Thursday, December 29, 2005

An interesting read for you science types

This article came out in March, but I didn't see it until now. "13 things that do not make sense" is an excellent summary of a bunch of scientific mysteries—everything from the placebo effect to dark matter to cosmic rays that have too much energy. It'll probably take 15 minutes or so to read it but it's worth it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Speed of Sound

So we have all seen the basic formula for calculating the speed of sound through air. It is dependant primairly on air density. Well, it is obviously more complex and dependant on humidty and other simple factors. I have also read anecdotal stories in some physics books that it is dependant on the actual intensity of the sound itself (i.e. loud sound travels faster than quiet sound). I have never found a formula that takes into account the intensity of the sound. How loud is loud enough to observe a difference? I suspect it is somewhere around 130-140dB with very loud sounds 170-200dB traveling faster.

I have read that lould sounds are difficult to measure; they tend to blow out the human insturments for measurement and are often not sustanied long enough for the insturment to slew up to the full peak intensity. That is the measurement is limited by the slew rate of the insturment. The article I read was about high powered rifles and that they can get up into the 170dB range (ouch!).

I believe there was mention somewhere of the Navy using sonar up to 200dB and it actually killed some sea life by exploding their ear drums, maybe they know how the intensity of sound affects the speed of sound. Although the speed of sound in water is a very differnt thing than in air. I can see it now... (use a gruff voice) "Seaman give the ruskies one ping..." PING... "That should do it, they won't be able to hear anything for a while" That was probably the hight of humor duing the cold war, sneaking up an enemy sub and getting them with a nice loud (200dB) PING!

Anyway I have been distracted, other loud (read very loud) things include volcanos erupting, high caliber cannons, and Kali when I step on her. Can anyone find a formula or emperical data that details the speed of loud sounds versus quite sounds I have been curious about this for a long time but haven't found the data. Maybe the one of us who is at a University can get one of the physics grad students to take some data (ah to be able to expense a cannon to the University).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Maps, again

yahoo has a new beta version of their maps. you can do multiple waypoints. i find this useful if i want to compare the mileage of different routes. you just have to find places along the route you want to explore to tell it to go through. the zoomed out view on the upper right is also useful for moving the map focus and a glance reminds you where you are looking. kinda cool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Really Weird News

finding an owl in your christmas tree. weird
finding an owl in your christmas tree five days after you bought tree. weird & thought provoking
finding an owl in your christmas tree five days after you bought the tree & having the animal rescue people find the owl is high on marajuana. priceless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

instant classic

Homer: Marge? Since I'm not talking to Lisa, would you please ask her to pass me the syrup?
Marge: Dear, please pass your father the syrup, Lisa.
Lisa: Bart, tell Dad I will only pass the syrup if it won't be used on any meat product.
Bart: You dunkin' your sausages in that syrup homeboy?
Homer: Marge, tell Bart I just want to drink a nice glass of syrup like I do every morning.
Marge: Tell him yourself, you're ignoring Lisa, not Bart.
Homer: Bart, thank your mother for pointing that out.
Marge: Homer, you're not not-talking to me and secondly I heard what you said.
Homer: Lisa, tell your mother to get off my case.
Bart: Uhhh, dad, Lisa's the one you're not talking to.
Homer: Bart, go to your room.

google proxy

so, you need onto a website but the library is blocking access.
consider and it's description of using google to access the page for you as a solution.
note: the graphics/files won't come through (duh, they are being served directly from the host, not the proxy...) but it may come in handy non the less.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

just like the real thing

yes yes, we need this:

oh, and the results from someone trying this

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

warm & safe

Found in today's Spokesman Review, how to stay warm & safe with the cold weather we're having...

Free Image Hosting at">

SciFi to Science, Almost

check out the latest research in antimatter and its potential for making a gamma-ray laser. physics letter article summary

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I love animals...

they're just great...

Quote to Contemplate/Laugh

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just sort of a tired feeling.

- Paula Poundstone