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Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin And Global Warming

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-06.3100 LMT

An interesting letter from Lord Kelvin to John Clarke. In 1860, Kelvin proposed that an increase in CO2 emissions from coal-burning would raise global temperatures much like how a greenhouse works. What's even more interesting is that he considered doing this intentionally to "provide a very comfortable living environment" for the people of Glasgow.

In the end he decided better of it, considering both the havoc it would cause for non-Glaswegians and, more importantly, the potential danger of introducing malaria to a more tropical Glasgow. "We have quite enough pestilence here, I contend, without inviting another!"

UPDATE: The above letter is fiction. Disregard.

Also, while making the Lord Kelvin library a little more respectable looking (still a work in progress), I found this:

La Bibliothèque nationale de France (that's French for "the French National Bookatorium") has a large collection of scanned books, etc. in PDF format (available one excruciating page at a time). The collection is searchable ("search" in French is "recherche,") by author, title, subject, and full text contents. You'll probably find something to interest you there. There's certainly lots of Kelvin stuff, from a seemingly complete collection of "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London" to his various reprint volumes. There's no way I'm going to retype all that (although I did manage to partially patch up one of the incomplete papers I had), so just go there and look for yourself.

Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin vs. Jackie Chan

Lyle Zapato | 2004-07-10.6050 LMT | Entertainment

The Game Boy Advanced game Around the World in 80 Days (based on the recent Jackie Chan movie) features an appearance by Lord Kelvin:

Lord Kelvin as he appears in the 'Around the World in 80 Days' video game.

Unfortunately, the game makers knew that Kelvin would kick Chan's ass if given the chance -- which they couldn't allow in this Chan-vehicle -- so Kelvin has been relegated to the expositively non-action-packed beginning and end sequences. Here are screenshots from the end sequence where Kelvin is attacked with vicious lies and falsely arrested (the programmers had to make him immobile to keep him from single-handedly taking out this gang of cretins):

'Around the World in 80 Days' screenshots

Needless to say, this isn't exactly the best game ever made. However, as far as I know, it has the first appearance of Lord Kelvin in a video game. If anyone knows of any others, email me.

Lyle Zapato

Make Your Own Kelvin Cells

Lyle Zapato | 2004-07-04.7160 LMT | Crafts
Tetrakaidecahedron paper model

Print out and assemble your own tetrakaidecahedra, approximate versions of the Kelvin Cell -- a single shape, space-partitioning cell with a minimum intercellular surface area described by Lord Kelvin.

Tetrakaidecahedra pack together to evenly fill a space. Make a whole bunch and fill your cubicle with a papery foam! If your boss protests, just remind him how much paper you are saving over cubes of equal volume. Given enough space, tetrakaidecahedra will practically pay for themselves!

Lyle Zapato

Blythe Kelvinmas!

Lyle Zapato | 2004-06-26.0000 LMT | Announcement

It's the 180th birthday of the Lord Kelvin! Catch up on some of His wise words:

Lord Kelvin "A boy should have learnt by the age of twelve to write his own language with accuracy and some degree of elegance; he should have a reading knowledge of French, should be able to translate Latin and easy Greek authors and should have some acquaintance with German."

In addition to these minimum accomplishments, by the age of twelve Kelvin had won a prize for translating a dialogue of the Greek satirist Lucian and was in His second year at the University of Glasgow. What had you accomplished by the age of twelve?

Learn more about Kelvinmas...