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WoP #29: Why a Church Doesn't Make a Good Auditorium

This Thursday, the Irondequoit High School Philharmonic Orchestra and Choirs will be performing their major works concert at the St. Mary's Church, right next to the Geva theater. It's quite the interesting concert to perform, in that we're all playing in an unfamiliar venue, and have had only a single day where we ALL got together to practice. Oh, and it doesn't help that the acoustics in the church are terrible, arguably only a little better than the IHS gymnasium. Why are they terrible,

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #28: LED Lighting

I recently found an online play-through of a game called OneShot, a fourth wall breaking game in which the main character, Niko, has to restore the sun (just a giant lightbulb) to a world in which the previous sun died out with the help of the player, who acts as a... far from omniscient god of the world that can't directly interact with anything and can only be heard by Niko. Throughout the game, characters reference a material called phosphor, which they say gives off the power of their previo

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #27: Auditory Illusions

Ever heard a song or some other set of sounds and thought you could make out some sound or phrase that, on close examination, wasn't really there? I'm not talking about misheard lyrics, but lyrics that didn't even exist at a point in a song. Well there's a reason for that. The reason is that, due to the way the song is layered, a specific set of frequencies that the song's instruments play is close enough to the set of frequencies that would be heard if a human were talking, that the brain can p

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #26: Lasso the Sun

Over the weekend, I finally watched Disney's Moana (it's been out for what, almost half a year?), and let me say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just the right combination of funny, dramatic, and the Rock singing to keep me in my seat for a solid hour and a half. Now, being Disney, I'm not even going to pretend that physics makes sense (how does the water move like it's alive? is it possible to have a giant air pocket directly underneath water? how is matter conserved when Maoi transforms?), but

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #25: Boyle's Flask Scam

For anybody not familiar with Boyle's Flask, it's a reservoir of water connected at the bottom to a tube such that the water infinitely pours into itself. Essentially, perpetual motion. And it's only a theoretical concept. With that in mind, watch this quick video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS1KXMsE2qk Done? OK, now, can you tell me what the video did wrong? If you answered used an obscure method to trick the viewer into thinking it actually worked, you're 100% correct.

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #24: Starbound Gravity

One of my favorite games that I've found recently is Starbound. It's a 2D sandbox game revolving around travelling through space to fight off a threat which seeks to destroy all life in the universe. I've built countless bases and colonies on planets which range from a perpetual tundra to a giant magma ocean, and I love it. But there is one thing that's always bothered me. Gravity. And not because they got it wrong, but because they got it half right. The developers included planets of vary

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #23: Rick and Morty 2 - Cesium Bomb

More Rick and Morty! This time, I'm talking about the episode where Rick and his son in law, Jerry, are trapped in a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation (no, that's not a typo) by a species of space pirates who are out to get Rick's recipe for concentrated dark matter, which he uses for intergalactic space travel. By the end of the episode, Rick tricks them into blowing themselves up by convincing them that the recipe involves, "2 parts plutonic quarks, 1 part cesium, then add wat

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #22: Rick and Morty 1 - Microverse Black Hole

Why do I keep messing with relative size today? It's starting to get weird. Anyways, I was recently suckered in to watching the entirety of Rick and Morty, a sci-fi show about a kid and his alcoholic mad scientist grandfather who travel to various parallel universes causing all sorts of dark comedy along the way. For example, the time when Rick created an entire miniature universe in a box in order to sucker the intelligent life inside into providing power for his spaceship/car. Then,

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #21: Insane Pokemon Physics 2 - Black Hole in a Bag?

Similar to Wailord from the last post, there are other ridiculously disproportionate Pokemon. Although it has a bit of an excuse as being from a world where physics as the Pokemon's world knows them don't really apply, Cosmoem takes the cake as being both the heaviest AND smallest Pokemon, coming in at 999.9 kg and .1 m (roughly a ton and 4"). Given that it's design is essentially a perfect sphere surrounded by several flat plates, to make calculations simple, I'm going to assume the vast majori

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #20: Insane Pokemon Physics 1 - Helium Whale

Many people understand that game designers take certain liberties with physics in video games. It makes the games more fun to play, especially when it's the difference between jumping off a cliff and either rolling to inexplicably survive, or dying due to a ton of fall damage. Or the difference between having an awesome volcano map and burning up the moment you set foot within a few meters of lava. No, wait, magma, lava is outside the earth's surface. But, you get the picture. Of course, wh

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #19: Spinning Cards

While it might not be a major pastime for me, I enjoy learning about magic. Not of the satanic ritual variety, but of the slight of hand, stage/street variety. Sometimes I like to use this to harass my friends with impossible tricks, other times I just do it to practice some fine technical skills. In this case, namely how to throw playing cards. If you have a deck, go grab it right now, and try to throw a card. Watch, as it flops to the ground like a piece of paper. Now, grab it by the corn

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #18: An Objection to Phoenix Wright Bottle Physics

The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series is one of my personal favorite sets of logic/puzzle games of all time. Going through the cases one by one, you begin to feel like a real Sherlock Holmes... if Sherlock made wild accusations in order to buy a little time to find proper evidence which may or may not actually support them. And if Sherlock Holmes involved a bunch of quirky witnesses and pop culture references. And if Sherlock Holmes took place in a universe where California and Japan are someh

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #17: Recoil-less Weaponry

As many video games attest to, sometimes firing a weapon doesn't have any effect whatsoever on the shooter's momentum, even in the cold, dead vacuum of space where there's NO OUTSIDE FORCE TO CORRECT THE FORCE DUE TO IMPULSE! Impossible, no? Well, in some cases, no, it's not quite impossible. While many might immediately think of rocket launchers, which are self propelled, and therefore would have minimal effect on the momentum of the shooter, these are not classified as recoil-less weaponr

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #16: Bow & Arrow Trick Shots

As anyone who's ever heard the story of William Tell can attest, shooting an object with extreme precision, especially something like an apple off of someone's head, with a bow and arrow takes a ton of skill, practice, and luck. It gets even crazier when you see somebody shoot an object the size of a dime flying through the air. Just how do stunt archers do this? First of all, its nowhere near as easy as "train until you are 100% accurate," as arrows don't fly straight. What's that? Years o

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #15: Hyperion Moon Shot

In the Borderlands series, specifically Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, corporate villain Handsome Jack and the company of Hyperion use a device on their moon base/corporate HQ to launch supplies and killer robots down to the planet of Pandora and its moon, Elpis. But just what is said device? During the beginning of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, you get the luxury of being shot out of the moonshot cannon in an emergency evacuation. Fun! But, in the chamber for the moonshot, t

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #14: Great Scott: Mass of a DeLorean

Many have seen the Back to the Future trilogy, in which Marty McFly and Doc Brown use a modified DeLorean to travel through time. According to Doc Brown, the machine requires "1.21 Jigawatts" of power (confirmed by the directors to simply be a mispronunciation of Gigawatts) to power the flux capacitor, which enables time travel. This is achieved by bringing the DeLorean up to a speed of 88 mph, roughly 39.34 m/s. Using this information, I will do what any sane person would do: calculate the mass

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #13: Falling with Style

In the previous post, I referenced a quote from Toy Story, said by Woody after Buzz is first introduced, in response to Buzz's stunt around Andy's room. If you haven't seen the first Toy Story (which I don't know why you wouldn't have by now) turn away now before I spoil a minor part of the end of the movie. You know who you are. Alright, here it goes... At the end of the movie, Woody and Buzz are trying to get back to Andy, and have to chase a moving van on RC. In the process, Buzz lights

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #12: Flying Dogs

Let me start this by saying that the title is a bit of a misnomer. Dogs cannot fly, no matter how fast of a running start they can get. While a hyper dog may be able to leap over several people, an ottoman, and half a couch with a single bound, they have no way to force air down such that they stay aloft. In the words of Tom Hanks, "It's not flying, it's falling with style." Having said that, dogs actually can do a ton of cool things. Namely, standing on their two rear legs. The canine body

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #11: Pokèmon Evolution

In the world of Pokèmon, creatures cute and fearsome are forced to fight one another by their trainers for personal amusement. But its fun, and the little buggers are left relatively unharmed (aside from Gary's Raticate, may he rest in peace), so hey, no harm no foul, right? And considering that this universe was able to spawn said creatures, it must operate on a slightly different set of rules, right? Yet one specific aspect of the universe tends to break a law that, for the most part, is held

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #10: Pinball

Recently, my family and I went to the Strong National Museum of Play, amd I had to try and find a way to keep from being bored while my sisters were in the Bearnstein Bears room. Luckily, there was a huge pinball exhibit just next door, so I did what any sane person would do... and spent half an hour of my life staring at blinking lights and trying not to rage quit every time the ball fell between my flippers. Needless to say, fun times! Having said that though, there's actually alot of physics

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #9: Black Hole

Black holes: one of the most (theoretically) dangerous things in the universe. They consist of highly concentrated matter at a single point, such that the gravitational force exerted by the black hole is so great, even light cannot escape. However, this isn't entirely because the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light. Some astrophysicists believe that the major reason light cannot escape is because the mass of a black hole is so concentrated that it warps space around it such that e

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #8: Tightropes

So, today I saw a show in which a circus was being performed, and saw one of my favorite types of acts, the tightrope walker. Though it's one of my favorite acts, as a kid, I always wondered why they carried around the big, funny looking stick. Wouldn't having more weight make it harder to walk the rope? Actually, it's quite the contrary. The weight of the pole, extended over the distance, makes it easier to balance. Without the rope, they'd have to wiggle around like crazy on the rope in order

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #7: Moon Drop

Let it be stated that I am a huge Legend of Zelda fan. I've played a ton of the games, and have even made it a personal goal to seek out a couple of the "older" ones. One of my two favorite games from the franchise is The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, in which the player runs around the land of Termina with a 3 day time limit, trying to prevent the moon from falling and destroying the planet, and using magic to periodically reset time. This game is one of the darkest, yet most emotional in the

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #6: Floating Islands

One of the most beautiful, awe inspiring landscapes to explore in a video game is none other than the floating island. Imagine being surrounded by plains, forests, mountains... and blue sky and clouds as far as the eye can see. As beautiful as they are though, just how do they stay in the air? Some games offer a semi-plausible explanation, such as giant fans on the bottom of islands, or simply "It's magic." Other games, however, offer no explanation whatsoever, and the islands simply float.

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

 

WoP #5: Italian Tremors

Something tells me that the junior/senior class trip to Italy might not be happening this year, as Italy has recently been hit by a series of earthquakes, the most recent of which hit cental Italy and was a 6.6 on the Richter scale. According to recent news, approximately 90% of buildings in the area, many of which had significant historical value, were affected or destroyed by the shockwaves, and many were injured (luckily no reported casualties). As the shockwaves radiated from the epicenter,

SgtLongcoat

SgtLongcoat

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