Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Well-Tempered Sentence

I recently came across The Well Tempered Sentence at a used book shop near my aunt's house. I, being interested in punctuation, immediately picked it up and gave a few pages a thumbing. What a wonderful surprise it was! It contained all my favorite punctuation marks illustrated with peculiar, mysterious, and at sometimes surreal example sentences. Google has a few pages available for your perusal. I recommend that you check it out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Pour Out a Bottle Quickly

Credit: Joseph Golden, NOAA
No body likes waiting for all the flat soda to pour out from a bottle into a sink so you can recycle it. I remember my second grade teacher challenging some smarty pants to a race to see who could pour out a bottle the fastest. The kid of course tipped it over and let it glug away while the teach poured it slowly and left a gap for the air to flow back in. Her method was far superior.

Avoiding turbulence is key to pouring out a bottle quickly and poor airflow causes turbulence. If we can find a better method of supplying air we can pour the spent soda out faster. Spencer's Gifts has solved this problem as well as the age old college problem of not getting drunk fast enough with a special beer bottle attachment which has a straw to relieve the back pressure; however, I found a better method with no additional equipment required: The Tornado Technique™. (Note: when pouring into your mouth, it's a lot less messy to use the attachment.)

The Tornado Technique™ is simple, just twirl the bottle as you pour it out so that the liquid inside starts spinning. As gravity pulls the liquid out it adds energy to the spin which transforms it into a self sustaining whirlpool. As the whirlpool is draining into the sink the replacement air will come up through the center. No more waiting! Alternately, if your goal is to pour the bottle out as slowly as possible in order to just watch the tornado, there's a bottle attachment for that too.

Getting over First Person Motion Sickness

For years I've suffered from motion sickness related to 3D motion in some video games (mostly first person games). I mostly worked around this by using smaller screens, keeping the lights on in the room, and trying to avoid tunnel vision (which is hard during intense scenes). I recently purchased Antichamber, a game designed for all my puzzling weaknesses, and unfortunately its non-Euclidian nature just wasn't agreeing with me.

I dug around the web a bit looking for cures to motion sickness but there was nothing new; I had tried them all. That is, until I found a forum post (which I'm unable to locate) that said that you can just keep pushing and eventually your body figures out it's not dying. Sounds like fun, right? So here's what happened.

At first I could only play 20 minutes until I was past feeling ill and into the heaving stage. I decided to take a break for an hour or so, then went back to playing. After an evening of nausea, break, nausea, break, I progressed to a 45 minutes session with only feeling ill and clammy hands. Not bad for one day.

The next day I played an hour before bed and only felt a little nausea. I finally broke though! Then the day after that I played an hour and a half with no issues. Well no issues with the motion sickness. Antichamber, on the other hand, gave me plenty of problems. But, like with any well-designed puzzle game, the problem is you and you know you just have to push through it.

Cool (Dangerous) Microwave Tricks

I was just reminiscing about all the cool stuff I've microwaved in my life so I turned to YouTube to see if anyone has done it better. As expected, they have: I never thought of using a glass to trap the plasma. Anyway, here's some videos of people reliving my childhood.

Microwave a CD:

Microwave a Grape:

Microwave a Lit Match: