Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Z is for Zero!

Here is a brief history of Zero.

Numbers were used for thousands of years before they used zero. Egyptian hieroglyphics were used as early as 3500 B.C. Egypt did not have - or need - a zero. Even without zero, Egyptians became masters of mathematics.

The Greeks brought mathematics to its highest point in ancient times. Around 500 BC, the Greeks developed a newer more sophisticated system which avoided repeated letters, but both the Egyptian and Greek number systems still had no zeros.
And yes, the symbol for 80 is Pi
In 2500 B.C., the Babylonians started to use Base 60 (which is why there are 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour). They sometimes used a space to represent an empty position. By about 200 A.D., they used a pair of small triangles to represent an empty position. Although the Babylonians never actually invented a zero, they did make the important first step.

Hindu culture had a positional number system in base ten. They used a dot to represent an empty place, and was called Sunya’ which meant empty. At this point, the early zero was a placeholder and an aid in calculation. By 500 A.D., the Hindus use a small circle to represent Zero, and was recognized as a numeral.

Arabic people recognized the value of the Hindu system and adapted the numerals and calculations. Word then spread the ideas in their travels The zero was named with the Arabic word ‘sifz’. Fibonacci, after learning Hindu-Arabic numerals from his Arabic tutors, brought news of zero and new computational methods to Europe.
Europeans resisted Hindu-Arabic numerals. At first, the numerals, including zero, were not accepted, even to the point where Florence, Italy, passed a law prohibiting the use of the numerals. Slowly, the numbers became accepted

In the history of culture the discovery of zero will always stand out as one of the greatest single achievements of the human race.
                                                -Tobias Danzig

Zero is the number that separates positive numbers from negative numbers. It’s even, it’s the integer that precedes one. Happy A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Friday, 26 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - W is for Whales with legs

Whales have lost their hind legs (the front ones are now their flippers), and we have a pretty good fossil record of how they did so, thanks in large part to the work of Phil Gingerich (see his great whale evolutionsite here) and his collaborators.
Although whales lack external hind legs, they do have internal rudiments of the hind limbs and pelvic girdle, as seen at the top of the above image, which goes through the evolutionary process of how whales came to be. I think whales having legs is pretty much the most fool proof way of proving evolution. 
Also this, because it made me laugh

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - V is for Voyager 1

Voyager 1 is on the edge of the solar system! It was lauched in 1977, and is only now reaching the edge of the solar system, or the outer heliosphere to be exact.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - T is for The Name of the Doctor

It has been released that the last episode of Series 7 will be called 'The Name of the Doctor'. When I saw this, and my first thought was 'Oh ok, surely they wont tell everyone his name, maybe it will just show it in Gallifreyan or something' but then, on closer inspection, I panicked. For this episode is written by Steven Moffat. Then my thoughts switched to 'ohgodholyshititsruinedjustleavedrwhoalonemoffatyoufoolyouhavenoideawhatsgoingonjustleavekthanksbye'
On a more positive note, it seems that Clara and River will meet for the first time. Should be interesting...

Monday, 22 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - S is for Scott Pilgrim and Sex Bob-Omb

This nice Lego set up of the band Sex Bob-Omb was made by Beck the same Beck who made all the music for Sex Bob-Omb in the Scott Pilgrim movie. Only instead of a famous singer dude, this Beck is a female teacher residing in the U.K. Go figure.

Friday, 19 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Q is for Queen Elizabeth II

Here are a few things I bet you didn't know about Queen Elizabeth Windsor

  • She speaks fluent french
  • She is the 40th ruler since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066
  • There have been 12 British Prime Ministers during her reign
  •  She was the first British Monarch to celebrate her diamond wedding anniversary
  • Her real birthday is this Sunday (April 21), but it's celebrated in June, because April 21 is too close to Easter
  • And last but not least, she has 30 god children.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - P is for Pizza

If you have a pizza that has a radius of 'z', and a thickness of 'a', then the volume of the pizza is Pi(z*z)a

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - O is for OneMoreLevel

OneMoreLevel is an awesome flash game site that is regularly updating. Sorry this is sort of a crappy O, but I can't think of anything else for the life of me.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - N is for Nerd

No-one is really sure where the term 'nerd' came from. There are several possibilities to the origins of this word.

Dr Seuss's If I Ran the Zoo

The first appearance of the word 'nerd' is in the 1950 Dr Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo. The book talks about a boy who is bored with all the plain animals in his local menagerie and describes the wonderful, exotic creatures he would exhibit if he was head zookeeper. An example of these beasts is the fantastic Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, which is described as "the world's biggest bird from the island of Gwark, who eats only pine trees, and spits out the bark."
The word 'nerd' appears in the line:
And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo
and a PROO
and a SEERSUCKER, too!

Only a year after the publication of the Dr Seuss book, 'nerd' started appearing in several American newspapers. However, this is probably not because of If I Ran the Zoo.
On October 8 1951, page eight of Newsweek, a weekly newspaper from New York that ran from 1933 to December 2012, reported:
In Detroit, someone who once would be called a drip or a square is now, regrettably, a nerd, or in a less severe case, a scurve.
There are several other sources of newspapers with the word 'nerd' now with its current definition. By the 1950's,it is believed that this word had spread throughout America, an d eventually, the world.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - L is for Light Pokémon

A new light Pokémon has been released! Going by the Japanese name Ferion, it is a Light/Flying type. With it's release was more information about how light type will work.
  • Offensively, Light types will be Super Effective against Dark, Fighting, and Steel types. They will not be very effective against Rock, Psychic, or other Flying types.
  • Defensively, Light types will be weak against Ghost, Poison, and Dark types and resistant to Fighting and Light.
How can you not be excited for this?!

Friday, 12 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - K is for Korea and Kim

Uhh, again we're hearing about North Korea threatening someone about something over nothing. Hey Kim, your people will still love you if you don't threaten to blow up stuff. You just need to get a grip and chill out for a while.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - J is for Jokes

Here are some really good nerdy jokes
  • A Higgs boson particle goes into church and the preacher said "Higgs boson particles aren't allowed in here! You call yourself the God particle, and that's sacrilegious!" The Higgs boson particle replies, "If you don't allow Higgs boson particles, how do you have mass?"
  • Why did the chicken cross the mobius strip? To get to the same side
  • Theres a band called 1023MB. They haven't got any gigs yet

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - I is for Interrobang

This hybrid punctuation mark is pretty much the only punctuation symbol that was born in the USA. The interrobang combines a question mark and an exclamation mark to indicate a mixture of query and shock, ie: "She said what" The interrobang first made a public appearance in early 1950s US comic books

Monday, 8 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - G is for Gold

Here are 10 facts about gold, just because

  1. Gold is the only metal that is yellow or "golden". Other metals may develop a yellowish color, but only after they have oxidized or reacted with other chemicals.
  2. Nearly all of the gold on Earth came from meteorites that bombarded the planet over 200 million years after it formed.
  3. The element symbol for gold is Au. The symbol comes from the old Latin name for gold, aurum, which means "shining dawn" or "glow of sunrise". The word "gold" comes from the Germanic languages, originating from the Proto-Germanic gulþ and Proto-Indo-European ghel, meaning "yellow/green". The pure element has been known since ancient times.
  4. Gold is extremely ductile. A single ounce of gold (about 28 grams) can be stretched into a gold thread 5 miles (8 kilometers) long. Gold threads can even be used as embroidery thread.
  5. Malleability is a measure of how easily a material can be hammered into thin sheets. Gold is the most malleable element. A single ounce of gold can be beaten out into a sheet that is 300 square feet. A sheet of gold can be made thin enough to be transparent. Very thin sheets of gold may appear greenish blue because gold strongly reflects red and yellow.
  6. Although gold is a heavy, dense metal, it is generally considered non-toxic. Gold metal flakes may be eaten in foods or drinks.
  7. 24 karat gold is pure elemental gold. 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold. 14 karat gold is 58.5% pure gold, and 10 karat gold is 41.7% pure gold. The remaining portion of the metal usually is silver, but may consist of other metals or a combination of metals, such as platinum, copper, palladium, zinc, nickel, iron, and cadmium.
  8. Gold is a noble metal. It is relatively unreactive and resists degradation by air, moisture, or acidic conditions.
  9. Gold has many uses, aside from its monetary and symbolic value. Among other applications, it is used in electronics, electrical wiring, dentistry, electronics, medicine, radiation shielding, and to color glass.
  10. High purity metallic gold is odorless and tasteless. This makes sense, since the metal is nonreactive  Metal ions are what confers flavor and odor to metallic elements and compounds. Because of this, many official food tasters use gold cutlery.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - F is for Finding Dory?!

Really Pixar? I mean the Toy Story sequels were good, Cars 2 was a little bit unnecessary, the Monsters Inc. prequel is coming out soon, and I sort of thought that Finding Nemo was one of those movies that should just be left alone. I was sort of hoping that this was some sort of April Fools thing, but sadly I think it's real, with a scheduled release for November 25, 2015. I mean come on, whats next, 'Rata2ey'?

Friday, 5 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - E is for Evolution

I love this picture, from the movie Paul. I really think it shows Christians' attitudes towards other beliefs/theories.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - D is for Darwin and David and Doctor Who

It was revealed to me some time last week, that in the movie 'Pirates - Band of Misfits', set in 1837, the character Charles Darwin (the naturalist) is voiced by David Tennant, the tenth actor to play Doctor Who. Martin Freeman also has a main role in the film.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - C is for Candy Printer

Fab Cafe in Tokyo now offers 3D printed candies of yourself! Using specialised scanning systems, customers can turn various different poses into candies with their choice of gummi bear flavour.