The Physics of a Tesla Model X Pulling a Boeing 787

WIRED

This is pretty cool--an electric car pulling a full size commercial aircraft, apparently for the first time ever. In particular, it is a Tesla Model X pulling a Quantas Boeing 787. There are a million reasons this is cool, but I think we should just jump to the coolest ones: the physics questions. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has a maximum takeoff weight of 254,000 kg--but this one was empty and had a mass of 130,000 kg. In fact, a human could even pull a full-sized aircraft.


Winter Olympics 2018: The Physics of Blazing Fast Bobsled Runs

WIRED

I don't know very much about bobsleds--but I know quite a bit about physics. Here is my very brief summary of the bobsled event in the winter Olympics. Some humans get in a sled. The sled goes down an incline that is covered in ice. The humans need to do two things: push really fast to get the thing going and turn to travel through the course.


The Surprisingly Cool Physics of Pushing a Block Against a Wall

WIRED

This is a cooler physics problem than I initially realized. It goes something like this. A block has a mass of 1 kg and is placed on a vertical wall such that the coefficient of static friction is 0.5. With what magnitude force do you need to push on the block perpendicular to the wall to keep the block from falling? Here, a picture will help.


This Tiny Drone Uses Friction to Pull More Than Its Own Weight

WIRED

Last week, Stanford researchers revealed that that they had built tiny drones that can open doors. I'm not sure I'm happy about this: How will we keep the robots out of our houses if they can just open the doors? But this is also pretty cool. These tiny drones (or micro air vehicles) are able to pull super heavy loads as compared to their own weight--up to a factor of 40. Well, I guess it's crazy--crazy awesome.


In This Brutal 'Titan Games' Event, Friction Is The Real Winner

WIRED

I'm not sure what it is, but something keeps drawing me into physical competition shows. It's not the competition that I like, it's those weird situations that they put these people in. Of course I can't just watch the show. I have to do some type of physics thing--because that's who I am and what I do. It's called the Lunar Impact.