- Barristas at Starbucks were trying to figure out why a decaf Frappuchino makes more than a regular Frappuchino. With a decaf, if you measure the milk to the line before adding the coffee, you'll end up with too much and the cup will overfill. See, when it's decaf, they put in a decaf espresso shot; for regular, they just put in a few pumps of coffee syrup concentrate. Neither barrista demonstrated a strong grasp of conservation of volume and neither hypothesized that the difference was caused by the decaf espresso shots having more volume than the pumps of coffee syrup. They eventually decided that the heat of the espresso shot melted more of the ice, and this is what caused the decaf to make more Frappuchino. This is, probably not coincidentally, the Starbucks that most often screws up my drinks. This is exactly the sort of job that my calculus class trained students for: Follow directions but please do not try thinking critically.
- There was an 11 degree (Fahrenheit) shift in temperature in my office today. Maintenance guy explained that both the heat and the air conditioning are on all year in this building (!!!) and the way they control the temperature is by adjusting the mix. My office has a sticky valve. And both of the chillers were broken this morning. Once the chillers came back on line, the temperature in here plummeted.
- According to the rumor mill, Professor Alzheimer will not be teaching math this spring. Thank goodness, as it really is about time for him to retire.