Dot Physics

Archives for October, 2008

I don’t need to explain that I think the Mythbusters are awesome (do I?). I just finished watching their latest episode. In it, they tested the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy puts a flag pole in another motorcycle wheel. The result in the movie is that the motorcycle goes flipping…

Parameters for Fantastic Contraption

Yes, I did some experiments with [Fantastic Contraption](http://fantasticcontraption.com/) ([Water sticks in Fantastic Contraption](http://blog.dotphys.net/2008/10/water-stick-springs-in-fantastic-contraption-the-game/), [Torque from rotating balls in FC](http://blog.dotphys.net/2008/10/torque-produced-by-balls-in-fantastic-contraption/), [Basic stuff in FC](http://blog.dotphys.net/2008/10/physics-of-fantastic-contraption-i/)). But apparently, there is a wiki with some of the answers: [List of physics parameters for Fantastic Contraption](http://fc.therisenrealm.com/wiki/List_of_physics_parameters) I assume these are values from the actual program, not experimentally determined. (Thanks for…

Here is what is cool about [Fantastic Contraption](http://fantasticcontraption.com/) – it’s like a whole new world, a world ready for exploring. I am Newton, and I can see if this world follows the models that I propose. In this post, I am going to explore the elastic nature of the “water-sticks”. If you have played fantastic…

The fun part about exploring the physics of [Fantastic Contraption](http://fantasticcontraption.com/) is coming up with new setups to test ideas. Torque is not too difficult to set up. Here is what I did: ![Screenshot 04](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/screenshot-041.jpg) In this setup, I have a “turning ball” with a wood stick attached to the side. I increased the length of…

Physics of Fantastic Contraption I

One of my students showed me this game, [Fantastic Contraption](http://fantasticcontraption.com/). The basic idea is to use a couple of different “machine” parts to build something that will move an object into a target area. Not a bad game. But what do I do when I look at a game? I think – hey! I wonder…

I am sorry to point this out, but I can’t help it. My kids watch this show “Fetch with Ruff Ruffman”. It’s mostly an ok kids show. However, there was a problem. In one episode, some kids were in the desert and measuring temperature with (they said it several times and it was even a…

A note about numerical calculations

[In a previous post, I talked about numerical calculations](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/basics-numerical-calculations/). The basic idea is to use the momentum principle and the following “recipe”: Update the position of the particle Update the momentum of the particle Update the force on the particle Looks great, right? Well, it mostly is great. I want to give a couple of…

Word Police: Use of the word pressure

I know I should just let go, but this is what makes me, me. I understand that there are terms in physics (like for instance ‘pressure’) that are used in all sorts of ways in common language. The problem is when someone tries to explain something scientifically and misuses a word. Pressure means something. It…

Basics: Work Energy

**Pre Reqs:** [What is a Force](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/09/basics-what-is-a-force.php) [Previously, I talked about the momentum principle](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/basics-forces-and-the-momentum-principle.php). Very useful and very fundamental idea. The other big (and useful) idea in introductory physics is the work-energy theorem. Really, with work-energy and momentum principle, you will be like a Jedi with a lightsaber and The Force – extremely powerful. Well, what…

This is not a “fix-it” blog. However, I think the Internet should be a useful friendly place. Think about the times you have had a problem. The Internet has been there for you – right? I remember not too long ago, I was trying to set up iChat video chat with my brother-in-law and his…