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Can't go with you on the brownie thing. I search out the corner pieces because I love the crunchy bits and if I can't find a corner I will settle for an edge. I really don't like the soft, chewy parts. The crunchy parts have ever so much more character and flavor than the drab soft parts.

Nice post.

Minor quibble: Blu-Ray lasers are actually purple (405 nm)

Hmm... SkyMall, SkyNet... coincidence? I think not! Now I've got this image of an apocalyptic future where robots roam the surface of the earth, forcing humans to buy weird gadgets on the internet.

On the topic of blu-ray DVDs, it's actually a nice and very simple exercise to estimate how much data a compact disc should hold, given the wavelength of illumination and the fact that a focused beam creates a spot roughly a wavelength across. I do this for a physical optics course I teach, and one finds remarkable agreement between the theoretical storage numbers and the actual disc storage for CDs, DVDs and blu-ray DVDs. (The agreement is 'remarkable' because there typically isn't a 1:1 relationship between surface area and # of bits of data, thanks to a high amount of redundancy built into the disc and the use of multi-layered discs.)

I'll have to remember to blog about this in the near future...

To: MRW, 9:22AM

Major quibble: Purple is a combination of blue and red. No spectrally-narrow light source (like a 405 nm laser diode) is actually purple.

It is possible that your eye may perceive it as purple, but that's due to a malfunction in your eye (with your long-wavelength sensor firing due to short-wavelength stimulus) or in your mind. Or due to looking at it scattering off some substance (like any sheet of white paper) that will do some downconversion of the beam to longer wavelengths.

More quibbling: It's actually violet. Unfortunately English does not make a distinction between violet as a pure spectral color of higher frequency than blue and violet as a particular mixture of red and blue. Without this distinction being made, the two colors may be perceived as shades of the same basic color. It doesn't help that spectral violet usually cannot be reproduced in print or on a CRT and has to be approximated as purple.

Anonymous coward: That's like saying that there's no such thing as a green wavelength just because your eye gives the same response to ~530 nm as it would give to a mix of ~570 and ~450. Downconversion of 405 nm by white paper, by the way, actually looks bluer (Yes, I've tried it). The reason: blue is a longer wavelength/lower energy than purple/violet.

There's a reason we call even shorter wavelengths ultraviolet, and it's not because they're a mix of ultrablue and ultrared ;)

As far as purple or violet - violet is just a shade of purple. See for example:
Yes, the shade of purple at 405 nm is violet.

I should say that with the purple/violet distinction, I'm talking about common usage, not the technical definition of specific fields.

At any rate, 405 nm light is not blue. But as I said, minor quibble, and maybe should have gone unmentioned.

Toothbrush sterilizer: Won't the UV light damage the plastic of the toothbrush bristles?

Don't you just hate it when you're baking a batch of brownies and they're soft and chewy in the center, but hard and maybe even a little over-browned at the edges?

At first I thought you were joking! I love the combination of crispy edges and chewy centers. But it's possible I've developed this preference simply as a result of lifelong exposure . . .

Also, where did you get your granite/hardwood sustainable counters? We're doing a kitchen remodel right now and are rather flummoxed over all the countertop options.

Hi Jen

What about that Perelman biography? Can you give a little more info on that? Just drop me a short e-mail, please?



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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.