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« FROM THE ARCHIVES: my own private microcosmos | Main | pst. today is administrative professionals day »


Does a static charge change the dialectric constant of cloud-forming particles?

"The particles are small enough that they have no problem getting in past the intake and combustion stages (unlike birds). When the particles reach the combustion stage, however,..."

That should be intake and compression, I'd think.

Also, great article on this stuff. I love CPP for a good brain wrinkling.

"That's why a stealth plane is all rounded curves - harder to detect."

Where are the rounded corners here?/

Where are the rounded corners here?

If you check the Wikipedia article that links to that photo, you'll see that "...the facet-based stealth design has been surpassed by newer technology."

Re: Thunderstorms in Texas

The weather isn't the airline's fault. Building their routes and systems so that little to no spare capacity exists to compensate for small weather problems is the airline's fault.

"'It's the airlines fault,' she retorted. 'They're making us late. They can't do anything right.'"

Got her there without killing her, didn't they? I should think they got something right.

I fly for work just about every week and, as much as I whine and moan about the various airlines (I'm not a fan of American either), I'm quite happy that at the very least they get me there intact.

Is there a silver lining around this cloud?

Will the thousands of tons of ash in the atmosphere have an appreciable beneficial effect on global warming? Especially if this eruption goes on for a year as it did back in 1812?

As disruptive as this is, it may cool us off a bit.....and millions of gallons of jet fuel aren't getting burnt.

Frankly, the whole world might be better off without air travel for the next fifty years! lol

Human nature!
Once I was flying from Chicago to Newark, NJ. I noticed that we made several circles and then I look out of window and saw Newark disappearing and heard the Captain's calm voice stating that landing gears is not working so no wheels and hence we are going to Kennedy airport with longer runway for a crash landing. Stewardess showed us the position for crash landing and could hear some older ladies saying their Hail Mary. Lo and behold the gears did work and we were able to land safely at JFK at midnight with many fire trucks around with their red lights. JFK was closed so no food stalls on anything was open. Airline had arranged already for buses to take us back to Newark. And YET the same ladies who were saying their Hail Mary were groaning and moaning that their son-in-law would be waiting in vain at Newark and it was all Airlines fault oblivious to the heroic Capitan passing by! They could have at least thankg God for answering their Hail Mary! We truly are 'dust in the wind!"
Jay Shah

Nice article. However, I too picked up on your comment: "That's why a stealth plane is all rounded curves - harder to detect." Normal radars employ wavelengths much shorter than the size of the airplanes they're designed to detect, so "flat mirror" optics accurately predicts that you can make the planes invisible by having no flat surfaces perpendicular to the line of sight, as in the F-117. The original reasons next-generation stealth fighters got rounded edges were: (1) (and primarily) so they would have better aerodynamics (fly less like bricks, the joke went); (2) radar absorbent materials became available, adding to shaping options; and (3) electromagnetic modeling using computers progressed to the point where design tradeoffs between aerodynamic performance and stealthiness could be performed accurately. There was also evolution in active systems that send back in the direction of the radar what the plane wants them to see. Of course, the threats changed too: very short wavelengths will pick up small imperfections such as the seams and grooves and bolt-heads; and longer wavelengths the size of the object (such as American DEW line radars and their Soviet counterparts) "reflect" using different electromagnetic principles than standard optics. So the rounding wasn't, in fact, to make planes more stealthy.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.