Archive for June, 2014

Conqueror paper dominates in flight test

After seeing this record-breaking airplane flight I bought a ream of the Conqueror® CX22 paper used for the construction of the amazing flying machine.  Would it produce the same outstanding results from weekend warriors?

I put this to the test on Sunday with my son-in-law Ryan, my son Ben and his friend Josh.  Of course none of them could throw like the champion “pilot” and Arena Football League quarterback, Joe Ayoob, who vaulted the hand-folded paper aircraft 226 feet, 10 inches on Feb. 26, 2012 at McClellan Air Force Base in California.  Also, the simple dart template used for making the airplanes could not compete with the design of “the paper airplane guy” John Collins.  However, after blocking out the difference between throwers (Ryan being the standout), I found a significant advantage to the heavier (26.6 pound) and stiffer Conqueror paper over a standard 24-pound stock we use at Stat-Ease made by Navigator).

Paper airplane DOEThe picture tells the story (click it for a close-up view)–the Conqueror shown in red far exceeding the standard stock (black points), with one exception highlighted at the upper left.  It turns out that Ben ‘accidentally’ spilled beer on his buddy Josh’s airplane.  That’s the way things go on the weekend competitions—whatever it takes to win.

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Sea turtles nesting now—only 1 out of 1000 will make it to maturity

Walking the beach yesterday on the beach by our condo on Florida’s West Coast I came across this sea turtle nest.  Most likely it’s a loggerhead, but it could be a rare Kemp’s ridley according to biologists at Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.

Sea turtle nestAs you can see in this news report —including video of the female digging in, somewhere on this beach they recorded a nest made by this most uncommon of all sea turtles.  Unfortunately, the odds of any one baby living to an age when they can reproduce, which might take up to 30 years, are only 1 out of 1000.*  It does not help to be sharing their nesting ground with all the people along the coast, but, with the admonitions of biologists and concerned citizens to not disturb the eggs and keep the lights down, perhaps their chances will improve.

*One of the hazards, of particular concern for the Kemp’s ridley turtle, is toxins from Florida’s red tides based on this new research by Mote scientists.


Read this as fast as you can but be prepared for a test to follow

Once upon a time I sped through Melville’s lengthy novel “Moby Dick.”  If I recall correctly, it has something to do with a fellow missing one arm who goes chasing after the devilish whale that bit it off.  Nowadays my eyes tire more quickly so I appreciate the advantages of electronic readers such as Kindle that serve me up columns of enlarged text with only a few words per line.  Then I needn’t work too hard looking back and forth.  What really works well is keeping one’s eyes fixed and moving the text along the focus.  This is called rapid sequential visual presentation, or RSVP.

Recently I got the heads-up from Scientific American*about a smart-watch from Samsung that comes equipped with an RSVP app called Spritz.  They claim that their “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP) technology increases reading-speed on-average by half-again, from 220 to 330 words-per-minute.  My only question is how anyone can hold their wrist steady long enough to digest much.  I’d hate to run into anyone walking down the street while absorbed in a particularly fascinating book.  Texting is bad enough.

Then again it’s one thing to see a lot of words and even process them through your head, but yet another thing to comprehend fully what’s been read.  That’s the point of Annie Murphy Paul of The Weekly Wonk in this blog that questions the claims of Spritz.  If I read her correctly (ha ha), she suggests that subject-matter expertise is the real key to effective reading—not just doing it faster, but also with greater comprehension.  Excepting pulp fiction that requires little intelligence (gotta love it!), that makes a lot of sense to me.

Nevertheless, I’m anxious to see RSVP come to Kindle so I can try reading more in the short periods of time that I can free up and/or last before becoming eye-weary.  Maybe then I will re-read “Moby Dick.”  I have this vague recollection of the whale being white, but that just doesn’t seem right.

*See Speed-Reading Reborn for Smartphones, Smartwatches

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