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Physics

This category contains 32 posts

How much do humans impact floods and droughts?

We know climate change leads to more floods and droughts. We also know that humans can change the flow of streams and rivers. But what happens when we put these two things together? Singh and Basu (2022) investigated seasonal flow in natural and managed watersheds in the US and Canada. A watershed is an area … Continue reading

When it’s -40 is a heat island a good thing?

We are having some extreme cold temperatures this week, with wind chills consistently sitting between -30 and -40°C. This is warmer than it is in the surrounding rural areas thanks to the urban heat island effect (UHI). UHI is typically discussed when we think of warm temperatures. Basically, the impact of heat leaking from buildings … Continue reading

Give yourself the gift of learning

Saving the Metals From Batteries

Batteries are incredibly useful technologies and key to many sustainable technologies. Unfortunately, the chemicals in batteries pose a huge environmental problem themselves. But a new study by Xiao et al (2021) may have a solution or at least an improvement over the current situation. Ultrasound is a relatively common imaging technology. It uses sound waves … Continue reading

Nanoparticles for nano-potholes?

I live in a winter city. Potholes are a reality on our roads, splits on our sidewalks, and cracks in our foundations. The number of construction stories here that include some version of “they had to replace the materials because they warped or broke in the extreme cold” is plentiful. But the thing is, these … Continue reading

What’s in a (female’s) title?

The old John Cleese show Fawlty Towers had an episode that has always stuck in my mind. A couple is checking into the hotel and Cleese’s character Basil becomes ever more confused because the couple challenge his patriarchal views of the world. You see, both the husband and wife are doctors and therefore check-in as … Continue reading

Shining a light on dust

It’s a commonly seen phenomena, dust particles sparkling in a narrow beam of light, but why does this happen? Mostly, this is a result of our ability to perceive contrasts and the ability of the dust particles to reflect light. Let’s start with the latter point. Light is reflected or absorbed by surfaces. We experience … Continue reading

Mini post: The Hulk and Gamma Radiation

I went to Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes at Telus World of Science Edmonton yesterday so I had to take a photo of the Hulk. The reason I had to take a photo is that when I teach the electromagnetic spectrum in an intro physics course I always talk about the Hulk when it comes … Continue reading

Making it snow

I was going to do this post as a magic Monday until I read about all the people who have been burned doing this trick, so perhaps it is better left as one that you binge YouTube videos of. The trick is that you take boiling water outside in frigidly cold temperatures and toss the … Continue reading

What are the differences between the blade of a hockey skate and a figure skate?

I grew up figure skating, but I am also very comfortable on a pair of hockey skates. (Please don’t call them women’s vs men’s as this perpetuates stereotypes that just aren’t true.) When I taught learn-to skate lessons I was often asked about the differences between the two types of skates and when this question … Continue reading

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