Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm one of a kind (there are a million more like me)

On this BBC News World article,
7 billion people and you: What's your number? you can enter your date of birth and the web app will tell you where you fall (numerically) in the scheme of mankind.
When I was born, I was the 2,705,110,781st person in the world (living at that time).
That number -- 2,705,110,781 -- looked to possibly be a prime number. I was (not really) surprised to find there's an Excel function -- GCD -- which returns the greatest common divisor of the operand. It turns out that 2,705,110,781 can only be divided by one and 2,705,110,781, making it a prime number.
I'm not (quite) silly enough to think there's any cosmic significance with my 2,705,110,781st position in the population. After all, the web app didn't ask me what time I was born, or any of a number of other limiting factors.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mystery flower identified

On my bike ride on August 18, I came across a small but pretty little flower growing along the trail above the Hildebrand lock & dam. Until today, it was labeled in my files as "tiny flower."
Today, thanks to the help of Donna Ford-Werntz, herbarium curator at WVU, we now have a name.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Willowleaf lettuce (Lactuca saligna).
Unfortunately -- I say this without sincerity -- this is a non-native species, originally from Eurasia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Bridge not too far (away)

Sunday drive took me to Grantsville, Md., site of this single-span arch on the old National Road. There's a guy fly fishing underneath to give you a sense of scale.

Beer is good for you

High fluid intake appears to reduce bladder cancer risk

BOSTON — Drinking plenty of fluids may provide men with some protection against bladder cancer, according to a study presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 22-25, 2011.

Facebook wall for earth's seven billionth person

You're on your own, kid. -- Ron Paul

Wait a second. Sorry, but you're just the 6,999,999,999th person. -- Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army.

I'll want to see your birth certificate. -- Orly Taitz

My Dear Friend,
My name is Mr. Johnson Emmanuel, I am a senior partner (Attorney) in the firm of Emmanuel Consults Inc: Private Investigators, Security Consultants and Financial Managers. We are conducting a standard process investigation/Recommendation on behalf of African Development Bank (ADB), The African Continental Banking Conglomerate....