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Current Topic: Physics

Stephen Hawking hospitalized, reported very ill
Topic: Physics 7:51 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2009

Stephen Hawking, the British mathematician and physicist famed for his work on black holes, was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said. Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city northeast of London, the university said.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Hopefully he pulls through.

Stephen Hawking hospitalized, reported very ill

The Electromagnetic Spectrum, as seen by Randall Munroe
Topic: Physics 3:16 pm EDT, Jun  6, 2007

xkcd is awesome.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum, as seen by Randall Munroe

Scientists observe sound traveling faster than the speed of light
Topic: Physics 7:07 pm EST, Jan 19, 2007

For the first time, scientists have experimentally demonstrated that sound pulses can travel at velocities faster than the speed of light, c. William Robertson’s team from Middle Tennessee State University also showed that the group velocity of sound waves can become infinite, and even negative.

I'm not a physics expert, so I'm not sure what to make of this.. But it happened at my university, so here it is.

Scientists observe sound traveling faster than the speed of light

Incredible Machines - Google Video
Topic: Physics 1:47 am EDT, Apr 17, 2006

Thirteen minute video of various Rube Goldberg machines from Japanese TV.

Incredible Machines - Google Video

M.R.I.'s Strong Magnets Cited in Accidents
Topic: Physics 8:50 pm EDT, Aug 20, 2005

The pictures and stories are the stuff of slapstick: wheelchairs, gurneys and even floor polishers jammed deep inside M.R.I. scanners whose powerful magnets grabbed them from the hands of careless hospital workers.

The police officer whose pistol flew out of his holster and shot a wall as it hit the magnet. The sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building.

This is pretty amusing. I knew the magnets in MRI machines were strong, but I did not realize they were strong enough to make objects go flying across the room. This article even mentions an incident when a fireman was pulled into the machine and almost folded in half due to his oxygen tank. That's a powerful magnet!

Cited in this article, the Simply Physics page is an good resource for information about MRI. Don't miss the page with pictures of objects being sucked into the machines.

This reminds me of playing with a degaussing coil when I was a kid. They are basically strong electrically powered magnets. My father had one from when he used to repair old television sets. I used to set it on the table, turn it on, and make structures in the middle of its field using nails, paper clips, or any other small objects made of ferromagnetic material I could find around the house. It seemed like magic.

M.R.I.'s Strong Magnets Cited in Accidents

The physics of traffic jams
Topic: Physics 7:13 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2004

] German scientists have shown that the changeover from
] free-flowing traffic to a traffic jam (in which cars on a
] highway are greatly slowed or halted, at least
] temporarily) conforms to the well-known physics of phase
] transitions, an example of which is the transition from
] water to ice. In other words, traffic jams are not random
] patterns, but are deterministic in nature; that is, when
] a parameter exceeds a threshold value--such as the flux
] of cars--then local perturbations can grow, possibly
] leading to jams, analogous to the nucleating effect of
] tiny ice grains in a body of water being frozen. Once
] formed the jam moves along the highway as if it were a
] kind of "solid," with identifiable edges and with a
] "vapor" of comparatively free cars in front of and behind
] it. The information gained in this sort of research, the
] researchers believe, might lead to more accurate traffic
] forecasts and could be used in future "intelligent"
] transport systems.

The physics of traffic jams

Hyper Physics
Topic: Physics 4:42 pm EDT, Apr 12, 2004

HyperPhysics is an exploration environment for concepts in physics which employs concept maps and other linking strategies to facilitate smooth navigation. For the most part, it is laid out in small segments or "cards", true to its original development in HyperCard. The entire environment is interconnected with thousands of links, reminiscent of a neural network.

This site for learning Physics concepts employs undirected graphs for navigation. Its a perfect example of how various types of dot-graphs can be used to convey the same information as a "list" or "outline" only with far more context.

Hyper Physics

Stephen Hawking: Colonies in space may be only hope
Topic: Physics 9:18 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2001

"THE human race is likely to be wiped out by a doomsday virus before the Millennium is out, unless we set up colonies in space, Prof Stephen Hawking warns today."

Hawking has been making alot of statments like this latley.. If you remember about a month ago he was saying something about mankind being in danger of extinction if we didn't start re-engineering ourselves with our new-fangled genetic Kung Fu.

I totally agree with Hawkings. The man is clearly one of the greatest minds of this or any other generation.

I do find it interesting thou that he has become so vocal on this meme of "mankind going away" of late. As I recall, in the past he usually blows off all the "doomsday stuff" with the usual "its billions of years off, chill" thing. Wonder what got him all concerned about mankind's extinction? The market ain't _that_ bad..

Stephen Hawking: Colonies in space may be only hope

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