(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘world record

“There is an art to flying… the knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss”…

 

Some readers will recall that (R)D has kept an eye on the state of paper airplane engineering. Today, from Guinness laureate John Collins, a lesson in how to fold the world record paper airplane.

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Enthusiasts can join Collins in his Kickstarter campaign to use paper aviation as way to stoke interest in STEM subjects in schools, museums, and libraries around the country and the world– now in its final days.

* Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

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As we worry about wingspan, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that the New York City Board of Education voted to establish the Bronx High School of Science.  A report by the Board of Superintendents had recommended creating an institution to develop “a scientific way of thinking,” with courses to train prospective physicians, dentists, engineers and laboratory workers. Using entrance exams to screen for suitable ability, about 400 boys were admitted to the first cohort, which matriculated in September of that year in a repurposed building. The school has grown to a full enrollment of about 2,500, and is fully coed.

The school has graduated eight Nobel laureates, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, and six winners of the national Medal of Science; 29 of the 2000 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences are alums.  But the graduate cohort is an eclectic bunch, accomplished in other ways as well:  e.g., the great Otto Penzler, editor/collector/archivist of espionage and thriller books; Millard “Mickey” Drexler, CEO, J.Crew; ex-CEO, Gap; Jon Favreau, actor/director of Elf, Iron Man I & II, Chef and others: Mark Boal, journalist, screenwriter and producer, winner of 2010 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for The Hurt Locker; and Jonathan Kibera, Venture Hacker at AngelList.

The Gothic building at 84th St. and Creston Ave. that housed the school from its founding in 1938 until 1959

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Written by LW

February 23, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”*…

 

The Superbowl is past. so now our collective anticipation can shift to the Academy Awards…  by way of getting into the spirit, Nelson Carvajal‘s supercut of every winner of the Visual Effects Oscar since that category was (re)introduced in 1977:

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* Arthur C. Clarke

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As we ponder perspective, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980, on the TV series That’s Incredible, that Cal Tech graduate Fred Newman dueled at the free throw line with the NBA’s all-time best free throw shooter, Rick Barry.  Barry won the contest, but Newman sank 88 straight– while blindfolded.

Without the blindfold, Newman has made 1,481 consecutive free throws, far short of St. Martin’s Guinness record of 5,221. But he did set a record for most free throws made in a 24-hour period, soldiering on to sink 20,371 even after the skin on his fingertips separated and bled. “It didn’t affect my shot any,” he said of the blood, “but the ball got sticky and I had to wipe it off every hour or so.”

Read more about Fred here; see the video from which the frame above is excerpted here.

Written by LW

February 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

Reproducing excellence?…

 

Even the most perfect reproduction… is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.

– Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 

Julian Baggini recalls a taste test of coffees:

…With me were a coffee shop owner, two coffee obsessives, and a coffee-drinking friend. We were going to blind-taste three coffees: Nespresso capsule coffee, which is served in the restaurant; the traditional espresso that the hotel provides for room service; and a third unmarked coffee I had brought with me to be made the same way, just to see if the whole thing was nonsense and coffee is coffee is coffee. It was the artisan versus the machine…

In distant last place came the ground coffee I had brought, a very good quality, single-estate bean, but not roasted for espresso and ground four days earlier, a little too coarsely for Bruno’s machine. The traditional house espresso scored 18 points, and was the favourite of one taster. But the clear winner with 22 points was the Nespresso, which both scored most consistently and was the favourite of two of the four tasters…

His account becomes a meditation on authenticity:

The key descriptors for Nespresso were ‘smooth’ and ‘easy to drink’. And from the point of view of restaurateurs who use it, the key word is ‘consistency’. It was far from bland, but it was not challenging or distinctive either. It’s a coffee everyone can really like but few will love: the highest common denominator, if you like…

And humanity:

We are not simply hedonic machines who thrive if supplied with things that tick certain boxes for sensory pleasure, aesthetic merit, and so on. We are knowing as well as sensing creatures, and knowing where things come from, and how their makers are treated, does and should affect how we feel about them. Chocolate made from cocoa beans grown by people in near slave conditions should taste more bitter than a fairly traded bar, even if it does not in a blind tasting. Blindness, far from making tests fair, actually robs us of knowledge of what is most important, while perpetuating the illusion that all that really matters is how it feels or seems at the moment of consumption…

Read this eminently-interesting essay in its entirety in Aeon.

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As we accentuate the artisanal, we might recall that it was on this date in 1979 that ukelele sensation Tiny Tim set a new world record for non-stop professional singing– two hours and fifteen minutes– at Luna Park in Sydney, Australia.

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Written by LW

January 13, 2013 at 1:01 am

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