Thursday, October 30, 2008

The spaghetti effect can be seen both at the dinner table and in industrial settings. When a long flexible strand is rapidly pulled into a container, it can whip about wildly. With a spaghetti strand, the whipping can sling off the sauce. This is one of new stories for November at the Flying Circus of Physics site. Another of the stories is about how an open can of Red Bull can be inverted without any of the liquid pouring out. This is another of the pub tricks that are not only described but also explained at the web site.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The stories posted this month at the Flying Circus of Physics website include

1. The magic trick of Criss Angel in which he floats from one building rooftop to another. Can you spot the physics clues that reveal how he does it?
2. Frank "Cannonball" Richards made a living by having a cannonball shot into his stomach. How could he survive such an impact?
3. Ball lightning is a mysterious glowing ball that appears during lightning storms. One of my collected stories is presented.
4. Coffee stains on a counter --- why do they have a brown border? Most people just wipe away such stains but a scientist is puzzled by such patterns.
5. Musical roads: Some roads are built such that the road noise reproduces a musical score, such as the opening theme music of the old "Lone Ranger" television show, otherwise known as the William Tell overture.
6. Glare off a printed page. When you tilt a page from a textbook or magazine, why is the contrast between the bright regions and the dark regions reversed, as shown here in a page from the textbook that I write.