‘Sort of’ – academic study

October 22nd, 2018

When did English-speaking people start saying “sort of”? The phrase can be found at least as far back as 1788 – as is explained in this paper ‘History of the sort of construction family’ (presented at ICCG2: Second International Conference on Construction Grammar, Helsinki.) by David Denison FBA, Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics at the University of Manchester, UK.

Also see : The professor’s observations on counterfactual ‘may have’

[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]

Inertial Properties of the German Shepherd Dog [research study]

October 21st, 2018

Dogs and physics both figure heavy in the figuring in this new study of the inertial properties of German shepherd dogs:

Inertial Properties of the German Shepherd Dog,” O. Yvette Jones, Silvia U. Raschke, and Philip E. Riches, PLoS One, vol. 13, no. 10, 2018, e0206037. The authors, at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada, and the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, report:

“This paper provides a complete set of body segment parameters and inertial properties for the German Shepherd. Morphometric measures and 3-dimensional inertial properties, including mass, centre of mass, moment of inertia and volume, were measured from 17 segments from 6 German Shepherd police service dog cadavers. Using whole body mass and geometric modelling, 11 regression equations were developed for predicting segment masses, and 33 equations were developed for predicting moments of inertia.”

The vortex and the dandelion seed: a newfound physics of flying

October 20th, 2018

A new paper (“A separated vortex ring underlies the flight of the dandelion“) published in Nature tells how dandelion seeds create a vortex that keeps them floating through the skies. This little video shows and tells the story of that:

(Thanks to the ever-discovery-filled Cocktail Party Physics for bringing this to our attention.)

UPDATE (October 21, 2018): Nature published an editorial about this discovery, in which they say: “The floating of a seed shows how appreciating the wonders of the Universe can begin with a new look at the everyday.”

Explanation, by Ig winners, of imitation of chimps and people by each other

October 20th, 2018

The 2018 Ig Nobel Anthropology Prize winners explain their research about chimpanzees and humans imitating each other, in an essay published by The Conversation.

A Million Random Digits [research study, with implied drama]

October 19th, 2018

The book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates is appreciated in the article “A Million Random Digits,” which is one of the articles in the special Numbers issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, which is one of the 142 issues published so far!

The original, digit-laden study was published by the Rand Corporation in 1955. We so appreciate that original study that we produced this video version of our appreciation:

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