July 30, 2010

Friday Fun (v.1.11)—Physics Fun

An all-science Friday Fun this week.  Let's hear it for our geeky friends in the lab!

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First off is a cool video of a lightning strike, filmed at 9000 frames/second (hat tip The Daily Wh.at).  This video captured lightning strikes over Rapid City, South Dakota, and is equivalent to one second of real time (well, except for all my readers who are traveling near the speed of light relative to my frame of reference):




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Neatorama.com passed along a report that scientists have measured the smallest unit of time so far—20 attoseconds.  What's an attosecond, you wonder?  Well, Neatorama helpfully tells us:

An attosecond is one quintillionth of a second.
Oh, that clears it up for me.  Anyway, the measurement was performed to discover the amount of time it took electrons to move after being struck by a photon.  Seriously, where are all the particle rights activists, and why are they allowing this lepton abuse to occur?  Are electrons just not as cuddly as the baryons?  Are the particle protestors all too busy enjoying their Swiss vacation as they protest hadron abuse in the CERN facility? 

In any event, if scientists want to conduct humane experiments about short time periods, they need only follow Phil Hellmuth in a poker tournament.  There is nothing faster than the "Hellmuth two-pawed insta-call" when he thinks he has trapped an opponent, except perhaps for the period of time between when Hellmuth's opponent reveals he has, in fact, actually trapped Hellmuth, and the beginning of Hellmuth's whining rant.

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Finally, ever wonder what would happen if a flamethrower went up against a fire extinguisher (especially when death is on the line)?  Here's the answer, in a video for "Ritalin" by Dancing Pigeons (hat tip Neatorama.com):


Dancing Pigeons - Ritalin from Blink on Vimeo.

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