Category Archives: Physics

Describing Motion Resources

For my Grade 10 Physics students. Resources for our unit so far can be found on this page: MYP Describing Motion . The presentation will continue to be updated as we go through the course, so keep checking back and let me know if you spot any errors.

Have fun!

Inside Fukushima

The Guardian has a nice interactive gallery this week of some images taken inside the Fukushima clean-up operation. In the months since the Tōhoku earthquake, there have been published a wealth of very useful educational resources regarding nuclear power, radiation, earthquakes and tsunamis. Sadly too the internet has been inundated with rubbish. When we come to our Atomic Energy unit of inquiry in Grade 10, we will look at some of these and try to evaluate their usefulness.

For now, enjoy the pictures. If you want to learn more, the Guardian was pretty good with their coverage and their links are well worth following.

Guardian Fukushima Gallery

The 11th Hour re-up: Human Impacts on Ecosystems

In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio released his environmental call-to-arms, The 11th Hour. And it’s very good. It really knocks home the old proverb that we are not inheriting the Earth from our ancestors, but borrowing it from our children.

Update 2009: the whole film is available on GoogleVideo (as all good documentaries should be):

The movie contains contributions from the likes of Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winner Wangari Maathai and David Suzuki. Particularly useful is Gloria Flora‘s sentiment that we all vote, every day – even those who are too young to cast a ballot – by making informed choices about what we consume, spend our money on and throw away.

Watch It!

Watch It!

The first half of the movie is a talking-heads and imagery look at our impacts on the Earth, with plenty of soundbites and starting-points for further discussion. The political middle section describes how economic growth and interests are driving destruction. The final act is a great collection of ideas and hope – a call to arms and a realisation that the environmental movement is growing quickly and strongly. But is it going to be in time to save our species and the thousands that we drive to extinction each year?

Now here’s Leo’s video message (including the ‘vote’ quote from Gloria Flora):

For some further reading, go to the 11th hour Action website.

IB Biology students:

Here is a quick question sheet for the movie, linking some of the topics to the Ecology and Conservation option.

Higher Level students: pay attention to the parts about the role of trees in the environment, in particular through water-uptake. Also, do you understand how mycofiltration (using fungal mycelia) could be used to clean polluted soils?

For good measure, here’s Linkin Park’s accompanying music video, What I’ve Done :

Big Bang Rap – The LHC team explain

This is just great  -a rap produced by the scientists at the Large Hadron Collider to explain what they do, what dark matter is and how the Big Bang happened. They switched it on today, and the world didn’t end, which is nice. Read more about it here.

Wind Turbines Make Bats’ Lungs Explode

I thought this was a hoax when I first read it, but it’s serious – and even though I’m all up for renewable energy sources (including wind-power), this is a little worrying.

Many people know that if you’ve been SCUBA diving or snorkelling deep down, you need to exhale as you surface – and not rise too quickly. This is because a rapid decrease in pressure as you surface can cause bubbles of nitrogen to form in the blood, leading to potentially fatal bends.

Well it seems a similar pressure-related phenomenon has been causing bats to drop dead near wind turbines – although instead of nitrogen bubbles forming, their lungs have been violently haemmoraging. Simply put, the high air speed around the tips of the blades cause a dramatic drop in air pressure. Bats can’t detect changes in air pressure with their echolocation, so fly through this areas. When the air pressure drops, their lungs expand and then pop.

For a great article about this, head on over to Ed Yong’s award-winning  Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Here’s NewScientist’s video on the same subject:

One simple solution posted on Ed’s comments section suggest that a high-frequency noise might keep the bats at a safe distance. That would have the added benefit of keeping away the teenagers!

Here’s the link to an old post about an exploding wind turbine.

NewScientist reports on Prius with noise-machine.

I’m not sure if my sarcasm gene is on overdrive today or what, but this seems to me like biggest bit of non-news that NewScientist’s video channel has produced.

“Fake engine noise makes electric cars safer”

The main point seems to be to protect blind people and the terminally stupid (or i-Pod wearing) from being hit by quiet hybrid cars as they cross the street.

See how Mad Mike would solve the problem after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry

Playing the Building: David Byrne’s sound sculpture

This is pretty cool – turn an old building into a giant musical instrument:

Here’s the original link to the video at BoingBoingTV:

Sustainable Dance Club

Here’s a cool idea – put transducers under the floor of a night club and use it to generate electricity to run the light and sound rigs. But just how much energy would be converted? Would it be significant?

Fizzix is Phun

I’m a bit worried about posting this so close to the DP exams*, but it is irresistable…

Ben Goldacre posted this video on the badscience blog – it’s a Physics toy for the computer, which can be downloaded here:

The comments page turned up a load of other good toys to play with, so go on over to the original post and check them out.

There are plenty of videos of Phun in action on YouTube.

*potential 10 on the procrastinometer

Footprints Science – loads of simple, clear interactives

This site has a good collection of animations and interactives aimed at KS3/GCSE levels. It is divided into Bio, Chem and Phys and has a section on coursework. Well worth spending time having a look there, especially as most of them can be saved easily.

Special prize for anyone who can work out what the Taj Mahal is doing in the banner for a Science website.

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