Among this week's physics highlights: The complex physics of that viral water bottle trick, Hungarian physicists may have found evidence for a fifth force of nature, and a physicist's thoughts on That Moment in last week's episode of Game of Thrones.
Me at Gizmodo:
Why Certain High-End Golf Clubs Make Such an Ear-Splitting Sound. "Back in 2006, Nike introduced the high-performance SUMO 2 golf club driver, specially engineered to help golfers hit straighter shots, even for slightly off-center hits. There was just one problem: the newly designed club made an unpleasantly loud, tinny sound when it struck the ball—so much so, that most players proved unwilling to tolerate it, even in exchange for improved performance. Scientists have now pinpointed the problem: the bottom of the club head (called the sole) vibrated at frequencies that fell smack in the most sensitive range of human hearing."
Vocal Fry Packs a Raw, Emotional Punch in Pop Music. "The growing popularity of so-called “vocal fry,” particularly among young women, is either a hot new trend or the bane of cultured discourse, depending on who you ask. But when it comes to popular music, vocal fry actually enhances expressiveness."
Stop Worrying About Spoilers--They Actually Help You Enjoy the Story More. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that pretty much everyone hates spoilers. The internet was furious with former Detroit Tigers player Michael Sams for accidentally tweeting a major spoiler for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And this week we learned about a vengeful ex-girlfriend who deliberately spoils Game of Thrones for her former paramour each week. But maybe we should all just chill the fuck out, because it turns out that spoilers could actually enhance our enjoyment of our favorite show. That’s the message of a new video from the University of California, San Diego, highlighting the work of psychology professor Nicholas Christensen."
How the World's Most Glamorous Ice Bar Stays Frozen In the Middle of the Desert. (Hint: SCIENCE!) "The bar is made of 120 tons of pure, crystal-clear ice. So are the walls, and all the furniture, along with intricately carved ice sculptures, including a replica of the Vegas skyline and an icy Iron Throne just for Game of Thrones fans. Walking into Minus 5 Ice Bar in Las Vegas is like stepping into a real-world scene from Disney’s Frozen."
It Takes Just Four Minutes To Explain the Entire Universe. "In need of a quick refresher course on, well, the science of pretty much everything? Here’s a cheeky, irreverent summation of the universe in just four minutes from Exub1a, YouTube purveyor of 'spacey stuff and existential angst.'"
The Game of Thrones Intro Recreated with Slime Mold Is Glorious. "Slime molds and fungi might not rank high on anyone’s list of favorite organisms, but there is a compelling beauty in their growth patterns. And now Transcend Rules has taken “slimeography” to a whole new level, setting those patterns to the Game of Thrones theme music."
Other Cool Links:
Speaking of everyone's favorite HBO fantasy series, Tech Insider needed a theoretical physicist--my own Time Lord, Sean Carroll--to explain this mind-boggling moment in the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. (SPOILER ALERT: Hold the door!)
Has a Hungarian Physics Lab Found a Fifth Force of Nature? Some theorists say a radioactive decay anomaly could imply a fundamental new force; others are skeptical.
Scientists weigh in against the NFL’s war on physics and Tom Brady.
A surprising new proof is helping to connect the mathematics of infinity to the physical world.
The complex physics of that viral water bottle trick, explained.
How many times can one town be hit by tornadoes before it becomes more than just bad luck?
Low-mass particles make high-mass stars go BOOM! Simulations key to showing how neutrinos help stars go supernova.
"If the special theory of relativity is true, the equation must be E = mc^2 exactly, with no departures allowed."
How Atomic Tracers Illuminate Microbial Dark Matter in the Deep Sea.
Astronomers Might Have Just Solved a Key Mystery About the Origin of Life.
A billionaire physics Ph.D. says NASA asteroid scientists are all wrong. But he is.
2.7-Billion-Year-Old Bubbles, Raindrops and Mitochondria.
Living Works That Flatten Three-Dimensional Scenes Into Two-Dimensional Photographs by Alexa Meade. Related: my own Gizmodo post from last October when Mead was an artist in residence at Perimeter and painted physicists into a 3D living chalkboard. [Image: Alexa Mead]
New Study Shows Rich Physics in Models of Hypothetical boson stars.
How Quantum Entanglement Can Help You Understand Many-Worlds.
Physicists Make Water Explode with X-Ray Laser Pulses.
Engineers take first step toward flexible, wearable, tricoder-like device.
Can the human body handle the hyper-loop?
Where Is New Physics Hiding, And How Can We Find It?
The Demon Core: A flash of blue, a surge of radiation, and 9 days later, Louis Slotin was dead. Related: The blue flash: behind the scenes of Alex Wellerstein's wonderful Slotin piece. Also: What Presidents Talk About When They Talk About Hiroshima. Finally: Obama: Hiroshima teaches us that we’re doomed if science progresses but our morals don’t.
The Hiroshima Mushroom Cloud That Wasn’t. "experts say it actually shows billowing smoke from a raging firestorm."
My pop-pop was a groundbreaking black chemist — who helped create the atomic bomb.
Nobel medal sale highlights work of forgotten chemist who predicted the atomic bomb. Francis Aston, Edwardian scientific genius, surfer and motorcycling pioneer, was awarded the Nobel in 1922 for his discovery of isotopes. Now his medal is up for auction.
Four wild technologies lawmakers want NASA to pursue.
Of Bisons and Bosons: What are all of the symbols in Fermilab’s unofficial seal?
Physics Makes Aging Inevitable—A Response to Comments from last week's Nautilus essay.
Modular Arithmetic at the Music Stand: A mathematical life-hack for orchestral musicians.
Why Does Math Work? "I suspect many of us encounter our first real mathematical "theorem" when we learn that A times B is B times A."
A Better Way to Teach Math. "Is it possible to eliminate the bell curve in math class?"
The equations of love: review of Modeling Love Dynamics by Sergei Rinaldi.
This Artist Builds Kinetic Sculptures That Run on Windpower and Evolve Like Living Beings.
Survive a wormhole in two-player video game W.U.R.M: Escape from a Dying Star.
“Simply don’t read that hogwash”: Einstein had some genius advice for dealing with haters.
Spark of Science: Robbert Dijkgraaf: director of Institute for Advanced Study on wonders of his childhood attic.
Science or magic? UK scientists test reality of Harry Potter spells.
Barbie Now Has a Giant Tardigrade Steed. "That’s it: We’ve hit peak tardigrade."
This Liquid Metal Watch Looks Like It Was Designed by a Terminator.
What Happens When Space and Fashion Collide.
Singer Simonne Jones Fuses Pop Music and Quantum Physics.
How to bend a ball backwards with the reverse Magnus effect, by The Physics Girl.
MinutePhysics provides a detailed calculation of how long it would take a person to fall through the Earth.