The Flying Circus of Physics is a book about curious events and effects of the everyday world. This site is an extension of the book.
Spotlight story for this month: Click on the title down below here
Secondary stories for this month: Click on "News/Updates" in menu at the left
Archived stories and links (hundreds): 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J-K, L-O, P-Q, R-S, T-Z
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Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site (public site): my old television videos and many photos. Here is the link. Come for a visit, and consider signing up as a fan of the site.
Jay Waller stories: Physics for
Citations (over 11,000) and links (over 2000) for items in the book (pdf files):
Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3, Chap 4, Chap 5, Chap 6, Chap 7
A random sample from the book appears at lower right each time you come to this site.
---- Jearl Walker
ps. If the biplane at the top of the page doesn't have sound and motion, download the free flash player from Adobe.com.
Flying Circus of Physics Spotlight
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Surfing a big wave requires a subtle interplay of forces. Here are both a description of those forces and sample calculations. Here is also is the techniques of avoiding a wipeout.
Flying Circus of Physics Sample
Woodpeckers and concussion
A woodpecker hammers its beak into the limb of a tree to search for insects to eat, to create storage space, or to audibly advertise for a mate. During the impact, the rate at which the head slows is about 1000 g’s (1000 times gravitational acceleration). Such a deceleration rate would be fatal to a human or at best severely damage the brain and leave the person with a concussion. Why then doesn’t a woodpecker fall from a tree either dead or unconscious every time it slams its beak into the tree? MORE
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