Britain’s practice of transporting convicts to American colonies was a fearsome punishment, but not for the chronic criminal James Dalton.
Written by Christine Ro • 10 minute read
The year was 1721. The ship was called the Prince Royal, its destination the American colonies. And the cake—the cake was gingerbread.
The British crew shouldn’t have been surprised to find the metal file in the cake. Its stasher, James Dalton—a notorious thief and escape artist—had been shuttled involuntarily between Britain and America more times than a trans-Atlantic diplomat. Unluckily for Dalton, this particular mutiny fell apart as soon as the cake did. Luckily for Dalton, there would always be a next time. After all, as a convict who’d been sentenced to the punishment of “transportation” multiple times, Dalton had mutinied before.
The most perfectly spherical object ever observed by mankind is the electron. In a series of experiments led by physicist Jony Hudson at Imperial College London, electrons were anchored to a molecule of ytterbium fluoride and measured 25 million times with a laser beam. These data showed that the negatively charged subatomic particles are a perfect sphere to within one billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. To illustrate this fantastic sphericity, the research team said that if one were to scale up an electron to the size of our solar system–about 12 billion kilometers wide–any deviation from its roundness would be smaller than the width of a human hair.
The researchers were disappointed at this outcome–they were hoping to find some irregularity in the shape of the electron to help explain why our universe has more matter than antimatter.