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

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Suntan: UV absorption vs daytime

I guess that these questions were being asked by many people on the Northern Hemisphere during this summer (and other summers) and someone may give a nice, coherent answer. The general question is how ...
2
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1answer
342 views

Why does a white object lit by a blue light cast an orange shadow?

I was reading this blog post: http://ianstormtaylor.com/design-tip-never-use-black/ Which phenomenon explains this: But I must have been thinking the same thing, because one of those days in art ...
1
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1answer
906 views

Is squared motor gearbox ratio proportional to inertia ratio?

I read an interesting article http://m.machinedesign.com/news/motor-sizing-made-easy It is very interesting, but I can not follow the 2nd last paragraph. I don't understand why it is true. ...
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1answer
139 views

Why is there a sharp cracking sound when we break a plastic ruler?

Why is there a sharp cracking sound when we break a plastic ruler? The question appears to be simple and common but I need a apropriate answer.
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2answers
326 views

Heating coffee by yelling?

Is it a myth that yelling to a coffee mug will heat it? I have been hearing my friend saying that screaming will heat coffee or water.
4
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1answer
703 views

Opening the fridge door to cool a room

I'm well aware that the default answer to this textbook default question is "it doesn't work", but still, I believe it does. To cool the insides of the fridge, the compressor must do work, and since ...
8
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6answers
580 views

What's the best strategy to fully fill the fridge with beer bottles and have them all cooled?

I'm having a party. Suppose I'd like to have a fridge full of cold ($6~^\circ\text{C}$ or below) beer bottles, in as short a time frame as possible. The fridge indicates that it is targeting (and ...
3
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4answers
155 views

Molecule vs Crystal

Feynman mentions in his lectures: ...the concept of a molecule of a substance is only approximate and exists only for a certain class of substances. It is clear in the case of water that the ...
3
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2answers
380 views

Would a small puddle of water evaporate faster if you spread a dry towel over it?

Let's say you spill 10ml of water on the kitchen counter. It forms a small puddle that would evaporate after a while (assuming room temperature and sane humidity). Would spreading a large, dry towel ...
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1answer
1k views

Why does a car go down the hill backwards even though the engine keeps running? [closed]

I dont get why a forward gear allows sliding a car backwards. Any ideas? So this is a car with an automatic transmission. The transmission is in the drive mode (move forward). Car is at the slope ...
4
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2answers
214 views

Shape of the rainbow

I have watched Walter Lewin's lecture(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QVbE_tU2sA) which was about the rainbows. But there is still a question bothering me. I understood the first part of the ...
7
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2answers
867 views

Why is getting a tan in the evening less likely than getting a tan in the morning?

When I was young I read one book in which is written that you get more tan on the morning than on evening even light angle from Sun to Earth is the same. Don't remember exact reason, I think because ...
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77 views

What causes a whirlpool to form in a bathtub? [duplicate]

I mean, when you have a full bathtub and then let it empty, under what conditions does a whirlpool form? Could we devise an experiment and measure this effect? When it comes to fluids, I don't know ...
5
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1answer
659 views

Why does a breeze of wind make us feel cooler? [duplicate]

In my Astronomy class, I learned that temperature results from the speed of air molecules colliding into your skin. Thus, if the air molecules in the room have a high kinetic energy and thus collide ...
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0answers
22 views

Windflow in a car [duplicate]

When driving on a highway, if the front two windows of a car are open , how does the air flow in and out of the windows? Clearly, air cannot keep accumulating inside the car, so how/where does the air ...
3
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3answers
175 views

Why does an ice cube not twirl along when twirling a drink glass?

When you have a drink with an ice cube and twirl the glass, the liquid itself seems to twirl but the ice cube stays roughly in the same place. Why is this?
2
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1answer
235 views

A bumpy ride on a bike?

While riding a bike at a higher velocity, I go over the speed breakers (Hump) I get jumped over the bike for a certain height. How do I calculate this height of jump with respect to the seat of the ...
40
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1answer
2k views

Why does dry spaghetti break into three pieces as opposed to only two?

You can try it with your own uncooked spaghetti if you want; it almost always breaks into three when you snap it. I am asking for a good physical theory on why this is along with evidence to back it ...
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4answers
4k views

On a hot day, when it's cooler outside than in; is it better to put a fan in an open window pointing inwards or outwards?

If it's really hot inside, but cooler outside; what is the best way to place a single fan to try and cool a room down? I always assumed it would be better pointing inwards (and this thread suggests ...
2
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1answer
129 views

Why do new towels dry better after a few uses?

Most of you will be familiar with the phenomenon: you have bought a new towel and you first have to wash it or use it a couple of times before it starts to work properly, i.e. dry your body after ...
13
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2answers
227 views

Why do clouds form in lumps?

What forces drive the water vapor to form the shapes every child draws? Why isn't water vapor forming an uniform mist layer consistently (which it some times does)? I have two general ideas how this ...
10
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2answers
248 views

In a large city how much hotter on average is it outside due to the air conditioning of all the buildings?

Title pretty much states the question. How much hotter do air conditioning units make it outside in a large city like NYC, Chicago, etc?
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3answers
412 views

A book sits on a table. What is the net force of air pressure?

An elementary problem asks, A book is at rest on a table top. In what direction is the net force of air pressure on the book? Is this a meaningful question, and if so, what's the answer? If ...
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4answers
2k views

Why does a cork float to the side of a glass?

What is this physical phenomenon and when it's happen ? Please take a look at this picture: Link to picture Notice: This is a cork ball attracted to sides of a glass of water
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4answers
3k views

Why does wet skin sunburn faster?

There is a popular belief that wet skin burns or tans faster. However, I've never heard a believable explanation of why this happens. The best explanation I've heard is that the water droplets on the ...
2
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1answer
126 views

Balloon Inflation

I am planning to use an air compressor to inflate a rubber balloon. I need to size the compressor for inflating the balloon, but for sizing the compressor I need the pressure required to inflate the ...
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1answer
1k views

What force does bathroom scale measure?

When you stand on a bathroom scale, I know that the force displayed is the normal force. Since it is the normal force, then technically the force displayed would actually be Fg= (mass)(acceleration) ...
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3answers
4k views

Where does the light go when I turn off the light switch?

As above... Surely it must go somewhere? My child asked me this question and it was a difficult one to answer.
77
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24answers
8k views

How can you weigh your own head in an accurate way?

I read some methods but they're not accurate. They use the Archimedes principle and they assume uniform body density which of course is far from true. Others are silly like this one: Take a knife ...
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1answer
107 views

Calculating Mass for a Reduced Trajectory while Keeping Projectile Force Constant

Apologies if this is not a research-specific question, but applied mechanics. A firefighter has to pass a test in which he is to throw a medicine ball a certain distance. The ball is thrown at a 45 ...
12
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1answer
3k views

How do they measure the rotational speed of cricket balls?

The 2013 Ashes series (a cricket thing between England and Australia) are underway as of today and it seems they have a new (to me) gimmick. It appears that they are now able to measure almost ...
5
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2answers
362 views

Why can't I slap an insect into unconsciousness?

So it is summer, which means I have to deal with insects. Today one has made it into my room and while I tried to work this insect was constantly in my face, which caused me waving my hands in the ...
11
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2answers
565 views

Movie airplanes and suction

Having watched a recent action movie (with zombies in it) I wondered whether the suction from a hole in the airplane's hull would really be able to rip out luggage, persons and even seating benches. ...
25
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6answers
2k views

Canonical everyday-life example of a technology that could not work without humans mastering QM in analogy to the application of GR in GPS?

The GPS is a very handy example in explaining to a broad audience why it is useful for humanity to know the laws of general relativity. It nicely bridges the abstract theory with daily life ...
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2answers
107 views

Extreme heating by Sun on Earth- Can eggs be fried?

Will it be possible to fry eggs in Sahara desert by just keeping them under the sun? If so, then will the radiated eggs be any different? Or will we have to use the solar cooking concept to some ...
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2answers
353 views

Why do we feel a sudden chill?

When we are in a room, especially in some old houses, we feel this sudden rush of cold air. How does a strong air current arise and pass away so quickly?(lasts for about a second) I know air-currents ...
14
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1answer
637 views

Are these sunglass lenses linearly polarized or what?

This is a difficult question to phrase, so please bear with me. I found some cheap sunglasses and pulled out the plastic lenses which are polarized. For clarity, I have labeled them as lens-1 and -2 ...
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1answer
558 views

How does sun light after it has passed window's pane still heat me up?

I believe it is so because most of photons' energy has successfully passed the glass. But is it so? And how can I roughly estimate part of light's energy which will pass obstacles like glass? And how ...
8
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1answer
891 views

Are two thin blankets significantly warmer than a single thick blanket?

Almost every source I can find online maintains that two 0.5 cm blankets are significantly warmer than a single 1cm blanket due to air trapped between the thin blankets. However, the thermal ...
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1answer
117 views

Why does water freeze at $0~^\circ\text{C}$ while poultry freezes at $-2.2~^\circ\text{C}$?

We all know the freezing point of water is $0~^\circ\text{C}$, however correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the freezing point of poultry (which I'm guessing means water in poultry) is ...
3
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2answers
346 views

How fart is transported through air?

As we know diffussivity of gas is really slow (e.g. $\require{mhchem}\ce{O2}$ and $\ce{H2O}$ in the air are respectively $0.176$ and $0.282 ~\text{cm}^2/\text{s}$). here is a example to specify how ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Does ABS shorten stopping distance of a car?

ABS, from German Antiblockiersystem, is a device put in almost every new automobile. The web has lots of explanations about the system, how it works, but I don't understand how it shortens the way of ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What part of the fan blade actually does the noise generation?

I'm trying to identify the sources of noise in spinning fan blades and what causes them. Is the noise only generated by the lead edge of the blade 'cutting through' air? and different parts of it ...
29
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3answers
1k views

Floating a ping pong ball in the air just using a pen!

Caution: Apparently this problem is harder than it seems! There is a well known phenomena, which I first learnt about when I was a 10 years old kid. You can levitate a ping pong(or whatever ...
0
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1answer
99 views

Increase in cloth's mass

When we iron our clothes does the mass of the cloth increase, since energy transformation and transfer happens, Einstein's energy mass relation comes to action and causes increase in mass. Am I right ...
-1
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1answer
106 views

Heat preserving performance of container relative to content

This question has been addressed in the case of a thermos bottle: Performance of a thermos bottle relative to contents I am asking the question again without the hypothesis that it is a thermos ...
3
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2answers
263 views

Why do some air-conditioned stores blast you with jets of air as you enter?

I went to a grocery store on a hot day that was very well air-conditioned, and I noticed as I went through the open entrance that there seemed to be a very powerful downward air current right at the ...
6
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2answers
499 views

Why do objects sometimes fall on their own?

I have observed sometimes that when I keep some objects precariously balanced, for e.g. some objects in a cupboard, they seem quite stable at the time when I place them there but after a certain ...
8
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2answers
232 views

Why is the summer, in the temperate latitudes, in average, hotter that the spring?

It is common knowledge that the transition from the Spring to the Summer season occurs in the Summer Solstice when the "Sun reaches its highest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the ...
3
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2answers
631 views

Performance of a thermos bottle relative to contents

I'm not a physicist but I majored it at high school (a long time ago) and I study university math. Me and my roommate discussed whether the performance of a Thermos bottle is influenced by how full ...