strictures and structures

if only we stopped trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time

Month: March, 2013

Given a closed room with no exits and an infinite number of kindergarteners determined to kill you, how many could you kill before you yourself died?

I recently drove myself to complete exhaustion by biking up a steep hill. Using the law of conservation of energy, we can calculate how much kindergartener-slaughtering energy I’ve got.
The combined mass of myself and my bike is about 63.5 kilograms.
The elevation gained was about 548.64 meters total.
The earth’s gravitational constant is 9.8 meters per second squared.
Taking the product of these three numbers, we find that the total amount of kinetic energy available to me is 341,418.672 joules.

I was stumped when it came to figuring out how many joules it would take to punch out a small child, but then I had the brilliant idea of consulting my physicist Tiger Father. [1] He told me in no uncertain terms that it took only 100 joules to the face. [2][3]

I am extremely efficient, so let’s assume no loss of energy from friction from the air or inefficiency in my own muscles. Then it’s a simple matter of arithmetic:

3,414 children slain. [4]

[1] Is Amy Chua right when she explains “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal? I’ll give you all the truth you need: NO.
[2] Apologies for playing fast and loose with the significant figures here.
[3] I assume this is from extensive empirical verification, since he is such a good scientist and a real paragon of Chinese parenting himself.
[4] I am so good.
N.B. My physicist brother just pointed out that if I ate my victims, I would replenish my energy and be able to kill infinitely.

I understand my devoted fans will have read this already, but not everyone is so devoted, nor has a Quora account.

jane teaches you how to do a swingout out of the generosity of her heart

This is most applicable to people who learn how to swing dance by taking Living Traditions of Swing at Stanford, from Richard Powers. Here are a couple pointers for follows who want to leave the warm, loving cocoon that is Jammix and the GCC dances, and venture out into the cold, uncaring world of dancing off-campus.

1. The swingout is supposed to be *followed.* What does that mean? That means, don’t walk towards the lead until you feel him tugging on you.

2. You don’t need to have a lot of tension in your connection. Connections come in two flavors: a subtle, light one that lends itself to catching every last little musical hit, and a heavy, hard, energetic kind. More experienced leads tend to prefer the former type of connection. The reason is that it’s easier to start with a light connection and build up to a heavy one when necessary, than the other way around. There is nothing wrong with the occasional hate-dance, of course.

3. On counts 3 and 4, you’re supposed to triple-step towards where the lead used to be. This is hard to do, because you’re aiming for empty air, which is an abstract, invisible target, and his hand is tugging you from where he * currently* is, which is much more concrete and noticeable. So, aim towards his *right hand,* which should be floating approximately where he used to be. Then when you connect with your lead on 5 and 6, it’ll feel much better.

4. STOP SUCKING. Don’t cry! I didn’t mean to say that! I just ran out of helpful things to say. I’m sorry. I’m mean.