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Science

Pasta Outperforms Computers For Earthquake Modeling 32

Posted by timothy
from the and-for-eating dept.
Judebert writes "Looks like Penn State has gone organic... at least where earthquake prediction is concerned. OK, really, they were trying to physically model friction forces, with respect to earthquakes. Since the glass tubes they needed were slow to arrive, they substituted angel hair pasta instead. (Does anyone but me think this sentence should be followed by "Hilarity Ensues"?) Apparently this physical model gives better (and faster) results than the numerical model they use on their computers. Instead of slashdotting Penn, you can also check out the near-perfect duplicate article at Science Daily."
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Pasta Outperforms Computers For Earthquake Modeling

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  • by wcbarksdale (621327) on Monday January 06, 2003 @07:17PM (#5028958)
    Disclaimer: I go to Cornell. Blind adherence to the rankings is stupid. The main reason why Cornell's rating is relatively low is that a significant number of classes have more than 50 students, and according to US News & World Report, this is BAD. Apparently it is always better to have 10 classes of 30 students rather than one class of 300 students, regardless of teaching style. My personal experience has been that classes taught "in parallel" are on average not taught as well. Given ten professors (or TAs, as is more likely the case), all of them would teach the class if the lecture sizes were small, but only the best one would teach the class if there were one lecture. In addition, there are communication and coordination problems, because everyone has to cover the same curriculum. The factors that make someone choose one school instead of another are varied and complex. I did not even apply to Penn because I wanted to go to school at least a hundred miles or so away.
  • Penn St. != Penn (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkc120 (104731) on Monday January 06, 2003 @07:19PM (#5028974)
    Just a minor nit pick. Those of us who graduated from Penn State hate it when people call it "Penn". Penn == University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League school.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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