Category Archives: Randomness

Personal Advice from the Internet

I had been debating whether to fly out to Connecticut this summer to visit friends, and if I do so, whether to take some extra time to tour New York City. Fortunately the internet came to the rescue with a trio of relevant posts:

Needless to say, after reading these my decision was much easier…

Thoughts on the way to lab

Spotted no fewer than six U-Haul trucks on a half-mile stretch of Oxford St. Must be moving day.
I was having problems with my iPod for a while but got it working again. It was eerie to walk into a Jamba Juice, take off my headphones, and discover that the song I was just listening to was also playing on the store’s speakers. (It was Mylo’s “Drop The Pressure”.)

Mathematical Fashions

While we toil away on our experiments in Birge Hall, the works of our mathematical colleagues in neighboring Evans become ever more mysterious.
The Sarong Theorem Archive: This page is an electronic archive of images of people proving theorems while wearing sarongs.
So what theorem would you choose when preparing a photo for this page? I would go with the proof of the error bound on Simpson’s Rule, but I should give Mason first dibs on that.
Via Bitch, Ph.D.

Encountered in Berkeley

Sort of like Overheard In New York, but with more sun and audience participation.
Scene: Saturday afternoon. I am walking on campus, on the path that runs along the south side of Strawberry Creek, near Haas Pavilion. I am accosted by a guy walking the other direction, who is not obviously a hobo.
Guy: Hey, do you know where I can find [unintelligible]?
AG: I’m sorry?
Guy: A gas station.
AG: There’s one on Oxford, by—
Guy: Which way?
AG: [gesturing] Over there, down the—
Guy: [indicating my shirt, which is partly obscured by my jacket] Does that say “Mardi Gras”?
AG: No, it—
Guy: Oh, “marathon”.
AG: Y—
Guy: Wanna go smoke a bowl?
AG: No—
Guy: Oh, you don’t smoke weed?
AG: No—
Guy: Mushrooms?
AG: No.
Guy: Can I borrow a couple of dollars?
AG: Sorry. The gas station’s that way.
Weird encounters are pretty common in this city, but this one was notable for combining nearly every weird aspect of Berkeley into a single (one-sided) conversation. I don’t know which of the proposed chemicals he had consumed already, but something was clearly affecting his attention span.

Pillow Fight Club

I heard about this beforehand from three separate sources, and really wanted to go, but unfortunately had a group meeting.

Hundreds attend mass pillow fight
Roughly 1,000 people drawn by internet postings and word-of-mouth converged near San Francisco’s Ferry Building on Tuesday night for a half-hour pillow fight.
The underground event erupted at 6 p.m. in the center of Justin Herman Plaza with a mass rush of shrieking, laughing combatants – many of whom arrived with pillows concealed in shopping bags, backpacks and the like.
Within minutes, pillows were arcing, feathers were flying, and by the time the Ferry Building’s clock tower clanged the half-hour, the plaza and hundreds of people were covered in white down that gave the scene a wintry lustre.

This is the sort of thing that makes me love San Francisco.

Awesome Bible fact of the day

Via a comment at Crooked Timber, I learn that the Bible uses a unit of weight called the “homer”, which, literally translated, means: “an ass-load”. No, seriously:

The word homer comes from a Hebrew word which means ‘ass-load’. It may have been the amount that donkey could carry. The quail which fell in the wilderness were measured using the homer. The Homer or Cor contained 10 ephahs. Ezekiel 45:11,14 That would make it equal to about 6 bushels.

So how many homers are there in a metric fuck-ton?