Arguments about the safety of high-energy experiments
sometimes cite the rate of high-energy few-particle collisions
when cosmic rays hit the moon.
What's the production rate for making
transuranic elements from this process?
What fraction of the universe's element 118
was made in earthbound accelerators?
2009-06-11 Thursday 15:34:41
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
Many people have jaws too small to contain thirty-two teeth,
and have to have their "wisdom teeth" extracted.
When did this practice become widespread?
And how common is it to have an
2009-02-24 Tuesday 12:41:14
A metric for cheap eating: calories per dollar?
2009-01-27 Tuesday 11:48:35
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
My fan-driven humidifier makes my house feel colder. How much heat
does it pull to vaporize the water it does?
2008-11-14 Friday 16:59:35
How strong is the correlation between income tax witholding /
refunding and tolerance for government spending?
2008-10-14 Tuesday 23:05:05
The Economist claimed that an oil price spike on September 22 (or
thereabouts) was a quirk of timing, due to some minor supply quirk
that happened to happen in the last couple days to fill contracts
for delivery October 1. When I hear about "the oil price"
on the news, what am I hearing? Is there information in the spread
between short- and long-term prices that isn't reflected in
either market alone?
2008-10-03 Friday 00:57:19
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