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"Psi" -> "Phi"?

I had something more to say, but Internet Explorer has crashed twice while trying to type it (I'm working on a friend's computer this morning).

Oops. We definitely meant "Phi". At least we were consisent in our error. And we ought to have remembered, because of the standing joke (in math circles) that "Phi" is "one H" of a lot cooler than "Pi."

>Like many people, I have a few problems with the factual
>accuracy of The Da Vinci Code, ...You probably already know
>the drill (c'mon, even if you skipped the book, you at
>least saw the film, if only to snicker at Tom Hanks'
>disastrous haircut):

In fact I was highly recommending - if you have not read the book - going to see it in the theatres. It will only cost you about 2h 29m run time and may save you the colossal misfortune of reading the book. I haven't read it, but if the reviews can be believed, then the movie runs pretty slapdash close to the novel and so I was relieved to get out as scot-free as I did. I shudder (...ugugug....) to think what would have happened had I come across a battered broken spined copy on a rainy day in some beach house somewhere or a transcontinental flight after my laptop batteries had died...

As a BBC reviewer complained incredulously, "THE WHOLE THING GOES ON FOR HOURS AND HOURS. The plotting, which seemed endearingly silly on the page, is snortingly preposterous on screen: our heroes tumble po-faced from peril to peril with insane regularity. At one point, they get saved by a pigeon."

My advice is do yourself a favor. Go rent it so noone will trick you into reading the book. You won't regret it.

I tried to start to read Zeno's book once. But before i could read the whole thing, i knew i had to read the first half. Before i could get through the first half, i'd have to get through the first quarter. I thought about it for a bit, and concluded that there were too many things to do.

Here's a fun aside: you can take the hacking up of your function into little bits in order to integrate it a step further, and only hack it up to some defined precision. Then there are tricks, mostly just application of basic calculus in clever ways, to find out how bad your estimate is.

...and Kip Thorne spent much of graduate school doing a massive integral without a closed form solution by hand in this way. I believe people like this appreciate the modern computer much more than the rest of us.

Just out of deriver's ed. and you're already drinkin' and derivin'...

Not entirely related but...

There was a show on Public Broadcasting when I was growing up called "Square One". It was the best math show ever, at least according to me. The last 15 minutes of every show was an episode of "Mathnet" (ie. a dragnet send up with mathematicians as cops). In one series they solve a problem using the Fibonacci Sequence. Their main clue as to the solution is a parrot whose favorite phrase is "One, one, two, three, five, EURIKA!". I cannot even think about the Fibonacci Sequence without also thinking about said parrot. (I suffer from a similar affliction when it comes to palindromes - thanks to the show they will be forever linked in my brain to the Tango)

Finally, another "Mathnet" fan! I gobbled up that show when I was a youngster; it came on PBS just before "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego". A few years ago, I found a teacher-supply store online which sold VHS tapes of "Mathnet", and I bought the Monterey Bay episode for a friend who I knew loved the show when she was little. When we finally saw it again, I realized, "Hey, they actually get into some sophisticated stuff here!" That episode, in which the Mathnetters try to find the Hopeless Diamond lost on the bottom of Monterey Bay, brings in triangulation, the dynamics of objects in water and other cool stuff.

And now that you've got me started talking about video, I can't resist posting this link, which I feel I may have posted before:

Enjoy Tom Lehrer singing about derivatives, epsilon-delta proofs, how math professors write "minimum" and so much more!

Fans of WMD technology and/or twentieth-century literature will appreciate that the V-2 rockets which star in Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel **Gravity's Rainbow** got where they were going by using much the same trickery that Jen-Luc does in this episode. By building up electric charges on capacitors, the V-2 onboard guidance system integrated acceleration to get velocity and then integrated velocity to measure distance traveled --- a key number to know when you're trying to land a warhead in London! I belive this device is called an "accumulating accelerometer".

A friend of mine recounted a great treatment of Rolle's mean value theorem as explained to a speeder by a redneck "you're in trouble boy" type sheriff. If your average speed is over the speed limit going from A to B, then you had to have been speeding at some point.

Great blog you have, i am doing a study on this subject and i fund some great information on your site

Thank you for that

Harry Stone

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.