Sunday, April 03, 2016

April 2016 Flying Circus of Physics

April stories at the main FCP site: (1) How fans of the Seattle Seahawks (and other teams) can generate ground waves that trigger local seismic monitoring recorders. (2) Big-horn sheep (males) crash into each other headfirst. What happens when a vehicle gets in the way? (3) How can you generate waves one meter high in a small, backyard kiddie pool? (4) Physics goes boogie woogie in this video: . The FCP website is now 10 years old. Come visit at for hundreds of physics stories. More stories can be found at FCP Facebook.
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Sunday, March 06, 2016

March 2016 FCP stories

March 2016 FCP stories at the main FCP site: (1) Holding a fire hose under pressure can knock you off your feet. Can it levitate you? Can multiple fire hoses levitate a car? (2) The disaster of the Boston molasses flood. (3) Why is Finland spraying retroreflecting dye on to the antlers of reindeer? (4) A helicopter pilot cleverly uses pendulum physics to drop a load of Christmas trees into a waiting truck.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

FCP stories for Feb 2016

February 2016 stories at the main FCP site: (1) Can you increase the range of your fob (remote car opening transmitter) by holding the device next to your body? (2) What produces the annoying sound in knuckle cracking? (3) How can you distinguish a new alkaline battery from a used one by simply dropping them? (4) Dramatic videos in which the ultimate strength of concrete is tested.
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Monday, January 04, 2016

FCP stories for January 2016

January 2016 stories at the main FCP site: (1) clever physics allows for escape from deep mud, (2) how physics allows a young man to hit a high note in a church choir, (3) painting on a spinning canvas leads to novel designs, (4) balancing coins on edge (well, there’s a trick behind this stunt)
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Video 7 in the Flying Circus of Physics video series

The seventh video in my Flying Circus of Physics video series with Cleveland State University has now been posted. The FCP video series


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Dec 2015 stories at Flying Circus of Physics
December 2015 stories at the main FCP site: (1) An obviously intoxicated example of simple harmonic motion and then some disturbing examples of similar motion in amusement park rides. (I still do not get why anyone would use these rides, much less why they would pay to use these rides.)  (2) Pub trick, or maybe disco trick: a gin and tonic will fluoresce in black light (UV light) and then after you drink it, your urine might fluoresce for days in black light (well, assuming you have a black light source wherever you happen to urinate --- this is definitely something that I do not need to know about you). (3) Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks in American football offers a dramatic example of how the vector addition of many forces can result in a small net force. (4) The ink in your ballpoint pen is engineered to be non-Newtonian, otherwise every time you would tuck the pen into your clothing, the clothing would be drenched with ink.
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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Coffee acoustics

The next video in my series with Cleveland State University has been posted. Suppose that you are in a restaurant when a nearby customer repeatedly taps his spoon against the cup’s interior. The tapping sends sound waves into the water, and the sound waves within a certain range of frequencies build up by constructive interference. Thus, the noise (and your irritation at the repeated tapping) can be significant. If the person then adds powdered coffee (or almost any other type of powder) to the water and continues to tap, the frequency range noticeably shifts and then gradually returns to its initial value. I am so fascinated by the physics of that shift that I have tested it out in every restaurant I have visited. Indeed, maybe that person that so irritated you was me.My video series