Farty's Fortunes

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Science Spurt

So what amazing facts can I amaze you with today? Amazingly, not a few. Prepare to be amazed.

Things ain't what they used to be

Boffins (God, I love that word!) have decided that the Astronomical Unit (AU), which is used to measure distances within our solar system, isn't as constant as they'd hoped. As any fule kno, variables don't and constants aren't.

An AU to you and me is the distance from the Earth to the Sun (or is it vice-versa?), but to slapheads it's "the radius of an unperturbed circular orbit that a massless body would revolve about the Sun in 2π/k days (essentially, one year), where k is a constant derived from a fixed estimate of the Sun's mass." And since the Sun is losing mass like nobody's business (about 16 Empire State buildings-worth per second), the AU is slowly growing.

The answer seems clear enough to me: switch to an alternative, much more familiar standard unit of measurement - the London Bus. Everybody knows what size they are, they don't shrink or grow unexpectedly...it just seems that way during the rush hour. If you're on the outside, say driving, they seem to get bigger while if you're a passenger on the inside they get smaller. Like an inverse Tardis.

Things can only get better

Over at CERN (should that be pronounced sern or kern? Meh.) eggheads are about to switch on the world's first time machine. (Did you see what I did there?)

According to Einstein's equations of blah, any time machine built in the future can only come back in time as far as the creation of the first one, and the Large Hadron Collider (which is either a large collider for hadrons or a collider for large hadrons, or possibly both) could be used to create "closed timelike curves" - wormholes, mini-black holes and shit - which will allow our psychotic grandchildren to come back and murder us. Um. And that's good because?

You've goat to be kid-ding

The British Navy is to finally stop acting the goat and terminate its experiments on goats in submarines.

*Checks calendar. Nope, definitely not April.*

I can follow that the animals were used to help submarine crews judge whether it would be safer to abandon a stricken vessel or wait to be rescued, but why this particular animal?

Because they're escape goats. B'dum tsh!

And finally, a double-whammy

Newton's First Law of Motion states that an object in motion tends to remain in motion. Darwin's Law of Evolution states that only the fittest will survive. Add these together...

A 55-year-old Romanian train driver chased down his own runaway train after leaving the handbrake off. Finally catching up with it after six kilometres, he tried to stop it. Not being Superman, he wasn't stronger than a locomotive. The train trundled over him and kept going for a further 26 kilometres.

The funeral will be held in Bucharest, Urziceni, Buzau, Focsani, Garoafa...

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