Uber Math

May 25, 2018

I know most Uber drivers use a different maps app than the official Uber app, but this amuses me no end. My daughter regularly has to take an Uber home after late volleyball practice. I have the Uber family plan, so I get notifications for her rides, which I really like. But invariably, about halfway through the ride I get a message that her ride is taking longer than expected.

If I check the app I usually see something like this:


Yes, that would be longer than expected. Brooklyn traffic can be bad, but I promise you that over two hours from that spot is inconceivable. 15 – 20 minutes is normal. And it always fixes itself after 5 minutes or so.

But honestly.


Happy 135th Birthday

May 24, 2018

While I’m obviously biased, the Brooklyn Bridge is the coolest bridge in the world and the story of its construction is fascinating. Washington Roebling fell ill from what was then called Caisson Disease but is now simply referred to as the bends, and his wife took over. In 1883. Not sure about the rooster…

If you’ve scrolled this far, I’ll say this is one of my favorite pictures also…

Don’t Look Down

May 23, 2018

A daredevil climbs the outside of 450 foot tower and stands on the very tippy top without holding on. These videos both captivate me and scare the living bejeezus out of me…

Earth-Moon Fire Pole

May 22, 2018

What If is back! Well, that’s not really true, the website What If never left, but the RSS feed broke for a while. And since it’s a site with about a post a month, without RSS I forget about it. (if you don’t know what RSS is, read this). The RSS feed is back working and the site is as delightful as always.

If you don’t know what What If is, it’s a site by the same guy who does xkcd, described as Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. The latest post, Earth-Moon Fire Pole, is a perfect example, with a question from a five year old (kid questions are great ones):

My son (5y) asked me today: If there were a kind of a fireman’s pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?

In typical What If fashion, he first explains why such a pole is impossible:


But then proceeds to say:

But let’s ignore those problems! What if we had a magical pole that dangled from the Moon down to just above the Earth’s surface, expanding and contracting so it never quite touched the ground? How long would it take to slide down from the Moon?

and follows with a lengthy discussion of the physics. From the Moon you’d initially be sliding “up” so you have to start by climbing, but gravity is low so that’s possible. But it’s really far before Earth’s gravity takes over so you can start to slide down. And then you start sliding crazy fast, etc. etc. Crazy fun and scientific all at the same time.


Now I have to go back and read all the posts I missed…

Crazy Storm

May 16, 2018

My flight to Chicago yesterday was cancelled due to the storms passing through, but I feel lucky compared to folks stuck in Grand Central Station:

But storms do have their beauty…

World’s Coolest Dog

April 25, 2018

Perry Mason Moment

April 18, 2018

This is fascinating. I had no idea that the lawyer who got the judge to force Cohen’s lawyer to reveal that the third client was Sean Hannity wasn’t even a lawyer for either primary party.

I introduced myself and listed off my clients, and the judge invited me to the podium, where I began my argument. I pointed out, as Strom did on Friday, that the names of clients were not privileged and that there is a First Amendment right of access to court hearings whose purpose is to enable the public and press to monitor their institutions. I pointed out that most of the seats in the room were occupied by members of the press, and I wrapped up by quoting Chief Justice Burger in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia. The judge eventually ordered Mr. Cohen’s attorneys to reveal the client’s name. That’s when we had a truly Perry Mason moment: The attorney said it was Hannity, and there was a collective and audible gasp in the room. I’ve been practicing law for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like that. Electronic devices are generally prohibited in the court, too, so five or 10 reporters rushed from the room to get that news out as soon as possible. It was like a scene from an old-time movie.