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…
Slate worries about the dangers of helium. Yes, innocent, inert helium. Apparently, you might pass out and hit your head on something. Maybe next Slate will do an article on the threat of the liquid phase, on the grounds that it’s really cold. I once took a spray of liquid helium full in the face—it was cool and refreshing!
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”.)
On the first leg of my plane trip I was seated next to a guy named Kerry Edwards. Someone alert Jeffrey Rowland that he may have a primary challenge from someone else who is trying to save money on bumper stickers.
I’m not normally a squeamish person, but this Slate article on what to do if your eyeball falls out of its socket did me in. I had to go to Cute Overload for a chaser.
Also, it’s Albert Einstein’s 127th birthday today. There’s a lot of talk on Mixed States about “Pi Day” but this is contingent on the American convention for writing dates. Those countries that write the day first can instead celebrate “Pi Approximation Day” on July 22 (22/7).
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.
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”.
Guy: Wanna go smoke a bowl?
Guy: Oh, you don’t smoke weed?
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.
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.
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?