Further on the physics of froth

November 20th, 2014

Hard and soft on the heels of the announcement about beer foam’s anti-spillage property comes other news about beer foam research:

Physics of Beer Tapping,” Javier Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Almudena Casado-Chacón, and Daniel Fuster, Physical Review Letters, 113, 214501, 20 November 2014. The authors report:

“The popular bar prank known in colloquial English as beer tapping consists in hitting the top of a beer bottle with a solid object, usually another bottle, to trigger the foaming over of the former within a few seconds. Despite the trick being known for a long time, to the best of our knowledge, the phenomenon still lacks scientific explanation. Although it seems natural to think that shock-induced cavitation enhances the diffusion of CO2 from the supersaturated bulk liquid into the bubbles by breaking them up, the subtle mechanism by which this happens remains unknown. Here, we show that the overall foaming-over process can be divided into three stages where different physical phenomena take place in different time scales: namely, the bubble-collapse (or cavitation) stage, the diffusion-driven stage, and the buoyancy-driven stage…. The physics behind this explosive process sheds insight into the dynamics of geological phenomena such as limnic eruptions.”

(Thanks to investigator Andrew Garner for bringing this to our attention.)

Lauren Davis wrote about this, earlier in the year, in Io9: “Why does beer overflow when you tap one bottle on top of another?

Olivia Castellini made a video in which she demonstrates and explains the phenomenon:

Officially: “Couldn’t be reached”

November 20th, 2014

Couldn’t be reached” is a new web site that “will highlight instances of officials not commenting to journalists on the record.”

The Center for Public Integrity, which runs the site, explains:

It will focus on the institutions and people in power — both private and public — who refuse to comment on the record on stories in the public interest. It will be nonpartisan and apply the same high standards to its postings at the Center applies to its investigative reporting.

This is a growing collection of data about a lack of data. We may, as some claim, be living in the Age of Big Data, but we are simultaneously living in the Age of Zip Data.

Initially, the site is US-centric. We hope it will become international.

(Thanks to Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.)

20th Nov. Today is World Philosophy Day

November 20th, 2014

To mark the event of World Philosophy Day 2014, Oxford University Press is making available a selection of free downloads of notable philosophical works. May we recommend ‘Just go ahead and lie’ Analysis (2012) 72 (1): 3-9, by Jennifer Saul, who is head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield.

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“The view that lying is morally worse than merely misleading is a very natural one, which has had many prominent defenders. Nonetheless, here I will argue that it is misguided: holding all else fixed, acts of mere misleading are not morally preferable to acts of lying, and successful lying is not morally worse than merely deliberately misleading. In fact, except in certain very special contexts, I will suggest that – when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie.”

Also see: Lying – what is it, truly?

An Evening of Dramatic Improbable Readings, Wed at MIT

November 19th, 2014

Join us Wednesday for… Dramatic Improbable Readings at the MIT Press Bookstore:

An Evening of Dramatic Improbable Readings

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
5:30 pm
The MIT Press Bookstore,292 main Street, Cambridge

Please join us in the Bookstore for an improbable event: A Dramatic Improbable Reading performance! To celebrate his new books This Is Improbable Too and The Ig Nobel Cookbook (Vol. 1), author Marc Abrahams will dramatically read brief passages from bizarre-but-genuine scientific studies, joined by several guest dramatic readers: biomedical researcher Chris Cotsapas; science journalist Cara Giaimo; science journalist Michael Greshko; etiquette columnist Robin Abrahams; and others. If you enjoyed the Ig Nobel Lectures at MIT, you are sure to have a good time at this event.

Marc Abrahams is the Editor and Co-Founder of The Annals of Improbable Research. You may also recognize him as the Emcee of the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony!

Open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Event Info: (617) 253-5249

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PR headline: “Car crash survival rates increase with being younger, male and driving a big vehicle”

November 19th, 2014

Today’s PR Headline of the Day appears atop a press release from Indiana University:

Car crash survival rates increase with being younger, male and driving a big vehicle