Static hair

It’s one of those annoying laws of nature that the times you want to do a demonstration of static electricity with a Van der Graaf generator are the times when the atmosphere is least suited to it. Damp conditions equals a damp demonstration. But yesterday was really good. No Van der Graaf generator needed – […]

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Sucking up Spaghetti

No. I’m not talking about 6 year old boys sticking one end in their mouth and sucking.  I’m talking about vacuuming-up old bits of uncooked spaghetti on the kitchen floor. So, on taking the vacuum cleaner over the kitchen floor at the weekend, I could see that there were a few broken strands of uncooked […]

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More strange quantum stuff

I have talked about some of the strange quantum mechanics effects before.  An example is the two-slit experiment. If we fire photons (particles of light) at a pair of slits, and then measure where they appear on the other side of the slits, we get a two-slit diffraction pattern – exactly what we’d get if […]

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Relative Velocity

Those of us who fly out of NZ reasonably frequently will have noticed how flight times differ significantly depending on whether one is travelling west to east or east to west. Take my recent flight to and from Perth, in Western Australia.  The Auckland to Perth flight was timetabled to last 7 hours 25 minutes, […]

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Expensoheat

We have now been in our ‘new’ house for four months. This one still does feel a little ‘new’, being only 5 years old. It even incorporates some radical features (for New Zealand): proper insulation, double glazing (though I note that the frames are still aluminium) and well engineered drainage from what otherwise would be […]

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Jigsaw puzzles

Last night I completed a project that’s been going for the last three months – a 1000 piece jigsaw. This one was pretty but particularly fiendish – being a street map of Paris. There’s not a lot of variation from piece to piece – green background with white streets, with limited clues.  There are river […]

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Back to the blog

Having had a rather extended half-time break from blogging I have some time to get it kicked-off again. And what better topic that the Football World Cup.  (Or, as it’s referred to everywhere except New Zealand, the World Cup.)   There are some great examples and analogies of physics that we can pull from this, but […]

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