Miscellaneous articles

Two-balloon experiment explained

There are two balloons. You inflate them to different sizes, bigger and smaller. Now, what will happen if you connect the mouths of those two balloons? Guess!

Schematic view of the two-balloon experiment quiz.

This is a relatively famous problem called ``Two-balloon experiment''. The result is actually a little counter-intuitive.

In this article I explain what happens and why, first based on the law of physics in Section 2, and then present more intuitive interpretation without using equations in Section 3.

I have found a few related documents about this problem over the Internet in English (and Japanese), but none of them was satisfactory to me. So, here you go. Enjoy!


Memoir of the path to Sugar Cane Country

There is a weird relationship between climbers and grades: love, hate, obsession, indifference, or whatever. Having finally achieved the next higher grade after years of continuous failures, I am here looking back at what pushing the grade has meant to me. …


Angels and Demons first ascent

Report of our first ascent of Angels and Demons (IV, 4), An Garbh Choire, Braeriach.

Southern Cairngorms — one of the most remote places in the Scottish wilderness. I remember when I first had a look at a map of the area years ago, I was impressed how far some places were. An attraction of outdoor activities is to go somewhere other people would not, or even could not, go or reach. It is I think a major element in mountaineering, and it certainly is […]


Masa's perspective of Banana Wall (XII/12)

Greg Boswell made the first ascent of his yet hardest Scottish winter route, Banana Wall, Coire an Lochain, Cairngorms on 25th February 2015, as reported in his own blog post. It can well be the hardest Scottish winter route (grade XII, 12) or even the world, for the trad-protected mixed route. Here is my perspective as the belayer, climbing partner and witness of his feat.

Type-3 fun, or 5 per cent terror

Tue, 2014-08-12 11:49 - The weather cleared up and it has become a nice sunny day.

Kyle saw an orange light tumbling down the steep slope on the glacier and passing him.
He realised, I have got to do something, right now!
Throwing himself at the slope to thrust the pick of iceaxe into snow as deeply as possible.
Unfortunately, that was not enough.
The rope between him and falling Masa became taught.
He was dragged down and he too started to fall…

New routing at The Brand - Part 1

"What's the next move?!" I asked myself.
I have practiced the move so many times, yet for some reason in this final leading attempt, I can't recall…

The last and only meaningful gear was 4 metres below — as many as 4 pieces — loads in terms of quantity, but the quality is questionable: a small pecker, micro-cam in a shallow seam, micro-nut placed side-way, and slider-nut placed vertically…

Go down, very fast, up, up, to alpine glory

Viewing south from Aig. Chardonnet

Summitting — it is one of the primary goals in mountaineering.

Logically speaking, it does not make much sense. Mountaineerers often deliberately and willingly choose hard ways rather than just trodding up to a summit. If you just want to summit, then why don't you take the easiest way? Alternatively if you want an excitement of the challenge, then as soon as you finish the difficult part of the route, you should be ready to descend to a safety, rather than stretching to the summit via comparatively easy path, braving a potential of associated risks.

However it seems climbers are not such a logical creature…

Bowline CC Welsh 1000m race meet (04 - 05 June 2011)

Bowline CC runners

Welsh 1000m Peaks Race was held on 4th June, 2011, where competitors run through all the five 1000-metres peaks in Snowdonia (or Wales). Five Bowliners participated it (and all of them climbed on the following day), and another six stayed in the weekend in our lovely hut. Two of the latter five did a supporting run in the middle of night for their friends' attempt of Paddy Buckley Round (an extremely tough fell-running challenge in North Wales; supporting runners' role is by no means easy, either — running with challengers on hilly and rough terrains for a few hours, carrying water, waterproof etc), then went biking the following morning. And I myself tried on my dream climbing route.

Bowline CC Easter Cornish meet 2011 (21 April – 2 May)

View from Zennor Cliff to the west

Climbing on granite in Cornish sea-cliffs is arguably the best in the country; only the potential down side is Cornwall tends to be wet. The weather is always a gamble, and this time it turned out to be … marvellous! Out of 12 days we had 2 days of foul weather and 1 showery day, and that was it. It could not have been better, really.


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