Hammering Droplets of Nitroglycerin

[via Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing]

October 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Evacuated Solar Collectors

Mind explosion. Get the basic principle first:

OK, now we’ll see a more sophisticated version with a heat pipe inside:

So what is that copper heat pipe all about?

Genius old-guy puts it all together (skip to 1:10-2:15):

[via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

September 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Pretty Physics Demo

You know I love rendered physics.


Minor blog hiatus: I’ll reduce posts to one per day until I have less chores to pack into each day.

[via EPICponyz]

September 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Stephen Hawking Is out to Sell Books

Tell me you know what an internet troll looks like by now.

How is Stephen Hawking any different? By stirring up controversy over his boring new book about quantum physics, he gets to make bank. Don’t fall for simple shenanigans.

Anthony Gottlieb @ the Economist was not impressed:

The authors may be in this enviable state of enlightenment, but most readers will not have a clue what they are on about. Some physics fans will enjoy “The Grand Design” nonetheless. The problem is not that the book is technically rigorous—like “A Brief History of Time”, it has no formulae—but because whenever the going threatens to get tough, the authors retreat into hand-waving, and move briskly on to the next awe-inspiring notion. Anyone who can follow their closing paragraphs on the relation between negative gravitational energy and the creation of the universe probably knows it all already. This is physics by sound-bite.

So as a book, it’s probably not for you. Let’s get on with why Hawking’s “god is dead” argument is particularly droll.

Graham Farmello @ the Daily Telegraph:

It is perhaps a bit rich for Hawking to make God redundant after granting him/her/it a celebrity cameo at the end of his multi-million selling A Brief History of Time. In his famous conclusion to the book, Hawking wrote that if scientists could find the most fundamental laws of nature “then we should know the mind of God”. To be fair, he was writing metaphorically – we all know what he meant.

He now suggests that the search for this particular Holy Grail is over, now that scientists have come up with a type of theory, known as M-theory, that may describe the behaviour of all the fundamental particles and force, and even account for the very birth of the universe. If this theory is backed up by experiment, it might perhaps replace all religious accounts of creation – in Hawking’s capacious mind, it already has.

Bottom line:

Science and religion are about fundamentally different things. No religion has ever been rendered obsolete by facts or observations, but this happens to most scientific theories, at least in the long run. […]

A useful characteristic of a scientific theory is that it must be possible, at least in principle, for experimenters to prove it wrong. […]

No religion has ever been set out in terms of scientific statements. This is why scientists are able to mock the claims of religions but have never been able to deal a knock-out blow: in the end, a religious believer can always fall back on a faith that does not depend on verification.

So believe what you will and don’t troll or be trolled. Unless you’re trying to sell books that is.

[both articles via the always relevant Browser]

[image via my mmo site]

September 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. 4 comments.

Richard Feynman on Trains

Great explanation.

[via personal communication with Geoff Edwards]

September 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Impressive Physics Demo

[via Kyle VanHemert @ Gizmodo]

July 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. 1 comment.