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.

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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.
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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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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.)
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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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