Friday Four

Friday, December 18, 2015

1. Having recently moved from a century-old house, I had a small stockpile of "cheater plugs" I no longer needed -- or so I thought. And then I realized I wanted to use the second plug in a wall outlet that held an emergency flashlight that was blocking it. Voilà!

2. Some months ago, I ran across some now-seasonal mumbo jumbo:
WHEREAS, on an occasion immediately preceding the Nativity Festival, throughout a certain dwelling unit, quiet descended, in which would be heard no disturbance, not even the sound emitted by a diminutive rodent related to, and in form resembling, a rat; and
If you want more, head over to the Futility Closet.

3. On those rare occasions Mrs. Van Horn and I make it to the cinema without kids, one of us is usually happy to let the other pick. This is good, because our general tastes in movies differ. That said, I'll remember the Date Night Movies site the next time we reach an impasse. (via Life Hacker)

4. A new theory about the origin of the moon also offers a hypothesis about why the far side differs so much from the visible side:
[Erik] Asphaug was not only annoyed; he was inspired. For years he had been working to develop models of low-velocity impacts in the early solar system. "People have been biased, looking at impacts and thinking only about hypervelocity events," he says. "People forgot that things can hit at lower velocities." These kinds of events are constructive rather than destructive: If two objects collide slowly enough they bump and stick together, "like throwing mud at the wall of a house or throwing snowballs at each other." Asphaug had been thinking that low-velocity impacts, what he liked to call "splats," could explain how comets formed. Suddenly he realized he might have the solution to the moon problem sitting right in front of him. He grabbed one of his post-docs, Martin Jutzi (now at the University of Bern), and spelled out his idea. What if Earth originally had two moons, which only later merged into the one we know?
Oddly enough, it's called "The Big Splat" model.

-- CAV


: Changed "dark" to "far" in Item 4.

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