Statistics and Sweepstakes

Today I was bad to myself and stopped by McDonald’s on the way into campus and got a soda and fries. (If I’m going to go to campus on a Saturday I feel ok being bad to myself). On the bag they handed me their was a code and a website and an invitation to participate in a sweepstakes. My first thought was, “Wow, they’re working hard not to give away money.” My second thought was, “I miss the monopoly game.” Here is why. With the monopoly game I had a 1 in (something like) 6 chance of instantly winning something. This means that if I get a soda and fries 3 times, I’ll probably get 1 free something. This will actually work in getting me to go to McDonald’s over Wendy’s or the Quikie Mart when I want a soda...

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The Carnival Returns

I temporarily lost all track of day’s of the week, and thus of the Space Carnival. Well, today I caught up with the carnival and had a happy  time exploring the neat new articles. Hopefully, next week I’ll remember to submit my own adventure 🙂

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Physics Exams as Germ Warfare?

This week all of my physics classes are taking their first exam. Today my two sections of  Science Foundations for elementary education majors had their exam and tomorrow my science and engineering students have their calculas-based have their first exam. My exams are decidedly evil – they are tough and the average student will need 90% of the time (2 hours) to get them done. I’m sure that many of my students wish me ill while taking my exams. This time they might get their wish. While watching my students take their exams today I witnessed a steady stream of sneezing, sniffling, nose blowing, and other signs of students just not being healthy. As they took their exams, without thinking and without malicious thought (I’m hoping), the rubbed...

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A Single Moment: Was it real?

Yesterday a fascinating press release from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory crossed my inbox. In a re-analysis of 480 hours of data from taken with the 210-foot Parkes radio telescope in Australia, astronomers found a single 5 millisecond burst that resembled nothing anyone has ever seen before. It shifted in frequency from higher radio frequencies to lower frequency in a way that indicated the data may have come from an object 3 billion light years away. This is a single data point from a single telescope. But it’s kinda cool. One of the problems with astronomy is you can’t look at the whole sky the whole time, so rare events are rarely seen. If a galaxy has 1 supernova every 100 years, than if you look at 100 galaxies you’ll see 1...

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Of Superheros and Conservation of Energy

Of Superheros and Conservation of Energy

So it is premier week and my husband’s Window’s Media Center (his, not mine), is jubilantly happy at all the new material it has to record. We just finished watching the first new episode of one of our favorite shows, Heroes (no spoilers ahead), and I have to say that this voice in the back of my head keeps yelling – Where’d all the energy come from? – every time someone does something extraordinary. I know, I know, how can I set aside my disbelief and get caught up in shape shifting, alchemy, flying, regeneration and all the like and get upset about energy. Well, um… The voices in my head aren’t consistent, ok? Seriously though, I can sorta kinda get on board with things like regeneration and electric pulses, where the...

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