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

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Why does shorting two cells in series heat them up?

I tried this with two 9V batteries that you can interlock easily and they heat up a lot. Why does this happen? The internal resistance of the batteries would be quite small so why would they still ...
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2answers
196 views

The irreducible observer

This question probably verges on pseudo-science and probably sounds like gibberish, so please pardon me. But I'll ask it anyway. In an ideal lab experiment there is generally a separation between the ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does blowing on a candle put it out but sucking doesn't?

Alternatively, why does the force created by blowing out air feel so much stronger than the force created by sucking in air? Ok, so forget the human factor involved in blowing out candles. Consider a ...
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1answer
198 views

Comparing LED light with fluorescence light, which one is better in terms of energy conservation?

Comparing LED light with fluorescence light, which one is better in terms of energy conservation and why? I want to switch to one of the choice for above for home lighting, so any advise would be ...
2
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1answer
302 views

Why does a mirage disappear as you approach it?

Related: why do mirages only appear on hot day? The title says it all: why does a mirage disappear as you approach it? The related question does not answer this.
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2answers
260 views

How much more energy would I spend if my bicycle was 2 kilos heavier? [closed]

I have a bicycle weighing 8 kilos. An 10 kilometer ride averaging 20 km/h requires z kWh's of energy. How much more energy would I spend if I added 2 kilos to my ...
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3answers
11k views

Which color of an umbrella is more effective against sunlight?

It's usually said that black umbrellas are best against sun, since black absorbs most of the radiation . The common umbrellas in market(atleast in India) are painted black outside and silvery inside. ...
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1answer
1k views

Weather forecasting with coffee bubbles

The other day I saw this life-hack: And I was wondering how true it is. First of all, I always thought(listening to weather forecasts) that low-pressure atmosphere is what correlates with rain; ...
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0answers
66 views

Train construction-need of suspension

Suspension generally used to make ride comfortable. But rail tracks are smooth and even; intution says trains no need suspension. But they have it. Why do railway wagon/coach require suspension when ...
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1answer
382 views

Time travel, is it possible? [duplicate]

I see there are many questions with this title, but this one is different, so please give it due thought: Is time travel possible? If so, Can we go both forwards and backwards in time? Paradox: I ...
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1answer
712 views

Life and Death, and Energy Conservation

Humans are born and they die. When we are born, is energy created? Or is it just some amount of energy that our mother gives us? Doesnt she take this energy from the surroundings? If so, then when we ...
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1answer
262 views

Why does a stack of transparencies appear white when a single sheet is clear?

My daughter and I found a box of old transparencies (clear plastic sheets) and something struck me as odd: even though each transparency is clear, the whole stack of transparencies looks whitish - why ...
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2answers
5k views

Why do ice cubes stick together or to the edges of a drinking glass?

I was drinking iced-water from a drinking glass (made of glass) at a restaurant yesterday when I was taking a drink, I noticed that there is very little ice water coming out and then suddenly, the ice ...
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0answers
252 views

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
775 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 ...
2
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1answer
2k 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
249 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
497 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.
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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6answers
1k 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 ...
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4answers
528 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
904 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
6k 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
303 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 ...
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2answers
3k 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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0answers
78 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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
24 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 ...
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8answers
700 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
243 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 ...
54
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2answers
5k 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 ...
14
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4answers
24k 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
170 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 ...
14
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2answers
294 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 ...
9
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2answers
322 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
647 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
3k 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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5answers
9k 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
205 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
3k 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
9k 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.
92
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25answers
13k 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
154 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 ...
14
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1answer
5k 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 ...
6
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2answers
692 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 ...
10
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2answers
902 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. ...
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6answers
3k 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
156 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
808 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...