Applied Physics

When optimizing in multi-dimensional parameter spaces, local maximums are not as much of a problem as being misguided by maximums that are constrained on a lower dimensional subspace. Therefore, so called ‘walk-in’ methods are necessary. They must explore all directions of the high dimensional space. Apart from such details, we are more interested in complexity as such in order to allow complex reactions and properties/behaviors in the first place (before optimizing), and to further research how proxy-measures of complexity compare to performance.
In a previous How-To Guide I demonstrated how to blink a Snap Circuits LED with the Kano Computer (blinking an LED is the “Hello World!” of hardware hacking) and in this guide I’ll demonstrate how to drive a variable speed fan with Snap Circuits and the Kano Computer. I’ll actually use the same Scratch program that I used to blink the LED to control the speed of the motor. When I pressed the up arrow on the Kano keyboard, the LED blinked faster and faster. Conversely, when I pressed the down arrow the LED flashed slower and slower.
For Pi Day 2016, I’ll demonstrate how to flash a Snap Circuits LED with the Kano Computer (my version of the Kano has the Raspberry Pi 2). I've lost count of how many computers I've built over the years, but I think it is safe to say that the Kano Computer was the easiest build ever. So simple a child could do it. Kano founders, Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Alex Klein, and Saul Klein, wanted to figure out what the next generation’s computer would be like, so they asked Micah, Saul’s seven-year-old son.

Superconductivity, a quantum phenomenon in which metals below a certain temperature develop flow of current with no loss or resistance, has been one of the most intriguing problems in physics, for over a century.

First discovered in the element mercury in 1911, superconductivity is said to occur when electrical resistance in a solid vanishes when that solid is cooled below a characteristic temperature, called the transition temperature, which varies from material to material. Transition temperatures tend to be close to 0 K or -273 C. At even slightly higher temperatures, the materials tend to lose their superconducting properties; indeed, at room temperature most superconductors are very poor conductors.

UPDATE: LIGO has detected gravitational waves.

Diamonds are made of carbon, graphite is also made of carbon. Both are natural, yet one is quite valuable and the other is a commodity.

Because of basic similarities, everyone wants to know if the value and hype of diamonds are justified, especially when they see them all over mainstream department stores.

Is diamond really as rare as people make it out to be?  The short answer is yes, diamonds are incredibly rare, geologically speaking. The longer answer is that they could even be considered Mother Nature’s scientific miracle. 

A new simple nanowire manufacturing technique uses self-catalytic growth process assisted by thermal decomposition of natural gas. According to the research team, this method is simple, reproducible, size-controllable, and cost-effective in that lithium-ion batteries could also benefit from it.

In their approach, they discovered that germanium nanowires are grown by the reduction of germanium oxide particles and subsequent self-catalytic growth during the thermal decomposition of natural gas, and simultaneously, carbon sheath layers are uniformly coated on the nanowire surface. 

Florida's citrus industry has been struggling with citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease caused by a bacterium called Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that destroys fruit production and eventually kills the tree. An effective cure using antibiotics and breeding has not happened, and crop production is declining steadily.

A group of researchers are using lasers on citrus leaves. When used with the right settings, could greatly improve the success of antibiotic treatments currently being looked into as a way to stop the deadliest plant disease in Florida's history. 
No matter how much force is applied (within reason, no hammer of Thor stuff) you can't separate two interleaved phone books by pulling on their spines.

A new experiment shows it is even possible to suspend a car from them.

Using a model that reproduces the traction and friction forces involved, researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), Laboratoire Gulliver (CNRS/ESPCI ParisTech), Laboratoire de Génie des Procédés Papetiers (CNRS/Grenoble INP) and McMaster University in Canada have shown that when the spines of the interleaved phonebooks are pulled on vertically, part of the vertical force is converted into a horizontal force that presses on the sheets. The pages then remain stuck together due to friction.