Category Archives: Popular Culture

Nostalgia (Part 2)

Remembering the sixties. It’s sort of like the old joke–if you can remember the sixties, you probably weren’t there. But as is pointed out, that was really the late sixties and early seventies (when I was in high school).

It makes me feel old–I share many of those memories, including visiting Haight Ashbury at its height (or depth, depending on your point of view).

Half-Time Advice For The Buckeyes

If you want to win this football game, you’re going to have to score a lot more points in the second half, and not let the other team score so much.

[Update at the start of the fourth quarter, after Smith is sacked, almost a safety]

They’re not following my advice, at least not the first part of it. Off to bed.

[OK, one more]

A wag over at Free Republic:

Being that it is Florida and Ohio, I can expect to see calls for a recount, no?

[Morning thoughts]

I’m asked in comments if I’ll now “give Florida the credit it deserves.” I’m not sure what that means. Florida was unquestionably, by far, the best football team on that field last night. Does that mean they’re the best team in the country?

Who knows?

This just once again points out the absurdity of attempting to discern who is the “best team in the country” or picking a “national champion” in college football. We had two big bowl games in which the teams that were heavily favored got beaten soundly, to most peoples’ amazement (perhaps even many of the fans of the winning teams). That should tell us that there’s something fundamentally wrong with how we judge these things and our ability to predict them.

Let’s go back to the old transitive paradox. Florida beat tOSU. Auburn beat Florida. Why isn’t Auburn the “best team in the country”?

Oh, that was then, and this is now. Well, OK. So would Florida have creamed the Buckeyes back in November, before they had a seven-week layoff? Or did the Buckeyes go from being the “best team in the country” to someone lucky to stay in the top ten in the first few minutes of the game, after they lost Ginn?

Who knows?

Were the losses of tOSU and Michigan in the post season an indication that they weren’t as good as people thought, or that the Big Televen conference is overrated against the SEC and Pac-10, or is it a consequence of the fact that both teams had a couple weeks longer break than their opponents, due to vagaries of the scheduling?

Who knows?

If you want to have a playoff, could there be a better lead up to it than the last two games we’ve seen in this stadium? After their performance in the Fiesta Bowl, shouldn’t unbeaten Boise State have a shot at the Gators now?

Who knows?

Folks, there are too many teams, and too few games played to determine a college football champion at any point in time (and it’s a dynamic situation), or even sensibly rank them. Live with it, and accept the old dictum that college football is the only sport in which the champion is determined by drunks arguing in bars, and doomed to remain that way. And I’d be saying that even if Michigan had played last night, and won.

[One more, after looking at the overnight AP poll results]

OK, why did the Buckeyes drop only to number two? After that performance last night, they should have plummeted to the second half of the top ten. Once again, the irrationality and intrinsic paradoxes of the process is displayed.

The Physics Of Cooling Porridge

I think that Jonah is overanalyzing the situation:

Also, I have another peeve. Aside from the talking bears living in a nice middle class house, doesn’t the story defy the laws of nature? If the Papa bear’s porridge is too hot, that logically should be because it’s the biggest bowl and therefore would take the longest time to cool. The mama bear’s porridge should be “just right” because it’s the medium-sized one and the baby-bear’s should be too cool. Or, as is so often the case, do I have my physics wrong?

One overanalysis deserves another. He’s basically got it right, but it depends on the shape of the bowls. For any given shape, the larger the blob of porridge, the longer it will take to cool, because of the square-cube law. The volume of the porridge (which represents its heat capacity) goes up as the cube of the critical dimension (e.g., a diameter for a sphere) whereas the surface area (which is directly proportional to how fast it loses heat) goes up as the square.

For example, a cube of porridge an inch on a side will be one cubic inch of hot porridge that is cooled by six square inches of sides (assuming it’s floating in, say, a space station, and can have all six sides exposed to air). A two-inch cube has eight cubic inches (eight times as much) of hot porridge, but only twenty-four square inches of cooling surface (six sides of four square inches, that is, only four times as much). So if you double the size of the critical dimension, you double the cooling time as well.

Of course, if you have a spherical blob of porridge, and a large thin pancake of it, you could have a larger amount of porridge that cooled faster in the latter case. If, for example, we took the eight cubic inches from the previous example, and spread it out to an eighth of an inch thin in a pancake shape, then you’d have something with sixty-four square inches on each side (a hundred twenty eight) plus the side area (an eighth times the circumference, which would be the square root of 64 divided by pi times 2pi, or 2 times the root of 64, or about two square inches). So now we have eight times the volume of the one-inch cube, but over twenty times the surface area, so it would cool much faster.

So if Momma Bear’s porridge was in a wide flat bowl, and Baby Bear’s in a higher, narrower one (perhaps with a picture of a Teddy Human on it), it’s certainly conceivable hers could be colder than the baby’s.

Porridge and bears aside, this is the principle employed when one pours hot tea into a saucer to cool it (the metaphorical function of the Senate, in the Founders’ estimation, which would temper the urges of the House).

Why yes, I am in fact avoiding writing a proposal that’s due next week. Why do you ask?

[Update mid afternoon]

Welcome, Corner readers. Just curious, though, why no comments from any of you? No one in the comments section except the regulars, so far. Does this say anything about Corner readers?

The Wolverines

..really need to try to avoid having major figures associated with their program die shortly before big games. First Bo and Ohio State, and then Ford and the Rose Bowl.

Hey, I’ll grab my excuses wherever I can get them.