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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

39
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does wet hair keep its shape when it dries?

When I wash my hair and go to sleep, my hair is impossible to comb in the morning, stubbornly sticking to the shape it assumed during the night. The only way to get it right is to wet it again and ...
9
votes
8answers
300 views
+50

How to pour water from a bottle as fast as possible

When one pours water out of a bottle, it first flows smoothly but then a pressure 'blockage' develops and the pouring becomes interrupted and turbulent, so that the water comes out in splashes. This ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Teflon and induction cookware

I remember once getting new Teflon (non-stick) cookware; however, when I tried this new cookware on my induction cooker the cookware did not heat up. My regular steel cookware worked just fine on the ...
8
votes
3answers
130 views

'Slapping' sound when trains pass each other

I have noticed that when riding in a train travelling at over 100 kmh$^{-1}$, a loud 'slap' can be heard when another train travelling at a similar speed passes in the opposite direction, followed by '...
-1
votes
2answers
110 views

Physics behind seemingly-impossible “rice bowl suction” Guinness world record? [duplicate]

By pressing a rice bowl on his abdominal muscles, Zhang Xingquan was able to create enough suction to pull a 36.15 tonnes heavy train for 40 meters Source: Guinness world records website. How does ...
4
votes
3answers
123 views

Why do we hear better during the night? [duplicate]

At night, we hear weak and far sounds approximately clear, while during the day we cannot. My high school physics teacher was saying that “this is because of interference of sound waves. During the ...
1
vote
2answers
753 views

How does the magnetic field get induced in car's tire?

I was amazed to see how my car's tire started attracting the nuts and bolts, how in the world did it induce the magnetic field? Never heard of such phenomena!!!
3
votes
0answers
40 views

How does the bowling computer know I'm right handed? [on hold]

I went bowling the other day and after I rolled my first ball I was suprised it was written on the screen that I was "right-handed". How was that figured out? My first guess is that there is ...
30
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
82 views

Why is it easier to get sunburnt in the water? [duplicate]

I went today to the swimming pool and I remembered that when I was younger my mom used to tell me to be careful because you get sunburnt much more easily in the water than in the ground. I never gave ...
8
votes
1answer
86 views

What is the physics behind “mocha diffusion”?

A friend shared a video on Facebook of a process for glazing pottery called "mocha diffusion." A light-coloured glaze is applied to a pot and then, while it's wet, a black liquid is dripped into it. ...
7
votes
2answers
125 views

Why do headphones tangle themselves whereas shoe laces untie themselves?

Why do headphones tangle themselves whereas shoe laces untangle or untie themselves? Why aren't we using the phenomenon to create headphones that tangle less and shoe laces that untie less?
7
votes
4answers
4k views

How does a canvas water bag cool water?

I was reading about this water bottle by Botl that behaves like a canvas water bags to keep water cool. I found out that this idea is an old idea and cars would drive with water bags in front as shown ...
83
votes
11answers
12k 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?
1
vote
1answer
53 views

By how much does the temperature of a cool Cola can increase by condensation of the ambient moisture on its surface?

Assuming standard ambient temperature and pressure, how can we estimate the increase in the temperature of a typical, cool beverage can produced by the condensation of ambient moisture on its surface? ...
1
vote
1answer
169 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?
4
votes
1answer
223 views

energy efficiency - dryer vs hang+dehumidifer

When I have wet clothes coming out of the washing machine, I can either tumble-dry them in an electric clothes-dryer, or I can hang them to dry. But I can only hang them in a basement. The basement ...
23
votes
6answers
87k views

Why is AC more “dangerous” than DC?

After going through several forums, I became more confused whether it is DC or AC that is more dangerous. In my text book, it is written that the peak value of AC is greater than that of DC, which is ...
3
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Pressure inside a light bulb

It is known that nowadays most light bulbs are filled with gas in order to minimise the evaporation rate of tungsten. Is e.g. argon put into the bulb with reduced pressure, so that the glass doesn't ...
0
votes
2answers
162 views

Tennis ball in a glass of water

If you pour water into a glass half full and put a tennis ball there it would aim to its sides. But if you pour water completely full a ball would aim to center. It's definitely related to a surface ...
81
votes
6answers
10k views

Why is oil a better lubricant than water?

How come mineral oil is a better lubricant than water, even though water has a lower viscosity? When two surfaces slide over each other with a gap filled with a fluid, the different layers of the ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Entropy change in a boiling egg

Yesterday in a rather intuitive Q/A session, by a visiting researcher in my town, this question got my attention.What he said was that if you boil an egg, the entropy inside the egg would increase.Now ...
4
votes
3answers
117 views

Would life (as we know it) be possible without the weak interaction?

I understand why the strong interaction is important in everyday life (it holds nuclei together and also allows the fusion reactions that power the Sun) and also why the electromagnetic interaction is ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What's the minimum time scale for a candle to be lit in order for it to establish a steady state?

My Understanding When a candle is lit initially, it goes through a few stages (see, e.g. this explanation from the National Candle Association): Wick burns. Crusted wax on wick melts, evaporates ...
1
vote
2answers
290 views

Electricity Flow and Ground Wire

Pre-face: My step-father and I were turning the heat down on the water heater. He demonstrated that touching the ground wire doesn't shock you. My understanding is that the ground wire doesn't have ...
3
votes
2answers
46 views

How can you easily measure your visual range? [closed]

There are numerous ways of estimating your hearing range by generating sine waves at a certain amplitude and trying to tell when you are no able to hear a difference between on and off anymore. An ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

How does GPS on an airplane report a 100 km error?

On a flight across Europe, I took my iPhone out to see if the GPS can find my position. I was sitting away from a window, so reception would have been bad. I wouldn't have been surprised to get no ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Antennas and the electromagnetic field

I'm an electrical engineering undergrad and have some questions about radio antennas. We've just covered the electronics and maths of radio theory once the signal has reached the receiver, I'm ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

If we feel it's hotter when humidity increases, then why do we feel it's colder when inside water?

When the humidity in the air is high, we sweat more and feel it's hotter than when the humidity is lower. So why don't we feel it's hotter when we go inside water, where the water content is much ...
7
votes
5answers
16k views

Does humidity make cold air feel colder?

I sometimes hear stories where people compare their feelings in winter in different places in the world. It goes like in city X the temperature was the same as in city Y, but the humidity made me ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

Balanced and Unbalanced Forces Help

I am a newbie pondering in Physics concepts. I just had a question about Newtonian physics. The reason why "everyday" objects come to a rest is because there are unbalanced forces working against ...
11
votes
0answers
131 views

Why does temperature change the friction coefficient of my stovetop?

I have a Ceran cooking field at home, it's a glass-ceramic surface with heating coils embedded beneath. When I slide a pan around there's much more friction on a hot plate than on a cool one. Why? ...
-9
votes
1answer
77 views

I HAVE A SCIENTIFIC QUESTION FROM CHILDHOOD. but now i think my question solution is here in this website [closed]

Suppose a man is sitting in a train. Man is moving with train till the last journey as man is in contact with train. BUT WHAT ABOUT FLY which is also moving along with train with high speed. HOW IT IS ...
7
votes
4answers
6k 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?
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Thermodynamics: Apartment Airflow: What Am I doing wrong air

Our apartment is a sauna. But sometimes it's much much hotter inside the apartment than it should be (night time it's 68 degrees outside but thermometer still says 90 inside!). I have 2 fans, one ...
1
vote
1answer
185 views

Rotation motion like the number 8

I'm a college student majoring in culinology and I'm trying to find out the reason or method of the number 8 motion. Responses doesn't have to be in culinology examples, but that would be a great help ...
42
votes
5answers
3k views

What causes this pattern of sunlight reflected off a table leg?

My friend noticed an interference-like pattern around the table leg. However, we do know that interference patterns of sunlight produces rainbow colours. What seems to be happening here?
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Unusual phenomenon from fluorescent lightbulb

Next to my bed I have a fluorescent desk lamp. One night, after I had turn off all the lights in my room, I grabbed my blanket from the other end of the bed. As I grabbed the blanket, one end of the ...
12
votes
1answer
483 views

Why can I turn light red or blue by holding my finger up to it?

This is a difficult phenomenon to explain. Imagine you have an opaque object partially covering a very bright light source, for example, an object held up against the sky. The left hand diagram is ...
46
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some location on Earth have only one tidal maximum per day instead of two?

Most places in the ocean have two high tides and two low tides per "day" (~25 hours). But I remember reading that some locations only have one of each per day. This answer has some great explanations ...
56
votes
7answers
7k views

How did my candle wax crawl up the sides of the jar?

I have an Ikea candle which has sat on my bookshelf in the sun for >5 years. Aside from an hour or two shortly after I bought the candle, I have not burned the candle regularly (in fact, the wick is ...
131
votes
7answers
18k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

Does it matter how you order your tug-of-war participants?

In a tug-of-war match today, my summer camp students were very concerned about putting the biggest people at the back of the rope. Is there any advantage to this strategy?
7
votes
1answer
19k views

Do we have theories about why gravity exists/how it works?

For years I have been very fascinated by the "mystery" aspect of gravity. Functionally, we understand it for our applications, but in my (limited to my 3 quarters of undergrad general physics) ...
-1
votes
1answer
50 views

Why can't you ride a bike with a fixed handlebar?

I tried one time, as part of an experiment, to ride a bike with a fixed handle bar. Impossible. So, in any case, our movements made with the handlebar helps us in not falling down. I can feel kinda ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

Spin on the rack

Bike mounted on hitch rack. Why wheels spin constantly while I drive? I can't find anything on the internet. The kids in the other cars love to watch them
5
votes
1answer
85 views

If a high speed car or train enters a tunnel, will the aerodynamics effect slow it down and hence requiring more energy to maintain speed?

Speed and distance are two main determinants in this question. A slow moving vehicle or train entering a tunnel is unlikely to be affected by the presence of solid stationery object covering them. But ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the Sun turn red near sunset?

At daytime the Sun's light is yellowish if not near white. Why when the Sun starts to go down that it's light turn more red. I don't think the earth's rotation is so rapid to cause a red shift. Why ...