be guilty of some form of manslaughter.

However, by asking this question, you've shown your intent to cause harm to the victim, demonstrating clear malice aforethought. By writing in to this blog, you've probably upgraded your charge to murder.

All in all, you should probably stick to gedankenexperiments.

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knowtheory
4033 days ago
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I'm beginning to suspect that WhatIf is just an excuse to search youtube for unusual videos.
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8 public comments
internetionals
4012 days ago
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Look out solar system, here we come...
Netherlands
euge521
4033 days ago
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it is for adults ...
marten
4033 days ago
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Shared because of the second illustration. But disappointed at the lack of a reference to the Sony Bravia commercial from 2005.
Groningen
knicpfost
4033 days ago
that is the only commercial i have ever saved to my hard drive to watch repeatedly.
fredw
4026 days ago
link?
knicpfost
4026 days ago
http://vimeo.com/14504562 ... turn on HD!
fredw
4026 days ago
Thank you!
richard4339
4033 days ago
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This might be my favorite what if.
Sycamore, IL
tedder
4034 days ago
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had me at "the average person can't throw a small child as fast as they can throw a bouncy ball.".
Uranus
JimRPh
4033 days ago
Actually, it leads to the "how many small children" question.
mkalus
4034 days ago
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:)
iPhone: 49.287476,-123.142136
stavrosg
4034 days ago
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This.
Rodos, Greece
rclatterbuck
4034 days ago
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.
ksteimle
4034 days ago
Point of fact: the link for "citation needed" points to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetacean Randall Munroe is awesome.
jheald1
4034 days ago
Point of fact: the link to Wikipedia's "citation needed" page includes an xkcd comic. :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed
ksteimle
4034 days ago
Ha! how awesome!
rgsunico
4034 days ago
Crazy!

Nerdy Cafe Latte Art

1 Comment

Japanese coffee artist Nowtoo Sugi uses colored bartender syrups to, as the hobby artist says, &quot..(Read...)

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knowtheory
4078 days ago
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I don't think i've ever seen latte art with color in person. these are awesome.
Dadster
4077 days ago
Glad to see Grumpycat is not here yet. But that's a matter of meme time I suppose.
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