New Mathematical Model Helps Explain the Strength of Interleaved Phonebooks

Phonebooks made of paper have been going out of style, but they are still of interest to physicists. A few years ago, an episode of Mythbusters explored the strength of interleaved phone books. (Also see the sequel in Mythbusters, or maybe even try it yourself.) First, some context, in case you are a child of the 21st century, and […]

The human genome and the immortality of television sets

The ENCODE project (its stated goal is “to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence“) has attracted much criticism. Dan Graur, a member of the Luxuriant Former Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS), and his colleagues made hearty contributions to that river of criticism: “On the immortality of television sets: ‘function’ in the human genome according to the evolution-free gospel […]

Bjork explains television, and Bjork explains television

Bjork explains television (1): “Transcoder architectures for video coding,” Niklas Bjork  [pictured here] and Charilaos Christopoulos, IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, vol. 44, no. 1 (1998): 88-98. The authors, at Ericsson Telecom AB, Stockholm, Sweden, explain: “This paper discusses the problem of transcoding H.263-based video streams. Two different models for transcoding are examined, rate reduction […]

Scientists speak up: “On the immortality of television sets”

By weird tradition, scientists use dull, obscure language when they criticize other scientists. Six scientists chose to stray outside that tradition. In a new paper, they criticize the people who did “The ENCODE Project: ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements”. They pull few, if any, punches. Thanks to Rolf (“pull no punches”) Zwaan for bringing this to our attention: […]

George Putnam’s “Perversion for Profit”

GEORGE PUTNAM (all caps, because that’s the way he said everything), Los Angeles Television/Radio Legend, has died at the age of 94…. Best known on the Web as the “outstanding news reporter” who narrated the ’50s alarmist documentary “Perversion for Profit“, he was also acknowledged as the model for the Mary Tyler Moore show’s bombastic […]