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

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8
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2answers
994 views

How does my hand amplify an FM radio signal?

I have a gizmo that broadcasts an FM radio signal from my phone's headphone socket to my car's radio antenna. Sometimes, there's another station on the same frequency with a stronger signal and my ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why don't electric workers get electrocuted when only touching one wire? [duplicate]

I know that when electricians work on the poles on the streets, if they only touch one wire at a time they will be fine. However, from my understanding, the negative wire is connected to a large ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Does more reflective aluminum foil make a room cooler compared to less reflective foil?

Aluminum foil is said to be not absorbing light at all. It reflects light. So, does it mean that a more shiny aluminum foil will reflect more light and thus make the room more cooler as compared to ...
14
votes
1answer
287 views

Modelling the movement and jumps of a chalk while drawing a dashed line on a blackboard

You probably know that if you try to draw a line using a piece of chalk on a blackboard , under some conditions (for example, $\alpha<\frac{\pi}{2}$ in the picture below) you will have a dashed ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Why do lumps of sugar break more easily when blowing in it?

My question is simple, when you have a small lump of sugar, it's hard to break it with your bare hands, but when you blow in it, it appears to be more easy. (it's a piece of advice i learned for my ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

How do whisky stones keep your drink cold?

From a discussion in the DMZ (security stack exchange's chat room - a place where food and drink are important topics) we began to question the difference between how ice and whisky stones work to ...
6
votes
2answers
600 views

Why is it hard to breathe when cycling against the wind?

Sometimes when I bicycle against hard wind, I find it difficult to breathe. Others I have discussed it with have also noticed this effect. A possible related phenomenon that I heard from an ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

Seashell occurrance

Sometimes, sea shells accumulate on the sea shore, but sometimes they will instead be dragged back out to sea. What are the main physical factors that determine which of these things will happen?
3
votes
1answer
195 views

Does tapping at the side of a bottle prevent shaken soda from bubbling over?

Anecdotal evidence has it that a bottle of soda that was heavily shaken will not bubble over if tapped at the side multiple times. Yet I wonder: Has the tapping really any effect? Or could it be that ...
4
votes
3answers
399 views

Does more rain strike a vehicle while moving or while stopped (or neither)? [duplicate]

Assume there is a rainstorm, and the rain falling over the entire subject area is perfectly, uniformly distributed. Now assume there are two identical cars in this area. One is standing still, and ...
16
votes
7answers
7k views

Does an empty refrigerator require more power to stay cold than a full one?

Given that everything else is equal (model of fridge, temperature settings, external temperature, altitude), over a given duration of having the door closed, does it require more electricity to cool ...
3
votes
4answers
197 views

Would a phone move upon vibration in a completely uniform situation?

I was sitting down yesterday and saw my phone vibrate on a side, and it moved about a centimetre per vibration. I wondered why it moves, and thought perhaps that the side it was on had a slight ...
6
votes
3answers
297 views

How can I determine the coefficient $k$ in $ \dfrac{dT}{dt} = -k(T - 100 \mathrm{^\circ C}) $?

I recently spend some time on cooking and I'm curious about the time evolution of the temperature of the water. I did some experiment and the temperature is of the form $$ T = 100 \mathrm{^\circ C} + ...
9
votes
3answers
715 views

How hot is the water in the pot?

Question: How hot is the water in the pot? More precisely speaking, how can I get a temperature of the water as a function of time a priori? Background & My attempt: Recently I started spend ...
8
votes
1answer
440 views

What determines bubble locations in boiling water?

Something a little different to our usual fare. I was boiling a pan of water for cookery the other day, and got to wondering what caused the location of the bubble streams from the bottom of the pan. ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Reducing deposition on power supply wires

From my house there are two wires, i.e. a live and a ground wire which are placed on the power supply lines by a hook. They are not tightly jointed because of some reasons. These two wires are also in ...
9
votes
5answers
24k views

Why is AC more “dangerous” than DC?

After going through several forums, I became more confused whether it is DC or AC that is more dangerous. In my text book, it is written that the peak value of AC is greater than that of DC, which is ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Why does higher acceleration minimize a car's fuel consumption?

I generally try to optimize my car's fuel consumption when driving, using my car's real-time MPG gauge and average-trip MPG indicator. Until recently, I believed the slower the acceleration, the ...
2
votes
1answer
288 views

Why does tea rises in the pot but water don't?

I was wondering when I boil water in a pot it only shakes too much while boiling. But I could not figure out why tea rises in the pot when we boil it. it is also a liquid but it starts rising up till ...
1
vote
2answers
497 views

What will happen if we place salt water on a induction cooker?

As we know that induction cooker works on the principal of induction of current in a conducting plate. So I just wanted to know what will happen if we place salt water in a plastic container on the ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

What pressure or tension occurs in a glass jar when I pour boiling water inside?

Sometimes it happens that when you pour a boiling water into a glass jar, it cracks. Since glass is very hard material and resilient to pressure, the tension must be very high. Is it possible to ...
10
votes
2answers
295 views

What if the lid of a pressure cooker was suddenly released?

My dad and I have tried to calculate the strength of the explosion if the lid was suddenly freed. We took some measures: Lid mass: $0.7 \textrm{kg}$ Lid surface: $0.415 \textrm{m}^2$ Internal ...
16
votes
2answers
353 views

Stripeless cleaning of windows

Cross post: http://chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/4377/22 Last week I was discussing with a friend how we thought the stripeless cleaning of windows is achieved when using a cleaner like Windex ...
5
votes
4answers
311 views

Can a balloon be used as an anchor point for a pulley?

For a physics/ engineering contest, I want to use a large balloon as an anchor point for a pulley. This would allow me to raise and drop masses. However, in testing, when I pull on the pulley the ...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

Flushing water-Is it related to Coriolis force? [duplicate]

There are videos and articles on the internet which demonstrate that water flows down a flush clockwise in Northern Hemisphere and anti-clockwise in Southern Hemisphere. Here are a couple of links ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Using Electrostatic Force to Repel Dust From an Object

I have two 4,000V, 2.5mA, DC power supplies and am attempting to use them in such a way to cause a 6x4x1-inch ABS plastic object to repel dust from the ambient air and prevent this dust from settling ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

What's the principle used in infant breath monitor devices?

Such a device consists of a sensor pad that is placed under a mattress: What's the principle it uses to detect breathing?
1
vote
1answer
77 views

What controls the heating ability of steamers?

Pictured below is a standalone steamer used for foaming and heating milk for milk-based coffee drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. They can be filled with water up to the pressure relief incorporated ...
19
votes
11answers
3k views

Are there still 'everyday' phenomena unexplained by Physics? [closed]

There are two very famous quotes from German Nobel Laureate Albert Abraham Michelson that are remembered mainly for being extremely wrong (especially since he said them just before two major ...
1
vote
1answer
334 views

Is my electric power cord creating magnetic field when coiled?

Simple question. But I was wondering, does my mac power cord create a magnetic field when its all coiled?
29
votes
4answers
7k views

What causes ballpoint pens to write intermittently?

After a while, a ball point pen doesn't write very well anymore. It will write for a little distance, then leave a gap, then maybe write in little streaks, then maybe write properly again. It seems ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

When driving uphill why can't I reach a velocity that I would have been able to maintain if I started with it?

Consider these two situations when driving on a long straight road uphill: Starting at a high velocity $v_h$, which the car is able to maintain. Starting at a lower velocity $v_l$, and then trying ...
4
votes
1answer
250 views

why do lightbulbs sometimes unscrew by themselves?

I've seen some light fixtures which exhibit the behavior of lightbulbs gradually unscrewing by themselves.
10
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3answers
2k views

Does sound propagate further in freezing weather?

A few days ago I went for a walk in the evening. We're having winter with a little snow and freezing temperatures. We're in a quiet, shallow valley with a train station about 1km from us. I heard a ...
1
vote
1answer
406 views

Confused about fire?

Im confused about fire. The way I see it : Heat creates (kinetic) energy in mass and this creates stronger vibrations of atoms. When those vibrations are strong enough the electrons interact ...
2
votes
3answers
515 views

Why does smoke go inside the car if the back door is open?

Inspired by another question I wanted to ask about phenomenon that I've experienced. We had a van with separate trunk deprtment (similar looking one below) to transport things. But some of the things ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does smoke go out the window of the car - and what if there's wind blowing instead of the car moving?

When driving a car while smoking with the window open (safety and legal issues aside), I've noticed that the smoke tends to go outside the window. Why does the smoke go outside? If the car is ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Would a bicycle stay upright if moving on a treadmill and why?

I suspect not, because moving forward (or backwards for that matter) is an important part, but I would like to confirm. UPDATE: Clearly it's possible ...
1
vote
2answers
301 views

How does this chair move?

I have a chair like this(shown in figure). I was kneeling on the part where we sit. I just gave a sudden push to the part where we rest the back, without moving my legs. I found that the chair is ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

How much information about the scale of a waterfall can be obtained from its sound?

Is it possible to constrain the height, volume flow, or distance of a waterfall from the quantitative analysis of a high-quality recording of its sound? As an aside, the simulated sounds of fluid ...
2
votes
1answer
369 views

What is the cause of orange sky glow?

I live in the Netherlands and recently I have been seeing an orange glow in the sky at night, in the northwestern direction. What is the cause of this? And why is it in the northwestern direction (I ...
2
votes
3answers
233 views

Why is there more steam when water is subject to less fire?

When I cook things, such as scallop and salmon, I found that the food may be more tender if I wait till the water boils (at 100 C) and immediately turn the fire lower so that the water is not bubbling ...
6
votes
3answers
418 views

Why does motion help you balance on ice skates?

It's almost impossible to balance on a single ice skate if you're standing still. But give yourself just a little forward motion—it doesn't take very much—and it suddenly becomes easy. You can stand ...
2
votes
1answer
231 views

Do plastic shoes electrically insulate people from the ground?

I've read on the Internet that wearing plastic shoes doesn't allow electric charges we collect from our environment (PC, TV, appliances) to be earthed. Is this reasoning correct?
0
votes
2answers
147 views

Stealing heat, or not?

Say I hook a 1KW steam engine to the steam heat in my apartment, and generate 1KW of electricity (the engine is 1KW mechanical, not 1KW thermal) from it, so I don't have to pay ConEd. That means I ...
5
votes
1answer
505 views

Why does the milk frother on my coffee machine make so much noise?

I have a Sunbeam home espresso machine with a steam wand. The steam roars out straight from the end of the wand. When it's first placed in the cold milk it really screams! Once the milk has a bit of a ...
15
votes
1answer
697 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
486 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
136 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
265 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 ...