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« snap, crackle, pop | Main | guest blogger: embracing change »


Was this post a natural progression from eating too much pumpkin/flax granola?

Wow, that never even occurred to me. :) Um, no...

Now if we can only find a way to convert the trashy shows on TV into a viable form of energy, we'd have an endless source of fuel for countless generations to come.

Seems to me this is more along the lines of a perpetual motion machine... more garbage comes out of television than goes in!

But the trashy TV show *did* convert energy. If you'd been watching a better show, you woudln't have sprung into action to change the channel.

We can mention liquefaction of coal, which can be done cleanly. The US contains enough coal to supply all its fuel needs. Then there was a big oil strike in the Gulf (Mexico, the gulf that doesn't need liberating). Energy from Black Holes could outperform even nuclear fusion. See how ingenious people can be if given the chance?

There is one minor drawback to ethanol/methanol fuel for vehicles. They end up smelling like vinegar. I kid you not, in Linköping (Sweden) they had buses running on a mix of diesel and ethanol fermented (and presumably distilled) from assorted farm waste and they always had this sharp smell of acetic acid about them.

Praise be to the FSM! She's beautiful, intelligent, and can write edutainment about farts ..... the perfect woman! Jennifer, will you marry me? :D

Who would've thought a post on flatulence could produce such interesting comments? :) Seriously, thanks to Matt, I'm now wondering if it's possible to calculate the potential energy of a trashy TV show to determine whether it can convert into sufficient kinetic energy to motivate an appalled viewer to change the channel. (Empirical evidence from this past Labor Day says yes.) Per Louise, I'm now mulling over ways to work in coal liquefaction into a future post (I suspect it might involve corpses or that grotesque scene in "The Matrix" that describes the "food" provided to the human "batteries.") And I'm fascinated by Ingvar's revealing of the vinegar smell associated with ethanol/methanol fuel. That IS a drawback -- unless one likes the smell of vinegar, I guess. As for marriage proposals -- they're very flattering, but in the interests of full disclosure, I'm currently spoken for. :) I did meet him via the blog, though...

Re: Liquefaction into a future post. Coal is such a big part of society that you can certainly find good images. Sissy Spacek as Coal Miner's Daughter? The Titanic's boiler room? I travel far to put the best visuals possible on blogger.

Since you enjoy "Physics of Star Trek," you should check to see what birthday is today.

From what I understand, microbes that require little or no oxygen are known as "anaerobic." A separate class of bugs are the extremophiles (high acidity, temperature, pressure, etc), which can be either aerobic or anaerobic.

I'm not sure where Jennifer's argument is going. Ethanol from fermented biomass may be a potential solution to the running down of oil reserves. But one would have to calculate whether the energy produced exceeded the energy used on an end-to-end basis - so one would have to account for the energy costs of making and transporting the equipment, refining (vehicle and plane engines need fuel that meets very precise specifications), transporting the ethanol, etc. I've seen several Web pages suggesting that the total energy cost of ethanol-from-biomass exceeds the energy produced. I'm also not convinced about the environmental aspects. I've seen strong believers in the dangers of global warming (I'm an agnostic about GW *) argue that ethanol-from-biomass releases much the same amount of CO2 per kilowatt of energy produced into the atmosphere as fossil fuels do. (* I'm an agnostic about global warming on paleontological grounds, e.g. the earth's temperature and CO2 levels were a lot higher in the mid-Cretaceous without causing a catastrophe).

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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.