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What is Arnold made of?

Of course I am talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger. After looking at how many bullets he carries in Commando, I remembered this scene (also from Commando) (warning: maybe some not great language and some killing. You have been warned) If you don’t want to watch that clip, here is a shot (sorry for the quality). Clearly…

Oak Trees are awesome

In this part of the world, we have oak trees. Technically they are called live oaks – but I don’t get it. Of course they are alive. I was at a soccer game and this is the tree I always look at. Look how far those limbs extend horizontally. That branch is about 12 meters…

Apolo Ohno Physics

It is winter Olympics time and time for physics. The event that I always gets me thinking about physics is short track speed skating. It is quite interesting to see these skaters turn and lean at such high angles. All it needs is a little sprinkling of physics for flavor. Check out this image of…

Yo-Yo: Rolling, sliding, pulling

This is actually been sitting around for a while waiting for me to post it. Here is another short Christmas-toy demo. I am going to pull this yo-yo at different angles and on two different surfaces. Check it out. What is going on here? Let me look at the first case where I pull the…

One of my students showed me this game, Fantastic Contraption. 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…

Angular Momentum Example

I showed this demo in class and I was surprised at how cool the students thought it was. They actually thought it was some kind of trick. It is not a trick. Instead, this is an example of the angular momentum principle. If you want to try this yourself, I guess you are going to…

Was the moonwalk fake? No, not the Apollo landings. I am talking about Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. You got to admit, he had a big impact on a lot of stuff and this is my way to give him respect – physics. I am sure you know about the moonwalk. Maybe you can even do the…

Note: This is an old post from the time before my blog was in wordpress. I noticed there was some incoming link for this, and I never moved it over. Here it is in it’s unaltered (except for this part) format. I don’t know why I even suggest a new energy source. Fusion power is…

Moment of Inertia Demo

When I was talking about balancing a stick, I mentioned the moment of inertia. Moment of inertia is different than mass, but I like to call it the “rotational mass”. What does mass do? Things with larger mass are more difficult to change their motion (translational motion). A similar thing is true for the “rotational…

Maybe you have seen this trick. Basically, you hold by supporting it with two fingers from the bottom. You then move your hand around to keep it balanced while the stick is vertical. It is really not as hard as it looks. Also, there are two things that can make your job easier. Use a…