Scientific Commuting: When Does It Make Sense to Take Alternate Routes?

I am an inveterate driver of “back ways” to places. My preferred route to campus involves driving through a whole bunch of residential streets, rather than taking the “main” road leading from our neighborhood to campus. I do this because there are four traffic lights on the main-road route, and they’re not well timed, so […]

Benford’s Law of Amazon Rankings

Late last year, Matthew Beckler was nice enough to make a sales rank tracker for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. Changes in the Amazon page format made it stop working a while ago, though, and now Amazon reports roughly equivalent data via its AuthorCentral feature, with the added bonus of BookScan sales figures. […]

The Unexpected Leaping Ability of Bovines

I’m spending the day trying to get some work done on the book-in-progress, so I’m avoiding both work- and blog-related stuff. I don’t want to leave the site completely quiet, though, so here’s a question to ponder, relating to SteelyKid’s continuing fascination with Goodnight Moon: How does a cow jump over the moon? The father […]

The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Ouellette

I finished Jennifer Ouellette’s new book a few weeks ago, shortly after my trip to Alabama, but it’s taken me a long time to get around to reviewing it due to a combination of too much work and being a Bad Person. There’s finally a tiny break in the storm of work, though, so here’s […]

Algebra and Circuit Breakers

A couple of “kids these days are bad at math” stories crossed my feed reader last week, first a New York Times blog post about remedial math, then a Cocktail Party Physics post on confusion about equals signs. The first was brought to my attention via a locked LiveJournal post taking the obligatory “Who cares […]

The Faulty Fluid Dynamics of Hotel Environmentalism

Boskone this past weekend was held at the Westin Waterfront in Boston, which has these funky double showerheads that they charmingly call the “Heavenly(R) Shower” (hype aside, they are very nice showers). The picture at right is courtesy of lannalee on Twitter, as I didn’t bring a camera. Why am I telling you this? Because […]

Quantization of Books 4: How Many Books Is That Again?

I’ve toyed around in the past with ways to use the Amazon sales rank tracker to estimate the sales numbers for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. It’s geeky fun, but not especially quantitative. Yesterday, though, I found a reason to re-visit the topic: calibration data!