Slough

And you know just where you’ll be heading
It’s equidistance ‘tween London and Reading

Oh Slough
My kind of town
I don’t know how, anyone could put you down

Classic -

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The power of exercise

Regularly we hear about the importance of physical activity. Currently, I am blessed to have a job that I mostly enjoy, doing things I mostly enjoy doing, and getting paid pretty well to do them. One of the down sides to my job though is 50 hours a week is normal, and 60 is not unheard of. Due to this, physical activity is not always something I get to daily. The last two years though I have tried to make it a priority though and I have found that even though weight loss does not always result, I just feel better when I do it.

Sure there is a science to this, endorphin’s and all, but really I think it is about mental clarity as well. 20 or 30 minutes, running (even if it is slow like me), or riding a bike or lifting a few weights clears the fatigue of the day. It makes the frustrations wan, and it makes life a bit more worth living. Personally for me, and I think science backs this up in most studies, getting outside for a few or most of this exercise is even better as most of us spend hours a day inside without the sun and without experiancing…..weather .. shutter, gasp, fain .. :)

For me one of the biggest helps for me to remain active has been getting, and using, a FitBit.. I went with the FitBit One, but I have friends and colleagues with other models, and who use competitive / similar products. Any of these will help I think, as would even a simple pedometer (like $3 at the store and given away by ALOT of companies), or a step app for your phone. Basically anything that tells you how many steps you have taken and helps you focus on achieving a daily step goal can and will help you remain active if you will use it.

So, today I challenge you don’t let work, family, tv, church, or other social commitments keep you from getting off your duff and getting in a few steps. Just walk for 10 minutes if that is all you can do. Walk around the block, or walk around your office building, or your local shopping center, or… anywhere. You don’t have to run marathons, but even walking 1 mile a day (at first) will lead to longer distances in time. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and all.

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Chinese Zoo Substitution

Found this story online about a Chinese zoo which substituted a Tibetan mastiff for a lion.

Story here and here (video here)

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Android on the Wrist

Found this story about a wrist based Sony Device that allows for the control of Android based phones via bluetooth online. It is compatible with many Android 2.1 or newer based phones. Price $150. Cool, but not sure I would drop that on a modified remote, though I would pay that for a good watch.

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Power Cross and MLB Tommorrow

A great organization over in Stateville, NC – PowerCross – got a grant to rehab their baseball field from major league baseball tomorrow. PowerCross is a organization that both lifts up Christ and changes the lives of under served and forgotten young men via sports. Lift up Power Cross in your prayers, they will appreciate it and God will be honored by it.

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Easter 2012

As any one who has followed, or even visited, this blog before probably knows there has been a long break between. That should show it has been a busy year for the primary blogger here. Lots of family stuff – a few major surgeries for my wife – lots of work stuff, the death of a high school friend (age 40) after a 2 year cancer battle, a few scares with older parents medical stuff, in law and nephew / niece stuff, and numerous other things.

All of that to say this, there is nothing more important then what we celebrate this weekend – death and resurrection of Christ. That single event is the most important three days in the history of man. Thousands of years of history before that weekend, thousands of years since, nothing has cut through time and history like the child of God, born to a virgin from Bethlehem, who living 33 years, preached 2 years of those, and died for the sins of ALL before rising three days later to reign forever. He has risen, He is alive, He has never forgotten or left those that are His. He paid the ultimate price and nothing in life you do can pay Him back for that, nor nothing you can do make Him love you less (or more) then He did on that hill – the place of the skulls – outside Jerusalem.

This week don’t rejoice in what you have (or don’t have), who is elected to any office, what job you have (don’t have), want or desire, but rejoice in Christ the son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit for they are worthy of praise, honor and worship AMEN!!

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Shimano 11 speed

Interesting news at Velo News a few weeks back. Shimano is upping Dura Acce’s rear cassette to 11 in their 2013 offering. This will match Campy’s 11 speed rear end which has been on the market for 3 years. The 2013 Dura Ace set will be series 9000 (a change from the current 7900 series). It is assumed that the 11 speed Ultegra set will be the 8000 series in 2014.

In other cycling notes, it seems that the new electronic Ultegra Di2 series will soon to be arriving at a bike manufacturers (and then at the local bike shop) soon.

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Code BR549

Well once again E TN has serious story that is made funny since no one was hurt, and that is only made funnier by the notions of many throughout the nation. The story is from Sevier Co TN about the accidental discharge of a weapon by a on duty police officer at a closed convience store when two officers (both on duty and in the close the store with permission of the owner) compared weight of their .40 caliber hand guns. Full Knoxville News Sentinel story here The officer is on leave due to the incident.

Summary – A Sevier County Sheriff’s Department officer was recently suspended after his service weapon discharged inside a convenience store and the round lodged itself into a pack of frozen bologna.

First of all, it is never funny to play with guns, and handling a gun should always be done seriously. The police if anyone should know that. The fortunate thing is here is that no one was hurt. The funny thing is that the discharged round lodged in frozen log of Bologna within the convenience store. Prior to becoming lodged in the meat log, the round went though a monitor and a cooler. The following line from the story sums it up –

“(the officers involved)…were required to pay restitution — about $120 — to the owners to replace the computer screen.The owners did not request reimbursement for the cooler or lunchmeat”

The owner are not requesting reimbursement for the luncheon meat…well thank goodness they have their priorities right…..LOL

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How to cook a turkey

For those who wait for the last minute and then have to rush to cook the family bird tommorrow, I offer the following solution.

Cooking a Turkey with Thermite

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Dying to Shoplift

Local Knoxvilleians probably already know about the shooting of a shoplifter at the South Knoxville Wal Mart two nights ago – (updated story here). It seems that Zachary Blaine Russell was shopping lifting light bulbs and that cost him his life. I must admit my first question was what type of lamps – incandscent, LED, CFL, etc, and next I thought – “I wonder if he was going to sell them at Green Acres this weekend?” Those thoughts were not meant to be funny, but in hindsight they are sadly honest and sadly funny at the same time.

Moving on, some seem to say now that Mr. Russell, the dead shoplifter, was afraid to go back to jail and that is why he made the move to pull the gun on the cop. I guess that is death by cop due to fear of jail, but I don’t know. It seems that the officers tried to tazer the man, but the tazer was not successful and Russell still got the gun pointed at the officers. At that time they shot and killed him by KPD officers John Mays and Tolliver Robertson.

We all probably know, or have meet, or interacted with some police officers that were rude, short with people, aggressive / overly aggressive / harsh, and who seemed to like the job sololy due to the power it brings them over others. Officers like this make many assume that any officer related shooting is basis’d due to the actions of this type officer. In this case though, none of those things matter, and none of those things occurred in this case. These officers were not doing nothing wrong, or unprofessional.

Pull a gun on a armed person (cop or not) gets you shot. It is reasonable, right and fair that the guy got shot. No exceptions, no well buts.. he pulled a gun and pointed it, he got shot. It turns out that the gun had a round in it, but it did not matter in this case that the gun was ready to shoot or not. He pointed a gun at a officer.

Even if the gun was unloaded, this guy deserved to get shot. The officers have no way of knowing if the gun is or is not loaded. They have to shoot. They have to defend themselves. They have to protect others.

This was a good / fair shooting. This is one time that the KPD officers did everything right, no mistakes. A piece of equipment failed, but they still had to act. The only bad thing here was the tazer did not work. and that is unfortunate.

In the end that equipment failure cost Mr. Russell his life. I am sure his family will likely consider suing the tazer manufacturer for producing a faulty device which probably cost Mr. Russell his life. That will be a interesting case to follow, but it has no bearing on the shooting as once the officer had their lives, or the lives of others, threatened it was time to shoot.

Great job officers John Mays and Tolliver Robertson

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Worthless Careers

Bnet has a very interesting story about 10 careers which pay well, but which do NOT benefit society. I agree with most of them, with cavets like the author includes – Chriropractors do give some benefit, some self help books are ok, some health experts can help you, etc. I have a dream that someday #9 will not be true, but I believe it may always be. { 0 comments }

Pizza as Vegtables

Fox has a story up about how the government is considering counting pizza as a vegtable. REALLY…THAT IS CRAZY EVEN BY FED STANDARDS. Of course ketchup became a vegetable in schools in the 90′s. Full story here

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Hitler’s Argentine Home ? … For Sale

Gizmodo has a very interesting story up today about the sell of a “potential” home of Adolph Hitler in Argentina. The basis of the idea is that Hitler escaped Germany and lived out his days in this remote Argentinian home – leaving two daughters as his legaacy. Interesting story, though I don’t personally believe it. Nice house though, full story here

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Knoxville Mayor’s Race

I know the Knoxville mayoral race ended a week ago, but … well I was busy … so here is my two cents. I was not surprised Madeline won, I was surprised she won so handedly. I thought the combination of Haslem money, a down job market looking for business leadership, a push back from conservatives concerned with Rogero being too liberal, and Padgett’s father’s long line of Knoxville political connections would lead to a closer race.

I am still shocked that Bill Owen even waste his time running.

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Silence is not golden, but it is still silence

Over the last few months the Being Frank team has desired to start regular posting again. Life, work, and some lingering family health issues, have interfered with these plans.

That said, we will push on and hopefully get to regular blogging over the next few weeks and months.

Readers from way back will either be happy or sad to hear that the three C’s – Christ, Cycling and Computers – will still make up a majority of post on this blog. Going forward there will likely be a few new areas of interests – Exercise, Electricity, and Engineering – added into the irregular posts on politics, pens, people, misc news, current events, metro Knoxville TN, economics and whatever else strikes our fancy that day.

So, sit back and hopefully the ride will get interesting again soon.

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Solar Light Bulbs and Global Aid

Several months ago I found a interesting story at CNN.com about how an American inventor of solor powered bulbs was attempting to both help build third world economies, via building village based businesses, and also change how social aid is handled / viewed world wide. Full post here.

The two most interesting quotes in this story follow –

First, Katsaros had to answer a key question that would determine how he would have the strongest impact: should his company be nonprofit, or for-profit?

Katsaros found inspiration from the 2008 book by Paul Polak, “Out of Poverty.”

Polak, who has worked in developing nations for 30 years, believes that the charity model of aid used by nonprofit organizations doesn’t work — despite its good intentions.

The best way to help people, according to Polak, is to treat them as consumers. If you can sell to them, he says, you can help them.

“In the beginning I was a nut case and nobody paid attention,” Polak says. “The consensus was 30 years ago that this is what caused poverty, and to be involved in business was outrageous and evil.”

Today, that is starting to change, he says. But that doesn’t mean that nongovernmental organizations have rolled out the red carpet for Polak’s ideas.

“Many NGOs say it’s making money on the back of the poor, but I love to make money on the back of the poor,” Polak says.

“You can feel really good about yourself giving stuff away … but if you are going to sell things to people, you need to have respect for them because no one is going to buy something if you have contempt for them.”

————————————————————

“If you have a village that’s used to the dole, it’s very hard to get them off of the dole,” Polak says. “We have to face the fact that conventional development aid has failed.

“It just doesn’t work.”

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Dropouts are running the place

The New York Times has a interesting piece up today (link here) about how some college dropouts go on to make millions and billons (at times). One of the most interesting points the story makes is that the often quoted about 80% of the jobs created are in small business, actually the vast majority of jobs are created by START UP businesses, not small businesses. This point leads back to the idea that traditional American schooling actually is based on removing some of the key skills required to start a start up business – risk taking, failure, creativity, actual sales, and networking skills.

I agree with those ideas to a point, but I would add that the key point to success is drive (which can be found in college dropouts, college graduates, blue collar workers, illegal aliens, and drug dealers) and if someone has drive and a idea they will succeed.

The point of the article, that we need to develop better entrepreneurs and not stifle so much within the nature of people via standardized education (a point that I only partially agree with), is well taken, but I am concerned that too many people who lack drive will read it and decide that they can be the next Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerburg (all people who were smart enough to go to and succeed at college mind you).

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Interesting Tax and Tax Payer Info

The following quote comes from the Wall Street Journal – story here

Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2% of all tax returns but paid 20.4% of income taxes in 2009. Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3% of tax filers but paid 50.1% of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes. This means the top 3% paid more than the bottom 97%. Yet the 3% are the people that President Obama claims don’t pay their fair share. Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5% of the income tax.

That really puts the idea of what some consider fair into a new prospective. Personally I want to live in a world where those that make over $200K, i.e the top 3%, can dream of paying less then 50% of taxes and we have a better tax system – like the fair tax without taxes on food you prepare at home, medical treaments / drugs, and only taxes NEW items (so used cars and houses are not taxed).

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1995 COOL

Found this on There I fixed it and I thought I share it. Way to do the 1995 upgrade and pop a collar…LOL

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Crash Test – 50 years of safety

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety did a very interesting crash test, a 1959 Bel Air vs a 2009 Malibu. It is designed to show how much automobile safety has improved in the last 50 years. The results are very interesting. Car Crash

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Code Word Geronimo

On Sept 6th, 2011 a interesting new graphic novel – Code Word Geronimo – comes out. The graphic novel is based on the Seal Team 6 May 1st raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. The book will be a 88 pages, will cost $15.99, and even includes the dog that was involved.

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The Razor and it’s wind turbines

A friend of mine sent me a link about a interesting story about a London hotel that has installed three integral wind turbines into the building. It is London’s Strata SE1, a 43-story, 408-apartment project, and it is the first building in the world to do that. The three turbines generate approximately 8% of the energy needs of this remarkable structure, nicknamed “The Razor” Full site and info here

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Blue Jean Pencils

I recently came across a really cool product, a pencil made out of recycled blue jeans. They act like a standard #2 pencil, i.e. you can sharpen them, and run about .30 to .50 cents a piece. A great thing is that they actually write pretty well. One place to buy them is here, but I am sure you can find other places to buy them as well.

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Wearable Lock

Mission Bicycle announced they are now selling a wearable lock. The lock is warn around the waist like a belt with a 26″ to 44″ inch adjustability. Mission is the exclusive US distributer apparently. Very cool, very useful, and a great idea. Story here

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Restraunt Rules

Adam Roberts over at the Huffington Post has a very interesting post up about 10 rules that you should break, or mistakes you make, when you eat out – full post here. Very interesting stuff, and well worth considering when you eat out.

On a positive note, regarding eating out, the lovely wife and I tried out Sequoyah Grille in Knoxville and it was very good.

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The dogs of war

America’s military (specifically it’s special forces) did a great job finding, and taking out Bin Laden. The military found their target, did their background work, prepared well, and struck precisely. The combined strike force numbered in the hundreds when support forces, logistics experts, flight crews, etc are included, but on the ground were 79 commando’s and a dog. That is right a dog.

Being a dog lover, and a dog fan in general, the following two stories about the use and growing impact of dogs in the miliary make me happy and I wanted to share them.

NPR store here and ForeignPolicy.com story here

For those interested there is a interesting war dog memorial on the UT Knoxville campus as well.

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Super Hybrid

Porsche has a new hybird sports car, the Spyder 918, coming out (story here) . The car gets 78mpg and cost $845,000. Even with gas at $4 a gallon that is a a long payback over cars like Prius’s, Leaf’s, Volt’s, and heck even a Hummer H2 may never cost you $800,000 (assuming you pay $45K (Kelly Blue Book with low mileage) for the a 2008 H2). Makes the 10K Camry getting 30mpg look STRONG!!! LOL

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Wedding Invitation

Saw this really cool wedding invitation online and wanted to share it. It is REALLY cool. It is a paper record player. Very very cool. Full story at Mashable.

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Allen on Microsoft’s Misstep’s

Though many are discussing the parts of Paul Allen’s forthcoming biography where he, Mr. Allen, alleges that Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and others tried to cheat him out of a large part and the value of Microsoft’s stock. To me though the more interesting thing is Mr Allen’s discussing (summarized at FT.com here) where and how Microsoft got offtrack and feel behind. The three key area’s Mr Allen points too are Microsoft’s size (inability to react due to internal politics and legacy frameworks), the corporate culture (fiefdom’s and intellectual isolation between departments and sectors), and lack of visionary leadership (less capable managers, and Steve Ballmer’s fast follower mindset). Overall these are the same things I personally have said about the Redmond gang for a long time.

That said, I still run more Window’s boxes then I do Mac or Linux ones, though my Android collection is growing.

Current computer count –

Myself @ Home – 2 Window’s Desktop’s online (one dual booting XP / 7 and one XP only), 2 windows laptop’s (1 XP, 1 Windows 7), a G4 Mac, a Linux box, a ready to power up backup offline XP desktop, and a personal Android smartphone.

Myself @ work – a XP desktop, a XP laptop, and a Andriod tablet assigned to me. Regular access to a shared Windows 7 tablet.

In my garage @ home and offline – one good XP box looking for a good home, and 3 old 2000 / XP PC’s that need to be recycled.

My wife @ home – a Windows XP desktop, a Windows 7 laptop, and a Windows Phone 6.0 smartphone currently, but is considering a move to a Windows Phone 7 model later this year.

My wife @ work – a XP desktop

So even with Microsoft having problem most of what my wife and myself use and access daily are based on Microsoft products. The only platform with increases around us in the last year has been Andriod based devices.

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Radition

Since the release of radiation from the Japanese nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is in the news I thought it may be a good time to post a link to a site about radition levels. The site discusses what is natural, what is normal, what common actions are risky, and what levels of exposure are defined a risky / dangerous. Be sure to check out all the info here.

P.S. – Foreign Policy has a interesting post up about the release of radioactive elements at Daiichi here.

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Changing Times are Challenging Times

God is really showing me His grace and wisdom right now. After about 10 years with the same pastor (at two different churches) and lots of deep relationships with some great Christian brothers, God is leading me and my wife to step out and find his next home for us.

My wife has not felt that she fit in at our past church for a few years, but due to her medical issues she has not been able to attend regularly. That has left me pretty much solo at church 90% of the time (she made Sunday school seven times in 2010 and church maybe double that) for the last few years. My wife has not pushed to move anywhere else because she knew I was connected and that she was not involved or interested in a deeper involvement through that time. Throughout this time God has really taken my relationship with Him in new ways. I was very active in several ministries, but about 6 weeks ago He just brought me to a point where I knew it was time for a new place.

I told me pastor and the people that will have to take over the two ministries I ran 3 weeks before I left. I told them God was lead me / us elsewhere and that I was willing to train and help as need those that were going to have to step up and step in. It seems that people just would not believe me, as the last Sunday I was there no one seemed to believe me when I said it had been great serving with them. Odd that when a person of their word tells you something you don’t want to hear it still is not believed.. :) Anyway, we left on great terms and can always return if God leads us back. This really is the best way to exit a church.

Currently, I am praying that God will lead us to a new home soon. It may or may not increase my wife’s commitment, as she has to get well physically before she can engage spiritiually, but I know God has something new and special out there for us. We have 3 or 4 churches we are going to visit. We may not need to go further then that, but we may have to expand the search if God does not land us at any of those four.

Anyway, I share this to say / remind you that God does not always want His people comfortable and He never wants us to be complacent. Just because you are deep in a ministry / ministries and a body does not mean that God wants you to stay there.

So, I challenge you to take yourself to God and ask Him where HE wants you to be, ask what HE wants you to do, and know that HIS will and placement is perfect. HE will not take you anywhere HE does not want you to go and HE will not really bless you until you find HIS place for you. Seek HIM and then follow HIM even if it is life shaking.

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eBooking “the Square”

Well it seems that the eBook is here to stay as even the Knoxville Public Library (known to many as one of the slowest reacting governmental agencies East of Nashville) has begun to actively “check out” eBooks. They are offering them in online now – story here. Every hipster on Market Square rejoiced in unison before ordering another latte and a brownie.

I am sure that Al Gore will soon be figure out a way to reappear from the vast abyss of middle TN and take credit for leading this incentive along with telling us how he revolutionizing TV with CurrentTV. The world has yet to see the Current revolution that he predicted. Unfortunately for Al, that was one revolution which was barely televised, or barely noticed.

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Mercury Thermometers

I found a really interesting story at The Wichita Eagle about how the end of mercury thermometers is coming soon. To me the mercury thermometer is a iconic image of both science and society, but it seems that much like the horse and buggy they are soon to be mostly a thing of the past.

Between the increase in precision in both digital and non mercury based analog thermometers and the risk associated with mercury exposure there has been a huge decrease in both the demand and use of mercury based thermometers. It seems that the 700 Federal Standards that require a mercury thermometer for calibration and measurement may be the biggest thing keeping the mercury thermometer around. Leave it to the Fed to be behind the curve, even in standards. In The Wichita Eagle story I found the most interesting thing to be the following statement regarding NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testing) testing –

The declining demand from business and industry for calibration of mercury thermometers at NIST labs tells the tale best.
“Back in the early 1900s, they employed five people to do nothing more than calibrate mercury thermometers,” Strouse said. “When I started here 20-some years ago, there was one person in the lab calibrating close to a thousand of them a year. Last year we calibrated four.”
And so far in 2011, there have been none.

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Dumbest Thing In YEARS

SirusXM has a short term station called TIGER BLOOD RADIO. It is a limited run 24 hr a day channel devoted to CHARLIE SHEEN and his current meltdown / news…… REALLY!! Not the middle east, not oil exploration, not deficit deduction plans, but CHARLIE SHEEN 24 hrs a day!! This is REALLY STUPID!!!

Tiger Blood Radio

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239000 miles or so

Very interesting video story up at CBS news with a guy asking random people how far in relatively space (using a basketball as the earth and at tennis ball as the moon) the Moon is from the Earth. The recorded people all fail pretty badly. At the end the host shows the “correct” distance. After that, the host points out that drawings which do not show scale can have a dramatic impact on perceived knowledge. This is very true Full Video / Story here

The correct answer is about 239,000 miles and in relation between the basketball and tennis ball about 40 feet or so.

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Proving sumset estimates

Gower’s weblog has a nice piece up about A new way of proving sumset estimates. Interesting discussion on a interesting math issue. Give it a read and a think.

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