Print Story What would you do for a dollar?
By ana (Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 04:44:27 PM EST) husi meet, drinks, trivia (all tags)
In which the author sells Secrets of the Universe for a Where's George? dollar bill.

I'm in Philadelphia this week for a conference. 256 and e invited me out to play Quizzo at a bar, get together, chat, eat, and drink beer.

We lost the quizzo thing. The killer question: Other than FDR, who's the only American politician to be nominated by a major party in four consecutive elections for either Vice President or President?

I said Teddy Roosevelt, not being sure if he ran for VP in 1896, or if the Bull Moose party counts as a major party. Apparently the answer to at least one of those questions is no.

e has a wonderful smile, and a DS that's been modded so that it can surf the web via wifi. Pretty cool, if not exactly useful. It'd probably be ok for text-oriented sites. Such as, on this Primary night in PAia, dailykos.

But the use of such devices is forbidden during the trivia contest (of course).

Coming out of the bar, which is dimly lit with incandescents with basically no photons north of 4200 angstroms, we found ourselves under some mercury vapor streetlights, which revealed her hair to be purple.

256 and e threaten to ride their bikes to Boston sometime, with minimal notice. I say, bring it on. We'll rustle up some folks to do something fun. At some point in June-ish toxicfur and I are finally gonna do a vacation, just for the two of us, since we basically haven't done that, ever. Three years of marriage, and finally a honeymoon (or something). Our travels have nearly always involved meeting up with family.

Oh, and the buck. e had a "Where's George?" dollar bill, stamped with the above URL, which they picked up somewhere in NJia, which they wanted to give me. I reminded them of the "Where's George" story that I was party to in the latest WFC, which 256 recalled.

They offered to give me the dollar if I could convince e that irrational numbers "exist". By which, it seems, she means, have something to do with physics. I'm still thinking about that. Yes, I can prove sqrt(2) is not rational, but she huffs and says that only shows that numbers are broken. Which (Gödel proved) is more true than just irrational numbers, but that's apparently not the point.

"What would you do for a dollar?" they asked.

So I started telling the old joke told of Bernard Shaw, sitting next to a Grande Dame at dinner, asking her...

"Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" asked e.

Exactly. The story goes that the woman agreed to consider it. "How about $4?" asks Shaw.

"What do you think I am?" she asks.

"We've established that," says Shaw. "Now we're negotiating the price."

They allowed as how they wouldn't make me sleep with them for a dollar. "A $2 bill, now..." mused e.

So they agreed to buy a secret of the universe for a dollar.

I paged mentally through my collection of oddments, and came up with the cool idea that's been bandied about at this week's conference, that interstellar neutral gas atoms flowing through the solar system experience two forces: gravity from the sun, and radiation pressure. The one is attractive; the other repulsive. Both vary inversely as the square of the distance from the sun.

Turns out that for hydrogen atoms, radiation pressure is larger, and so the atoms feel a net repulsive force from the sun. So they travel on hyperbolic paths, away from the axis that passes through the sun, parallel to their original velocity vector.

For helium, though, radiation pressure is much smaller, and so gravity wins. So helium atoms bend towards the sun, and form a conical zone downwind from the sun where there's an unusually large density of neutral helium atoms that came from interstellar space. This is the "Helium Focusing Cone".

The earth passes through it in December.

Apparently this was a sufficiently arcane bit of knowledge to qualify for a dollar.

I also retailed the minor arcanum that there are, to good accuracy, π by ten to the seventh seconds in a year.

And I passed along mh's link to truly geeky wedding rings. This produced the expected cries of disgust.

A++++ would do it all again. I'm also really looking forward to riding the train home on Thursday night.


Answer: George HW Bush

< "Spontaneous Dual Lines" | Future travel. >
What would you do for a dollar? | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)
bring it on, indeed by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:01:03 PM EST
and: other than NJ, and PA, where has George been?

and: where else can we (where we is Husi collectively) have him go?

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

so far... by ana (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:11:33 PM EST

Seems anticlimactic, taking it back to MA again. I thought perhaps you'd make a good next home for George, since you proposed the Where's George story.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
sure by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 03:41:11 PM EST
George can stay with me for a while, though rather than having him help me pay for parking, I think that with imminent Husi meets we can arrange for something more climactic ... maybe we should all sign our nicks and then iGrrrl can fold it into a bow tie -- or vice versa :)

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
That sounds like... by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #3 Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:54:37 PM EST
a truly charming night.

I also had a lovely time, with iGrrrl, listening to her husband's jazz band. Sadly, there was no bar trivia, and only one server/bartender for far too much space. The result, though, was that I didn't get drunk enough to lose my hat, if I'd remembered to take my hat in the first place.

I'm ready for you to come home now. I'm also ready for a vacation, someplace with a beach and girly rum drinks with umbrellas. I'll drink beer and make fun of the girly drinks, of course.
To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

Secrets of the universe. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 10:27:31 PM EST
It's all due to transperambulation of the cosmic anti-matter, really.

June Vacation by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 02:53:05 AM EST
I recommend The Beach for a week. Two beach chairs, a beach umbrella, and the opportunity to slather each other with sunscreen.

I further recommend Ocean City MD as there are things to do at night (unlike, say Rehoboth or Bethany) that are fun, interesting, and don't involve casinos (as Atlantic City does). Primarily thinking of the boardwalk, which is great for people watching.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The NJ Ocean City is closer and cheaper by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 06:58:25 AM EST

[ Parent ]
yabbut by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 07:15:56 AM EST
If they go there I can't teach them how to surf. I see the surf is shoulder high today...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I have surfed before. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 07:19:54 AM EST
I kind of suck at standing up, and my timing is always off just a bit, but my brother is quite good and has spent time teaching me.

Honestly, I want to go some place tropical and exotic. The Atlantic coast (mostly the NC coast) has a lot of memories, and I'm not quite sure that's how I want to spend my summer vacation.
To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
tropical and exotic by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 07:50:41 AM EST
St. Thomas V.I. Has a good rep.

Puerto Rico. There used to be a great resort in Dorado Beach. Last I heard it was a Hyatt, not sure what it is now.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
broken numbers by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 05:01:04 AM EST
I like e already. Though did you tell her she's also irrational ? Maybe she'd like to be called 'i' instead ? (Or 'j', since your the physics guy..).

i (or j) make neat equations, proofs and what not, but how the end up relating to real, tangible things still amazed me..

George Bush by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 06:30:25 PM EST
1980, 1984, 1988, 1992.

(TR ran 4 times, but not consecutively as he didn't run in 1908)

Duh by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 07:26:51 PM EST
If I actually noticed the blackbox earlier, I wouldn't have bothered posting.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, Silly me... by ana (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Apr 24, 2008 at 12:19:55 AM EST
I am aware that TR didn't run in 1908. Dunno what I was thinking.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
What would you do for a dollar? | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)