Category Archives: physics

The demon in the dryer

Doing some laundry last night, I threw a duvet cover and nine pairs of socks into the dryer together. (Household hint: Don’t.) The duvet cover is a giant fabric pouch with a slit along one side; think of a queen-size … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, physics | 3 Comments

The arXiv rolls over

The mathematics section of the arXiv archived 989 preprints in October. Why is that fact worth noting? Because arXiv papers are identified by numbers of the format YYMMNNN, with two digits for the year, two digits for the month, and … Continue reading

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Haµte cuisine

I can cook anything, as long as the recipe starts with “Take it out of the freezer” and ends with “Put it in the microwave.” Go ahead and scoff, but I’m proud of my culinary accomplishments. Furthermore, I submit that … Continue reading

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Refrigeration by filtering

It’s no secret that the way to win fame and fortune in physics is to invent a better refrigerator. Michael Faraday and James Prescott Joule and J. J. Thomson (Lord Kelvin) were all thinkers or tinkerers in refrigeration; the Kelvinator … Continue reading

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PageRank for physicists

Scientists are selfless seekers after truth, unswayed by worldly emoluments, immune to the tawdry enticements of fame, indifferent to prizes and honors. Thus I can’t quite imagine why anyone would bother ranking a collection of scientific papers by applying the … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, physics, science | 1 Comment