Is Reality Biting?

Startled Cow

I often joke that I have the support of carpark fairies. I ALWAYS get a park were I need it. Indeed, I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have gone somewhere new, and decided to just park somewhere, and work it from there… only to find I am parked right outside the place I needed to be.
But something just happened, that has left me seriously sitting here thinking “What.. I mean .. what?”
Continue reading Is Reality Biting?

Digital Counting

Who knew!
If chuck in the thumbs and both hand its …


My last few posts have been a bit serious so let’s have a little fun! It’s easy to count to 10 with your fingers, and you can count to 20 if you throw your toes into the mix. But how can you use your fingers to go higher than that? You could throw in your knuckles and count those, but that requires a lot of dexterity!

An easier option (once you get the hang of it) is to use binary. And it’s fun to see the confused looks on people’s faces when you hold your hand up with four fingers extended and tell them that’s fifteen :-).

Ready to try? First, you have to understand binary. There’s a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) tutorial on YouTube for this, so rather than explaining it in my post, if you don’t already know binary I suggest you take a few minutes to go…

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Solar Eclipse Optic

Complete solar eclipse today (21 August, 2017) in Oregon, just a little south of here. Seattle/Bellevue got 92% eclipse apparently. So, when the sun darkened a bit, I popped out to see. Fantastic day for it, not a cloud anywhere. And we are surrounded by trees, sun just high enough to be peeking through the top branches.

There on driveway, a bunch of people trying to look up at the sun, half blinded. A couple had “eclipse glasses” and one had rigged a pinhole box. But the pinhole was too close to the eyeball, so when she tried to see, she blocked the hole :). All this, while standing half in shadow of a broad leaf tree. I could hear the comments about “not really much to see”, etc.

I wandered down and pointed to the ground, asphalt, and the garage door (white) behind them. There in all its glory was the eclipse for everyone to see. The sun/moon shining through the leaves created myriad pinholes, every one creating a (reversed) image of the eclipse. Against perfect grey or white background. You can clearly see the remaining disk of sun against the moon.

Looking directly was “OK” through the smoked glass, but not really all that interesting. On the other hand, the crescents were all over the ground. It was like being IN the eclipse. WAY better than “eclipse glasses”, pretty cool.

I include shots direct of sun around 10:33 (peak coverage was 10:26), tiny slice out of the side, but could still see the crescents on the road/wall.

I just love how optics is so counter-intuitive sometimes 🙂 🙂




















Momentum: Edition 2

Momentum 2nd edition is just days away!!

Momentum is the first novel I wrote, and I was pretty staggered at just how much blinking work is involved! Not that I wouldn’t have done it had I known, but there is really a LOT of details to sort out.

The writing is still very much the lion’s share, of course. But somehow I thought: right done that, now a miracle occurs and everything would be sorted: the cover, the publishing, and of course: the readers.

Not as such. Sadly.  Continue reading Momentum: Edition 2

Scissors faster than light

Scissor plates

Ok, for a change in pace from momentum for a moment, Consider the good old light speed limit. Now I am not going to get into whether on not some tiny subatomic particle can do something weird and interesting only to physicists with nothing better to worry about, and a HUGE research budget.

Lets think about a macro example, something that at least in principle “anyone” could actually do, and see. Continue reading Scissors faster than light

Conservation of energy

Ok, we have null momentum. But… see there’s this wee issue called, umm, conservation of energy. And as wee issues go, it’s not so wee.

Its basically all of physics in a nutshell.

If energy even LOOKS like it’s not going to be conserved, the universe says “NOPE.  Not gonna happen.”

Ah, yes, I can see the issue. But look, universe, I click this and (with no fanfare at all) momentum stops being the rotten little anal-retentive, every column has to add up, universe auditor (in a Terry Pratchett sense). And things just happen. Continue reading Conservation of energy

Flying with no momentum

Thought experiment: Airplane

A plane will still be affected by turbulence (from thunderstorms, wind, bombs, whatever), but won’t be torn apart because the differential aerodynamic forces on this wing vs the fuselage or the other wing, causing unbalanced torque/force no longer occur. Since its all null-momentum, these are instantly re-balanced, the plane instantly changes to whatever would be the steady state attitude for the instantaneous air conditions. Continue reading Flying with no momentum

Thought experiment: Running

Would null-momentum much difference for long distance running?

It might make a difference for sprinting (e.g. 100 metres) where acceleration is critical, but what about a marathon, where acceleration per se is not such an issue, more sustained speed. Less energy would be lost to bounce each step, hence more (personal) energy available to sustain a speed, so perhaps faster overall? Continue reading Thought experiment: Running

Momentum: A speculative novel, and follow ons