orchard.it

…to Chicago

Posted by in Travel Nightmare

Voltaire wrote in his poem “La Bégueule” that “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”. Sometimes perfection is the enemy of the good; and in my attempt to arrive in Chicago at a perfect 1pm (waking at 4.30 and connecting through 3 cities), I ended up in Frankfurt, delayed for 6 hours. It’s a common story, but frustrating nonetheless. A relatively tight connection, a slightly delayed flight, and UTTER INCOMPETENCE from ground crew, and my productive day turns into a waiting game. In this case I was first off the plane,…read more

0

…to Baltimore

Posted by in Travel Nightmare

OK, so this one was my fault.  A miscalculation. I live about half an hour from my local airport, and typically wake up about 90 minutes before the 6am flight leaves. Except this morning the alarm rang 30 minutes before departure and I set a new record : bed to gate in 20 minutes, boarding pass in hand. I’d called ahead and the amazing front-office personnel at the airport fast-tracked me through security, only to see the gate shut in my face. If you live in a country for any…read more

0

…to Orlando

Posted by in Travel Nightmare

I live in a great Italian town with one giant flaw : it’s a shitty place to fly out of, with direct connections limited to a handful of cities a few times a week. To get to Orlando, I therefore had to drive to Milan, and fly through Frankfurt – something like a 17 hour trip door-to-door. Our commentary starts at hour 4, sitting on the plane in Milan : “Goodmorning ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. We are delighted to welcome you on board. We…read more

0

Change of Direction

Posted by in Nugget from Alastair

Ok, so let’s try something new. I travel a great deal for work, and am constantly amazed by the almost constant wave of crap that washes over me as I try to get from A to B. This is where I’m going to keep track of it all…

0

Who is that Man in the Mirror?

Posted by in Nugget from the Internet

When Alice asked her cat if the milk in the looking glass tastes the same as the milk in her dish, author and mathematician Lewis Carol was using a surprisingly accurate analogy. At a molecular level, the vast majority of substances exhibit little symmetry. Instead atoms are combined in structures that curl either one way or another. Look through a microscope at a non-organic substance like a lump of granite and you’ll see a mixture of left or right spirals, but examine any living thing and they all curl left….read more

0

Pig Metamorphosis

Posted by in Nugget from Alastair

Give your pet dog it’s freedom and it’ll just sit on your doorstep looking miserable. Release it into the wild and it will become a pretty effective predator, but it will take generations for it to physically adapt to it’s new environment. The Dingo was introduced to Australia about 3500 years ago. It’s about as wild as a dog gets, but it doesn’t look all that different to my brother’s dog Sam… …and that’s pretty common for most animals. In their wild (or rather, feral) state, they’re just a thinner,…read more

0

The Critical Role of Olive Oil in Pasta Sauce

Posted by in Nugget from Alastair

Eat spaghetti or penne for the first time in Italy and you’ll be struck by the difference in the pasta’s texture compared to the soggy, overcooked shapes that haunted the dinner plates of your childhood (sorry Mum…). But stay long enough to look past the surprising bite of the pasta itself and you’ll notice there’s something else going on that’s going to make recreating this bowl of heaven pretty difficult when you get home. The sensation is the creamy, buttery, sensual pleasure that seems consistent present from the egg-based Carbonara,…read more

0

The Prometheus Story

Posted by in Nugget from the Internet

Donald Currey had always dreamed of being a botanist and in 1964 he was a post graduate studying the effects of the The Little Ice Age on vegetation at the University of Carolina. The evidence he needed was to be found in the rings inside old trees which indirectly record the weather each year of the tree’s life. Armed with a special core drill from Sweden, Currey explored the forest of Nevada’s Great Basin National Park and randomly chose a tree to sample. He climbed it’s lower branches, positioned his…read more

0

Freediving Part 2 – Hyperventilation

Posted by in Nugget from Alastair

In Part 1 I briefly explained that the urge to breathe is regulated by a build up of CO2 sensed by the body, rather than an actual lack of oxygen (that the body cannot directly determine). In this post I look at an example of the complex interactions that occur within the body during apnea and what happens if you try to disturb the balance. One of the ways in which a freediver is able to hold his breath for an apparently impossible time (the current record is over 10…read more

0

The Science Behind Traffic Jams

Posted by in Nugget from the Internet

A particularly nice graphic that explains (at an extremely high level) what causes traffic jams. The root cause is a combination of saturation and what’s called a Backwards Travelling Wave. A simple event such as a lane change causes cars behind to slow slightly and every subsequent line to slow further in order to maintain safe distance. The further away from the original event a car is, the slower it will have to go to avoid hitting the cars in front.

0