Imagine all the People

Made the trek to John Lennon Park while in Havana last week. This is Aleeda Rodriguez Pedrasa, Keeper of the Specs. For the past two-and-a-half years, she has been managing the visitor experience here, watching over the coveted glasses, which have seen several iterations go missing over the years. Not shown: kids' hopscotch over the "Imagine" lyrics inscribed in stone.

If everybody's somebody then no one's anybody

One day in the early 1970s, a band of boardroom execs decided it was wise and prudent to telegraph a message to tv-bound dudes:

The Time Keepers

If you were to ask me to recollect the meaning of a "long dash following ten seconds of silence," I would be forced to admit to at least two phrasal connotations:

(i) An uncomfortable memory of a narrow escape from a third-grade spelling bee; and
(ii) The NRC's time signal, which is 75 years young today.

Heard every day on CBC radio, that annoying beeeeeep at end of ten seconds of dead air is the official signal that lunch is over in Toronto, lunch is just beginning in Winnipeg, and it's time to get to yoga in Vancouver. In more technical terms, it denotes exactly on-the-hour time across Canada.

Three-quarters of a century is a long time to be dashing it out every day, but hey, that 45-second program has become Canada's longest-running radio broadcast. And that's a far longer run than my own schoolroom breakaway from the horrors of spelling interrogation. To this day I wonder, is it ukulele or ukelele?

Be careful what you say around the chips

This is such a cool development in acoustics... A team of researchers have developed a visual microphone algorithm that picks up audio by looking for microscopic vibrations in video footage. The technique allowed researchers to recover speech by analyzing the tiny vibrations of a potato chip bag from 15 feet away — with a video camera watching through soundproof glass. It's good enough to capture singing from a bag of potato chips, and musical tones from a potted plant.

Almost, at times, the Fool

It’s hoax day and I can’t stop the marvel at fab fakes in science. Here are a few famous hoaxes for your April Fools reading pleasure:

Zero-gravity day: Anyone planning on taking a leap April 4 to test the zero-gravity proposition? Don’t forget: Gravity is mutual.

Alabama redefining pi: To keep it closer to the biblical value.

Blondes as an endangered species: World Health Organization study predicting that blonde gene would be extinct by 2202.

Piltdown Man: Skull fragments discovered in the U.K. in 1911. The *missing link between human and ape*.

Smart Luggage

A team of four University of Waterloo engineering students have recently invented a suitcase with sensors that can be tracked with a smartphone.

They call it 'casesensitive'. Not only can you know the location of your luggage at any given time, but if somebody has opened it, it will tell you when and where that happened.

Time of sunrise today: May thru August

The Venusian day is longer than its year. Which means that, on Venus, you can avoid seasonal affective disorder by simply sleeping in one day.