Wednesday, February 03, 2016

FCP stories for Feb 2016

February 2016 stories at the main FCP site: (1) Can you increase the range of your fob (remote car opening transmitter) by holding the device next to your body? (2) What produces the annoying sound in knuckle cracking? (3) How can you distinguish a new alkaline battery from a used one by simply dropping them? (4) Dramatic videos in which the ultimate strength of concrete is tested.
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Monday, January 04, 2016

FCP stories for January 2016

January 2016 stories at the main FCP site: (1) clever physics allows for escape from deep mud, (2) how physics allows a young man to hit a high note in a church choir, (3) painting on a spinning canvas leads to novel designs, (4) balancing coins on edge (well, there’s a trick behind this stunt)
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Video 7 in the Flying Circus of Physics video series

The seventh video in my Flying Circus of Physics video series with Cleveland State University has now been posted. The FCP video series


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Dec 2015 stories at Flying Circus of Physics
December 2015 stories at the main FCP site: (1) An obviously intoxicated example of simple harmonic motion and then some disturbing examples of similar motion in amusement park rides. (I still do not get why anyone would use these rides, much less why they would pay to use these rides.)  (2) Pub trick, or maybe disco trick: a gin and tonic will fluoresce in black light (UV light) and then after you drink it, your urine might fluoresce for days in black light (well, assuming you have a black light source wherever you happen to urinate --- this is definitely something that I do not need to know about you). (3) Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks in American football offers a dramatic example of how the vector addition of many forces can result in a small net force. (4) The ink in your ballpoint pen is engineered to be non-Newtonian, otherwise every time you would tuck the pen into your clothing, the clothing would be drenched with ink.
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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Coffee acoustics

The next video in my series with Cleveland State University has been posted. Suppose that you are in a restaurant when a nearby customer repeatedly taps his spoon against the cup’s interior. The tapping sends sound waves into the water, and the sound waves within a certain range of frequencies build up by constructive interference. Thus, the noise (and your irritation at the repeated tapping) can be significant. If the person then adds powdered coffee (or almost any other type of powder) to the water and continues to tap, the frequency range noticeably shifts and then gradually returns to its initial value. I am so fascinated by the physics of that shift that I have tested it out in every restaurant I have visited. Indeed, maybe that person that so irritated you was me.My video series


Friday, October 30, 2015

November 2015 stories at the Flying Circus of Physics website

November 2015 stories at the main site for The Flying Circus of Physics: (1) Players on a football field are hurt when lightning strikes nearby. For several years I figured that they were hurt by the currents spreading along the ground from the point of the strike. But recently (and in class), I changed my explanation --- I think they were hurt by upward streamers at their heads. (2) Pub trick --- pouring a black and tan, a popular layered beer drink. (3) Coating an egg with black soot and then dropping it into water gives the egg a glimmering edge. How can a black egg become brighter? (4) A rotating, soaked sponge ball sprays water in spiral arms that resemble a spiral galaxy. However, when something is thrown off a rotating object, it must move in a straight line. So, what causes the appearance of spiral arms? More stories are at the FCP Facebook site (open access).

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Flying Circus of Physics October 2015

The October 2015 stories at the main FCP site: (1) Pointy ice drops --- water drops that form peaks at their tops when they freeze and that then form fern-like structures along their sides. (2) Japanese samurai warriors wore large cloth bags on their back when they rode into battle. Were these horo, as they are called, purely for decoration or were they protective devices against the arrows the opponents shot at the warriors? A video reveals the function of the horo. (3) Here is a challenge against all common sense: Drive a nail into the ceiling by juggling hammers beneath it. This juggler manages to do just that in spite of the fact that an object (here a hammer) slows as it moves upward. So, what is his secret? (4) Pub trick: on a card draw arrows pointing left and right. In a pub setting, how can you reverse their directions without touching the card (and, of course, without standing on your head, which would certainly get you thrown out of the pub)? Oh, by the way, I intend to post stories on the Facebook site more frequently. A few days ago I posted a story about how people made an ice merry-go-round in the middle of a lake. It must have been a depressing winter, or maybe they just wanted a project to justify lots of adult beverages.Flying Circus of Physics main site FCP Facebook

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