Like most Americans, Jen-Luc Piquant is still recovering from the Thanksgiving festivities. But please enjoy this roundup of physics links in the interim, including stories on the physics of dandelion fluff, why some black holes might be superfast spinning pulsars, and why cooking that Thanksgiving turkey is all about thermal transfer.
This year the Time Lord, Sean Carroll, gives thanks for the Jarzynski Equality -- an exact and fully non-equilibrium generalization of the celebrated Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Want a Perfect Turkey? Calculate Its Specific Heat Capacity. Really, Thanksgiving is all about thermal transfer. Related: National Science Foundation Envisions the Future of Thanksgiving Dinner. Also: The Game Theory of Thanksgiving: Gratitude can unleash epidemics of altruism.
Dandelion fluff makes a surprisingly effective parachute. The physics of dandelion dispersal could inspire windborne microdrones.
Ghost Particles Detected on Far Side of Earth Bolsters Crucial Physics Theory.
Black holes that shred stars burp out cosmic rays and neutrinos.
Storms Generate Thunder, Lightning and...Antimatter? “We provided clear and conclusive evidence for both neutrons and positrons from a single event that can be only explained by photonuclear reactions from lightning.”
Idiot or con artist? Or both? This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat. Related: Five Impossible Facts That Would Have To Be True If The Earth Were Flat. Also: A Fascinating Look Inside the First Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Way too many people think this ‘new’ photo proves the Apollo moon landing was faked.
Virtual time travel offers a way to experience (and maybe solve) temporal puzzlers like the 'grandfather paradox.'
IceCube turns the planet into a giant neutrino detector, tests energies thousands of times higher than accelerators can go.
Black Hole Pretenders May Be Superfast-Spinning Pulsars. Unraveling the murky origins of these cosmic imposters could lead to breakthroughs in understanding the lives and deaths of stars.
Why do cats look like loaves of bread sometimes, according to science?
One way to damp a bouncing ball is to partially fill it with a fluid or granular material.
Whispering Walls and the Nature of Acoustic Geometry: The nascent field of “archaeoacoustics” studies the way sound and archaeological sites interact.
The Photoshoppers Behind Dreamy Jupiter Photos. Space enthusiasts around the world have spent months turning spacecraft data into stunningly detailed portraits of the gas giant.
The real science behind the unreal predictions of major earthquakes in 2018. "Rebecca Bendick would like you not to panic."
The Scientific Secret to Blocking Bullets Like Wonder Woman.
Jet Fuel from Sugarcane? It's Not a Flight of Fancy. engineered sugarcane could yield more than 2,500 liters of bio-jet fuel per acre of land.
1891: Chandler finds a wobble. "Sometimes, in science, it turns out that the best way to find something is to not be looking for it at all."
Spin: The Quantum Property That Should Have Been Impossible.
Voices of the Manhattan Project: Felix DePaula, Army private at Trinity Site: "There was a snake. I grabbed a pole, and I gave it a whip. It went over the buildings. There was a big commotion. It turned out the snake had landed and hit one of the soldiers that was in the mess hall line."
A Forgotten Underwater Sound Experiment Almost Changed How We Measure Global Warming.
Physics is a Creative Endeavor. "All too many people believe physics is just a matter of plugging and chugging through rote algorithms with well-known formulae. Real physics values creativity and original thinking as much as the arts."
Bathroom, Mathroom: For World Toilet Day, an appreciation of the most mathematically interesting room in the house.
Looking at the math of segregation in a computer model: "What prevents segregation from happening on a massive scale is that smaller-scale segregation happens first."
Millions, Billions, Trillions: How to Make Sense of Numbers in the News.
US students aren’t bad at math—they’re just not motivated. Related: What To Do When the Whole Class is Failing: "It’s bleak. It’s discouraging. And if you’ve taught math, it’s an experience you know."
A Calculated Decision: Why John Urschel Chose Math Over Football.
Why Nuclear Power Professionals Are Serious About Joking Around. "The Summer Games events often have a dark humor to them—they play around with nuclear disaster scenarios in ways outsiders might find jarring. Yet this edgy outdoor sporting is a powerful way of raising workforce morale. It’s an aspect of a culture that may, from afar, seem to admire only cold, sterile rationality."
Chernobyl Reactor Was Destroyed By a Nuclear—Not Steam—Explosion in 1986.
Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky recalls his close relationship to Richard Feynman, including a sharing of ideas about a digital universe: