Archive for the 'Curiosities' Category

17
Feb
07

Interesting Stuff

How Pilot Scuttled Hijack Attempt

17.02.2007 – The Nigerian Tribune

A fast-thinking pilot, with the help of passengers, fooled a gunman who had hijacked a jetliner flying from Africa to the Canary Islands, braking hard upon landing then quickly accelerating to knock the man down so travellers could pounce on him, Spanish officials said Friday.

A lone gunman brandishing two pistols hijacked the Air Mauritania Boeing 737, carrying 71 passengers and a crew of eight, Thursday evening shortly after it took off from the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott for Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, with a planned stopover in Nouadhibou in northern Mauritania.

Speaking to the gunman during the hijacking, the pilot realized the man did not speak French. So he used the plane’s public address system to warn the passengers in French of the ploy he was going to try: brake hard upon landing, then speed up abruptly. The idea was to catch the hijacker off balance, and have crew members and men sitting in the front rows of the plane jump on him, the Spanish official said.

The pilot also warned women and children to move to the back of the plane in preparation for the subterfuge, the official said.

It worked. The man was standing in the middle aisle when the pilot carried out his maneuver, and he fell to the floor, dropping one of his two 7mm pistols. Flight attendants then threw boiling water from a coffee machine in his face and at his chest, and some 10 people jumped on the man and beat him, the Spanish official said.

The advantages of being a polyglot… And they say that knowing many languages is of no practical use at all!

Another interesting thing, this time from VirtuSphere:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

VirtuSphere advantages:

Users can move in any direction; walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances.

Exactly what people need for stress relief: human-sized hamster balls!

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06
Aug
06

Random pics

This is good advertisement:

And this is just too weird:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

06
Aug
06

Caffeine damage

Spider Web

In 1995, NASA’s Dr. David Noever and his fellow researchers at the Marshall Space Flight Center studied the webs spun by common house spiders (Araneus diadematus) dosed with several drugs, including LSD, marijuana, benzedrine, chloral hydrate and caffeine. The more toxic the drug, the less organized the web the spider created.

The spider on marijuana drifted off before finishing the job. The spider on benzedrine, an upper, worked energetically but without much planning. The spider dosed with chloral hydrate, a sedative, soon fell asleep.

To the surprise of Dr. Noever et al, caffeine did the most damage of all the substances tested. The spider dosed with it proved incapable of creating even a single organized cell, and its web showed no sign of the “hub and spokes” pattern fundamental to conventional web design.

What does the web of a caffeinated spider (which can hardly be accustomed to the jolt of a morning latte) have to do with human behavior? Unlikely as it sounds, it may be the most vivid illustration of caffeine’s disorienting effect on caffeine-sensitive people, many of whom may be misdiagnosed as mentally ill:

“Caffeine-induced psychosis, whether it be delirium, manic depression, schizophrenia, or merely an anxiety syndrome, in most cases will be hard to differentiate from other organic or non-organic psychoses….The treatment for caffeine-induced psychosis is to withhold further caffeine.”

Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 3rd ed., 1998
Michael W. Shannon, MD, MPH,
Director, Lead and Toxicology Clinic, The Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Staff Toxicologist, Massachusetts Poison Control System; Lester M. Haddad, MD, Clinical Professor in Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina; Emergency Physician and Active Staff, Bon Secours St. Francis Xavier Hospital; James F. Winchester, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Georgetown University Medical Center.

Source: The Caffeine Web

27
Jul
06

The Ultimate Physics Exam

The following concerns a question in a physics exam at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark several decades ago…

The simple question was: “Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer.” To which one student replied: “You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building.”

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed. The student then appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the University appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer, which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn’t make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

  • “Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer.”
  • “Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper’s shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.”
  • “But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi square root (l / g).”
  • “Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.”
  • “If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.”
  • “But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor’s door and say to him ‘If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper’.”

Who was the student ? Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Physics Exam’

27
Jul
06

Anamorphic Drawings by Julian Beaver

Look what chalk and perspective tricks can do to a flat floor:

Taken from greensboring.com




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The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!