Flash Mob Opened New Forecourt at Derby Train Station

The Flash Mob Danced on The New Forecourt

On 16th April 2013 Derby celebrated by way of dance to an appropriate tune “The Loco-Motion”. The dance was performed by a Flash Mob at the opening of the new Derby Train Station Forecourt. This happened after months of disruption and a lot of money spent. See the short portion of video below:

Other dances were performed too (at least one other) and the opening ceremony could be seen here (http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/VIDEO-Flash-mob-dance-marks-station-facelift/story-18745358-detail/story.html) in the article published by the Derby Telegraph, but they have updated their system and it’s no longer available.

Anyway, this is what they were celebrating. The new look of the station entrance shown below.

New Facade at Derby Train Station
Derby Midland Station Entrance 2013 Upgrade

The previous version of the forecourt had a basic design fault. When tall vehicles, like vans, arrived at the entrance their top nearside corners were able to smash into the metal fascia of the overhanging canopy and cause noticeable damage. This tended not to get repaired and the forecourt soon took on a shabby appearance.

This is how that previous appearance looked before the latest upgrade:

Derby Station Forecourt Before 2013 upgrade (no Flash Mob then)
Derby Station Forecourt Before 2013 upgrade

When the design above was built the whole of the internal foyer was redesigned too. An electronic destination board and automatic ticketing barriers were eventually installed too. When the latest forecourt was built those features in the foyer remained as they were since they were already modern.

You can see from the photo of the station before and after the latest upgrade that the tiled roof, windows and station name above, covering the foyer went unchanged.

. . . and before that it looked like this when I was a young man:

Derby Station Forecourt 1980 (no Flash Mob then)
Derby Station Forecourt 1980

You can read more about my interest in railways (particularly steam railways) here: My Railway Experiences.

Dry Ice In Water

Observing The Reaction Of Dry Ice In Water

I always wanted to try this (put dry ice in water) and last year I got the opportunity. When I bought some meat from Donald Russell it was delivered packed in dry ice. Dry Ice is frozen CO2 i.e. solid carbon dioxide.

This dry ice was used to keep the meat cool in transit. The meat and dry ice are transported in a polystyrene box which provides lots of insulation. However, over time, the heat does percolate a package like this and the dry ice sublimates. (That means it turns to vapour with no intermediate liquid state.)

Usually there is some solid CO2 left in the package on arrival. If There wasn’t any left the meat temperature may rise too high and the meat would be spoilt. So this is my source of dry ice.

The first thing I wanted to do, as soon as the meat was stored in a cool place, was put the dry ice in water and watch it bubble away and the vapour flow out and down the side of the container. I caught it on video below:

As far as I am aware the visible vapour is the water vapour giving the air its humidity cooled until it condenses.


End Of Post

I’ve Spilt Paint On My Patio Slabs. What Will I Do?

Patio Cleaning Items

Introduction

“Oh dear! The spilt paint on my patio slabs created a 20cm dia. puddle when my tin of mahogany paint blew over. It was tipped up by a gust of wind which lifted the cardboard it was resting on.”

“There would have been photos but I had to swear first and then get on with cleaning it up.” — HC

Google’s Employment Applicant’s Hourglass Problem

Ref: March 2012 issue of Wired magazine.

It seems the Google job interview process requires a problem to be solved. I’ll take this hourglass problem, “Using only a four-minute hourglass and a seven-minute hourglass, measure exactly nine minutes.”

Solution Principle: Use one hourglass to measure out a smaller amount of time on the other hourglass. Repeat until you have the correct time periods stored in each hour glass such that when you add their times together by turning the second one up when the first finishes you get the correct total time of nine minutes.

Flipping Heck It’s A SmartInversion

Introduction

It’s an unusual flying object – this SmartInversion – that propels itself by flipping inside out. Created by engineers at Festo in Esslingen, Germany. It was originally reported in a New Scientist blog in April 2012 which is no longer online. I decided to investigate it further and found it in the Festo archives.

What I’ve Found

At the time it didn’t appear to have a name  so I called it a Flipping Heck as in, “Flipping heck what is it?” Festo did give it a name apparently. It’s called a SmartInversion. I understand it’s filled with helium to keep it afloat so maybe it’s a Flipping Balloon.

Here is a video of the SmartInversion:

Some parts of the video are speeded up. In reality it only moves slowly. Here is a link to Festo’s article.

iPad Survives Undamaged After Extreme Fall

Introduction

It’s becoming quite popular to send cameras up to the edge of space for one reason or another. This is one of the latest which an iPad survives undamaged.

See How An iPad Survives Undamaged After An Extreme Fall.

NOTE: The article quotes, “….with the blackness of space and the bright curve of Earth providing a stunning backdrop.” However, if you watch the video carefully you will see as the balloon ascends and the horizon moves across the scene that the curvature of the earth varies from being convex to concave. This suggests to me that the camera lens has a lot of distortion and so it cannot be relied upon to give a good impression of the curvature of the earth.

How many times can you fold paper? How about 13?

How many times can you fold paper? How about 13?

Doesn’t paper folded enough times create a stack that reaches to the moon?  Well it doesn’t here. However you would need a suitcase to carry it around if you wanted to protect yourself against being taken short. (It is toilet paper after all.) The students at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts asked how many times can you fold paper? They went on to break the record. See below:

Have a look at this article about it in New Scientist.

Here’s A Little Brain Teaser

Introduction

My mentor drAnalog has advised me how to use Google Analytics to produce statistics of site visits. The analysis has thrown up some interesting results and from them I have concocted a Brain Teaser for your delight. Sorry no prizes given but you have the satisfaction of taking part.

My Brain Teaser

  • Some Derby people made 21 visits to this blog using an unspecified number of computers which we have to assume kept the same settings for each visit they made and hopefully used the same service providers each time.
  • 13 visits were made using Internet Explorer, 6 using Google Chrome and 2 using Firefox browsers.
  • 16 visits were made with Windows PC’s and 5 with Mackintosh computers.
  • 18 visits were made via btcentralplus.com, 2 via ntl.com and 1 via virginmedia.com (service providers).
  • 18 visits were made using 24bit colour and 3 using 32 bit colour systems.
  • 8 visits used 1920×1200, 7 used 1366×768, 4 used 1280×800 and 2 used 1680×1050 screens.
  • 19 visits use Flash version 11.1 r102 with Java support and 2 use Flash version 10.0 r32 without Java support.

What was the minimum number of COMPUTERS needed to make the 21 visits to the blog?

I suspect there might be enough data to deduce the answer but I can’t guarantee it.

Answers posted in comments will be seen by others.

Stig of Bus Drivers In Saltburn-By-The-Sea

Stig of Bus Drivers Controls The X4

This must be the Stig of bus drivers getting his bus up this steep hill in one go without sliding all over the place. He did it in these snowy winter conditions on 9th November 2010.

This is miraculous driving of the X4 service single deck bus shown here going up Saltburn Road1 between Vista Mar and the Spa Hotel at Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire.

It must take a bit of skill in the summer never mind in these icy winter conditions. The road has a gradient of 25%.

The video shows several cars on the road many of which are having difficulty driving under these conditions. Some are skidding and others are being pushed, but this bus zips through them and drives straight up the incline without skidding or stopping.

Below is a map of the Saltburn-by-the-sea area where this was filmed. The location of the camera was at or near: 54°35’06.1″N, 0°58’11.5″W.

The X4 bus is seen travelling in a southerly direction along that zig-zag part of Saltburn Road between Vista Mar and The Spa Hotel.

Here is the same Arriva X4 service bus in better weather.

See the sea view from Saltburn Road near the Spa Hotel on Google Street View.

For those who want to visit here is a travel guide to Saltburn-by-the-sea.

Footnotes

  1. I have done my geography and looked at Google Maps and Streetview to check the location of this steep winding road. I found the action happens on Saltburn Road and not Saltburn Bank as mentioned in the Simjem video. That  is another road adjoining Saltburn Road to the east of this location.
  2. The Simjem video information on Youtube suggests this event was filmed on 9th November 2010. I checked the weather for that winter to be sure it snowed on that date in that location. I can’t be sure it did but knowing it is an exposed seaside town in the NE of England, and a very cold winter ensued after that date, I think it likely is correct. The weather for that winter 2010-11 can be examined here.