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Potentiometer for angle measurements

There is something I am working on that will need some type of angle sensor. I am going to use a potentiometer. First, who came up with that name? Isn’t this name the same as a voltmeter? Something is wrong with that name. How about we just call it a variable resistor or something like…

The price of a piece of LEGO

This idea comes from my friend Thomas. His son is like mine in that they both think LEGO are awesome, and they are correct. For some reason, Thomas decided to calculate the price per piece of LEGO in each set. To promote repeatability, I decided to do this also. Looking at the catalog at LEGO.com,…

Modeling the head of a beer

When you pour a beer, there is this foamy top called the head. The size of the head decreases over time. What is this process dependent on? Clearly, little bubbles of beer are popping. Does each bubble have an equal probability of popping? Do only the bubbles on the top (or bottom) pop? I became…

Tools: Error bars on graphs

I am not going to try and even surprise you with this. Notice the “tools:”. This post is not about physics really, but something used in physics. When I get enough of these, I will put them together in a “tools” page – or you can just use the tools-tag. Suppose you have some data.…

People in and out of a bar

So, I am still in Alabama because of lack of electricity in Louisiana (although we got power back last night – YAY!). My wife convinced me to go out and hear this band since we are staying at my parents and they said they would watch the kids. In general, I am way too old…