Applied Physics

Latency is so ingrained into modern communication we almost forget about it but in live or recorded events, like performances or rehearsals over a long distance, it is crippling.

 When recording a soundtrack over a pre-recorded base, the latency is perceptible to the human ear if a delay of 15-20 milliseconds occurs - the track seems displaced from the rest, giving the sense of being poorly played. To resolve displacement over long distances, elements such as sound capture, sound coding and decoding servers, intermediate network elements, lines of communication and the software used all must be factored in.
Researchers have discovered proof that acoustic phonons, the elemental particles that transmit both heat and sound, have magnetic properties. 

In a new paper, the authors describe how a magnetic field roughly the size of a medical MRI reduced the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12 percent. But because the phonons reacted to the magnetic field, the particles must be sensitive to magnetism.  
My wife and I were in an airport newsstand. I was looking through the magazines to find something to read on the flight when I saw something that didn't make sense. Quite confused, I had to blink a few times to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. My wife was a few yards away in the store looking at some knickknacks, so I had to say this loud enough for her to hear: "Tabby, I think I've accidentally stumbled into an alternate universe because Paris Hilton is on the cover of National Geographic:




Mar 17 2015 | 2 comment(s)

Build a laser oscilloscope using Lego, littleBits, Erector set, and the Kano Computer. In honor of The International Year of Light I’ll demonstrate how use the Kano computer to drive a littleBits motor with an optical coupler, or optocoupler. An optocoupler, according to Wikipedia, "is a component that transfers electrical signals between two isolated circuits by using light." The Kano Computer is one isolated circuit and the littleBits Light Sensor/Motor is the second isolated circuit.

In a previous blog post, I demonstrated how to build a magnetic optical mount for a laser using Erector set parts. Here's another method of attaching a chip clip to the Erector set stand.

Parts Needed

Erector set right angle bracket 3-hole (mine is a bit more than 90°)
Erector set nut
Computer case thumbscrew
Chip Clip

I used a knife to cut a slit in the rubber grip of the chip clip just wide enough for the Erector set angle bracket to fit tightly once inserted in the grip.

Red lead is familiar to us due to rustproof paint but artists have treasured the brilliant color for its durability since ancient times.

Yet it has limits and now scientists are learning more about why.  A combination of X-ray diffraction mapping and tomography experiments at the DESY synchrotron light source PETRA III has shown an additional step in the light-induced degradation of lead red. Key was identification of the very rare lead carbonate mineral plumbonacrite in a painting by Van Gogh.

Northern gannets avoid buckling their necks by choosing the right diving speed. Credit: Jean-Jacques Boujot

By Ben Stein, Inside Science

(Inside Science Currents Blog) -- Animals perform many feats that are remarkable once you think about them. Here’s one that I never previously contemplated: seabirds dive into the water to capture fish at seemingly breakneck speeds — yet their necks are completely unharmed.

I often see K’nex sets at second-hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army so I decided to see if K’nex can be co-opted for science and used them to build a test tube rack.

The upright K’nex rods support the structure, can be raised and lowered if needed for taller test tubes, and they serve as test tube drying pegs. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter:

A “mechanically programmable” metamaterial held by Bastiaan Florijn, Leiden University. Photo credit: Ben P. Stein

By Ben Stein, Inside Science

(Inside Science Currents Blog) -- It’s rare when a scientific term is both cool sounding and precise, but the word “metamaterial” might just fit the bill. Although they are made from small, ordinary building blocks such as rods, circles or sticks, metamaterials have striking properties that often do not occur in the natural world.        

by Marsha Lewis, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) – Scientists often examine matter that is invisible to the naked eye. This hidden atomic world is a mystery for most people, but now a scientist created a way for people to imagine what they might see as their own bodies interact with the atoms that surround them.