Google Trick of the Day

Try searching for:

"electricity consumption of " + someCountryName

I stumbled on this when trying to calculate the amount of energy used refining Aluminium in the US.

In case you were wondering, using Google’s (via the CIA) figure of 3,660,000,000,000 kWh and a usage rate of 5% according to Nature’s Building Blocks by John Emsley, the final figure comes out to 186 billion kWh devoted to aluminium production annually.

Eric Weinstein Speaks

Last Thursday the Matrix math club and Pi Mu Epsilon here at the University hosted Eric Weinstein, founder of Mathworld.

For those who don’t know, Mathworld is an (excellent) online encyclopedia of mathematics from Wolfram Research.

His talk was interesting, and a good time was had by all.

He spoke about how Mathworld got started, first as a giant word document of class notes. He went on to talk about how he then put all those notes onto a website “Eric’s Treasure Trove of Mathematics” when that internet thing was getting started. How he got sued, taken down, and then then a year later (2000), how it returned as the site we know and love today.

We also got a nice preview of Mathematica 6.0. I’m no Mathematica user, but I saw a few things that impressed me. Mathematica now supports anti-aliasing (the jaggly lines it draws currently have always been a turn off for me). Smooth Shading (makes surfaces much nicer). And also a cool little deally where you (as far as I can tell) treat graphics as objects (or whatever they are in Mathematica) – so their no longer static and stuff like that… cool.

There were also some other nifty tidbits as well – he commented a bit on his role as an advisor to the CBS TV series Numb3rs (I haven’t seen it myself but I hear it’s good). I also found out that in the not so distant future we should be able to expect a Mathworld podcast (awesome) and that (surprisingly) the entire site is, by-in-large, still a one person show.

Oh – yea, almost forgot, I got this nifty Mathworld shirt too! – rock on.