Some Pysics Insights


Proof by Picture
basic stuff
Update Log
This page contains some miscellaneous items which didn't fit with any of other themes on the site.  Some are serious, and some are not so serious (and some are kind of ridiculous).

Most of these have some interesting mathematical content.

How the Internet Makes People Stupid -- This is something that's bugged me for a long time, so I wrote an essay on it.  The mass of information on the Internet far too often seems to lead to confusion and wrong answers rather than expanded knowledge.  In this (rather bloated and in need of pruning) essay, we conclude that this stems primarily from a failure to understand the use of Occam's razor.

Sudoku -- For no particular reason except that I've spent an awful lot of time solving, creating, and analyzing these silly little puzzles (which are not mathematical at all, despite their use of numbers).  Page includes primitive solver and creator scripts as well as a discussion of some techniques for solving them.

The Book of Iem -- And now for something completely different...  Have you heard the word conlang before?  If so, you might find this entertaining (or you might not).  In any case it has nothing to do with math or physics.

A Trivial Oil Price Model -- A very simple (and somewhat dated) attempt at determining whether we were really on track to see $200/bbl oil by the end of 2008, along with some more recent comments on things that have changed and how they affected the model.

The Theory of Lorentz and the Principle of Reaction by H. PoincarĂ© -- An English translation of PoincarĂ©'s paper on Lorentz, published in 1900.  This paper doesn't seem to be commonly available in English.  I translated this as a favor for a friend who wanted to read it, and then decided the translation might have some general interest, so I put it here. 

The Speed of Light -- My own measurement of the speed of an electromagnetic wave, just because I wanted to.

The Speed of Sound -- My own measurement of the speed of sound, just because I wanted to.

Casual Interference Patterns
-- Diffraction and interference of light, observed in a couple of everyday situations.  Includes some photos of interference patterns from a lamp viewed through curtains.

Rust -- A measurement of the volume of air consumed by a rusting steel wool pad, using wine bottles and balloons.

Magmos -- A discussion of the principles of permanent magnet motors from the point of view of classical magnetostatics.  These devices are also called perpetual motion machines.

The Lack of Stars in Apollo Photographs -- Some people are surprised when they first see photos of the sunlit lunar landscape in which the sky is dead black.  Some have gone so far as to say this is evidence that the whole thing was faked.   On this page, we perform a simple experiment of our own, combined with some general knowledge of photography, to test the claim that the stars "should" be visible in those photographs.

How Do You Go Up in a Swing? -- If you've ever wondered why playground swings work the way they do, well, so have I.  I think I have the answer, on this page.


Alexander the Great's Horse

A Horse of a Different Color -- There is no such thing.  Here's the proof.

Florida Election Results -- The mathematical analysis of election results is pretty far afield from my usual interest in mathematical physics, but this election was unusual in many respects.

The Danger of Paperless Voting -- A diatribe against all-electronic voting without a paper trail.

Page created in 2004.  Last updated on 3/8/2013.