Tag Archives: work

Hurrah for Duct Tape!

…Richard Feynman argued that, in reality, the bouncing beads would not be capable of doing meaningful work. Feynman showed that, since the entire system operates at the same temperature, a pawl would occasionally slip off the wheel. As a result, the system would generate zero net movement.

Now, physicist Devaraj van der Meer from the University of Twente and his colleagues have demonstrated that such a machine can in fact spin the paddles forward only, generating a positive net movement … The key challenge was getting the vanes to move in the forward direction only, which the scientists achieved with – somewhat surprisingly – duct tape….

Is there anything duct tape can’t do? Besides break the second law of thermodynamics, I mean.

Newly created machine on Vimeo. Write-up at PhysOrg.com: Experiment finally proves 100-year-old thought experiment is possible .

Thing-a-day 3: Dinosaur Plea

More Thing-a-day: We have a little hole in the wall in our back stairwell, and for a while, it had a plastic mouse in it. Eventually it was replaced by a plastic dinosaur, and later the dinosaur got an angry sun beating down on it. Today I decided to give the dinosaur a voice:

Thing 3 - Dinosaur Plea

The plea reads:

We don’t need manned missions into space! That is mere vanity! For now, we are getting better information from probes and rovers! Let NASA focus on cataloguing, tracking, and developing strategies to deflect meteors that are heading for Earth! Learn from our experience! Quickly! Before it is too late!

A Day’s Work

In this dream, I was working for a guy who was a slight kook but on to some genuinely spooky things. I can’t remember exactly what they were, but they were strange scientific phenomena, not paranormal or supernatural things. I organized information in the office. It was a long, narrow space with lots of desks that were only half as deep as normal desks, but the office was almost paper-free.

An old flame came to visit me at the end of the day. We walked out into the street and looked in windows and stopped somewhere for tea or something (I can’t quite remember). It was dark when we finished, and he offered to walk me to my car. I remember thinking how strange it was that he was shorter and thinner than I am now (in real life, he is solid and much taller). He was wearing large round glasses.

My car was in some funny spot in the parking garage that required a lot of walking around. As we walked, he started dropping things, a coat, a bag, then his hands, hair, even his (in this small incarnation) pointed and birdlike face. When we got to the car he was his (bigger, real) normal self again.

Later (not sure how much later), I was on the bank of a river, and the man I was working for was in the water, almost chest deep, holding a woman at the water’s surface with one arm. He too had removed his hair and face but just looked different – a handsome, gingery, bearded man where he had been dark featured and more pointed before. I didn’t recognize the woman, but she looked (Asian) Indian and was wearing a long, full skirt and a light cotton top. He pushed her top up with his hand, and then drew the tip of a knife in a long, graceful curve over her lower belly. She smiled.