A Mean Creature from the Sea

By Anupum Pant

Stone fish is a bizarre looking creature, 15-20 inch sized, weighing about 5 pounds, is covered in dark patches and has ugly pimple like things all over its body. It’s found in the coastal regions of the Indian ocean and the Pacific ocean and likes to sit in between coral reefs and stones most of the time. The fish can survive outside of water for a whole day.

The fish is well-known as the most venomous fish. The most surprising thing about it is that it can be held in bare hands and you still won’t get poisoned.

However, a part of this fish can leave you dead in minutes. The fish has very sharp needle like things inside of skin sacks on its back, which when stepped on, are designed to inject an extremely powerful toxin into your body. The toxin is known to cause severe pain, paralysis and tissue necrosis. These venom spines can refill in about a week. Watch spines go in the video I’ve attached below…

A Mathematical Guide to Optimize Pizza Buying

By Anupum Pant

The logical engineer in me has always paid a lot of attention to how well my money is being put to use, or if something I bought was well worth it. So, before buying anything, I usually love to add in a basic mathematical calculation that would ensure the best logical use of my money. I used to do the same when I was studying engineering and had come up with a handful of tricks, which enabled me to eat the best food, in best quantities at the lowest prices.

Optimized Pizza Buying

Till date, I had relied on calculations for individual joints to buy the pizza that gave me the best value for money (irrespective of what my stomach could fit). In other words, I had never used statistical methods, as I always went to only 2 or 3 pizza places and never felt a need to do it statistically.

So yesterday, while skimming through blogs on NPR, I came across a post by Quoctrun Bui, where he had calculated the best valued pizza size using statistical methods. 

The final findings of his study based on 74,476 prices from 3,678 pizza places were condensed into a graph which depicted data as follows (here is the link to the article for an interactive version of the graph).

pizza guide

Conclusion

The above graph plots 74,476 data points to find the pizza size that gives you the best value for money. The y-axis plots price-per-square-inch – the lesser price-per-square-inch you pay, the better deal you score.

This basically means that buying the largest pizza gets the most value out of your money. As the size increases the value for money increases or the price you pay per-square-inch of pizza decreases. – Statistically speaking.

Adding value

I felt a need to add value to the study by finding how well ‘buying a large pizza’ to get the best value works in India.  So, I selected a popular joint Dominos (where I go all the time) for the test. I dug out their menu (probably an old one) to see if buying the large pizza always works in India. Here is a record of price you pay per square inch at Dominos for various sizes and categories of pizzas. (Click the image to see a better version)

pizza buying guide dominos
I did not pay much attention. Please point if there is a mistake.

Conclusion (Dominos India)

  • No, always buying the large pizza clearly is not the best option at Dominos in India.
  • A small pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Simply veg, Veg I or Simply Non-veg.
  • A large pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Veg II, Non-Veg I or Non-Veg II
  • Never go for the small Non-veg II pizza. It is the worst choice you can make.
  • Never ever get a medium pizza from any category!

I’d love to see someone doing the same thing for other popular pizza joints. Do get back to me if you have done it. I’ll add it to the article as an update.

 

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Raining Frogs and Fish

By Anupum Pant

Raining cats and dogs is a bit unlikely, but there is nothing wrong about saying, “it is raining frogs and fish”. It happens more often than you think. So, don’t be alarmed if one day you wake up and find fish on your terrace.

When we talk about rain, the one place in India which stands out is Kerala. As we’ve seen in a previous post that Kerala has seen red rains, it has also seen raining fish. This isn’t a joke. On February 12, 2008, people actually saw fish falling down from the sky.

Not just that. I’ve seen reports of water birds, tomatoes, coal, and even a boats falling from the sky.

Raining Animals

After a few moments of awe, when you look at the occurrence of raining animals with the science microscope, you’ll find that it is not something very extraordinary. In fact, there is a whole Wikipedia page on raining animals. It turns out, several places around the world have experienced raining frogs, fish, spiders, worms etc. And as always, science has an explanation for it.

How does it happen?

Water Sprouts: When tornadoes move on land, they can pick up trucks, houses, trees and what not. They suck up several things from the ground and cause total destruction along the path they travel. But, when such storms travel on water, they suck up water, fish and of course, frogs.

This experiment proves how a low pressure can pick up things. – [Experiment]

These things can stay up with the storm for a long time. And eventually when the storm comes on land and weakens the animals may drop down with rain. As a result, we see fish and frogs raining from the heavens.