Tag Archive for 'science'

How large is the broad side of a barn, anyway?

Of course you know the idiom “can’t hit the broad side of a barn” of someone who has poor aim. That’s from 1852.

But how large is the broad side of a barn, anyway? Would you be surprised to learn that scientists have actually worked that out? And why do I know this??

Some time ago, I was trying to find a way to remember my license plate that ends with the letters “FB”. I don’t like a particular social media site so I was googling for other things that use those letters and discovered that it is also a unit of measurement used in particle physics: fb means femtobarn. I immediately chose that as my mnemonic simply because of its nerdy obscurity.

What I want to share here is its ridiculous back story: what the hell is a femtobarn?! Continue reading ‘How large is the broad side of a barn, anyway?’

The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See

No, this is not Hollywood, or even Halloween. Today I felt like surfing a little on YouTube and came across this video of a man proposing a solution to whether to treat global warming like a serious threat or not. His reasoning seems fair, and he presents his case very well. He asks only to be listened to. See if you can find a mistake in his reasoning. I can’t. Continue reading ‘The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See’