Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Bayesian Bomb

Bayes' theorem

In probability theory, Bayes' theorem shows the relation between one conditional probability and its inverse; for example, the probability of a hypothesis given observed evidence and the probability of that evidence given the hypothesis.

It is named for Rev. Thomas Bayes (pronounced /bejz/) and often called Bayes' law or Bayes' rule.

1966 Palomares B-52 crash

The Palomares Incident or 1966 Palomares B-52 crash occurred on January 17, 1966, when a B-52G bomber of the USAF Strategic Air Command collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refuelling at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. The KC-135 was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four crew members. The B-52G broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.

Of the four Mk28 type hydrogen bombs the B-52G carried, three were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, Almería, Spain. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impacting the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 2-square-kilometer (490-acre) (0.78 square mile) area by radioactive plutonium (akin to a dirty bomb explosion). The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a 2½ month-long search.

The search for the fourth bomb was carried out by means of a novel mathematical method, Bayesian search theory, led by Dr. John Craven. This method assigns probabilities to individual map grid squares, then updates these as the search progresses. Initial probability input is required for the grid squares, and these probabilities made use of the fact that a local fisherman, Francisco Simó Orts,popularly known since then as "Paco el de la bomba" ("Bomb Frankie"), witnessed the bomb entering the water at a certain location.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Chinese Woman Grows Big Horn on Her Head

Chinese woman Zhang Ruifang, aged 101, has become a star in her Linlou village, Henan province. The elderly woman grew a horn on her forehead, above her left eye a year ago. Now the woman grows another horn – above the right eye, Express Gazeta wrote.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Asterisms

Asterisms are star-shapes which aren't constellations in their own right, but are instantly recognisable to amateur astronomers who invariably find their way around the night sky by referencing them.

An asterism is a familiar (to night-sky watchers) group of stars which forms a pattern and the stars aren't part of a related cluster but just a chance alignment.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Witch Trials - Salem or Danvers?

If you’re feeling really brave, take a trip to see the grounds of the Salem witch trials in person.

Be warned: If you journey to quaint Salem, Mass. , to explore witch-hunting sites, you’ll be disappointed. After the witch trials took place, Salem Village changed its name to Danvers . If you do find yourself in the area, however, you’ll still get to see some nifty exhibitions dedicated to the witch trials. See the Salem Wax Museum , or visit The Salem Witch Museum , which hosts tours of Danvers and the surrounding towns affected by the witch trials.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Perfect pangrams - phrases using exactly 26 letters of the alphabet

Some perfect pangrams (containing exactly twenty-six letters) have been written but they rely on obscure words and border on the non-sensical.

Cwm fjord-bank glyphs vext quiz
(an eccentric's annoyance at finding ancient inscriptions on the side of a fiord in a valley).

Vext cwm fly zing jabs Kurd qoph
(an annoyed fly in a valley, humming shrilly, pokes at the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet drawn by a Kurd).

Nth black fjords vex Qum gyp wiz
(an esteemed Iranian shyster was provoked when he was cheated: an alleged seaside ski resort he purchased turned out to be a glacier of countless oil-abundant fiords).

Blowzy night-frumps vex'd Jack Q (self explanatory)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sagging

Since the mid 1990s, the practice of sagging has been popular at times among young men and boys.

This fashion trend consists of wearing the trousers very low on the hips, often exposing the underwear and buttocks of the wearer.

This urban style, which has roots tracing to prison gangs and the prohibition of belts in prison (due to their use as weapons and devices for suicide) has remained popular into the 21st century, particularly among pubescent boys.