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Showing posts from March, 2012

Common Sense

Some things make sense. And some things make sense but professionals of one stripe or another refuse to accept it. That's just silly to me.

For example, witness the Monty Hall problem and the concept that 0.9999... equals 1.

In case you've never encountered the Monty Hall problem, it basically involves a word puzzle using the old Let's Make a Deal TV show as a setting. Here's the puzzle as it appeared in Marilyn vos Savant's "Ask Marilyn" column back in 1990:
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1 [but the door is not opened], and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?
Pretty much everyone would answer "no" since door 1 and 2 each have an equal chance to have t…

Don't turn on that fan!

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I was reading an article on Fark and it referenced something called "fan death." Since I'd never heard of such a thing, I looked it up on Wiki and lo and behold, they had a nice article on it.

Apparently Fan Death is an urban legend in South Korea that says that when operated in closed rooms, electric fans cause sudden death, suffocating victims by stealing their oxygen. Freaky, huh?

The cartoon over on the left kinda illustrates this logical problem. That is, concluding that there's a causal relationship between two things just because they're often found together. In this case, dead people and electrical fans.

Actually there's a third factor present that explains both the dead people and the electrical fans: heat. When it's hot, people without A/C are more likely to die and they're also likely to be using electrical fans in an attempt to stay cooler.

According to Wiki:
The genesis of this belief in South Korea remains a mystery although there are some th…

Disease by any other name?

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Shakespeare, always good for a catchy line, wrote "that which we call a rose,
by any other name would smell as sweet." Of course he was really talking about teenage Italians and not flowers but you get the drift.

According to a web Thesaurus, disease can be also known as "affection." I doubt that will ever become an immortal comparison.

I'd assume that the word they wanted there was "affliction" not affection but you never know. They are obviously familiar with the word affliction because it's used in the line above as the definition of the word disease.

Maybe they have an affection for disease at Thesaurus dot com. Maybe not. Who knows?

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
--William Shakespeare

Case of the Missing Eggs

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Normally when the weather warms up, egg production at the farmstead goes up. But this year that didn't seem to be the case.

Now, sure, it could be because the weather is unusually warm for this part of the year. The chickens and other fowl might still be in Winter mode since this time of the year is normally still quite cool.

But still, we thought that the chickens would be laying more than a few eggs a week now.

And then a few days of stormy weather blew a lot of leaves out from under the front porch stairs and lo and behold.... there was a nest of eggs under there.

Now I check for eggs under the stairs frequently because they like it under there and I find a few a week. But they're always out in the open like that overexposed one in the front of that first picture.

With most of the leaves out of the way, a whole bunch of eggs were exposed to the eye so we used a rake to pull them out.


As you can see here, there were 16 eggs in that nest plus the one that was out in front. That'…

Book Nazis

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According to Wiki it's the 79th anniversary of the opening of Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp. And it also happens that I'm reading a book right now that revolves around Nazis.

The book is A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr and it involves his recurring characterBernie Gunther. The books involving Gunther all involve Nazis because the books take place largely in Berlin in the 1930s and 1940s. This particular book takes place in Buenos Aires in 1950 but most of the book involves flashbacks to 1930s Germany where Gunther was a police investigator.

Dachau, on the other hand, according to Wiki, was "the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany, located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (9.9 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, which is located in southern Germany. It opened March 22nd 1933 (51 days after Hitler took power)."

I've not finished the book, A Quiet Flame, yet but so far there…

Hot Chickens: not really

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It might seem like an odd thing to be thinking about but a few days ago I had to decide if I could toss out some kitchen scraps to the chickens.

Chickens love scraps so why not give them, you might ask. Well, it so happens that there was a lot of spicy heat in those scraps and I didn't want to injure their little mouth parts---or anything that comes after the mouth either. Chicken shit isn't all that nice to start with. You really don't want to make it worse.

So that led to some biological research. Specifically into TRPV1, which happens to be the receptor whose main job is detection and regulation of body temperature, but which also is the capsaicin receptor. The full name, in case you're curious, is transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1.

As it turns out, though dogs, mice, and humans have a strong reaction to capsaicin, other species---even though they also have the TRPV1 receptor---don't have the same response. And chickens are one of the…