Where do people get these ideas?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you placed a washing machine on a trampoline, put a brick into it, and turned it on? Me neither. But somebody thought it might be a good idea and the video below shows what happens. In general, my distaste of waste and wanton destruction of perfectly good appliances makes me reluctant to endorse this kind of thing. But I have to admit to being fascinated by the video because it made me think about the physics that was driving it.
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It’s official: 2015 was the warmest year in modern times

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015 easily broke the previous record for the warmest year that had been set just the previous year.

During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 Fahrenheit (0.90 Celsius) above the 20th century average,” said the NOAA report.

“This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2015 record.”

Compared to 2014, last year was 0.29 Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius) warmer, the “largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken.”

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Have half a billion dollars to spare?

The Powerball lottery drawing later this week has an estimated jackpot of $1.4 billion, the largest in US history, easily beating the $656 million Mega Millions prize in 2012. Although I don’t buy lottery tickets, the size of the prize made me wonder about the odds involved and whether it might be worthwhile to pick every single number to guarantee winning.
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Documentary on solving Fermat’s Last Theorem

Blogging will be light during the holiday break but if you too have time on your hands, I think many people will find enjoyable this 46-minute documentary made (I think) in 1997 that looks at Andrew Wiles’s quest to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. I did not understand almost all of the sophisticated mathematics involved but that did not matter.
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Balmy weather in the northeast US

Those of us who live in the northeast of the US have all been remarking on how warm it has been, with temperatures often running at twenty degrees Fahrenheit over normal. Today is expected to be in the mid 60s, about 30 degrees above normal. It is truly strange to see people wearing shorts and walking their dogs past green lawns on Christmas Eve in Cleveland. In response to yesterday’s post, commenters who live in Australia also weighed in with how much of a heat wave they are going through right now.
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