Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Archive for June, 2012

Why does hot water freeze faster than cold water?

If you have nothing better to think about today, how about trying to solve this old scientific puzzle?

“Why does hot water freeze faster than cold water?”

There is a £1000 pound prize for the best answer:

It seems a simple enough question – yet it has baffled natural philosphers for at least 2,300 years.

  • Aristotle agonized over it fruitlessly in the fourth century BC
  • Descartes was defeated by it in the 17th century AD
  • Even perplexed 20th and 21st century scientists and intellectuals have swarmed over it without result

Now the Royal Society of Chemistry is offering £1000 to the person or team producing the best and most creative explanation of the phenomenon, known today as The Mpemba Effect.

Details at: http://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2012/mpemba-effect-water-ice-hot.asp

The “E” word

I’m not a big fan of what the hospital euphemistically calls “cardio rehab” (hint: “exercise”), but I bought a bicycle and have been cycling along a nearby river, the Nakagawa. In fact, I just got back.

I can’t describe how much more fun it is, and how much quicker time goes by than it does on my indoor exercise bike (which is almost as boring as a treadmill).

Today I increased my distance and went on to the “second bridge” which is near Aoto. It really gets green over there. There’s a big sports field, and also a couple of small boat piers.

I actually left my house intending to go shopping, and then go for a bike ride in the late afternoon, when it got a bit cooler. But I found myself drawn to the river.

Also, I am definitely increasing strength. A somewhat daunting hill I had been stopping and walking up I took today with ease.

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’m actually looking forward to my cycling trips.

doug

Summer solstice sunset in Katsushika

Blue skies after the typhoon

Macro shots taken in front of my house with iPhone

The purple one almost looks extraterrestrial.

doug

Jet ski along the Nakagawa

While cycling just before along the Nakagawa, there were several jet skis and speed boats out.

(Click the image or link below to see the video).

doug

Hao is interested in my Android

doug

 

It’s been a long day

Click the picture to watch the video.

Hao looks so comfy

The case of the stolen tissues

Imagine my surprise.

I had cycled over to Life (the large supermarket nearby) and first went to the side of the store that sells paper products. I bought some things like tissue paper, and it was in a very large bag, so before continuing shopping for food I went outside and left the bag in my bicycle basket.

Without giving it another thought, I went back into the food side of the store and did regular grocery shopping.

When I came out, I was very surprised to see that my bag had been stolen! In my 28 years in Japan, this had never happened to me!

I went to the customer counter to report it and ask if they had a security camera. They didn’t, but called the police for me. It wasn’t a very expensive purchase, but it was the principle of the thing.

While waiting for the police to arrive, the manager came running out of the store to the parking lot carrying my bag! He said somebody thought it was “forgotten” and had brought it to the Lost and Found. Why they would think it was forgotten since it was in my bicycle basket remains a mystery.

The manager said he would call the police and let them know it was found. I bowed and thanked him and he bowed back and I cycled off home.

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