1. Hey, Richard Feynman made an important breakthrough because he wondered about the math and physics of a frisbee spinning and wobbling to a stop on the ground. The math to a spinning rope is probably fairly simple, even with the force being applied a bit oddly, but not a bad joke.

  2. The physics of a lariat can be as simple or as complex as the student wants, depending on how closely you model it. If you treat it as a single, uniform, circular object with a cylindrical cross-section, any physics major with Calc 2 under her belt can model it with a simple equation. If you start modeling it as several non-uniform strands of fiber interacting via friction, supported by a single piece of rope which is connected at one point on the loop and the angle of which varies depending on the spin, and take air resistance and even gusts of wind into account, and then maybe the asymmetrical way the human arm has to apply force because of its own mechanical structure … it gets arbitrarily complex.

  3. Though there is not a Nobel for math, there are some major awards often described as “like a Nobel prize in math” — Fields Medal, Abel Prize, Wolf Prize. Also, knot theory is a real and active area of math research. (Tho a lariat spinner probably does not want to create a knot!)

    Is the laurel from which wreathes are made really the same thing as bay leaf used in cooking??

  4. Is the laurel from which wreathes are made really the same thing as bay leaf used in cooking?

    Yes, it is.The bay laurel is native to Greece and was sacred to Apollo, which is why it was used for the wreath given to the winners of the Pythian Games. Better than the winners of the Nemean Games who got a crown of celery.

  5. @ DemetriosX – The most important part about the “wobbling disk” was that it got Feynmann to start playing with equations again; at the time he was bummed out because he had missed following up on a breakthrough that led someone else to a Nobel-winning discovery. The story that I remember from one of his books was that the disk was a teacup saucer, but Feynmann’s anecdotes were not always 100% historically accurate, and he may have recast the same equations for a Frisbee in a different version.

  6. A math professor I know (specializing in topology, particularly knots) uses rope tricks to demonstrate various topology principles.

    No Nobel, though. Not even a Fields medal.

  7. @DemetriosX: “Better than the winners of the Nemean Games who got a crown of celery.”

    Still better than kale.

  8. Concerning laurel wreathes and bay leaf, this is a major plot point of “Asterix and the Laurel Wreath”. Recommended reading for y’all.

  9. Re: “You’re under a rest”
    The picture was cropped on the top and bottom. I think it was an easy way to crop off the printed credit on the bottom:
    (c) 2013 Adam C. Moore http://laemeur.com

    Visible, however, are 2 downward vertical texts, both with upright letters. The first represents LAEMEUR. The 2 ‘E’s are each drawn as a 3 horizontal lines. The ‘M’ is drawn as three vertical lines (i.e. |||). The M is in the middle and the signature is vertically symmetric, the ‘L’ being opposite an ‘r’ , which looks like an upside down ‘L’.
    Next to that is “(c)2013”, again with the characters being right side up and descending vertically.

    Adam C. Moore / LAEMEUR
    http://laemeur.com (there’s no index and the pages may go on forever.)

    The bottom left poster says:
    “MISS[ING is blocked]


    The Google Images search that worked was: “you’re under a rest” panel

    (Use that exactly! (okay, capitalizing the word, panel, is okay))

    The link does not take you to the picture (unless it’s random selection)

    on Chrome:
    Select the image in the google Images search window.
    The image in the that black frame is high resolution. (If you open it in another tab, it won’t be)
    Do CTRL-scrollWheelUp to enlarge it. (You’ll have to do some scrolling to find it.)
    (Oops! Chrome’s “Save Image As” will download the full size image.)

  10. Thank you, Kevin. Using Chrome, the exact search you cited just got me a bunch of stick figures, followed by unrelated items. However, tacking “LAEMEUR” onto the end of it did work.

    Along the way, I saw one showing Bach and a three-sharps key signature, with him saying “I was using hashtags long before Twitter.”

  11. “No Nobel, though. Not even a Fields medal.”

    Considering a Fields medal is about 16 times harder to earn than a Nobel Prize that’s a little bit of a weird way of putting it.

  12. The music on the music shop sign is from “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, also known as Theme From The Sting and as The Ice Cream Truck Song. The rest should be a sixteenth rest, not a quarter rest.

  13. woozy, it is more prestigious, but last I heard, the prize money was … not as much. By a lot.

    I guess I’m just crass like that.

  14. Very observant, Mark in B. I hadn’t pieced it out. Reminds me of the ancient TV show, Name That Tune. (“I can name that tune in three notes, Bill!”)

  15. @ MiB – I couldn’t remember what a 1/16th rest looked like and had to look it up(*). I’ll bet the cartoonist simply went with the more familiar form of the 1/4 rest.
    P.S. (*) – I especially liked the British term for a 1/64th rest: “hemidemisemiquaver“.

  16. Another term (or in fact terminological family) with piled-on affixes I enjoy is “preantepenultimate”. There’s something nicely almost-meta about that.

    I sort of remember it coming up in CIDU before, and somebody contributing one more prefix that can go on there.

    Also there is some sign that in popular speech “penultimate” may be losing touch with its established meaning of “next to last” and take on the feeling that any prefix can be an intensifier, so that you can get “penultimate MMA contest!” as exceeding a merely ultimate one.

  17. Oh right, even though the thing on the ground would have been the worst drawing of one ever, I tried to make it into a repeat symbol; I liked the idea of it being a message to customers to come again.

    (HA! I just got Grawlix’ comment)

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