Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How many??

All of us have seen those asinine games at malls in which humungous transparent containers are full of M&Ms or table tennis balls and chaps are supposed to guess the number of the M&Ms or balls in the containers. Obviously, the scientific approach to this would be to measure the volume of one M&m/ball, estimate the volume of the container and divide the latter by the former. However, people tend to wing it and guess over several powers of 10 (e.g. 50 to 50X10^5).

Anyway, I was walking past these massive, 4 Litre, conical flasks full of Luria Broth that has bacteria growing in them (the optical density is pretty obscene as you can see in the picture) and the perfect guessing game for Biologists occurred to me; it's called "How many Coli". I think it's pretty self explanatory. Should be a big hit at biological research institutes.

Hint: It's not 50.

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