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Everything posted by zlessard

  1. Launch Time: 10:53 AM EST, May 25th 2016 Team Members Present: Varg and ard Play-by-Play: The rocket launched without issue. It continually accelerated with the help of the first engine up to the point of 52,000 meters, when that tank ran out of fuel and was decoupled. This was higher than it was expected to be at this point, which gave us extra fuel to utilize for the rest of our flight. The rocket then was accelerated until it reached the point of 70,000 meters, when the throttle was cut off and the rocket was given an angle. This was done in order to get the rocket into orbit. This was done successfully by accelerating the rocket once it reached it's maximum height. Once it was in orbit, Jebediah was able to enjoy the scenery of space for a good amount of time. After being in orbit for a bit, the rocket began the final stage: return to Kerbin. This was done by utilizing the rest of the liquid fuel to move against the path of orbit and begin the return. The rocket started to burn upon reentry to the atmosphere, but did not overheat thanks to the radiator panels installed on the sides of the rocket. Once it fell to around 4,500 meters the parachute was deployed and the rocket slowly drifted down to the surface where it landed safely in the waters of Kerbin Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 5 hours, 30 minutes, and 16 seconds Summary: Our mission was a success. We were able to make it into space, orbit the planet, and land successfully Opportunities / Learnings: Our abilities have definitely reached and possibly exceeded making it to orbit. Personally, we believe that we have the talent and brain power to be the first team to make it to the Mun. Strategies / Project Timeline: Despite the success of this mission, we will definitely need to do more research before we tackle our next objective of reaching the moon Milestone Awards Presented: Achieving stable orbit - $40,000 (50%. we were second) Achieving stable manned orbit - $50,000 (50%. we were second) Total revenue of $45,000 gained from this mission Available Funds: $125,286 (some parts were recovered, reducing our rocket's cost)
  2. Team Name: Vargard conglomerates Available Funds: 108,697 Vehicle Name: Vargard Quatro Vehicle Parts List and Cost: mk1 command pod, mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler x3, radiator panel x4, Fl-T100 fuel tank, LV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine, FL-T400 fuel tank x5, LV-T45 "swivel" LFE, rockomax brand adapter, rockomax X200-32 fuel tank, RE-M5 "mainsail" LFE total cost: 28,922 Design Goals: Our vehicle is designed to reach orbit through a series of stages that are planned out in order to maximize height and minimize danger for Jebediah. The rocket is designed to be able to return to Kerbin following it's trip in orbit, and land safely thanks to a parachute. Launch Goal: Our goal for this flight is to reach orbit and return to the ground safely, and we honestly believe that we should reach this goal. Pilot Plan: The pilot is to set off the stages accordingly. Utilize all of the liquid fuel in the first stage and then decouple, which should take the rocket to over 30,000 meters at this point. After that, more fuel is present in the next stage that will allow the rocket to continue to accelerate out of the atmosphere. At about 65,000 meters, throttle should be lowered and the rocket should be angled in order to achieve horizontal velocity. Through doing this and other maneuvers, the rocket should enter orbit. Once in orbit, Jebediah should be able to enjoy the beauties of space for a short time before the final stage is set off, allowing the rocket to return to the ground. Once plummeting, the parachute should be deployed somewhere between 2500-5000 meters, whenever it is the safest to deploy. The rocket should then land on the ground or in the water safely. Images:
  3. Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $102,818 Vehicle Name: Vargard Tres Vehicle Parts List and Cost: mk16 parachute, mk1 command pod, Tr-18A stack decoupler, FL-T400 fuel tank x8, LGV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine, Aerodynamic nose cone x6, TT-38k radial decoupler x6, LV-T30 "reliant: liquid fuel engine x6 total cost: $18,242 Design Goals: Our rocket is designed to go off in 3 stages that allow it to reach the maximum height possible and drop weight when necessary Launch Goal: Our only goal is to reach 50 km and return to the ground safely. Pilot Plan: The pilot will be setting off the stages at the appropriate time in order to ensure the most successful flight. Illustrations: Launch Time: 14 minutes and 9 seconds. Team Members Present: Varg and ard. Play-by-Play: The rocket launched without issue. The first stage was dropped at around 26 km, then the second stage was unintentionally also dropped immediately after triggering the first due to one too many hits of the space bar. Regardless of this, the rocket remained intact until it was rotated to drop the extra weight. The cockpit continued up to the maximum height of 81 km. The vessel then fell to the earth, saved by the parachute and landed on the ground safely. Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 6 hours 24 minutes. Summary: In summary, the rocket reached 81 km, and returned to the ground, with Jebediah inside and safe. Opportunities / Learnings: We learned that we are even closer than we though to reaching orbit, and also to be careful when setting of stage changes, and to not have too much fuel. Strategies / Project Timeline: This launch definitely set us up to reach a goal of orbit. Milestone Awards Presented: 50 km, return to ground safely. 50% as we are the second team, so $15,000 Available Funds: 108,697
  4. Launch Time: 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Team Members Present: Varg and ard Play-by-Play: Rocket launched into the air without issue. Break number 1 occurred at about the 7300 meter point. At that point, the seconds engine worked until it ran out of fuel at a height of 13700 meters. Once we dropped this, there were no other forms of man made acceleration and the rocket decelerated until it reached it's maximum height of 28 km. The rocket began free falling until the parachute was deployed at about 4400 meters. The vessel then landed on the ground safely. Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 5 hours and 45 minutes Summary: In summary, the rocket launched successfully and reached a height of 28 km, and came back to the earth safely. All in all, this was a pretty successful mission. Opportunities / Learnings: Having multiple flight stages are beneficial to the flight of a rocket. Strategies / Project Timeline: It makes our goal of reaching 50 km seem more attainable. Milestone Awards Presented: Launched to 10 km - $10,000 Manned launch to 10 km - $20,000 3rd team to accomplish this, therefore we receive 25% of reward - $7,500 total Available Funds: $102,818
  5. Launch Time: 5 minutes 27 seconds Team Members Present: Varg and ard were both present for the launch. Play-by-Play: Rocket launched without issue, continued to accelerate up to about 4000 m, at that point the liquid fuel supply ran out and the rocket began to decelerate. Due to this, we dropped the fuel tank and engine from the rocket in order to decelerate the deceleration. Rocket continued to slow until it reached its maximum height of 6981 meters. It began to plummet. At about 4500 meters, we deployed the parachute in order to hopefully ensure a safe landing. A few minutes later, the rocket reached the ground of Kerbin safely. Photographs: No photographs, no milestones were reached. Time-of-Flight: We don't know. Sorry. Summary: In summary, we didn't reach any goals. Sorry. Opportunities / Learnings: What we most learned is that we should probably ensure that it is possible to reach whatever goal we set for ourselves before going off on a mission. Being that this mission was completed using an incredibly inexpensive rocket, it's not big deal and probably beneficial for future launches. Strategies / Project Timeline: Definitely will be more planning before future launches. Our next launch will definitely aim to break that 10 km mark, at the least. Milestone Awards Presented: Lol Available Funds: $97,328. Small modification was made prior to launch that ended up increasing the price of the rocket. That is accounted for here. Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $97,328 Vehicle Name: Vargard Dos.5 Vehicle Parts List and Cost: Mk1 command pod, Mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler x2, FL-T100 fuel tank, FL-T400 fuel tank, LV-T30 liquid fuel engine, Av-R8 winglets x3. Design Goals: Launch upward to a decent height, then later return to the ground safely. Launch Goal: Our main goal is to break 10 km on this flight, Pilot Plan: Our plan for the pilot is to survive. The rocket is set up in 3 stages. The next stage should be deployed at the point that the previous one runs out of fuel supply. Illustrations:
  6. First Pre-launch Report Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $100,000 Vehicle Name: Vargard Dos Vehicle Parts List and Cost: Mk1 command pod, Mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler, FL-T100 fuel tank, LV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine total cost: $1,962 Design Goals: Our rocket is designed to launch to a decent height and return to the ground safely Launch Goal: Our launch goal is to get to at least 10km, and return to the ground with our kerbal safe and sound. Pilot Plan: Our plan for the pilot is to survive. Illustrations:
  7. zlessard

    The Big 3-0

    I Googled "how much force is in a single keystroke" and I'm going to trust a source that says 12.9 N. This will help me in my overall (obviously hypothetical) analysis. Since this is my final blog post of the year I wanted to sort of wrap it up as well as possible and somehow tie in all of my other blogs. Using an online "character counter", I found out that there are a combined 50,015 characters across my 29 other blog posts, which have an array of topics ranging from pole vaulting to doomsday to Monte Alban. Not accounting for any backspacing, 50,015 is an accurate count of all of the characters I've put into these blogs. Utilizing the accepted force of a keystroke as being 12.9 N, that means I applied an accumulative 645,193.5 N to my keyboard for the purpose of these blogs. That's over 145,000 lbs of force, which seems like far too high of a number but I'm going to accept it regardless for the purpose of making this more interesting. I now wonder what type of things I could accomplish utilizing this much force that does not involve analyzing the physics behind a bladeless fan or a Mexican resturaunt. I could: Break 230 backboards (see blog no. 29) Throw a football very far Probably jump pretty high Write 28 blog posts and have enough left over force to perfectly emulate the biting force of an adult Great White Shark Push the ground really hard and pretend that the dent was caused by 32 1/4 Ford Explorers being stacked on top of each other. As you can see, if I could somehow have concentrated all of the force that I put into the creation of these blogs into a single motion, then I could have pulled off some of the most incredible feats in the history of mankind. But alas, the people are left with 30 thoughtful, well crafted and occasionally humorous blog posts that will some day be hanging in a digital art gallery. Oh what could have been...
  8. zlessard


    Last night, I watched a 30/30 (which is an ESPN documentary series that I would recommend to anybody) about the Orlando Magic, and one of the focal points of the documentary was Shaquille O'Neal, who was my favorite athlete in the world when I was a lad. If you've never heard of Shaq, he is a 7'1, 300+ lb basketball player. He was a force on the basketball court, for opponents and backboards alike. Throughout the documentary, dozens of clips were shown of Shaq shattering the glass on backboards or pulling down the hoop entirely, all of which occurred during games. This feat cannot be performed anymore because basketball hoops have been redesigned entirely in order to prevent this from happening. On the old hoops, the rim was only attached to the glass backboard, so if you could snap this off by applying enough downward force to it, you would shatter the backboard. This is something Shaq accomplished quite a few times. On the new hoops, the rim is actually attached to the beam holding the hoop up, so you would have to apply thousands of pounds of force to cause the rim to snap off and the backboard to shatter. On one dunk in particular, Shaq literally pulled the entire hoop down. The backboard did not shatter, but he pulled the entire hoop down. Shaq applied (estimated) over 1000 lbs of force (4450 N) in order to accomplish this feat. He admits that he did this on purpose in the documentary. This feat is one that will never be replicated by a mortal, but it is fun to look back and see what such a massive individual was able to accomplish during a much simpler time.
  9. zlessard

    Rob de Federer

    Not too long ago, I went to play some tennis against a friend of mine. Long story short, I won 6-2 despite the fact that he's a starter on the tennis team. What truly led me to my commanding victory was my dominant forehand and my supernatural ability to get on top of the ball. I even surprised myself with my ability to get topspin on the ball and still get it to go over the net. This inspired me to look deeper at the physics of the forehand. The spin on the ball is applied by sort of "brushing" the ball rather than hitting it dead on. The racket also must be tilted at an angle in order for the ball to go over the net and have as good of topspin as possible. The rackets themselves are actually of a material that is good for making spin, as they have a low coefficient of friction, allowing them to slip against themselves and generate even greater spin on the ball. Lastly, the force applied to the ball from the acceleration of the racket by my hand are what gives the ball such mind boggling speed along with the spin. All of these factors put together are what lead to my deathly forehand return.
  10. Yesterday I was talking with my friends and we started talking about pitching, as I used to be a pitcher myself prior to this year. We ended up discussing how the way softball pitchers throw does much less damage to your arm than the way a baseball pitcher throws. Because of this, softball pitchers are able to throw every game, while baseball pitchers throw once every 5 days or so, and I definitely understand how much a shoulder can hurt in the days following a pitching outing. It really made me wonder why throwing the ball overhand is so much worse for the body than underhand, so I wanted to look at the physics behind it. What I found actually shows that softball pitchers are at similar risk to shoulder injuries as baseball pitchers, but that is a product of overuse. The pitching motion is definitely safer and more natural for a human body to perform than that of a baseball pitcher. Softball pitchers are required to throw underhanded in fast-pitch games, so it is important that they do the windmill type motion with their arms in order to apply as much force to the ball as possible before releasing it. The whole time the ball is going around the "windmill", it is gaining acceleration, thus causing a faster pitch to come out of the pitchers hand. Pitchers also tend to rock slightly and lunge forward during their throwing motion, thus applying greater momentum towards the pitch. Applying all of these forward motions gives the greatest force to the ball in the "positive x-direction" and allows the ball to reach a peak velocity upon release. So much of physics analysis on baseball pitches involves what happens to the ball as it flies through the air. It's a true spectacle to see curveballs and sliders that baffle hitters to no end. But what I'm more interested in here is the motion of the pitcher. As a baseball pitcher throws, they generally have a sort of rock in their motion, similar to a softball pitcher but usually slower. After taking a short step back, pitchers lift their legs up high and then stride towards home. This high leg kick provides a potential energy to the throw, which gets converted to kinetic energy during the stride. During the stride, pitchers begin to bring all of their momentum forward as they come closer to releasing the ball. During the stride, many pitchers use the rubber mound to push off of with their back foot, similar to how a swimmer kicks off the wall in order to shoot forward with greater speed. This push off allows the pitcher to have even greater momentum moving forward as they throw the ball. Then, once they complete the stride, pitchers release the ball towards home plate. Young pitchers are told not to go through a motion with the same force as if you were throwing if you aren't releasing the ball, as this means that their is no force acting back on you as you release, thus causing greater stress on the shoulder. If you even replace the ball with a towel, you get that force acting back on you that allows your shoulder to proceed being healthy. This "equal and opposite" force is what Newton described in his 3rd law. So, upon analysis, although they look completely different, baseball and softball motions have certain similarities. They both apply as much momentum forward as possible, and release either directly above or below the shoulder. Stress on the shoulder in unavoidable in both situations, however softball pitchers are able to be used in much greater amounts. The thing I miss least about baseball, although I loved pitching, is the pain in your shoulder the days after pitching.
  11. zlessard


    Sticking with the theme of natural disasters following my post on tsunamis, I decided to look deeper into the physics of one of the most frightening disasters: a hurricane. Starting off simply, a severe hurricane can have a power of 1x10^15 watts. To put that in perspective, that is about 3000 times the total electrical power generated in the entire world. Looking more at what happens physically, a hurricane starts when air rushes in to fill a low pressure system somewhere out over the ocean. As the air rushes in, the moisture in it condenses, which causes a release of energy which in turn warms the air. This warm air then rises and pulls more air in around it. All of this air rushing towards the center of the storm is sort of like a centripetal force, but this apparent force only occurs because of the motion of the earth. All of this moving air eventually picks up a counterclockwise rotation due to this apparent centripetal force. So all of this air rushing towards the center and in a counterclockwise manner is what gives the hurricane it's defining characteristic: the high wind. Hurricanes thrive over bodies of water, but die off once they reach land due to the lack of moisture. These massive storms are still able to destroy a lot on land before dying off. Hopefully, understanding these natural disasters will help me to remain as safe from them as possible.
  12. zlessard

    Pole Vaulting

    As a fan of the Olympics, I often find myself watching the track and field events whenever the summer Olympics comes around. One event that particularly fascinates me is the pole vault. It seems like such a tremendous skill to pull off and I honestly wonder how people do it. If you haven't seen it, basically a competitor runs at full speed with a large pole in their hands, and once they reach a certain point they stab the pole in the ground and attempt to physics themselves over a bar set high up in the air. In short, the kinetic energy (1/2mv^2) of the individual in sprint is converted to gravitational potential energy (mgh), thus making them go as high as possible into the air. While in the air, a competitor contorts themselves in order to get over the bar without contacting it, which I believe would be a fault. In doing this, they change around their center of mass to points both above and below the bar, at times, in order to get their entire body over the bar. Once over the bar, the pole vaulter lands on a large mattress type thing, that applies an impulse to the vaulter upon landing that is too small to provide any bodily injury to the individual. So thankfully, competitors are able to pull off this feat of physics over and over again for our entertainment.
  13. zlessard


    Whether throwing the Frisbee around at the beach or playing a riveting game of Kan Jam, I assume most people have used a Frisbee over the course of their lives. Thinking about it more deeply, I wondered to myself how these discs are able to fly so far, and more significantly to me, how are people able to throw them in straight lines? While flying through the air, Frisbees are impacted by both drag and lift forces, similar to how a wing or propeller would be influenced. The most important factor in a Frisbee's flight is the spin of the disc. Without this, the Frisbee would simply flutter to the ground and make for an incredibly unexciting toy. The spin makes it so a Frisbee can be stable and travel long distances, similar to the analysis of a hockey puck that I did a while back. In that example, the spin made for the puck to be more stable and, in turn, more accurate in its flight. The Frisbee acts in a similar way. Generally, the lift on the front part of a Frisbee is greater than the lift on the back, which causes the Frisbee to reach greater heights, and causes a torque on the disc. The torque on the Frisbee is what causes it to drift to the left or right in flight, the main reason why most Frisbee flights aren't perfectly straight. If it is straight, the Frisbee was likely impacted with a great initial angular momentum, and the lift on the disc is insignificant. A phenomenon that you have probably noticed in your use of Frisbees is that when someone throws the Frisbee higher in the air, thus giving it more "lift", then the Frisbee is likely to have a large tail or hook within its flight. If a Frisbee is released at a higher angle, it will go much higher in the air but travel a much shorter distance, maybe even ending up behind the thrower, due to the drag force acting on the disc. This is what causes some Frisbee throws to be sort of like a boomerang. If you want the disc to travel further distances, then you'll want to apply a greater initial velocity to the Frisbee rather than a greater launch angle.
  14. zlessard

    Jordan Spieth

    For anyone that has followed golf recently, you have likely heard about Jordan Spieth's collapse this weekend at The Master's. Spieth went from having a 5 stroke lead to being 3 strokes behind, all within the course of an hour. The biggest blow came on the par-3 12th hole, in which Spieth shot a 7 and hit the water hazard twice. In watching this, you would notice that on the first stroke that went into the water, Spieth contacted the ball too far below the center of mass, causing it to go further in the air and shorter distance wise, leading to it contacting a slope. After hitting this slope, the ball took a couple bounces and ended up in the water. Then, Spieth was forced to hit his next shot from the drop zone for this hole, which was closer to the hole and the water hazard. On this attempt, Spieth did something that many casual golfers find themselves doing: he hit more grass than he did ball. This can be a beneficial thing if done in a sand trap, but on a lengthy approach shot, this killed him. The ball still went further than your average middle aged man could hit it, however the lost force on the ball from this initial contact with the grass made the ball not travel anywhere near as far as Spieth intended. This is a blunder you don't typically see from someone as talented as Spieth. He was able to salvage a 7 after hitting his next shot in a sand trap, a feat I likely would never be able to accomplish. If Spieth realized the physics implications on his ball prior to taking such a massive divot on his second shot that went into the water, maybe today we would be hearing about the 22 year old's second Master's victory.
  15. zlessard


    Everyone has heard about a tsunami, whether that be the one that hit Japan not too long ago or some other instance. Regardless of how you've heard of these water monsters, I was interested to find out more about the physics behind these. Tsunamis are basically a massive scale version of the waves that we've studied throughout our physics experiences. Rather than wavelengths in centimeters and periods measured in seconds, the waves of tsunamis are measured in kilometers and their periods are measured in hours. Their wavelengths have been measured to be as large as 500 km. Interestingly enough, the speed that these waves travel at is dependent only upon the water depth and the force of gravity. In the ocean, water depth can be 5000m, and utilizing the equation that the speed of the wave = sq rt(g·H), that means that waves would travel 221 MPH at a depth of 5000m. Tsunamis caused by earthquakes, however, have wavelengths and periods that are determined by the size of the underwater disturbances caused by the earthquake. As tsunamis approach land, the water depth decreases, thus causing the speed that the waves are traveling at to decrease. The tsunamis energy flux, which depends on speed and height of the waves, remains almost constant. As the speed decreases and the energy remains constant, this causes the heights of the tsunami waves to become much greater as they approach land. Because of this effect, known as "shoaling", tsunamis can go completely unseen at water but grow rather tall as they approach land. This is why tsunamis are often characterized by their massive waves.
  16. While searching through the internet, I came across and article from the NY Post that claims that "a killer planet is heading rapidly toward Earth". This information sounded like something that should be on every screen in the country right now, but I hadn't heard another word about it. I decided to look more into it. It turns out that this information was originally published by a retired astrophysicist, stating that this ninth planet in our solar system periodically unleashes comet showers on our planet, roughly every 27 million years. This is pretty frightening information, if true, however it looks as though this is just another click bait article. The astrophysicist himself even said that it is "quite impossible" for any imminent damage to be done on our planet by this planet. Also, looking deeper into the research, one would find that it is a still incomplete project that has been going on for more than 30 years. What I take away from this is that if you want the best opportunity to cause panic among people with a tabloid headline, become an astrophysicist.
  17. zlessard


    As many of my peers are likely snapping their fingers trying to find inspiration for blog posts, I'd like to describe what really causes the sound of these snaps. The sound of a finger snapping really comes from 3 different parts of the snap. First, there is the friction sound between the middle finger and the thumb that occurs at the beginning of the snap. This part is quiet, but noticeable if you put some sort of buffer on your palm that prevents any sound from coming from there. After that comes the sound of the collision of the middle finger and the palm, and this creates sort of a slapping sound. The final and most important aspect of the sound comes from the rapid compression and then decompression of air that comes as a result of the middle finger impacting the palm. This creates the sort of popping sound that snaps are most well known for. Snap on my physics associates, I believe in you.
  18. zlessard

    Coin fall

    If you've ever been at the top of a large building with a group of people, there's usually that one person that says "what if I spit from here?" or "what if I dropped a coin right now?". Well, people usually warn against these acts for fear of hurting a pedestrian down below. The question is, how badly could dropping a coin hurt somebody if this were to happen? In reality, the coin could not hurt somebody very badly. Coins are very light weight, as a penny weighs around 1 gram, and tumble end over end as they fall. Because of this, they don't pick up much speed against air resistance before reaching terminal velocity. The terminal velocity of a penny is only about 40-50 MPH. This means the coin would be traveling at a relatively slow speed as it approaches the ground. If it were to make direct contact with a pedestrians head, it would obviously hurt a bit, but would not cause significant injury, and definitely would not lead to death. All in all, dropping a penny from this height will hurt about as badly as it would if you threw it at someone's head from a short distance away. So the next time some wise guy tries to tell you you'll kill someone if you drop a penny from such a height, whip out some physics knowledge to counter their point.
  19. zlessard


    Like many others, I am watching the AFC Championship featuring the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Something that has caught my eye during this game has been the punting, as Denver's punter is doing quite well and consistently giving the Patriots poor field position. On one punt in particular, the ball bounced and looked like it wasn't going anywhere, but proceeded to have, as they call it in the industry, a "Denver bounce", meaning it was beneficial for Denver. This ball ended up bouncing towards the end zone and pinned the Patriots inside the 5 yard line. I've seen many other punts that have bounced in the other direction, so I wonder how random this occurrence really is and whether or not a punter can control this. Through my research, I've determined that this is basically random. The roll of the ball depends on where on the ball contacts the ground first. If it bounces off the center, more flat part of the football, the ball is more likely to bounce straight up in the air. If it bounces more towards the pointier ends of the football, the angle of the ball at the contact with the ground will make it bounce further horizontally. The ball basically points towards where it is going to bounce in this situation, thus determining which team gets the benefit of the bounce. So punters really can't choose which way the ball is going to bounce. In reality, they're expecting the punt to be caught, so their only real objective in kicking the ball is to have it travel far and have a lot of hang time. Hang time is really dependent on the initial velocity and the launch angle of the ball, as well as the air resistance acting on the ball through it's flight. The ball will have the least effect felt from air resistance if it is not spinning end over end. Punting really is a unique skill, and if any punter could master the art of achieving beneficial bounces on the ends of their kicks, then they would likely be wealthy men.
  20. zlessard

    Exercise ball

    In my room I have a blue exercise ball that I like to sit on or put my feet up on or basically do anything but exercise with. While looking at this ball, I remembered a video I had seen a little while ago of a child getting hit very hard with an exercise ball. The video is below if you haven't seen it. Basically, this is one of the dumber things I've seen, but the kids obviously weren't well versed in the concept of momentum. The smaller child was gonna absorb most of the force from the collision as the larger boy was traveling much faster and I assume has greater mass. As a result of this, the child would travel in a relatively high velocity in the direction that the exercise ball boy was running. They had the right idea that the child would act like an angled projectile after the collision as they had safety bean bags set up to break his fall, however they overestimated how quickly the boy would be accelerated downwards, and I don't think they realized how close the wall was. As a result of this, we have this video.
  21. zlessard

    Full Court Shot

    Yesterday during my CYO game, I attempted, unsuccessfully, a full court heave to end a quarter. The ball bounced off the backboard still traveling at a high speed, so I decided to look into what type of throw I would have to pull off to make this shot. First of all, lets assume I took the shot 75 feet away from my target and released the ball about 6 feet above the ground. In order to make the ball travel the required distance, I had the right idea that it needed to have a higher exit velocity than usual, but in the physical analysis I totally went through in my head before shooting, I overestimated the exit velocity that I needed to put on the ball, leading to the ball bouncing off the backboard still traveling at a high speed. Had I gotten this aspect of the shot correct, the next important part of this shot was the launch angle. Ideally, basketball players like to release the ball at about a 45 degree launch angle, however on a full court shot, I simply don't possess the arm strength to pull this off. If I were able to do so, then the area the ball would have to go through the hoop would be greater. Unfortunately, I must make do with what I have. With the ball being released at a lower angle, the best way to make this shot would be to bank it in off the backboard. The force of this collision off the board would slow the ball down a little bit and allow it to go into the hoop from a steeper angle, again increasing the likeliness of the shot going in. Obviously I didn't pull this shot off, but I am confident in my chances of making it next time.
  22. zlessard

    Incredible throw

    Being the big Mets fan that I am, I figured I'd do a blog in honor of the recent signing of the man that pulled off this throw, Yoenis Cespedes. This throw is so ridiculous it's almost hard to believe that it's real. It is real, so lets look deeper into this. Judging by the distance of the fence down to that corner, I can estimate that Cespedes threw this ball about 320 feet (97.5 m), and I'll make the assumption that the ball came out of his hand at about 95 MPH (42.5 m/s). This means that, counting air resistance, the ball left his hand and reached the catchers glove in a little more than 3 seconds. The runner going towards home was about 70 feet from the plate when Cespedes released this ball, and the ball reached the catcher just an instant before the runner got there. This means that had the runner been going at all faster than 7.1 m/s (15.9 MPH), then the throw wouldn't have been on time. The launch angle of this throw was roughly 13 degrees. A 1 degree change in the vertical trajectory of this throw would have either made the ball sail above the catcher or bounce in front of him, making it much more difficult to tag the runner. Also, had the horizontal angle at the release been changed by a single degree, the ball would have traveled further to the left or right of the catcher, likely making it impossible to tag the runner. Making a throw that far, at that high of a speed, and that precise of accuracy makes this a pretty incredible throw by Cespedes, and there is a very small amount of people on the planet that could pull this off.
  23. One of many peoples favorite athletes is NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and for good reason. Personally, I like him for his shooting ability, so I decided to look more into this facet of his game. Curry is one of the best shooters in NBA history, and he does so with a very technically sound shooting form. For starters, his right forearm (his shooting arm) is always nearly vertical, never deviating more then 5 degrees away from vertical. Something I find interesting is that he releases the ball as he is rising, making for a much quicker release. He consistently releases the ball .05 seconds before the peak of his jump. Standing 6'3, the launch angle on his shot is around 50 degrees, sometimes higher, allowing him to avoid getting blocked by taller defenders and still having an arc that goes in at a very effective rate. The higher launch angle can also be an advantage because it turns the 18" diameter hoop into a larger target for the ball to go through, because the ball approaches at a steeper angle. This allows for more area for the ball to go through. The most remarkable part of Curry's shot is how quick his release is, as he releases the ball in about .4 seconds every time, allowing him to get shots off even when defenders are close. All it takes is mastering the basic physics to Curry's jump shot and you'll be able to make a ridiculous amount of three pointers like the man himself.
  24. zlessard

    Monte Alban

    Having already written a piece about this glorious establishment for another class, I figured I might as well do one here. One of the things that has always excited me during my dining experiences at Monte Alban has been when some man brings out all of the plates on his arm using some strange oven mitt/sleeve hybrid. If you've never seen this, just picture plates full of food running up a guys arm. It's always a spectacle when this occurs because everyone wonders, "Who is this man and how is he pulling off such a feat?". Well this feat can be explained to any mere mortal using simple physics. The coefficient of static friction between this glove thing and the bottom of those plates is high enough to keep the plates securely on his arm and off the floor. Thanks to friction my tacos are always delivered safely.
  25. zlessard

    Bladeless fan

    A product that has definitely grabbed my attention lately has been the Dyson bladeless fan. I'm not only interested due to the fact that they are $300 fans, they are just really cool. The fan is made up of a hollow tube on top, with a base below that. The air that comes out of the fan is actually pulled through this base, and runs up into the tube of the fan. This tube acts like a ramp, and the air runs along this ramp and eventually is pulled to the front of the fan where the air is pushed out like any standard fan. One would expect these fans to be very noisy, which they were at first, but the second generation of these fans were made to be much more quiet. They added Helmhortz cavities in the newer designs, which allowed them to be more able to control the noise coming from these fans. These cavities are used in the engines of some cars in order to quiet the exhaust of the car. They effectively muted certain sounds that would come from the fan. Overall, these fans are something I'd be very interested in owning, if only they weren't $300 for a small desk fan.
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