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

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Why (and how) do foods stick to a pan?

We all (sooner or later) have noticed that foods relatively high in protein (especially those low in fat) are very prone to sticking to a pan, or in general to any non-specially-coated metal surface. ...
23
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3answers
4k views

Is this really a golden ratio spiral?

In this blog post, I found this picture: Tehre are other similar photos: and Does the water really form golden ratio spiral in such cases? Or is the photo just a provocative example, without ...
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0answers
16 views

Loud, low-frequency “booming” sound in car [duplicate]

I drive a Scion XD, and I've noticed that whenever I drive at about 40mi/hr or so with just the back windows rolled down, I get a loud "booming" effect at roughly 10Hz. What causes this? I assume it ...
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0answers
35 views

Why Do Clouds Precipitate Rather than Fall From the Sky?

After spending some time watching clouds, it occurred to me how interesting it is that clouds have more structure than just being homogenous, really humid layers in the sky. I see that a similar ...
9
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1answer
283 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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0answers
54 views

Why does hot food give off vapor?

Does your food melt and then boil to give off this gas? What is the vapor here?.
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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
27 views

Does a rotating DC motor near a TV affects the signals coming in the TV?

In my TV cable the signals were quite noisy so i cut the wire and hanged both the wire parallel to each other. Then the signals became very clear and everything was going alright. Once I was ...
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8answers
2k views

What's the difference between running up a hill and running up an inclined treadmill?

Clearly there will be differences like air resistance; I'm not interested in that. It seems like you're working against gravity when you're actually running in a way that you're not if you're on a ...
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3answers
3k views

Emptying a bottle faster by swirl

A moment ago, I was emptying bottles filled with water (2 liters) that are on the terrace of my house. As I did so I remembered something I saw on TV a some time ago (I don't remember when or where or ...
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1answer
289 views

Optical illusion of car wheels, speeding up [duplicate]

Perhaps it is some free moving spinner attached to the wheel, but as opposed to this question: Why does the wheel of a car appear to be moving in opposite direction? I have seen car wheels that appear ...
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1answer
66 views

Why are we using water pipe instead of air pipe to warm our houses? [closed]

In France, most of the houses are using water pipes. I wonder why this choice was originally done.
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1answer
94 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
53 views

Why does the water rise upwards when the bottle fall down with accleretion $>>g$?

When a medium-sized bottle filled with water quarterly falls from a height with acceleration $g$, the water remains calm. But when it falls with acceleration $>>g$, the water abruptly rises up ...
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3answers
872 views

Why can't echoes be heard inside a room?

If I go camping and shout anywhere, in the forest or on a cliff, I usually hear the echo of my voice. Why when I shout in my room I do not hear any echoes?
2
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1answer
38 views

Why can someone in a noisy room not hear others outside, yet they can hear him clearly?

If I'm in a noisy room (radio on, babies splashing in bath, etc.) I struggle to hear someone shouting to me from outside the room. Yet to them, my voice comes through quite clearly. What causes this ...
2
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1answer
57 views

Why does air feel cooler when blown through a small hole and warm through a big one? (for example from a mouth) [duplicate]

I hope the question is clear enough and I'm sure that you can try this thing quite easily yourself. When I blow air from my mouth to my palm through a small opening, I feel cool in my palm, but its ...
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2answers
348 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 ...
2
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1answer
65 views

Why do some objects tend to change their axis of rotation while rotating?

This question struck me a few minutes back, I was at a table with a pear. It was more narrow than round.I proceeded to rotate this pear in one swift movement. It rotated for a few seconds, and ...
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5answers
325 views

Can we create invisible things?

We are able to see this beautiful world because of light. When light gets reflected from the object, the reflected light enters our eye retina and thus we are able see that particular object from ...
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2answers
1k views

Squinting at street lights

Simple question, I've always wanted to know the answer to this. Why do you see a pair of lines radiating out from street lights when your squint at them? I can't think of a better way of describing ...
14
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3answers
143 views

When passed, why does my car 'rock' on the highway when I'm stopped, but not when I'm moving?

I am the blue car in this scenario. If I am stopped on the highway and am passed by a car going fast (about 65 mph), I feel my car rock in the left/right direction. I think I understand why this ...
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7answers
3k views

The best way in which a man can pull a train

I have chosen this example as a paradoxical limit, but my question really regards the optimization, distribution and outcome of force when you try to pull a weight: how can you optimize your ...
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1answer
131 views

Circuit breaker Trips during thunderstorm

The circuit breaker at the electrical mains trips at home when there is a thunderstorm outside. Why does this occur?
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2answers
110 views

Order of magnitude estimation for some intriguing questions

The physics TA showed us a few examples in which one can estimate many things from first principles, sound logic, and scaling arguments. This led usually to understanding of why some numbers have the ...
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1answer
105 views

How does a bowl of hot water move by itself?

I think everyone should have seen a bowl of hot water moving by itself on a flat surface such as glass(seems like it is moving by itself but maybe there are some external force applied to it when it ...
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1answer
298 views

Why does your car lurch toward an oncoming truck as it passes you?

I notice that the larger the truck the greater the magnitude of the lurch. Can anyone give a physical explanation to this?
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1answer
235 views

Why do the ends of tubelight blink for a considerable time even after the switch is off?

When I switch off the tube-lights , their ends blink for a considerable time. I thought as they were old, there might be some problem. But to my utter surprise, when a new tubelight was switched off, ...
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2answers
298 views

Why do clouds appear black?

I have noticed clouds appearing black during rain. But I don't know what makes clouds to acquire that colour. This phenomenon doesn't appear every rainfall. There has to be distinction to white ...
7
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1answer
82 views

Why does penne pasta go into rigatoni during cooking?

I was boiling penne and rigatoni pasta in the same pot (both are hollow cylindrical pasta of approximately the same length, but rigatoni has a noticeably larger diameter) and almost all of the penne ...
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3answers
64 views

Why is signal bad in a tunnel?

Consider this: you are driving through a tunnel listening to your AM radio and a GPS, all of the sudden AM radio has nothing but statics and your GPS says "reconnecting - please hold". You say to ...
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3answers
56 views

Would using a fan cause an air conditioning system to think it's cold?

Recently my office manager said this, after I requested a desk fan: ...using a fan causes a draught, which then leads the air conditioning to believe it’s cooler than it is and it then blows out ...
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6answers
7k 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 ...
53
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8answers
22k views

Why does a remote car key work when held to your head/body?

I was trying to unlock my car, but I was out of range. A friend of mine said that I have to hold the transmitter next to my head. It worked, so I tried the following later that day: Walked away from ...
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2answers
50 views

How come milk pours smoothly from a bag?

I have seen the commercial about the new beer can where it is vented by puncturing a whole on the can (air behind water). If you just pour normally with normal cans it will get bottle necked and the ...
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6answers
8k views

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Do the front tires of a car act like gyroscopes, such that a car could steer on a frictionless surface?
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1answer
45 views

Why do my hairs get stuck to my cathode-ray TV screen after it is switched off?

My dad's old TV! When I switch it off after watching and get my hands closer, my hands' hairs get attached to the screen. And they stick for sometimes! Now, I know how a cathode ray oscilloscope ...
35
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1answer
3k views

Why are dishwasher washed glasses “squeaky clean”?

They seem to have increased friction after going through a dishwasher. The unpleasant (to me) squeaky feel is probably slip-stick friction exciting resonance in the glassware. But why? What has ...
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2answers
267 views

Hourglass on the Moon

Someone asked me this, and I was surprised to find I couldn't answer it: suppose I have an hourglass / egg timer that times two minutes in Earth's gravity. If I used it on the Moon, how long would it ...
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2answers
102 views

Why does a cooling car engine crackle?

Why does a cooling car engine crackle? What determines the frequency of the crackles?
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1answer
145 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 ...
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1answer
45 views

Why do car wheels seem to roll backwards [duplicate]

For many years i have been wondering about this. When a car stars moving the wheels seem to work normally but as the car speeds up, the wheels seem to roll backwards. Of course that does not happen in ...
9
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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0answers
28 views

Is there any advantage to using simple syrup over just dissolving sugar and waiting a minute?

When making coffee, I want to sweeten it with sugar. Many coffee shops offer simple syrup which is essentially just a solution of water saturated with sugar. Obviously, this has the advantage that ...
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2answers
1k 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: ...
43
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4answers
5k 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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2answers
487 views

Why do we use kilograms instead of newtons to measure weight in everyday life?

What was the reason to use kilograms to measure weight (e.g. body weight, market vegetables etc.) instead of using newtons?
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3answers
731 views

How do blankets keep you warm?

I heard a famous physicist (was it Feynman?) argue that blankets do not keep you warm by trapping heat but by trapping air next to the body. Is this true?
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4answers
12k 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 ...