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A COLLECTION OF WORTHY SCIENTIFIC EPONYMS (ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY)

By | archive, creative, humour, math, metrics

The Science Creative Quarterly is happy to present a growing list of scientific eponyms as first initiated by the efforts of Samuel Arbesman and The World’s Fair. Please feel free to email us if you wish to add to this list (tscq@interchange.ubc.ca).

- A -

Arbesman Limit (keywords: science, eponym, immortality)

… the maximum number of concepts or ideas that can be named after a single person

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- D -

Drugmonkey Scale (keywords: drugs, reaction to blog post, neuropsychology)
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- F -

Fox Paradox (keywords: genomics, ethics)

Just because we’ve sequenced your genome, we don’t necessarily know your name.

Some notable exceptions:
Craig, James, Susie, Cinnamon, Twilight, Glennie, and RJF#256
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- G -

Gorton’s Measure (keywords: marine life, edibility)
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- – -

Gorton’s Constant (gamma) (keywords: marine life, edibility, lemon, butter)
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- H -

Higgins-Levinthal Dictum (keywords: blog post, obnoxious content, comments)
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- J -

Justapie’s Constant (keywords: computers, script, sign mistakes)

J = maximum number of lines of computation that can be done without sign mistakes

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- N -

Ng’s Score (keywords: cup holders, transportation, social value)
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- O -

Orzel Teammate Desirability Factor (TDF) (keywords: basketball, player assessment)
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- R -

Redfield Factor (keyword: DNA, mass)

The number of kilobase pairs in a gram of DNA: 1018

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- – -

Rowan Sarchasmic Index (keywords: sarcasm, irony, the British)
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And accompanying ironic susceptibility value:
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- S -

Sack’s Baby-Pants Index (keywords: infant wear, comfort, cost, futility)
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- – -

Sciencewoman’s Law (keywords: post frequency, work, kids, life)
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- – -

Semeniuk-Bjorge-Colby Score (keywords: sex, hairyness, pity)
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- – -

Stemwedel Index of Luddite Nature (keywords: luddite, technology)
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About you

METRICS: THE RICHTER SCALE

By | archive, humour, metrics

Measures: Earthquake magnitude. This is a logarithmic scale, plotting greatest displacement from 0 on seismometer after event occurs.

Range: 0 to 10+

Reference measurements:

0 – 3.4

This is normal. The first step in assessing earthquake severity is determining whether other people are noticing the Earth move as well. If only you seem to be experiencing the Earth moving, you are likely drunk or having an orgasm or both.

3.5

Not usually felt, but will be recorded. Earthquakes of this magnitude are often the result of office horseplay occurring too close to the seismometer (“Dude – careful!”).

3.6 – 4.5

Caused by yo’ mamma walkin’ by (zing!). You can feel these.

4.6 – 6.0

Here is where we start to get into some real earthshaking stuff – like when Britney Spears shaved her head or that time you saw a squirrel do a back-flip. (Corollary: afterwards, when the lights are still swinging and half the people around you are pale with fear, some luminary will inevitably ask “Did you feel that?”)

6.1-6.9

This level could have serious consequences, depending on when and where it hit. That 50 pound weather vane your Dad put up at his summer cottage will likely topple as will your crappy apartment building. But you’ll be studying down in some dank library somewhere, which means you’ll likely be booked to death when the stacks fall onto you.

7.0 – 7.9

Catastrophic. You should, if possible, consider being somewhere else. City swallowing cracks in the Earth’s crust are likely to appear. This is where people like Anne Coulter come from.

>8.0

Repent sins, commit big sin you’ve been putting off, or both (time permitting). Concrete will be like J-E-L-L-O. Try force-feeding your shoe to anyone yelling about “the Rapture” before everything goes black.

History:

Developed in 1935 by Charles Richter (no relation to former New York Rangers goaltender Mike) and Beno Gutenberg (no relation to “star” of Police Academy films Steve). The Richter scale represents yet another log scale that will inevitably bewilder the public (“Logarithmic? Isn’t that where someone uses a stump as a bass drum?”). Note: earthquakes only occurs in regions where people have angered God (unconfirmed).

Related quote:

“AAAAAAAHHHH!” (Richter, the guy in Total Recall who had his arms ripped off.)

Use of “Richter” in a sentence:

“Richter? Damn near killed her!”

About timonian

Timon Buys is currently a graduate student at the BC Cancer Research Centre. His PhD work has thus far involved attempts to identify genomic signatures of drug resistance in lung tumours. A product of Vancouver Island, he cannot understand why his wife hates Birkenstocks so much. Timon highly recommends that readers visit www.bedroomstudio.cc, a place with tunes that the kids will enjoy. Ian Wilson enjoys climbing and “the group thing”. Ask him about his DNA tattoo.

METRICS: THE CELCIUS

By | archive, humour, metrics

Metric: Celsius

Measures: Primarily the vibrational and rotational kinetic energy of atoms (you know, hotness).

Range:

-273.15oC. This is known as absolute zero, a temperature at which nothing could be colder. Some Irishman named Kelvin came up with a scale that started 0 from this value, but basically had the same increments as the Celsius scale. He then substituted “degrees Celsius” with “Kelvins”.**

-40oC. Where the Celsius scale intersects with the Fahrenheit temperature metric (i.e. -40oC = -40oF). This temperature is as frosty as Canada/U.S. relations.

-20oC. Witch’s teat territory.

0oC. On a day where the freezing mark is reached, people may experience a certain sense of ennui, a small hint that there’s a whole lot of nothing out there. Drunken frat-boys waking up on a park bench at this temperature will agree.

11oC. If you’re from Vancouver and no rain is falling, this temperature means it’s time to take the top off the convertible. You’ll still be wearing your winter jacket (and so will your toy poodle), of course.

25oC. It’s wheat beer time.

37oC. The temperature of your head when you pull it out of your ass (I’m talking to you Ann Coulter.)

>40oC. It’s getting hot in here! (Authors advise removal of apparel.)

233oC. Good for burning books in a dystopian future that has creepy parallels with the present.

1,000,000 oC. Alleged temperature of nephew’s bath. Crazy brat.

History:

This metric was developed by Anders Celsius in 1791. Arbitrarily, the temperature at which water freezes was assigned to 100 while the temperature at which water boiled was assigned 0. After Celsius’s death however, Carolus Linnaeus reversed the scale, assigning 0 to freezing and 100 to boiling. This cleared up much confusion and facilitated adoption of this metric by all nations on Earth.

Well, almost.

Contrary to popular belief, this metric is not actually named for its creator; “Celsius” is in fact an anagram of “cuss” and “lie”, the central tenets of the “Linnean doctrine” which was outlined in the 1793 treatise “I’m fucking tall” (please note: Linnaeus was an angry runt of a man).

Related quote:

“I don’t give a good goddamn about ‘degrees Celsius’ – if the temperature says 35, I’m wearing a parka.” (American tourist in Greece)

Use of “Celsius” in a sentence:

Celsius is spelled C-E-L-S-I-U-S.

Note

** Inspired by Kelvin, the authors would like to propose the “wilsobuysian”. The height of mountains is typically measured in meters above sea level. We propose to measure them from the bottom of the Marianas Trench. 1 “wilsobuysians” (1 wb) is approximately equal to 1 meter (1 m). Mt. Everest is 19759 wb tall (8848 m above sea level).

About timonian

Timon Buys is currently a graduate student at the BC Cancer Research Centre. His PhD work has thus far involved attempts to identify genomic signatures of drug resistance in lung tumours. A product of Vancouver Island, he cannot understand why his wife hates Birkenstocks so much. Timon highly recommends that readers visit www.bedroomstudio.cc, a place with tunes that the kids will enjoy. Ian Wilson enjoys climbing and “the group thing”. Ask him about his DNA tattoo.

pH – A SCIENCE CREATIVE QUARTERLY PIN UP (NO. 2)

By | archive, humour, metrics, pin-up

(CLICK HERE FOR PIN-UP POSTER – pdf file ~140k)
– We suggest photocopying at 129% – LTR to 11×17 –

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Metric: pH

Range: 0-14 (no units)

Measures: Degree of acidity or alkalinity. It is a logarithmic scale expressing the concentration of Hydrogen ions in solution.

pH = -log10 [H+]

A solution is “acidic” if pH is less than 7 (Hydrogen ion concentration is greater than 10−7 M), “neutral” if pH equals 7 (Hydrogen ion concentration equals 10−7 M), and “alkaline” if pH greater than 7 (Hydrogen ion concentration is less than 10−7 M). As was pointed out here, pH measures intensity and not capacity. This is similar to temperature, which is actually a measure of how hot something is and not the amount of heat carried by a given material. Or, as another example, People Magazine’s “Sexiest” issue measures a given star’s allure and not his or her sexual prowess (Richard Gere – handsome man, requires gerbil-related stimulation).

History: The pH scale was originally described in 1909 by Soren Sörenson, also known for his position near the end of the line when names were being handed out. Demonstrating the niceties of chemistry to his young son (Soren II), Sörenson spilled concentrated ammonia on his hand. He started to scream “Fff–” but stopped short, remembering that his impressionable child was standing next to him. When asked what was wrong, Sörenson told his son through clenched teeth that the liquid daddy spilled on himself was high on the “Ffff” meter. The recent invention of the telephone (where “ph” first could be pronounced “Fff”) gave rise to the name we currently use. The pH scale has seen widespread application over the years. It is a subject of obsession at various skin care conglomerates and at your friendly neighbourhood grow-op.

Planning for 2009’s “pH Centennial Celebration” is well underway.

Related quote:
“Tune in, turn on, drop out” - Timothy Leary (on acid)

Use of “pH” in a sentence:
“In the hip hop lexicon, ‘phat’ is spelled with a pH.”

About timonian

Timon Buys is currently a graduate student at the BC Cancer Research Centre. His PhD work has thus far involved attempts to identify genomic signatures of drug resistance in lung tumours. A product of Vancouver Island, he cannot understand why his wife hates Birkenstocks so much. Timon highly recommends that readers visit www.bedroomstudio.cc, a place with tunes that the kids will enjoy. Ian Wilson enjoys climbing and “the group thing”. Ask him about his DNA tattoo.