Archive for the ‘Random SMS Trivia’ Category

People suggested “Quantum Levitation” as a topic for a blog post. I haven’t been studying Subatomic/Quantum Physics for over 2 years now and my knowledge of this subject hardly exceeds grade 12 Physics class, so, sorry if some of the things you read here seem incorrect or way too oversimplified. You’re always welcome to correct me and/or add some additional info and in-depth explanation.

So, I think that many of you have already seen this video:

The phenomenon demonstrated in this video has been known for almost 100 years now, and it’s been properly explained in mid-1930’s by German physicists.

See, when cooled to a certain temperature, some materials tend to convert into a state of superconductivity, in which all electrical charges can go through this material without delays and energy loses. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it has something to do with the energy levels within atomic shells (where all their electrons “spin” in a quantum cloud), considering that the energy would be at a very minimum level under such temperatures (the temperature of liquid nitrogen, which they used to cool down this piece of sapphire in the video, is usually below -196 C), so there might be some weird things occurring.

Interestingly, when a material becomes superconductive, it “pushes” all the magnetic fields out of its body. So, when a ferromagnet is introduced to a cold superconductor, its magnetic force gets repelled, causing it to levitate near this superconductor. And it can also be moved across its surface with no friction whatsoever (as there is no physical contact between these two materials, and the magnetic fields don’t produce friction by definition), so it might be a very efficient mode of transportation one day (if you discount the cost of liquid nitrogen in such quantities, as well as the aerodynamic friction).

My explanation is way too oversimplified, and it doesn’t cover some key things observed in this video-demonstration (such as why the hell gravity has no visible effect on the magnet when it’s “fixed” in space and turned upside-down). I would be really thankful to hear a more in-depth explanation of this phenomenon.

Anyway, what’s the practical application of this? I’m not sure. Of course, hypothetically, you can come up with lots of fun stuff, such as quiet frictionless trains, aircrafts that are powered by magnetic fields alone (UFO, anyone?), some weird space rails (temperature is rather close to the absolute zero out there, so it wouldn’t be problem to turn a pile of metal into powerful superconductors, lol). But those are still nothing more than wild sci-fi fantasies (lol, again). We need to figure out lots of things and solve multiple purely engineering problems first….

When I was in grade 11, I accidentally came up with a model which, if proven true, leads to a conclusion that there is a parallel universe with all of its physical space occupied by an infinite foot. The model now holds a fancy title “Negative Shoe-size theory”.

One day, during a lunch time at school, I was trying to visually imagine the dynamic model of how volume of foot changes with the shoe-size. I don’t remember why I was thinking about that on the day, but those thoughts were rather occupying.

So, when I got to shoe-size 1, I was seeing a tiny-tiny foot, only a few cubic centimeters in volume. Then the shoe-size zero came into my imagination, and the feet disappeared completely.

“Now”, I thought, “what if the shoe size went negative.” That would be hard to imagine, but I gave it a shot.

See, when dealing with shoe-size in terms of volume, there are really just two variables which depend on each other: the volume occupied by foot (which can range depending on a shoe size) and the volume that isn’t occupied by foot (which is, pretty much, infinite, considering that the borders of our Universe are physically unreachable). So, what happens if the shoe size goes negative? That’s right! These two variables invert! The free-from-foot volume in the Universe becomes limited by the shoe-size and the foot-volume becomes infinite. So, if we’re dealing with a negative shoe-size, we would have all the physical space occupied by one giant foot which would have an infinite volume, and we would have only a tiny fraction of space that would be free from foot. The volume of this free space will depend on the negative shoe size. If the shoe size is -6, then the free space will be relatively small, if the shoe size is -15, then the free space will be relatively bigger.

I drew this model on a piece of paper and started showing it to everyone.

Daniel Park was the first person, besides me, who understood it. He thought that it was kind of funny, but, nevertheless, totally pointless and stupid. I agreed.

I was later using this “theory” to troll my Physics, Chemistry and Math B teachers.

Ahhh… I miss the school days.

I think many of you still remember the 30-day blog challenges, which were popular among Tumblr and Facebook users about 6 months ago. You were giving 30 topics (1 for each of the 30 days), and you had to write a short reflection for each of them within 1 month.

I’ve decided to do something similar, but, instead of normal topic lists created specifically for this purpouse, I’ll be using the topics given to me by the people who participate in my Random SMS Triva.

I give you my word that I’ll be writing posts for every single suggestion received, making at least one post each day. Of course, some of the topics people suggested are way too silly to be discussed here, so I’ll try to use them as a starting point to write about things that relate to these suggestions. So, instead of an essay on the ways people sniff pies, I would rather be writing something about olfactory system, or food, or mental disorders that are relevant to the issue. It will really depend on my mood and how busy I am at the moment of working on the post.

I created a new category, “Random SMS Trivia” (see the panel on the left-hand side), in which I’ll be posting everything related to the project in this blog.

By the way, my dear Ramdom SMS Subscribers, it’s not too late to reply to my last text to suggest a topic. I’ll take it as a challenge ;)

So, yeah…

Hope this will be fun.

Just want to tell you a little bit about Random SMS Trivia, its purpose and some of the things I have to deal with in order to run it.

It all started about a year ago, shortly after I moved to an Optus plan with unlimited text messages. One night, when I was on the train, thinking about the structure of nasal cavity and the way it is connected with the oral cavity via nasopharynx, I came up with this stupid question: “Sometimes, when you laugh, milk comes out of your nose, but if you don’t drink any milk and it still comes out of your nose when you laugh, what can that be indication of?“. I decided to text this to a few people from my contact list, just to see what happens. It turned out to be fun.

I started sending random questions to the people from my contact list on a daily bases. It was really entertaining. Very often, the replies were so witty and funny, they were making me giggle out loud when I was in public. It seemed like the best time-killer ever.

After a certain time, one of the people, to whom I was sending these texts, suggested that I should make a list of the best replies and publish them on Facebook. I really liked the idea, so I went all the way back to the first message of that kind I send, traced all the replies I’ve been receiving from people, and compiled everything into a note, which I later published on Facebook. I named the entire thing Random SMS Trivia. I also decided to use an abstract reward system, in form of, so called, “ubies” (I came up with it, this word is random and doesn’t mean anything), which I was using as a measurement of how much I liked the responses (my personal favorite replies were receiving the largest amounts of ubies), and they also were making the compilation easier to read.

The feedback people gave me was generally positive, so I continued doing the thing.

I’ve managed to compile 2 volumes of Random SMS Trivia in 2010, and, I must admit, it was such a headache (working with hundreds of text-messages isn’t the funniest thing a person could do).

Also, the process of sending these texts to over 50 people itself required me to consider and deal with many different issues. The biggest problem I faced was that, while the majority of people seemed enjoying it, there were always a few who weren’t that enthusiastic about receiving these random questions every single day.

Some people were just politely asking me to stop sending them these messages, saying that the texts were too distracting for them, some were saying that they were offended by the fact that I send them these texts. People were asking me to stop for all sorts of reasons. One of the most hilarious explanations I’ve ever received was that their phone was too outdated and that there was not enough memory to store all the incoming SMSs.

I always satisfy such requests. Because the last thing I want is somebody’s stress levels jumping because of me.

Another thing that I try to keep in mind while coming up with these random questions is that they should be completely neutral, because you never know what some people might get offended by. It always saddens me when someone gets upset because of me, especially if I intend to do the opposite. I had a few situations when I was carelessly sending jokes to people about topics that were too sensitive for them, and then regretting not thinking carefully before doing so. I now always try not to sound like an as*hole and keep black humor at a minimal level (though, I’m still failing at this sometimes)…

After publishing the second volume, I finally installed the Group SMS app on my iPhone, which have been helping me managing my SMSing lists ever since. I don’t even know why it took me so long to find an application like this. It’s a real life saver.

I stopped doing Random SMS Trivia at the beginning of 2011, because people seemed to have lost all their enthusiasm towards it. In January, I was receiving only 2-3 replies per question, and those replies weren’t even funny. And it was too exhausting for me too, coming up with random nonsense every day, without getting any sensible results. So I just stopped.

It was only a few days ago when I decided to give it another shot. I now compile all the best replies and publish Random SMS Trivia at a higher frequency, every few days, so people can see the results instantly, which would, hopefully, keep them pumped for a little bit longer. Although, I’m not sure for how long I would last myself doing that. I’m still on my Uni-holidays, so I have some free time for the things like this. But the next semester is coming up, and I’ll probably become too overwhelmed by the study to keep Random SMS Trivia running at its full capacity.

Well, I’ll try to squeeze the most out of this during the next week :).

***

As a bonus, here is a few SMS conversations I had with random strangers in the last two days (when I was obtaining these numbers from a person, I asked them not to tell me the real names of these people, because I was curious to see how the conversations will go if I don’t know who I am talking to… I only new that they were 17). These transcripts don’t fall into the category of Random SMS Trivia, so I’m just publishing them here.

So, I got a few random numbers, and I send them all a text from last year Trivia: “How do you impress a person who likes to shower at 3 am?” (sent at 9:34 this morning)

The first reply I received was rather instant. At 9:36 I got:

– Hahaha what kind of a question is that? Explain more
– This is an open-ended question, the type of question that requires a complex answer (not just “yes” or “no”). You were asked to list some methods that could be used to impress a person who likes to shower at 3 am in the morning. I think the question is pretty self-explanatory.
– Who is this by the way? 
– It’s me.
– Well that’s not creepy… I just don’t understand the relevance of what time they shower, and whether that is counted as a bad activity in your opinion. 
[they tried to call me]
– That was naughty of you! Did you know that my cell phone is hooked up to a 7.1 sound system, and that I have a cat who is suffering from insomnia!?!?!?!?!? He just managed to go into a cat-nap, and you woke him up by rocking our house with your call! Is that how you answer simple SMS questions!?
– Hahahaha! I was hoping to get an answering machine. Sorry to the cat, your fault anyway for being all mysterious haha. Are you sure you have the right number.
– My answer is positive. 
– Dennis was your name right ? [how the hell did they knew? was it my grammar that gave me away?] How did you get my number ?
– Glenn gave it to me. For the sake of LOLs.
– Who the hell is Glenn?
– He is the person who gave me your phone number. Wasn’t that obvious?
– You really need to quit being so condescending, I don’t know glenn, let alone a Glenn that has my number. Wasn’t that obvious ? 

I added this number to the normal SMSing list. 10 hours later, when I send them another question, I received this:

– go away dennis, ***** shouldn’t have given you my number, I’m not interested in your questionnaire game. 
– Who is *****?…. Seriously though… You sure you want me to exclude your number from SMSing list? 47 people seem enjoying these questions (about 20 of them reply regularly). I compile the best and funniest replies and publish them every couple of days. You sure you want out? 
– Absolutely. 
– *epic-sadface*
– GO AWAY! i don’t want to text you, I didn’t give you my number willingly! I really need to be sleeping right now. I don’t need my phone vibrating so often because of you. Id appreciate it if you delete my number. 

I liked the last message I received from them. :) Also, I only discovered who they were a few hours. Interestingly, they already deleted me on Facebook :).

The other convo I had with another random stranger went like this:

– Who on earth is this?
– Hello, my name is Dr. Zoidberg. How are you today? 
– I’m great thanks, your self? 
– Bad! I’m sad, forever alone and depressed!!! But what else is new!?!?!? *bursts into tears* Anyway… How’s school?
– Man who’s this really?
– Why do you think that I’m lying to you!? Leave me alone! Don’t text me again!!!
– Sorry man
[they tried to call me after that]

***

These things can be really fun, can’t they?