(Roughly) Daily

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit”*…

You spend your time tweeting, friending, liking, poking, and in the few minutes left, cultivating friends in the flesh. Yet sadly, despite all your efforts, you probably have fewer friends than most of your friends have. But don’t despair — the same is true for almost all of us. Our friends are typically more popular than we are…

Mathematics maven Steven Strogatz explains why in his New York Times Opinionator blog post “Friends You can Count On” (part of a terrific series, “Me, Myself, and Math.”

* Aristotle

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As we ponder Oscar Wilde’s observation that “true friends stab you in the front,” we might send prophylactic birthday greetings to Samuel W. Alderson; he was born on this date in 1914.  A physicist and engineer of broad accomplishment, Alderson is probably best remembered as the inventor of the crash test dummy.  Alderson created his first dummies in 1956 to test jet ejection seats for the military.  But with the passage of the Highway Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966 (on the heels of the stir created by Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed), Alderson found a much broader market.  (From the first experiments on car safety in the 1930s, cadavers had been used to assess risk and damage; the dummy had obvious advantages.)  Alderson continuously improved his dummies, and later branched out to produce medical “phantoms” for simulations– e.g., synthetic wounds that ooze mock blood.

 source

Written by LW

October 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

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