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The Flying Circus of Physics is a book about curious events and effects of the everyday world. This site is an extension of the book.

Spotlight story for this month: Click on the title down below here
Secondary stories for this month: Click on "News/Updates" in menu at the left
Archived stories and links (hundreds): 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book, not only individual terms but also collections, such as "Pub physics" and "Accidents" and "Stunts": A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J-K, L, M-OP-QR, S, T-Z

The next video in my series with Cleveland State University has been posted. Suppose that you are in a restaurant when a nearby customer repeatedly taps his spoon against the cup’s interior. The tapping sends sound waves into the water, and the sound waves within a certain range of frequencies build up by constructive interference. Thus, the noise (and your irritation at the repeated tapping) can be significant. If the person then adds powdered coffee (or almost any other type of powder) to the water and continues to tap, the frequency range noticeably shifts and then gradually returns to its initial value. I am so fascinated by the physics of that shift that I have tested it out in every restaurant I have visited. Indeed, maybe that person that so irritated you was me.

Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site (public site): my old television videos, many photos, and more stories. Here is the link. Come for a visit.
Jay Waller stories: Physics for
Citations (over 11,000) and links (over 2000) for items in the book (pdf files):
       Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3, Chap 4, Chap 5, Chap 6, Chap 7

----  Jearl Walker

Flying Circus of Physics SpotlightFlying Circus of Physics Spotlight

Downing of football players in lightning
Sunday, November 01, 2015

When lightning strikes near a football game (rolling football), players collapse. What brought them down? One clue is that many are clutching their head.

Flying Circus of Physics SampleFlying Circus of Physics Sample

Wintergreen glow in the closet

You and a friend first adapt your eyes to darkness for about 15 minutes in a closet or outside on a moonless night. Then have your friend chew a wintergreen Life Saver candy (a candy in the shape of a marine life saver and infused with the oil of wintergreen) with the mouth as open as possible so that you can see inside. Why does each bite initially produce a faint flash of blue light, and why do later bites fail to produce the light? (If you don’t want to eat the candy, squeeze it with a pair of pliers until it fractures.) Why does tonic water have a faint blue tint? MORE


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