Monday, January 30, 2006

1/30/06 Scales. Moh, Scoville and Richter.

One of my new favorite Podcasts is "The Naked Scientists". It's a British radio show. People will call in during the show to ask questions pertaining to the topic of the day. Then the hosts will ask science trivia questions for some prize. One of their questions referred to The Mohs Scale. The Mohs scale is a scale of hardness. Talc is on the bottom of the scale, being the softest. And a diamond is on top, being the hardest. Well almost on top - diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring material. There are some harder man-made materials.

The Scoville scale is a way to measure the hotness of peppers.

And now onto the Richter Scale. I was taught that the Richter Scale was logarithmic. And I thought that a 6.0 earthquake was 10 times worse than a 5.0. Turns out, the amount of energy released between a 6.0 and a 5.0 is 32 times. For every 1.0 jump, the amount of energy released is 32 times greater. A 6.0 earthquake is the equivalent of 1,000,000 tons of TNT. A 9.0 quake (like the one in Chile in 1960) was the equivalent of 32,000,000,000 tons of TNT.

We're coming up on the end of the month and I began to think for a second - Does January have 30 days or 31? More to the point, is rent due tomorrow or the day after? Then I plotted out the months, remembering that both December/January and July/August are back-to-back 31 day months. Which leaves us with 7 months of 31 days, 4 months of 30 days and 1 month of 28 days. Now, call me crazy here... But why did we need to make February all complicated? What would've been wrong with 5 months of 31 days and 7 months of 30 days? It still adds up. Why take it out on February? Who's in charge here? And how do I get a hold of him?

1 comment:

Mister Abrams said...

Blame Julius and Augustus Caesar for July and August being so long and February being so short.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_160.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February

Enjoy! -- From misterabrams.com

P.S. Your stoich was pretty good. We might use the problems on a Mol-ympics