Friday Four

Friday, July 19, 2013

1. Patience paid off for the folks at Trinity College, who successfully filmed a drop of pitch falling after only sixty-nine years:

Over several decades a number of drips did form in the funnel and fall into the jar, giving credence to the hypothesis that pitch is indeed viscous.

However, the dripping was never witnessed or captured on camera, which would have definitively proved the theory.

A number of weeks ago, scientists in the department noticed that a drip had formed.

In order to finally and definitively end the experiment, they set up a webcam to video the experiment around the clock.

Last Thursday, the drip finally dropped into the jar, and was captured on camera.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it should. (Scroll down to Item 3.) But that experiment, the longest-running in the world, never caught the event on camera due to technical difficulties.

2. Someone has argued that we now have scientific proof that charcoal grilling is superior to gas, at least in terms of flavor.
So if you have two identical steaks, cooked at identical temperatures, for the same amount of time, where the only difference is that one is cooked over charcoal and one is cooked over gas, what will be the end result? The charcoal-cooked steak will taste more like bacon.
Plus, we already knew that charcoal grilling does a better job of upsetting greens.

So why am I on a gas grill these days?

Time. (And safety will rear its ugly head during the next year or so.)

When you have an infant and a two-year old, the time to build and tend to a fire, along with the ability to sit next to it in peace, go completely out the window. Nothing makes one appreciate a gas grill quite like the following alternative: Gas grilling or no grilling. And I'll do both when the kids grow up: There will always be times that convenience wins out.

3. Speaking of kids, my two-year-old daughter asked me a "How?" question for the first time this week.

Also, after she objected to her car seat before a trip to the "Magic House" Children's Museum, I  gave her the choice not to go. I reminded her, though, that we have to use the car to get there. (That was all I said this time.) On the way, she volunteered something like the following: "Magic House far away. Car fast."

4. Over at Slate, a college student tells us what it's like to have a photographic memory:
Only a few of my friends know that I have this kind of memory, and they all ask me the classic: Why aren't you getting A grades all the time, in everything?

The simple answer is that the "photographs" in my memory are so fragmented and so cluttered that it consumes a whole lot of my energy just to visualize one chosen memory.
Interesting. And three cheers for having a regular memory!

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Outstanding content and links, Gus!

My bad, however, for skipping to the video before reading beyond colon in first sentence ("Trinity College, who successfully filmed a drop of pitch falling after only sixty-nine years:").

Expected to see the latest evidence of the choir's voices getting deeper wondering however a video could possibly present such a contrast.

The reality was even more momentous.

Gus Van Horn said...

Pretty good for an event the journalist noted was of "dubious scientific value".

Steve D said...

'But that experiment, the longest-running in the world...'
Longer than Illinois high protein corn?
This experiment was started by C.G. Hopkins in 1896 and is still going strong. It began 116 years ago. But even they don't claim their experiment is the longest running. There exist a few biological breeding and environmental experiments which started earlier and are still running from the mid 19th century. (Over 150 years ago)
Most of which are of definite scientific value.

Gus Van Horn said...

I stand corrected, then.