Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Physics of Falling Into a Black Hole

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Physics of Falling Into a Black Hole

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Filipe Braga/picture-alliance/dpa/AP ImagesFilipe Braga/picture-alliance/dpa/AP ImagesThere was an art accident recently. A man fell into a black hole—OK, not that kind of black hole, but an art exhibit consisting of an 8-foot-deep circular hole painted black. The idea was to represent the feeling of a super deep, even endless hole. I guess the guy didn’t realize…

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Physics of Catching a Gnarly 80-Foot-Tall Wave

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Physics of Catching a Gnarly 80-Foot-Tall Wave

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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Physics of Drafting in the Tour de France

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Physics of Drafting in the Tour de France

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Power is the most important thing in road bicycle racing like the Tour de France. If you want to move along on a bike at a constant speed, you have to use energy. There are no free rides. But there is one thing that can make a big difference in a rider’s energy use—and that’s…

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Try Out This Physics Problem With a Baseball and a Neighbor

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Try Out This Physics Problem With a Baseball and a Neighbor

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The best questions are always the ones that don’t have a single clear answer. In my physics classes, I like to present students with problems that can promote a lively discussion—and to do that, they have to have multiple answers that could possibly make sense. (And they shouldn’t involve lots of math, otherwise my students…

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in The Expanse

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in The Expanse

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The Expanse should just change their post credits for each episode to include a list of homework questions. Seriously—there are so many great things to explore in this hard science fiction show. In a recent episode, one of the large spaceships (the Navoo) rotates in order to create artificial gravity (that’s not really a spoiler).…

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Let’s Use Physics to Model a Curving Soccer Ball

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Let’s Use Physics to Model a Curving Soccer Ball

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It’s that World Cup time of the year—so that means it’s also time to talk about soccer physics. What about the impossible kick? The “impossible” kick has a ball leave the ground and then take a curved path while in the air. Of course it’s not actually impossible, but it is difficult to pull off.…

The Physics of the One Goal You Won’t See at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

The Physics of the One Goal You Won’t See at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

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On my first attempt at a corner kick in decades, the soccer ball peels up and away, well behind the goal and clear over the fence surrounding Stanton Field, the practice pitch at Santa Clara University. “Not bad,” says Brandi Chastain, generously. “You’ve got good bend, now we just have to make sure we get…

The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine

The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine

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Perpetual motion—it’s fun to say that. For some people, perpetual motion machines hold the secret to everlasting free energy that will save the world. To them, it’s a machine that is just beyond our grasp. If only we could tweak our design just a little bit, it would work. To others (like me), perpetual motion…

The Surprisingly Cool Physics of Pushing a Block Against a Wall

The Surprisingly Cool Physics of Pushing a Block Against a Wall

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This is a cooler physics problem than I initially realized. It goes something like this. A block has a mass of 1 kg and is placed on a vertical wall such that the coefficient of static friction is 0.5. With what magnitude force do you need to push on the block perpendicular to the wall…

The Many Shades of Bad Physics

The Many Shades of Bad Physics

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What happens when you see bad physics in the world? Does it make you angry? Does it make you laugh? Do you have to hold back a tidal wave of “well, actuallys” because of the overwhelming wrongness? Some might feel that way, but I think about it a little differently. In my mind, there are…