fermi

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Category archives for fermi

Size of 91,000 documents

Here is a quick one. One of the big news stories recently was this regarding WikiLeaks and the release of the Afghan War Diary. There could be tons of things to discuss regarding this – but I am not going to do that. The first thing that struck my mind was “over 91,000 documents”. That…

You thought I was going to talk about a problem that math teachers could use, didn’t you? Well, maybe math teachers can use this. (note: when I say “teachers” I really mean “learning facilitators”) It all started when I read this valedictorian speech from Erica Goldson. Here is part of it: “I am now accomplishing…

How fast is the Beacon of Gondor?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy came on TV again recently. My wife and I can’t help but to watch this even though we have it on DVD. Anyway, I was thinking about the part where Gondor sends a signal to Rohan asking them for military aid. Since this was before the invention of email,…

Here is part of a picture some of my friends posted from a recent high school reunion. It may be hard to tell, but this is part of a picture of 7 females all wearing black. I just wanted to show you that they were indeed wearing black without giving away anymore details. If you…

Oil Spill Estimation

I was going to just leave the oil spill in the gulf topic alone. Not because it isn’t important, obviously it is. Rather, I wasn’t going to do anything because I didn’t really have anything to add to the topic. After a couple of readers requested it, I think I do have something to add.…

ScienceBlogs.com is running “Ask a Science Blogger”. The basic idea is that you, the reader, get a chance to ask questions to us, the bloggers. You can either post a comment in the link above or send an email to . I would like to go ahead and answer one of the questions already posted.…

Could cars slow down the Earth?

Time for another Fermi problem. There was a recent story in Science News that talked about the effects of the Chilean quakes on the Earth’s rotation. The basic idea is that some ginmourmous amounts of rock moved closer to the Earth’s center. Since the angular momentum of the Earth is conserved, the angular rotation rate…

There was a Buzz Out Loud episode in the not-to-distant past where the discussion of youtube came up. I can’t remember the exact details, but the main point was that it would be impossible for google (the owners of youtube) to review all of the videos that were submitted. And here is my calculation. How…

I haven’t seen the Pixar Movie “Up” yet, so don’t spoil it for me. I have, however, seen the trailer. In my usual fashion, I have to find something to complain about. There is this scene where the old man releases balloons out of the house. What is wrong with this scene? Also, would that…

This comes from Buzz Out Loud Episode 865 which got the story from Slashdot regarding a possible new technology that would use piezoelectric devices to charge cell phones while you talk. The original article the slashdot story pointed to talked mostly about the advances in piezoelectric devices, but I want to look at the possibility…