Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Location: New Zealand

Marni D. Sheppeard

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dear Santa

I know it's a bit late for this year, but I found the perfect cheap present for a budding M theorist: the Sudokube! Of course, some basic knowledge of magic squares makes it too easy to solve, but it would look good on the shelf. And if you don't mind me saying so, Santa, I was a bit disappointed with The Golden Compass. Why were all the physicists male? And that extended arm double ice axe arrest was just plain ridiculous.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie The Golden Compass ended before the book ended, so it did not even include the entire book, which book was only the first book of a trilogy.

The first book (not movie) ends with Lyra (and her daemon) going through a dust-bridge into an alternate universe,
in which her college (Jordan) does not exist in Oxford,
so she goes it find its Dark Matter Research Unit
and finds Dr. Mary Malone the Oxford expert physicist in that alternate universe.

My (admittedly eccentric) take on the movie is at

Tony Smith

December 29, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Okay Tony, that was frightening.

One of my chess playing buddies is a gold miner with claims in Idaho. He spends the winter in Seattle and sluices in the summer.

To locate new ore bodies, he uses divining which is a heck of a lot more common among miners than you'd think.

The other day he showed me his machine, which he designed by divination. It was about as frightening as your link, but in a different way.

December 29, 2007 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

carbrannen said ".. divining ... is a heck of a lot more common among miners than you'd think ...".

My father was a miner (iron, manganese, barytes, etc) and while I was growing up I watched him use divining successfully.
Hardrock miners/geologists are a fairly small community, and he had miner/geologist friends in Idaho.

Do you have a picture of your friend's divining machine? Can you describe it?

Tony Smith

December 29, 2007 10:45 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Tony, my BS and MS in math were at a school that was traditionally a school of mining engineering so I learned divining from students who spent their summers working at mines. That was with bent rods.

The divining machine was based on a pendulum, but had about a dozen pieces of semi-randomly cut pieces of plastic, protractors and rulers attached to it. It was set up with pivoting parts so that it could be properly tuned. It was very carefully and exactly built.

My feeling on this is that if these things work, it's largely because the user believes it will work. Half the problem is setting up a neutral condition so that deviations from neutrality can be detected. The other half is amplifying small signals. So all divining instruments I've seen involved items that react to the slightest influence.

We should have talked about it on Halloween instead of New Years, LOL.

December 30, 2007 6:26 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Tony, you just spoiled the suspense for the next movie (I have no intention of reading the books) - and now I'm annoyed they omitted Mary Malone from the movie.

December 30, 2007 8:03 AM  

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