Everyday

Category archives for Everyday

On the Steering of Sleds

In the previous post about luge, I mentioned that there was one thing that came up when Rhett and I were talking about this, namely why there are differences in times between racers. The toy physics model I set up last time suggests that the difference between riders is only a matter of aerodynamics– two…

The Physics of Crazy Sleds

In the Uncertain Dots hangout the other day, Rhett and I went off on a tangent about the physics of the Olympics, specifically the luge. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically psycho sledding: people riding tiny little sleds down a curved track at 80mph. The “featured image” above shows Erin Hamlin of the…

Snow Plow Projectile Physics

We got over a foot of snow yesterday and today, so schools are closed. Except Union is a residential college, so we never close, which means I have to dig my car out all the same. Which I did, clearing a path to the unplowed street, then took Emmy for her morning walk. During which,…

Follow the Bouncing Ball

Last week, Rhett did a post on animating a bouncing ball in VPython. This was mostly making a point about the distinction between real simulation and animation, along the lines of yesterday’s post on social construction of videogame reality. But, of course, my immediate reaction was, “That’s not how a bouncing ball looks…” This is…

Sticky Tape: The Final Chapter

I realize people are getting sick of reading me talk about this charged-tape business, which has run to one, two, three, four posts at this point. Truth be told, I’m losing enthusiasm for it myself. So this will be the final post, at least for now… As I mentioned on Twitter, as I type this…

Atomic Physics with Sticky Tape

In addition to making a toy model to show the tipping-point behavior of charged pieces of sticky tape, I spent some time on Tuesday trying to do something quantitative with this. Of course, Tuesday is the one day of the week that I don’t teach, and I didn’t want to go to campus to do…

One of the labs we do in the introductory E&M class I’m teaching this term involves investigating charged particles with sticky tape. If you haven’t seen it before, “invisible” tape picks up an electric charge when it’s peeled off a surface quickly, and with a little care, you can create both positively and negatively charged…

Niskayuna by Fermi

The other morning, I was lying in bed and for some reason, found myself wondering what the population of Niskayuna is. While this is easily Google-able, as I said, I was in bed, and didn’t want to get up to get a device with Internet connectivity. So I tried to Fermi-problem my way to an…

Physics of Snow Photo Contest

A couple of weeks ago, I got a cool picture of snow hanging off SteelyKid’s playset, and posted a call for people to suggest physics-y ideas about that. I only got one response, probably because nobody really read the Internet over the holidays. Anyway, the next time I’m likely to have the free time to…

I got a new camera for Christmas, not because there’s anything wrong with my DSLR, but because I wanted something that could do high-speed video. So I now have a Casio point-and-shoot camera that will record up to 1000 frames per second, woo-hoo! To break it in, I got the kids to help out by…