Someone wondered what would happen if the Earth was instantly replaced with an equal volume of blueberries. So Anders Sandberg worked it out:
The result is that blueberry earth will turn into a roaring ocean of boiling jam, with the geysers of released air and steam likely ejecting at least a few berries into orbit (escape velocity is just 4.234 km/s, and berries at the initial surface will be even higher up in the potential). As the planet evolves a thick atmosphere of released steam will add to the already considerable air from the berries.
It's well worth reading for an example of how seemingly weird or frvialous questions can lead into areas you hadn't even contemplated.
Did you know that the groove in a 12" record is a quarter of a mile long?<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="425" height="350" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CN0nk0DCMNk&feature=player_embedded" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CN0nk0DCMNk&feature=player_embedded" wmode="transparent"></embed></object>
Via the ever awesome Denise.
One day, when Marco and I were playing against two computer opponents, we forced one of the AI cycles to trap itself between its own walls and the bottom game border. Sensing an impending crash, it fired a missile, just like it always did whenever it was trapped. But this time was different – instead of firing at another trail, it fired at the game border, which looked like any other light cycle trail as far as the computer was concerned. The missile impacted with the border, leaving a cycle-sized hole, and the computer promptly took the exit and left the main playing field. Puzzled, we watched as the cycle drove through the scoring display at the bottom of the screen. It easily avoided the score digits and then drove off the screen altogether. Shortly after, the system crashed. Our minds reeled as we tried to understand what we had just seen. The computer had found a way to get out of the game. When a cycle left the game screen, it escaped into computer memory – just like in the movie.
Daniel Wellman reminisces about the day his program went awol and life started imitating art.
From Time Magazine:
It was at 1.58pm on January 28, 1958 that then-Lego head Godtfred Kirk Christiansen filed a patent for the iconic plastic brick with its stud and hole design. Since then, the company has made a staggering 400 billion Lego elements, or 62 bricks for every person on the planet. And if stacked on top of one another, the pieces would form 10 towers reaching all the way from the Earth to the Moon.
I've also found out from the various press materials released by Lego today that there are 4 billion LEGO minifigs in the world, which makes them the largest population group on earth. Let's give them the vote.