Interesting Facts


“Pray tell us, what's your favorite number?"...
"Shiva jumped up to the board, uninvited, and wrote 10,213,223"...
"And pray, why would this number interest us?"
"It is the only number that describes itself when you read it, 'One zero, two ones, three twos, two threes'.”

Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese


Prime Numbers and Research


Missouri researchers ID largest prime number yet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mathematicians at the University of Central Missouri have identified the largest prime number yet, but good luck remembering it.

The university said Wednesday that a group led by computer science and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper found the 17 million-digit prime number last month. It is the 48th known Mersenne prime and is the third discovered at the 11,800-student university in Warrensburg, about 50 miles east of Kansas City.

Primes are numbers such as 3, 7 and 11 that are divisible only by themselves and 1 without leaving a remainder.

Mersenne primes are named after the 17th century French mathematician who discovered them, Marin Mersenne. They're expressed as 2P-1, or two to the power of "P'' minus one. P is itself a prime number. For the new prime, P is 57,885,161.



The Solar System



Mystery of energy ribbon around our solar system possibly solved

It was a mystery that kept astronomers scratching their heads for years, but now, it finally seems to be cracked: particles from inside the solar system bounce off a “ribbon” of energy boundary and neutral atoms from that collision stream inward. Why and how this happens remained a mystery for quite a while.



An Industrial Problem



An 80' conveyor belt sits atop a 60' platform, and is raised by a hydraulic jack that extends and contracts, lifting or lowering the conveyor belt.  As you can see, the higher the conveyor belt, the longer the arm, and vice versa:



What is the relationship between x and "arm"?



Moose - A Dynamical System


Decline in Moose Herd Cancels Hunt

"The exact reasons for moose decline aren't known, said Mr. Merchant, who pointed to parasites and climate change as possible factors. Minnesota held its first wolf hunt last year. Mr. Merchant said the wolf population doesn't seem to have a big effect on the number of moose, although some hunters complain about wolves. He noted that the highest numbers of moose corresponded with the highest numbers of wolves. "We do not see that as related, and our data just doesn't support that," he said."

There's no relationship between the wolf population and the moose population.

Really?  Are we sure?

Here's an excerpt from a speech Michael Crichton gave regarding the management of the Yellowstone, complexity theory, and dynamical systems:


and Environmental Management

"Roosevelt saw a thousand antelope, plentiful cougar, mountain sheep, deer, coyote, and many thousands of elk. He wrote, 'Our people should see to it that this rich heritage is preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with its majestic beauty all unmarred.' "






"Now what would this mean, and how would we do it?  Well to start to do this, we took a 3D printer and we started to print our beakers and our test tubes on one side and then print the molecule at the same time on the other side and combine them together in what we call reactionware.  And so by printing the vessel and doing the chemistry at the same time, we may start to access this universal toolkit of chemistry.

Now what could this mean?  Well if we can embed biological and chemical networks like a search engine, so if you have a cell that's ill that you need to cure or bacteria that you want to kill, if you have this embedded in your device at the same time, and you do the chemistry, you may be able to make drugs in a new way."



Michael Crichton and Jurassic Park

Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you have attained it, it is your power. It can't be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline.


Now, what is interesting about this process is that, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won't use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won't abuse it.


But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline. You read what others have done, and you take the next step. You can do it very young. You can make progress very fast. There is no discipline lasting many decades. There is no mastery: old scientists are ignored. There is no humility before nature. There is only a get-rich-quick, make-a-name-for-yourself-fast philosophy. Cheat, lie, falsify - it doesn't matter. Not to you, or to your colleagues. No one will criticize you. No one has any standards. They are all trying to do the same thing: to do something big, and do it fast.


And because you can stand on the shoulders of giants, you can accomplish something quickly. You don't even know exactly what you have done, but already you have reported it, patented it, and sold it. And the buyer will have even less discipline than you. The buyer simply purchases the power, like any commodity. The buyer doesn't even conceive that any discipline might be necessary ...


A karate master does not kill people with his bare hands. He does not lose his temper and kill his wife. The person who kills is the person who has no discipline, no restraint, and who has purchased his power in the form of a Saturday night special. And that is the kind of power that science fosters, and permits. And that is why you think that to build a place like this is simple."





Rocket blasts off with new NASA communications satellite

By Irene Klotz


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, Jan. 30, 2013 (Reuters) — An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off on Wednesday to put the first of a new generation of NASA communications satellites into orbit, where it will support the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and other spacecraft.

The 191-foot (58-metre) rocket lifted off at 8:48 p.m. (0148 GMT Thursday), the first of 13 planned launches in 2013 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just south of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Once in position 22,300 miles above the planet, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS and built by Boeing Co, will join a seven-member network that tracks rocket launches and relays communications to and from the space station, the Hubble observatory and other spacecraft circling Earth.


Ever wonder where the idea of an orbiting satellite system for communications came from?






KU lost to TCU 62-55.  The halftime score was 22-13, TCU, with KU making only 3/22 field goal attempts.  That's 13.6%.

The boxscore is here.

Prior to the game, KU was shooting 551/1152, or 48%.

For ease of calculation, let's assume their season field-goal percentage was 50%.

Therefore, they're expected to make 11/22, but only made 3.

What is the likelihood of this happening?





Powerball Jackpot Winner In Virginia

To Claim $217 Million Prize

What is the probability of winning?





Winter Storm Nemo: Potential Historic Blizzard Looms


"Winter Storm Nemo is now poised to become the latest example of a powerful, potentially historic, February storm."







Cellular Re-Programming


Salmon and Magnetic Fields


Animal Magnetism: How Salmon Find Their Way Back Home

"According to one theory, it's all about magnetism. When salmon are young, the theory goes, they imprint on the pattern of the Earth's magnetic field at the mouth of their native river. Years later, when the salmon head back home to spawn, they home in on that pattern. In a study published Thursday in Current Biology, the scientists behind that theory now say they have evidence that's exactly how the fish are navigating."



The Statistics Behind Background Checks



Another Earth Close By?


More than 4 billion potentially habitable planets may orbit red dwarfs in Milky Way

"Stars called red dwarfs may support planets on which life is possible. With three quarters of stars in the Milky Way being red dwarfs, there may be 4.5 billion habitable planets in our galaxy, a new study reveals."

“We thought we would have to search vast distances to find an earth-like planet. Now we realize another Earth is probably in our own backyard, waiting to be spotted,” said Courtney Dressing, an astronomer who presented the finding at a press conference Wednesday at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center in Massachusetts.



Books not ON Artificial Intelligence, but BY AI!


Programmer creates 800,000 books algorithmically, starts selling them on Amazon

The video - and the process - are amazing ...



A Good Article on a Remarkable Man


Nikola Tesla

Smithsonian Magazine

"In 1881, Tesla moved to Budapest, after recovering from his breakdown, and he was walking through a park with a friend, reciting poetry, when a vision came to him. There in the park, with a stick, Tesla drew a crude diagram in the dirt—a motor using the principle of rotating magnetic fields created by two or more alternating currents. While AC electrification had been employed before, there would never be a practical, working motor run on alternating current until he invented his induction motor several years later."


And wireless electricity --- maybe.  Though Wardenclyffe Tower was razed in 1917, there's still some of it remaining - and an annual conference in the area.  Maybe we can get something going in the Kansas City area?


If not, since the base of Wardenclyft is on Long Island, while there, we can visit "The Great Gatsby" artifacts!



The Nuclear Era


With North Korea detonating a nuclear bomb, one wonders how powerful it was.  How does it compare with other powerful bombs ...

This site allows the user to do all sorts of things ...