2012-03-14

Remember, Pi is a lie!

Happy Half Tau Day!

Remember, Pi is a lie and Tau is twice the fun!

As you go about your mathematically similar day, read up on the origins and uses of Pi and Tau in those previous articles.

2012-03-09

Goofy physics

Source: "Goofy" - Wikipedia

For years, I've pondered a question presented by Goofy in the film "A Goofy Movie" [IMDB]:
"How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the Moon?"
Having just watching the film with my kids tonight, I decided to finally calculate the answer.
Disregarding the effects of atmospheric drag and the gravity of the Sun, I can focus solely on the physics involving the gravity of the Earth and Moon ["Escape velocity" - Wikipedia]:
- A "cup of sugar" has the potential to release 3.18 MJ of energy
- The velocity required to break free of Earth (VeE) is 11.2 km/s
- The velocity gained by an object falling to the Moon (VeM) is 2.4 km/s
- My mass (Mi) is approximately 77 kg 1
Using an understanding of (simplified) rocket science [minutephysics - YouTube], we can learn the basic equation needed to calculate how much energy is needed to travel to the Moon:
Energy in Joules = (.5*Mi)*((VeE)²-(VeM)²)
(38.5)*(11.2²-2.4²) = 4.61x109 J = 4610 MJ
Now we know that I, as some sort of bizarre human-rocket, would need 4610 MJ of energy to travel to the Moon. We already found that 3.18 MJ of energy is in each cup of sugar.
4610 MJ / 3.18 MJ = 1450
This means that it would require the energy of 1450 cups of sugar for me to travel to the Moon. Don't worry, the hard part will be figuring out how I can fly.

1 As a point of reference, the Saturn V rocket which launched Apollo 11 was 3,039,000 kg [Saturn V - Wikipedia].

2012-03-08

Connected to the Universe

URL: https://vimeo.com/38101676

When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson [Wikipedia] was asked by a TIME magazine reader "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?", Tyson responded with a beautiful observation of the connectivity of the Universe. Tyson said, "When I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us." [Full transcript - Lybio.net]

When I first heard Tyson's words, I smiled because I too feel a strong connectivity with the universe. When I wander the mountainside, swim in the ocean, or gaze at the night sky, I don't feel insignificant or fear the certainty of death; I feel peace. As I observe the wonders within the universe, it is the feeling of awe, coupled with an insatiable curiosity, that fuels my search for further understanding and exploration.

2012-03-06

2012 Primaries election results

Today is Super Tuesday, a Spring day when most primary elections are held in an election year. Due to high demand during the last presidential election, I published an article showing regularly updated primary election results on a Google Spreadsheet.

As the current election rolls along in 2012, my statistics again indicate that election results are being sought after on the INDY Blog. So, on the biggest election day of the Spring, I present you with a Google Spreadsheet for the...
2012 Republican Primaries
Similar to the previous spreadsheets, you can find the winners for each type of vote, whether by popular vote, delegate, or "superdelegate" (aka high-ranking party member). I will update these results as I'm able and from a smattering of sources, from "both sides of the fence". (I'm trying to relay election results, not spin them.)