Sriracha (Chips) in Suburbia?

AKA Observation vs. Inference.

Lay’s has recently introduced a limited edition run of potato chips in three flavors: Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Chicken and Waffles. The idea is that people will try these flavors and vote on which one should become a permanent flavor.

I love Sriracha. Only The Oatmeal can describe how much I love Sriracha. So I asked people what stores they’d managed to find them at and began my quest.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an empty shelf in the potato chip aisle before, let alone two. Yet there before me were several cubic feet of disappointment.

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When I cook unscientifically…

…it ends up sticking to the pan.

The SigFig and I moved in together last month, and meals have been…interesting. We’re on very different work schedules and he’s kind of a picky eater, so we often fend for ourselves in the kitchen. I like cooking, though, and I’ve been trying to put together meals that we both enjoy. One of the dishes that falls into this category is also one that I’d never cooked before I moved in: fried rice.

My first few attempts were decent, but none of them were quite right. (Bear in mind that the SigFig and I both have Asian mothers, thus any fried rice I make could never measure up to either of their versions.) I felt that my rice wasn’t frying up evenly; it was probably too clumpy going in and I don’t think I was moving it around enough in the pan.

On my most recent venture I wanted to remedy these issues, but in my attempt I committed a major scientific no-no:

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…don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal.

AKA Freebody Diagrams, Part Two.

For a definition of/conceptual take on freebody diagrams and the forces within them, make sure you check out Part One, then head on back here to plug in the numbers.

Let’s begin by reviewing our basic freebody diagram from last time- but with one small change.

standardfreebodydiagramlessfriction
Click to enlarge.

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If you’re feeling a little perpendicular tonight…

…or, Freebody Diagrams: Part One.

How does a 27-year-old science enthusiast amuse herself on a Saturday night? By doing things like this:

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Tiny Einstein is always watching.

So what on Earth is this? (Besides evidence that I’ve really got to get out more…) This is an elaborate photographic representation of a freebody diagram, which is a visual tool that you can use to analyze the forces acting on an object. In a freebody diagram, you draw arrows to represent the strength and direction of all the forces acting on an object. The standard introductory freebody diagram has four forces in it:

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The science of physical attraction

First off, this post is probably not about what you think it’s about.

Second off, even if you are alone on Valentine’s Day, take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t mean that no one is attracted to you. In fact, everyone is attracted to you! Every THING is attracted to you.

Gravitationally, that is.

We’re used to defining gravity as the force that holds us down on Earth, but there’s actually a gravitational force between any two objects that have mass. There’s an attractive force between you and Earth, you and the moon, you and your good-looking neighbor…so why are we always pulled toward Earth and not our neighbors?

The answer can be explained mathematically.

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SiS (Super!) Quickie: Happy Birthday, Darwin!

Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species, was born 204 years ago today.

Darwin accomplished great things and helped pave the way for much of modern biology, but whenever I think about him I always think about the fact that he tried to ride a tortoise. I think there’s no better way to pay tribute to him than to follow in his footsteps.

SiS Quickie: There are so many ways to play Dominion

As you may recall from this post, I like figuring out how many options I have. This comes up a lot in one of my primary interests besides science: tabletop gaming.

The significant figure in my life (hereafter referred to as the SigFig) and I played a round of Dominion tonight. Each game of Dominion is played with 10 types of kingdom card, and the base set has 25 types to choose from. Let’s do our calculation.

25!/((25-10)!*10!) = 3,268,760

If the SigFig and I played 10 games a day, we’d have to play every day for over 895 and a half years to try every possible combination.
And that’s just the base game. Don’t even get me started on the expansions.