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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, 1F1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book: A-C, D-K, L-Q, R-S, T-Z

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New --- Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site: new videos from me every month. The first in the series: the Cheerios effect. Plus 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 SpotlightFlying Circus of Physics Spotlight

The case of the burning hospital gurneys
Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A burn victim is often treated in a special, oxygen-rich chamber. On several occasions, as the gurney (bed with wheels) was being pulled from the chamber, the gurney caught fire and threaten to burn the burn victim. Why do the gurneys catch fire? Here is the physics answer.

Flying Circus of Physics SampleFlying 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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