500+ Days and Counting

By Anupum Pant

AweSci has been up and running for more than 500 days now. I started it off with an impulse. It was an experiment on my own self to test if I could persist. The aim was to learn one new thing everyday. Something that I genuinely found interesting and wanted to share with the world. There could be no excuses. The rule was to make one entry everyday, just one, not more, not less.

How did I do? Well, I’m proud to say that I did not miss a single day. Right now, the age of this blog in days is equal to the number of posts it has. Of course I had a lot of time some days and much less time for most days. That dictated the kind of posts I shared. I took support from the amazing videos people had made and uploaded on the web. Anyway, an entry was made every day without fail. Initially when I used to have full free days, my posts clearly were detailed and well researched. Those posts definitely were the most popular ones, like the crocodiles do not die post. Although I hold well researched posts in high regard, like those of “waitbutwhy” that was not the point here. Also, there might have been a counting mistake once or twice because I travelled across the world and days changed.

How did it grow in terms of the readers? To be honest, my growth was completely organic. That is to say, I used no advertising or any tricks to increase the traffic whatsoever. I just focused on writing. Agreed, I was excited for the first few days and shared my links at many social media outlets but soon stopped doing that because it wasn’t my aim to achieve big traffic. But, I’m a human being, big traffic of course made me happy. Like one one day, awesci got 17,000+ unique views when a post had shot up on Reddit.

All these days, keeping up with the goal I had set for myself, I learned a couple of things which I’d like to share here, in a new section which I’ll call wisdom (for now). Thus, I’ll not necessarily learn a new thing everyday (Old kind of stuff will keep coming too). I’ll share stuff in “freestyle.” Not just narrowing myself to not writing something unless it has some interesting factoid attached. After all everything, every experience shared has something worth learning, if you look carefully. And that’s science for you.

Instead, I’ll just write what comes to me. I know, the name of the website will not make great sense if I do that. So there will also be posts like they used to be before.

It’s a blog, and I want to keep it like a blog, with opinions and my guts laid out in the open. For the sake of getting it started, making the ball roll, the thing I did was great.

So, if you are looking to start a blog, you might want to hear and learn from the experience I have had with this one. That’s what is coming tomorrow. Watch out.

Fact vs Factoid

By Anupum Pant

Fact is something that’s unquestionably true. A universal truth that can’t be denied. Like, the sun rises from the east.

Factoid, like a duckling, seems to be like a quick fact. It isn’t. It’s important to remember that it is very different from a fact.

A factoid is something that’s repeatedly used wrong at many places. It is a word that is believed to have been coined in the biography of Marilyn Monroe, by Norman Mailer. As the Guardian puts it…

A true factoid should sound credible, and be assumed to be true by a significant number of people (if you are the only person who believes it, it may simply be a delusion). The Washington Times defined a factoid as “something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact”. An example is the belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon, which according to Wikipedia would be possible only if your eyesight were 17,000 times better than 20/20.

Interesting Ping-Pong Balance Question

By Anupum Pant

Experimentation gives you so many answers that you couldn’t have known otherwise! Consider a simple experiment like this one. There’s a balance. Both the sides have exactly the same kind of beakers and both the beakers have been filled by exactly the same kind of water, to exactly the same level. The balance is still balanced.

Now, the balance is clamped to the balanced position and the following is done:

One beaker’s base is tethered to a ping-pong ball which is completely inside the water.

The other beaker, on the right has an acryllic ball of the same size, submerged at the same level, but is tethered from the outside, suspended from the above into the water.

The balance is then released. Predict which way the balance will tip. Or will it even tip to any side? Do have an answer ready with your own explanation for it. Even the greatest physicists would get stumped here.

Once you are done.

Here is the [Answer]