Archive for September, 2007

Einstein and I

Meet Albert Einstein the distinguished physicist!!!

And me with the slightly blackened complexion…alas, how damaging the rays of the Hawaiian sun can be!  Hence my promotional item of the week: sunscreen!!


Anyways, this renowned scientist and I became good acquaintances in the summer of ’06.  And he convinced me to take AP Physics.  Could there have been some intelligent reasoning behind this decision or was it a fatal error?!  I guess I’ll find out as the year progresses…

I met Vladimir Putin, Princess Diana, Yao Ming, Audrey Hepburn, Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, and others as well.

But don’t be jealous!  We’re all special in our own ways.  xD


(Why am I writing this?  To be honest, I have no idea.  Minh Luong’s Total Performance Management lecture must have backfired though…I find myself craving the euphoric sugarhighness of Coke…^ ^)

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Physics of Rain

Knowledge I’ve gained after spending Friday and Saturday learning about policy debate and Sub-Saharan Africa: “The Malaria epidemic is like loading up seven Boeing 747 airliners each day, then deliberately crashing them into Mt. Kilimanjaro.”  : (  How can such a statistic not be depressing?

As for physics…it started pouring on my way home on Saturday.  (Which was actually quite a liberating experience.) 

Let’s take the hypothetical average raindrop to be a few millimeters in diameter.  With only gravity, the drop would accelerate towards the Earth at 9.8 m/s².  That’s pretty scary considering that it falls from thousands of feet above sea level.  Luckily for us, there’s air resistance, an upward force which opposes motion in air.  Drag will increase as the velocity of the raindrop increases.  When that force is equal to the downward force of gravity, the raindrop reaches its maximum or terminal velocity.  Since a raindrop is so small, it reaches its terminal velocity rather quickly and therefore won’t cause too much physical harm to those out in the rain.

Furthermore, we could even calculate the change in potential energy as rain (it’s probably too difficult to find the mass in kg of a single droplet) falls to the ground with the handy equation below! 

ΔPE = mgΔh

But we would expect the actual kinetic energy released from rainfall to be a much smaller number due to the opposing drag force. 

Anyways, throughout this whole experience I kept remembering the famous question, “Do you get wetter from walking or running in the rain?”  I’m sure the answer is physics-related… maybe Doc could answer this. : )

Rain.jpg Rain picture by xtaintedwatersx

FYI: In the time it’s taken you to read this post, 4 more children have died from malaria. 

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Basically I just went to see the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds down at the beach. ^ ^ Very awesome and very loud at the same time. I know a tiny bit about planes from sixth grade and it applies to Newton’s first law of motion!

Before I try to explain the connection…
Definition of Newton’s first law of motion straight out of our Principles of Physics text: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward except insofar as it is compelled to change by forces impressed.”

Ok, so at a constant altitude (taking those big dives and turns out of the picture), we have thrust and drag (forces acting on plane). If thrust equals drag, there is no net force on the plane and in such a case, a Thunderbird would be traveling at a constant, unchanging velocity.

Let’s say however, that the pilot decides to increase the thrust. Than that force will be greater than the drag force, making the plane’s velocity change. So as seen, “forces impressed” have made the Thunderbird accelerate! Amazing!!

My Short Video! Better than a picture even if a little out of focus. : )

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

My mind is currently at rest (meaning velocity=0).  If that’s even possible.

Anyways, to start off…two weeks and one test over. A miniscule speck compared to what’s still up ahead. I am indeed quite nervous about this course in general and all that we have to learn in less than a year. For those who haven’t seen the text version of our “book”, it’s huge. Definitely capable of knocking out someone if I were to toss it off the 21st floor of my building in a moment of frustration. Especially if it accelerates at 9.8m/s^2. So for slow learners like me (I honestly need to stare at a page for ten or so minutes before comprehending anything), the pace could be a bit, well…quick for lack of a better word.

But the course itself is pretty cool and interesting. I love all those programs on the computers and the labs. And in what other course would you be encouraged to write a blog? ^ ^

Ok, so maybe I didn’t start off as strong as I would have liked in Physics. But I definitely see improvement in the near future!

The Turtle Will Triumph!!!  Rawr!!!!!


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Ni hao!!  Well…

Here you will read and be amazed about physics in everyday life!!!

And do check out the Enlightenment section, it’ll be worth your time.  ^0^

Qing ni xia ci zai hui lai.  Xie xie!  Ting de dong ma? : ]

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