Momentum conservation

It’s mid-semester break here at Waikato so I have time to breathe and get back to things other than teaching, such as seeing what the PhD students are up to. Yay. But, here’s a comment about what I was talking about last week with the first year students: conservation of momentum. If you look in […]

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Friction: Stick or Slip?

Going back to my last entry on the sliding car, it’s worth commenting a bit more on the nature of friction here. When a car goes round a corner, what prevents it from sliding is the friction between the tyres and the road. Tyres are unsurprisingly designed to be able to give a high frictional […]

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Sonic anemometer

One thing we’ve noticed with our new house is how variable the background noise is. We now live within earshot of State Highway One and we can hear the distant rumble of trucks and other vehicles on it. The noise isn’t large – and it’s amazing that after just three weeks in the house we […]

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Speed of sound

On Sunday I went to the Magic – Mystics netball game at Mystery Creek in Hamilton. It was a game that both teams did their very best to lose, in the end the Magic were more dedicated to this cause than the Mystics, and cunningly let them sneak a winning goal in the last few […]

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Learning outcomes

This week I’ve had three fairly lively discussions about learning outcomes in our university papers.  (It’s well blogged already – e.g. here, but I’ll add some things to the mix). The concept is hardly new, but it is only just being given a really wide profile here at Waikato. Although many individual teachers, and many […]

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Electromagnetic Pest Repellent

I saw in the newspaper yesterday an advert for an ‘ultrasonic and electromagnetic’ mouse and rat repeller. That got me interested. The ultrasonic bit seems to be plausible enough – I don’t know much about rodent ear physiology, but I’m willing to believe they can hear sounds at higher frequency to us and to dogs […]

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Electrical Noise

Lectures have finished; students now are into the exam period; and my thoughts naturally turn to research for the summer. To be more accurate, they first turn to marking the aforementioned exams and other assignments, but research will quickly take over. One of the projects we have going involves recording small electrical signals from a […]

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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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