Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bladeless Fan -- Dyson



Dyson, of the bagless vacuum fame, has launched his latest invention, the bladeless fan. Pretty cool idea, I've posted the video below. The fan has no blades, and as he explains, it's basically an air multiplier. In a nutshell, the fan works by creating a field of negative pressure by moving air across a curved surface. The air initially is drawn into the cylinder base, and then pushed out a slit that runs around the whole "circular frame". The small slit that the air is pushed out of and through accelerates the air much like putting your finger in a garden hose to get the water to move faster or farther does.

As the air is pushed across the curved surface of the fan's ring, the speed of the air above the inner part of the ring is moving faster than the air below the flat, outer part of the ring. This speed differential creates a pressure differential, ultimately producing an area of negative pressure. When you have negative pressure, the air then begins to move because of this pressure differential (think isobars on a weather map that ultimately result in "wind"...)Finally, what you the user ends up feeling is a cylinder of air (whose base is the size of the circular ring...) that moves towards you, versus the traditional way fans work by drawing air towards the blades, then "cutting" the air up and sending it towards you. Supposedly this cylinder of air is more forceful than the "cut" up air that a bladed fan throws at you in an inefficient manner. And once the cylinder starts moving due to the negative pressure field, air "behind the ring starts to also be drawn in and through the ring as well towards the user. Kind of makes sense actually.

It's an interesting concept, and the marketing spin is that it's safe and more powerful. The physics around this design are no different than what generates lift on an airplane wing. Looking for some reviews, but think about it, this guy makes an innovative change to a product whose design hasn't changed in centuries. Pretty awesome. Man I wish I were smart.

From the NYPost

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"This is Indexed" -- Great website















There is a great website out there called "This is Indexed." It's based upon the book by the same author, Jennifer Hagy. Jennifer is obviously a mathematician, and she uses a bunch of graphical functions to represent different ideas in an extremely slick and witty way. I wish I had thought of the same idea.

I've posted a pic from her website above to show an example. Here is a graph of the function f(x) = x^2. The function has a local minimum, which is important here since the dependent variable of "Confusion" drops to a minimum at a certain level of "Information" (the independent variable). But with insufficient information (Breaking News, Swine Flu) or too much information (think CNN, CNBC, a 2" snow forecast) then you get the far reaching impact of a simplistic graph shown above.

I love this site. Lots of good stuff here....enjoy. Ms. Hagy obviously shares my level of cynicism of the world and of people and their motives. Here are three more that have lots of wisdom that often goes unspoken.

"Entitlement vs. Disappointment"


"Bitterness vs. Time to Reflect"


"Time vs. Prestige and $$"

My First "Blog Post" [circa 1988]
























I was going through some of my stuff recently and found a newspaper clipping from the local paper that I had kept all of these years. The clipping was from "The Reporter", the local newspaper published in Lansdale, PA, back in 1988. I was in junior high, and had sent in an "op-ed/opinion" to the staff there after a well publicized Air Show crash happened at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany that year.

The Italian Air Force had been performing a maneuver called the "Pierced Heart." In this maneuver, 8 jets from a heart shape, and then one jet flies through the middle of the formation at a faster speed, piercing the heart formation, and the other jets scatter. However, on this day, the pilot who performed the pierced part of the formation collided with the main formation. Three of the 10 jets were destroyed, but worse yet was that the piercing jet crashed near the spectators, and its fuel tank made it to the spectators burning and killing many of them. One of the jets from the formation that was hit also tragically crashed into an area that had rescue helicopters, killing one of the pilots on the ground there as well. In all, 70 people were killed by the events that day.

There were two things I wanted to be growing up; a fighter pilot and a doctor. [Yeah look at me now...] So I naturally took the contrarian position and defended the pilots while acknowledging the tragic result of that day. But beyond that, looking back, it really was my first attempt at what was to later become a blog by this author.

Link to Wikipedia entry on disaster

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Telomeres













This year's Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to a trio of scientists for their seminal work in the area of telomeres. When this article came across Bloomberg's wire, it gave me pause since I had cited and presented some of Dr. Blackburn's work on telomeres during my prior life as a scientist. I've blogged about my attempt to understand the super-secondary structure that DNA might adopt given these highly conserved DNA base pair sequences which might offer insight into how cellular senescence is controlled to understand a telomere's structure and possible the enzymes that interact with these chromosome ends holds great promise in the field of medicine. Congrats to Drs. Blackburn, Szostak, and Greider for their award.

Scientific American Link

Official Press Release for 2009 Award

Bloomberg Wire

Charlie Morton's Complete Game, 4-Hit Shutout

















Charlie threw a complete game, four hit shutout against Chicago on his last outing on Sept 30, 2009. Some quick stats from the 1st game of a day-night doubleheader in Wrigley.

Complete game, 4 hits, 0 ER
119 pitches, 76 strikes
Charlie faced 34 batters
8 K's, 3 Walks
Of the 27 outs recorded, 11 were ground balls, 6 were fly balls.

What is so impressive about this outing was that not ten weeks before, Charlie had taken the mound against the Cubs at Wrigley, and did not get out of the 1st inning, giving up 10 runs. The complete game shutout, throwing from the same bump in the same field, with the history that he had there, is about throwing 1st pitch strikes and getting into a pitcher's count.

We're proud of you Charlie, proud of how hard you fought this year, to show the League you belong. You have such an awesome privilege to pitch at the highest level, and today, the most important thing is, you proved to yourself you can do this and have fun.

Congrats, awesome stuff to watch. Remember the name, Charlie Morton.

Charlie being congratulated after the CG

From the Post Gazette

From MLB.com

From the PBC Blog