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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.

Archive for March, 2007

Phylm makes for good company

by David Colarusso - March 27th, 2007

So I just confirmed the judges panel for the first annual Phylm Prize, and it’s packed full of talent. We have professors from Harvard and Tufts, TV professionals from both sides of the Atlantic, innovative digital educators, and even mad scientists. You can find a list of the judges and links on the competition’s main page at http://www.phylm.com. We’re all super excited to see what you come up with. So get working, and send us your stuff.

Life imitating art imitating life

by David Colarusso - March 25th, 2007

So last Thursday I broke up a fight on the football pitch, and after separating the students involved, I noticed about half a dozen camera phones documenting the whole thing. Friday morning the video was on YouTube, and that afternoon, by chance, I happened upon this posting over at learning.now about a This American Life video on a school-yard fad and its consequences–pretend video cameras. Watch the story, and you’ll understand. It definitely gives you something to think about.

What is quantum tunneling?

by David Colarusso - March 25th, 2007

Einstein may have believed God doesn’t play dice, but God need not conform to Einstein’s beliefs. This piece explores the phenomenon of quantum mechanical tunneling whose explanation requires us to accept the reality of quantum mechanics. It’s not a trick; it’s reality.

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Update: People have been asking for the math. So here it is. The Sun’s core temp is ~13.6 MK. For hydrogen nuclei the Coulomb barrier is roughly 0.1 MeV. This corresponds to a temperature in excess of 1 GK! Luckily, tunneling and the distribution of speeds among nuclei lower the actual temperature required. So without tunneling even the Sun’s core isn’t hot enough for fusion. To see most of this worked through, check out this link:
http://burro.cwru.edu/Academics/Astr221/StarPhys/coulomb.html
for a less mathematical explanation, try:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion#Requirements

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Could that actually happen? Phylm examines the bus jump from Speed

by David Colarusso - March 20th, 2007

In the movie Speed a bus is forced to jump an unfinished portion of highway to avoid setting off a bomb on the bus rigged to explode should it go below fifty miles an hour. Of course, they make it, but we want to know if this could really happen.

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Fair Use, Why YouTube has it right

by David Colarusso - March 19th, 2007

Viacom’s 1 Billion dollar YouTube lawsuit is not a repeat of Napster’s file sharing litigation. It is a battle over who calls the intellectual property game, corporations or the courts, and it is a test of the law whose resolution promises dramatic implications for free speech in the digital age. Unlike Napster, YouTube users are first and foremost content producers. Where it was hard to see legitimate uses for music sharing, YouTubers produce innumerable original and derivative works. What’s up for debate is how to deal with copyright violations when they occur. YouTube claims safe harbor protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Viacom alleges a business model built on the draw of illegal content. In the past week, I’ve heard noise from both camps, yet as an educator and vlogger, I am dismayed by what I haven’t heard enough–a defence of and respect for fair use.

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