Physics Stop

Fog

Marcus Wilson Sep 08, 2009

Well, what does one expect living in Waikato? Four days of gorgeous spring weather in a row is a bit much to ask for. So the fog was back this morning, and with it the idiot car drivers who don't put their lights on. Why? Do they want to die? A white car with no lights in fog is really … Read More

Peer review

Marcus Wilson Sep 06, 2009

Recently I was asked by a scientific journal to review an article that had been sent to them. This is pretty standard procedure for journals, and every scientist will know what I am talking about. For those non-scientists, peer review is a way of ensuring (or rather, trying to ensure) quality in scientific publication. If someone writes an article and … Read More

Pesky dishwasher

Marcus Wilson Sep 03, 2009

We've had our dishwasher for a couple of years, acquiring it after the one we inherited with the house went out with a bang (and shot sparks the entire length of the kitchen.) It's a nice dishwasher - that is, it washes dishes nicely, but it's got an annoying habit that I have just experienced for about the zillionth time. Read More

The Electric Car and metrics

Marcus Wilson Sep 01, 2009

I was reading in the New Zealand Herald at the weekend about a curious problem relating to electric cars. But it's not a technological problem - it's one of language.My car runs on petrol. It's fuel economy is pretty easy to measure. Start with a full tank, take a note of the odometer, run it until the gauge gets … Read More

Blue sky

Marcus Wilson Aug 31, 2009

I'm still working on the problem of why is the sky blue?  Now, I've already told you its because the short-wavelength blue light is scattered more than the long-wavelength red light, but why are short wavelengths scattered more than longer ones? In words suitable for a blog.I could do some maths to show you that's the case, but … Read More

The scientific method

Marcus Wilson Aug 28, 2009

This morning we had a school group visit us from Whakatane - about 30 year 10 students (14 and 15 year olds) - they carried out some activities in Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics. I led them (as two groups) in a physics activity involving catapults.After doing the boring bit (talking about how energy is transferred from one form to … Read More

Landing gear failure

Marcus Wilson Aug 27, 2009

Last night our cat failed to live up to the reputation of his species for executing four-footed landings when he lept off a perch in hot pursuit of a piece of string, landed on his front paws with too much forward rotation, performed a graceful flick-flack and thuded head first into the CD rack. After a couple of seconds looking … Read More

What’s happening in Geneva?

Marcus Wilson Aug 26, 2009

In the last few days I've had a couple of people ask what is happening with the Large Hadron Collider.Well, if you want the latest news, you can grab the press releases from http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/News.htm . In short, they are doing various tests, and finding and addressing various problems as they arise. It now looks like November before the collider is 'fired-up', … Read More