My 5 Most Recently Downloaded Apps (iPhone)

1. Sleep Time – £1.49

This is an alarm clock with a difference – it monitors and analyses your sleep cycles by sensing your movements throughout the night. It then uses this information to wake you up when it knows you are no longer in the deep  stage of REM cycle. So no more waking up feeling groggy!


2. TwinPics – Free

A simple but nicely designed memory game. All you do is match up as many pairs as you can within a limited time, avoiding obstacles along the way. The colours and photography used are stylish and attractive and it’s easy to dip in and out of making it the perfect game for when you just have a few minutes to fill.

3. BBC News – Free

This is more of a recent update than download as I have had the app for a while, however, about a week ago, the BBC released its first major redesign since the app launched in 2010. The app now offers a much more personalised view of the news as it includes local news content and you can select the topics that interest you the most.

4. SkinDeep – Free

Do you know what chemicals are in your personal care products? EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is the world’s largest safety reference tool for personal care products and the app provides information on more than 72,000 products. Enter the product name into the app and it assesses the ingredients and how they may affect your health. It then calculates a hazard score allowing you to make informed purchasing decisions.

5. Serial –  Free

This is actually a podcast, not an app, but I felt it was well worth a mention. The 12-part series (you can now download all the episodes from the website) follows journalist Sarah Koenig as she investigates a murder case from 1999 in which a high-school student was found dead in a Baltimore Park having been strangled. Her ex-boyfriend was charged with her murder and sentenced to life in prison but has protested his innocence ever since. The podcast is totally addictive and a great way to pass the time on your commute.

Pulling Apart Two Phone Books

There’s a rumour around these parts that two interleaved (yes that’s a word) phone books are impossible to pull apart, so I decided to investigate.

It didn’t take me long to get to the bottom of this, and no I did not sit and methodically interleave two phone books. A quick Google search unearthed a Mythbusters YouTube video where it took two military tanks weighing in at 30 tonnes to separate the phone books. So, difficult yes, but not impossible.

What is it that creates such a strong link between these two stacks of paper?

Apparently it all comes down to weight and friction. Interleaving the pages of the phone books significantly increases the weight on each of them as the bottom pages have the weight of two phone books pushing down on them in addition to gravity. Add to this the force of friction, which is also increased by the act of interleaving the pages, and you have a bond that takes 3629 Kilogram of force to break as demonstrated by the Mythbusters.

If you do have some spare time (and are really, really bored) you can try this yourself. Just lay the pages of two phone books on top of each other one at a time, then try and pull them apart.