Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts

July 23, 2019

Cool Atom Puzzle

Thought this was a pretty stunning puzzle of The Atom

With sections for: composition, atomic model, thermonuclear fusion, periodic table, radioactivity, positron emission tomography, fission of uranium, nuclear reactor, and atomic scientists. 

Wow that's a lot of information for a Puzzle and one very nicely designed at that. 

Congrats on putting this 1,000 piece beauty together. 

These things make me realize how very much I still have to learn--and in this case, it starts with all these small things. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2019

Rockville Science Fair - 30th Year!















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 11, 2011

What is The Secret of Laserman

This is a terrific performance by Laserman.

He seems to break all the laws of physics and manipulates laser light beams as if it is both a vapor and a solid.

He stops and redirects it, yet at the same time he pushes and twirls it--huh?

While I am not a fan of the movie Tron--I think I actually fell asleep in the theater (and more than once), this performance more than makes up for it.

My favorite piece is at 1:39 when Laserman picks the laser light up out of the stage--people start yelling as no one can believe it!--and he starts twirling it around like a baton now.

Then at 1:48, he breaks the light beam in two and starts twirling both and sticking them back in the stage only to start bending the light again.

To me, this performance is really cool and inspiring--it makes me think of a bright future for all of us--one that is agile, high-tech, heart-pounding, and where natural laws are almost made to be broken.

Someone please tell me how he does this...I promise, I won't tell ;-)


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August 1, 2009

Faith or Fear?

I love stories of hope and possibility.

I read in the Washington Post, 1 August 2009, about cars that actually enable blind people to drive. This was one of those stories.

In 2004, a challenge was issued from a blindness advocacy group “to build a vehicle that the blind could drive with the same freedom as the sighted.”

Around the same time, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the same government agency that brought us the Internet—“ran a series of contests to inspire a driverless car that could navigate complex terrain.”

However, at Virginia Tech’s Robot’s & Mechanism Laboratory the challenge of “an autonomous vehicle wasn’t enough. We want the blind person to be the driver, not to be driven.”

To meet this once unthinkable goal, the design team developed a prototype vehicle that blind students this summer are actually testing.

Here’s how the vehicle works: An all-terrain vehicle with a front-mounted laser sensor sweeps the terrain ahead, and a computer in the back processes the information into a two-dimensional map. A computer voice tells the driver through headphones what number of clicks to turn the wheel to steer around obstacles and a vest vibrates to indicate whether the driver should slow down or stop.

By challenging ourselves, bringing innovation to the table, thinking positively, and working through the challenges, we are able to bring opportunities to people that many thought were impossible.

Yet even today, I heard people reacting to this story and saying “Oh, I wouldn’t want a blind person driving behind me.”

But why not? There are reasons to believe that this can work.

First of all, in the vehicle tests, the blind drivers actually did better than the engineers because they followed the directions coming from the computer more precisely.

Second, when it comes to other modes of transportation such as flying, people no longer seriously question the use of technology to aid our ability to see, navigate and fly through all sorts of weather and turbulent conditions. Now a days, a large commercial airplane flying at hundreds of miles an hour over densely populated cities on autopilot is an accepted fact.

I believe there are really two issues here:

On one hand, is the technology itself. How far can technology take us—are there limits?

And the second issue is can people overcome their mindset of fear, doubt, hesitation, and negativity to really stretch the bounds of the imagination to the what’s truly possible?

I think both the issues of technology and mindset are strongly related.

Obviously there are laws of nature and physics that place real limits on even how far technology can take us. Yet, as we press against the boundaries and test the seemingly impossible, we are able do things that practically defy those very laws. For example, who would’ve thought that man could fly like the birds, walk on the moon, communicate thousands of miles in a split second, or cure the incurable? Perhaps, what we perceive as physical limitations are only there until we can figure out how to overcome them with innovation and technology—and of course, the wisdom bestowed from the almighty.

By realizing that the boundaries are not so hard and fast—that they are elastic—we can have hope in going further and doing the seemingly impossible.

Certainly, I recognize the very real legitimacy of the concerns that people might have over the thought of blind people in the driver’s seat. However we must ask ourselves how much of this concern is based on rational, logical factors and how much on a misperception or mistrust of what technology—and blind people themselves—can actually do. To me, it really comes down to one’s mindset.

Through faith, courage, conviction, we can overcome our doubts and fears. We can and must continue to explore, to test the bounds, and to innovate some more.


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