020/366: Scratch Work

I got a little bit of time today to play with the new lens, which included a couple of nice shots of the kids. I'm trying not to have this be "photo of the kids of the day," though, so here's a different shot making use of the limited depth of field of the f/2.8 lens:

Scratch paper with calculations for a football physics post at Forbes. Scratch paper with calculations for a football physics post at Forbes.

That's the half-sheet (it's the back of a draft of a book proposal, if you must know) of projectile motion calculations that I scribbled down while writing this Forbes post about the dumb football commentary "he caught the ball at its highest point". Which is how I distracted myself from my Giants losing another game that they really should've won.

And yes, I really do print out drafts of things when I need to proofread them. And I really do work out calculations with pen and paper first. In both cases, it's how I learned, and still the process I'm most comfortable with.

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And I really do work out calculations with pen and paper first.

Implying that there are some who don't? [runs outside to kick obnoxious kids off lawn]

I think it was Feynman who said that one of the most important pieces of equipment for a physicist is a large wastebasket. (Today that would be a large recycling bin, but the principle is the same.) There is no substitute for pen and paper for doing simple problems like this. I'm sure that for simple applications like this, there are some who can just type in the necessary Python or Mathematica or FORTRAN or C code, but how do they know that the results are reasonable?

As for parodies of bad sportscasting, the best one I know of is Perter Schickele's sportscast of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. In the introduction he claims to be making fun of the habit of classical music concerts to provide program notes the audience can't read because the lights are off during the performance, but he skewers the conventions of sportscasting just as much; e.g., the color man is particularly inane.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 21 Sep 2015 #permalink