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

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36
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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 ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does paper become translucent 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 translucent; but when I attempt the same with water it doesn't as much. Why?
12
votes
2answers
752 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
414 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
512 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
14k 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
288 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
141 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
534 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
166 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
166 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
331 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
970 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
4k 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?
22
votes
2answers
5k 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
286 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
462 views

Why don't we see solar and lunar eclipses often?

Since we see the new moon at least once in a month when the Moon gets in between of the Sun and the Earth during the evening ( and as far as I know if this happens during the day, you'll get to see a ...
3
votes
1answer
200 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
192 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
162 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
275 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
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
426 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
6k 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
210 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
92 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?
10
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do ice cubes come out easier from top trays?

This is my "hey, I've noticed that too!" question for the week. If you stack two plastic ice cube trays with water in them in a freezer, the resulting ice cubes in the top tray will usually come out ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Please recommend a good book about physics for young child (elementary school aged) [closed]

I'm looking for a book that would be appropriate for an advanced elementary school aged kids (say, 6-11 YO) describing the basics of physics (or sciences in general) in entertaining way. The ...
3
votes
0answers
113 views

Can you safely draw sparks from the nose of an electrified boy?

From Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism A spectacular conclusion of one of the popular exhibitions of the time was likely to be the electrification of a boy suspended by many silk threads ...
3
votes
3answers
720 views

Is there more energy in the collapse of a cavitation bubble than the energy required to create the bubble in the first place?

The following does not include all scientific details and parameters, only a common summary of "thoughts". What is scientifically wrong with this summary? When you take your beer and tap the top ...
0
votes
1answer
407 views

Why is the optimum wheel size of a bicycle about the same as that of a car?

The optimum wheel diameter of cars and bikes appear to be roughly the same, certainly well within an order of magnitude. This is despite very different average speeds and propulsion mechanisms. Can ...
3
votes
3answers
632 views

What is the most efficient way to use hand dryer?

What's the most efficient way to place your hands under the hand dryer? Let's assume that dryer creates simple downward flow of hot air. Here are some examples:
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How much energy was consumed when we turn on/off light?

My parents told me to turn off the light when I am not using it. But I remember my physics teacher told me that the action of turning on/off a light can cause huge energy. I am wondering how much is ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Should I heat my room when I'm not here, energy-efficiently speaking?

I was wondering as it's getting cold : is it better for my electricity bill to shut down completely my (electric) heater during day, and to turn it on again when I come home (then it will have to heat ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are refrigerators 4 degrees and freezers -18 degrees?

I assume that the refrigerator's temperature of 4 degrees has something to do with the fact that water is densest at that temperature. Does that inhibit microbe growth? But what about the freezer, ...
2
votes
1answer
306 views

How does physics scattering experiments relate to real life? And what does the scientist gain from such experiments?

How does physics scattering experiments relate to real life? And what does the scientist gain from such experiments? I am having a hard time figuring the answer out. Please help.
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Why are bubbles formed in the empty space of soda when turned upside down?

I know this may actually be a chemistry question, but I don't know where else to ask. When I have a soda plastic bottle, I turn it upside down so the soda fills the empty space, and bubbles start ...
8
votes
3answers
494 views

What made the keys in my pocket so hot?

Not sure where to ask this question - thought you guys would probably have the best idea! Today a single key on my keychain in my pocket heated up so that it was too hot to handle and scalded my leg. ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How does radio receives signal from particular station?

When you tune your radio (digital or analog) to receive say 100 MHz frequency and while in the environment there are hundreds of channels everywhere around the radio. How does it chooses to receive ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Relating milliampere-hours to watt-hours for batteries

I've seen many batteries that are measured in milliampere hours (mAh), while others are measured in watt hours (wh). How can I convert them between each other so that I can actually compare them? It's ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How can rising bubbles shrink and disappear?

I was recently looking at a Wurlitzer juke box, and noticed something strange. It's decorated with liquid-filled tubes. Gas bubbles are injected at the bottoms of the tubes, and the bubbles naturally ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I join two co-axial cables?

I'm trying to join two ends of co-axial cables. I've managed to connect the two ends of copper wires but still the signal response is very low. When I try to stretch the cable signal gets good. Why ...
2
votes
2answers
295 views

Why do balls in a spinning ellipsoid move to the minor axis plane?

There is a question concerning the Physics of a small child's tall that has been bothering me for some time now. I have investigated this to a small degree, but I have not been able to find a ...
0
votes
0answers
2k views

How to determine size of a Heat Exchanger?

I am designing a Tube heat-exchanger, similar to this: My process requires water (at room temperature, 18C ~ 22C) that is being pumped out of a small tank (300 Liters) to be heated in a ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Infrared remote flashes blue light in camera

I know that if you held an infrared remote in front of a digital camera, it'll flash a blue/purplish light when you press the buttons. Why?
5
votes
2answers
5k views

What happens to a fully charged battery, when you continue to charge it?

If I leave my cell-phone charging the whole night, it will be fully charged after a while. What happens with the battery and the excess energy I add? Also, I noticed my charger emitting a different ...
9
votes
2answers
930 views

Why do mirages only appear on hot days?

A previous question asked why the road sometimes appears wet on hot days. The reason is that when there's a temperature gradient in the air, it causes a gradient in the index of refraction, causing ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Measuring the Electromotive Force and Internal Resistance of a Battery?

Here is a problem that emerged some time ago: We needed to measure the emf(electromotive force) and internal resistance of a car battery. The only instruments were voltmeter and ammeter. ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does my refrigerator door resist opening?

After closing my refrigerator's door I noticed that it's much harder to reopen it immediately, as if there's an underpressure. Only after a minute or so it opens normally. How can this be explained?
3
votes
1answer
455 views

What is the formula for the glug point?

When you pour water out of a bottle, normally you have a smooth stream. However, if you pour it too fast it glugs, which is to say, comes out in quantized bursts. What is the formula for calculating ...