EppsNet Archive: Physics

Answers to Persistent Questions

Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. Does prayer work? Of course not. What happens when we die? We are put a few feet in the ground to blindly rot and disappear forever. Otherwise, things go on pretty much as before. Read more →

Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough by DARPA-Funded Physicists

Two separate teams of scientists funded by the Pentagon’s research arm have revealed significant breakthroughs in the field of quantum teleportation which could have a major impact on cybersecurity and encryption. — RT America Forget security and encryption I want to disappear one place and appear someplace else. What’s the holdup on that?! Read more →

Extensions to Logic for Common Sense

From some John McCarthy lecture slides on extensions to logic for common sense. Problem Find the height of a building using a barometer. Intended answer Multiply the difference in pressures by the ratio of densities of mercury and air. Unintended common sense answers Drop the barometer from the top of the building and measure the time before it hits the ground. Measure the height and length of the shadow of the barometer and the shadow of the building. Rappel down the building with the barometer as a yardstick. Lower the barometer on a string till it reaches the ground and measure the string. Sit on the barometer and multiply the stories by ten feet. Tell the janitor, “I’ll give you this fine barometer if you’ll tell me the height of the building.” Sell the barometer and buy a GPS. Read more →

Bye-Bye, Bevatron

If you drive up the hill to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one thing you can’t help noticing is the large (approx. 125,000 sq.ft.) circular pit where the Bevatron is in its final stages of demolition. The Bevatron, as its name suggests, was used to make beverages. For example, the Bevatron could take enormous quantities of tequila, triple sec and lime juice, smash them together at the speed of light, and produce an excellent margarita. Wait, what? I’m now being informed that the Bevatron was in fact a particle accelerator put into operation in 1954 and used in the work of multiple Nobel Prize-winning physicists. Read more →

Something Out of Nothing

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. — Stephen Hawking I still don’t get it. This is the one question that really gives me a headache: Why is there anything at all instead of absolutely nothing — no time, no matter, nothing? For the universe to create itself out of “nothing,” doesn’t there have to be something? Read more →

Homework Follies

Worked some physics problems with my boy last night . . . the subject at hand was torque, which his textbook expresses in units of mN. “Back in my day, we used to measure torque in foot-pounds,” I said. “What’s mN? Millinewtons?” “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess so.” “OK, we’re off to a great start!” Read more →

Things I Love to Do on a Hot Summer Evening

My son’s going into 11th grade next week. He’s got a couple of honors classes, a couple of AP classes, Spanish 3 and a music class. It looks like a very tough schedule to me — he’s also got college entrance exams this year — but that’s where his academic history has brought him and he says he wants to do it. One thing I didn’t know about AP classes is that they start giving kids assignments during summer vacation. He’s working on ’em right now! He asked me for a little help on the physics assignment so I get to do two things I love to do on a hot summer evening: sip premium tequila on ice with a lime, and solve problems like this: A kangaroo jumps to a vertical height of 2.7m. How long is it in the air before returning to Earth? Oh I’m in heaven! Read more →

Explain That, Galileo!

Obama Drops Faster than Bush or Carter — RealClearPolitics [HT: Best of the Web Today] Read more →

We Don’t Have the Money, So We Have to Think

We don’t have the money, so we have to think. — Ernest Rutherford Ernest Rutherford was an illustrious scientist — the 1908 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, and the father of nuclear physics. His humble upbringing as the fourth in a family of 12 children in rural New Zealand influenced his approach to science, as summarized in the above quote. A recruiter called me today about a job managing an $80 million IT project. How in the world can you spend $80 million on an IT project?! I could put your company logo on Mars for $80 million. Most of the big, expensive IT projects that I’m familiar with, there really was no reason for them to take so long or cost so much. A lot of time and money could have been saved with some upfront thinking. I get a lot of this now — recruiters asking me if I… Read more →