My Mother’s Epic Battle with an Armadillo

I just found a hilarious tale about my mother (in L. Lee Cowan’s Except for All the Snakes, I just Love It Out Here: The News from Stone County, Arkansas, Where One Life is Put Down Straight Up, p. 120). According to this published account, I was four years old when her battle to kill an armadillo entered family legend. As you can see below, Mom credits both my sister and myself with keeping the story alive over the years. A good family friend, Bruce, played a key role in bridging the gap between my mother and L. Lee Cowan, the author of the book in which this was published. It’s an amazing thing to have found.

If you like this excerpt (shown below), please buy the book, as I have done.

LLeeCohan

The Moon Unit Proposal

moon unit

I propose that 384,400 km (238,855 miles), the average distance from the Earth to the Moon, be called a “moon unit.” Example: “The mileage of my car is over one moon unit.”

Hillary Clinton’s Other E-mail Problem

This has nothing to do with those other e-mails tied to Hillary Clinton — the ones which have recently been under official investigation, and in the news. It’s a completely different thing: e-mails sent out by her campaign for the White House, and unrelated to her time as Secretary of State.

Hillary Needs Me

Other e-mails, entirely too much like this, preceded the “I need you” e-mail I received yesterday. I’ve been making fun of them on Facebook for quite some time, but hadn’t brought them to my blog until now. I’m simply using cropped screenshots from my e-mail account for these pictures, and keeping the e-mail senders, subject lines, and dates together, for each e-mail. If anyone wishes to check the authenticity of these e-mails with the Clinton campaign, that’s fine with me. You’ll find that these e-mails are real (or they’ll lie to you; I can’t rule that out). If lies are told, I’ve got the evidence in my e-mail account, as do many others. This is not a complete set, either; it’s just the most recent of these, um, strange e-mails from her campaign minions. 

Hillary Needs Me 2

I don’t know how I got on Hillary Clinton’s presidential-campaign e-mail list, but I am not complaining about it. If I wasn’t on her campaign’s list, after all, I wouldn’t know that all these e-mails are going out, with her name (and sometimes others, as seen above) as the sender, and such things as “re: last night” in the subject line. That would deprive me of this opportunity to use real campaign materials to ridicule a major-party presidential candidate, or, in other words, prevent this particular bit of fun. There were other such e-mails before June 29 — long before, actually — but this is all of this kind of thing I can stand to put on my blog.

To Hillary Clinton (the person, not her campaign staff): Really, H.C.? Do you not monitor your campaign flunkies at all? These e-mails could bring new meaning to the term “madame president,” and I really don’t think they will help you at the ballot box, either.

To Donald Trump, and his ilk: don’t think this means I support you. I don’t.

For whom will I cast my vote, some may wonder? Well, I have it narrowed down to two candidates, but neither of their names appear in this post. For more information regarding where my vote will go, simply click here.

The “Trick Johnson” (?) — A Near-Miss Johnson Solid, Surrounded by Hilariously Mistranslated Japanese

I did not discover this polyhedron, although I wish I had, for it has quite a clever design.

The page where I found it (poorly-translated English version, where it’s called the “Trick Johnson,” whatever that means) is at http://www.geocities.jp/ikuro_kotaro/koramu/1053_g2.htm). I generally don’t repost much work by others here, but, for the “Trick Johnson,” I’m making an exception. By appearance, it’s a near-miss to the Johnson solids, based on combining characteristics of the dodecahedron, the snub cube, and the snub dodecahedron. It has chiral four-fold dihedral symmetry.

If you understand Japanese, I’m sure there’s a lot of interesting information at that linked page. If, on the other hand, you don’t, there’s still a good reason to follow that link: making fun of Google-Chrome’s built-in translator.

“Come very! It makes it the.” Say what?

 

New Largest Known Prime Number Revealed By Computer — After Four-Month Delay

newprime

I find it hilarious that the computer which made this discovery actually kept it a secret for four whole months.

Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2073909-prime-number-with-22-million-digits-is-the-biggest-ever-found/

From that article: “[Curtis] Cooper’s computer actually found the prime on 17 September 2015, but a bug meant the software failed to send an email alert reporting the discovery, meaning it went unnoticed until some routine maintenance a few months later.”

The Physics of Cats, Copperheads, Centipedes, Catbounce, and Catbouncemax

catbouncemax

Definition of catbouncemax (shortened form of “maximum catbounce”): for any particular cat, its catbouncemax is equal to the takeoff kinetic energy of that cat if it suddenly and unexpectedly finds itself face-to-face with an adult copperhead snake.

I’ve actually seen this happen. Really. The cat reached a height I estimate as 1.4 meters.

Measured in joules, a cat’s catbouncemax can most easily be approximated by observing and estimating the maximum height of the cat under these conditions. For ethical and safety reasons, of course, one must simply be observant, and wait for this to happen. Deliberately introducing cats and copperheads (or other dangerous animals) to each other is specifically NOT recommended. Staying away from copperheads, on the other hand, IS recommended. Good science requires patience!

After the waiting is over (be prepared to wait for years), and the cat’s maximum height h, in meters, has been estimated, the cat’s catbouncemax can then be determined by energy conservation, since its takeoff kinetic energy (formerly stored as feline potential energy, until the moment the cat spots the copperhead) is equal to the gravitational potential energy (PE = mgh) of the cat at the top of the parabolic arc. In the catbounce I witnessed, the cat who encountered a copperhead (while walking through tall grass, which is why the cat didn’t see the snake coming) was a big cat, at an estimated mass of 6.0 kg. His catbouncemax was therefore, by energy conservation, equal to mgh = (6.0 kg)(1.4 m)(9.81 m/s²) = ~82 joules, which means this particular cat had 82 J of ophidiofeline potential energy stored, specifically for use in the event of an encounter with a large, adult copperhead, or other animal (there aren’t many) with the ability to scare this cat equally as much as such a copperhead. (I’m using a copperhead in this account for one reason: that’s the type of animal which initiated the highest catbounce I have ever witnessed, and I seriously doubt that this particular cat could jump any higher than 1.4 m, under any  circumstances.)

It should be noted that the horizontal distance covered by a catbounce is not needed to calculate a cat’s catbouncemax. However, this horizontal distance will not be zero, as is apparent in the diagram above. Why? Simple: cats don’t jump straight up in reaction to copperheads, for they are smart enough not to want to fall right back down on top of such a snake.

It is more common, of course, for cats to jump away from scary things which are less scary than adult copperheads. For example, there certainly exist centipedes which are large enough to scare a cat, causing it to catbounce, but with that centipede-induced catbounce being less than its catbouncemax. The following fictional dialogue demonstrates how such lesser catbounces can be most easily described. (Side note: this dialogue is set in Arkansas, where we have cats and copperheads, and where I witnessed the copperhead-induced maximum catbounce described above.)

She: Did you see that cat jump?!?

He: Yep! Must be something scary, over there in that there flowerpatch, for Cinnamon to jump that high. At least I know it’s not a copperhead, though.

She: A copperhead? How do you know that?

He: Oh, that was quite a jump, dear, but a real copperhead would give that cat of yours an even higher catbounce than that! The catbounce we just saw was no more than 75% of Cinnamon’s catbouncemax, and that’s being generous.

She: Well, what IS in the flowerpatch? Something sure scared poor Cinnamon! Go check, please, would you?

He: [Walks over from the front porch, where the couple has been standing this whole time, toward the flowerpatch. Once he gets half-way there, he stops abruptly, and shouts.] Holy %$#@! That’s the biggest centipede I’ve ever seen!

She: KILL IT! KILL IT NOW!