# Physics Stop

## The lying dashboard (part 2)

Marcus Wilson Aug 14, 2019

Following-on from my suspicions as to the accuracy of my car’s reporting of my travel statistics, here’s another mystery. The length of my journey from home to work, as recorded by my odometer this morning, was 24.7 km.  The length as recorded by Google Maps is 25.2 km.  So, my odometer underreads. Or it did this morning, anyway.  But … Read More

## Student evaluations of teaching effectiveness tell us nothing about teaching effectiveness

Marcus Wilson Aug 12, 2019

I thank my colleague Chris Lusk for bringing this paper by Uttl, White and Gonzalez to my attention. Many universities and polytechnics acquire Student Evaluation data on courses and teacher quality at the end of a course. There are different ways this can be done – here at The University of Waikato students are asked (online) a series of questions … Read More

## The lying dashboard

Marcus Wilson Aug 07, 2019

How accurate are our car speedometers? That’s well discussed., e.g. on this AA question forum.  If the ‘expert’ here is correct, your car speedometer could over-read by as much as 10% + 4 km/h (which is quite a bit – if you are doing 45 km/h it might read 54.5 km/h, or if you are doing 90 km/h it … Read More

## Quantum cryptography

Marcus Wilson Jul 30, 2019

I was reading last week a children’s book about “Secret codes”.  You probably know the kind of thing I’m talking about – substituting one letter for another, or a squiggly shape for a letter, rearranging letters, and so on. Fun things to do, but not the basis of modern cryptography. However, the book didn’t just stop at these codes, but … Read More

## Language in physics teaching

Marcus Wilson Jul 23, 2019

Hello everyone. It’s been a long while since I was blogging, but I am back again now. The second-half of the year is rather less hectic for me, so I have some time to get back to this. I’ve been considering recently the learning that students have achieved in our first year paper “Physics in Context”.  This is a paper … Read More

## Measuring the temperature

Marcus Wilson Feb 22, 2019

I’ve just bought some thermometers, to use with a first-year physics class. A box of ten of them. Alcohol filled, which makes them a whole lot safer than the mercury ones. (If you have a mercury thermometer, my advice is never, ever break it, especially if it’s at home. I broke one at university a few years ago – at … Read More

## Alice the camel

Marcus Wilson Feb 05, 2019

As we drove on a family outing at the weekend, we sung “Alice the camel”.   For those who don’t know it, it goes like this (to the tune of “Dem Bones”): “Alice the camel had five humps; Alice the camel had five humps; Alice the camel had five humps; so go, Alice go! Alice the camel had four humps… Alice … Read More

## Why you shouldn’t eat beef

Marcus Wilson Jan 11, 2019

“Don’t eat beef.” Such a statement does not go down well in New Zealand,  especially in Waikato, where the cow reigns supreme. I don’t say it as someone who wants to peddle a “Meat is Murder” message. I don’t believe that at all. I say it as someone who wants New Zealand to take Climate Change seriously. Quite simply, producing … Read More

## In praise of fixable appliances

Marcus Wilson Dec 17, 2018

Last week saw the first ‘fault’ on our washing machine. We’ve had this particular one for nine months, and with a baby and young boy in the house it is well used. When I went into the laundry to empty the machine I found the cycle had not finished as I had expected. Instead, the machine was flashing an error … Read More

## Colour blindness and Bayes’ theorem

Marcus Wilson Dec 13, 2018

Following from my last post, there’s more to say about colour blindness in my family. This time we’ll look at my side of the family.  My maternal grandfather was red-green colour blind. That means my mother is a carrier of red-green colour blindness, with a “faulty” (well, “alternative” would be better) X-chromosome.  And as a male, it meant I … Read More