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Transparent Displays

We spend many hours every day looking at some sort of display, whether it be attached to a computer, phone, TV, or maybe even a car. These displays work on a relatively simple concept of using liquid crystals that change the color of the light that is provided by the backlight, which is usually white. This tech has replaced the old CRT (cathode ray tube) technology that shot electrons at a screen over and over scanning across to form the image. The next innovation in display tech is hopefully so

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The Physics of Hydroplaning

Most people know about what hydroplaning is, but not how it works and how to prevent it, or how to stay in control if it happens.  What happens when you are hydroplaning? The car's tires are lifted off of the road by the water. This happens because of the way water moves as it is pushed by the tires. If the tires can't push enough water out of the way, the pressure builds up and lifts the tire from the road, resulting in a complete of friction and as such control. What should you do if

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Physics in Games

Half Life 2 was the first game to have a proper 3d physics system implemented, and while it wasn't flawless, it worked. It allowed the player to grab specific items, and carry them around and throw them into other objects, which would react accordingly. This was shown off a lot throughout the game, since the developers were proud of it. Now, it has become commonplace for almost every game to have a physics engine, as it's called, although it doesn't have to be a main gameplay element. The t

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The Physics of being Colorblind

I was first discovered to be colorblind in kindergarten, when the teacher had us coloring, and I grabbed the wrong crayon multiple times. Many people don't fully understand what colorblindness is, how it affects someone, and what causes it. My type of colorblindness is known as "Protanopia". That means I struggle to identify differences between red and green, blue and purple, and sometimes light greens with yellow. Whenever someone finds out I'm colorblind, the question they usually ask is "What

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Space Engine

I found this software a while ago called "Space Engine", which can only really be described as a universe exploring tool. It's just a simple thing that allows you to fly around in space, starting from Earth. You control the speed you go at, and I feel this is the only thing to ever really give me a feel for the perspective on how large the universe really is. At first impressions I thought everything I saw was based on reality, but I found out that by default anything outside of what we have obs

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About me

AP Physics C. It's hard to believe I'm taking a college level physics class for the second time, but here I am. I have always been interested in the topics that physics covers, because I love pretty much any type of deep scientific research. I've always been good at science, and with technology of most kinds. The relationship between technology and physics is often overlooked, but it plays a massive part in almost everything we take for granted today, like GPS and cell service. How else would we

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Demolishing Buildings

Everything that goes up must come back down. This is true for everything affected by gravity, including buildings. Demolishing buildings is actually a business, because of how complicated it can be. Sometimes just a bunch of heavy equipment and a few machines will suffice, but with larger buildings like offices and skyscrapers, keeping,the rubble inside the lot as it collapses is a big deal. The way this is done is usually by using controlled explosions going off in sync. The way these expl

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Hotwheels

I spent a lot of my childhood with hotwheels, whether it be putting insane tracks together or just watching the cars fly around the track. Hotwheels are best described as miniature cars that can be sent around tracks at ridiculous speeds to do crazy things. Some of the stunts my cars did were jumping tracks, going through King Kong's mouth, and doing loops around other sections of track. The cars are usually launched by two spinning foam wheels that rotate in opposing directions with a smal

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Cooling Tech in Computers

The first microchips didn't need any kind of cooling, they were cooled by just the air around it. Now, they produce enough heat that it needs to be transferred away in order for the chip to function properly. The solution was to create a heatsink, an array of spread out metal fins in contact with the chip to transfer the heat. Over the years, these have increased in efficiency and size. The heat is spread out to the fins using copper pipes, and then fans push air over the fins to move the air aw

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The Physics of Transistors

Every computer has millions, if not billions, of transistors in it. These transistors have one use, to control the flow of electricity. They act as a switch, but without any physical moving parts. Their size is incredible, since they work to allow electricity through on the atomic level, rather than a larger scale. The physical makeup of a transistor allows it to prevent the flow of electricity in one state, but when a small positive voltage is applied to the side, it allows the electricity to f

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Clean Rooms

A "Clean Room" is what it sounds like, a room which is very clean. There are varying types of them, from the variety used to make watches to those used to produce satellites. The general idea is to prevent contamination of the air, which is typically dust. In order to enter a clean room, one typically has to wear a full body suit that is meant to contain everything within the suit, so no dust enters the room. No makeup is allowed inside, as those types of particles easily come off and float arou

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Real-Time Water Simulation

A new type of software development that is being used to create realistic looking water without having large processing times is based off of approximating almost everything. The basic principal is to use a bunch of small spheres, and calculate how they would react in whatever situation, say water pouring out of a pipe. This would look like a large amount of balls rolling out of a pipe, but the real magic happens in the approximations that are used. The software uses how the balls move to judge

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Microphones and Speakers

We use microphones all over the place, and most people have one or more on them at any point in time. Most work on a fairly simple concept, using 2 plates. One of them is much thinner than the other, and acts as the diaphragm, the part that moves as a result of sound. The other one is thicker, and works to make the 2 plates into a capacitor. The sound waves change the distance between the two plates slightly, and therefore changes the capacitance of the system. These changes in capacitance are m

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The physics of Godzilla

Everyone knows what Godzilla is, and the creature's exploits in destroying cities, but not many question the possibility of such a creature's existence. Godzilla is 355 ft. tall, and weighs 90,000 Tons, meaning that he is massive in both size and mass. This is equivalent to the size and weight of a cruise ship, but it's capable of walking around. With all this weight to tote around, is it even possible that Godzilla would be able to walk around, let alone simply stand? Well, seeing as his weight

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The Physics of Tank Armor

The point of a tank's armor is to protect the crew inside from bullets, shells, and anything that may be potentially dangerous. The first tanks used metal plates that weren't too thick to protect from bullets, as that was all that was necessary. As the technology advanced, more armor was being put on tanks, so bigger guns were being used to break through this armor. This raised the issue of weight, as you can't just continue to add armor to a tank to make it safe, because the weight would make t

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Shoot your Grade Lab, attempt 2

Our second lab was an interesting one: predict where the ball will land after one shot from a projectile launcher, and you get a 100. If you miss, its a 0. But, the whole class was involved, so the end result was a very disorganized lab. On the first shot, we measured the angle and change in Y, then the X distance and the time it took from launch to landing. This was used to calculate the resultant initial velocity of the ball. Then the angle and height of ball was changed, so we re-measured the

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Downforce

Formula 1 cars are well known for being among the fastest cars to be raced competitively, and their inner workings are just amazing. These cars are really wide and low, giving them a low center of gravity. This helps with turning, as the centrifugal force doesn't tip the car as much, since there is less torque. This isn't the thing that helps these cars go so fast, their engines are incredible, and the body is extremely lightweight. It's made of a very complicated composite, part of it being car

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Stage Physics

Almost every stage production uses a pulley system or some sort of rope system to suspend something. Whether it be a curtain, backdrop, or even an actor, using counter weights to hold something up is an old practice. Ropes are all brought down from the ceiling to a row along the wall, over pulleys. These ropes have a plate with vertical pipes on the bottom, and the weights rest on top of the plate. The other end is attached to a horizontal bar on the stage, which multiple things can be attached

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Bottle Flipping Physics

The trend of flipping a water bottle through the air to make it land upright again grew rapidly, and has some interesting physics behind it. The difficulty in the trick comes from the fact that when the bottle isn't full, it doesn't spin around the center. What happens is the center of mass goes toward the bottom as more of the liquid is drained, so to the average observer the bottle flips in a strange and unpredictable way. But the rotation of the bottle is predictible, because the axis of rota

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The Physics of Passengers

I recently watched the movie "Passengers", and I noticed that on multiple occasions what happened was actually accurate. A lot of other sci-fi movies have huge innacuracies that detract from the overall movie, but Passengers showed one really good example of this, which is a large spoiler, so fair warning to anyone who wants to see it. Jim, the main character, is blown out into space with a makeshift shield he had made. When he was thrown out of the ship, his tether broke and he was heading stra

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The Xbox Kinect

A lot of people have used the Kinect for Xbox, and at the time of it's release in 2010 it was a new take on motion control technology. It allowed for control without a controller, by using 3 seperate cameras, 1 of which is a color camera, the other 2 are infared. They are seperated a small amount, just like our eyes to allow for the cameras to get a 3d model of what is in front of it, matched with the color camera to get an idea of the position of the person in front if the camera. This, along w

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Digital Thermometers

Almost every device we use has a thermometer in it, even if we don't know it. They are used to determine whether or not different electronics have overheated, or if they are too cold. They work on a different principle than a typical mercury thermometer, using a resistor that is affected more by temperature than a normal resistor. The changes in resistivity are used to judge the temperature, which can be measured very accurately depending on the quality of the resistor, and the supporting electr

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The Physics of UP

The kid's movie UP, while serving it's purpose as a kid's movie, isn't exactly known for being accurate in the physics department. In the movie, an entire house is lifted up by nothing more than balloons. This iconic scene is pretty, but is it probable? Discovery channel's Mythbusters decided to test it harnessing a small girl into a ton of balloons, and seeing how many it would take to lift her. They estimated about 2000 fully inflated helium balloons would be enough to lift the young girl, but

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EMDrive

Space travel has used many unique forms of propulsion, such as solid fuel rockets, liquid fuel rockets, ionic thrusters, etc. The newest type is still debated as to whether or not it is even possible. The EMDrive seems to break the laws of physics, as it outputs more energy than it takes in. The inventor sent a prototype to NASA to be tested to confirm his claims, and their tests confirmed it. This whole concept has yet to be accepted, as it is such an outlandish thing, but it is currently being

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Parkour and Freerunning

The culture based around the idea of parkour is a sport entirely based around momentum. The idea is to be able to control your movements to be able to maintain your momentum while running around. Normally parkour involves a lot of vertical movement, as well as large horizontal movements. The difficulty comes from having the strength to pull yourself up and over obstacles, or if you're good enough being able to stay at speed and direct your momentum to allow for fluid movements in all directions.

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