Archive for March, 2019

Winner: Elaine, followed by Rosebud and the Driver.

Well, it happened again. Another late game collapse by the Driver who was cruising along headed for a sure win. With only three questions left he only had to get one right to win, but he didn’t. Elaine played a steady game and emerged a first time winner, probably because she knew that it was Cardi B who sang “I like It.” The Driver thought Cardi B was a blackjack dealer in Vegas.


Two of our regulars, Jacqui and Rinne, also knew all about Cardi B and might have won this game if only they didn’t have to get back to work. You see they had snuck out during a break from work to play as much of the game as time allowed. Better luck next time ladies.

Good Question! : What type of metal makes the strongest magnets?

Choices: a. steel   b. iron   c. carbon steel   d. tungsten

Answer: iron

Actually, the strongest available permanent magnets consist of compounds of neodymium, a rare earth metal with atomic number of 60 and symbol of Nd.

Commercial magnets are actually made of an alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron. Alloys of different elements make stronger, longer-lasting magnets because pure magnetic materials usually demagnetize quickly. The reason is that the magnetic forces favor breaking up the domains into ones whose magnetizations point different ways and cancel out.

Video: Super-strong neodymium magnets crushing a man’s hand (not for the sqeamish, you may need to turn away at about the two minute mark.)


Medical Applications

For reasons that range from the basic “What if?” of pure science to the need to improve medical imaging devices, tremendous efforts are under way to develop more powerful magnets.

MRI and fMRI technology uses a powerful magnetic field to line up the body’s cellular nuclei like compass needles. Another, less powerful magnet then spins the nuclei–like toy tops–generating a measurable signal that computers can read and transform into a 3D visual image. The more powerful the magnets are, the more nuclei that respond. Unlike X-rays, which provide images of bones and hard tissues, MRIs primarily focus on soft tissues.

Magnetic Fields – good or bad?

The expanding medical uses of magnets raises an obvious question: Are magnetic fields good or bad for the human body? There has been plenty of debate in recent years over the effects of living near high-voltage powerlines. But since magnetic-field strength falls off rather rapidly, someone living just 50 ft. from a transmission line would likely experience no more than 2 milligauss. The latest research finds no reason to believe that this level of exposure could have a deleterious impact on the body.

Conversely, researchers have found no positive impact from the wearable magnets commonly sold as cure-alls for numerous ailments, including arthritis. But that hasn’t prevented people across the globe from buying them as remedies.

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Winner (3/19): Keith, followed by Peter, and Tom Twin

Last Weeks Winner (3/12): Pluto, followed by Eric, Rosebud, Jacqui, and Bryan.

Tonight’s game (3/19) was tight all the way to the finish – a 3 way play off. Keith held on for the win, and enjoyed beating his buddy Tom Twin for a change.

Tonight we learned that Canada is the country with the largest coastline and that the recent college admissions scandal was labeled “Varsity Blues”- it sure was for some folks.

Good Question!: This state joined 11 other states saying that it would award all its electoral college votes to whichever presidential candidate earns the most popular votes?

Choice’s: a. New York   b. Minnesota   c. California   d. Colorado


Answer: Colorado

“The Electoral College is a disaster for democracy.” Donald Trump (2012).

An increasing number of states agree with Trump. Colorado recently joined the National Popular Vote compact to cast all electoral votes for the national popular winner in presidential elections. Colorado’s nine electoral votes will join 10 other states, one commonwealth and one district for a total of 181 electoral votes, 89 votes short of becoming binding.

There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote and it has happened twice since 2000 – George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and George W. Bush,  3 of 5 who managed to attain the highest office in the land despite losing the popular vote.

The presidential obstacle course known as the Electoral College, gives small, rural states a louder voice in the election process, but as more people move to urban areas and the nation’s coasts, that voice has become a shout that drowns out the voices of millions of others. Wyoming, population 586,000 and change, has three electoral votes. California, with a population of 39 million, has 55 electoral votes. Every vote for president in Wyoming carries the weight of 3.6 votes in California, a clear violation of the one-person, one-vote principal.

So why does this happen? Why an Electoral College and not a simple popular vote?

The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between population and the selection of a President. The second as part of the structure of the government that gave extra power to the smaller states.

The first reason that the founders created the Electoral College is hard to understand today. The founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power.

Hamilton and the other founders believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.

The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3.

In every state but Maine and Nebraska, electors are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. So if a candidate wins a state by even a narrow margin, he or she wins all of the state’s electoral votes. The winner-take-all system is not federally mandated; states are free to allocate their electoral votes as they wish. Following Maine and Nebraska’s system could be the easiest and quickest way to make the Electoral College more representative. Or if you really want your vote for President to count, consider moving to Wyoming.



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Winner: Pluto with Frank the sports guy, Tiffany the birthday girl, and Droppin’

A bit of controversy this evening.

Frank the sports guy was initially declared the winner, before Droppin’ and Pluto challenged. They said their final scores were wrong, that they had, in fact, as many right answers as Frank.

As this challenge was being considered, Frank rushed to grab the winners trophy and wrote his name on the winner’s tag, hoping this would certify his win. Of course, it didn’t.

To win, Frank would have to survive a three-way play off. He didn’t.

Only Pluto knew that Crater Lake was the deepest lake in America. He happily crossed Frank’s name off the winner’s tag and replaced it with his own name. Justice was served.

After the hubbub we celebrated Tiffany’s mile stone birthday. She ain’t saying.

Good Question!:
Who became a major league rookie in 1948 at the age of 42?

a. Satchel Paige   b. Monte Irvin   c. Josh Gibson   d. “Cool Papa” Bell

Answer: Leroy Robert Paige “Satchel”  (look at that glove)

Who was Satchel Paige?

His plaque in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown says it all:

“Paige was one of the greatest stars to play in the Negro baseball leagues. He thrilled millions of people and won hundreds of games. He struck out 21 major leaguers in an exhibition game. He helped pitch the Cleveland Indians to the 1948 pennant in his first big league year at age 42. His pitching was a legend among major league hitters.”

How old was he when he pitched his last time in the major leagues?

Satchel came back to pitch three innings in the majors at the age of 59. Let’s go back to Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, for those three innings in 1965. Charlie Finley, a real character who owned the Kansas City A’s back then, couldn’t fill his ballpark. So he figured bringing Satchel back would be enough of a spectacle that it would work.

He put him out near the bullpen in a rocking chair, with a nurse in a white uniform rubbing salve into his arm, and with his own water boy. And Finley had filled the stadium, and he didn’t much care what Satchel did when he took the mound, but Satchel never let anybody write the last word.

He went out there, pitched three shut-out innings against the Boston Red Sox. The only guy to get a hit off him was the hard-hitting Carl Yastrzemski, who after the game gave Satchel an enormous bear hug. And that was because a full generation before, Yaz’s dad had faced off against Satchel on Long Island in a semi-pro game.”

Besides his longevity, what else was great about him?

“Let’s start with his pitching. He had a ball that he threw so hard and so fast that catchers had to cushion their gloves with beefsteak so that their hands wouldn’t be burning after the game. And he learned to pitch with such accuracy that teammates would actually stand there with lit cigarettes in their mouth – letting him, with his fastball, knock the cigarettes out of his mouth. That we know of, he never knocked out a ballplayer. He knocked out one cigarette after another, and that was extraordinary faith.”

He was the most celebrated ballplayer in the history of the Negro leagues. From the early 1930’s, when Paige began with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, until his 1971 induction into the Hall of Fame, he symbolized the world of black baseball, for whites as well as for blacks.

He was known for his indeterminate age, for his exceptional fastballs and for his showboating: he would call in his outfielders — and sometimes even order his infielders to sit down — before striking out opposing batters. Paige’s confrontation with the great slugger Josh Gibson in the second game of the 1942 Negro World Series, after he intentionally loaded the bases with two out, has become a legendary battle of the titans. (Gibson struck out on three pitches.)

Why was Leroy Robert Paige known as  “Satchel”?

There are two versions of the story.
His version: to help his family earn a living, he had to go down at the age of 9 to the local L & N train station and lug suitcases for a dime a time. A buddy saw him and dubbed him a walking satchel tree, and the name stuck. His buddy Wilbur Hines tells a slightly different story, which is rather than lugging suitcases, Satchel was filching them and that he, Wilbur, dubbed him Satchel for that reason.

Famous Satchel Paige quotes:

“Age is a question of mind over matter,” Paige said. “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

“Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.”


Here’s a grainy B&W video of the man:

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