I’ve got a house now which, amongst other things, means that all of my future posts will be depressingly domestic. In particular, as I sat watching a sprinkler water my new well-shaded lawn, I noticed that some parts of grass were being watered more than others. It wouldn’t be right to fix these kinds of problems without first wringing all possible interest from them however, so let’s first understand what’s going on from the safe, dry comfort of a computer screen.Continue reading
Newton’s 4th Law
This post is about me finally getting over a slight irritation that happened nearly a decade ago, one which was almost completely inconsequential. Fortunately, it was related to physics, so is fair game here.Continue reading
I was in Rome airport not long ago, and noticed that the reflection of the striped ceiling looked warped and bent due to the non-flatness of the reflecting surface:
As I’m sure will be familiar to any traveller, the excruciating boredom of an airport drives the mind to wander, so here is my derivation of the underlying mirror surface structure from this image.
Axes of rotation
I recently tried my hand at throwing axes at a wall, courtesy of Whistle Punks in London. While this was a fun and satisfyingly macho activity, I noticed that the attendants were careful to position people at various distances from the target to increase their chances of success. This piqued my curiosity, so here I’ll have a look at why that might be.
The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason
Intriguing title, no? These are the first eleven words of Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves, which set up the remaining 600 pages as an extended treatise on the future of humanity as it copes with certain annihilation. I thoroughly recommend it, as long as you can deal with hundreds of pages of orbital mechanics. In this post I will numerically explore this post-lunar age, to verify for myself if it would be as deadly as described.
Recently the extractor fan in my bathroom has started malfunctioning, occasionally grinding and stalling. The infuriating thing is that the grinding noise isn’t perfectly periodic – it is approximately so, but there are occasionally long gaps and the short gaps vary slightly. This lack of predictability makes the noise incredibly annoying, and hard to tune out. Before getting it fixed, I decided to investigate it a bit further.
A geometry puzzle
Here’s a fun problem I came across when trying to analyse some data, which I thought I’d write up to illustrate the kind of interesting puzzles I get paid to solve as a physicist. Perhaps have a go yourselves and let me know if there are more intuitive solutions.
In the finest traditions of christmas, how about a timely blog post meant to cynically cash in on a blogosphere craving seasonal articles about nothing much in particular (see previous, sadly failed, attempt). What are the implications of Santa flying around the UK in a single night?
This blog has been getting a bit too pop-science for my tastes recently. Card games? Word clouds? Urgh. Let’s do some proper physics. I hope you’re paying attention at the back.
When taking a picture of my new 55″ TV (humblebrag) I noticed a diffraction pattern of the reflection of the camera flash. Fortuitously, I had also recently bought a slightly too-powerful laser pointer from China which is the perfect tool to investigate such problems. Here’s a little write-up of my DIY measurements.