All the Best Bits

The Undercover Economist: Highly Recommended

I just finished reading Tim Harford’s book, “The Undercover Economist” and can heartily recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in how all sorts of markets work from coffee shops, supermarkets, to sulfur and carbon emissions markets all the way through national economic policy surrounding globalization and free-trade. The subtitle reads “Exposing…

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Winning the Casual Games Arms Race

I’m a big fan of disruptive technologies, and  I love it even more if there is a nice basis in applied physics.  So check out the Jenga Pistol. It will allow you to instantly crush your old-school opposition using the simple principles of impact and inertia.  It’s also instructive to consider some winning Jenga strategies…

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More Lego Engines

Here’s another rev of a couple of my favorite working Lego pneumatic engines, a new V8 and a smaller inline 4.  The new models sport several innovations that improve the balance in the crank and cam shafts (important if you have flexible shafts that suffer from torsion), and reduces the number of valves and moving…

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Fighting Foreign Energy Dependence

Last week’s post on the Globalization of Leadership ended with a clarion-call for change. Given that the entire US economy is built upon a foundation of energy and energy policy, it makes sense to start looking there to see where the biggest economic levers lie.  Here, I offer a somewhat more analytical approach than can…

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Structured-Illumination Microscopy

A stunning new technology out of UCSF and recently published in Science is producing some of the most amazing 3-D images of living cells. “We threw the conventional microscope out the window and began again,” says John Sedat, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Lego Engines

I’ve been fiddling around with all sorts of compressed-air engines over the past few years, but these Lego Technic engines by Alex Zorko are really something.   Check out these two examples, an inline 4 cylinder and a V8, each of which goes over 1000 RPMs.  You really can make anything with Legos.  Assembly instructions, parts…

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Misunderstanding Math

The strange looks combined with the gasps of horror are starting to get to me. I thought that after all these years I was getting used to it, but it happened again at a recent conference.  At Stanford, no less.  I had made the mistake in public company of mentioning how much I loved math…

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