Friday Four

Friday, November 02, 2012

1. Have you ever wondered how corks for bottles are made? Even if you haven't, I bet you will find this article about their manufacture entertaining anyway.

2. Just before the move, I heard about a guy who hired someone to slap his face if he went off task. The video is amusing and the author raises some interesting possible reasons for why it worked for him.

3. Statistician John Cook quotes Ron Graham about mathematician Paul Erdos, who was so prolific and had so many collaborators that he wrote about 1500 papers and had about 500 collaborators:

He's still writing papers, actually. He's slowed down. Because many people started a paper with Erdos and have let it lay in a stack some place and didn't quite get around to it … In the last couple years he's published three or four papers. Of course he's been dead almost 15 years, so he's slowed a bit. [bold added]
Cook also links to a podcast on Erdos.

4. Competing with lots of second-stringers in the League Cup, Arsenal F.C. staged the king of combacks during the week, eventually winning by a bizarre 7-5 score. (I was sitting in the car with a sleeping baby during a family grocery run when I remembered that there was a game on, and checked its progress with the excellent FotMob app. The scoreline was 4-3 Reading when I first checked in.)
The game was headed into half-time 4-0 to Reading and fans contemplating an early departure when Theo Walcott struck his first goal of the game just before the whistle - but at 4-1 there was still too much to do for Arsenal in the eyes of everyone at the stadium and those watching the game. Everyone, that is, except the Arsenal players. ...

Bit by bit, Arsenal clawed their way back. The second was scored in the 67th minute, giving the Gunners a glimmer of [hope]. The third followed inexorably late, in the 89th minute, with Koscielny partially atoning for an earlier own-goal while giving Arsenal their third. With all the delays, there were going to be four minutes of [injury] time but Arsenal persevered, and in the fifth minute of injury time [added due to stalling by Reading --ed] Walcott struck (initially the goal was awarded to Jenkinson but later correctly given to Walcott), taking the score to 4-4 and the game to extra time.

The madness did not end there - Arsenal led in the first half of extra time before Reading equalised in the second half, and for a moment it seemed that Reading would be able to steal it in the end after all, dashing all the hopes built up in last hour of football. [links removed]
Despite suffering what had to have been a thoroughly demoralizing defeat, Reading officially congratulated Arsenal after the game.

-- CAV


Ben W. said...

Regarding Erdos, mathematicians have an "Erdos number" which is based on having co-authored a paper with him (or someone else who has), like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. See:

Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,
If I could find the audio on line, I'd post it but this is a hilarious rif on another out of the box idea for face slapping.

It comes from comedian Nick Griffin commenting on a gushing Cosmo article about Demi Moore ca 2004:

The Cosmo article started with;

"She's a mother, she's slim, she's beautiful and she's dating a hot young stud 16 years her junior! How does she do it all?!"

Nick's Rant;

"How does she do it all?! How does she do it all?! She makes one million dollars per movie, that's how she does it all! At that rate, she can hire someone that does nothing all day but slap cookies out of her hand! And hire someone entirely different for pies and cakes!

Of course his delivery is far superior to reading it, but that's the best I could do.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Nice, I like the fact that there are Erdos numbers like that.


Thanks for the additional chuckle.