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Press and Pop Culture

Doritos™ Alchemy

I recently stumbled across this spec Doritos™ commercial David Ward made a six years ago. Really well done adaptations of the alchemist motif. You gotta love the list of ingredients (also, not listed, Unicorn tears): Staff of Anubis Philosopher Stone Rubber Hammer Rubber Nails Moon Rock Salt Archimedes Screw Harpsichord Parachute Blank Bag of Holding […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Jon Pace & the Latest Prime Number

In case you missed it, the world has a new largest prime number called M77232917: 46733318335923109998833558556111552125132110281771449579858233859356792348052117720748431109974020884962136809003804931724836 … and on and on and on for another 23,249,300 digits. That number is unimaginably large. It is so large that even analogies meant to help us wrap our minds around it are nearly unimaginable. Who can imagine a […]

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Press and Pop Culture

The Use and Abuse of Isaac Newton

Bitcoin’s recent rise has prompted an ever growing number of people to misstate and otherwise abuse Newton’s laws of motions. Predictions of a Bitcoin crash typically invoke “Newton’s Law of Universal Gravity [which] states that what goes up must come down” or some version of that “law”. The whole Newton’s law of “what goes up […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Astrolabes and S•Town

On Thursday, February 16, at 5:36 PM I was standing in a faculty meeting when my phone vibrated. I fished it out of my pocket and looked at the screen. I had just received a voicemail and a text from the same number, a number I didn’t recognize. The text asked, simply: “Is this the […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Yet Another Flat Earther

In a footnote to a previous post I worried that in a post on Columbus and the flat earth myth Valerie Strauss had preferred the opinions of a mathematician over the expertise of a historian. And in fact, Strauss did prefer the dilettante to the expert. She rejected the historian’s conclusions, which were based in […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Another Flat Earther

I marvel at the power of that old chestnut about people in the middle ages believing the earth was flat. Even a person who rejects the myth that Columbus proved the earth was a sphere nevertheless trots out the poor, benighted medieval Europeans as believers in a flat earth. Consider, for example, Valerie Strauss’s post […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Flat Earth Globe!

“As part of Groupon’s commitment to science,” the online coupon site offered on April 1 a special on 2-D, flat earth globes. The description neatly poked fun at the recent NBA fad to claim the earth is flat—gotta like referring to Shaquille O’Neal as “The Big Aristotle”—as well as conspiracy theories about NASA hiding evidence […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Atlas Obscura but Not So Accurata

Atlas Obscura seems to have reached a point that it no longer can describe itself as, well, obscura. The website enjoys more than 300,000 pageviews each day and has produced a book, which is currently the “#1 Best Seller in General Travel Reference” and #293 overall at Amazon. While individual entries might be, physically, off […]

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Press and Pop Culture

The Internet Discovers that Newton was an Alchemist

When Chemistry World reported on a Newton manuscript that CHF had recently purchased, it started a small epidemic of posts on Newton and alchemy. Within a few days hundreds of sites—ranging from sites like the Daily Kos and CNN to the Ancient Code and Facebook posts—had summarized, linked to, reposted, or transformed the original report.[1] […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Science won’t prevail unless …

“Science Will Prevail,” Anzar Abbas reassures readers in his recent op-ed. Although the Trump administration “wants to ignore facts and instead believe whatever makes it feel most comfortable,” he is confident that “no matter what an ignorant administration may throw at science and reason, it will prevail. It always has.” To make his case, Abbas […]