Friday, April 29, 2011

SunPower Bid

So, last October, I picked up a small piece of SunPower (SPWRA) in the $13-14 range. Today, the major French energy company, Total (TOT), announced that it would buy 60% of the company for $23.25 a share.

Too bad I did not buy more, but it's still a nice pop. Maybe it's time to exit this one and find a new home for the cash. I suppose that gives me something to think about it this weekend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Killer Farts

Here's something that I've thought about on and off for some time, but since I've never spent any time researching it, it may be completely inaccurate. So, we know that one of the best ways to prevent sickness is by keeping clean... washing our hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, not leaving random food around, etc. Ingesting poop is pretty much going to be a health hazard.

Now, when someone farts and you smell it, usually it smells bad... kinda like poop. Now, does that mean that poop particles actually made it into your nose? If it were the case that the poop particles did not actually leave someone's anus and find their way into your nose, then you wouldn't smell it, right?

Does that mean that farting in public (where others can smell it) can increase the spreading of disease? Or, does it not work that way? Same goes for people that take rather odoriferous dumps in a public bathroom stall... are they affecting the health of others?

Maybe it is not necessary for a particulate to enter your nose for you to smell something, but that just doesn't seem right. Anyone have any answers?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Logic Problem

I'm a big nerd. Here's a problem for all you other nerds out there.

We have 25 balls of different weights. We would like to find out which are the 5 heaviest in order. In other words, we would like to know which ball is the heaviest, 2nd heaviest, 3rd heaviest, 4th heaviest, and 5th heaviest. The only tool we have available to conduct any measurements on these balls is what I'm calling a Relative Weighing device.

This device allows up to 5 balls to be loaded into it one at a time. Once all the balls are inserted, you press a button and the device prints out the ball order that corresponds to heaviest to lightest. As soon as the button is pushed, the device's memory is cleared and all you have is the printout.

For example: Say that you put in Balls 1 through 5 into the machine in that order. The Relative Weighing device might return 3, 4, 2, 1, 5 to indicate that Ball 3 is heavier than Ball 4 is heavier than Ball 2, and so on.

Now, for the question: What is the fewest weigh-ins using our special device to determine the 5 heaviest balls in order?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Special Relativity and the Law

Just had a brief conversation with a friend involving time dilation, and on a complete tangent, I came up with a couple questions that seemed interesting. If ever in the future we are able to travel at ridiculous fast speeds such that time dilation becomes a real factor, then these questions might become relevant.

For those that are unfamiliar with time dilation, it is basically an effect of traveling very fast (we're talking about speeds like one-quarter the speed of light). The effect is that those traveling at the very high speed will age slowly as compared to those that aren't.

Say I hop into a super fast space shuttle and fly away from the Earth maintaining my high velocity for a year and return back to Earth. I've aged a year, but everything/everyone on Earth would have aged much more depending how fast I was going... they might end up aging 30 years, for example.

Anyway, enough of the basic background information. Here are two legal cases that I thought would be interesting for you philosophical and lawyer types.

1) A man, 40, has worked for about 20 years, paying enough in Social Security making him eligible for Old Age Social Security benefits when he is 67. He now hops into his special spaceship that allows him to travel very fast. He ages 6 months, but the Earth has aged 27 years. He is now 67 years old based on his birthdate. Should he be allowed to collect the Social Security benefits?

2) A male high school student, 15, is pursued by his high school teacher. They wind up having a secret relationship. She is much older than him, and thus any sexual relationship between them is clearly unlawful and she would be charged with statutory rape if their secret relationship were known to authorities. They both hop in their special spaceship and they each age 3 weeks, but the world around them has aged 3 years. To the world, he is now 18 (but, clearly he's only a 15 year-old kid). Should their relationship now be considered a legal one?