Dot Physics

Archives for May, 2010

Stratos Jump for Mere Mortals

Crazy, but I was on CNN Saturday night. They contacted me at the last minute to talk about the Red Bull Stratos Jump. Here is a screen shot to show that I am not making this up (or that I have awesome photoshop skillz). Looking back, maybe I looked like an idiot. Really though, it…

I am going to try to answer another Ask a ScienceBlogger question. This one is from George P. Burdell. He asks: “If the universe is expanding from the big bang, has anyone tried to reverse plot the galaxies to figure out the exact point where the big bang occurred?” Actually, he asked two questions, but…

And there’s parliament. Ok – sorry, I had to make a “Tom (Swans on Tea)” title for this one. Tom, forgive me. Here are two great circular motion videos. First, this one is from Dale Basler. He made himself a fine little floater-type accelerometer. Better than just make it, he made a video of the…

What is a grade?

Grades are all over the place, but what are they? Well, I guess there are a few questions. What is a grade? What is the grade supposed to be? Why do we give grades? I think the grade is supposed to be a measure of a students’ understanding of the material. Probably everyone would agree…

A new video from the Red Bull Stratos Jump guys came out. Here it is: This reminds me of an unanswered question about the Stratos jump that I didn’t address on my last post on this topic. Commenter Long Drop asked about how much Felix would heat up as he falls from 120,000 feet. This…

Grades are in. So, let me just say a couple of trends that I saw on the physical science final exam. Gravity on the moon I asked the question: “why is the gravitational force on an astronaut less on the moon than on Earth?” The simplest answer is that the gravitational field on the moon…

Spring 2010 Course Reflections

And lo and behold. Another semester has ended. I was going to post about somethings from my physical science course (for non-science) majors. Then I noticed that both Ethan at Starts With a Bang! and Farady’s Cage posted about their semester reflections. I vote that the academic blogging community make this a tradition. This semester,…

Flying R2 in simpler terms

Galactic Binder (a Star Wars fan site) invited me to write an article for them. Obviously, I said “yes”. But what to write about? I decided to write a different version of my flying R2-D2 post. What is different? In my original post, I go into a lot of details. Essentially, that post is like…

I am excited. This Wednesday, the MythBusters are doing the giant water slide jump. Maybe you are new to the internet and you haven’t seen this video. Here it is: And since it is as old as the hills, of course I have already analyzed it – actually twice. First, the video is fake –…

Oil Spill Estimation

I was going to just leave the oil spill in the gulf topic alone. Not because it isn’t important, obviously it is. Rather, I wasn’t going to do anything because I didn’t really have anything to add to the topic. After a couple of readers requested it, I think I do have something to add.…