Links for 2010-02-12

  • "For the past 20 years or so, I've played my own game every year at this time. It's called The Last Man In America To Know Who Won The Super Bowl, or just "Last Man." It's a game heavily reliant on tactics, organizational skill, and evasive procedures. The object is to go as long as possible without obtaining a small piece of pervasive data. Mastering this game requires a careful balance of hiding and plain-sight activity, enough of the latter to make sure that things still get done. It's mental paintball. And I'd like to believe that I'm the world's premier player."
  • "So, you want me to pull something? Great, I am a physics guy. I could probably pull maybe 100 pounds. That seems reasonable? But wait! I will increase it to 500 pounds! That is like two huge football players. Pulled by me! No, I will crank it up. 1000 pounds! 3000 pounds! How about OVER 3500 POUNDS! I am going to try it. Here it is:

    That is not a fake video. It is real. I pulled a Mazda 5 with some kids and a grown woman inside."

  • "Trevor Packer, director of the AP program, said he questioned "the ethics" of journalists who have focused on those failure rates without paying equal attention to the growing number of students passing AP exams -- evidence, he said, that the growth in the program is healthy. All of the attention going to failure rates is "an attempt to get a headline," he said.

    While Packer didn't name names, USA Today and The Dallas Morning News recently ran long articles looking at increases in the failure rates.

    The numbers Packer cites do in fact show growth over the last decade in the number of those who earned at least a 3 -- and an increase in the failure rate:"

  • "Should academic libraries purchase popular nonfiction?

    Should academic libraries supply borrowers with the book format that matches their preferences and learning styles (paper, e-paper, or audio)?

    Where does meeting staff needs for both collections and formats fall into the purchasing priority for academic libraries?

    These questions are all motivated purely by self-interest. Popular nonfiction books are usually the most important titles in shaping my thinking and developing the knowledge necessary to be effective in my work. Audiobooks are the only platform that allows me to keep up with my reading, as I can read while multitasking (mostly running, driving, and doing the dishes)."

  • "Kapitza-Dirac-Talbot-Lau interferometry (KDTLI) has recently been established for demonstrating the quantum wave nature of large molecules. A phase space treatment permits us to derive closed equations for the near-field interference pattern, as well as for the moiré-type pattern that would arise if the molecules were to be treated as classical particles. The model provides a simple and elegant way to account for the molecular phase shifts related to the optical dipole potential as well as for the incoherent effect of photon absorption at the second grating. We present experimental results for different molecular masses, polarizabilities and absorption cross sections using fullerenes and fluorofullerenes and discuss the alignment requirements. Our results with C60 and C70, C60F36 and C60F48 verify the theoretical description to a high degree of precision."
  • "[T]he real significance of [Wyoming's A.J.] Davis' departure was that we are on the the verge of having a uniform number retire itself. Davis wore number 51 for the Cowboys, one of just four 51's nationally who got meaningful (at least 10 percent of his team's) minutes. And now we won't see Davis for the remainder of the season. That leaves three active 51's: Utah's David Foster, JMU's Pierre Curtis, and Campbell's Preston Dodson."
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