Saturday, December 11, 2010

Freezing myths

Sitting trapped home by a heavy snow storm, a blizzard to be precise, I thought again of a list of myths about cold. I know that the legendary Mythbusters at Discovery Channel are very busy and less likely would shoot an episode based on my humble list. So I'm just publishing it here for your entertainment. Any comments are welcome. Assume the basic condition for each item as "It is so cold over there that..." and here the list...

1. "A human body without protection can freeze alive so it will not even fall down"
In the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" a pilot peeks out of his helicopter, and because it is so cold outside he freezes so fast, so his body stiffens before it even has a chance to fall on the ground. Edge cases: at what temperature of the air (at normal pressure) it's possible that 100-200 pounds of live flesh freezes so rapidly so it wouldn't have time to collapse from standing position? A challenge: is there a not-normal conditions, like higher pressure or liquidized air (Ni, O) or strong wind to make it plausible at least?

2. "Hot water thrown up in the air explodes"
Hello, Mythbusters, it explodes! This is a fairly popular myth, because it's not quite an explosion, strictly speaking. But it is so damn spectacular. Youtube-google it and then try to reproduce with a professional video setup.

3. "If you spit down, your saliva will freeze into an icecube before it hits the ground"
This is actually a very plausible myth. I've heard from real people that they succeeded with it. If spitting down under one's feet doesn't work one may try to spit up in the air to give the spit more time to freeze.

4. "Take a stick to take a leak outdoors"
This one is just a joke to make fun of inexperienced visitors of the places. After a quite expected question "why?" follows the answer "Well, don't you know? To snap your stream off". The faces of the people are usually worth to look at at the moment. However, a process of finding the edge cases could be even more fun.

5. "The whisper of the stars"
When it's cold enough and it's quiet enough one can hear the stars talking to each other in a very faint whisper. Yes, it is true. Well, there are scientific explanations of the phenomena, and curious readers can do further research on their own. I choose to end on this romantic note.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fail or deferred success?

"Liz Beattie, a retired teacher, will call on the association's annual gathering in Buxton, Derbyshire, to "delete the word 'fail' from the educational vocabulary to be replaced with the concept of 'deferred success'". - BBC News 2005

Well, the education secretary Ruth Kelly had dismissed this suggestions. Nevertheless it was fun. Blogging community, including The Failblog itself, picked up the stuff and made a lot of farce of it. We all are good at it. However, joking apart, I'd like to make another piece of closely related information available to the public.

Among the number of various languages of our very diverse world there is one with less then a half of a million speakers today but used to be used as an inter-tribal communication language of commerce across the modern Siberia but centuries ago. The Sakha language excels as very polite, diplomatic and correct. The ancient wisdom and heritage of nomadic empires are still carefully kept in Sakha epics. So as an apt example, in this language there is no short word for "Fail", well... besides the negative "non-success". Instead there is a widely used phrase "Cha cam bouloh" - which literally means "There will be [another] time" or "the time will come", or simply "deferred success" as one may reckon. And in the context of the language it doesn't sound as distorted as (according to the reaction of the public) it does in English. Who knows, maybe this is how people should communicate with respect using the vocabulary polished by time.

One shouldn't be afraid to fail because the time will come. After all, every failure is a deferred success. Failures breed success. The fear of failure destroys success. What else? OK, enough. You got the point ;)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogging without compromising

What people usually blog about? What is not there on the Net yet? How to be more useful and less boring? These are probably very common questions beginner bloggers ask themselves. So do I. Well, I don't think anybody would be excited to know what I had for lunch today or yesterday. And Barack Obama most likely knows better then I what he and his administration should and shouldn't do. So let's skip those.

I thought perhaps I could blog about what I know best - the information technologies, the newest breakthroughs in the most bleeding edges of the technologies I'm currently working on. That would be fascinating. That would be fresh. In such topics I could go on and on. But if I go for it there might be a risk of exposing the know-how of my employer therefore a possible breach of the non-disclosure agreement I have signed with the client. Bummer... Well, this is something to think about then. OK, I need to do some research on how other fellow bloggers deal with this dilemma.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello world!

The cobbler's children go unshod. I have been in the Web industry for decades but have had no decent personal site. With this blog powered by WordPress I'm going to fix it. The first post is very short. OK. We will see. Wish me a luck, I'll need one.