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Everything posted by PaperBoy

  1. Pre-Launch Design Brief: Team Name: Ornefler LLP Available Funds: 36,875 Vehicle Name: Moon Man Vehicle Parts List and Cost: MK1 Command Pod - 600 MK16 Parachute - 422 S1 Kickback Solid Fuel Boosters (4) - 5,400 FL T800 Fuel Tanks (15) - 12,000 Aerodynamic Nose Cone (4) - 960 TT-38K Radial Decouplers (4) - 2,400 TR-18A Stack Decoupler - 400 FTX-2 External Fuel Ducts (4) - 600 LV-T45 Swivel - 600 Total: 23,282 Design Goals: This ship was meant to travel from Kerbin to Mun in a mainly straight
  2. Preflight Launch: Team Name: Ornefler LLP Available Funds: 30,350 Vehicle Name: Orbiter 1 Vehicle Parts List and Cost: Air Brake (2) - 2000 MK1 Inline - 800 MK16 Parachute - 850 Aerodynamic Nose Cone (3) - 720 TR-18A Decoupler - 1200 FL-T400 Fuel (5) - 2500 CR-7 Rapier Engine - 3000 Radial Decoupler (3) - 1800 Thumper Solid Fuel Engine (3) - 1275 Small Delta Wing (3) - 600 Thud Engines (3) - 1230 Total: 15,975 Design Goals: Our spacecraft was designed in order to reach stable orbit with one Kerba
  3. Lots of people have heard the word “superconductor.” But, not too many people really know what they are or how they’re made. A superconductor is an occurrence of exactly 0 internal resistance to electrical charges and the removal of interior magnetic fields, known as the Meissner Effect. During this change, all magnetic flux within the material is transferred to the outside, greatly multiplying the outside field. Super conductance was discovered in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. And, it’s actually a phenomenon of quantum mechanics. Superconductors are made when a ma
  4. We all know that insulators carry charges much better than conductors. This is because conductors have much freer electrons than insulators, allowing electrical currents to form. However, these two types of materials aren’t exclusive. In fact, one can rather easily turn an insulator into a conductor. This process is known as dielectric breakdown, and concerns a variable known as the dielectric strength of a material. The dielectric strength of a material is the constant maximum electric field that a pure form of that material can withstand before it breaks down. When a material break
  5. PaperBoy


    Along with capacitors, inductors still make up a very important part of modern day circuitry. Often, the two are used in conjunction to great effect. Inductors usually consist of an electric current passing through a coil of wire. The coil may be in a circular or straight shape itself. The purpose of an inductor is to store voltage via a magnetic field in the coil, according to Faraday's Law of electromagnetic induction. Nowadays, inductors are often used to remove the mains hum of an AC current. This hum can vibrate the circuit, obstructing power lines, and can usually be easily hea
  6. PaperBoy

    AP Spheres

    In my last blog I talked about the three (up to five) types of civilization as labelled by the Kardashev Scale. I also said that type II civilizations can harness the full power of their star, with something called a Dyson Sphere. The Dyson Sphere is a theorized invention by Olaf Stapledon. The basic goal of the project is to someday completely harness the Sun’s energy output. This includes every single Joule of especially heat and light energy the fusion within the Sun’s core creates. Naturally, this concept would require a lot of hard work to complete. There are a few different versions
  7. My last blog post mentioned the Fermi Paradox, that no evidence for extraterrestrial life exists despite plentiful chances. I talked about one proposed solution being a race of super aliens which control their galaxy. According to Nikolai Kardashev, Russian astrophysicist, this civilization would be classified as a Type III, the final form of existence. In 1964 he invented his Kardashev Scale for measuring a civilization's progress towards perfection. It currently has three different classifications, types one through three. The three types are organized based on how well they control their av
  8. PaperBoy

    Big, Empty Space

    Something that baffles scientists today is a strange situation called the Fermi Paradox, named after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. The basic conundrum is that there's an incredibly high probability that alien life forms not only exist in the universe, but nearby Earth. The reason for this statement is the radically large number of solar systems in our galaxy alone. With so many stars in the observable universe, billions are similar to our Sun. The likelihood that many of these stars have Earth-like planets is therefore quite high. Assuming Earth is a typical planet, intelligent life mus
  9. In my high school physics class, we've been talking a lot about circuits of late. And, in such a discussion who can forget capacitors? Most people know that capacitors are usually created by separating to conducting plates by a small dielectric. They store electrical charges and in doing so store electrical energy through a temporary electric field. That's all fine and good, but where is this invention used in the real world and for what purpose? Well, one basic use is the storage of energy. Some devices are much easier to use if they can keep charged while their battery is replaced
  10. So, an interferometer is the instrument used to measure gravitational waves. But, how do they do it? Well, the interferometer is an ingenious invention created by Albert Michelson back in the 1880s. The concept is actually quite simple too. The design starts with a concentrated laser beam, like any good invention. Next, the laser beam hits a beam-splitting mirror at a 45 degree angle. Thus, half the beam travels straight through the mirror, and the other half is deflected at a 90 degree angle. Each beam separately travels down several mile long corridors to hit a solid mirror, and bounce
  11. So, now that you know what gravitational waves are, where do they come from? Well, they are generated from some of the most energetic processes in the known universe. This includes supernovas (like the Big Bang), neutron star collisions, Black Hole mergers, etc. In actuality, gravitational waves can occur any time masses accelerate in non-symmetrical motion. However, the only detectible sources are the ones listed above. Even these events are often incredibly difficult to detect, since the waves diminish to near unnoticeable levels by the time they reach Earth (thank goodness too, remember tha
  12. There's been a good deal of hype surrounding gravitational waves recently. It's been all over the news, and has something to do with Einstein as far as we know. Wondering what it all means? Well wonder no more, I'm here to deliver the abridged version of what you need to know! For dummies. So, what is a gravitational wave? Well, it's a wave that propagates through space-time itself. Remember how space and time are actually one thing, like a quilt over the universe? Well, gravitational waves travel along that plane, stretching and shrinking space itself. And, it acts upon space-time in per
  13. All physics students ought to know about the photoelectric effect. In fact, heck, all people should know about the photoelectric effect. It's incredibly important to our world. Here's a short summary. Scientists discovered that many metals actually release electrons when light is shone upon them. Some thought that this meant that the light was simply accelerating or energizing the electrons until they jumped out of the metal. However, upon further testing and changing of the intensity of the light, this was proven untrue. This is incredibly important because it means that light is actuall
  14. Did you know there's actually a shortest possible length in the universe? At least there is supposedly, scientists believe we'll never be able to create any sort of measuring or analyzing device short enough to view it. It's called a Planck length and it equals 1.61619997E-35 m. It's derived from Planck's constant (you know, E=hf), the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. One cool way to think about it is this: imagine a .1 mm dot, about the smallest length the naked human eye can see. Now, turn that dot into a universe of its own. Inside that universe, a Planck length would be
  15. The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies in the universe, which includes radio waves, x-rays, all kinds of light, gamma rays, etc. The reason the Em spectrum is segregated as such is because of its common interaction with matter. For example: gamma rays tend to create particle, anti-particle pairs when interacting with other matter, infrared rays tend to vibrate molecules in matter. This radiation is known to occur any time charged particles are accelerated, and create both electric and magnetic fields perpendicular to each other, hence the name.
  16. Once somebody asked me what I felt was more important: art or science. At the time I instinctively replied science, but upon further inspection I think that might have been a bias. I know a lot of people who don't want anything to do with science, and would much rather spend time expressing themselves in new and interesting ways. There's nothing wrong with either I suppose, but now that I'm getting older it might be good that I make a judgement call. I certainly still believe in stimulating progress as much as possible. But then again, who's to say that art isn't progress. Maybe it's
  17. PaperBoy

    Out with the Old

    Recently I was playing video games with my brothers and their friends when they decided to move the party to another house. We were all set to go when suddenly someone mentioned the TV involved. This was soon drawn out into a long conversation about why old video games don't work well with new TV's, but work perfectly fine with old ones. Why is that? Well, the problem I am mentioning is called input lag, which is the loose definition for any large difference in time between the input to a hardware device and its associated output. For example: hitting a button on a game controller and wai
  18. TV's have risen in popularity tremendously since their invention, and despite continuing advancements in communication they continue to be a major project across the world. This relevance is in a large part due to the innovation which has kept them higher quality, easier to operate, and/or more useful than ever. TV's started out using cathode ray tube technology to display a picture. In this setup, a vacuum tube rockets electrons towards a phosphorescent screen. Anodes accelerate the electrons before they are deflected by two coils of electrically charged wire, creating an electric field.
  19. We all know that atoms are comprised of electrons and a nucleus. The nucleus is tiny and dense with positive protons and neutral neutrons, while the electrons orbit far away and are negative. So then, why don't atoms fall through other atoms if there's so much empty space in between? Two reasons really: the electromagnetic repulsion and the Pauli exclusion principle. The first is simple. When you bring like charges together they repel, and this force is proportional to the inverse of the distance between the two charges squared. This means that if you bring objects closer and closer toget
  20. Lots of people have heard of the word "supernova." It's gained a lot of popularity because of its incredible power. It's not surprising, after all, supernovae are the most powerful event in existence believe it or not. They're incredibly rare as well, only three have been observed in the Milky Way in the past thousand years, and that's a lot of space to blow up in. You probably already know that a supernova is the death of a star. However, there are two ways this happens. In a binary star system, if a white dwarf begins to suck matter from its neighbor, then it will eventually gain too mu
  21. PaperBoy

    Over 9000

    We all know Einstein's famous equations E=mc^2. It means that energy and mass are two halves of the same variable, and that a little mass makes an enormous amount of energy. We also know its disastrous effects, as evidenced in the US's infamous Manhattan Project. The first nuclear bomb ever tested was dubbed "The Gadget, " and the test itself was nicknamed the Trinity Test. It was conducted on the morning of July 16, 1945 in the Alamogordo bombing range of New Mexico. The bomb was said to release the energy of about 20 kilotons of TNT, or about 84 terrajoules. Now, if we plug that number
  22. Nowadays, almost every kid has a computer, whether it's their own or not. And, with that computer, nearly every kid listens to some type of video, music, or even alert messages. Without sound, computers just wouldn't be as useful. But how do computers make sound? The answer is quite complicated. Older computers used the common magnetic speaker, which included some array of copper wires and an iron magnet. The original design was a simple iron magnet inside a copper coil, vibrated by the electric field induced inside. Nowadays almost all computers use piezoelectric speakers. This type
  23. PaperBoy


    Remember those cartoon kids shows where lightning bolts sent you flying into the sky with your pants on fire? I’m talking about a Team Rocket blasting off again sort of scenario. I always thought those were pretty funny, but how would they work in real life? Let’s assume that by the Laws of Disney magic, being struck with lightning instantly converts all of its energy into kinetic energy for the object hit. So, a 50 kg cartoon character gets pegged. The average lightning bolt has about 5 GJ of electrical energy in it, and contact lasts only about 30 µs. The character starts at rest
  24. The Sun provides us with a lot of things, most significantly life. However, without one of the special properties of our planet, it would quickly destroy us. This is because the Sun emits “solar wind.” Of course, there’s no atmosphere in space, rather, this term defines charged particles moving at supersonic speeds out of the Sun towards Earth. So, how does Earth protect us from this onslaught? Well, it actually has a dipole magnetic field surrounding it. This means it acts like a double sided magnet with a North and South pole. This field only provides 25-65 uT, but because most s
  25. Ever wondered how the Universe will end? Well, if you’re not religious, there’s a myriad of options to choose from. Lots of people know about the Big Crunch. In short, this theory dictates that at the end of the Universe’s lifespan it will stop expanding and begin to collapse in upon itself, condensing into an infinitely dense singularity. However, soon the outward pressure will trump the inwards force of gravity, and the Universe will explode in one massive supernova and be created again. This cycle of Big Crunches and Big Bangs is thought to have continued on forever, and will do
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