My RAZR lies

Filed under: thoughts,useless @ 15:51

I’m convinced that my Motorola RAZR cellphone does not tell time accurately.

The phone has a little external LCD panel that displays the time and other pertinent information so that I don’t have to flip the phone open to check on things. Normally, this panel is not backlit in order to conserve energy, but there’s an easily accessible button on the edge of the phone that lights up the screen. When I hit the button to check the time on my phone, about forty or fifty percent of the time the digital clock ticks over to the next minute.

That’s very odd; I’m not looking at the screen for more than two seconds (max). That means, I’d expect to see the minute change about once every thirty times, assuming the times at which I check the time are uniformly randomly distributed within the sixty second interval between minute digit changes. One out of thirty is not even four percent; there’s an order of magnitude difference between the expected and observed values. I must have checked the time on with the phone more than five hundred times by now, so this is definitely statistically significant. This discrepancy leads me to the following hypothesis.

My RAZR is programmed to change the minute digit on the display when I click the button if its internal clock is within a twenty or thirty second window around the actual time at which the seconds should roll over back to zero.

If true, it’d have to have been a deliberate design decision. Perhaps people remember the time better after reading a digital clock if they see the digits change and Motorola is just helping me out? I haven’t yet thought of a different explanation.


Nominate Caltech’s Superhero Mascot

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,useless @ 10:35

A conversation with Michelle led me to state that Batman is a good Caltech superhero in the following sense. He adheres to an ethos of vigilante justice, relies on technology and intelligence (and shit big computers) rather than superpowers to get the job done (most of the time…), has an underground hideout and enjoys things with rubber nipples. I should note that it was this last point that really sold Michelle on the idea.

I’m curious to hear other nominations.

For Each Day {Pull(++Ups);}

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,slice @ 00:04

Greg, circus-certified strong man that he is, recently installed a pull up bar in our apartment. I tried it out and managed seven pull ups before stopping. The next day I did eight. Two points make a line, so I decided to extrapolate the data at hand and make the following prediction.

The number of ups I am capable of contiguously pulling will increase by one up per day I use the pull up bar.

My prediction has proven to be accurate so far, and I’m currently at 10 pull ups. Assuming I use the bar most days, by this time next year, I’ll be doing something like 300 pull ups! A Popeye amongst Olive Oils! Fear my bulging biceps or… triceps… pectins… lemurs… whatever the hell is on my beefy ass arms! Fear those things!

Greg, upon hearing of my awesome plan, told me of a similar workout method:

  1. Adopt a baby pig.
  2. Lift it above your head every day.
  3. Impress the hunnies with your freakishly strong “bod”.
  4. Eat much bacon.

Brilliant. That must be how he became a circus-certified strong man. Having not the porcine access he did in his youth, I’ll stick to the pull up bar and see how it goes.

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