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

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82
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7answers
5k views

Does Earth really have two high-tide bulges on opposite sides?

The bit that makes sense – tidal forces My physics teacher explained that most tidal effect is caused by the moon rotating around the Earth, and some also by the Sun. They said that in the Earth and ...
13
votes
2answers
205 views

Physics of “boing” sound in raquetball courts?

While playing raquetball, I frequently hear a very prominent "boing" sound (or more formally, a chirp). For example, you can hear it in this video when the ball hits the front wall. Does anyone know ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do bubbles make a sound?

I have an understanding of how bubbles work. They encapsulate air (or other fluids) in a membrane caused by surface tension. When they pop, there is often a sound. Sound is a type of energy, kinetic ...
3
votes
2answers
85 views

Why does smashing a TV remote load its batteries?

Many times I had the same problem: my TV remote's batteries were too weak for it to operate, but then, when I shook the remote a bit and smashed it on my palm, somehow the remote regained its ability. ...
1
vote
3answers
87 views

Why do I hear the telephone ring through grandpa’s hearing aid before the actual phone rings?

I was sitting next to my grandpa (Tato), who wears a hearing aid, on the couch. I’ve noticed that when the landline telephone rings I actually hear the phone ring through his hearing aid (less than ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Sea surfer position displacement

Waves are means by which the energy propagates through a medium (e.g., sea water). This is not associated with a net movement of water in the direction of wave propagation. If this is the case, then ...
2
votes
3answers
213 views

Can random constructive interference with sound waves cause damage?

Any two sound waves have a random chance to constructively interfere with each other at a given spot and this will cause an increase or decrease in pressure. So is it possible that a large number of ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Why isn't the sunset/sunrise rainbow-colored

When the sun is rising/setting, it goes through a phase where the light is bending from the atmosphere. I believe this image will explain much better than I ever could. Now, if light goes through ...
66
votes
12answers
8k views

Why is filling a balloon from your mouth much harder initially?

Why is it that when you first fill up a balloon, it's hard to get air through, but after inflating it a bit, it becomes much easier to further inflate the balloon?
15
votes
3answers
4k views

How would an X-ray scanner identify a mirror?

A mirror is normally used to reflect Electromagnetic radiation also known as photons (light) and in airport security or medical facilities, they use X-rays to detect anomalies inside objects or bodies ...
7
votes
2answers
68 views

Practical (maybe naive) question on boiling water

I put a glass bottle in a big pot, bottleneck up, I fill both pot and bottle with very hot water. The bottle is submerged except a few cm of the bottleneck and filled to the brim so some water ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Why does a minor vertical vibration cause my coffee to spill?

When I walk my kid sometimes I put a cut of coffee in a cupholder attached to the stroller. When I push the stroller over a brick pavement it seems to vibrate vertically. That is enough for the coffee ...
11
votes
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

How to survive a lightning strike [migrated]

Is this really a plausible way to survive a lightning strike ?
3
votes
2answers
79 views

Not-so-hot black shirt

As it is getting warmer here by the minute I was asking myself: Are there materials, that are black (in th visible range) but reflect (most) invisible light? Furthermore, I asked myself what ...
9
votes
3answers
488 views

what is this force that is able to surpass an entire planet's force on it?

I have a wet teabag in an empty cup. If I will hold the teabag and touch the wall of cup with it, it will stick to the cup, like there would be glue or some magnetic field, but there's just water. ...
1
vote
4answers
50 views

Why does my house seem to warm faster in summer than it cools in winter?

In summers when we switch off the air conditioner, the room seems to instantly get hot again. But in winter, when we switch off the heater the room seems to remain hot for some time. Why this ...
3
votes
4answers
288 views

Do objects gain and lose heat at the same rate?

For example, if I take an item out of the refrigerator, set it on the counter for a period of time, allow it to warm up a bit (but not so long that it reaches room temperature and stabilizes), and ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

Does a cooler, submerged in water, keep beer colder, longer?

Looking around the web, I see some submerged bucket-like things, without insulation, and some floating coolers, where the actual cooler is not submerged. Given that your water temperature is lower ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

Add weight in front or behind the moving wheel?

Consider a wheel with bearing and axle bar rolling on level ground. If I want to help the wheel continue moving longer(or faster speed), should I add weight by moving the rider body in front or ...
1
vote
2answers
85 views

Day/night cycle in Greenland

I have heard that in Greenland there is day for 6 months and night for 6 months. Is this true? If so, how does it happen?
4
votes
1answer
683 views

The effect of A/C and global warming

I had been thinking about the way an air conditioning system moves heat from one place to another. The unit runs and drops the temp. in the building and raises the temp. outside. Also there is ...
183
votes
4answers
31k views

Can I compute the mass of a coin based on the sound of its fall?

Other day, I bumped my bookshelf and a coin fell down. This gave me an idea. Is it possible to compute the mass of a coin, based on the sound emitted when it falls? I think that there should be a ...
2
votes
0answers
59 views

Are the elements of physics different on the upper deck, of a double-decker bus, than those on the lower deck? [closed]

In this question, I hypothesise an event that affects the entire bus; I'm not asking about menace unique to upper floor passengers, such as an overly high upper floor or hanging objects (because this ...
2
votes
3answers
71 views

Golf: spin direction resulting from striking out of the toe

If a golf club strikes the ball out of the centre of the club face with the club path on the target line through impact, and the face square to target, the ball will move towards the target with no ...
35
votes
5answers
13k views

How effective is speeding?

At a simple level, speeding in a car attempts to minimize the time required to travel a distance by utilizing the basic relationship: $$d=st$$ So for a given distance, time should be inversely ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Are these guard rails truly strong enough?

I'm lay about physics, but I'd like to learn about it behind this question. A friend criticises and claims that the single strip of traffic barriers (as shown below) would fail and is useless. For ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

How hot does the upstairs need to be before it will heat the basement through convection?

During the winter we keep the basement door closed so that the cold air from upstairs won't flow into the basement. Then we heat the basement and the upstairs gets heated partially by conduction ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Does distance traveled by a vehicle after its engine has been switched off depend on its mass at all?

A vehicle moving with some velocity on a rough horizontal road finally comes to rest after its engine has been turned off. Intuitively, it seems a vehicle with greater mass would stop first because it ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Why is powdered sugar less dense than granulated sugar?

The density of powdered sugar is about 20% lower than that of granulated sugar. There is small composition difference between the two - about 3% cornstarch and 0.5% water in powdered sugar, but that's ...
8
votes
5answers
8k views

Why will crushing a partially empty 2-liter bottle keep the soda more fizzy?

One of the curses of 2-liter bottles is that when carbonated beverages are stored in them for long periods (i.e. days between drinks) at least the last liter ends up being flat. However, if after ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

Why do i see bright red hand when i place flashlight behind my hand?

When I place a working flashlight behind my hand, I see my hand bright red because of the light. So my question is, why do I only see red light after transmission even if incoming light from the ...
5
votes
2answers
67 views

Will a tall narrow cup keep a cup coffee warmer than a more evenly dimensioned cup?

I noticed a colleague had a tall narrow cup for his coffee, and it got me thinking about whether it would retain heat for longer or not. Assume two cups, both are cylindrical, and both hold the same ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

Physical Role of Batter in Baseball

Physically, what is the role of a batter in baseball? My question is inspired by How does the speed of an incoming pitch affect the speed of a baseball after it's hit? The answer to that question, ...
77
votes
24answers
8k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Could heavy-lift ships be used as oil tankers to stop oil spills? [closed]

Years ago, I was watching a science programme about some law of physics that prevents liquid from spilling if it was a container underwater. I recall that it was proposed as a safe way to transfer ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

Is it possible to measure ground water level by using coconut? [migrated]

In South India, there are people who claim that they can measure the underground water level by using the coconut. They will hold coconut in their palm and walk on the site. Near the water source the ...
16
votes
2answers
159 views

Why does sand stick to my shoes?

Well, that's easy: the sand is wet, and my shoes are wet, and hydrogen bonding adheres the wet sand to my wet feet and to my shoes. But then I walk home, and my shoes dry, and the sand on them dries, ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do I feel cold air in the shower?

Our house has a glass sliding door to the shower. The shower has the dimensions of about 2 feet wide, 5 feet long, and 6 feet high. Above the door (and shower head) there is about 1 foot of open space ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Fork and Sheet Lightning

I've noticed that during British lightning storms, I have only ever seen sheet lightning However, on holiday in other countries, I frequently see Forked Lightning Q) Is this just caused by ...
6
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Why do batteries become weaker

I was thinking about my phone (Sony Xperia Z2) and when I put it to charge and remove it, the phone says "Please remove the charger, to save battery life," which is very intuitive question for a ...
3
votes
3answers
275 views

Why is gas(oline) in gas stations sold by volume (as opposed to mass)?

Fluids (including natural gasoline/petroleum) have variable volume based on the ambient temperature for the same mass of fluid. So, really, the amount of gas that you're filling your car with depends ...
0
votes
2answers
36 views

Can clouds quench thirst? [closed]

Suppose you are standing on a mountain surrounded by clouds. You open your mouth and try to swallow the clouds (it's crazy, but still). Can the droplets of water in the form of vapor actually be ...
3
votes
3answers
505 views

Why it is difficult to drink tea with a straw?

It is easy to drink cold drinks, soft drinks with straw but when I tried to drink tea with straw then that was very unpleasant and even for time I lost the sense from my tongue. My question is why it ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Why doesn't the air in a Standard Diving Dress crush you?

I recently watched a Mythbusters episode where they tested decompression in a tethered diving suit (which I believe is a Standard Diving Dress). When they removed the air pressure, the suit crumpled ...
0
votes
4answers
77 views

How does buoyancy work?

I realised, reading another Phys.SE question about balloons moving forwards in an accelerating car that I don't really understand how buoyancy works. Particularly concerning, for a SCUBA diver. The ...
2
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Sun radiation in England

I used to live in Italy, and when it was sunny, well, as expected it was pretty hot. Both under the direct light of the sun through the atmosphere, and in the shade, where the temperature was of ...
23
votes
6answers
7k views

Why does a tire need to be filled with air?

The Mini 4WD's tires aren't full of air, and it can run. Also, the tank doesn't have tires with air. So, the question is: why do real cars on the road need to be filled with air? What is the idea ...