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64

Strength is proportional to surface area divided by volume, but since volume is directly proportional with mass and i can't get an accurate density (i am guessing approximately both for mass and size.), i will use mass instead. According to Wolfram Alpha, the average mass of human body is 70 kilograms. The surface area of a person weighing 70 kg with a ...


51

While you do spend some body energy to keep the book lifted, it's important to differentiate it from physical effort. They are connected but are not the same. Physical effort depends not only on how much energy is spent, but also on how energy is spent. Holding a book in a stretched arm requires a lot of physical effort, but it doesn't take that much ...


41

I think the answer has less to do with their construction and more to do with their smaller size For more information lookup Scaling Laws. Basicly the mass of a object scales as it's size cubed so a ant 10 times the size will be 1000 times heavier. But the strength of an organism depends on the cross sectional area of muscle (I've heard this somewhere, not ...


38

If you're pushing a 10-ton truck and it's not moving, you are not doing any work on the truck because the distance $ds=0$ and the nonzero force $F$ isn't enough for the product $F\cdot ds$ to be nonzero. Your muscles may get tired so you feel that you're "doing something" and "spending energy" but it's not the work done on truck. You're just burning the ...


36

While they work on the same principles, the detonation of an atomic bomb and the meltdown of a nuclear plant are two very different processes. An atomic bomb is based on the idea of releasing as much energy from a runaway nuclear fission reaction as possible in the shortest amount of time. The idea being to create as much devastating damage as possible ...


28

There have actually been cases of (accidental!) exposure to near-vacuum conditions. Real life does not conform to what you see in the movies. (Well, it depends on the movie; Dave Bowman's exposure to vacuum in 2001 was pretty accurate.) Long-term exposure, of course, is deadly, but you could recover from an exposure of, say, 15-30 seconds. You don't ...


28

This is from the Physics FAQ article that I wrote 15 years ago: If shorter wavelengths are scattered most strongly, then there is a puzzle as to why the sky does not appear violet, the colour with the shortest visible wavelength. The spectrum of light emission from the sun is not constant at all wavelengths, and additionally is absorbed by the high ...


23

This is about how your muscles work -- the're an ensemble of small elements that, triggered by a signal from nerves, use chemical energy to go from less energetical long state to more energetical short one. Yet, this obviously is not permanent and there is spontaneous come back, that must be compensated by another trigger. This way there are numerous ...


21

First, Field strength. This calculation is strictly an electric potential calculation; radiation and induction are safely ignored at 50Hz.* For a 200kV transmission line 20m above ground, the max electric field at ground level is about 1.2 kV/m.** This number is reduced from the naive 200kV/20m=10 kV/m calculation by two effects: 1) The ~1/r variation ...


20

For me it is axiomatic that machine miles are easier than real miles, but let's analyze the situation. Assume the runner maintains a constant velocity up the hill, or remains stationary in the frame of the gym on the treadmill. In both cases the runner's acceleration is zero, so we know that her legs must provide a constant force with upward magnitude $mg$, ...


20

Humans are weakly diamagnetic. Rather than being attracted by a magnetic field we would tend to repel the lines of force. Look at the work of the High Field Magnet Laboratory http://www.ru.nl/HFML/, in particular http://www.ru.nl/hfml/research/levitation/diamagnetic/ where they demonstrate levitation of a living frog. It took about 16T to levitate the ...


20

You aren't creating a vacuum, but you are reducing the pressure in your lungs when you inhale. In effect your lungs are working as a diaphragm pump. When you pull your diaphragm down, and/or expand your chest, this increases the volume inside your lungs. Boyle's law tells us: $$ P_0V_0 = P_{\rm inhale}V_{\rm inhale} ,$$ where $P_0$ and $V_0$ are ambient ...


20

Strength / weight is a funny thing. The stress on a long thin rod (like an ant's leg) is limited by the Buckling strength which is given (for rod that can freely rotate at each end) by $$F = \frac{\pi^2EI}{L^2}$$ where $I$ is the second moment of area which scales with $r^4$ - so $$F \propto \frac{r^4}{L^2}$$ So when you make an object 2x smaller, the ...


20

The cross-section for neutrino interactions is energy dependent. For solar neutrinos at $\sim 0.4$ MeV, which would likely dominate any neutrinos likely to interact (the cosmic background neutrinos have way low energies) , the cross-sections are $\sigma \sim 10^{-48}$ m$^2$, for both leptonic processes (elastic scattering from electrons) and ...


18

Mammalian sense of smell is in general exquisitely keen: even though we think of ourselves as an animal having a dull smell sense comapared to that of, say, a dog, a pig or a rat, receptors for certain scents are still triggered by molecules counted in the tens. So the outgassing of volatile wood oils from, say, a table, can still be miniscule and well ...


17

You are looking at this incorrectly. Pale skin allows the UV to penetrate more deeply than dark skin (that has the melanin in the dead skin cells). Since dark skin individuals absorb the UV in the dead skin layer, it make no difference if it causes DNA damage.


17

No, they will not appear the same. Humans have three color receptors so any possible color for us is just three numbers in RGB space. However, electromagnetic spectrum is continuous and there is an infinite number of spectra that would produce the same RGB stimulus. That is why you perceive the this page as white although it is in fact a combination of R,G,B ...


16

This exact problem was rose also by Feynman in his lectures. In particular at the beginning of chapter 14 in the first volume. It is a fact that when one holds a weight he has to do “physiological” work. Why should he sweat? Why should he need to consume food to hold the weight up? Why is the machinery inside him operating at full throttle, just to hold ...


14

This interference is unfortunately quite typical as David pointed out in his comment. A typical household microwave oven operates at 2.45 GHz, the 802.11g wireless spectrum lies in the range of 2.412 to 2.472 GHz. This by itself is not a big problem, as the WiFi algorithms use sophisticated algorithms to operate even with noise at the same frequencies. The ...


13

Yes, it's very much physics related: The perceived smallness of distant objects is a direct function of how many space dimensions we live in. Here's an example: For a one-dimensional or "string land" creature, what would be the apparent difference in size between a dot nearby and a dot many miles away? If you think about it a bit, the answer is "none" -- ...


13

Perhaps an analogy is in order. Lets hold up the book by using an electromagnet (say we put a piece if steel under it ). If the coils were made of superconducting material it would take no energy input to maintain the position/field strength. But if we use ordinary wire, ohmic loses within the coil must be made up for by externally supplied electrical ...


13

In the 19th century, the physicists Young and Helmholtz proposed a trichromatic theory of color, in which the eye was modeled as three filters with overlapping ranges. This is essentially a physical model of the pigments in the eye, and it predicts the response of the nerve cells at the retina. Helmholtz did related work on sound and timbre. Ca. 1950, ...


13

There seem to be a lot of human body mechanical models, such as this one: As for applications, I have heard that sub-audio frequency vibrations have been considered as nonlethal weapons for riot control.


12

This is an example of "scaling laws". Have a look at http://hep.ucsb.edu/courses/ph6b_99/0111299sci-scaling.html - for once Wikipedia doesn't have a good article on the subject. The strength of a muscle is roughly proportional to the area of a cross section through the muscle, so strength is roughly proportional to size squared. That's why I'm a lot ...


12

Dark skin absorbs UV better than lighter skin. More specifically, melanin absorbs most of the UV radiation so that your skin cells don't have to.


11

Water is transported through xylem tissue, which reassemble just a passive bundle of pipes. They are narrow enough to provide quite a huge capillary effect, but this is not a process of transport because it converges fast to equilibrium water levels and stops. The flow is powered by two other processes; first and most important is evaporation of water from ...


11

Your question seems to be about human body heat rather than other human activities that contribute to global warming. Humans body heat doesn't actually add any energy to the whole-Earth system (see below) but for a moment, I will assume that it does. Instead of looking at the mean temperature of humans, it's easier to look at the amount of energy our ...


11

The horizontal component of running is believed to be fairly negligible for humans. Some research suggests that the limit isn't strength related at all, but design --- in particular, based solely on power, humans could theoretically run up to almost 40 mph. The issue is two fold: first, our limbs are actually too heavy, for big strength (e.g. climbing in ...


10

Short answer: A nuclear power plant contains a lot more nuclear material than an atomic bomb. The "Little Boy" bomb was detonated at 1968 feet (600m) over Hiroshima with the nuclear material dispersed quickly in the air; the Chernobyl meltdown contaminated its environment for decades. Long answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation Total ...


10

Here is one reason: a note with a fundamental frequency of 100 Hz will have harmonics at 100 HZ, 200 Hz, 300 Hz, 400 Hz, 500 Hz, 600 Hz, etc., while a fundamental of 200 Hz has harmonics of 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 600 Hz, etc. These are a subset of the harmonics of the 100 Hz note an octave below. The human auditory system detects the pitch of the fundamental ...



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