Low-earth orbit has gotten full enough that
collisions are a risk to consider when sending up
a new satellite. How full are the Earth-Sun
? How much could be put there?
2009-05-20 Wednesday 06:54:49
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
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
that part of the auto-industry bailout may be a "car
czar." How many "czars" are there in the government, anyway?
2008-12-09 Tuesday 10:34:41
How strong is the correlation between income tax witholding /
refunding and tolerance for government spending?
2008-10-14 Tuesday 23:05:05
When using χ2
minimization to estimate parameters
from some data set, what fraction of the fits stop converging in
the "wrong" place?
2008-09-28 Sunday 16:55:01
You can't interact with a physical system without disturbing
it, though you can ignore the disturbance in the limit where
ħ is small. Similarly, you can't interact with a market
for some product (by asking or buying or offering or selling)
without affecting the "market price" seen by others, but
you can neglect that change unless your exchanges comprise a large
fraction of the market. There is some correspondence here. Clearly
it'd be easy to take this correspondence as justification for
saying some really dumb things. Are there any useful insights
2008-09-26 Friday 14:50:23
Political polls of a thousand people's opinions are reported
with an uncertainty of 3%, which is roughly 1/√1000. Is this
mostly Poisson counting? An election is just a larger statistical
sample with a different set of biases. What is the margin of error
on an election?
2008-09-20 Saturday 21:38:27
NPR has reported twice in the past couple weeks that NASA managers
have expressed anxiety about the upcoming mission to service the
Hubble telescope. Because the Hubble orbits further above the
atmosphere than the ISS, where most shuttle missions have gone
recently, the chance of the shuttle colliding with some space junk
is "double" that on recent missions. Doubled from what?
2008-09-20 Saturday 08:28:36