A photon walks into a hotel…

A photon walks into a hotel and checks in. "Do you want a hand with your luggage?" asks the receptionist. "No thanks", replies the photon, "I’m travelling light". Thanks to my friend Julie for that one.   But it got me thinking about the quantum nature of things that may not immediately appear quantum-like. There’s a […]

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Schlieren imaging

I’ve been sent this link to a movie of a shock wave from a trombone.  You’ve got to feel sorry for the poor clarinetist who is sitting in front. This sort of thing can be done neatly with the method of schlieren imagaing. (See some more examples here) This is a ‘simple’ way of picking up […]

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Wet house, dry house?

We’re looking for a new house at the moment.  We’ve decided to be a lot more environmentally friendly and shift out of Cambridge and move to Hamilton to cut down the pesky commute in the mornings and evenings. We haven’t made much progress, though, with finding a house – what we’re looking for is in […]

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Light fantastic

D’oh. Missed the exploding meteor last night. From the news reports it sounds like a pretty impressive sight.  (N.B. I like the comment on the stuff.co.nz article that says "Faster than a plane = definitely over 10000 km an hour. I don’t know how many planes this guy has travelled in, but doing 10000 km […]

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Mirror trickery

Last week I heard about for the first time something that is common knowledge to all women in the western world – namely that women’s clothes shops use convex mirrors to make you appear thinner. Since I don’t frequent women’s clothes shops particularly often (I don’t frequent men’s clothes shops more than is strictly necessary, […]

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A daylight conundrum

Our organic alarm clock has now taken to jumping on the bed at about 5 in the morning and purring very loudly in an attempt to persuade us it’s breakfast time. It’s not surprising, since sunrise (and therefore cat-rise, if not Marcus-rise) is becoming earlier and earlier. Daylight hours are now long – in fact the […]

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Diffraction

If you’re like me, you’ve been mesmerized by the colours created by reflections from a DVD or CD. The discs do a great job of splitting the illuminating ‘white’ light of your home light-bulbs into its constituent colours. But unlike a prism or raindrop, which achieve this effect through refraction (blue light travels more slowly […]

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How fictional is fiction?

Having watched The Prestige on Sunday night I feel that there should be lots of bloggable material in it, but I can’t quite put my finger on anything. For those who haven’t seen it, or read the book, it concerns a couple of rival magicians who are obsessed with out-doing each other and pulling off […]

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