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Archive for the ‘Science Fun Fact’ Category

## If You are in an Airplane and the Pilot Suddenly Announces a Coming Collision, What Will You Do?

March 14th, 2009

First, let’s determine if a collision between 2 airplanes is possible with all the high-tech equipment operating in the airplane and on the ground.  Based on the flight’s direction, planes have specific altitudes to follow.  If your direction is east, the altitude is an odd thousand and if you are flying to the west, it is an even thousand.

If you are flying over the ocean, the designated altitude is 2,000 feet separations.  Therefore, if 2 planes are intercepted to be on the same altitude, one of the pilots must be on the wrong altitude.  It may be possible that one of the 2 pilots has set the wrong altimeter pressure.

If we take the case of an American plane and a Russian plane, there may be a collision because perhaps the Russian plane makes use of Metric gauges and possibly had a conversion error or it could be that one plane was on top of the other which was flying in a sloppy manner.

Another point is that the warning devices on board may be so sensitive to interact with each other.  This means that when the 2 planes are close to each other, the warning devices automatically shuts off due to the strength of their devices that overpower each other based on their sensitivity.

It could be that the planes were several miles with each other and heading on the same path.  However, the sensors are not that smart to know exactly which direction is the other plane heading to.  All they can tell you is that there is a plane coming as shown by bubbles of air in all directions thus, giving a warning signal to the pilot.

When 2 planes are so close with each other, the pilot has the responsibility to avoid collision.  But there are times when the problem also lies on the ground controllers.  If the air traffic controllers on the ground give a wrong signal due to poor visibility, collision may occur.

Airplanes follow a preset route that many aircrafts do.  Since these aircrafts travel in the same spots, the air traffic controllers make sure that they pass along the route at different times.  If the system is not perfectly done, an increased possibility of collision will arise.  At 33,000 above the ground, collisions are very rare.

Collisions commonly happen near the airports where several aircrafts are taking off and landing in a limited space.  Pilots and air traffic controllers are strictly trained regarding their jobs and they have to obey strict rules while operating in airport areas to avoid accidents.  But even with the most careful handling of their jobs, still accidents happen caused by the slightest error in maneuvering within the area.

So at this point, you can be relieved that it is only at the most extreme cases that a collision may occur in the sky unless intended.  However, you know fully well that there are other causes of plane crash like zero visibility and mechanical troubles.  Just be attentive on safety measures then, whatever happens.

## If There was no Light in the Universe, Shall we Have Fun all the Way Doing Nothing?

March 13th, 2009

The study of the universe is always interesting to everyone and the existence of light and its final extinction raise doubts in the minds of human beings.  In order to clear any doubts as to the beginning of light and its possible transformation to darkness, you may not have fun at all because so long as the universe has energy, it will always produce light in any form.

Therefore, the probability of having no light will never exist except when miracles happen.  Light particles or what is known as photons existed in the early stage of the universe not only the small rays of light but also all kinds of energies, whether high energies or low energies.

The Big Bang theory indicates that light came from gaseous Helium 3 present in the universe as the lightest chemical in existence.  It has been theorized by scientists that when the star expands its size, Helium 3 is mixed to its surface and if it is nearing to be consumed, it emits Helium 3 into the space prior to becoming a planetary nebula.

Some scientists came out with a theory that the fast speed in the rotation of the stars led to the rupture of Helium 3 in the outer space that resulted to the Big Bang theory.  A study made by scientists using hi-powered equipment attempted to find out if there was indeed gas mixing in the stars that caused the accumulated amount of Helium 3 to explode in the universe.

Their findings indicated that when the life of a star is nearing to its end, a huge flash in its core appears.  It was at this time that an unstable motion of the gases present in the star occurs.  It was found out that this hydrodynamic instability produced the mixing of gases which caused the destruction to Helium 3 and nothing has reached into the outer space.

Therefore, it has been concluded that the Helium 3 in the universe came from the Big Bang and the stars mixture that produced Helium 3, but did not released any into the space because they destroyed it before it could be released to the universe.

The Big Bang nucleo-synthesis produced nuclei other than the common type of hydrogen during the initial stage of the universe.  After just a few minutes after the Big Bang when the space has cooled off, protons and neutrons were formed next to baryo-genesis.

Now, a good question is – when did the universe appeared?

During the start of the universe, everything was heavy and hot.  As the universe cooled off, it produced protons and neutrons to form nuclei but they were still hot and heavy to create atoms such as hydrogen and helium.

When everything was cool enough, the photons were no longer blocked by large atoms, thus, they started travelling in a clear way, unhampered, which paved the way to creation of light.  Even today, photons are still travelling which can be seen as the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Based on the above, I prefer to have fun doing something in the light than doing nothing in the dark.

## Is Artificial Gravity Pulling the Weight of a Hunchback that Slows Him Down

March 12th, 2009

This question is more related to physical rather than the forces of gravity.  If your back is physically deformed, it will be difficult for you to climb the mountain.  This is much different in the case of 2 persons carrying heavy luggage in their backs and trying to reach the top of the mountain.

Given the same weights of the 2 persons but different weights they carry on their backs, the common perception will draw the man carrying lighter luggage to reach the peak of the mountain first.  But hold on; an important factor has to be considered here, the climbing ability of both men.

If the man who carries the heavier load is an expert mountain climber compared the other one, of course he will go ahead of the other even if he has a heavier load.  Same is true with both men with different body weights coming down from a parachute, the denser will come down faster than the lesser.

But in this case, the strong pressure of air in the sky can be a significant factor to alter the weight and speed in coming down.  Artificial gravity is something that occurs caused by a reaction from an action.  It is something that push you back when your car speeds off.  In this particular case, artificial gravity is caused by acceleration.

Artificial gravity can also be brought about by centripetal forces.  When a pilot turns the aircraft in a swift manner going to the left, then acceleration is increased pushing the aircraft to the right direction.  The same manner as when the car accelerates to the left, the passenger swings to the right.

But when the car goes down, your body goes in the same direction.  To generate artificial gravity, you need a mass to initiate it.  Gravity has its own definition different from artificial gravity.  The force of gravity is a mechanism that pulls an object in a downward motion to the ground.  Comparing the 2, it is easier to generate artificial gravity.

If you are in a merry-go-round spinning intensely, don’t you feel that as if something is taking you out from the center of the wheel?  When the mechanism suddenly goes down from the peak, don’t you feel like vomiting due to the extreme force that is pulling you down?  This is the same effect as if something is taking you out.

Therefore, any force that has strength to push you in any direction or pull you downward is called artificial gravity.

Now, if you want to determine how an object’s center of gravity is related to its stability, here is a good example.  If you tip an object, you will notice that the force in the center of gravity is increased.  In Physics, this is considered as in stable equilibrium.  Let’s take the cone as good example.

If the center of gravity is decreased when it is gently tipped, it is in unstable equilibrium, same as the cone that has a cone balanced on its tip.  If the center of gravity does not go up or down just like a cone on one side, it is considered in a neutral equilibrium.