Archive for the ‘Everyday Science’ Category

22° Halo

I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time; I’ve had it floating around on my phone; I took it while on a walk on a cold, spring day.  I thought it quite remarkable, but I didn’t know what it was.  Despite the church in the foreground, I was fairly certain its caused could […]

Magnus Force

Happy belated -day! A friend of mine recently posted a question online about how a ping pong ball might be affected by altitude. Of course, once I got thinking about it, I decided the physics involved deserved its own post. Of course, the drag, being a linear function of air density, is going to be […]


Wow.  It’s kind of unsettling how quickly two weeks can pass in between posts.  I don’t know how Dr. Allain finds the time to be so consistent posting to his blog. One of the television programs that gets watched on in my house is Minute to Win It.  You know, the 6 minute show they […]

(Algae) Population Growth

Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast. Ron Burgandy If you’ve ever kept an aquarium, you’ve probably worried about algae.  If you’ve maintained a planted aquarium with powerful lighting, doubly so.  The neat, sort of counter-intuitive thing, is that it is really quite possible to grow plants successfully under […]

Rayleigh Benard Convection

I know that this is probably pretty common to see, but I try to avoid heating up vegetable oil regularly.  That being said, I had occassion to heat up a thin layer of cooking oil while preparing dinner yesterday and noticed a geometric pattern take shape in the surface of the oil. I knew enough […]

Optimum College Field Goal Distance

Dr. Allain wrote up a great post on this subject, so I’ll reduce the scope of what I was going to say, and let you read his analysis for the rest of the story.  He used dot products for a much more elegant analysis than my trig-based approach. I’ll focus on a more specific question […]