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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual naturalised German, blatantly opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Porsche-driver, textbook-writer and blogger living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any goddamn questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours.

Oh, and after the death of his old dog, Kosmo, he also has a new bulldog puppy, Clara, since September 2018 :-)

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Yet another "weather" balloon

At any time there are about 1,000 weather balloons aloft around the world. Nevertheless, over several decades of flying light aeroplanes, I have only seen two aloft. Hobbyist pilots' hot air balloons are much more frequently seen because they fly at lower altitudes and often in competing groups.

At the start of the month, a huge spy balloon was seen over Montana by ground observers. North Montana is hilly but southern Montana is a plain. It is the plain where the USA has dug many fortified bunkers containing the US ICBMs, so no wonder they thought it was a spy balloon. So the CIA sent up a couple of U2 "Dragon Ladies" (USA own spy planes of Gary Powers fame) to investigate. One pilot took a selfie photo with the spy ballon and its payload.

When the spy balloon had cleared land an F22 shot it down using an AIM missile into shallow water so the payload could be recovered. Later a couple of other smaller balloons (still unidentified flying objects) were shot down too, resulting in this F22 paint scheme; typical US cowboys, shoot first and ask questions later.

Or maybe this is just photoshopped; funny nevertheless.

But this gives me the chance to write about a local (German) "weather" balloon. Not this one, this is just a special design hot air balloon.

A local secondary school in the town of Buren recently did their own investigation of the atmosphere. Physics teacher Mareike Scholz obtained a weather balloon and her class of 17 year-olds assembled their own payload. On the wooden frame they put a 3D GPS which displayed latitude and longitude and altitude amsl. A video camera (mobile phone?) showed the GPS and a microphone recorded any sounds heard aloft. A couple of testtubes held chemical experiments to see how boiling points varied with pressure and temperature. A thermometer showed temperature variations as the height increased.

A junior class added a chocolate kiss which is a marshmallow foam candy, which is dressed on a wafer and covered with chocolate. The bubbles in the foam should expand as the ambient pressure fell with height , cracking the chocolate as the kiss expanded. This was videoed too, see photo below.

A tracking App enabled the payload to be recovered after landing. The balloon flew 123 kms in 1 hour 40 minutes and reached 37 kms high (where the temperature was minus 42 ° C) before it burst. It achieved 112 km/h in the jetstream, before finally landing in Bergischen Land. Here is a photo taken high in the stratosphere; note the chocolate kiss has exploded ;-)

See how black the sky is, 37 kms (121391 feet) up in the stratosphere. The picture of the owl in a scarf is the school logo. It was not reported what the remains of the chocolate kiss tasted like ;-)

Well done Ms. Scholz for motivating your class!!!

Billions of Versions... wrote " We are seeing more news coverage about class balloons lately. " Rumour here has it that the other 2 UFOs the USAF shot down were just (legal!) US HAM-radio experiments :-(
Doug (Canada) wrote " I had to laugh - seeing the exploded candy at first I though some students has mounted a stuffed brown and white cat doll because we all know that cats want to be as high as they can be."

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on February 26, 2023 permalink Comments Email

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Higher dimensions

Last wednesday astrophysicist Ethan wrote an article asking Do we really have more than three spatial dimensions? Sadly it was not imho up to the usual high quality he writes, so let me pass on a tip about a book which I find covers the subject much better, although now 18 years old. It is written by Prof. Lisa Randall now on the physics faculty at Harvard. She is very good at explaining exotic stuff like string theory using a minimum of mathematics. Yes I am a fan :-)

The title is Warped Passages, ISBN 0-06-053109-6, published 2005 by Harper Perennial. Mine is the cheaper paperback edition which sadly has not stood the test of time and well-thumbed use (read 3 times) well. The paper is shoddy and turning brown, but the content is excellent, which is the main thing. Mostly it is about Kaluza–Klein theory, which is a unified field theory of gravitation and electromagnetism built around the idea of a fifth dimension beyond our common 4D of space and time and is considered an important precursor to string theory.

The book describes, at a non-technical level, theoretical models Professor Randall developed with the physicist Raman Sundrum, in which various aspects of particle physics (e.g. supersymmetry) are explained in a higher-dimensional braneworld scenario. These models have since generated thousands of citations.

This is a book that CC and her EB might enjoy. Get a copy from your local (university) library and go read it (unless the GOP have banned that too).

Billions of Versions... wrote " Thanks, I ordered a copy. It’s not common to find someone that can dumb down complex theories to understandable explanations. We’ll see how I do with this book." Let us know how you do.
Cop Car wrote " Thanks for the recommendation, Stu. When I break isolation (COVID-19 type), and when I catch up enough to get to the library, I’ll order it. Our local library doesn’t have it, according to the website." Also, let us know how you do.
Jenny chided "You nerds are crazy, reading textbooks for fun!" No, we read textbooks to further our education; for fun, we write them ;-)
Schorsch wrote " Replying to Mike with a quotation from Einstein : If a theory cannot be explained to a child then that theory is probably worthless."

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on February 5, 2023 permalink Comments Email

Friday, February 3, 2023

Beer to cost (a lot) more soon

Inflation here in Germany is currently running at around 9%, we are told. But some items now cost WAY more. In fact the boss of the Brewers' Guild has itemised how the cost of making and delivering beer has increased tremendously and predicts large increases in the price of beer to the drinker :-( Now, as regular readers of this blog will know, I do enjoy a good beer and so will be affected, which is why I am summarising his report.

Photo shows a liter (2.2 pints) of octoberfest beer, and dates from last year.

Cost for delivery by trucks has increased by 20% over January 2022. Labels on bottles by 30%, the hops by 35%, cardboard packaging and crates by 40%, Diesel for trucks and overseas shipping each by 55%, beer barrels by 60%, new beerglasses by 70%, brewing malt and carbon dioxide by 90%, bottletops by 120%, but far above those are electricity and gas at 750% depending on the breweries' power contracts. Beer could cost 7.50€ by May!

So you are better off drinking draught beer than bottled :-) Maybe also drinking draught half pints, as we got in Ireland, instead of litres :-( Several breweries which catered to the low end of the market have stopped making the cheap beers; I just hope nobody scrimps on the quality beers.

Whatever, as long as the end of the rainbow is still in the liquor shop :-)

Eugene, how are your beer prices?

Pergelator wrote " I buy Coors Light in 12 ounce cans, packed 18 to a box, for roughly $24 including the ten cent per can deposit. Coors Light isn't my favorite beer, but it is available everywhere. I tried a regular beer, but the next time I went to the store they didn't have any. There are like a zillion different brands of beer available here, but each store only carries like one or two six packs, so if you are attached to a particular brand, the next time you go to the store there is good chance they won't have it and so you'll end up chasing all over town to find your favorite brew. I am not that particular about my beer and I certainly have no interest in chasing all over town. Coors Light is cold, fizzy, eerily reminiscent of beer and every store has a plentiful supply. 18 cans for $24 is like 3.5 Euros per liter. P.S. Two 12 ounce cans is my daily ration." My question was more about whether other countries have beer inflation too. And Coors Light? Reminds me of dyslexic youth. For the first 16 years of my life I thought that word was spelled dire-rear :-)
Billions of Versions... wrote " There isn’t anything that hasn’t gone up in price here. How much of it is price gouging, who knows." The boss of the Brewers' Guild did; which was why I gave you his numbers.

Copyright © Ole Phat Stu on February 3, 2023 permalink Comments Email

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
New "weather" balloon
Higher dimensions
Beer to cost more soon
Holocaust Remembrance
Improve your English
Early car accidents
Astronomy 101
A family portrait
Shit Xmas hols
The Lincoln coincidence
Xmas weather
Why no year Zero?
Fractal food
Mars occultation
Choosing a burial site
A pun for Mike
Last of the phone boxes

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Billions of Versions...
Cop Car
Digby's Hullabaloo
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Not Always Right
Observing Hermann
Rants ... Rookery
Silicon Graybeard
Starts with a Bang
Yellow Dog Grannie

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Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it?s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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