Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October at the main FCP site

October stories at the main FCP site: (1) As a World Series game was to begin in 1989 in Oakland, seismic waves hit the area. Part of the Nimitz Freeway collapsed, with an upper deck falling onto a lower deck. But the rest of the freeway did not collapse even though the design was similar. What happened? (2) Pub trick: several more ways of opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew. You know, when you suddenly need a drink while trapped in a hotel room after the hotel bar has closed. (3) The physics that explains the warmth in a greenhouse also explains why children die when left in a closed car in sunlight. While I was writing this story, CNN published yet another story about a child left in a closed car. (4) Friction welding, in which two metal surfaces are rubbed together hard enough to melt the surfaces, so as to form a bond between them when they then cool. Main FCP site

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sep 2014 stories at the FCP site

September 2014 stories at the main FCP site: (1) Physics for the first date --- wintergreen flashes. (2) A new record for a deadlift power lifting, but an astounding old lifting record still stands. (3) Pub trick --- a mathematical way to fix a wobbly pub table. (4) When you heat a room, the total energy of the air does not change. So, why then do you feel warmer? ALSO: I have greatly expanded the index at the FCP site. The red links take you to stories at the web site. The blue links take you to the references and Youtube sites for the stories in the paper book. You will find links for individual terms but also for collections of related items, such “Pub physics,” “Accidents,” “Art,” and “Closet, physics to do in a.” (Well, I am still working on that one --- I like closets. The motto for FCP is that “Physics is everywhere,” including closets.)
main FCP site

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

FCP stories for August 2014

The August stories at the main FCP site: (1) cow tipping, real or fictitious? Here you see Sheldon arguing that it is fictitious and, as you know, he is right about everything. (2) Crooke's radiometer --- does it rotate because of pressure from light or because of a thermo effect? (3) The ouzo effect, in which water added to ouzo dramatically transforms the alcoholic liquid from being transparent to being milky white. (4) Shooting a rifle bullet into a wood block --- a very popular video skillfully lures us into a violation of the law of conservation of energy.FCP main site

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

July 2014 stories at the main FCP site

The July stories at FCP: (1) The physics of surfing and avoiding a wipeout. (2) Take off your glasses or contacts and look through a small opening in order to read clearly. (3) Pole climbing, both the standard way used to repair overhead lines and a novel way to get up a palm tree. (4) Pub trick --- set a matchstick on fire and watch it leap upwards.
FCP main site

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Monday, June 02, 2014

FCP stories for June 2014

June stories at FCP: (1) If a slice of toast slides off a table, why does it always end up jelly-side down? (2) On a traditional roller coaster, which gives a more frightening ride, the first car or the last car? I do a calculation to get the answer. (3) The church Saint-Sulpice in Paris has an obelisk and a long brass strip to mark a meridian. A spot of light passes over the meridian at solar noon each day, and through the year, the passage point moves along the obelisk or along the strip. (4) In the pub, how can you tell if the eggs on the counter are fresh or hard-boiled?

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

May 2014 stories at Flying Circus of Physics

The May 2014 stories: (1) The sound of a dinosaur is reproduced from a replica of the long nasal passage that functions like a horn. This is as close as you will get to a real dinosaur. (2) How vibrating guitar strings look to a cell-phone video camera that lies within the guitar. (3) Moose-vehicle collisions in Alaska are so common that they have their own abbreviation for police reports: MVC. (4) Pub trick: how to open a wine bottle with a shoe.
main Flying Circus of Physics site
Also: new bed-of-nails photos from the last class day in my first-semester physics course:
Facebook FCP

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April stories at The Flying Circus of Physics site

The April stories at the FCP site: (1) The case of the hospital gurneys that would burst into flames. (Ironically, they were holding burn victims.) (2) Novel ways of opening a beer bottle without the normal bottle opener, involving levers and brute force. (Next month, a novel way of opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew. If you have already seen the video, the challenge is to explain the physics.) (3) The collisions of two ships offers a lesson in torques. (4) Rogue waves are rare freak waves that can break a ship apart. Recently a video-recorded rogue killed a passenger on a cruise linear.

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