April 22, 2008

A latest study from the University of Illinois showed that people eating sterol chocolate had significantly lowered their cholesterol levels and blood pressure during the eight week study. Dark chocolate, however, appeared to have no such affect. CocoaVia was the sterol chocolate bar used during the test. I never heard of the candy, and I'm sure many others haven't either, so I bet the company is enjoying the spotlight.

April 19, 2008

at Saturday, April 19, 2008 Labels: Posted by Billy 0 comments

New Scientist has a great article debunking 24 common myths about evolution. The article is not only geared toward creationist myths, but also general misinterpretations that are prevalent among society today.

Understanding evolution is important for science because it uncovers new knowledge about genetics and it's important for society so we can explain why we think and act the way we do. We are the only species on this planet with minds capable of beneficially thwarting the process of evolution, so, like it or not, we must be careful with every decision we make.

April 15, 2008

at Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Labels: Posted by Billy 0 comments

By shooting high-powered laser pulses at a thundercloud, a team of European scientist triggered electrical activity in the cloud. Not only is this cool, but it may aid in the study of lightning for future scientific applications. The generated lightning traveled only in the clouds, though, as their laser was too weak to channel it to the earth.

April 12, 2008

Project Euler is a website that contains a series of challenging mathematical and computer science problems. The problems are a great way to strengthen your mind and learn how to program. Plus, they’re fun! Though I would like to solve all the problems, I plan on working on them in my spare time.

Problem 1

If we list all the natural numbers below 10 that are multiples of 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6 and 9. The sum of these multiples is 23.

Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.

The most practical solution is the simple brute force method.

In Common Lisp:

(defun problem-1 ()
(loop for i from 3 to 999 when (or (zerop (mod i 3))
(zerop (mod i 5)))
sum i))

In Python:

def problem1():
sum = 0
for i in range(3, 1000):
if i%3 == 0 or i%5 == 0:
sum += i
return sum

But is there a more efficient way? Of course! Let’s look at the sum of multiples of 3 that are less than 1000:

3+6+9+12…+999 = 3*(1+2+3+4+…333)

If we realize that 1+2+3+…x = (x*(x+1))/2, the above equation can be written as


Now we can make the above equation into a function fn(n), and the answer will be fn(3) + fn(5) – fn(15). We need to subtract multiples of 15 because the lowest common denominator of 3 and 5 is 15. No looping is required, so this solution is more efficient.

In Common Lisp:

 (defun sum-div-by (num)
(let* ((max 999) (x (floor (/ max num))))
(/ (* num (* x (+ x 1)))

(defun problem-1v2 ()
(- (+ (sum-div-by 3) (sum-div-by 5)) (sum-div-by 15)))

In Python:
def sumDivBy(num):
top = 999
x = top / num
return num*(x*(x+1))/2

def problem1v2():
return sumDivBy(3) + sumDivBy(5) - sumDivBy(15)

April 9, 2008

Scientist may have found vaccine that prevents lyme’s disease. The injection was 100% effective when tested in mice and contains doxycycline hyclate, which humans have been using for over 20 years with no adverse effects.

This news caught my eye because I had lyme’s disease when I was a toddler. Luckily my mother, who is a nurse, saw the symptoms early and I was promptly treated. Till this day, I always try to keep up-to-date with any developments in treating the disease.

April 5, 2008

at Saturday, April 05, 2008 Labels: Posted by Billy 0 comments

"Live and Learn" - A phrase that is very important to me. I try to keep my interests broad and learn something new everyday. This blog will be a collection of posts about topics that I find worthwhile to elaborate on, mostly science and technology related, with a little bit of literature.

I graduated from college about two years ago with a degree in engineering. I am currently working for a mapping and GPS company.