Monthly Archives: April 2016

“Ich habe eine 113 gewürfelt…”

The New Yorker: The Dice You Never Knew You Needed.

“[T]wo scientists from the Dice Lab, Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, débuted their newest specimen, fresh from the petri dish. They had invented – or, rather, discovered; no, really they’d just inexplicably gone to the trouble of creating – a die with a hundred and twenty sides. “What do you use it for?“ Fathauer asked the audience. “We have no idea,“ he answered. Futility notwithstanding, the d120 is billed as the “ultimate fair die allowed by Mother Nature (i.e., mathematics!),“ since a die couldn’t, practically speaking, possess more sides or more symmetry, and dice must be symmetrical to be fair.”

Watch the d120 in action on YouTube.

You can susbstitute the d120 for any dn in which n is a proper factor of 120; here’s a handy chart for this use.

Even though I don’t play any games that require more than a d6 or two and even though already own a d8, d12, d24, d30 (alphabet with 4 wildcards) and a d100 that I almost never use, I somehow feel like I need to also have a d120.

Links via MetaFilter: Or, disdyakis triacontahedron.

Chernobyl – Tschernobyl

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl.

McClatchy DC: Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant will remain a threat for 3,000 years. “30 years since Chernobyl may seem like a long time, but it’s really just the start. Below reactor’s ruins is a 2,000-ton radioactive mass that can’t be removed. How do you protect a site for as long a time as Western civilization has existed?”

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: The Chernobyl Disaster: How It Happened. “On April 26, 1986, a routine safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine spiraled out of control. Follow the dramatic events that led to the world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster.”

Links via the 30th anniversary commemoration thread on MetaFilter, which contains more excellent links and interesting discussion, as usual: “This was the day, of course, when we learned we were wrong.“

I posted about Chernobyl on my weblog several times in the past: April 26, 2006, 20th anniversary; May 2, 2006, Artikel aus der Zeit; May 28, 2007; April 26, 2010; November 18, 2010.

What’s the largest number you know?

Tim Urban posted some interesting articles on Wait but why that illustrate large numbers:

From 1 to 1 000 000 is the tame beginning, with visualizations of numbers up to a million.

From 1 000 000 to Graham’s Number continues the journey up to Graham’s Number, compared to which a Googol and even a Googolplex is just an epsilon.

In 7.3 Billion People, One Building, he explains how long a chain of all living humans would be, and how big a building would have to be to fit them all in.

These were posted in November 2014 and March 2015, but except for the number of humans on earth (which has been estimated at 7.4 billion in March of 2016) should still be current.

Obama and Merkel

Update: I accidentally linked to the first article twice, instead of to the third one I meant to link. Swapped the third link and article for the right one.

Democracy: US President Barack Obama calls Germany’s Angela Merkel a ‘trusted partner’. “The US president praised Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “trusted partner” and described her handling of the refugee crisis as “courageous.” Obama is in Germany’s Hanover to talk free trade and security.”

Democracy: Barack Obama goes to Hanover: How they made it happen. “The world’s largest industrial technology trade fair is hosting the United States as its partner country. And President Barack Obama has even made a personal appearance in Hanover. So how did organizers make that happen?”

Bilateral Relations: Barack Obama showers praise on Germany and its leader. “In an interview given to the daily “Bild” a day before he visits Germany, US President Barack Obama has praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel in high tones. Obama called her actions in the refugee crisis ‘courageous.'”

Die drei Artikel gibt es auch auf Deutsch:

Deutschland / USA: Auf der richtigen Seite der Geschichte”. “Die Hannover Messe eröffnen, mit der Bundeskanzlerin über politische Krisen reden, TTIP pushen: US-Präsident Obama hatte einen straffen ersten Besuchstag. Über den berichtet Sabine Kinkartz aus Hannover.”

Hannover Messe: Obama in Hannover: Wie es dazu kam. “Zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte der größten Industriemesse der Welt sind die USA das Partnerland. Und Präsident Obama lässt es sich nicht nehmen, eigens dafür nach Hannover zu reisen. Wie hat die Messe das geschafft?”

USA / Deutschland: Obama: “Stolz auf Freundin Angela”. “Vor seinem Treffen mit Angela Merkel an diesem Wochenende hat US-Präsident Obama die Kanzlerin als führungsstarke Persönlichkeit gewürdigt. In einem Zeitungsinterview lobt er vor allem ihre Flüchtlingspolitik.”