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About michaelkennedy

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  1. The Physics of No Mans Sky

    The new Indie game "No Mans Sky" boasts a very impressive infinite galaxy full of planets, aliens, starships, and traders. The ships however travel at speeds which we humans have reached before. You may ask however, "How can an infinite universe even be skimmed if ships can only travel at relatively small sustained speeds?" This is a good question, and it can be answered by the fact that humans in "No Mans Sky" have developed the warp drive. This is a small piece of equipment that when activated allows the ship to travel faster than the speed of light for just a few seconds. This however is enough to travel IMMENSE distances, and because of this the world is able to be explored. The use of the hyperdrive can be seen here, where stars and planets that you are passing blend into swirls and colors due to your insanely high speed.
  2. The Physics of Pong

    The "first" video game: Pong. Deceptively simple. Two paddles, and a ball in the middle that bounced back and forth. It is not simple for two reasons: First, whenever the ball strikes the paddle, its y component of speed remains the same but in an opposite direction, and the only way that the x component can change direction is when the ball hits the wall. This means that the world of pong is perfect, where both the paddles and ball are frictionless, and there is no air resistance. Also, when the ball strikes the paddle, it is reflected back at some angle. This reflection of the ball is similar to the reflection of light rays that strike a mirror.
  3. The Physics of Portal

    The once popular game "Portal" was set in a laboratory where the player used a special gun that shot portals in order to navigate obstacle courses. The gun shot 2 portals, a blue and an orange, that linked together. The player is then able to jump through the first portal and end up where the second one was shot, covering a huge distance. Even complex things such as jumping through the first portal, then firing the second portal immediately afterwards to then fall through the second and back into the first. Though we do not have this technology YET, there are theoretical physics that explain the existence of wormholes. A wormhole is essentially a folding over of the fabric of space-time, so that the same location in space can be reached while traveling almost no distance compared to the original. It is much easier to explain this visually, and this scene from Interstellar does a fantastic job.
  4. I like the first sentence, "Cello, the best string instrument...". Makes me think you might be a Cello player yourself...
  5. Thanks Chris. All of this information about trampolines EXCEPT how to do a frontflip.
  6. I never knew that so much physics went into breakfast time.
  7. You know so much about motorized bikes that I thought you owned one!
  8. The Physics of FIFA

    In the popular soccer video game, FIFA, there are many important aspects of physics that are put into the game engine in order to create the most realistic experience possible. One example that has recently been implemented is the field being effected by the weather, which in turn effects the behavior of the ball. For example, when the weather is normal, the ball will roll at a normal speed along the field. However, when the weather is rainy the ball will roll especially fast due to the now lower coefficient of friction between the ball and the surface due to the watery and muddy grass. Another example of physics in FIFA is when you shoot, you can hold the right bumper to put curve on your shot. This curve makes it harder for the goalie to judge the path of the ball, since it is now curved sideways instead of being straight. This curve can be explained by the Magnus Effect, which states that a spinning ball will curve away from its principal flight path. This phenomenon can be seen best in this video where a spinning basketball is dropped from a large height:
  9. The Physics of Mafia III

    In the new game, Mafia III you play as the African American protagonist Lincoln Clay in the racially tense 1968 south. In the prologue you rob a bank with a group of white men you believe to not be racist. After successfully robbing the bank, you and the white men return to a bar to unload the gold bars and celebrate your newfound wealth. The celebration is cut short for you however, because in the middle of a long cut scene one of your white partners pulls a gun from behind you and shoots you in the back of the head. (This is viewed from the third person) You drop to the floor, and they take the money and flee the bar assuming that you are dead. As if by a miracle, you wake up an hour later stunned in bed with a bandage wrapped around your head with one of your friends taking care of you. What happened is that when the bullet was fired from the gun, it hit the curved skull at just the right angle that caused a deflection. This is because the angle between the trajectory of the bullet and the surface of your skull was not close enough to being perpendicular, and therefore the bullet did not penetrate the skull. It only scraped the surface of your skull and flew away, which was enough to cause extreme trauma and knock you old cold, but not enough to kill you. Since most of the force of the bullet was not absorbed by your skull you remained alive. Most of the force remained in the flying bullet which then most likely lodged into the wall. This miracle may seem impossible, but really is completely feasible due to the physics behind it. If my explanation isn't enough, read this article which explains a real world situation where a deflected bullet once again saves the victims life. http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/30/bullet-bounces-off-of-victims-face-and-kills-robber/
  10. This technique is very smart unless the weight is too much, or you end up snapping your elbow. Ouch!
  11. I like how you explained the spin. I love seeing a good curve shot go top bins m8.
  12. The Physics of Assassins Creed

    In the series Assassins creed, one of the core parts of the game is maneuvering around tight spaces and towns by using parkour. This is where you climb buildings, poles, bridges, and really anything that you can in order to get from point a to point b. One of the most intense methods of parkour in the game is the rope-zipline launcher gun. A gun fire a hook out of the barrel which is attached to a long cord. The hook lodges in a building where the player wants to reach, and the other end is attached to where the player is standing, creating a tight rope. The tension in the rope creates an upward force that almost balances the downward force created by the player after jumping on the rope, and is pulled very tightly from each side, creating a super strong almost metal bar for you to ride on. The angle created by the rope creates an angled acceleration due to gravity that moves the player down the rope. Because of the fast acceleration and the rough surface of the rope, gloves are required or else the players hand would be easily burned through due to the heat from friction. The zipline launcher allows for an easy and fast way to get from point a to point b, and would be a feat of engineering if it were possible to make in real life and was considered safe. .
  13. This blog really "pulled me in" if you know what I mean!
  14. The Physics of COD WAW Zombies

    In the once popular game, Call of Duty: World at War, there is a popular game mode called zombies. Players are pitted against endless waves of zombies with only one goal: to kill the players no matter what. One of the best parts of this game is the mystery box, a special magical box that gives the player a random weapon when bought. One special gun in the box is the WunderWaffe, a special lightning gun with a low drop rate. The WunderWaffe uses Lightning Cartridges that shoot taser-like projectiles at the zombies. These projectiles create a current that flows through the zombies and kills them instantly. The fun part is that this current flows from zombie to zombie, killing multiple at a time. The strong electric current resembles that of an actual lightning strike, which I assume means that it has about 30,000 Amps per shot. This is MORE than enough to stop a human heart, and is clearly enough to kill the undead for a second time. It also brings them to life and makes the zombies spaz out before they die.
  15. The Physics of Skyrim

    In the massive open world game, Skyrim, players can choose to either be a mage, archer, or my personal favorite, a knight. The knight wields a sword as his weapon of choice, and this forces players to get in close when fighting enemies. The effectiveness of the sword is often taken for granted however, and most people never think of the ingenious design and physical properties of swords. Medieval swords like the ones you use in Skyrim have long blades that are thick in the middle but taper off into sharp edges on 2 sides. The long blade allows for a much more powerful hit, but is also heavier. Because of the additional weight long-swords are two handed weapons in Skyrim, so they take much longer to swing than one handed weapons. This is the trade off between a short blade and a long blade. Additionally, the sharp edges on each side act as two wedges, that when struck against skin or wood will split the material by exerting an outward force. This can be seen in the diagram below along with an image of a sword.