Applies to questions related to common objects and frequently experienced effects. Typically, these questions require explaining how the laws of physics are applied to a common situation, how objects work, etc.

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14
votes
1answer
502 views

Why is boiling water the second time more quiet than boiling it the first time?

First of all: This is a different question than Why is boiling water loud, then quiet?, although the answers might be similar. When I wake up, I boil some water for a cup of tea. It happens quite ...
5
votes
0answers
320 views

Where to place a fan in order to cool a room the fastest [closed]

Imagine I have room that is very hot and it is colder outside. I want to cool it down using a fan. Scenario 1 There is only one door. I have one fan. Where should I put it and which way should it ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

What are the optimal conditions to fuel your car?

I was filling my car earlier today, and noticed a sticker posted on the pump. This pump dispenses fuel at a volumetric amount measured in standard gallons (231 cubic inches). It does not adjust ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Why doesn't a neon sign seem that hot?

I heard that neon signs contain plasma, why aren't they hot? is it because the electrons and ions do not hit the lamp's wall? Is it because it is non thermal plasma and electrons and ions are not in ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

How would one calculate the amount of water contained in a cloud?

So I was looking out the sky one day and I wondered how I would go about calculating how much water was contained in a cloud. I figured the following simple outline 1) We need to roughly know how big ...
23
votes
5answers
6k views

Why does a tire need to be filled with air?

The Mini 4WD's tires aren't full of air, and it can run. Also, the tank doesn't have tires with air. So, the question is: why do real cars on the road need to be filled with air? What is the idea ...
2
votes
4answers
175 views

Is a flawless trick die possible?

Trick dice have been used in gambling and magic shows. These are dice that, when rolled, will land with a preferred number facing upwards. This makes the result of rolling the dice non-random. I was ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Physics of a burning log of firewood

According to my knowledge, heat is nothing but the result of the vibrations of atoms and molecules. I guess this mean that in heating up a gas or liquid, we are increasing the rate at which the ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Why do balloons deflate?

Title says it all. Every balloon that I have got, from parties, etc, all slowly deflated for no reason at all. Why is that?
0
votes
2answers
546 views

Center of gravity of vehicle and vehicle performance

I am interested to know how does CG of vehicle plays role in the Fuel economy and the vehicle performance. Does CG of vehicle has anything to do while accelerating of your vehicle. I am a student, ...
7
votes
4answers
901 views

What happens when we cut objects?

What is the role of the molecular bonds in the process of cutting something? What the one of the Pauli exclusion principle, responsible for the "hardness" of matter? Moreover, is all the energy ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

What is the angle at which water is splashed when a vehicle tyre rides in water on the road?

I would like to know the following: What is the angle at which water gets splashed when I ride my vehicle through a water on the road? How does angle of water varies with speed? What is the relation ...
2
votes
1answer
718 views

What exactly is a Fluorescent lamp?

A fluorescent tube (home-based) works on the principle of discharge of electricity through gases, as far as I can tell (I don't know much about cathode rays or gas discharge) What happens inside the ...
0
votes
1answer
159 views

Do arXiv links last for the forseeable future? [closed]

If I give someone an arXiv link, say http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.0118 , will this link last for the foreseeable future?
4
votes
2answers
873 views

Why does the higher of two medical IV bags empties first?

I'm a nurse, so my physics background is about that of a lay person. Please explain on that level. Ordinarily an Intravenous (IV) fluid bag is one liter. An IV piggyback is usually 2500ml. usually the ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

Why do beverages taste different based on how cold they are? [closed]

Why does temperature effect the taste of beverages? Specifically, how does the temperature for example mask certain tastes ie filtered vs unfiltered water taste very similar at colder temp and Is ...
1
vote
1answer
267 views

Why does the water-pressure of my shower fall if I hold the shower head high?

I live in a very old house - build 1902 - in the 4th floor in the city of Karlsruhe (Germany). I have a shower and the gas-heater for the water is in it: If I hold the shower head over some height ...
3
votes
2answers
191 views

Inefficiency Comparison of Car Air Conditioning vs. Open Windows

On a recent long, hot journey in Spain, I was pondering which was the most efficient way of cooling the car. Which of these would be the most effective? Switching on the air conditioning, thereby ...
3
votes
2answers
690 views

Why are coke bottles that much fizzier if you shake them?

We've all been there: you drop your bottle of soda at some point and when you try to open it, it bursts into foam. My question is, then: why does shaking a carbonated drink make the dissolved gas ...
1
vote
0answers
215 views

Why is my ballpoint pen spatially temperamental?

I'm trying to write with a ball-point ink pen on a plastic[1] sandwich bag. When I try to write on some parts of the bag, no ink transfers to the bag: I can continue trying for quite a while in vain. ...
5
votes
1answer
520 views

Why do wheels appear to revolve opposite to the direction they are rotating?

When viewing cars that are driving along side of us, sometimes their wheels appear to be turning backwards even though they are traveling in the same direction as our car. Why do they look that way?
0
votes
3answers
478 views

Is there a physical reason steel balls are not suitable to play billiards with?

Steel is an elastic matter and is often used when demonstrating elastic collisions. We also make springs from it. Due to these properties and for its relative low price, it seems obvious to me to ...
2
votes
2answers
644 views

A wobbly pan on an induction cooker, is it less effective?

According to the Wikipedia, one of the limitations of the induction cooker is that the bottom surface of the pot should be flat. Accordingly, I commented on a question on Seasoned Advise, but I'd ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

Physics of Fireworks

This evening I saw the 4th July classic Fireworks in San Diego, and I was wondering about the most physical picture of what was happening. Does anyone have a good way to explain the detailed physical ...
6
votes
3answers
196 views

What's the most efficient strategy to shake a bottle to create a global flow?

Consider a bottle of orange juice with pieces of the fruit gathered at the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the bottle to evenly distribute the pieces in the bottle. The first part of the ...
34
votes
3answers
2k views

Why wet is dark?

When something gets wet, it usually appears darker. This can be observed with soil, sand, cloth, paper, concrete, bricks ... What is the reason for this? How does water soaking into the material ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does paper become transparent when smeared with oil but not (so much) with water?

When I smear oil onto a scrap of paper and rub it in, the paper becomes quite transparent; but when I attempt the same with water it doesn't as much. Why?
9
votes
2answers
589 views

Why is paper more frangible when it is wet?

My four-year-old daughter asked me why paper tends to fall apart when wet, and I wasn't sure. I speculated that the water lubricates the paper fibers so that they can untangle and separate more ...
4
votes
2answers
329 views

How can one feel cold without touching it?

Let me explain. My shower is inconsistant in how hot it gets. Whenever I turn on the shower, I always put my hand really close to the water, but not touching it, so I can feel the heat radiate from ...
1
vote
1answer
460 views

What forces act on a person sitting in a chair with wheels when they push off another stationary object

What is slowing me down when I push off my desk? What are the "Major" contributors? and Does how hard I push with one hand (or with two hands) make a significant difference?
7
votes
4answers
11k views

Why can't helicopters reach mount everest?

Is there a reason why people can't just take the helicopter to mount Everest? Why is it that helicopters can't reach that high?
0
votes
1answer
276 views

Physical Explanation of Being Able to “Think” [closed]

This may look like a philosophical question, but I'm looking for physical explanations (if there's any), that's is why I'm asking it here. What is the ability of thinking? We are all creatures ...
0
votes
1answer
128 views

heat of a laptop when placed on a table, when placed on a pile of books and when placed on a bed [closed]

I heard somewhere that it is dangerous to place a laptop on a bed. The reason given was that placing the laptop on the bed blocks (assume that the laptop does not have sideway fans - it only has air ...
5
votes
1answer
463 views

What is the roaring in a roaring fire?

I was just starting a barbecue fire by blowing on the smouldering coals when I realised I had no idea what the sound was actually caused by. I can make the sound by blowing at almost any flame I can ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Is energy “destroyed” when walking?

Conservation of energy states energy can't be destroyed, but isn't energy used up when walking in a straight line? If your not walking up a slope, kinetic energy isn't converted to gravitational ...
0
votes
1answer
158 views

Is a low-current electrical arc harmful to humans?

I've heard that electrical flux non-destructive particle testing machines are considered safe because they use less than 2 amps. I have seen an arc created between two objects do considerable damage, ...
2
votes
2answers
282 views

Is it possible to have a self-balancing system?

I am trying to create a machine that moves on two points (Wheels or legs). Because of the extremely difficult nature of perfectly balancing the parts, I am wondering is there any way to create a ...
5
votes
1answer
916 views

Hit a bottle of beer on the top with another causes the first to spit all the gas, why?

So, on the other day me and my colleges were discussing the following phenomena: Pick two open bottles of beer. With the bottom of the first, hit the second on the bottleneck, in the following way: ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does it spark when I push a plug in the electrical socket?

When I slowly push a plug into the electrical socket I can often see sparks. Can anybody explain why? Can this be possibly harmful for the devices I plug in?
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is boiling water loud, then quiet?

Water in my electric kettle makes the most noise sixty to ninety seconds before the water comes to a full boil. I have been fooled many times by the noisy kettle, only to discover that the water was ...
3
votes
1answer
246 views

Boiling when I plunge my french press?

Occasionally when I make coffee in my french press I experience something odd. It happens pretty infrequently but certainly enough to be curious about. I have the grounds ready in the carafe. The ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

A practical deceleration question

My friend is a U.S. Army paratrooper. Today, through an unfortunate series of events, he was jerked out of a C-17 traveling at 160 knots by his reserve parachute. First-hand accounts describe it as he ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

Work Done to click a mouse?

Is there any good research done to find out the work done in clicking a mouse button. any link to that would be greatly appreciated. P.S. i am not too sure whether this question belongs here or ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Knots and strengh of a rope

I read a few times that a knot can reduce the strenght of a rope, but I can't understand why this happens. Can someone explain me what happens to a rope tied with a generic knot and stretched? Is ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

Why does the bubbling of a soda bottle pulsate?

If I take a bottle of carbonated water and open the cap slightly to allow the gas to escape, there will be a sudden rush of bubbles foaming to the top of the liquid for a few seconds, then a partial ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Why would it be true that people with longer legs walk faster than ones with shorter legs?

When a person walks, the only force acting on him is the force of friction between him and the ground (neglecting air resistance and all). The magnitude of acceleration due to this force is ...
7
votes
2answers
389 views

Why do books have dog ears?

I googled the question and found no explanation. It seems that dog ears are inevitable (for paperbacks, notably) even if you've always been careful. From my experience, they are about equally likely ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

How much is 1 electron-volt (eV)?

I am interested in knowing how much is one eV of energy. Everywhere I found are the technical definitions. Can anybody please tell me how much is this much energy. I need something which I can feel. I ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

Why do rain waves form and what is their connection to the texture of the surface they're on?

When it rains and water flows down an inclined street, ripples may form that are carried along with the current. Here's a picture with an example of what I'm talking about I'd like to know what the ...
1
vote
0answers
90 views

Is putting a charged balloon up to a neutral wall polarization AND temporary induction, or just polarization?

Is putting a balloon that is charged up against a wall and having it stick polarization AND charging by temporary induction, or just polarization?