The Gong Blog

Snow Thank You: HodgePodge for Jan. 22

Pizzaology

You could slice your pizza the regular way, or you could use the power of math to slice it into 40 identically shaped pieces:

“Mathematicians already knew from previous research that they can divide the six congruent slices of the pizza, cut through the center of the pie (below, left) by dividing each slice across its middle. The result is twelve three-sided slices, six on the inside with very little crust, and six on the outside with the most of the crust…”
“But the slicing patterns Haddley and Worsley have designed in their new paper go beyond 3-sided slices. The mathematicians show that, theoretically, pies can be sliced into segments with any number of odd sides…”

Here comes Mom

If you’ve been hearing more and more about Snapchat in the news, well, you’re maybe not a millennial, but also so has your mom. From Wired: “Hey Millennials, Your Mom Is About to Follow You on Snapchat”:

“By the second half of 2015, Snapchat reached 15 percent of US Internet users older than 18, according to ComScore. Several years ago, Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at ComScore, analyzed traffic to Facebook and MySpace in an attempt to discern when each saw the network effect kick in. Facebook started taking off in 2007, once it reached 15 percent of the adult Internet users in the United States.”

Relevant News

As those of us in Virginia contemplate digging yourself out of anywhere between a few inches and a few feet of snow, you may or may not be comforted to know that s“wind-chill” is a pretty useless metric (at least for the way we commonly use it):

“The wind chill index is designed for a very precise, very narrow purpose. ‘It was developed solely to assess the risk of frostbite on unclothed parts of the body,’ says Krzysztof Blazejczyk, a Polish researcher who studies the thermodynamics of the human body. In other words: If the temperature is 38°F and the wind chill is 32°F, that means you’d develop frostbite on exposed skin just as quickly as you would if the temperature was 32°F and there was no wind. That’s it.”

Numbers

You might be over the PowerBall talk (sorry you didn’t win, but, you know 292 million to 1), but this episode of Planet Money from just before the drawing is pretty great, including the story of the first known lottery:

“The jackpot for Wednesday’s Powerball will be more than $1.5 billion. On today’s show, the story of Queen Elizabeth’s 1567 lottery. (It didn’t go well.) Also the story of a man who has won multiple jackpots. (Luck had nothing to do with it.)”

Milk&Bread&Beer&Eggs

I saw all your pictures of empty shelves at grocery stores ahead of today’s snowstorm, but why do we stock up on certain staples before a store? The Atlantic investigates:

“There are some theories out there about the roots of pre-storm hoarding, most of them reasonable enough. ‘We spend a lot of time and energy trying to feel in control, and buying things you might throw out still gives the person a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation,’ a psychotherapist told How Stuff Works. And one clinical psychologist suggested that buying things that might spoil is an assertion of optimism: It’s ‘like saying, ‘The storm will be over soon and I won’t be stuck in this situation for long.’’”

“But those explanations cover stockpiling in general, not why people particularly like hoarding bread, milk, and eggs.”

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Tony Scida

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