Quora Top Question Writer 2017


The package waited for my return from work. Climbing the front steps I heard soggy brown protests whimpering in Vancouver rain. No measure of weather beaten packaging could dampen the moment. I scooped it inside, knowing full well my Quora Top Writer 2017 Patagonia jacket had arrived.

Several years ago a friend introduced me to Quora. A few days later I posted https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/quora/ on this blog. Asking questions that cross my mind, answering others when I have something to contribute, my followers grew to a few hundred. I won’t lie – my top three questions garnering over 5 million views combined, puffed the old chest.

Last December Quara Admin sent a private message, reading in part –

“Congratulations! You’ve been named as a Top Question Writer for 2017.

You should see a Top Question Writer icon on your profile page that indicates you are part of the 2017 class of Quora Top Question Writers.

Quora has chosen you in recognition of your unique contribution to the Quora community. Among the considerations were the consistency, quality, and thoughtfulness of your questions over the last year.”

The message went on to list questions deemed worthy of recognition, conspicuous absence of most viewed questions didn’t help confusion – I have 179 followers, what are you talking about? Mailing a Patagonia jacket, invited to annual conference in New York… Stop! Was I nominated, is this a big Quora deal? Time for a little research.

Launched in 2009, Quora reports 100 million visitors a month, over 40 million users in America alone. In 2012, the first Top Writers were named – that part was easy. Further investigation revealed my soggy brown package was a big deal. A multi faceted conclusion based on Quora’s reluctance to provide recipient stats, abundant chatter indicating annual honorees number between 500-1000 worldwide and scores of  queries on what it takes to be named a Top Writer. None of which matters to anyone but myself, recipient of a soggy brown package confirming I’m a Quora Top Writer.

 

Super Sticky Frog Spit


Ten times softer than a human tongue, elastic frog tongues store energy like a spring. Hapless prey succumb to tongue lashings five times greater than the force of gravity. Ever the perfectionist, nature wasn’t satisfied with soft frog tongues wired to change shape on contact and retraction with lunch. A dose of good measure insisted on super sticky frog spit.

Sticky frog spit alone is a fathomable concept, why wouldn’t evolution coat a frog’s soft spring loaded whip tongue with adhesive spit? Ah, but this is “super” sticky frog spit and nature likes to show off. Ponder this by Alexis Noel of Georgia Tech, lead researcher of a frog spit study published Feb. 1, 2017 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface –

“There are actually three phases. When the tongue first hits the insect, the saliva is almost like water and fills all the bug’s crevices. Then, when the tongue snaps back, the saliva changes and becomes more viscous — thicker than honey, actually — gripping the insect for the ride back. The saliva turns watery again when the insect is sheared off inside the mouth.”

Faster than a blink of the human eye, frog saliva changes viscosity three times. I’d call that super freaking awesome sticky frog spit.

http://earthsky.org/earth/frog-tongue-in-super-slow-motion

Ponder The Known Universe


In 2009 the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) debuted The Known Universe for an exhibit at Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. AMNH and Hayden Planetarium astrophysicists resourced Digital Universe Atlas to produce five and a half minutes capable of unfurling the sternest brow. Our world would be a better place if everyone stopped talking long enough to ponder a space video before bed.

http://www.amnh.org/our-research/hayden-planetarium/digital-universe/

Ready To Harmonize Time?


This re-post springs forward from pondering time. At 2 AM my clock screamed 3 AM and I found myself calculating implications of time zone variances for friends and family. Happy Daylight Savings Day 🙂

notestoponder

Named after Pope Gregory XIII, the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 – six years after the death of Luigi Lillio, Italian doctor, astronomer and philosopher credited with conceptualizing replacement of the Julian calendar. Julian, a hail to Julius Caesar, dominated the known world from 45 BC until the Gregorian revolution in 1582.

On average, Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to complete one orbit around the Sun. Julian and Gregorian years are 365 days divided by 12 months. What to do with leftover hours, minutes and seconds – both embraced the leap year solution, vastly different implementation exposed Julian’s greatest flaw. Julian added an extra day to February every 4 years, a system resulting in a mathematical gain of one day every 128 years. That’s 3 days every 400 years, 28 days by the time Gregorian reform took hold in 1582 – close to…

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