When 25,000 little dice are agitated in a cylinder, they form into neat concentric circles

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/05/when-25000-little-dice-are-ag.html


…Just to point out that this sort of thing is why the practice used to be to sift flour before measuring or cooking with it. Otherwise not only would there be lumps, but there would be more flour in the measuring cup.


Well that’s a neat trick.


I’m sure there are important scientific reasons for doing this experiment (I’ve not read the paper yet).

But I really want to find out that it is all an excuse for some really cool RPG system :stuck_out_tongue:


I had a sudden urge to make a one-time pad.

I’ve been reading Cryptonomicon and I’m about 75% finished. That means I should finish it by 2020.


Looks like a handy way to reply to people wearing “Ask Me About Thermodynamics” t-shirts.


My 25000th level magic user readies his fireball.


“Your party successfully creeps to within striking distance of the sleeping red dragon. You are arranged along the length of its body. You will have one round of free action before it wakes and regroups. Angmar the Thief, what do you do?”

“I draw both my short swords and perform a backstab attack.”

“Both hit. That does double damage for a total of [rolls two dice] 14 points. Zothyra the Cleric?”

“I raise my war hammer and attack in concert with the party.”

“Your attack also hits. You do [rolls die] 6 points of damage. Mendrick the Mage?”

“I cast cone of cold.”

“As the magical words leave your lips, the glass cone in your hand shatters. The air becomes frosty as the cone envelops the dragon. This does 8d8 damage for… [rolls 8 dice] …35 hit points. Wait, I forgot the dragon’s saving throw. [Rolls die] Um, the dragon is awakened by the attack and flinches away from the cone, so it only does half damage. And that brings us to… Odin the Deity. What action do you take?”

“I shift into the astral plane and attack the dragon with the spear Gungnir, the faintest scratch of which brings death to all, for I am Odin, Hoarr the One Eyed, Jarngrimr of the Iron Mask, Teacher of Gods and Breaker of Bonds, Sigrhofundr the Author of Triumph, and Hjaldrgoð the Thrice-Great God of Battle.”

“Ugh… okay, you do 25000d6 damage. Let me go get the dice cylinder. I just want to say again I think your character is over-powered for this campaign.”

“My basement, my rules!”


A good test for existing cg simulation animation software.


I am trying to figure out how I can nonchalantly drop the term compaction dynamics into a sentence.


No doubt someone has already inquired as to whether the differing masses of markings on each side led some numbers to come up more often than others.


Don’t let the airlines find out about this.


Sifting can also be beneficial to the texture/outcome of angel food or chiffon cakes, too.
I really try and weigh my flour at all times, and especially look for recipes that call it out in grams.
You can convert, of course, but if the recipe started in cups, you don’t know how much that cup weighed for that person who wrote it.


I can hear the ghost of my thermodynamics prof in my ear (and it’s quite annoying):

one sees an endothermic reaction when the change in enthalpy exceeds the change in entropy.

And so it has long known to be when steric association (like cubic, for cubic crystallization, or even shaking dice) dominates the process. (next up: shake a bunch of plain M&Ms (not peanut!) and lo: their short oblate axes tend to align)


Once adjacent flat surfaces start getting flush with each other (structural integrity), then it’s a done deal.


They already have, my friend. Have you flown coach these days?



I once gave a graduate level physics talk titled “Why Do Brazil Nuts Always Rise To The Top?”. My talk culminated in a demo where I had a glass cylinder filled with small white beads and a few large red ones mounted atop a large woofer driver. You could clearly see convection-like currents of small beads moving down the walls and back up the middle. The red beads (stand-ins for Brazil Nuts) would get carried up the middle and then bobble around on top, too big to get drawn back down the narrow boundary layer at the wall.


I would be more impressed if the dice spelled out PI in base-6 numbers when they lined up.

That would really freak me out.


Might be a good way of rebuying Creationists. Wait. Wait. They ARRANGED THEMSELVES??? Well there must have been An Arranger!