Guess and Check


Who is Ned Williamson?

Filed under: Current Events,Work — 7:26 pm

So this morning at work we had our monthly safety meeting. I get to the conference room early, and sit down near the back next to the only other person there, a gentleman by the name of Igor Palley. Now, this dude is smart. He was just named “Inventor of the Year” by the New Jersey Research and Development Council for inventing SpectraShield (pdf), a high-strength organic fiber for protective clothing and body armor. He’s got a sheet of paper in front of him and he is just going to town on the thing, filling it will cool looking math.

So anyway, people start to filter in and the group starts talking about Ken Jennings. One person brings up the recent New York Times article on him titled “O.K., Alex, Smart Nerds for $1 Million”. Another talks about the great service he is doing for nerds around the country. A really good conversation.

So the safety meeting starts and rolls along for a while. Every so often I check on Igor and his math. Clearly more interesting than “Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls”. Then the speaker starts talking about how he fell off of a ladder recently. He’s drawing a diagram on a big sketch pad, showing how he was leaning the wrong way. When he draws how he fell, somebody yells out, “Hey Mickey, how much force would that have been?” Now, Mickey had earlier made some quip to the speaker, so this might have been an attempt to put him on the spot. He’s sitting directly in front of me starts to laugh a little. Someone else to my left says, “Yeah, in pounds per feet!” Mickey responds, “Well, I’d have to calculate the potential energy, but I think it’s safe to say that for an impact with something the surface area of a wrist, I’d say it would probably break.”

Gosh I love nerds.

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