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What does the future look like?

Science and technology have grown exponentially within the past century alone. Even today, the concept of predicting the future using empirical evidence seems mind-boggling, despite all the advancements we have made. I bring this up because I recently stumbled upon a Wikipedia page chronologically organizing the series of events that will occur within our solar system, and it spans an immense period of time. Note that, being somewhat of a cosmic weather forecast, it isn't exact - but it does

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Welcome to the Machine

You're reading this blog post, which means you're alive. Good. I'll begin by assuming that you believe you're living on Earth as of now - a reasonable conclusion to draw, I suppose. But what if I told you that we were nothing but computer-generated simulations, living in an artificial world? I doubt you'd be very willing to believe me, and I don't blame you - it's an impossible thing to prove. Well, nearly impossible. To get a little philosophical on you, since the beginning of philoso

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Turntables

The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 as a revolutionary device to not only record sound, but play it back. Since then, obviously, new music media has become more prevalent (CDs, etc.) and understandably - but a recent "retro" movement has increased the popularity of this seemingly dated form of listening to music. Newer record players are obviously different from the original phonograph, but the components and main concept remains the same. Starting with the record: A master

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The Observer Effect

The observation of interactions is basically the foundation of science and physics, but often times this observation directly alters the phenomena being observed. This concept is aptly named the observer effect. In circuits, the voltage and current can be measured by the use of voltmeters and ammeters, respectively. However, the placement of these devices into the current alter the actual voltages and currents of these circuits. This is why voltmeters are very high in resistance and wired in

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The debate on Nuclear Power - Part 3 (pros)

This is the last blog post (for now, at least) concerning the debate on nuclear fission, and we'll end with the positive aspects. For one thing, it is free of CO2 emissions. This is a big one considering the effects of global warming caused by such gases. In fact, the lack of harmful smog and air pollution is one of the biggest selling points for nuclear reactors. While the wastes can be hazardous, the immediate radiations from fission are harmless to the environment. Although it may no

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The debate on Nuclear Power - Part 2 (cons)

As mentioned before, nuclear fission generates a pretty substantial amount of energy. And the numbers alone may convince you that fission is extremely efficient. Well, efficiency isn't the only means for debate - it also involves safety, as the process can be very dangerous. The most common nuclear reactor is known as a critical fission reactor. Here, neutrons produced by fission of atoms (such as Uranium) are used to cause further fissions, and so it is generally self-sustaining. One of t

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The debate on Nuclear Power - Part 1

A couple posts ago, I briefly touched on the idea of nuclear fusion - the process of merging two light hydrogen atoms to release massive amounts of energy. This concept is awe-inspiring considering our current energy crisis, but it is far from being mastered. A certain nuclear energy source that is utilized, though, is nuclear fission. It's essentially the opposite of fusion - a heavy atom is split, by decay or a nuclear reaction, into two lighter atoms, and a large amount of energy is released.

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The Big Crunch

We all know now that the Universe is expanding, and at an accelerating rate. What happens, though, if it expands too far? Well, it turns out that if the Universe's density exceeds its "critical density", all of its matter will be mutually gravitationally attracted to each other, causing the expansion to cease and then reverse. This phenomenon, that all matter will eventually collapse in on itself into a black hole singularity, is known as the Big Crunch. What happens, though, after all matter

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The 5th Dimension

No, not that 5th dimension. I'm actually here to talk about five-dimensional space, not soul music - but regardless, I hope this piques your interest. Last post, I researched the 4th dimension, and attempted to break it down in a concise, easy-to-understand, yet informative manner. This is pretty much impossible to do, especially throwing a new dimension into the mix; so again, you'll have to look for yourself to get a more comprehensive view. (Known as a 5-cube) Several branches of phy

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The 4th Dimension

My fellow AP-C students and I are working on the Work-Energy unit right now, and in the Webassign there are some questions involving the dot product of vectors. The maximum amount of elements these vectors have is 3, though: <x,y,z> or <i,j,k>. Well, this makes sense, since we live in a 3-dimensional world, of length, width, and depth. Or do we? Obviously, the concept of 3 dimensions has been around as long as mathematics (even in its most rudimentary of forms) has been around. It

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Super Mario World and Quantum Physics

Because everyone else was doing video game physics, so why not? First off, let's address something. What does Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo have to do with quantum/theoretical physics? Not much, right? Well, I stumbled across an article on mentalfloss.com, which I'd recommend looking at if you're at all interested. http://mentalfloss.com/article/17994/super-mario-world-quantum-physics-lots-fun It describes how some anonymous gamer (with a lot of time on his/her hands) program

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Snacks for Thought

Nothing for me proves the ubiquity of physics more than this article I came across in the LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-popcorn-science-20150210-story.html Yes, that's right; on top of just being tasty, popcorn is a great demonstration of several physics concepts such as thermodynamics. First off, food chemists have determined the ideal moisture content of a kernel to be around 14%, and since the 1950s, plant breeders have apparently fixed that annoying u

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Ragdoll Physics (Video Game Deaths)

Yet another video game physics blog: As video games become more and more advanced, naturally, their physics improve as well. Advancements in computing technology allow for more realistic movements in player models - and this leads us into a discussion in something known in the computer physics world as "ragdoll physics". Anyone who has played a video game involving the death of a character (which is, well, most of them) knows that death animations are anything but static. This is to make t

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Quantum Physics is Weird

You wouldn't have too big a problem believing that the past can affect the future, or that the present affects the future. We see it everyday. But if I told you that the future could affect the past, you'd probably be a bit skeptical. Quantum physics is full of these weird thought experiments that are absolutely wild and mind-bending, and one of them is known as Wheeler's delayed choice experiment (prominent in the late '70s and early '80s). John Wheeler attempted to answer a very strange que

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Plasma

Besides being fun to say, plasma is a very important concept in physics. But what is it, exactly? Well, it's one of the four fundamental states of matter, alongside our friends solids, liquids, and gases. It can be found even in household objects, such as fluorescent light bulbs, plasma televisions, and the Sun. It is essentially a medium of unbound positive and negative particles, meaning it is generally neutral (the charge is close to zero). When a plasma moves, these charges create current

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Orbital Decay and You

(You, of course, indicating its impact on the Earth and not necessarily you on a personal level.) By essentially sapping energy from an orbital system, gravitational radiation makes orbits more circular and continuously decreases their radii. Overall angular momentum decreases, as this too is essentially stolen by radiation. The decrease in the radius of orbit is given by the following equation: Substitution of the Earth's and Sun's masses for m1 and m2 tells us that the rate of our orbit

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Is time continuous?

Since the beginning of it, we have tried to measure it: time. The concept in itself is intangible and pretty abstract, though we perpetually experience it and find it to be one of our biggest issues. I made an earlier post regarding additional dimensions, noting that many consider time to be the 4th dimension, one that is unbound by spatial constraints - but here, I'll take the topic into something even more abstract. I knew before researching that people have different outlooks on time, whet

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How Gravity Stole Christmas...

...(But probably not.) In light of the holiday season, I bring to you a Christmas-themed blog post, with a pinch of love and some hints of gravitation. I came home from school today and stepped into the living room, astutely noticing that the Christmas tree had fallen. Obviously, the first thing that ran through my mind was that gravity did this. I mean, gravity's everywhere - it's a pretty likely culprit. You may or may not notice the lamp just above where the tree fell, but I believe

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Guitar Physics (Whammy Bars)

My last one, I promise. When I stumbled upon Mr. Grimes' paper regarding all of these guitar applications to physics, I had already known that things like harmonics had to do with basic string/wave physics - but all of these other applications have really interested me, as someone who loves the instrument. If you're interested at all, visit the source material; he obviously worked very hard on it, and his hard work shines through. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjourn

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Guitar Physics (Vibrato)

Continuing with the applications of physics to the guitar: Vibrato, like bending, is a staple in every lead guitarist's arsenal. It is very similar to bending, as a matter of fact, and is basically just bending up and down repeatedly to alter the frequency. Last post, I ended with a monster equation used to determine the frequency of a bent string as it relates to a bend angle theta. This equation was derived by physicist David Robert Grimes who did an excellent job of condensing these tec

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Guitar Physics (String Bending)

I made a post a while back about the physics behind pinch harmonics - but, since there is a multitude of other guitar techniques, there's a lot more physics to be explored with this instrument. Think about your all-time favorite guitar solo, and I'll guarantee you that there is bending somewhere in it. It's the technique that must be mastered to make a decent solo, and it's in all of the best ones: it's ever-present in legendary solos such as Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", Lynyrd Skynyrd's

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Guitar Physics (Pinch harmonics, or "squeals")

One of the most interesting (and most challenging) techniques of playing a guitar is effectively utilizing a pinch harmonic (the aptly named "squeal"). It is typically used in metal music, as the heavy distortion used in amplifiers can greatly increase the sound of the otherwise subtle harmonic. Eddie Van Halen, for example, used this technique often, and well; an overwhelming number of his solos feature it. Take, for example, his iconic solo in Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (this obviously is a c

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Greetings and salutations

They said senior year would be a breeze. To avoid such a horrifying prospect, I decided to indulge in AP-C Physics, which, as they say, is one of the most challenging classes the school has to offer. But, as the Chinese proverb goes, "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials". I am not taking AP-C Physics simply because I enjoy torturing myself with hard problems. In actuality, I hope to be able to tackle hard problems step-by-step. There is always a logic

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Gravitational Waves

Relativity, as we know, explains the intimate connections of space and time, since they are essentially components of one larger entity, the spacetime continuum. One of the more elusive byproducts of this theory is the concept of gravitational waves. To explain, first understand that the spacetime continuum has curvature, and this curvature is directly affected by the mass of an object. For instance, large masses like planets will actually cause spacetime to "bend" around it. And gravita

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