austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Down where it's wetter

Venice is suffering its worst flooding in centuries. I mean, it's flooding above and beyond its normal flooded nature; as in, stuff typically above water is below. The reason? The compelling one is: my mother's vacationing there. She's there with one of her college friends -- the math major. Don't tell me that's not significant.

I'm probably the last person in the world to mention this, but University of Minnesota researchers reported in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal that based on their experiments one can swim in syrup just as fast as one can in water. They poured 300 kilograms of guar gum into a 25-meter swimming pool to simulate syrup. The key results: viscosity is not a significant factor in the speed of swimming (something Isaac Newton and Christian Huygens speculated about); and the undergraduate research program needs tighter supervision. Think of the poor janitor, too.

Trivia: English King George III gave £500 for immediate expenses and a pension of £4000 to Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stewart, a Stuart pretender to the English throne, after ``Henry IX'' was impoverished by the French occupation of the Papal States. Source: George III, Christopher Hibbert.

Currently Reading: The Visitors, Clifford Simak. After huge featureless boxes drop all over the U.S. eat trees and disrupt urban, suburban, and rural landscapes with unpredictable obstructions, they begin manufacturing cars and houses and scattering them about, apparently unaware of the economic chaos they thusly wreak or the inconvenience they cause (landing in the middle of sports stadiums and not budging, taking over farmer's plots and growing their own pines; hovering along following commercial airliners, that sort of thing). Yes: in 1979 Clifford Simak gave us a satisfactory explanation of WalMart. Except for the following airplanes part (so far).


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