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  1. Momentumous

    The last...

    It's rather crazy to be writing my last ever physics C blog post... I feel as though this day has always seemed so far away. Now that I'm all reminiscent and whatnot, what better to blog about than a reflection on the course? First and foremost, it was hard. At least for me. I felt as though all year I was struggling to grasp everything that everyone seemed to get so easily and had to fight ten times harder to get to the same point. The course frustrated me countless times, and I've never done so poorly on so many exams before in my life. With that in mind, I have absolutely no regrets. Despite poor exams, I learned so much in this class. From how to deal with frustration, to how to develop better studying habits and techniques. I have a far better understanding of what does and doesn't work for me to do well, and taking Physics C has made me feel more ready for college than any other class I've taken, hands down. What's more, that class constantly has me thinking about physics. ALL the time. In all honesty, everything can be related to physics, it's just a matter of whether or not you take the time to notice it. I wish I had tried just a little bit harder sometimes, and done better on my tests, but I'm happy with all that I've learned both about physics and myself. Shout out to the fantastic teacher, Mr. Fullerton. I couldn't have done it without you!
  2. There was a lot of picture taking going on today, and considering it being a noteable passion of mine, I figured it's a good thing to ponder the physics of. Photography is derived from the greek words "photos" meaning light, and "graphos" meaning writing. Writing with light. Aptly named, as light is the largest component of any good photograph. Every camera has exposures and f-stops that corollate with apperatures and shutterspeeds. Each of these are tools to control how much light is allowed to be exposed on the film or SD card. I don't think I know enough about SD cards to be able to confidently say how they work, but I'm sure they're incredibly similar to film, which I know more about. Flims starts out as a sheet of chemically soaked material. These chemicals are designed to interact with light. The lense focuses and directs light from the outside world onto the film, where the reaction (once developed) takes place to mirror the image. This works for both black and white as well as color flim. Everything we see is simply a reflection of light, be it brightness and darkness or any shade of color. There's really an incredible amount of physics involved in photography. In fact, a lot of physics takes effect in simply staging and setting up pictures (diffusing light, velocities, the speed of light, reflections ect), however I won't get to into that. When you know as much as I do about photography, talking about everything you can do with it can take more time than anyone would care to read, particularly when you're looking at all the physics behind it as well!
  3. I've always just kind of assumed nature optimized the way all things are formed for what they're designed to do. Apparently, however, this is not the case. Though it's a myth that bumble bees shouldn't be able to fly with their rather small wings and rather large body, the way in which they do fly is incredibly inefficient. Essentially they move around the air through sheer brute force. Not only are their wings unsynchronized, but the way in which they flap i makes it impossible for air flow to aid the bee in traveling through the air more easily. Its huge thorax combined with the high energy necture diet allow for the necessary force to create thrust with such tiny wings for such a heavy body. It's speculated that this brute-force method was developed so that bumble bees can maneuver through the air more easily, sacrificing overall flying efficiency, or as a result of the already wide body of the bee. More on this can be found at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507194511.htm
  4. Momentumous

    Time Travel

    I know, first I talk about teleportation, and now I'm talking about time travel. Alright, I'll admit it, I'm a Whovian. Huge Doctor Who dweeb, so yes, that's where a lot of my inspiration is coming from. Regardless of my inspiration, it's not really so strange to think about time travel--what would you do if you could travel in time, when would you go? Ancient history? Your history? Eons in the future? Furthermore, I'd think you a raging liar if you tried to tell me you've never wondered if (or secretly wished that) time travel is possible ever. This depends entirely on how time works. Really, time is a concept we humans made up to organize our lives. It's an extremely simple label we put on something far more complicated than most of us simpletons can ever hope to truly understands. Even now, I think it'd be a fair assumption to say that no one out there has a 100% clear understanding of how time works. However, if some theories prove right, then time travel might not be quite as implausible as you think. Theoretically, according to some scientists, a wormhole could be created to allow us to travel into the future or into the history. I found an article which explains this better than I could. Most interesting, I find, is that this article was written in 2008. That's 5 years ago now. With science progressing as exponentially as it is, I find myself wondering how far we could be with the concept of time travel now... http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-big-question-is-time-travel-possible-and-is-there-any-chance-that-it-will-ever-take-place-779761.html
  5. I've mention in a previous post how poorly magic and physics mix. That being said, there are many variations on how magic works depending on what fiction you're referring to. In most fictions I've seen, practicing magic tends to simply require a lot of mental focus and memorizing a few words. This concept is entirely impossible in the real world if the fundamental laws of physics hold true. Energy can't be created or destroyed, simply changed. Magic tends to make things move with no physical cause, thus making it impossible. Some fictions, however, take a more plausible route. I've read a few books where in fact it takes just as much energy to do something with magic as it would to get up and do it yourself--thus making the only major convenience of magic that you can do things faster. In this theory, you could attempt to do something with magic and end up essentially committing suicide because you tried to do something that you simply don't have enough strength to do. By far this is the most plausible theory I've ever heard. For one it doesn't mess quite so much with our laws of physics. Energy created by your body is still being used to make something happen, thus energy is still conserved. This means that essentially the magic wielder is using their mind to direct energy in less-than-conventional ways. True, it's still pretty far-fetched. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic, but I'd still like to think it's possible. As it stands, humans on average only use 10% of their brain for sitting and thinking, who knows what'd be possible if we could find a way to have constant access to the other 90%, no matter what the activity!
  6. Recently I've acquired skullcandy over-ear headphones that have many noise canceling qualities. Still, I find myself wishing I could afford the Bose. Without any doubt, the Bose Noise Cancelling headphones are the best of their kind. With this in mind, I though it worth the research to figure out why. As with nearly anything, there's actually quite a bit of physics involved in optimizing sound quality. For starters, to make headphones in general involves coils and magnets and a whole slew of physics. Optimizing the sounds quality is a little more simple in theory (though not necessarily in practice). Bose headphones in particular actually have sensors designed to pick up outside sound waves and create counter waves to negate these sounds and optimize what you're listening to. It's also important to ensure that the headphone rests that go over your ears are large enough to make a seal of sorts, thus making it harder for sound to get out or in where it's not wanted. The material the headphones are made out of is crucial as well. Bose puts lots of research into finding the best material to insulate sound waves and direct the desired noises to your ear. Of course Bose doesn't publish much on all the calculations behind this, but it's pretty easy to see how quickly this can involved elaborate physics problems. I don't know about you, but I'm determined to own a pair someday! http://worldwide.bose.com/axa/en_au/web/noise_cancelling_technology/page.html
  7. Of all the tv shows we watch, each and every one retains varying levels of accuracy with respect to physics. Here's my personal reflection on the accuracy of some shows I watch: The Big Bang Theory: The big bang theory is a hilarious comedy relating to the lives of social awkward phsyicists. We don't have any problems with someone leaping too far out of a window or something blowing up when it shouldn't because... well that stuff doesn't happen in the big bang theory. Noteably, however, is all the physics they talk about. The directors of the show truly put a lot of research into making sure things are accurate. Every single equation you see on white boards in the background are real, and everything they talk about (though I doubt the actors actually do them) are real physics concepts and researches. Funny, and realistic? I think yes! Myth Busters: This one is pretty obvious. The whole concept of the show is to use phsyics to disprove or prove common place misconceptions or wives tales. In fact the whole concept of the show is kind of how I'm currently treating all the shows being reviewed. I approve. Merlin: Merlin is a show in a magical world about (you guessed it) Merlin, a warlock who is destined to protect the King Arthur. Considering the magical nature of the world they live in, it's hard to say what is or isn't accurate. Physics and magic are concepts that don't mix well. Particularly since magic often seems to create and destroy matter and energy without putting any effort into it--which goes against the most basic and fundamental concepts of physics. So it's truly hard to judge the accuracy of a show like Merlin. But if we disregard the impossibility of magic and still look at the physics, Merlin is actually pretty plausible. It's not too hard to keep it physics-ly plausible, it's pretty easy to stay accurate when you're only worrying about things that can happen in the medieval ages. Overall, with disregard to magic, Merlin gets my approval!
  8. Over the past few weeks, I've gotten to know Kerbal Space Program quite well. I can honestly say it's quite the addicting game, but if you don't do any research, it can get very frustrating. Personally, I'm a trial and error kind of gal. When being completely honest, I almost never actually calculate the physics behind everything going on in KSP, I just make behemoth rockets and see if they do what I want them too. As a result, I've probably had more crash landings and test flights than there are grains of sand on the beach. If we were to look at the actual physics, there's so much going on in building a rocket and taking it to the moon, it's not even funny. For starters, there's weight and drag force to consider when designing the rocket. The more weight on the rocket, the more powerful an engine you need. You also need more liquid fuel to get places with heavier rockets, however liquid fuel actually weighs quite a bit itself. You can see how it can get complicated to actually calculate the right fuel-weight proportions. The other major thing in design to look for is aerodynamics. That $50 piece that smoothly transitions from smaller to larger pieces is probably the biggest bang for your buck in the entire game; the added drag force without can easily be enough to pull apart your rocket into multiple pieces, or simply make it never lift off the ground. Then, once you've figured out all the thrust needed from an engine to lift up your behemoth to get it to actually move, you have to actually be able to fly the thing. One simple error in staging can completely blow up the entire mission, and if your not paying attention, you could have blow thousands of kerbencian dollars on a rocket you blew up because you forgot to turn down the throttle a smidge. And then, once you get out of the atmosphere, you have to worry about gravitational forces. Furthermore, if you're actually trying to get somewhere, there's all sorts of messing with orbits that has to happen, not to mention transfering orbits from one gravitational pull to another. Really the physics behind this game is astounding. Just thinking about it all is enough to make any mind whirl, not to mention calculating them!
  9. Does anyone else feel it too? End of the year syndrome... it's kinda like senioritis, except anyone can get it. Essentially what it means is a complete and total lack of motivation to do anything whatsoever. I don't know about you, but it's hitting me hard right now, with 5 days left of school and numerous projects not yet completed. So lets remind ourselves why we like physics, shall we? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3Zf1f3-JYs Because physics is everywhere, and it can be funny! But most importantly, because it tells us how much peter griffin weighs.
  10. In summary, essentially the sky appears dark to us because the universe is expanding. When the stars we look at are farther away, they're moving away from us faster. The faster the star moves away, the more red they appear. After they reach a certain distance away from us, the stars become infrared. Essentially the sun is the only star close enough to us to emit on the visible spectrum and diffuse through the atmosphere. I thought this was very interesting. With a background in physics, a lot of questions tend to pop up that someone without such a background would take for granted. The sky being dark at night, with soooo many stars as bright or brighter than the sun out there, was always of mild interest to me. Hope you enjoy!
  11. Launch Time: 10:55am Team Members Present: Members Kaila and Sarah were present for the launch. Elizabeth was unable to attend do to tragic miscommunication (apparently “launch” looks like “brunch…” evidently she viewed the launch via televised recording at Uncle Danny’s). Play-by-Play: -Set engines to full throttle. Take deep breath. GO! -Panic as the rocket begins to lean far too much. Remember you’re not stupid and turn on the ASAS -As the launch proceeds, be sure to monitor the heating. DON’T PANIC WHEN OVERHEATING BEGINS. Simply turn down the engine throttle to %75 capacity -When the first tank runs out of fuel, initiate the decouple and wait a few seconds for the falling engine/tank to get behind, then initiate the newly exposed engine into full throttle. -Always be sure to be face prograde -Engage RCS as you break the atmosphere -Check that you’re still facing prograde. -Once you’re completely out of the atmosphere, examine your orbital situation on a larger scale -approach apoapsis -Take deep breath, turn prograde and go full throttle. This will successfully expand the orbital path into one that does not crash the ship into Kerbin ground (or ocean) -CHEER LOTS! You’re a space station and in orbit! Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 00:08:49 Summary: In this mission, Kailzah achieved stable orbit of a space station. This station features solar panels as well as a docking bay. Excess fuel is present so that the orbit may be altered if necessary in the future. Once this fuel has been consumed, another decoupler is present to minimize the size of the orbiting station. We successfully met our goal of a useful space station in orbit with a docking bay for future use. RCS had to be turned on at the proper moment. This was challenging but successfully met. The biggest challenge was making sure that the ship went full throttle at the proper moment. Constantly adjusting throttle and direction (propgade) at the proper moments was essential, and executed successfully. Center of mass is a concern for safety that must be considered in the future, as the ship was rather wobbly. Our next goal presumably will be some sort of docking so that other planets might be easier to obtain. Opportunities / Learnings: An essential discovery was the significance of an efficient engine and minimizing the amount of fuel. As incredibly heavy as fuel can be, it’s important to have sincerely just enough to make it, thus making the design cheaper and more efficient. Furthermore, it’s extremely difficult to break atmosphere without the largest engine available. Strategies / Project Timeline: Steping up to a space station was a wise move as it is essential for reaching farther planets. This station could rather easily be moved to the mun or a nearby planet. This is crucial for adventures into the depths of space. Docking would be the next logical step, though much research must go into play before we attempt such a difficult task. Milestone Awards Presented: First space station in orbit--$130,000 Available Funds: The remaining funds after building are: $13,841
  12. Excuse the atrocious type. ***originally!
  13. To be completely honest, I've always been pretty curious as to what string theory is and how it is supposed to work (and not just because of Sheldon Cooper). Origionally I was completely off as to what I thought it was all about. My previous notion was that string theory strung together the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak), showing how they can interact. This actually has very little to do with string theory. String theory is more about the structure of matter as we know it. When considering electrons, most consider them to be microscopic points of matter. String theory, however, suggests that electrons are rather constructed as looped strings, thus giving them the ability to oscillate and move in ways that a point would be incapable of. Theoretically such is completely plausible, and has been effective in many models. However there has been no conclusive scientific data yet to prove that such is truly an accurate way to describe the universe. I'm sure of course this is an extremely basic understanding, and considering there's countless PhD's out there still struggling to prove it, I've no doubt the complexity of it truly goes above my head. But to think that our understanding of the basics of the universe could be misplaced... tell me that's not fascinating! (Source: http://www.nucleares.unam.mx/~alberto/physics/string.html)
  14. I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in quirky little facts that can be used to go up to someone smarter than you and say "hey, I know something you don't know!" So to aid you all in this admirable endeavor, watch this video!
  15. For some of us, taking the lovely AP-C Physics course was simply to have that shiny passing grade to rub in the face of colleges and use to squeeze out some money from them--a "hey look I'm s-m-r-t!" badge if you will. Nearly everyone in the class thought about it economically when considering taking it; taking it in highschool is FAR cheaper than in college, and allows more focus on new materials, maybe it'll draw some scholarships, help get a job ect. But physics goes beyond that. Here's a list of some majors requiring a noteworthy amount of physics: Acoustics Aeronautical Engineer Agricultural Engineer Air Traffic Controller Airline Pilot Archaeologist Architect Astronomer Audio Engineer Broadcasting Cartographer Chartered Surveyor Civil Engineer Climatologist Clinical Scientist Computing Designer Doctor Electrical Engineer Energy Engineering Environment Environmental Scientist Forensic Scientist Gas Engineer Geologist Health Services Journalist Laboratory Technician Marine Engineering Mathematician Mechanical Engineer Medical Physicist Meteorologist Naval Architect Naval Career Nuclear Scientist Oceanographer Operational Research Patent Agent Patent Examiner Pharmacist Radiation Protection Radiographer Scientific Officer (Government) Space and Remote Sensing Teacher Transport Water Management And here's a list of some of the best paying careers: 1. Doctors/surgeons 2. Orthodontists/dentists 3. Cheif executive officer 4. Petroleum engineer 5. Lawyer 6. Architectural and engineer manigers 7. Natural science manager 8. Marketing manager 9. Computer info. systems manager 10. Industrial-organizational psychologist 11. Financial manager 12. Airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers 13. Sales manager 14. Air traffic controller 15. Pharmacist Note the frequent overlaps? That's because physics is essential in a world of technological dependency and progression. So not only will physics save you money now, but it could very potentially make you plenty in the future!
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