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

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Why does a cooling car engine crackle?

Why does a cooling car engine crackle? What determines the frequency of the crackles?
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6answers
4k views

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Do the front tires of a car act like gyroscopes, such that a car could steer on a frictionless surface?
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35 views

Why does hot food give off vapor?

Does your food melt and then boil to give off this gas? What is the vapor here?
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1answer
35 views

Why do car wheels seem to roll backwards [duplicate]

For many years i have been wondering about this. When a car stars moving the wheels seem to work normally but as the car speeds up, the wheels seem to roll backwards. Of course that does not happen in ...
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2answers
169 views

Hourglass on the Moon

Someone asked me this, and I was surprised to find I couldn't answer it: suppose I have an hourglass / egg timer that times two minutes in Earth's gravity. If I used it on the Moon, how long would it ...
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Is there any advantage to using simple syrup over just dissolving sugar and waiting a minute?

When making coffee, I want to sweeten it with sugar. Many coffee shops offer simple syrup which is essentially just a solution of water saturated with sugar. Obviously, this has the advantage that ...
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3answers
631 views

How do blankets keep you warm?

I heard a famous physicist (was it Feynman?) argue that blankets do not keep you warm by trapping heat but by trapping air next to the body. Is this true?
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0answers
279 views

If human eyes watch an area, what will be shape of its capturing shape? rectangle? half spherical? [migrated]

A normal camera can capture a rectangle shape image. If human eyes watch an area, what will be shape of the captured region? Rectangular? Half-spherical?
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2answers
82 views

What's Optimal About Six Legs According to Physical Laws? [closed]

In many respects the insects can be regarded as the most successful class of animals in evolutionary terms. And one of the most common features of insects is that they (mostly) all have six legs. Not ...
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3answers
44 views

Why is the required tire pressure inversely proportional to the volume/size of the tire?

I once noticed a tire pressure table on a farm recommended a tire pressure of around 1.0 bar (I don't remember the exact number, but it was definitely below 1.9) for the rear tire of farm tractors. ...
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0answers
14 views

How does the Triboelectric effect work? [duplicate]

The general description for the Triboelectric effect (the main cause of static electricity in everyday life) is that when two certain materials come into contact, electrons are transferred between ...
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4answers
115 views

Why Does Angular Velocity Increase as Radius Decrease?

Suppose a child were to ask you why a tetherball (picture below) seems to speed up as it wraps around the pole. How would you explain this to them? Certainly you wouldn't say something like, "Angular ...
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5answers
412 views

Dying question: Tractor wheels — large vs small

This question has stumped me for over a month now: Why is it that a tractor has large wheels at the back and small wheels in the front? Current ideas: small wheel in front --> lower center of ...
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1answer
88 views

Why does water appear still near the shore

Often when there's a light wind I notice this behaviour on lakes that there appears to be a very distinct line between the water with waves and the calm water. I don't know how well it comes through ...
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1answer
48 views

Why is a bow always arch-shaped and not of other shape?

Everytime I see a bow , one thing is greatly noticable- its arch shape. I have never seen bow other than this shape. But what is the cause for taking this shape for the bow? What is the physics behind ...
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1answer
73 views

Why does my jam often “fall up”?

I often get my jam out of the refrigerator, and it looks like this: That is, all the jam has gone to the top, looking as if the jar has been sitting upside down. However, this happens fairly ...
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1answer
20 views

Can physicist estimate is it safe to walk/drive on ice? [closed]

I'm curious about the following: Suppose that I know the the weather forecasts of a given place. How can I compute from that data whether or not it is secure to walk or drive by a car to an island.
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2answers
89 views

Kitchen floor dries faster with lights on?

My mother used to leave the lights on in the kitchen after washing the floor, saying that it would dry faster. Does this really happen, or is it just a superstition? If true, how substantial is the ...
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2answers
866 views

How does varying temperature affect the accuracy of grandma's pendulum clock?

I have an antique pendulum clock(my granny's!) . If I detail it, This clock is approximately 5 feet tall and enclosed by wood and below it its glorious pendulum oscillates . It gave more or less ...
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5answers
4k views

Why are a motorcycle's front brakes more effective than back?

I've noticed that when I apply the front brakes on my bike it stops quite quickly. If I apply the back brakes at the same speed, it skids rather than stopping quickly. Why?
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1answer
87 views

Why is shifter necessary in cars? [closed]

Electric cars do not have shifter, while gasoline cars do (manual or automatic, it doesn't matter). Why?
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1answer
20 views

Most efficient way to cool a two story house with two fans?

Suppose I have two fans in my two story house, one in an upstairs window and another in a downstairs window. I want to cool my whole house; it is cooler outside than inside. Is it more efficient for ...
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0answers
24 views

How different sizes of water bubbles behaves in space

I watched a YouTube video of Chris Hadfield talking about different preventive measure for spills in space station. He is using water to demonstrate spills in space station. At 0.24sec the initially ...
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1answer
62 views

Can one calculate the distance from Earth to the camera, given a single picture?

Given an image of (part of) a sphere of known size, can one calculate the distance to the camera based on the relative size of the sphere in the image? My instinct is "no" unless you have some fixed ...
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1answer
271 views

what kind of wings would a person need to fly?

I heard from a teacher in school that in order to fly, he would need a wingspan much wider than the wood shop where he was standing. Thinking back on it, I assume the number of times you can beat your ...
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2answers
78 views

What make us fall when we move on ice? [duplicate]

This is a common phenomenon and most of the people have encountered this while moving on ice:falling down! Why does this occur? According to me, it is due to lack of static friction. But why will it ...
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2answers
97 views

Why can't we reach the ends of rainbow?

Rainbows are spectacular things. But I imagine why we can't reach to the ends of rainbows. Do rainbows have no ends ? If so, why can't we reach at them? If you go closer,they will go further. Why?
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38 views

Magnetic field of magnetic screwdriver?

I wanted to know what is the typical strength of the magnetic field generated by the tip of a magnetic screwdriver, but couldn't find it anywhere on the manufacturers' webpages. So I was wondering, ...
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2answers
202 views

Why do corn flakes clump together in milk when stirred? [duplicate]

The Cheerios Effect is the name the scientific community has given to this phenomenon. When cornflakes or oats are mixed with milk and stirred, they tend to clump together. Why does this happen? Can ...
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3answers
4k views

Why do the big nuts always remain at top? The Brazil-nut Effect

Most of the time I mixed different nuts in a bowl, I observed that the big Brazil nuts were always at top while the small peanuts settled near the base. No matter how you take it, if the big nuts are ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does a dish cloth absorb liquid better when it is damp?

Take a really dry dish cloth and try to wipe up some liquid you spilled on the kitchen counter. I will take up only so much of the liquid. Then try it with a damp cloth (or a wring out a wet one). It ...
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3answers
559 views

Benefits of rear spoiler in cars

What would be the benefits of rear spoilers in cars, like this one:
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1answer
28 views

How big are soluted salts in drinking water?

I have just seen the TED talk Michael Pritchard: How to make filthy water drinkable where a device called LifeSaver bottle that filters particles that are bigger than 15nm out of water. I have heard ...
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2answers
199 views

Glass tends to be cold?

In winter, our glass window serves as a separator of coldness outside and warmth inside our room. We know that the window feels cold when we touch it. Since the air temperature is different in ...
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0answers
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Definition of spatial and temporal coherence in QM?

It is often said that lasers are spatially and temporally coherent. Is there a simple definition of spatial and temporal coherence in the language of quantum mechanics? More specifically, can these be ...
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2answers
286 views

Why do we use kilograms instead of newtons to measure weight in everyday life?

What was the reason to use kilograms to measure weight (e.g. body weight, market vegetables etc.) instead of using newtons?
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2answers
203 views

Why is cooling much harder than heating?

I'm trying to invent a distillation apparatus that runs solely on electricity. Suddenly, I realized that cooling things is really hard, while heating them up is so easy. Actually, it seems that there ...
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1answer
56 views

Why do bubble wands have ridges?

The bubble wands supplied with children's bubble mixtures seem to fairly universally have a set of ridges around the hole used to create bubbles - for example, see the circle in the upper right of ...
72
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2answers
4k views

Why does my wooden door disperse light into a rainbow color spectrum?

On a clear morning, light comes through this window (viewed from the inside) It then hits the door on the opposite side (so viewing from the outside the door straight on the other side) There is ...
5
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1answer
256 views

Why is wet paper transparent? [duplicate]

When paper get wet, it becomes transparent. How does this happen? Is it because of refraction, or bcause water extends the space between molecules that consist of the paper? I have no clue.
6
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1answer
233 views

Steam above meal

When I fry something on the pan and the fire is big and intensive (the flame over the pan), there is no stean above the pan or just a little. But when I turn off the fire, suddenly the steam appears, ...
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1answer
51 views

Cold welding of a metallic surface

I have heard of cold welding, it's said that it's only possible if the surface is very clean. Can cold welding be accomplished by shearing a metal object and then immediately touching the newly ...
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2answers
279 views

How does train back draft work

Quoting platforms and stations : Fast trains can create a vacuum called a ‘back draft’ that can blow you over or suck you under a train. How does that work ? I thought that the volume of air ...
17
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3answers
783 views

Why is the sky dark at night? [duplicate]

The question is the well-known Olbers' paradox: If there are so many/infinite stars, in every direction, why is it dark at night? Where goes all the light we don't see? Discussing with a friend ...
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1answer
48 views

Modeling wall's behaviour

Sorry if the quesiton is inconvenient, but I judged the physics forum would be the best place to go. My house is divided in two parts by a wall, and there's some tree pushing it, so the wall is about ...
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1answer
52 views

Will a tug-of-war battle damage my climbing rope

I plan to organize a big tug-of-war with a climbing rope (70m long) with 50-60 adults. I know the climbing rope is elastic. The rope resistance is 9 kN when a chock occurs. Will the rope breaks or ...
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2answers
80 views

Which dumplings will be more salty?

There are two identical pots filled with different amounts of water (one has more water, the other one has less). The same amount of salt has been poured to each pot. The same amount of dumplings has ...
2
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2answers
118 views

How can you accurately determine your own mass?

I'm trying to figure out whether it is possible for an individual to accurately determine his/her own mass, to within 100g, using equipment that is readily accessible or can be purchased at a ...
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1answer
39 views

What is the best angle to see water

Sometimes when I clean my house, I miss some of the water since it seems invisible, but when I stand in different angle from the water I can see it clearly, whereas some angles offer partial ...
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2answers
142 views

Can you punch a hole in an A4 sheet of paper with your hand?

The Heading says it all. But let me explain it a little further. Suppose you hang a sheet of paper (A4 size), from one end leaving the other end free. Now practically it seems impossible to punch a ...