Forget the initials of this baby, I like this page because
the questions are asked by people without a college background,
and the answers are given to people without a college background.
I'm learning all kinds of things. For example...
Q: Who's at the IP address 0.0.0.0?
A: 0.0.0.0 is a "pseudo" IP address - it means "absolutely all
networks", and in canonical way is written "0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0", ie "all
networks and all subnetworks."
Q: How did Matrix Algebra get discovered?
A: You'll be amazed to find out matrix notation, and even Gaussian
elimination, actually predate differential calculus by nearly 2000
years! It's first mentioned in Sumerian texts, and was developed quite a
bit further by the Chinese around 300 B.C. The notation seems to arise
pretty naturally when systems of linear equations come up: anywhere
where a solution of n equations in m unknowns arises, matrices (and
their simpler operations) seem to follow. There are some nice
references on the history of matrices and matrix algebra on the net.
- it's sometimes hard to reach, but worth the wait! These are some more
general sources on the history of all the various fields of mathematics:
also a very readable on-line book about the origins of linear algebra,
which is what makes matrices really worthwhile to mathematicians! :) The
URL for this text is:
Q: What is nanotechnology?
A: I'll give you a quick description of nanotechnology here, then I
suggest that you visit a very good web site that discusses
Nanotechnology is a new field in which things are built atom by atom,or
molecule by molecule. It is so new that there are not very many
applications yet - but the web site above will give some current and
future applications. In the cells of our bodies, what we are calling
"nanotechnology" is what occurs naturally for our cells and bodies to
function. We have ribosomes that are like tiny machines that read
"instructions" on how to build enzymes and other proteins, molecule by
molecule. The "instructions" are received from something called RNA,
which is a long chain of nucleotides. The ribosomes reads each set of
three nucleotides as code that determines which amino acid molecule it
needs to add next to the enzyme or other protein it is building. In
nanotechnology, people have used equipment to slow down atoms and
molecules and then move them to the right places - one scientist used
this approach to spell out "IBM" using individual atoms. In the field
of electronics, some transistors have been built using approaches such
as molecular beam epitaxy, in which layers of semiconductors are put
down molecule by molecule.
Q: Who invented the microprocessor?
A: I know that Intel invented the microprocessor, but I confess that I
did not know the details of this invention until I researched the answer
to your question. Looking at the MetaCrawler Parallel Web Search
Service, and searching for
microprocessor history invent
I found several interesting web sights that gave me your answer.
computer history, which included this:
"In 1971, engineers at Intel Corporation designed the first
microprocessor. A microprocessor puts all the circuits needed for a
computer onto a single chip. This development made the personal computer
extracted the following from a brief chronology of computer history:
1971: Intel Corporation announces the first microprocessor, the
Intel 4004, developed by a team headed by Marcian E. Hoff.
For a really great resource for information on the invention of the
first microprocessor, go to the source.... Intel's homepage. Since 1996
is the 25th anniversary of the microprocessor, Intel has a special web
page set up for "interacting with history" that describes briefly each
step inthe process of inventing the microprocessor. See Intel's
interactive celebration of the 25th anniversary of the microprocessor:
Incidentally, all kinds of science are represented by the site.
Q: How does quicksand form and how does it 'suck' things in?
A: Quicksand forms when sand accumulates in hollows and holes and
becomes totally saturated with water and is not allowed to drain. Most
of the time, the water cannot drain because the hollow or hole has an
impervious layer of clay or other dense material underneath the sand.
There may be lots of mud and vegetation mixed into the sand, making it
into a thick soupy consistency that can be very sticky. With certain
types of clays mixed into the sand and water, quicksand looks and feels
solid (like a gel). However, when a disturbance occurs (for example, if
you were to step into it), the solid becomes liquified. After a short
period of time of non-disturbance, the sand-clay-water mixture can
re-solidify. This reversible behavior of liquifying and resetting is
called thixotropy (thix-ot-ro-py). Quicksands are often found along
beaches, marshes, river deltas and steam beds.
Quicksand does not "suck" things down. Actually, because the density of
the human body is less than that of the sand-water mixture, you cannot
sink below the surface (much like being in a swimming pool where you can
just float by not moving around). Indeed, the way you get out of
quicksand is to stop struggling and you will just float on the surface.
Struggling is what usually causes a person to lose their footing and
subsequently drown in quicksand.
Figure the worst thing that could happen if you say it (evicted and
black-balled, forced to move-in with Rohit :). Figure the worst that
could happen if you didn't say it (waste five years of your life, have
Rohit come move in with you :). Choose.
-- Ernie Prabhakar