Silliness

Category archives for Silliness

The Real Pi Day(s)

Today is March 14th, 3/14 in the normal American way of writing dates, so you’ll find a lot of silliness on the web today talking about “π Day” due to the coincidental similarity with the first three digits of π (see, for example, Rhett’s annual post). But, of course, this is an archaic and local…

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,…

Replacing Gravity

I’m teaching introductory E&M this term, so it’s kind of fun to play around with silly applications of Coulomb’s Law. For example, let’s imagine that gravity suddenly switched off, but we wanted to keep the Earth in its orbit. How much charge would we need to move from the Earth to the Sun for the…

The Elusive Niskayuna Sloth

[Scene: In the car on the way from soccer to lunch at Five Guys. SteelyKid is in her car seat, studying the Halloween-themed temporary tattoos all over her arms.] SteelyKid: Do bats fly right-side-up, or upside-down? Daddy: From the bat’s point of view, it’s right side up more or less by definition. They do sleep…

Historical Physicist Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about Halloween costumes– SteelyKid is apparently planning to re-use her Peter Pan outfit from last year– and the conceptual costumes post from a while back has proved enduringly popular at this time of year. If you’re not into conceptual art, though, maybe some historical cosplay…

After a nice, relaxing weekend in Ithaca without the kids, I’ve returned to a crazy hectic Monday, with no free time to blog, despite a couple of things that I vaguely need to post. Lacking time, though, I’ll just give you this image of Condescending Louis de Broglie, an idea that sprang to mind when…

It’s gradually becoming clear to me that this blogging thing is old hat. It’s a Web 4.0 world now, and we’re all just Tmblng through it. So, I need to get with modernity, and start posting the listicles that are the bread and butter of the new social media order. Thus, I give you a…

Fantasy Physics Season Preview

While I was away for the weekend, intending to mostly ignore the Internet, Steve Maier tweeted: #FantasyFootball ? What if #FantasyPhysics existed–who would be your picks? This, of course, ended up sucking up a huge amount of mental energy for the rest of the weekend, because it’s such perfect blog fodder. If I’d had a…

Physics of the Bouncy-Bounce

SteelyPalooza came off very well, despite high disaster potential. We were, after all, inviting a dozen five-year-olds plus assorted siblings to our house, on a day when Kate and The Pip were out of commission due to coxsackie virus. Everything went smoothly, though: the kids loved the bouncy-bounce, SteelyKid’s playset and playhouse, and the six-person…

The Pip is home with coxsackie virus today, and we’re having a big party for SteelyKid tomorrow (her fifth birthday is next week), so I’m too busy to do more cold-atom blogging today. So instead, we’ll consider one of the great linguistic conundra of modern physics: The document preparation system LaTeX is pronounced: This is…