Things 43: Indian Superman, Pub Quiz Physics, Star Wars Collection

(Originally sent March 2009)

The joy of cultural differences – Indian Superman (sound essential for when they get to the musical number):

(Note that their superman does not wear red pants on the outside – clearly they thought that would just be silly)

A link to the non-text bit of another video, also showing the joy of cultural differences – a hard-hitting realistic portrayal of modern warfare featuring large-headed anthropomorphised animals, with a dramatically incongruous title:

[Video has been removed – try this link and make a cup of tea or something while the 90s pre-roll advert happens – T.M. 16/4/11]

[That video was removed too, try this search on Youtube – T.M. 17/5/22]


H. G. Wells: “History is the race between education and catastrophe.”

Last Week’s Puzzle
Last week
I asked how much longer a string stretched around the earth’s equator would need to be if it were to be raised by one meter (or indeed metre). Since the circumference of a circle is 2*pi*r, the new circumference would be 2*pi*(r+1) = 2*pi*r + 2*pi*1, i.e. 2*pi longer – under 7 metres.

This is counterintuitive since it seems very small, and it also doesn’t depend on what the radius of the earth is. A way to comprehend this intuitively is to imagine a square instead of a circle – to extend a string wrapped around a square of any size by one metre would always need two metres of string to be added at each corner.

This week
: pub quiz physics. The most abundant element in the universe is Hydrogen which has 1 proton. The next most abundant is Helium with 2 protons. What is the third most abundant element in the universe?

Apparently some people didn’t know about my Star Wars collection. Here it is – click to view full size:


Things 41: Microsoft Future (revoked), Identification by humming, Watermelon Carving

(Originally sent February 2009)

Last week’s Things got out of hand, so I will try to be concise this time.

Microsoft present a vision of the future somewhat obsessed with wafer-thin touch-screens, and unlike a lot of visions of the future I only think some of it is ridiculous and impractical:

[Video is no longer available, and I can’t seem to find it elsewhere on the internet. Perhaps Microsoft changed their mind about the future. – T.M. 3rd April 2011]

I saw a great film this week, here’s a quote that shows you how great it was:

[on the phone] “Hello? Cobra Bubbles? Aliens are attacking my house. They want my dog! Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw.”

I’ll name the film next week, for those that don’t know and don’t want to Google.

Crowdsourced song identification. Sing / hum / play 10 seconds of a tune you need to find the name of into your computer microphone on this site, and people will listen to it and send you their suggestions. More fun (if you don’t have a microphone and a song in mind) is listening to people tunelessly humming tiny fragments of songs at widely varying volume levels with a strange echo (because they have their speakers on) and trying to identify them:

A famous bit of trivia that has been passed around for years holds that over the course of 7 years, every cell in your body will have been replaced with a new one. Are there any simple ways to disprove this?

Watermelon carving has been taken to an extremely high level.