Number One Observatory Circle

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Netflix’s political thriller, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey premiered its 5 season two days ago. With out spoiling much–and if you haven’t seen it give it a watch but keep in mind season 3 is a transition–there comes a point where they begin talking about the Vice Presidency.

And it got me thinking.

Where does the Vice President live?

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Spoon or No Spoon

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While I was drinking my coffee this morning the thought occurred to me: how much faster does my coffee cool with the spoon in it?

So I did a rough estimation with the following assumptions:

  1. All cooling was done through natural convection following Newton’s Law of Cooling, with a convective heat transfer value of h=40 W/(m^2*K) and a bulk air temperature of 294 K (~70 F)
  2. The thermal conductivity of the coffee mug and the spoon are that of ceramic (k=1.5 W/(m*K)) and stainless (k=16 W/(m*K)) respectively
  3. The spoon has uniform temperature along it length equal to that of the bulk coffee
  4. The coffee cup is a cylinder with height of 4 inches and a diameter of 3.5 inches
  5. The spoon has a total length of 8 inches with heat transfer only occurring off the section of the handle emerging from the coffee
  6. Coffee has the same heat capacity and density as water
  7. Coffee is produced from the pot and poured into the cup at 355 K (~180 F)
  8. No heat is lost through evaporation of the coffee

And here are the results:

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Blue represents the standard coffee.

Yellow is the coffee with spoon.

Red horizontal is safe drinking temperature (333 K).

Purple Horizontal is air temperature.

 

What can be gathered is the coffee with spoon hits the safe drinking temperature almost a full 150 seconds (2.5 minutes) sooner than the standard coffee.

This is not a life changing amount of time saved but it’s 2.5 more minutes of WordPress everyday.

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Sweet Science of mini M&M’s

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You’re mom takes you to the candy store where she says you can pick  out one thing. Your face lights up and you gleefully take off down the aisle. Now what should you get? Twizzlers, Sugar Bombs, Gummy Bars, Jaw Breakers, Sour Rings, Butterfingers?

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