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Last week, we looked at the resistance of a voltage sensor by using the discharge of a capacitor, getting a value that was a bit high, but not wildly out of line with the specs. This time out, we’re going to look at the resistance of a current meter, because some students asked about it…

Against “Gen Eds”

Matt Reed, who will forever be “Dean Dad” to me, has a post on “new” topics that might be considered for “gen ed” requirements, that is, the core courses that all students are required to take. This spins off a question Rebecca Townsend asked (no link in original), “Should public speaking be a general education…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 6

This week’s episode of Uncertain Dots is, if anything, even more free-form than previous weeks, including a brief cameo from one of Rhett’s kids: Topic covered include the arrangement of faculty offices, the relative lack of demos for E&M (compared to mechanics, where there are endless videos to analyze, etc.) a little bit about science…

Least Physics-y Physical Activity?

I’m running errands today, so here’s a quick post picking up a question from last week’s Olympic physics hangout: What sport involves the least physics? One of the kids in the classes we were video chatting with asked that, and I really like the question, though it was a struggle to answer. It’s one of…

Science Journalism vs. Sports Journalism

Over at Backreaction, Bee takes up the eternal question of scientists vs. journalists in exactly the manner you would expect from a physicist: she makes a graph. Several of them, in fact. It’s generally a good analysis of the situation, namely that scientists and journalists disagree about how to maximize information transfer within the constraints…

Olympic Physics Chat

I spent a while on Friday morning talking about the physics of the Olympics with a couple of science classes in Tennessee and Lawrence Norris from the National Society of Black Physicists, organized by Adam “@2footgiraffe” Taylor. This was done via a Google hangout, so the video is recorded on YouTube: The recording seems to…

For the latest in our ongoing series of post where I overthink simple questions, I’d like to present the longest single continuous experiment in Uncertain Principles history, which took six and a half hours yesterday. All to answer the question in the post title. This may seem like a waste, given that I could download…

Computers and Shades

In comments to the post on computer display colors, Will Slaton notes that Mac displays emit polarized light. And, indeed, this is an inherent part of the backlit LCD technology– the individual pixels are bits of liquid crystal between two polarizers, and an applied voltage causes the liquid crystal molecules to flip between a state…

Long Overdue Snow Physics Post

Ages and ages ago, I posted the picture that’s the “featured image” above, and asked people to submit physics comments about it. Then I got distracted by a series of shiny things, and never did anything with the handful of responses I got. Because I’m a Terrible Person. Anyway, it’s long overdue, but here are…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 5

In which Rhett and I talk about color vision, undergraduate research projects, blog networks, outreach activities, and how thermodynamics is a lie. Things mentioned in the discussion: The Flame Challenge My post about looking at computer monitors with a spectrometer Physics Quest I’m inadvertently doing a bit of product placement here– the T-shirt I’m wearing…