Category Archive: Science

Dec 07 2012

Thermo for Normals (part 27): Diffusion and sound


The other day, my wife cooked up some microwavable popcorn while I was down the hall in the bedroom. The sound of the popcorn being made traveled seemingly instantly, but it took a full 5 minutes before the buttery smell came down the hall. Why is one so slow and the other so fast? Both …

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Nov 20 2012

Thermo for Normals (part 26): A gas in detail


A molecule in a gas is being knocked into by lots of surrounding gas molecules. This is a very complex, almost random-seeming process. And yet we know that at higher temperatures the gas molecules simply must be moving faster on average. There must be a relationship between the temperature and the average energy. Moreover, we …

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Nov 19 2012

GOP is anti-science: Marco Rubio Earth creation edition

From GQ magazine's interview with Marco Rubio: GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? Marco Rubio: I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do …

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Nov 09 2012

Republicans are anti-science: SST committee edition

Now that the current chairman of the House committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Ralph Hall, is retiring, there are three Republicans up for his office. They're all climate change denialists. The first is the congressman that represents Orange County, CA, Dana Rohrbacher. Phil Plait has a ... let's just say strange quote from him …

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Oct 26 2012

Thermo for Normals (part 25): The odds of being (energy) rich


In a gas such as the air you're breathing, not all of the molecules are flying around with the same speed. If they were, that would be pretty amazing. Nevertheless, most of the molecules are flying around at about the same speed. And the speed is related to the energy. We'd like to know what the …

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