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Blog Entries posted by AlphaGeek

  1. AlphaGeek
    It snowed a little again today, which put me in the mood for some winter-related physics. :snowman: Some of you may be familiar with the movie "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation," a very silly yet amusing film about the holiday antics of the Griswold family. During one scene, Clark Griswold takes his brother and the children to go sledding. He decided to spray the bottom of his sled with a kitchen lubricant, significantly decreasing the friction between his sled and the snow.

    For those of you that have never seen this clip before, skip to 1:20 for the sled action (before that is all the brother talking, he's kind of loopy).

    So how much does greasing up an object truly effect friction?

    Between two metals (lets use two hunks of aluminum for example), the coefficient of friction is roughly 1.05 to 1.35. When greased however, mu drops down to .3, which is anywhere from a third to a fourth of the original coefficient. The same goes for the coefficient of friction between snow and Clark's steel sled. The coefficient of friction between snow and steel is roughly .1. The Griswolds were sledding at night, so if the snow turned to ice the coefficient would be remarkably lower: 0.015. Add some canola or olive oil spray to the mix, and friction would be extremely small.

    In other words, next time you break out the toboggan for some serious sled races, make sure to pack the pam!

    P.S. I didn't pull those numbers out of a hat, my main source is http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/friction-coefficients-d_778.html. Thanks, google!
  2. AlphaGeek
    Family Guy isn't exactly school appropriate in most cases, but it is, however, physics appropriate. In one episode, Brian (the dog) educates Peter (the tubby man) on his weight issue. Brian claims that Peter has his own gravitational pull, and continues to demonstrate this by placing an apple nearby his stomach. The fruit then assumes orbit directed around Peter's abdomen.

    ...For those of you who are not familliar with the episode, here is a not-so-legally posted, poor quality youtube video featuring our obese friend. :apple:


    Lets take a closer look at the physics of this cartoon.

    Assuming that a feasible weight for roughly 44 year old Peter is 100 kg (220 pounds) and the average apple weights .15 kg, as well as the radius of the orbit being roughly 1 meter from Peter's center, here are the technicalities of the situation.

    The force of gravity on the apple = (GmM)/r2 = ((6.67E-11)(100*.15)/12 = 1E-9 N

    The acceleration due to gravity on planet Peter is = ((6.67E-11)(100))/12 = 6.67E-9 m/s2

    And finally, for the apple to escape its orbit around Peter, it would have to be going a grand total of [(2GM)/r]1/2
    , or 1.15E-4 m/s.

    Note how these values are extremely small. For one thing, this situation is impossible in the first place. To emphasize this, the gravitational force is so small that it likely could not even pick up the apple. Even if it were magically strong enough to do so, the speed of the apple was far greater in the video than its small escape velocity, and would fling out of orbit before Brian even turned on the Three Stooges. Sorry, Seth McFarlane. Physics disagrees with you. Guess Family Guy isn't such intelligent programming after all...

    --Alpha Geek
  3. AlphaGeek
    For those of you who don't know, there is a video section of the Aplus site that features videos of physics-y origin. You can get there by clicking the word "videos" on the top blue bar of the site.


    When I first saw this video, it was floating among intense brain-teasing physics vids and real life examples of the science. I thought it deserved some defense for its place on the site, so let me explain what this despicable me mini clip has to do with physics.

    The most notable physics-feature of the video is that the geeky character's name is Vector, as he explains both verbally and through body language. A vector quantity is a magnitude with direction. For example, velocity is a vector quantity. A velocity of 3 m/s to the right has both units (meters per second) and direction (to the right). 3 m/s alone, a speed, is not a vector quantity because even though it has units, it does not have a direction. We call this a scalar quantity.

    I hope that explains Vectors joke, "I'm committing crimes with both direction and magnitude!" If he were the evil Dr. Scalar, it would only have magnitude. Haha! Ha. Ha... Ha.

    ...And I didn't notice this before, but when Vector first comes into the scene he crosses his arms while doing the "vulcan salute," which is actually the nerdfighter salute (You know! Vlogbrothers on youtube). I thought that was really cool. I wonder if it wasn't even supposed to be there in the first place, but some nerdy producer put it in

    Not familiar with vlogbrothers? Do acquaint yourself via nerd humor:

    ...Just for the record, my favorite part of the movie is as follows:

  4. AlphaGeek
    Soooo, because this is my last blog post for this year ( ), I thought it would be fitting to do a course reflection on the AP-C physics class this year. I thought I'd do it in a "bests-vs-worsts" top 5 format, kind of like you could find on collegeprowler.com when viewing different schools.

    Top 5 Bests:

    5.) Blog Posting [i thought this was really fun! I've never done anything like this before for a class. It brought up interesting physics applications and I thought it was fun to converse with classmates on the site ]
    4.) Independent Units [As uncomfortable as I was at first, independent units forced me to manage my time, work harder than usual to learn the topic, and was great preparation for college. I feel like everyone sould experience this kind of a unit before graduating]
    3.) Assigned practice problems from the readings [Assigned problems were REALLY helpful. I would've struggled a lot more than I did had I skipped doing the sample problems]
    2.) Units with Lecture & book follow-up [This is my favorite way to learn things! The read-then-lecture method]
    1.) VIDEOS <3 [Hands down the most helpful resource in Physics]

    Top 5 Worsts:
    ...I think this is my biggest beef. I really don't have 5 things to complain about.
    1.) Readings weren't assigned [When life gets busy in the middle of the year, especially with a number of APs, sports, etc., readings are the first thing to get cut out for me if they're not assigned. Confession: when the going got tough, I would often skim or not read. I reccomend assigning readings in the future. Kids will complain, but they'll thank you when they see better grades and their AP score.]

    Overall, this was a successful year. A note to future students: This is by far the hardest AP course I've taken throughout high school. If you want to succeed, you must:

    A.) Read the textbook and do some practice problems
    B.) WATCH THE VIDEOS. Whether you're confused or simply want review, these are soooo outrageously helpful. It's like being in class a second time, except in 15 minutes or less instead of 42. Plus, you can skip over any sections that you feel you know solid.
    C.) REVIEW THE EQUATIONS AND FREE RESPONSE BEFORE THE AP. I went through most of the E&M free response questions as well as both E&M and mechanics equations before the exam. KNOW THE EQUATIONS! I swear equations and key concepts are the majority of the test when it comes to the multiple choice Qs.

    Any favorite parts of the year? Things you wanted to change? Post below with your opinion!

    ...I can't believe we only have 1 more day of physics
  5. AlphaGeek
    Many of you are familiar with the children’s movie happy feet, about a whimsical penguin chick that just can’t stop dancing. Why don’t these birds fly instead of dance, you ask? Let’s use physics to figure out why Mumble is aerially challenged:
    There are four main forces involved in avian air travel: lift, weight, drag, and thrust.
    As shown by the diagram of a blue jay in flight (credit to http://www.lcse.umn.edu), lift opposes weight and thrust opposes drag. A bird is able to fly when lift is greater that weight and thrust is greater than drag. Read below for more on these forces:
    1. Weight: Mass x acceleration due to gravity
    2. Lift: This force can be explained using Bernoulli’s principle—as a fluid’s velocity increases, the pressure decreases and vise versa. Bird wings are in an airfoil shape with a bump on the top and a smooth bottom (like an air plane wing). The air is forced to move faster over the top of the wing than on the bottom because it has a longer distance to travel over the bump. Like faster moving fluids, faster moving air causes the pressure on top of the wing to be lower than on the bottom of the wing, allowing the bird to lift upward.
    3. Drag: This force is caused by air resistance. The more aerodynamic the flier, the less drag that will act upon the flier.
    4. Thrust: This is the force created to push the bird forward. Birds create thrust by the backward push of their wing, like humans do when we push backward with our arms to swim in a pool. Plane propellers and jet engines create thrust for a plane.

    In short, the reason why Mumble cannot fly is because penguins store fat to keep themselves warm, increasing their weight. Their wings also are not the correct shape or size to produce enough lift to get into the air. Weight > Lift, therefore Mumble dances.

    Next time, lay off the fish.

  6. AlphaGeek
    Having trouble on the 4 minute drill? Need to consolidate your thoughts for the Mechanics part of the AP-C exam? Have no fear! I've sifted through my notes to find a good portion of the mechanics equations. If you find anything missing/incorrect, PLEASE give feedback in the comments section! I'll edit the changes in ASAP. Thank you


    Vectors etc.

    A B = lAl lBl cos Ө
    A x B = - (B x A)
    lA x Bl = lAl lBl sin Ө


    V= Vo+ at
    Δx = Vo t + (1/2) a t2
    V2 = Vo2 +2aΔx

    Δx = ∫ v(t) dt
    Δv= ∫ a(t) dt
    Vavg = Δx/Δt = (Xf - Xo)/(tf - to)
    V= dx/dt
    a= dv/dt


    Fc = mv2/ r
    ac = v2/r = w2/r

    Fg= GMm/r2
    Ug= -GMm/r

    Rotational Motion

    S= Өr
    v= wr
    a= αr

    w= ΔӨ/Δt
    ac= w2r
    Vlinear = 2πr/t

    parallel axis theorem: I = Io +md2

    KEroll= (1/2)Icmw2 + (1/2)mv2

    Angular momentum (L) = r x p = mvrsinӨ = mwr2sinӨ
    dL/dt = Torque
    L= w I
    K= (1/2) I w2

    Moment of Inertia

    I = Σmi(ri)2 = ∫r2dm
    Isolid disk = (1/2) mR2 (also works for a cylinder about its axis)
    Ihoop = mR2
    Isolid sphere = (2/5)mR2
    Ihollow sphere = (2/3)mR2
    Irod about center = (1/12)mR2
    Irod about end = (1/3)ml2

    Torque (T)

    x >> Ө
    v >> w
    a >> α
    m >> I
    F >> T

    ΣF = ma >> ΣT = Iα
    T = rxF = rFsinӨ
    T = (Radius)(tension)

    Center of Mass

    rcm = Σmr/Σm = ∫r dm / Σm
    Xcm = (m1x1 + m2x2)/ (m1+m2)

    Drag force

    Fd = bv = cv2
    VT = mg/b
    V = VT(1 - e(-b/m)t)= (mg/b)(1 - e(-b/m)t)

    Ff= μ Fn

    ...As to not get long and confusing, I'll make another blog post with all of the Electricity & Magnetism equations that I have in it. Check that post out, too!

    --Alpha Geek
  7. AlphaGeek
    In an episode of Tom and Jerry from 1948, Tom once again has his face smashed in from a falling object. This time, the offender was a half-ounce canary wielding circular cage parts. The bird unfastened the cage bottom and let it drop onto the unsuspecting feline below, making Tom's face into a pancake. How much force does this pan actually make? Could it really damage a cat's face?


    First, we must find the velocity of the pan when it hits Tom's face. We know that the pan falls from rest, its acceleration is 9.81 m/s2, and the time it takes to fall from the cage to Tom is roughly 3 seconds (1:09 -1:12 in the youtube video). Using the equation Vf = Vi + at, we find that the velocity of the pan just before it comes into contact with Tom's face is 29.43 m/s.

    Let's estimate that the pan weighs roughly .1 kg (100 g). Also, let's estimate that the time it takes the plate to go from its initial velocity just before coming into contact with Tom's face and the time when it's final velocity reaches 0 m/s is roughly 1 tenth of a second (.1 s). We know that momentum is conserved in this situation and that (Force)(change in Time) = (mass)(change in velocity). Using this, we know that the change in velocity is -29.43 m/s, so the force of the pan on Tom is roughly 30 newtons. This is equal to roughly 6.7 lb of force.

    It takes anywhere from 7 to 9 lb of force to break a human nose, so even though it's not likely that the bird cage would've smashed the kitty's face in, he might very well lose his sense of smell.

    Here's a blast from the past composed of 40 % physics and 60% pain. Disclaimer: I do not promote domestic animal abuse, nor do I reccomend testing 7 lbs of force on your friend's nose.

  8. AlphaGeek
    Just thought we could benefit from some review on moment of inertia, because it was a pretty extensive topic and wasn't really mentioned in physics B. Not to mention that the variable is a different expression for each object.

    The general form of the equation is I = ∑i miri² = ∫r² dm .

    Below are the moment of inertia equations for a few different objects. If you have another object in mind to share, please do add it in the comments!

    Isolid disc = 1/2 mr2
    Icylinder about its axis = 1/2 mr2
    Ihollow disk/hoop = mr2
    Isolid sphere= 2/5 mr2
    Ihollow sphere= 2/3 mr2
    Irod about it's center= 1/12 ml2
    Irod about it's end= 1/3 ml2

    Though these shortcuts are great, make sure to know how do derive the moment of inertia of an object. For review, here's how to calculate the moment of inertia of a rod from it's end (Also in the textbook p 273 as well as in the notes packets).

    The linear mass density (λ) = M/L, where M is the mass of the uniform rod with length L.

    dm = M/L dx, or the mass density times the little wee bit of rod.

    Using the general equation, we know I = ∫oLx2 dm, where x is the length of the rod from x=0 to x=L.
    By substituting for dm, we then know I = ∫oLx2 (M/L) dx.
    The constant comes out, leaving I = (M/L) ∫oLx2 dx.
    And using calculus, we get I = (M/L) (1/3)x3 evaluated from L to 0, which leaves us with
    I = (1/3) (M/L) (L3)
    I= (1/3) ML​2

    Note: If you need further assistance on this topic, the unit packet for Rotation (with the frog on a unicycle in it) and the packet titled "Chapter 6: Rotation" are useful. However, for visuals and more elaborate derivations, I recommend reading Tipler p. 272 and the pages following and/or watching this video again:


    ...Which I always find extremely helpful. I'll probably post another unit summary again, since our midterm is looming in the near future. Best of luck, all!
  9. AlphaGeek
    How to become an autodidact (defn: self-directed learner) :einstein)

    Monday, we were given a few packets of work, some written directions and a "finish this before the test next week." Weird. A class with no teacher? A few groups popped up to grab a computer, others buried their noses in the textbook, and some started chatting leisurely with friends. It's not that we don't have a teacher, it's just that for the next few days, we're our own teachers.

    For a few of us (including myself), this whole learning-on-our-own thing is a little bit intimidating. I've scoured the inner depths of google to put together an E2K countdown of ways to survive without teacher supervision. Try reading them over to pick up a helpful hint or two:

    3.) Having trouble? All you need is a little help from your friends. Try forming small groups for support, review, and advice. Not only will confusion be dismissed, but it turns out that people retain information longer after they've taught a peer. It's a win-win situation. However, make sure to refrain from copying or relying on others to teach you. The point of self-directed learning is to learn independently, not to leech off of others.

    2.) Use your resources. Between the textbook, aplusphysics.com, and the unit summary packets from class, you're bound to find an answer to your problem. READ THE TEXTBOOK. Key chapters are listed on the board, but if the answer still isn't there try skimming the glossary for key terms. Google and other internet searches are okay, but sites like Wikipedia often over complicate or give false information. Try the aplusphysics site. The video sections, tutorials, and course notes are great tools to reinforce concepts if the textbook was unclear, or even for review before the test. Don't forget about asking others (and making friends-- you can friend people on aplus, you know ).

    1.) The number one suggestion for learning on one's own is manage your time. Procrastination is our number one enemy when it comes to self-guided learning. In order to avoid doing the web assign, worksheet, problem packet and 8 blog posts the night before they're due, take a few steps of precaution. Try making your own due dates. These are most functional if they're BEFORE the one Mr. Fullerton assigned. Making a calendar is a little over the top, but writing down goal dates to finish certain sections of the work is helpful. At least have mental due dates-- no one should be staying up 'til 1 the night before the test.

    A few of you may ask, "Why is God's name did Mr. Fullerton do this to us? Does he hate us? Was it something we said?" This way of learning will benefit us greatly. For one thing, it's preparing us for college next year. Not all classes will have 20-30 kids. A large intro/lecture class could contain anywhere from 50 to 500 students. In otherwords, the teacher can't tend to hundreds of kids at once, making an independent learning style an essential survival tool. Even if the classes are small, there's no guarantee that the teacher is good at,well, teaching. In the event your teacher is a story teller, a newbie, or just plain unhelpful, knowing how to consult a textbook or another resource means the difference between passing and failing.

    In other words, take a deep breath, plan briefly, and get to work. Have confidence in yourself as a student and don't be afraid to take autodidacticism for a test spin!
  10. AlphaGeek
    {I added a second cookie Q to buy you guys more time. Hopefully Charlie won't answer both before someone else in the class answers one..}

    You are a Kerbal physicist for Kow Jumperd Over the Mun, a company that excels in anything spacey or astronaut-y. After ending an argument between two colleagues, you decide to take a lunch break. The cafeteria guy, Louie Eeloo, has a thing for riddles, which started out amusing and grew annoying as the years passed. You were hoping that the line would be long and Louie would be busy, seeing as how its Flungus day in the small cafe (who doesn't love a heaping plate of Flungus?). No such luck. The cafe is a ghost town. You turn to avoid Louie and order out, but he's already spotted his next victim.
    Louie offers Ooglie Cookies to all riddle solvers. Because you have nothing better to do until the next launch, you decide to humor him.

    Louie says, "I have four friends, we run 'round Jool happy as can be. A 50 kg Kerbal on Kerbin weighs 3 kg on me. What am I?"

    Your stumach grumbles. You could really go for an Ooglie right now. What's the answer to Mr. Eeloo's riddle?

    It's actually not the day of the dead. I just like this photo. Have a feliz day anyway

  11. AlphaGeek
    You are a Kerbal physicist for Kow Jumped Over the Mun, a company that excels in anything spacey or astronaut-y. Your co-worker, Kirby McKerbin, is arguing with the desk clerk Moony Muni. Because you clearly have nothing better to do until next launch, you decide to listen in. Kirby is absolutely convinced that if he were to oscillate a pendulum on Kerbin, move it to Mun, and repeat the same occilation, the period of the pendulum on Mun would be roughly 3.5 times that of the period of the pendulum on Kerbin. The clerk argues that the period on mun would be 2.5 times that of the period on Kerbin. Settle this mess! Who's right and who should be working at McKerbals (Kerbin's largest fast food restaurant chain)?

    ****HINT: the surface gravity of Mun and Kerbin can be found on this site >> http://wiki.kerbalspaceprogram.com ******

    ...Scary but true. They can't tell the females from the males in our species, either.
  12. AlphaGeek
    Infrasound is sound with a frequency lower than 20 Hz. Human hearing registers sounds from roughly 20 to Hz 20,000, though under certain circumstances the body will hear/feel sound at a lower frequency than 20Hz. Though the human ear does not normally register infrasound, these inaudible waves effect our everyday lives.


    In Nature:

    Infrasound is produced naturally by severe weather and other forms of nature. Storms, thunder, volcanic activity, earthquakes, avalanches, tsunamis, waves, wind, and even the aurora borealis emit these sound waves. (1) Because many animals can detect sounds of lower frequencies than humans, they are able to sense oncoming natural phenomenon. This explains why many animals move to higher ground or act oddly before a storm.

    Animals also use infrasound to communicate. Whales, hippopotamuses, giraffes, elephants and alligators are among the group that do so. These animals are able to send messages over thousands of miles in this manner. Homing pidgeons and other birds are also able to sense these sounds. They use infrasound in combination with magnetic fields to create a mental map of their surroundings.

    Human encouters:

    Infrasound is utilized by humans to locate earthquakes, specific types of rock, petroleum, and even artillery/nuclear weaponry. Low frequencies are also created by man-made objects. These noises are theorized to create disturbances for creatures that can register infrasound. The sounds may cause the animals to become disoriented, causing whales to beach themselves or pidgeons to lose their bearings. (2) Infrasound also causes irritation to human beings. In studies such as that of Professor Richard Wiseman, Richard Lord (acoustic scientist), and Vic Tandy, human exposure to infrasound may increase paranoia, physical discomfort and even nausia. (3)(4)
    In Tandy's situation, halucinations and supernatural "sightings" were later found to be linked to low frequency readings in the area. Infrasound is also the factor behind mysterious humming, called "The Hum," in certain areas that are audible to some people yet nonexistent to others. The hums are often emitted by man-made or natural sources. For example in Kokomo, Indiana, the humming was later pinpointed in a local factory. A fan producing a 10 Hz noise was the source of the scare.

    ***Authors note: This post took a little bit more research than usual ^^; It was interesting, though! Enjoy

    1.) http://www-dase.cea.fr/public/dossiers_thematiques/infrasons/description_en.html
    2.) http://web.archive.org/web/20041102004955/http://pao.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/educ/science/2000/04-07-00.htm
    3.) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077192/#.UJV9R2-unBY
    4.) http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/page.cfm?objectid=12722447&method=full&siteid=50003
    5.) http://www.theindychannel.com/news/possible-source-found-for-kokomo-hum
  13. AlphaGeek
    SO, because everyone else decided to take a break, my brain also decided to go off on holiday for a while. In that case, I've decided to make this blog post 100% fun (yet still on topic), and what's more fun and physics related than comics? Hope these tickle your funny bone, have a great break everyone!!!

    ...And finally, a comic that Mr. Fullerton would enjoy:

    Have a great break! Make sure to relax (and pretend that midterms aren't coming up)!

  14. AlphaGeek
    ...With all of this electricity and magnetism boggling our minds, it's nice to be reminded of the importance of mechanics once in a while. And by that I mean the force of friction: Ff = (normal force)(mu). Believe it or not, this commonly viewed as weak force can add up. Take the above myth busters clip for example, when the friction in between the sheets of a phone book in between the pages of a second phone book make them extremely difficult to separate. Try 8,000lb of force and two tank's worth of difficult! One of the tricks that creates so much of the friction is that each individual page is interlocked, increasing the surfaces that oppose each other as well as the weight of each page upon the next. Enjoy the clip :3
  15. AlphaGeek
    Often times, values in physics are abbreviated using metric prefixes, or SI prefixes. I found this table the other night and thought it would be helpful to post, in that I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets these mixed up sometimes.

    Thanks to wiki for this table:

    [TABLE="class: wikitable, width: 0"]
    [TH="bgcolor: #CCCCFF, colspan: 2"]Metric prefixes[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Prefix[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Symbol[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]1000m[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]10n[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Decimal[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Short scale[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Long scale[/TH]
    [TH="bgcolor: #EEDDFF"]Since[n 1][/TH]
    [TD="align: center"]Y[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000000000000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Z[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000000000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]E[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]P[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]T[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]G[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000000[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]M[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000000[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]million[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]k[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1000[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]thousand[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]h[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]100[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]hundred[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]da[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]10[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]ten[/TD]
    [TR="bgcolor: #EEEEEE"]
    [TD="colspan: 2"][/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]1[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]one[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]d[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.1[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]tenth[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]c[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.01[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]hundredth[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]m[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.001[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]thousandth[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]μ[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000001[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]millionth[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]n[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000001[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]p[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000000001[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]f[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000000000001[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]a[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000000000000001[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]z[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000000000000000001[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]y[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"]0.000000000000000000000001[/TD]
    [TD="bgcolor: #EEEEEE, colspan: 8"]

    ^ The metric system was introduced in 1795 with six prefixes. The other dates relate to recognition by a resolution of the CGPM.


    These prefixes were developed to shorten extremely large or small values, such as the teeny tiny mass of an electron (9.11 E -31 kg, or .000911 yg) in contrast to the very large Avogadro's number (6.022E23 atoms, or .6022 yotta atoms in one mole). When tacked onto constants, sometimes we don't realize just how intense these prefixes really are. Here are a few examples to help grasp the largeness and smallness of these constants:

    1. The Earth weighs 5,972 yotta grams, or 5.972E24 kg. It would take over 850 quintillion elephants to match this weight, or just over 81 moons.

    2. The average mass of a human cell is 950 femto grams, or 9.5E-13 g. If you cut a penny into a trillion pieces of equal mass, the human cell would still have a lower mass than the penny bit. AND you would get arrested for defacing US currency. It's simply a lose-lose situation.

    3. On earth, there are an estimated 7.059 G people (or 7.059 billion people). This is roughly 1000 times the number of pigeons in NYC. However, this is roughly 1/3 of the amount of hotdogs Americans consume in a year. (Yes really-- Americans chow down on an estimated 20 billion a year. That's about 70 hot dogs per person).

    Hope that was enlightening if not helpful!

    --Alpha Geek
  16. AlphaGeek
    Hi everybody!

    I haven't done a cookie problem in a while, so here it goes! The problem is related to the current unit. First correct answer gets a cookie. I think Charlie is the only one who answers these things, but I enjoy writing them and he likes cookies, so... It all works out :glee:

    Slinky the dog is bored (since Andy is off at college and all), so he decides to watch Walter Lewin's video Lecture 15. Slink thinks the solenoid example is really cool and decides to try it out himself. If he hooks his middle into a circuit of 1A and stands with his front feet .5 m away from his back feet, what is the magnetic field inside of Slinky? Note: Slinky's center is composed of 100 turns, and each turn is uniformly spaced.

    I love Disney! Bonus question: What is the name of the arcade in Toy Story?

    Have fun!

    --Alpha Geek
  17. AlphaGeek
    As Goalkeeper0 and Mr. Fullerton suggested, I decided to give the soap-and-water approach to understanding flux a shot. If you'd like to try this experiment but can't find one of those ancient metal coat hangers, here's a different approach:
    >>>Credit to Goalkeeper0<<<

    I bent a coat hanger into a solenoid with 5(ish) loops and filled the dish basin in our sink with soapy water. I'm not sure if it's because here wasn't enough soap in the water or a different factor, but the darn soap layer kept popping before I could pull the hanger completely out of the basin. Here's low quality evidence of my findings;

    ...Again, you really can't see much in the picture. I recommend doing the experiment yourself. To give you a better idea of what the soap spiral looked like, it resembled the shape of fusilli pasta. EX:

    Yum. Love the stuff

    Again, this shape is meant to demonstrate how the number of N turns in a solenoid effect the flux. The more loops in the coat hanger, the more bubble-surface there is in our solenoid. This helps reinforce the equation Mag. Flux = BANcos, with B= Mag. field, A= area and N= number of turns in the solenoid.

  18. AlphaGeek

    So. I was thinking of what to carve on my pumpkin earlier and thought, "What's something that'll scare the pants off of anyone, even high schoolers?" Bingo, air resistance. Many of us were shaking in our boots when Mr. Fullerton derived a few drag-related equations, but looking back they're not too bad right?

    Here's a little review. That long page really boils down to a few key equations:

    Air resistance = Fdrag = bv = cv2 , where b and c are constants
    VT= (mg)/b
    V = VT ( 1 - e(-b/m) )
    V = (mg/b)( 1 - e(-b/m) )
    a = g e(-b/m)t

    Some equations may contain the variable tau, which looks like a backwards J or a T with a tail. I will use T to represent tau. It is a time constant that can be substituted into the equations above. Tau = T = m/b.

    I hope that helped a little. Sleep with the lights on tonight, folks. 'Tis the season!
  19. AlphaGeek
    Recently, a friend has confessed to me that he has been diagnosed with stage one senioritis. We've all heard of this virus: common symptoms include drowsiness, in-class headaches, increased social tendencies, and worst of all, characteristic decreases in effort and GPA. Though some have better immune systems than others, this sickness is in fact contagious and most seniors contract a mild case. Because knowledge is the number one prevention factor, I intend to explain--using science and graphical representation-- what is known about this common yet dangerous disease. For those of you who seek protection (at least until the end of AP week), please read on.

    Diagnosis: How do I know if I have Senioritis?

    Illnesses ending in -itis indicate irritation and inflammation. Senioritis specifically refers to inflammation of the "give-a-care" gland, and inflammation seems to increase as the temperature rises outdoors. Senioritis is most common in ages 16-18, however some people are simply born with it. In this case, the illness is refered to as "chronic procrastination," an entirely different animal.

    Though little is known about the causes of Senioritis, there are key variables that contribute to the intensity of the illness. Inflammation level of the GAC gland (I) is directly proportional to t, the amount of time (in hours) left until the end of the year. It can be represented by the equation

    I = (2 π t2 P h) /f3

    P= the constant of procrastination. This constant varies, dependent upon personality type.
    t = time (in hours) left until graduation
    f= the number of friends infected
    h= the amount of homework (in kg) the student is assigned each night.

    For a student with a moderate course load and average amount of friends, the constant of procrastination tends to triple after AP week due to a weaker mentality.

    Observe the below graph exhibiting the relationship between academic wellness over time. The decreasing trends are due to GAC flareups, a common side-effect of senioritis. Students with a high P constant are especially susceptible to the virus. Note how in students with relatively high tendencies of procrastination, the AP period provides a brief spike of academic rigorousness, followed by a devastating relapse. We call this spike of functionality "cramming."


    Cures and Coping Techniques:

    ​1.) Senioritis is highly contagious, like influenza or ring worm. Try surrounding yourself by people with relatively low P constants to avoid infection.

    2.) Create mini-deadlines for assignments as well as allotted time to study. Handling work in small bits reduces the chance of GAC flareups

    3.) Wash your hands before eating finger food.

    4.) Try self-medication: remind yourself that senior year is almost over, and in order to do well on APs you'll only have to fight the -itis a little longer. Stay strong, it's the final stretch!

    Bueno suerte!
    --Alpha Geek
  20. AlphaGeek
    PRESSURE'S ON: First person to answer this correctly gets a cookie. :eagerness:

    You're at the playground with a girl you babysit, little Tori McTorque. Being 9 years old and devious, Tori took you wallet and threatened to spend your babysitting money on ice cream and root beer. Kids these days! You chased her over to the see saw, where she and her friend (Lil' Newton) sat happily on one side. You have to think of a way out of this! You don't want all of your hard-earned cash to go to waste, do you? Because physics is always the answer, you decide to make a bet with the little devils.

    You propose to Tori that, if you can make the see saw balance with three people on it on your first try, she must give back the wallet. If you fail, Tori will get unlimited ice cream privileges! D:

    Knowing off the top of your head that the average weight of 9 year old children is roughly 28 kg and that Tori and Newton are sitting 1 m and .7 m away from the center of the see saw, how far should you place a 61 kg teenager with a mullet from the pivot point?

  21. AlphaGeek
    Anybody else having trouble with orbiting other planets? Docking? Space planes even? I was on youtube the other night and came across a user who developed a number of Kerbal Space Program tutorials. They're long, but are thorough and walk you through processes step by step. He trouble shoots often, so you can clearn from his mistakes to address your own issues. Plus, he has an accent. Strangely enough that makes him fun to listen to.

    Here's the link to his Kerbal Space Program Playlist:

    There are a few intro videos, but he also has at least three for docking, a handful for orbiting various planets, and a number on space planes. I watched a few on the planes (just for kicks) and jeez they were complicated! The docking videos were loooong but helpful. If Kailzah makes it to the Mun before school ends, I'd really like to give docking another shot.

    Has anyone else found resources/tutorials that they've found helpful? Only three days left! It's Mun or bust for Kalizah ]

  22. AlphaGeek
    ...Or in coloquial terms, "My stars, is that ctenophore exhibiting bioluminescence?"

    You might think that's all glow, but there's more to this jelly's luster. Bioluminescence occurs when a living organism's cells emit light. Common examples include fireflies and angler fish, who use light to find mates and attract prey respectively. These organisms convert chemical energy into light energy, just as a human body would convert chemical energy (like glucose) into mechanical or heat energy.

    The above jelly fish Mertensia ovum, also known as the Arctic Comb Jelly or Sea Nut, does emit a small amount of blue and purple light. However, those fancy-dancey rainbow colored adornments on its side are actually caused by-- yep, you guessed it-- thin film interference. Sound familiar (think AP-?

    Like light being "bent" into it's different rays of color on an oil spill or in a rainbow, the jelly fish has eight columns of cilia that have a similar effect. Besides their fashionable apearence, the cilia columns or "comb rows" also allow the jellyfish to move as well as sense changes in it's surroundings as would a bug's antenna.

    ...On a less-sciencey note, I found this bubble very enjoyable.

    --AlphaGeek :tyrannosaurus:
  23. AlphaGeek
    Do you find your blogs boring, drab and in need of fanciness? Do you think that int(x^2) is an acceptable substitute for ? Because the APlusphysics site has undergone improvements, I think that our blogs' equation quality should improve as well. ;D

    A little birdie (Mr. Fullerton) told me about this great tool called a latex editor. One site to go to is http://www.codecogs.com/latex/eqneditor.php , which you don't have to download and it's not blocked by the school. It's a site where you can choose the symbols that you want in an equation, like sigma or pi, and it spits back a code.
    When you paste that code into your blog post, put [tex] before it and [/tex] after it, then preview the blog, the symbol you chose will be in its place.
    I had to put the information above into the code box or the computer would've read it as part of a code. For example, if I choose the pi button and the latex editor spits back CHERRY, I would write [ tex] CHERRY [ /tex] and the symbol for pi would come up.
    (the code is actually \pi, so if I surround that with [tex] and [/tex] it looks like: [tex] /pi [/tex]

    I hope thats helpful! If you have any questions, Mr. Fullerton or I would be glad to help
  24. AlphaGeek
    Ever wonder why studying hard or taking multiple AP tests in a row makes you exhausted, or even hungry? This is because when you think, your brain has to work hard to send "messages" through the neurons to different parts of the brain and body. Cellular respiration turns your food (glucose) into adenoside triphosphate, or ATP. This is the molecule that many body functions require to do work, such as facilitated diffusion, muscle movement, and yep, you guessed it-- thinking. The sodium ion pump that creates a gradient in the nerve cell interior allows for the inside of the cell to become positive. The combination of the ATP- using sodium ion gradient and the two diffusion- using potassion and sodium channels allows for the neuron to send an electric pulse down the axon. At the end of the cell, called the transmitter, the pulse allows ligands (or signal molecules) to continue the message to the next brain cell, which will send another signal until the message reaches its intended destination.

    ...Scientific evidence as to why proctors should let us return to our bags for food. Physics says we need it to think! Post below with your favorite brain food! Mine is a chocolate chip cliff bar, and I know a certain math geek's is a buffalo chicken wrap

    Happy post-APs, everyone!

    --Alpha Geek
  25. AlphaGeek
    A friend returned from training for the air force and told me about some of the crazy things that he and his comrades would do to pass the time. Some of these included taping each other to the ceiling and human-drawn chariot races, but one of the most messy and fun instances he described was a hallway slip n' slide. True story: he and his hall mates put towels to the bottom of their sleeping quarter doorways, filled the hall with soap and water and proceeded to slide down the hallway as though it were a seabreeze water slide.

    Let's say the hallway is 15 meters long, and each cadet gets a 8 meter running start before diving down for a slide. If one guy sprints and reaches a speed of 4 m/s before flopping into the suds (which has a coeff. of friction of .2), does the cadet slam into the other side of the hallway or get soapy bragging rights?

    ...In terms of the cookie question, Charlie: 2; entire rest of the class: 0. Come on, guys! (Nice job Charlie)

    Good luck! --Alpha Geek

    DISCLAIMER: It's unlikely that this exact situation with such distance in the slide will occur. The coefficient of friction with the floor and the speed of the person are strictly for cookie-question fun, not actual values. In other words, don't try this in your living room!
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