Saturday, August 01, 2009

The August stories at include:
1. ice-blink, the curious map that appears in the sky over ice fields, used by someone trying to find a water path through the fields. You might be able to see a bright band in the ice-blink above and to the right of the man in this very old photograph. Links to more clearer, modern photographs are given.
2. bird flocks, from Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds" to the flocks of starlings, which may number in tens of thousands. How do they avoid crashing into one another?
3. On January 2, 2006, an explosion in a methane pocket trapped 12 miners deep underground. Only one survived. The explosion was caused by a lightning strike, but how could lightning on the ground spark an explosion so far underground?
4. The pub trick of the month involves picking up an inverted beer bottle with the thumb on top and a finger on the side. You can do it if you know the physics.
5. The article of the month is my column exploring why a shower curtain blows inward during a hot shower. The answer may surprise you. It certainly surprised a lot of people when I published the article, even people who included a description of the shower-curtain action in their class lectures.


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