Friday Four

Friday, September 23, 2016

1. My three-year-old son has lately incorporated a large "family," as he calls it, into his bedtime routine. They -- or most of them, anyway -- are pictured below.

Every evening, Little Man brings them upstairs, and every morning, he takes them downstairs. The biggest are the adults, then are the kids, and then, the tiny, oddly-shaped one -- there is also a Mickey -- are the pets. He piles them all into his bed at night and, somehow, manages to sleep.

One morning this week, in the process of helping him collect his mice, I found something I had no idea was in our possession: a small, round, stuffed Mickey. I'll call it a Mickey-ball for lack of a better term. Once we had everything, including this new addition, downstairs, I started doing what I often do with balls: dribbled it like a soccer ball.

"Don't kick him! He's my baby," said Little Man, immediately reminding me by contrast of his older sister's games of "Hello Kitty soccer."

2. Intrigued by a claim that the man who built Umami Burger wasn't afraid to tell someone his idea was stupid, I ended up finding the following amusing lesson learned:
I learned that the manager you hire at restaurant number two is not going to be the manager who oversees five locations. I had one guy who was great, but he had absolutely no systems or organization. One day, there was a rat, and he volunteered to sleep in the restaurant with a BB gun to shoot it. How's that going to scale?
The burger chain hasn't made it to my neck of the woods, yet, but it sounds like it's right up my alley. I'll keep an eye out.

3. A Belgian town I visited about a decade and a half ago (scroll down for a photo) has just installed a crowd-sourced beer pipeline from a brewery to a bottling plant on the coast:
Backers are to be rewarded "with free beer for life in proportion to their contribution," Mr. Vanneste said. "For example, someone that only made a small investment will get maybe a pack of beer every year on his birthday. But someone who paid the maximum amount may receive up to one bottle of beer a day for the rest of his or her life."
I love this example of privately-funded infrastructure.

4. No! The "Frankenbroom" curling scandal isn't some fevered dream out of South Park. It's real:
I watched as two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist, Canadian Ben Hebert, scrubbed the ice in front of a stone with a furious rhythm. Hebert, along with fellow athletes -- and there is no doubt, curling requires a remarkable degree of athleticism and finesse -- took turns at sweeping, directed by the rather insistent voice blaring out of the public address system.

An array of sensors was positioned on the ice, including a laser scanner that built a detailed picture of the ice surface each time the brush passed. Other sensors were attached to stones to measure their distance, path, speed, temperature, acceleration and rotation.

Periodically, an instrumented broom was given to the athletes to capture the pressure being applied to the ice, as well as the frequency of the sweeping action.
Interestingly, the advent of the new brushes caused people to start "to apply some serious science to how sweeping works," and come up with better techniques that also work with old-style brushes, hence the need to study the matter before making rule changes.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you quote the Guslet, "Don't kick him! He's my baby." Clearly the Mickey-ball's not Canadian.

Gus Van Horn said...

Hah! Thanks for jogging that particular memory.