of the full moon. This is presumably when the moon is at
But "full moon" historically described when the moon was at its
brightest in the sky.
Does the moon's
ever make the moon observably brighter at some time other than at
2009-06-07 Sunday 10:27:20
The representation of an integer in base b
has some digits
. For example the
number 42 = 4×101
=2 in base b
It's sometimes convenient to switch to a different base, frequently
=2) or hexadecimal (b
=16). Is there ever a
reason to switch to noninteger b
? What pathologies would
a representation have?
2009-04-20 Monday 14:39:54
Yesterday's solstice was the day when the northern hemisphere
gets less solar irradiance than any other. In most countries this
is "midwinter," but in the United States it's "the first
day of winter." When did this label change?
2008-12-22 Monday 06:58:50
A jugful of water adds some thermal inertia and makes an empty
refrigerator cool more efficiently. A tubful of water ought to
do the same thing for drafty old house. How big is the effect?
2008-12-08 Monday 09:59:41
Gerrymandered Congressional districts tend to protect extremists
at the expense of moderates. Will the House be more or less
after the turnover in yesterday's elections?
2008-11-05 Wednesday 12:39:29
If you pull two connected blobs of Silly Putty apart slowly, the
thread between then stretches plastically; if you pull them apart
quickly, it fractures cleanly. What sets the threshold? How sharp
2008-10-20 Monday 16:16:27
How strong is the correlation between income tax witholding /
refunding and tolerance for government spending?
2008-10-14 Tuesday 23:05:05
Among the different Nobel prizes, there is a big spread between
when work is done and when it is rewarded. The physics prizes seem
to go to people whose work decades ago has shaped research since,
while the peace prizes seem to go to people who are actively doing
notable things right now. What's the distribution of times
between doing something noteworthy and winning a prize for it? What
about less famous prizes?
2008-10-08 Wednesday 10:54:38
Fresh Air interviewed
Katharine Jefferts Schori
, the primate of the US Episcopal
Church, who has a doctorate in oceanography. Are advanced degrees
in the sciences more common, or less common, in the clergy than in
other nontechnical fields? How does the frequency change across
2008-10-08 Wednesday 10:27:03