Thursday, April 02, 2015

April 2015 stories at the main FCP site

The April 2015 stories at the main FCP site: (1) I spent many hours trying to work out the operation of this simplistic electric train that only recently appeared on YouTube: Attach magnets at the two ends of a common AA or AAA battery. Insert the assembly (the “train”) into a copper-wire coil. The train shoots through the coil. If you make a loop out of the coil, the train will shoot around the loop for hours. What in the world propels the train? (2) Pour pepper onto salt. Can you then separate the two types of grains? That is the pub challenge this month. (3) Whispering park benches --- a friend whispers at one end of this long bench and you can then clearly hear the words at the far end. This is the park version of the famous whispering gallery of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. (4) When the flying bombs (V1) were sent into England in World War II, some English pilots were able to disrupt the gyroscopic guidance of the bombs by bring their wing down onto the flying bomb’s wing.
The Flying Circus of Physics

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Sunday, March 01, 2015

March 2015 stories at the main FCP site

The FCP for March 2015 at the main site include: (1) Pouring water in an upside down jet --- the stream curves away from the ground. (2) Emperor penguins must form huddles of thousands in order to survive the harsh winter weather. (3) Why do people cheat at rail crossings when signals warn of an approaching train? Why do some people race to beat the train to the crossing? (4) Pub trick --- pouring water from nowhere. Flying Circus of Physics

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

February 2015 stories at FCP



February 2015 stories at FCP: (1) Café wall illusion --- an illusion of tilting first seen on the wall of a Bristol café. (2) Overinflating a tire can result in a dramatic and possibly fatal explosion. (3) Giant Lego towers have been built. What sets the limit to the height? (4) Pub trick --- using thermal stress to open a wine bottle.

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Friday, January 02, 2015

January 2015 Flying Circus of Physics stories

January 2015 stories at the main FCP site: (1) Why does a gentle tap on the top of an open bottle of beer result in a dramatic eruption of foam? (2) Why physics might allow you to stay on the top of a bull? (3) The tragic collapse of a section of the Mianus Bridge was due to the suspension method and the torqueing by cars and trucks. (4) A simple demonstration of sliding fingers beneath a meter stick is a lesion in friction, torque, and center of mass. FCP main site

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

FCP stories for December 2014

December 2014 stories at FCP: (1) Do you need a gift idea? Here is musical wineglass with the required fill levels marked on the side for several of the musical notes. I use stout in my glass and then rub the rim with a wet finger. Lovely. (And the music is good too.) (2) Upward streamers in an electric storm is a little-known way that someone can die, more likely that a direct hit by lightning. (3) Floaters in your eye --- those little spots that float around in your field of view. (4) Techniques for standing or walking in a strong, gusty wind --- they work sometimes but frequently fail in amusing ways.
www.flyingcircusofphysics.com

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

FCP stories for November 2014

November 2014 stories at the FCP main site: (1) The traditional physics demonstration of a ball moving through a vertical loop-the-loop has graduated to real-life examples involving waterslides, motorcycles, skateboards, and cars. It has now been done by someone simply running into the loop! (2) The hula hoop toy has also graduated into beautiful dance routines and not-so-beautiful hooping with a heavy truck tire. (3) Some materials become semitransparent when wet, which has now been employed in children’s coloring books. My granddaughter Olive is using one in the photo. (4) Pub trick: somehow getting a spoon into a mug without picking either up.
main FCP site

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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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