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How to Hoist Yourself Out of a Hole With Physics


No one can deny that there are some great physics videos out there in the wild internet. Today, I found this one floating around--featuring what appears to be a worker that needs to get out of a cone-shaped hole. Oh sure, he could possibly climb up the side or maybe even use a rope as an assist. This guy studied his physics. He knows a great trick to get out of this hole--by running in circle. But how does it work?

We Might Have Gotten a Little Carried Away With Physics This Time


One of the most basic things students do in a physics lab is to collect data and use that to build a model. Most of these models come in the form of a mathematical function. But here is the problem. For some reasons, students dislike representing these functions graphically. They are afraid to embrace the power of the graph. OK, let's do a simple experiment and use a graph to find a mathematical model. We are going to measure distance and time for an accelerating object and use that to find the acceleration.

The Subtle Art and Serious Physics of Subway Surfing


When I'm out in the real world and I see something cool, I have to turn it into a physics problem. It's just what I do. In this case, I was changing planes in the Atlanta airport. Like many other airports, Atlanta has a mini subway to take you between terminals. You walk in, the doors shut and then it accelerates up to some traveling speed.

Estimate the Pulling Force of Boston Dynamics' Robo-Dog Army


When Boston Dynamics shares a new robot video, my robophobia levels increase just a little bit. There is something about these robots that get into the uncanny valley for me. This particular video is both fascinating and disturbing. It's fascinating because here are a bunch of robots pulling a truck (not a pickup truck--a real truck). It's disturbing because it shows a BUNCH of robots.

Estimate the Friction Coefficient in That Massive Nascar Pile-Up


I don't normally watch many NASCAR races, but I do come across some NASCAR videos online. Sometimes these clips become the basis of a great physics problem. There are two things I find amazing about it: First, that a tiny collision between two cars can lead to a bunch of cars getting knocked out of the race. Second, that the cars have so much technology that none of the drivers was seriously injured. It's that bird's-eye view of the race, as seen from the blimp, that gets me thinking about physics.