Archive for the ‘Optimize’ Category

Produce

In a recent episode, the men were catapulted into a lake if they couldn’t guess the conspiracy theory that the princess genuinely believed (spoiler alert: it was that planet Earth is secretly governed by a race of giant lizard-people). Then they were made to dress as birds and sproing up and down on a trampoline while a tiny jester fired footballs at their faces, all to protect a framed photo of the princess’s puppy. Next they were plunged neck-deep into puddles for not guessing which of two men was covered in tattoos of the Corrs, before being blindfolded and asked to charge headfirst into a wall. And finally, the winner was asked to belt out an abysmal karaoke rendition of Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship right into the princess’s face, instead of just saying hello to her.

You get the feeling that it took a lot of clever people a lot of time to produce something as gleefully stupid as My Little Princess. It’s as if someone made a Frankenstein’s monster of The Princess Bride, Adventure Time, Takeshi’s Castle and My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, then lobotomised it and stood around taking pictures on their phones as it toppled down the stairs. It’s endless, compulsively inventive and brilliantly subversive.

There are some problems, of course. Not least that weird king/princess business. Although it adds a hint of tension to proceedings, inviting the female contestant’s dad along to help her find a nice boyfriend seems very odd. And then there’s the title. Somehow, My Little Princess feels like it does less for gender equality than Take Me Out, and that can’t possibly be a good thing.

But if you haven’t watched it yet – and ratings suggest that you probably haven’t – then I urge you to give it a try. It would be crime if an oddity like this slipped away without notice.

Life

Volcanoes roiled the Earth at a time when most land was united in one big continent, spewing out roughly 10 million cu. km of lava. Over time, the eruptions split the supercontinent apart and led to the creation of the Atlantic Ocean.

For the study, scientists analyzed rock samples from Nova Scotia, Morocco and outside New York City, all of which came from this once-united landmass, known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.
An analysis of the decay of uranium isotopes in the basalt, a type of rock left by the eruptions, offered researchers more precise dates.
The eruption in Morocco was the earliest, followed by Nova Scotia about 3,000 years later and New Jersey 13,000 years later.

Sediments that lie below that time hold fossils from the Triassic era. Above that layer, they disappear, the study said.
Some of the lost creatures include fish resembling eels, called conodonts, early crocodiles and tree lizards.

“In some ways, the end Triassic extinction is analogous to today,” said lead author Terrence Blackburn, who carried out the study while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but is now with the Carnegie Institution.

“It may have operated on a similar time scale. Much insight on the possible future impact of doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide on global temperatures, ocean acidity and life on earth may be gained by studying the geologic record.”

Optimize

A perfect example are the integrated displays. PearsonLloyd had wanted to connect these in a center band to optimize their complexity of articulation. And while this didn’t affect roominess, the band blocked a view into the next row, cutting down on perceived space. So they abandoned the idea. The precise shape of the head/shoulder compartment was honed to accept users of multiple broadness. The lower lumbar adjustments were given massage functions (which sounds like a godsend for anyone who’s gone numb during a long flight). And even the seat textile is wholly custom, bringing in flecks of yellow to warm the otherwise silver sheen. I asked Pearson why many of these pretty obvious improvements hadn’t been made before, why if V-shaped seating is so efficient, it wasn’t simply implemented in the first place? “Simply because design and engineering knowledge evolves,” he responded. “People never arrive immediately at the optimum solution.” Which makes you wonder, with a few more great ideas, how wonderful could Lufthansa’s next new business class be?