The Leidenfrost effect

We have all observed what happens when water drops fall on a hot skillet. Rather than simply boiling off, they skitter around for awhile before disappearing in a puff.

This phenomenon is due to something called the Leidenfrost effect. If you place a drop of water on a surface, it gets flattened and just stays there due to gravity. But when placed on a surface whose temperature is higher than the boiling point of water, a thin layer of water vapor forms almost immediately that partially insulates the drop from the hot surface and also raises it off the surface, making it almost spherical again as well as reducing the frictional forces on it, enabling the drop to move around freely in response to the turbulent air currents that surround it. [Read more...]

How the rich get what they want

Princeton University professor of politics Martin Gilens has a new book Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America that spells out something that many of us instinctively sense, that America is a one-party state in which the rich get their own way, while the rest are shut out to an extent that threatens democracy itself. [Read more...]

Alexander Cockburn 1941-2012

The radical journalist died after a two-year struggle with cancer. His close colleague Jeffrey St. Clair said that he had kept his illness a tight secret, telling only his closest friends, not wanting to chronicle his own last days in the manner of Christopher Hitchens, his fellow British expatriate, one-time colleague, and later adversary when Hitchens abandoned his left-wing politics and joined up with the Bush administration and the neoconservatives in their warmongering. [Read more...]

How did Adam and Eve’s kids have kids?

I have written before about Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest who is a Fox News favorite and a member of the infamous Legion of Christ order. (See here and here for more about that odious group and its disgusting founder.)

In one call-in program titled Father Knows Best, someone asks Morris “How did Adam and Eve’s kids have kids?” Morris actually seems taken aback by this question, as if it had never occurred to him before. He flounders around, going off on tangents about other mysteries to which we have no answers such as whether Adam had a belly button and then riffs for a while on original sin. It is obvious to even his co-hosts that he is not able to answer the question. It is quite the spectacle. [Read more...]