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
Venoms have evolved independently in several different
vertebrate lineages: in snakes and lizards, and in
the platypus, and in one other mammal.
What are the transitional stages for venom to appear?
How would the appearance go in, say, a population of people?
2009-04-01 Wednesday 17:41:46
Computers have fast storage with limited space (RAM)
and slower storage with fewer overall limits.
How could this set of constraints change
and make computing fundamentally different?
How would similes about how "your brain is like a computer" change?
Is there a better model for the brain?
2009-02-23 Monday 15:23:33
A black hole at the end of its Hawking evaporation radiates
with some very large power. But the high-power period
doesn't last very long, since the mass is so small.
Apparently the overall luminosity is small enough
that it'd be hard to see a radiating black hole outside
the solar system.
What limit can you set on the density of
very small black holes
knowing only that, say, there are none in the room right now?
2009-02-04 Wednesday 22:19:29
Much of the work of digestion is done by bacteria in the gut.
Could an appropriately engineered infection
permit someone to extract nutrition from normally indigestible
materials, like grass and wood?
2009-01-29 Thursday 19:37:59
A metric for cheap eating: calories per dollar?
2009-01-27 Tuesday 11:48:35
Children's medicines come suspended in goopy liquids.
Some part of the medicine always stays behind in the measuring
spoon. Do dose estimates like "3/4 teaspoon twice daily"
include a correction for the left-behind part of each dose?
Do different types of dosing cups make a difference?
Or do other factors introduce more uncertainty?
2008-12-29 Monday 19:14:27
How strong is the correlation between income tax witholding /
refunding and tolerance for government spending?
2008-10-14 Tuesday 23:05:05
If you feed a Markov chain its own output, does its behavior get
more stable or less stable?
2008-09-29 Monday 17:33:56