BBQ ’em if you’ve got ’em…

Today is Memorial Day, where we honor our military casualties by not working and (hopefully) barbecuing. For every Memorial Day weekend that I can remember my grandmother has traveled to her family’s old stomping grounds in Indiana to place flowers on the graves of all of her deceased family members, military or not.

For many of us, the day is more leisurely, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to recommend Chronotron — a time-themed distraction that I have found to be quite enjoyable. In the game you use a time machine to create multiple instances of yourself in order to solve a puzzle. For example, one instance of you may have to press a button to hold a door open while the other will walk through the door to grab a needed piece for your time machine. Be careful not to create a paradox! (Although in this game a paradox only forces you to start the level over rather than destroying the universe.)

And while we are on the topic of temporal phenomena, New Scientist has pointed out an interesting pattern using the Google Trends tool to examine searches. Every fall for the past several years searches for the word “mitochondria” begin to surge. There is a drop in searches around Christmas and then a more gradual drop from the fall levels as we head into Spring. This phenomenon does not seem to hold generally for sciency words — for comparison “granular” has it’s own pattern of showing up in the news shortly after New Year’s Day before abruptly disappearing, while “toxicology” is consistently searched for (except for the same Christmas dip). Check it out for youself… “granular” is in blue, “mitochondria” in red, and “toxicology” in orange:

I think there’s an easy explanation for the “mitochondria effect.” Select the hiddent text below for my answer or follow the link for a big hint:

Let’s just say you can also find it for other common college topics, such a “plato,” “derivative,” and “supply and demand.”

Hint

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One Response to BBQ ’em if you’ve got ’em…

  1. […] may be similarly replaced by simply monitoring the frequency of search terms using Google Trends (awesomeness previously discussed). Lunchtime’s unwilling blogger Ann reports (by forwarding a New York times article) that […]

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