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Everything posted by running_dry

  1. Launch Time: a few minutes Team Members Present: Olivia and Josh Play-by-Play: The solid boosters fire and the rocket lifts off, navigation aided by SAS. The boosters loose fuel around 10km and they are decoupled and the main engine fires. The rocket soars well past 50km and main engine runs out of fuel, third stage separates and radial engines fire while Josh attempts to burn sideways to achieve orbit but he waited too long to fly sideways and to boot runs out of fuel very fast. The team makes a split second decision to EVA Jebediah before the rocket lands back on Kerbal. after a brief EVE Je
  2. Team Name: Dyrleo Enterprises Available Funds: $86,184.20 Vehicle Name: 50k take two Vehicle Parts List and Cost: TT18-A Launch Stability Enhancer (4x200), Rockomax Mainsail Liquid Engine (850), Rockomax X200-32 Fuel Tank (2x6600), Rockomax BACC Solid Fuel Booster (4x800), standard canard (4x500), aerodynamic nosecone (4x680), Rockomax adapter (50), struts (4x250), TR18-D stack separator (600), FL-T400 Fuel Tank (850), Rockomax Mark 55 Radial Mount Liquid Engine (4x850), TT-38K Radial Decoupler (4x600), command pod mk1 (600), parachute (422), radial parachute (2x700) +10% tax = $35081.20 Des
  3. In December of 2013 physicists discovered a way to approximate the amplitude of scattering sub-atomic particles in a way that is much, much simpler than the old method. The idea is that given a set of parameters and whatnot, a geometric object, which is being called an amplituhedron, can be constructed such that it's volume equals the amplitude of a scattered particle from a quantum interaction. The old method involved using hundreds to millions of Feynman diagrams, which show possible ways the particle could scatter, and summing the probability of each situation occurring. Even a simple inter
  4. I would like to take a step back from physics to propose another law on the effects of procrastination on the APlusPhysics blogs. I have already explored the relationships between amount of procrastination and both quality of blog posts and hours slept the night they are due. Every time I refresh the "dashboard" page five new posts pop up, and I have noticed that the same posts don't stay on the front page for very long. It would seem that we are all hurting ourselves in terms of views by all waiting until the last possible second to do these because in the time that it takes to write the next
  5. I just found a video of a man playing a Tesla coil as a musical instrument. With a guitar. Basically, the guitar still works the same way but rather than sending its MIDI signals (notes and such) to an amp, it is being sent to a Tesla coil. Tesla coils work by sending alternating current through a wires coiled into a torus (donut shape). The changing current charges a larger torus trough electromagnetic induction. The voltage induced in the second coil is much greater than the first which allows a capacitor to be charged to the extreme where it trows visible electricity to the nearest conducto
  6. Kickstarter is full of cool stuff but a project called Altergaze really caught my eye. What it is is a 3D printed platform with a set of up to 3 lenses inside and a holder for your smartphone. The lenses magnify the screen so that it takes up your entire field of view, allowing you to watch video and whatnot in giant, beautiful panoramic views. And the beauty of it is that since it it 3D printed, the firm starting it is making the templates open source and offering partnerships to just about anyone with a 3D printer. They supply the lenses but you get to choose colors and can modify the phone
  7. The second major type of telescope is the reflecting telescope. The reflecting telescope was invented by Newton and considered an improvement on Galileo's design. Most reflecting scopes still use Newton's design. Reflecting scopes use a wide concave mirror at the back of the tube to bring light to a focal point in front of the mirror which is then usually reflected sideways toward the eyepiece by a flat, angled mirror. There are also compound scopes that work like reflecting scopes but there is a hole in the center of the concave mirror and the mirror at the foal point reflects light back thro
  8. Last night I happened to look up as I was walking inside at around 10 and noticed that I could see a lot of stars. Like a lot. I am quite a fan of stargazing but despite owning a telescope I have always done it with my naked eyes. But I was in the mood to see some planets in detail so I lugged down the old telescope from the attic and dusted her off only to make a distressing discovery- all the eyepieces were missing (you need those if you want to see anything). My dad and I scoured the dust and cobweb infested boxes in our attic for half an hour but came up empty handed, and I had to resign t
  9. In December of 2013 the European Space Agency launched Gaia, the most accurate telescope to ever be put into space. Its 1 gigapixel camera (that's 1 billion pixels or 1000 megapixels) is said to be able to measure a human thumbnail from the moon or detect the width a human hair from a distance of 1000 Km, which is some pretty incredible imaging science right there. Whats more, telescopes work better where its dark, so the ESA is putting it in orbit around the sun, around the L2 lagrange point which is out past the moon- which sounds funky but let me explain. L2 is 1500000 Km from the Earth in
  10. I have been somewhat obsessed with space lately. I also recently learned that there are spacecraft outside of our solar system, which for some reason just seems really cool to me. In September of 2013 Voyager 1 officially left the heliosphere, which is the area in space dominated by solar winds and charged particles from the sun and extends about twice the distance from Pluto as Pluto is from the sun. The deep space probe Voyager 2 was launched on August 20th, 1977 and Voyager 1 was launched two weeks later on September 5th. Voyager 2 has yet to breach into interstellar space. Despite the fact
  11. A few days ago scientists confirmed that there is liquid water on Enceladus one of Saturn's 53 or so moons. The surface of Enceladus is covered in a thick sheet of ice but NASA's Cassini spacecraft which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 has sent back images of geysers of ice, water vapor and organic compounds shooting out from cracks in the ice at the south pole of Enceladus. This was the first sign that there may be liquid water below the ice. Also, NASA noticed slight changes in Cassini's trajectory and the wavelength of it's radio signals which suggested that Enceladus has a greater mass
  12. First of all I have to say that I'm surprised that nobody here has blogged about this yet. But in case you haven't heard yet, March 17th was a big day for science, and physics in particular. Researchers from Harvard University and the Smithsonian released evidence of distortion in the cosmic background radiation (shown to the right) caused by gravitational waves from when the universe went through inflation after the big bang. The idea is that in the 1x10-35th of a second after the big bang the universe expanded very rapidly at a speed much larger than the speed of light (and yes, that is poss
  13. In the last few minutes I have noticed a lot of activity on the Aplusphysics blog, which is strange because it's almost midnight. Oh wait, blogs are due tomorrow? That explains something. Right now is the time when everyone cranks out those last couple posts that should have been done weeks ago, and I'm just as guilty as the rest of you. I want to be asleep right now more than anythi- hold it right there, if I'm writing this blog post I must want a good physics grade more than sleep. I also just discovered an interesting connection here. Amount of procrastination has an inverse relationship wi
  14. So the other day I was skiing along on one of those straight, flat trails so I was naturally a little bit bored. So I decided to see how high I could jump. I pushed off the ground pretty hard and... got like 2 inches of air. I was pretty disappointed in myself so I tried again. This time a squatted down and pushed off the ground with as much force as my skinny legs could muster and... 2.5 inches. Whats wrong with me? So I stopped and tried to jump vertically while not moving and I got much higher (although it was still pretty embargoing). I stood there for a minute and tried to figure out what
  15. Today was one of those days when all the roads were covered in snow, which is bad for driving and even worse for running. A few steps in that salty slush and you'll be slipping all over the place. What I've found is that snow sticks to the bottom of my shoes and stays there, so rather than my rubber soles trying to get traction with snow, there is just more snow trying to get traction with the snow. This drastically reduces the coefficient of static friction between my shoes and the road, causing my feet to slip every step which gets really annoying after about 20 feet. Also less frictional fo
  16. This is a continuation of my last post: Another reason humans are so good at running is we have big butts. I'm not joking. Humans have larger gluteus maximus muscles than any other other species on earth and the gluteus maximus is the most powerful muscle in the human body. Daniel Lieberman, chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, conducted a study of gluteus maximus function and found that the glutes are much more active while running than while walking, indicating that they evolved for the purpose of running. So what does your butt do for you when you ru
  17. In my last post I highlighted some of the incredible things that distance runners are able to do, including very long runs at altitude (lower oxygen) and in extreme conditions. But what allows these people to do these kinds of things? The short answer is training. With enough training almost anyone (for the most part excluding the very elderly) could finish an ultra marathon. But why is this? The answer lies in the fact that humans are better adapted to run for long distances than any other animal on the planet. First of all, humans are bipedal meaning that we move around on two feet, and whil
  18. First things first: I would like to complain about the fact that people are not at all creative while heckling runners. You may think that shouting "Run Forrest, run!" out of your car window is funny and original, but its not. I've heard that at least 20 times in the last few years. In case you have never seen the movie Forrest Gump (shame on you if you haven't, you don't deserve to be a person) this is a reference to the scene when protagonist Forrest is being chased by bullies and his friend Jenny yells "Run Forrest, run!" so he does causing the braces to break off his legs and allowing him
  19. According to Einstein, nothing can move faster than the speed of light (which is exactly 299,792,458 m/s in a vacuum). However this hasn't stopped people from trying to think of clever ways to move something faster than this cosmic speed limit. It has been claimed that by shining a laser on the surface of the moon from earth and moving the laser quickly, the beam moves across the surface at faster than the speed of light, which is partially true. What is actually happening is that photons traveling at the speed of light are hitting the moon's surface in quick succession to form an imaginary sp
  20. The other night I watched the movie Black Hawk Down, which is based on the book of the same name (written by Mark Bowden) which was based on the actual events of the Battle of Mogadishu. The short story is that the US sent Army Rangers, Delta Force operators and pilots from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to remove Somalian dictator Mohamed Farrah Aidid from power and in October of 1993 they conducted a raid with the intent of capturing two of Aidid's highest advisers. The operation was supposed to take no longer than an hour and incurr no casualties but after a series of compli
  21. Warning: not only is this a lame story, its also slightly graphic Whoever said that running isn't a contact sport was dead wrong, and my right arm can prove it. But more on that later. In the last few years I have seen more kids than I count fall during races, often getting trampled by other runners who are wearing shoes with metal spikes, up to half an inch long, protruding from the bottom. These poor souls always pick themselves up, battered and bloody (literally) and finish the race. I had never personally fallen during a race until last weekend when I tripped while running the 600 meter
  22. So here's something neat that I just stumbled across on YouTube. It also connects to our current unit of rotational dynamics perfectly. Its called "Cubli" which a compound of the English word 'cube' and the German word 'li' meaning something small in size. Cubli is basically a 15x15cm cube that can move and balance with the help of angular momentum. It contains three flywheels are able to achieve high angular velocity (ω) and acceleration and react quickly to external forces with the help of sensors that detect changes in inertia and then change the angular velocity of the wheels. The system i
  23. There has to be at least one good way to get to mars
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