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My geek-fu is strong. Too strong.

Yesterday, while rooting around in a box of Duplo and Lego bricks for the smaller Lego bricks, I gather the family around for another one of Daddy's amazing, spellbinding lessons.

I start in on the Brazil nut effect, and explain that the phenomenon we're seeing in this box of Duplo and Lego bricks (rattle, rattle) affects cans of nuts and the terrain of asteroidsFascinating!

All I get are looks that I'm crazy, and a condescending little "That's nice, Daddy" as they went back to their business.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
pastilla
May. 14th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
That's what's known as a LJUS (LiveJournal Update Situation) . . . the precious time when you slink away from the real world and escape to where people appreciate idiocyncracies . . . praising your knowledge, expanding upon it or gently alluding to weaknesses in your logical flow, syntax and/or mental health.

Which leads me to ponder . . .

How is it that the Brazil nut effect manifests itself in theatres, where Brazil nuts sit right smack in front of peanuts or cashew tidbits < a minute before the picture starts?
tpederson
May. 14th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I remember a post on rec.climbing about the Sierras, and how over vast periods of time the huge chunks of granite "floated" to the top. But I don't remember the specifics (they were provided) about the densities of granite, and maybe even the various layers of earth beneath.
davidd
May. 15th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Does anyone remember when Brazil nuts had an alternate colloquial name, which included the now much-despised "n-word"? Or did I just grow up in an astonishingly backwards part of the country?

And why is it that, well, I, for example, can't say or write the "n-word" without drawing the ire of the masses, but the once-forbidden "f-word" is now a featured element of pop music on broadcast radio, not to mention a stalwart of web comics and, in "semi-censored" form, many mainstream television programs?

But I digress.

The "Brazil Nut Effect," huh? Fascinating, and somehow I'd never heard of it before. I guess I'm not much of a physicist. Intuitively, however, it makes sense. The wiki description of smaller-sized particles filling the crevices between larger particles seems reasonable; I suspect, however, the process is largely affected by the density of the particles involved. Larger Lego bricks are less dense, because they have a comparatively greater space/mass ratio, so they float on the denser, smaller bricks. It would be interesting to know the density of Brazil nuts, compared to that of the other ingredients in a mixed nut... uh... mix.

Ive occasionally wondered what became of the Japanese spacecraft that landed on the asteroid. I remember reading brief snippets about it in the newspapers and thinking, "landing on an asteroid, taking a soil sample, and returning to Earth? Now that's in impressive feat of engineering!" But after seeing a couple of paragraphs about the landing, there was nothing. Is the craft still on target to return to Earth next year? My suspicion as to why it receives so little coverage is that the mighty NASA is envious beyond belief, and their government overseers are angry at NASA for allowing another nation to achieve such an impressive "space first."

I'm getting wound up. Sorry. I should save it for my own journal.
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