Posted April 25, 2011
Play catch with a robot:
These autonomous robots are pretty amazing: they can bounce a ball back to a person, or play catch as they hover in their purpose-built arena. It is impressive how quickly they recover from the collision with the ball and resume level flight. The computers that control the robots are in adjoining rooms, and the netting keeps the robots contained in the event of a problem.
Posted April 18, 2011
Beautiful music from Japan:
This is an advertisement, but the science is really cool… First, there is the conversion of gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy and sound energy. Second, there is the fact that the note sounded by each wooden bar is determined by the length of the bar, with long bars producing low notes and short bars high notes. Finally, there is the idea of blending old technology (wood) with new technology in a sustainable way. (The phones are made using scrap wood that would otherwise be discarded.)
Posted April 11, 2011
What is a tsunami?
This video gives a good overview of the dynamics of a tsunami. While last year's film 2012 had a lot of gigantic computer generated tsunamis, I have found the real footage out of Japan to be much more terrifying. The cleanup and rebuilding will be a project of the next several years.
Posted April 4, 2011
Reactors and iodine tablets explained:
With the continuing problems at the nuclear reactors in Japan, I thought it would be good to share a clear explanation of how nuclear power plants work and get some good information out to folks. Of course, this video is now a bit dated as to the status of the power plants, but the chemistry is very good, and it addresses some common questions about the accident.
Jacob Clark Blickenstaff is Assistant Professor of Physics and Assistant Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Southern Mississippi.