How culpability effects pain perception

April 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Comic, Geeky, Parenting, Science

How culpability effects pain perceptionOne curiosity I’ve noticed as I watch my children grow into their bodies is how they react to pain. There are days where it seems like the childhood is one long series of injuries. No doubt every parent has seen this, but when a kid is pushed to the ground on the playground by another kid, the chances of the victim running to his Mommy for consolation is much higher than if the kid was doing something stupid or dangerous and fell. If you’re a kid, and you hurt yourself by doing something stupid or risky the resulting pain appears to be minimized.
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Deadly Spanish Air Currents

August 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism, Spain, Weird

Curtain in BreezeCultural differences fascinate me, as do superstitions. So naturally I am enthralled by the utter mortal fear Spaniards have for air currents, specifically those running through a house. Every time I open two windows on either side of my house to get a nice current of fresh air running through, I am told to close one of the windows, because air currents (corrientes) are dangerous. When there’s a baby or child in the house – forget about it! – the importance of reducing air pressure differentials goes up by several orders of magnitude. Everyone in Spain knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who died because they had fresh air running through their house.
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Blindfolded Wine Taste Test: Can you distinguish white from red? Cheap from expensive?

June 11, 2012 By: erik Category: Experiments, Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism, Spain, Wine

Blind Wine Taste TestHave you ever heard the claim that some wine experts, when blindfolded, cannot actually tell white wine from red wine? My gut reaction was the same as everyone’s, “That’s ridiculous, they’re so different!!” But I know enough about psychology and illusions to know that the wine industry is mostly bullshit, and it’s very possible that we might be kidding ourselves. Ever since hearing this claim, I’ve been dying to run an experiment on myself. This past weekend, I finally had the time and wine and test subjects… My parents, wife and I drank wine blindfolded to see how good we were at sensing the wine in the glass without our eyes.
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How big is the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

December 16, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Musings, Photos, Science

Earth's UmbraWhen I saw yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was fascinated by just how big the Earth’s shadow is on the Moon. When I made a comment to this effect on Facebook, my friend, Josh Grady, said, “It’d depend on the distance between the two, no?” Of course the size of a shadow depends on the distance to the object its cast upon, but I hadn’t considered that the distance from the Earth to the Moon varies, due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth-Moon barycenter, by 42,840 km, causing it to appear 12% smaller at its apogee than at its perigee. This raised the question: What are the minimum and maximum sizes of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

To the geometrymobile!
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Thunderstorm

September 26, 2007 By: erik Category: Colindres, Geeky, Videos, Weird

Last weekend, we had a thunderstorm come through. They are way more rare here than in my native North Carolina. We also have two new cranes that have been put up next to our house to build even more housing. Intrigued by the idea of two visible metal cranes towering into the sky and a coming electrical storm, I set up my camera to record out the window.
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