Concerns the application of the laws of physics to analyze common situations encountered in everyday life.

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45
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4answers
3k views

Why do some location on Earth have only one tidal maximum per day instead of two?

Most places in the ocean have two high tides and two low tides per "day" (~25 hours). But I remember reading that some locations only have one of each per day. This answer has some great explanations ...
1
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1answer
68 views

How does GPS on an airplane report a 100 km error?

On a flight across Europe, I took my iPhone out to see if the GPS can find my position. I was sitting away from a window, so reception would have been bad. I wouldn't have been surprised to get no ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

If we feel it's hotter when humidity increases, then why do we feel it's colder when inside water?

When the humidity in the air is high, we sweat more and feel it's hotter than when the humidity is lower. So why don't we feel it's hotter when we go inside water, where the water content is much ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

Why can't you ride a bike with a fixed handlebar?

I tried one time, as part of an experiment, to ride a bike with a fixed handle bar. Impossible. So, in any case, our movements made with the handlebar helps us in not falling down. I can feel kinda ...
0
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1answer
22 views

Spin on the rack

Bike mounted on hitch rack. Why wheels spin constantly while I drive? I can't find anything on the internet. The kids in the other cars love to watch them
5
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1answer
66 views

If a high speed car or train enters a tunnel, will the aerodynamics effect slow it down and hence requiring more energy to maintain speed?

Speed and distance are two main determinants in this question. A slow moving vehicle or train entering a tunnel is unlikely to be affected by the presence of solid stationery object covering them. But ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

Why do I spill lesser water if it's hotter?

If I pour water in a glass to make a cup of tea, I noticed that if the water that comes out of the kettle is very hot, almost no water is spilled. If the water is cold though, much more water is ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Why do UV lamps look purple?

UV radiation isn't visible to the human eye, so how come we can see it as a purple/violet light from a UV lamp? Is it just because the lamps aren't perfect and end up emitting some light at a higher ...
55
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7answers
7k views

How did my candle wax crawl up the sides of the jar?

I have an Ikea candle which has sat on my bookshelf in the sun for >5 years. Aside from an hour or two shortly after I bought the candle, I have not burned the candle regularly (in fact, the wick is ...
-1
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0answers
35 views

How do solar panels work? [closed]

This picture alone gives a very general explanation. But I couldn't find any website that explains: What is the junction (where electron pop out of) made of? What are the functions of n type and p ...
1
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0answers
30 views

What is the explanation of the glory (optical phenomenon)?

Yesterday, I took the following picture. I was looking downwards from within an aircraft and I saw the 'glory' around the shadow of the plane on the clouds below. Wikipedia has an entry on the ...
5
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0answers
56 views

When beer tapping, why does only one of the beers foam up?

In the paper Physics of beer tapping the author go through an explanation of the phenomenon of beer tapping, i.e. the foaming up of beer in glass bottle after it has been hit at the top of the bottle ...
4
votes
1answer
47 views

Breaking strength of wet paper/cloth

In the Hollywood movie, Shanghai Knights (pardon me for the non scientific citation), Jackie Chan states that 'wet cloth' does not break easily. How true a fact is this ? We know from common ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Why is it easier to remove stains with water?

And I don't mean stain removers, but literally tap water. See here's the thing, you can't remove a stain without some sort of friction, and water reduces friction. Yet if I say, spill some coffee and ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Why does a fan blade appear to spin backwards when spun really fast?

This a phenomenon which I notice everyday but never really took an interest in. Why does a fan (or any other rotary object), when spinning really fast, 'appear' to slow down, upto a certain rpm, then ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

How do ceiling fans cool or heat?

Why does a ceiling fan blowing air downward cool in the summertime: whereas a ceiling fan sucking air upwards heats in the wintertime: ? Why isn't it the other way around?
5
votes
1answer
68 views

What causes the buzzing sound when the electricity changes into heat?

When I turn on any kind of electric heating (kettle, cooker, heater, ...), it keeps producing a constant buzzing sound. What is the exact cause of that sound? Do the electrons of the electric ...
-1
votes
3answers
60 views

How do Calories (kcal) relate to watts?

In thinking about exercise and "burning calories" it occurred to me that there should be some fairly intuitive correlation between the biological energy conversion going on in a person's body with the ...
3
votes
2answers
44 views

Creasing of a material at the molecular level

What exactly happens when a material (particularly paper or even cloth or a metal) is folded to form a crease? Why is it that a creased material tends to retain form, while a lightly folded one, ...
2
votes
0answers
50 views

How fast should 6 liters flow out of the sink through a 6cm pipe?

I had 6 liters in the sink when I pulled the plug. It took the water about 30 seconds to get through a pipe which has about 5cm in diameter. I think the pipe might be blocked a bit, causing it to have ...
53
votes
3answers
9k views

How is 6W equivalent to 40W, as claimed by adverts for LED light bulbs?

Every advert I come across for LED bulbs advertise them as the equivalent of a higher W incandescent bulbs. This makes no sense to me, if the room requires 40W to lighten it up then it'll always ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Milk or sugar first to maximize temperature of a hot cup of tea?

If there is a hot cup of tea and we were asked to add milk and sugar, which mixing order would make the hottest tea? I personally think that the order doesn't matter, since sugar wouldn't change the ...
6
votes
1answer
98 views

Why do headphones tangle themselves whereas shoe laces untie themselves?

Why do headphones tangle themselves whereas shoe laces untangle or untie themselves? Why aren't we using the phenomenon to create headphones that tangle less and shoe laces that untie less?
47
votes
2answers
8k views

Why do I see better under water using swimming goggles? [duplicate]

I am myopic (I don't really know if this is relevant or not) and I usually swim without contact lenses. My vision is clearly better underwater when I am using swimming goggles. I have tried to ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Is it scientifically possible to stop a screens polarization by adding a layer? [closed]

Back story: At work we deal with confidential data, however our desk layout does not allow for screen privacy. We do not a privacy screens and are not allowed to take apart our screens. In searching ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Hard drive disk seems to “move” its weight when running

I have an external box for hard drives and plugged a broken hard disk to it. Then I turned it on and took it in hand. Now, if I gently tilt and turn the box on its axis, the weight seems to "go" in ...
1
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0answers
22 views

Optimal two-stage warming up of a bottle of baby milk

Here's a common two-stage method to warm up a bottle of baby milk to avoid uneven milk temperature: 1) Heat up a bowl of water in a microwave oven. 2) Put the bottle into the bowl of heated water to ...
1
vote
4answers
94 views

Why adhesion is stronger at faster peeling rate?

Adhesion is strong at fast peeling rates and weak at slow peeling rate (paper, video; Newtonian adhesive, non-Newtonian adhesive?), i.e. it is rate-sensitive. Why? (source: Meitl et al.: thanks to ...
0
votes
3answers
87 views

Lifting and putting down a weight

A man in a gym lifts a weight and then puts it down where it was before. 1) What can be say about the work done by the man to the weight? 2) Can it be equal in absolute value to the work made by ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Why purple seems so to similar to red? [duplicate]

Purple lights has the highest frequency among all visible lights, while the red lights is the least frequent one. However, purple seems to be a mix of red and blue to human eyes, why?
3
votes
1answer
33 views

Slackline tangling

This question is about random formation of knots in a systematically tied rope. I will give some background, hope that does not make it off-topic. In climbing (and sailing) one has to store very long ...
4
votes
4answers
310 views

Why do wheels spin?

I'm pretty sure this is probably a stupid question but it is annoying me a lot. In my physics textbook it says, cars move because the wheels exert a backward force on the ground and the ground exerts ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Patterns in falling viscous fluids

It is a common observation that honey(or any other viscous fluid),tends to overlap/coil/wind up as it reaches the rigid surface. There is this little bend near the pile-up. Why is this so? How does a ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Mechanics of a falling cat [duplicate]

It is a general statement that cats tend to fall on their feet. How far is this is a valid statement? If I were to drop a cat from 50 meters height, feet up(hypothetically), would it still land on ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Is a laminated padlock really stronger than a solid one, and if so, why?

I used to think that the padlock design of using many layers of metal stacked to form the main body was a cost-cutting consideration. This was my assumption before I came across the idea that it was ...
3
votes
2answers
51 views
3
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1answer
92 views

Why doesn't spaghetti knot when stirred?

When I cook spaghetti, they never tangle themselves so much to form knots, neither when in the boiling water nor when they're mixed with sauce. Why is this so? I experience this behaviour both with ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Direct comparison of energy measurements for kids

I am planning a few physics & science sessions in the woods with 14 year-olds. The theme for one of the sessions is Energy, and my aim is to show them how gravity, solar radiation, wind (air ...
55
votes
3answers
10k views

Why do beams of light (from torches or other directed sources) not extend to infinity?

When I'm in a dark environment, and I turn on a torch, I can see the beam of light from the torch. To the best of my understanding, the main reason why I can see the beam of light is that the light ...
4
votes
0answers
92 views

Entropy change in a boiling egg

Yesterday in a rather intuitive Q/A session, by a visiting researcher in my town, this question got my attention.What he said was that if you boil an egg, the entropy inside the egg would increase.Now ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

How does the jumper in Christmas lights work?

This is the structure according to my textbook: I don't know what the glass insulator are for?? But there is indeed a thin layer of insulator coating on the jumper. Why I don't know, too, what that ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Please explain this optical phenomenon, as seen from the top of the cup [closed]

So here is a cup, and i poured some water in it. The question is why do i see those multiple reflections? What causes these images?
117
votes
2answers
9k views

Why does a mirror split my laser beam?

Last night my daughter was asking why a mirror "always does that" (referring to reflecting a spot of light). To help her figure it out, I grabbed my green laser pointer so she could see the light ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

If my windows are open on a windy day, the curtains sway and the doors slam shut. Why don't I feel this wind?

I am standing indoors, right in front of my open window, as I see my curtains moving back and forth and I can hear my closed doors shaking. I can also hear the wind howling loudly. Why don't I feel ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Windchill effect or something else

If I'm driving a fire truck on a cold winter night, given the following factors. Will it create an effect that could freeze the water pump faster than if it were just parked in the same conditions. ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Why does wind sound the way it does?

You can obviously hear wind. From everyday experience, the stronger the wind, the louder its sound. But this sound is always similar, and quite distinctive, noise-like. Can one compute the spectrum ...
-4
votes
3answers
76 views

Doesn't any massive conductor look like “ground” to an AC supply?

I've been puzzling over this excellent answer to the perennial "Why don't I get shocked by a hot wire if I'm not grounded?" question. The orders of magnitude just don't seem right for two reasons: ...
3
votes
2answers
862 views

How does making “pyramid hologram projectors using smartphones” work?

The basis of this question is this video, where a 3D hologram like effect is achieved using a 4 sided hollow pyramid. I don't know if this is holography in the usual sense. Can some one explain this ...
3
votes
2answers
52 views

Can wind be defined as momentum/mass of air molecules?

In the past I thought a breeze of wind was "made" from a large amount of air molecules going all the same direction in the same speed. But it's not like that, actually this voted answer, this site, ...
1
vote
0answers
103 views

Why do trees sway?

Resonance can also occur in three dimensions (such as wind induced swaying) I tried to make a free body diagram (I know it is terribly wrong) to find the forces that causes the tree to undergo ...