What You Are Seeing

I think I actually know what’s going on in this photo, so let’s write it down and see what I learn.

The mortar was loaded like this: powder in the depression in the bottom, fuse coming in lying over that, then bowling ball.  Then two ziploc bags of gasoline were placed on top of the bowling ball.

Here’s what we’re seeing in the photo:

B is the bowling ball itself.

A1 and A2 are the two ziploc bags, ruptured and just about done spewing a mist of gasoline (the enlargement at left makes this a bit clearer).

C is the mist of gasoline recently released (see also E and F).

D is the flame front, as it works its way up the cloud of mist.

E shows actual droplets of gasoline, not yet vaporized (may not be clear at screen resolution, but is quite clear at full res).

F shows actual droplets at the side, as well; the flame front has not yet consumed them.

Note that the projectile B has already passed the bags A1 and A2.  This is not that surprising, given their relative density and aerodynamic coefficients.


Since the Euro has just launched as a physical currency, I’ve looked at some of the web sites for pictures of the coins (and not finding them; neither the Guardian nor the official Euro site has photos I can find of any coin other than the 1 Euro). This got me thinking about the denominations the choose to make, and how they differ from ours in the US.

Continue reading Coins

The War On Some Drugs

“The war on some drugs” is one of the common names for the phenomenon. “Some drugs” refers to the fact that alcohol and caffeine are untouchable. Nicotine seems to be falling, but even it isn’t getting hit by the drug warriors, it’s dying a different death. Politicians tend to call it just “the war on drugs”. I’ve also heard it called “the war on civil rights”, for reasons which should be pretty obvious.

Continue reading The War On Some Drugs