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It seems that my idea of flame retardant Nehru lab coat has gotten absolutely no traction at work. It’s a pity.

Nehru lab coat with breathing apparatus.

It seems to me that the character(s) who produced the YouTube video that has caused so much religious fulmination in the sandy parts of the world ought to be parachuted into Cairo to answer for their actions. Surely they can give the best explanation of what their movie represents.

Another thing has occured to me. Perhaps we should make a minor adjustment to the Drake Equation which describes the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible. The equation can be found at this link.  The L factor defines the length of time a civilization releases detectable [radio] signals into space. Given the self destructive behaviours of beings capable of generating radio signals on at least one planet, maybe it is time to define L*.

L* = L(1 – P*/P) where P = average number of intelligent inhabitants of a planet and P* = average number of intelligent inhabitants willing to die/kill for their magical or political beliefs.

Perhaps the reader has a better modification.  Here is the Drake equation copied straight from Wikipedia:

N = R^{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L


N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;


R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
f = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

I found this cartoon over at High Power Rocketry.

[There was no citation for the art work.]

OK. I’m going to have to be the bad guy and take Aldrich (SAFC) to task on their labeling. I recently received a 100 mL bottle of 10.0 M BuLi in hexanes.  As I looked around for the concentration, I found it written in tiny print away from the name and part number which were written in larger print.  I have placed a ruler next to the label in the photo below to show the size of the print. It is the same size as the date on a penny.

Labels do not “just happen”. Someone has to design a label. This involves arranging content on a limited space while meeting internal and external requirments for safety statements and other content.  Labels do not fall from the sky in great sticky sheafs. Someone prints them. And that someone assigns font sizes and space for the information. So, someone has caused the font size to be tiny irrespective of the print content. I have numerous bottles with microscopic printing and vast expanses of white space. This smells of automation.

I’ll wager that there is an automated label generator that takes product label data and prints it onto the label irrespective of the actual need for microscopic font size. I can envisage a giant warehouse with automated shelf pickers whizzing about pulling bottles off the milti-tiered stacks and placing them into plastic tubs which course their way to shipping. Elsewhere in this voluminous interior is a widget that prints the labels and sticks them onto the bottle after they are filled.  Somewhere a human is pushing a broom.

C’mon Aldrich! Make your labels more legible. Good gravy. What would Bader say? I’m sure your accounting office has no trouble reading the print on the checks that arrive to pay for these products.  Consider that you’ve been put on notice.

Fine print on Aldrich reagent bottle. Molarity is printed in 1.0 mm font size.

May 7, 2012. Guapo, Arizona.  Imagine gliding down the steel tracks at 85 mph on your personal 2-wheel, self-balancing transport. Officials from Thrombax Transport and Burlington Northern San Simeon met at Pultroon University and negotiated an agreement to develop high speed personal rail for owners of the Segway two-wheeled personal transport. An upgrade to be made available will allow operators of two-wheel self-balancing tranport to mate their vehicles to standard gauge rail and operate on the rail system.

The new transportation mode will be limited to the northern tier of states initially.  It is anticipated that speeds of 120 mph along the rail will be possible eventually, making ground transit across the more tiresome flyover states tolerable.

According to a paper published by Pultroon University assistant adjunct Professor Harman van Hemp in the Japanese journal Bull. Shitsu Jpn, 2010, 19, 20134, the theoretical maximum speed of a 2-wheeled self-balancing vehicle is limited by lateral instability problems associated with the inner rim of the rail wheel. Prof van Hemp has devised an aerodynamic stabilizing control surface built into the fire retardant trousers of the operator. The stabilizer is actuated by a swing of the operators hip. Wind tunnel testing at Pultroon University has shown that the device is effective in subsonic flows up to a Mach number of 0.67.  While the technology is being refined by Thrombax, the all important line of merchandising and apparel is being subcontracted.

I had an evil thought just now as I attempt to write 2 reports simultaneously. Why do we keep using that superscripted circle in front of C (i.e., ºC) that designates “degree”?

What the hell? We don’t use it for the Kelvin temperature scale. And, who knows if the engineers use it for Rankine? The thing is useless like an appendix or a titular chairman. Get rid of it!

What do you think?

Pultroon University, Guapo, Arizona.  A scandal has rocked the Institute of Quantum Spot Physics at Pultroon University. A graduate student and supervising faculty member stand accused of academic fraud. The office of University Chancellor Blodwin A. Gatwick has released a statement indicating the matter was under internal investigation.

Associate professor Corey Irwin was placed on administrative leave while the graduate student, Ragnar Ostrom, faces possible suspension.

Irwin and Ostrom were initially accused of falsifying results from a series of thought experiments published in Physics Expecta Acta, 2007, Section B, 256-278.  However, it was later determined that the falsified thought experiment results were in fact plagiarized from a future thought experiment by Faroe Island physicists Spotsandottir and Dotsson. The two Faroe Island physicists were surprised to learn that their plans to falsify data were usurped by previous workers.

The Society of Thought Experimentation was contacted for comment but issued a press release stating the Society was still imagining what it’s position would be.

The latest rev of Windows 7 and MS office is driving me freaking nuts. Used to be that I could do a graph in Excel and copy it cleanly into Word.  That convenience seems to be absent in the latest rev. What fails to copy are the arrows and text boxes that I add to the graph. Not only do some of them fail to transfer, but the graph reformats and they arrive all cattywompus.

What works is to save the Excel document as a pdf and then cut out the graph and paste it into Word.  Fancy that.

So, Microsoft, if I could make the dollars I pay for software change form inside your bank account, say, from dollars into Congolese francs, I’d do it this moment.

In solidarity with yesterdays protest against internet censorship, my porch light remained dark last night. What is normally a shining beacon of hope in the neighborhood was last night a mute and dark void.  This pocket of frigid darkness sat in silent protest to those who would presume to stunt the billion webbed neurons of this nearly-sentient being we refer to as The Internets. So it was and so it shall be.

Thus spake Th’ Gaussling.

I propose a 20 year ban on the following overused and often mangled euphemisms and similes-

Rocket scientist–  “it doesn’t take rocket scientist to …”.  This one is really tiresome. I propose that it be banned indefinitely and that repeat offenders be tatooed with some humiliating symbol on their noses.

Holy Grail–  “… It’s like the Holy Grail of …”.  This was overused centuries ago and abusers should be called down on the carpet forcefully and publically. A good swatting with a rolled newspaper may be called for.

American taxpayers–  “… The American taxpayers are tired of …”.  You mean, American citizens. To play to the taxpayer’s emotional conflicts over taxes is a ham fisted rhetorical manipulation that bypasses the greater good of citizenship and responsible stewardship over our civilization. I am a citizen who pays taxes and I insist on being addressed as a citizen.

Perhaps the dear readers have even better examples of rhetorical ditties that should be retired.



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