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

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Model of scattering in wet things

You know that clothes and some surfaces become darker when wet (covered in an earlier question: why wet is dark?), because of the disordered reflections or of the refractive index of water or ...
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1answer
189 views

What is the fastest way to heat my car?

During the winter months I often have to drive in a cold car and I want to warm up as fast as possible. What is the best setting to put the air on in order to warm up the entire cabin in the least ...
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2answers
485 views

How do I figure out the momentum of a water balloon when it reaches the person I am throwing it at?

Recently an experiment was performed in which myself and a partner filled a water balloon and threw it back and forth at each other without breaking it. We gradually increased the distance at which it ...
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10answers
7k views

Does car tire pressure change with weight of car load?

Does tire pressure measured by a meter on tire gauge change with load? (I am not interested in pressure produced by car tires onto the road). Car spec usually says "inflate to 220kPa normal load, ...
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2answers
3k views

Why does a bottle shrink when you pour hot water in it?

I think the title says pretty much. Last night I poured hot water in a half full bottle of water and closed the cap. The bottle immediately shrunk. Why? My girlfriend suggested that the hot water has ...
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2answers
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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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5answers
20k views

Why is there water coming out of a car’s tail pipe?

I notice yesterday that my neighbor’s car had water coming out of the exhaust pipe in the morning. My first response was since the hot exhaust is hotter than the cold tail pipe, heat is transferred ...
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1answer
53 views

The Egg Smashing Tournament

My cousins and I have a annual egg breaking tournament. First, each of us gets a hard boiled egg. Then, in a bracket tournament style, a pair of us face off in an egg breaking round: one person holds ...
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1answer
57 views

How to obtain this equation for skipping stones over water?

I think I have a decent conceptual understanding of the forces at work when stones are skipped over water. My question pertains to the equation found in this [source][1]. Reproduced in Latex this ...
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5answers
5k 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 ...
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3answers
125 views

Why most of physics is somehow related to light? [closed]

It seems that for the past 200 years, every physicist is concerned about light. For example : Newton's particle model, Young experiment, Photo-Electrict effect and Einstein's formula, Special ...
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1answer
83 views

How can I estimate the cooking time of a roast?

I never remember what worked before, or to write it down someplace. In any case the size and starting temperature will vary. The instructions I learned from refuse to give a time at all, and the ...
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5answers
3k views

Does a car consume more fuel when it's raining?

Yesterday my wife asked me that question, and I couldn't answer. Consider a car, in a sunny day, and that is consumes x gallons per mile. Considering that everything is equal, except that it's ...
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1answer
73 views

Hula-hoop physics

What are the important parameters to consider when trying to keep a hula-hoop in the air by spinning it around the waist? For instance, when shopping for hula-hoops, one can commonly find its ...
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4answers
4k views

Why are stars white?

That is may be a easy question, but I am not a professional. The sun is a star and when I look at the sun is usually yellow. Why stars in the night are white? I suppose is for the distance. What is ...
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2answers
44 views

What is happening when a jenga block tower wobbles?

Imagine I am 3/4's of the way through a Jenga wooden block game. I have a tower and it is starting to wobble. To me it seems there are two possible causes for this: the wood is compressing and ...
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6answers
2k views

Does placing a lid on a pot affect the rate of boiling?

On the subject of cooking, someone once told me "If you have too much water in your pot after cooking a dish, just turn up the heat and let it boil without a lid for a few minutes". Now I've thought ...
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2answers
111 views

Foam patterns on espresso

When just prepared, an espresso has a thin layer of foam, known as crema, on its surface. As I move my drink from the bar to a table, the motion destroys the homogeneity of the layer, but I've noticed ...
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1answer
32 views

How does water-soluble packaging work?

Recently, I have been using detergent tablets in a water-soluble package for my dishwasher. How does the packaging get dissolved in water?
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1answer
130 views

During a turn, do the rear wheels necessarily trace out the same arcs as the front wheels?

When a vehicle makes a turn, the two front wheels trace out two arcs as shown in the figure below. The wheel facing towards the inside of the turn has a steering angle that is greater than that of the ...
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6answers
10k views

Very strange shadow phenomenon

I was laying on my bed, reading a book when the sun shone through the windows on my left. I happened to look at the wall on my right and noticed this very strange effect. The shadow of my elbow, when ...
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0answers
25 views

Cloud chamber with normal ice

Is it possible to build a cloud chamber by using normal ice instead of the usual dry ice? The temperature for dry ice is about 200$K$ while it is about 270$K$ for normal ice.
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2answers
587 views

Why are so many different types of objects white, yet appear gray when they are wet?

There are many things with different textures that appear white – salt, beer foam, paper, shaving cream, snow, talcum powder, white paint, etc. The most common answer is all of the frequencies must be ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to use hot cloudy water as a cloud chamber?

This morning I got some warm water from the shower head to a dark plastic basin to wash some sensitive clothes. During the process lots of tiny bubbles got into the water so it had a cloudy ...
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1answer
118 views

Is it possible that a battery goes flat faster in a cold environment?

I own an old iPod Classic with original lithium-ion polymer battery and I use it primarily while running. Recently I discovered that when a temperature outside is low, usually below 5 C degrees, the ...
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1answer
45 views

Static electricity experiment

My teacher always asks me to do the experiments on static electricity in winter. I don't know why? What will happen if I conduct the experiment in monsoon?
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0answers
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Electricity and it's effects [duplicate]

Why do I hear that bizzz sound sometimes from a electrical pole ? I have studied about heat and light effect of current but is there any sound effects too?
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1answer
132 views

Why do bowlers rub the ball before bowling in a cricket match

Why do bowlers rub the ball before bowling in a cricket match? What is the science behind it? Is it because of friction?
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1answer
381 views

Where is the “event horizon” on a basketball hoop?

I'm watching a lot of basketball this month. A common event is the ball going part way into the hoop and then coming out again. Announcers sometimes claim that the ball was "halfway through" when it ...
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3answers
382 views

Can you punch a hole in an A4 sheet of paper with your hand?

The Heading says it all. But let me explain it a little further. Suppose you hang a sheet of paper (A4 size), from one end leaving the other end free. Now practically it seems impossible to punch a ...
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1answer
79 views

Everyday phenomena for physicists

I am a physicist by training and like to learn more about everyday phenomena, i.e. how things work. All books on this rather general topic go in the direction of introducing physics, they want to ...
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2answers
1k views

Car headlights glass - why such uneven shape/texture?

Why does the glass on my car's headlights have such a strange shape/texture? Are there physics-based explanations or insights for these features? Wouldn't it be better if it was just transparent and ...
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1answer
66 views

Can I manually speed up convection?

Let's say, I have half bucket of boiling water and I have added equal amount of freeze cold water to it. I want to have equilibrium temperature reached as quick as possible. Can I speed up the ...
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1answer
189 views

Why does an aeroplane appear to be moving slowly? [duplicate]

Why does it seem that an aeroplane, even while travelling at 500 kmph at a height of $1.5\text{ km}$ (above sea level), is moving slowly?
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1answer
91 views

How can a droplet of liquid float on the surface of the same liquid?

This can happen during the rain, or when pouring water. Sometimes small (1-2 mm) droplets of water float on the surface for some time (a few seconds) before coalescing with the big body of water. A ...
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3answers
62 views

Work power and energy

When you push your bicycle up on an inclined the potential energy of the bicycle and yourself increases. Where does this energy come from?
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6answers
1k views

Dying question: Tractor wheels — large vs small

This question has stumped me for over a month now: Why is it that a tractor has large wheels at the back and small wheels in the front? Current ideas: small wheel in front --> lower center of ...
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5answers
7k 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 ...
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3answers
271 views

(Why) would unmaintained water heater use more electrical energy?

I'm specifically thinking about lime/sedimentation at the bottom of water heater, and calcification of heating elements (and not possible thermal insulation deterioration). It is very often claimed ...
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1answer
58 views

Is the moment of inertia of the bicycle wheel relevant for keeping bicycle in the upright position? [duplicate]

When we were taught physics at school and the topic was the Inertia and Flywheel, they used as an example that the moment of inertia of the bicycle wheel is the reason why we are able to keep the ...
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1answer
134 views

How does mud from cycling across a puddle cling onto my back?

While off-roading on a bicycle during a rainy season, it seems inevitable that blotches of mud would stain the back of my shirt at the end of the day. I am not sure the physics behind this. I am ...
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3answers
239 views

Why does cling film (Saran Wrap) cling better to surfaces which are wet or damp than dry?

The product we know in Canada as Saran Wrap is a clear plastic film (no idea of the chemical formulation, believe it to be polyethelene). Among its uses are to cover a dish or bowl. If the hard ...
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2answers
4k views

Why does my wooden door disperse light into a rainbow color spectrum?

On a clear morning, light comes through this window (viewed from the inside) It then hits the door on the opposite side (so viewing from the outside the door straight on the other side) There is ...
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5answers
3k views

Does a full freezer freeze items faster than an empty one?

Let's say we want to freeze a banana. Would it freeze faster if we insert it into an empty freezer, or into one that already contains many frozen bananas?
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2answers
10k views

Why don't fluorescent lights produce shadows?

I have watched light sources such as incandescent lamps and other lamp sources; they have always made shadows. But a fluorescent lamp doesn't make any shadow. What is the reason behind the ...
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1answer
65 views

Center of mass of a Soda Can [closed]

I have the following problem and can't seem to get my head around it: The mass of the beverage in a full soda can is $m$. The empty can's height is $H$ and mass $M$. A small hole will be drilled ...
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5answers
5k 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 ...
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2answers
68 views

How to make the mixed water warmer?

Freezing cold. Nastily I still have to do the laundry by hand. And to keep my hands from being frozen I have to add some hot water to the freezing tap water. Let's just suppose that I have the same ...
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6answers
6k views

Is it possible to generate electricity using a water tower?

Is it possible to build a water tower that will provide enough pressure to run an electricity generator? A water pump can be used to send water up to the tower. The water pump can be powered by solar ...
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4answers
1k views

How does “pushing-start” a dead-battery manual car work? [closed]

A few days ago the battery of my car went (almost) dead. As it is a manual car, my father once told me that the way to get it going without jumper cables was to push it or let it roll down a hill, ...