Guinness bubbles problem – solved!

If you are a beer fan, you’ve probably heard about the famous Guinness bubbles problem.  While bubbles in most other beers rise up, in Guinness they go down.  A lot of people were puzzled by that fact, and now, it seems, the puzzle is solved.

According to the article in Technology Reviews, Irish mathematicians came up with an answer:

Today, a dedicated team of Irish mathematicians reveal the answer. Eugene Benilov, Cathal Cummins and William Lee at the University of Limerick say the final piece in this puzzle is the shape of the glass, which has a crucial influence over the circulatory patterns in the liquid.

To understand how, first remember that the motion of every bubble exerts a drag on the liquid around it. Now imagine what would happen if there were a region of liquid containing fewer bubbles near the wall of a pint glass and consequently a region of higher bubble density near the middle of the glass.

Benilov and co say that the drag will be higher in the region where the bubble density is higher, in other words near the centre of the glass. This creates an imbalance that sets up a circulation pattern in which the liquid flows upwards in the centre of the glass and downwards near the walls.

That’s exactly as observed in a pint of Guinness.

There are more details and image of an anti-pint in the article.  Read it.

Also, while reading up on the subject, I’ve learned something else about Guinness – the widget.

Beneath Hill 60

I don’t remember how I came across “Beneath Hill 60“, but it was in my watch queue for quite a while.  Yesterday I finally decided to watch it, and now I’m glad I did.  One of the first things that stands out is that it’s not an American movie (it’s Australian).  Even though the main language is English, the story telling, camera angles, special effects, and intensity are all approached differently.

The film tells the story of the Battle of Hill 60 from the First World War.  I haven’t heard anything about the battle before watching the film, and I’ve never thought of the role miners played at war.  In fact, I wasn’t aware they were ever used for military operations, even though not that I think about it – it makes all the sense.

This movie is not a major blockbuster by any means.  But it has a story to tell and it has a soul.  It feels like it was important to people who were making it.  And so, even if you aren’t that much into war movies, it will still be worth your time.

Overall ranking, a 4 out of 5.  Well done.

Responsive typography

I’ve recently made yet another attempt to do so some web design myself.  Of course that ended up being a total fiasco, like every single time before that.  But as every single time before that, I’ve learned something new.  This time, my focus was around typography.  The current trend towards a gadzillion web fonts is probably one of the biggest changes in web design that I see.  Google Web Fonts alone is a resource one could spend countless hours at.

And just as I’ve wrapped up and threw away my web design attempt, I came across an article on responsive typography.  And the very first paragraph of it confirmed what I have realized myself.

With the chaos of different screen sizes and a new generation of web browsers, the design paradigms of layout and typography have shifted away from static layouts and system fonts to dynamic layouts and custom web fonts. Now, screens are changing not just in size, but also in pixel density. In other words: we do not just need responsive layouts, we also need responsive typefaces.

Unlike me though, the authors seems to have a pretty good idea of what they are talking about.

Social networking reshuffled

OK, now that I’m almost sure that new setup for social networking works, I can give you guys an idea of what I had and how I changed it.  In case you’ll notice any differences between this description and the actual behavior, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve things, please let me know.  Without any further ado …

In my previous setup, I used Twitter as my social glue.  Everything was synchronized with Twitter – my Google Reader, Evernote, delicious, a few RSS feeds, Foursquare, Flickr, YouTube, etc.  Periodically (once a day until recently, now weekly), my tweets were automatically aggregated into a blog post using Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress.  This allowed me to make sure that I had a record of my online activity synced back into my own blog, something that I own, cherish, and backup.

That setup had a serious drawback.  Not everyone is on Twitter.  A lot of people are using Facebook these days.  And while in my previous setup there was an automatic push of tweets to Facebook, it wasn’t ideal.  Tweets are more limited than Facebook posts – in length, previews, and formatting.  Which means that even though something was synced to Facebook, I wasn’t taking a full advantage of Facebook.

From now on I have a different setup.  I’ll still use Twitter as my social glue, but I won’t be limiting myself to only Twitter.  I will push content independently to Facebook and other social networks when appropriate.  I will try to keep Twitter in sync by posting directly to several social networks simultaneously.  My tweets will still be aggregated at my blog on a weekly basis.  But there won’t be any automatic synchronization between Twitter and Facebook anymore.  The con of this setup is that not all content will get pushed everywhere. But it is, I think, fairly compensated by a pro of having tailored content and format for each social network.

Either way, nothing is set in stone yet. And even if it was – things move and change way too often, and I’m just trying to keep it real.  Let me know if notice any issues with these changes, and, especially if you know how to make things better.

P.S.: Yes, if Twitter and Facebook had better integration in terms of links, photos, videos, and locations, none of these would have happened.  “Blame Canada!” (c) South Park.

Trying out Social 2.5

A few days ago, Alex King announced the release of the new version of Social plugin for WordPress.  It’s one of those that can broadcast your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook.  But not only that.  It can also synchronize Twitter re-tweets and replies and Facebook shares and comments back into your blog, as comments.  Now that sounds pretty interesting.

I’ve installed the plugin and connected it to both Twitter and Facebook easily – no need to create your own apps or anything like that.  But given that I already have some sort of synchronization between Twitter and Facebook, I wonder how weird things will go.

This is a test post.

Update #1: Social plugin seems to work really well.

Update #2: Disabling broadcasting to Twitter from Twitter Tools plugin should decrease the amount of dups posted.

Updated #3: It is still not obvious how to keep the synchronization between Twitter and Facebook while avoiding dups.

Weekly digest – 2012-05-27

Flickchart – your own Top 20 Movies of all times

Flickchart is yet another one of those sites that is supposed to help you choose the next movie to watch, as well as share with your friends the list of movies that you’ve enjoyed.  The interface is somewhat simple and straightforward, even though the functionality is plenty.

Basically, you are presented with the two movies next to each other and you have to click on the one you think is better.  If you haven’t seen either one of the given movies, you can skip it for the next.  Flickchart computes your voting into a Top 20 Movies of all times list, as well as a bunch of other sub-lists – by genre, by decade, etc.

Overall, that’s a much needed site with some really cool features.  There is only one problem with it.  It doesn’t work.  I mean, it doesn’t work as I expected it to.  It keeps throwing unknown weird films that I’ve never heard of at me.  It keeps giving me movies for voting which I clearly marked as I haven’t seen.  And the resulting Top 20 Of All Time list is weird at best.  Some of the movies which I want there – are there, yet not at the places I’d put them manually at.  The other movies seem to not make it there at all.

There is a “By Title” voting mechanism which one could use to move things around, but that is not very useful at this stage either.  For example, I had “Avatar” at position #2.  I thought, even though it’s a nice movie, #2 is a bit too high for it.  So I took the “By Title” tour and in just a five or six clicks “Avatar” ended at #46.  Seriously, WTF is going on?

As much as I’d love to use this site, I think it’s still too early.  I need to give it some time to mature.  But I’ll definitely be back to check out later.  Have you tried it yet?

Robin Williams – Weapons Of Self Destruction

Outside of the US, Robin Williams is mostly known for his movie acting career.  But in the States, his stand-up comedy success goes hand-in-hand with the movies and theater.  I’ve seen quite cuts of his gigs on YouTube, but it’s a first time that I came across a full-length show.  “Weapons of Self Destruction” is a 1.5 hour video on YouTube.  If you don’t mind a lot of swearing, it will send you laugh, while covering a variety of subjects – from stereotypes and politics to progress and drugs abuse.  Enjoy!