Monday, September 13, 2010

May Day! May Day! ...........Sometime today!

Mr. Slug has invented a new flying device! The "Bubble to Air Conversion Lifter" is worn snugly on the mantle and held on to with the foot.  A simple flick of the optical tentacle engages the ON switch and allows a slug to fly effortlessly through the air!

How does this thing work you ask? I will tell you, but be patient, it is highly technical jargon and you must pay close attention:

Flight is achieved by the use of a pressurized cylindrical vessel which contains a variety of volatile compounds: Ethyl ether, ethyl alcohol and water. The mollecular reaction of the volatile compounds takes place inside a very strong cylinder made entirely of aluminum foam, a material so light that it floats on water. It is, however, very strong stuff - the outer skins are layers of aluminum sheet and the inner layer a clever mix of titanium metal hydride and aluminum powder. These are baked to a silvery perfection until it rises, making it much lighter than the usual steel outer casing.

To this chemical cocktail, Mr. Slug adds just a pinch of slug slime which results in a highly pressurized bunch of slime bubbles inside the tube. As the bubbles pop, they explode in a process that resembles indigestion. This frightening, bubbling chemical melange has the ability to lift the wearer of the device right off the ground and into the air!

Join us now in the control room at Slug Propulsion Labs (SPL) in Pasadena, California as Mr. Slug prepares for launch! You can see him way up there, he's just a speck now, surrounded by a technical flight crew and members of the media. Mr. Slug will be projected from the launch pad at a trajectory set at a 75 degree angle pointing North/Northwest. Variable winds are blowing at a favorable 4 knots and all systems are GO!

"10... Launch has been delayed for the technicians to repair a goo ring................Countdown has resumed........."10....9...8...7...6....5....4...3..2...1.......Mr. Slug has pushed the bubble ignition switch with his optical tentacle!!!!!!!!!!!! The rocket is beginning to bubble furiously!!!

WE'VE GOT POP-OFF!!!!!!!!!!!
Back in the control room at SPL, some of the brightest minds in science are attempting to make Mr. Slugs historic first flight a successful one.

Mr. Slug is flying! He has done it! The control room erupts into a fury of high fives and applause! Suddenly, the sound of a crackling voice comes over the monitor. It is Mr. Slug trying to acheive radio contact with ground control.  "Mr. Slug to ground control. Please come in. May Day - May Day!" He sounds concerned.  The entire room goes quiet as Mr. Slug continues, "The flight is going fine, but I may have overlooked one small detail before launching....How do we turn this thing off so we can land??!" (Cue the music...Ground control to Major Slug...)

As this is an experimental vehicle, the SPL engineers are perplexed and need your help! Here is the problem we need to solve to get Mr. Slug safely back to Earth:

To neutralize a sour digester, one pound of slime is to be added for every pound of volatile acids in the digester sludge. If the digester contains 195,000 gal of sludge with a volatile acid (VA) level of 2100 mg/L, how many pounds of slime should be added?

If any of you slugs you know the answer to this question, please submit it to the lab immediately! Mr. Slug is depending on you for a smooth landing!! Hurry!!!

(Please note: This particular slug napkin is from the archived collection that was stored in the glove compartment of Mr.Slug's work vehicle for a few years. That car was recently cleaned out and this was one of the napkins found. For those of you who have followed Mr. Slugs adventures, this entry is a rare find, drawn before I began to write the date on the napkin in the lower left hand corner. The initails "BB" stand for Bun Bun, our beloved pet rabbit who used to live in the kitchen. She was very smart and knew how to toss her little toy back to you if you threw it to her. She was present for every peanut butter and jelly sandwich that went into Mr. Slug's lunch. This one's for you Bunski!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Math is not a dance in the park

Mr. Slug has been working so hard on his math schoolwork that his poor brain feels somewhat mushy from the numbers that are floating around in his memory as he tries to sleep at night. Mrs. Slug has suggested he listen to some soothing music before bedtime, but this plan has backfired as he ends up even more tired from all of the activity both day and night. What is a poor slug to do?
GO DANCING! Yes, that is the only thing to do. Go dancing in circles. Very large circles. Circles so large that a slug needs to calculate the diameter of the circle, lest you get lost and cannot find your way back home to the center, and your dance partner, who is looking at you with two left optical tentacles as you spin around the dance floor wildly!
Have you ever wondered why slug trails are so circular and squiggly? It is because slugs know how to dance. (Cue the James Bond music, "You Only Circle Twice.") Now let's get to the meat of the matter:

Mr. Slug slid round and round. First he danced in very small circles. He made a silvery slug trail that was a mere 8 inches in circumference. He became disoriented from spinning around, so he stopped in his tracks to gain perspective. OK you slugs, here is your first puzzle: What is the diameter of the circle that Mr. Slug made?
Here is your first smarty slug clue:  Circumference = "pie"(22/7) x Diameter
                                      8 inches = 22/7 Diameter
                                      ? inches =    ?.....Diameter
                        (break it down one more time and you've got it!
Mr. Slug regained his composure and began to slide in very large circles.  Our math hero is now quite lost and cannot find his way home, where his dance partner Mrs. Slug is waiting patiently. Mrs. Slug is now looking at Mr. Slug with two left optical tentacles as he circles her, the diameter of the circle being 9 feet.  This is a very large circle, without your help, I doubt Mr. Slug will be able to get back to his wife, who is about to be asked to dance by a Mr. Goldtail. Please hurry with your calculation or Mrs. Slug may get covered with gold paint: What is the circumference of the circular slug trail Mr. Slug has drawn?

I am concerned that perhaps some of you slugs out there are needing a refresher course on the proper way to calculate this sort of problem, which involves the use of "pie" which can be approximated by 22/7 or 3 1/7. The circumference of a circle, then, is about 3 1/7 times the length of its diameter.

Here is a clue for you smarty slugs!  Again, it's:        

Circumference = "pie"(22/7) x Diameter 

I know this is not going to be an easy slime trail to follow for even the smartest of you smarty slugs. Rest assured that I am not having an easy time of it myself, which is why I am dragging you all down the primrose path with me, as a slug never slides alone.  If your brain hurts, you are making progress. Pat yourself on the mantle!

If any of you get these two slimy questions correctly answered, I will give you a vacation from math questions until the mid-terms! Yippee!!!!!

Of course, you are free to comment on this situation without solving the puzzle. Mr Slug has found other creative ways out of a pickle without the need for exact calculation, therefore, your assistance is greatly valued even if it does not involve number rasping.  Yippeee!!!! Let's dance!