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:
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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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Monday, March 03, 2014

March 2014 stories at FCP

March stories at FCP: (1) The Robert Boyle scheme for perpetual motion, in which water drains from a container into a tube, rises in the tube to above the container, and then pours back into the container. A video appears to show this. (2) Two amusing and clever examples of using leverage to lift heavy objects --- leverage Russian style. (3) Electrostatic floating of food-bag plastic rings. (4) Pub trick: quick pouring of beer or soda with minimal foam, essential to airplane service.

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Feb 2014 stories at FCP

February 2014 stories at FCP: (1) I watched wine evaporate for several days. Yes, I really did. Nothing interesting should have happened but instead a curious pattern appeared, something that had to do with the polar vortex that so dramatically dropped the outdoor temperature. (2) Cats (and dogs) can become electrically charged, making them very annoyed. (3) Beautiful frost flowers covered my windows during the recent cold spell. (4) Large, rotating disks of ice have been seen in various rivers. How can they form?

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