# On Sports Injury Rates, or Today in Why I’m Glad I’m Not a Social Scientist

The topic of sports injuries is unavoidable these days– the sports radio shows I listen to in the car probably spend an hour a week bemoaning the toll playing football takes on kids. Never a publication to shy away from topics that bring easy clicks, Vox weighs in with The Most Dangerous High School Sports…

# Energy Dissipation in a Physics Toy

A little while back, I used a photo of SteelyKid’s toy Newton’s cradle as the photo of the day, with a bonus video: I mentioned that I was going to do some analysis of this at some point, but didn’t have time right then. I had a bit of time to poke at this yesterday,…

# The Evolution of a Sad Balloon

A few years back, I did a couple of posts on the physics of a sad balloon (that is, a helium balloon that can no longer lift itself up to the ceiling), the first on simple buoyancy, the second on how long it takes for the helium to leak out. These were based on only…

# The Growth of My Digital Photography

Over at Wired, Rhett has a post providing mathematical proof that he takes too many photos. As is traditional, he includes homework at the end of the post, specifically: Now it is your turn. Find the number of photos you have taken each year. Is it possible for you to detect changes in your life…

# Just How Idiotic Are GPAs?

Yesterday’s quick rant had the slightly clickbait-y title “GPAs are Idiotic,” because, well, I’m trying to get people to read the blog, y’know. It’s a little hyperbolic, though, and wasn’t founded in anything but a vague intuition that the crude digitization step involved in going from numerical course averages to letter grades then back to…

# How Fast Is SteelyKid’s Nerf Gun?

SteelyKid is spending a couple of days this week at “Nerf Camp” at the school where she does taekwondo. This basically consists of a bunch of hyped-up kids in a big room doing martial activities– taekwondo class, board breaking, and “Nerf war” where they build an obstacle course and then shoot each other with dart…

# The Golden Age of Blogging Was 2010

When I was writing up the state of blogging post last weekend, I thought about pulling together a Top Ten Posts thing, but didn’t have time. also, Google analytics moved a bunch of stuff since the last time I used it, so I had a hard time locating the right options. Having tracked it down,…

# Bad Graphics, STEM Diversity Edition

There was a article in Scientific American about diversity in STEM collecting together the best demographic data available about the science and engineering workforce. It’s a useful collection of references, and comes with some very pretty graphics, particularly this one, showing the demographic breakdown of the US population compared to the science and engineering fields:…

# Women of the Arxiv

Over at FiveThirtyEight, they have a number-crunching analysis of the number of papers (co)authored by women in the arxiv preprint server, including a breakdown of first-author and last-author papers by women, which are perhaps better indicators of prestige. The key time series graph is here: This shows a steady increase (save for a brief drop…

# Why Is Girls’ Soccer So Dangerous?

Over at Five Thirty Eight, Walt Hickey has a piece about cheerleading as a sport and injury rates, which is both a nice look at the way to use stats to measure the real danger level of an activity, and the sort of small details that can be teased out. The piece includes a table…