Sunday, September 27, 2009

55 - Answers (Part 1)

[Editor's Note: Tim asked me if he could divide up this week's answers into two parts. I thought he was just stalling again since he was already running late and running out of excuses. But then he told me that there were two questions posed about a very serious topic and he wanted the chance to answer them separately. I saw the questions and agreed with him. This time.]

Q: Michaele-Lynne - What are your predictions for my Maple Leafs this year? Will they make the cut for playoffs or be a complete disappointment as per usual?
A: I asked the only other Maple Leafs fan that I know (a coworker named Nick) this question and he just chuckled. He told me that it had been over 40 years since they'd won a Stanley Cup and that they'd missed the playoffs for the past five years, and it sounded like he didn't expect that trend to be broken this year.

I have not done any pre-season research on the NHL this year so I turned to ESPN to help me out. I read the NHL preview for the Maple Leafs (found here) which was pretty informative. It looks to me like their GM is making some smart moves but I'm not sure just how quickly these changes can help. For example, they've acquired star forward from the Bruins named Phil Kessel, but he's out with a shoulder injury until at least November.

In the end I'll go out on a limb here and say that yes, Toronto will make the playoffs this year. They'll get crushed in the first round but at least they'll make it to the dance. Best of luck this season!

Q: Bill - Who's the republican favorite for president in 2012? And if you say Sarah Palin I will burn your house down and possibly cut off what nuts you may or may not have.
A: As of this date (September 26, 2009) there is no clear favorite for the Republican candidate for President. The most recent polling information that I could find was a poll done of self-declared independent voters put out by the Clarus Research Group. A PDF of their survey can be found here. Among likely Republican candidates the poll shows that Mitt Romney is the current favorite with 30% of the vote. Mike Huckabee is second with 22% and Sarah Palin gets 18%.

A second indicator came during the annual Values Voters Conference that happened the weekend of September 18th in Washington, DC. Several of the likely Republican presidential candidates spoke there including Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Pence. At the end of the event a straw poll was held among participants. The winner of the straw pole was Mike Huckabee with 29% of the vote. This surprises no one, me included. He was the clear favorite among the more religious conservatives in the 2008 race. He is also the reason that we ended up with John McCain as our nominee, but that's a topic for another time. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Pence all received about 12% of the votes, with the remaining votes going for other candidates like perennial nut Ron Paul and the up-and-coming-but-still-too-early Bobby Jindal.

My final answer is that there is no Republican favorite for President in 2012. At least not yet. Assuming I'm still doing this in 2012 you'll just have to ask me then.

Q: Jarsh - Why don't Canadian quarters work in US vending machines. To my naked eye they are the same size.
A: Below is a table comparing the two quarters:

Mass5.670 g4.4 g
Diameter24.26 mm23.81 mm
Thickness1.75 mm1.60 mm
Edge119 reedsmilled
Composition91.67% Cu, 8.33% Ni94% steel, 3.8% Cu, 2.2% Ni plating

The physical dimensions of the two quarters are nearly identical, so your naked eye isn't lying to you. The difference comes in the weight. There is a 1.27 gram difference between the weights of the two quarters, and that's enough for the vending machines to tell the difference between them. Personally I find it annoying that I can't use Canadian quarters in vending machines.

The metal in the two quarters is also different, which Adam commented on:
Adam: I watched a show about how coin sorters work last night, conveniently. Canadian quarters aren't made of the same metal that American quarters are. They don't displace the magnetic field (that distinguishes what type of metal the coin is made of) in the same way, so they aren't usable.

Very interesting stuff, guys. Thanks.

Q: Jesse - use washers?
A: Occasionally, yes. I've never tried to use them in vending machines as a substitute for real money, but I've used washers for other purposes.

Q: Rani - Speaking of washers, is mankind's greatest enemy water?
A: In my opinion water makes the list, but it is by no means mankind's greatest enemy. Water can either be the bringer of life or the bringer of destruction depending on the situation. Our bodies are roughly 70% water and we cannot survive for more than a couple of days without it. Then again water is a very powerful natural force. Over time water can carve spectacular landscapes. It can also destroy cities in the form of tidal waves, storm surges, or even just excessive rain. But water enables man to grow crops and feed himself. In the end I think that there are too many upsides to water for it to be our greatest enemy.

On a final note, I was discussing this with my colleague Jeff as we drove from the Kansas City airport to Junction City, Kansas and he informed me that "Humidity created the snowman but it was sunshine that destroyed him." True on both counts, though I'm not exactly sure what that has to do with this question.

Q: vanessa - yes, how many alumni will wanna come to my halloween party in Oswego? the over/under is set at 2.
A: I'll take the over and go with an official prediction of 4.

Q: Bill - When would said party be? Will there be adult beverages served?
A: I'll turn the microphone over to Vanessa to answer this question:
"halloween party = halloween night. beeeeerrr."

Q: Jarsh - Ask Mitssob has become Random Thread v2 apparently
A: I'm not sure I expected this development but I'm certainly happy about it. Having a community to help me answer questions is a big help. [Ed - And it helps cover up the fact that you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Now that's just plain mean.]

Q: Bill - Question: Now that breast implants are made with saline, do they act differently than the old silicon ones?
A:Breast implants (link is Wikipedia but still NSFW) are used primarily in breast augmentation surgeries. Other uses include breast reconstruction following a mastectomy or as part of a sex change procedure. The two most common types are saline enclosed in a silicone shell and all silicone. The all silicone varieties were banned in the United States in the late 90's and that ban was lifted in 2006.

I have never been with a woman with breast implants, so that makes me unqualified to evaluate the behavior of either type of implant. Now that I think about it I'm not sure that I know any women with breast implants. It has never occurred to me to ask the women I know whether or not their breasts are real. Seems kind of rude and overly personal now that I think about it, so it's probably best that I just keep on not asking.

Anyway, according to the above link the silicone variety provides a superior look and feel to the saline variety. This makes sense to me. Silicone is a more solid substance than saline and would probably blend better with the natural breast tissue. I would imagine that the saline variety might move in a more unnatural fashion. Again, I'm just not an expert on this subject. Sorry.

Q: Jesse - How big will the random thread get?
A: As of this writing the Random Thread consists of 1776 pages and 44383 entries. It has gone on for just over 5 years. How much longer can it go on? Technologically I don't have an exact answer. Eventually the hard drive on the server that host Jolinko could fill up and that would bring it to an end.

My guess is that the Random Thread will break through 100,000 entries sometime in the year 2013. Time will tell if I'm right.