Archive for ‘Physics’

March 14, 2015

It’s finally here

by Janie Jones

Today is the first official day of spring break.  And, the weather is cooperating in lovely style.  It was sunny and 56.

Only seven more weeks of physics!!!  Now that is something to really celebrate.

February 26, 2015

Update from the academic front

by Janie Jones

Yesterday I preempted Thursday Quote Du Jour with my Curran quote, so today have no material.  This cold is also dampening my blogging enthusiasm.  Sorry.

However, I do have some good news.  Physics test scores did come in yesterday.  The class average was 66%.  Apparently, physics teacher didn’t find that unusually low.  However, I was surprised.  That meas half of the class did worse than me.  I got a 78%.  Imagine that!

Unfortunately, this next section looks pretty miserable.  The calculations for magnetic fields and forces drag all my least favorite topics from last semester back into play.  Torque, centripetal force, vector components.  *Shudder*

Well, only 9 and a half more weeks until the semester is over.

Here’s a bonus joke.  I just found a funny website full of physics jokes I’d never seen before.

Q: What did the male magnet say to the female magnet?

A: From your backside, I thought you were repulsive. However, after seeing you from the front, I find you rather attractive.

February 6, 2015

Share the Physics Lab joy

by Janie Jones

This is what I had to build in physics lab yesterday:

circuit diagram

This is supposed to represent a circuit diagram.  Each little dome shape was a light bulb.  The bottom with the angled bit sticking out and down was the switch.  The open bit on the left with a small and large perpendicular line on either side was the battery connection.

With me so far?

So, we were given a packet of various configurations of the above and tests to make with voltmeters and ammeters inserted in the diagrams at various points.  This was a series of 1 bulb and two parallel bulbs.  I found it the most complicated to figure out how to build.

But Janie, you might well think, what’s so hard about making that?

You see, we were also given a large assortment of wires, little light bulbs, a switch and a battery pack.  Some of the wires had little alligator clips on the ends.  Some had metal rod things.  Some had one of each.  But other than a set of diagrams and an assortment of doo-daddery, there was not a stitch of instructions given on how to put all this stuff together.  Neither myself nor my other two partners had any experience with this sort of equipment, so it was quite a circus act trying to figure out how rectangular boxes related to wires and light bulbs.

It was a bit fun once we got over the initial WTF? moment of how to manipulate the equipment.  Surprisingly, none of us got electrocuted.  And as we are in general a rather highly educated, intelligent bunch, we got it figured out.  Mostly.  We did run out of class time before we finished it all, and I’m still glad I’m not an electrical engineering major; I have to spend this afternoon doing calculations with the data we collected from our voltmeter and ammeter readings.


January 26, 2015

Mental Health Monday meet Thursday Quote Du Jour

by Janie Jones

Happy Monday everybody.

I could almost be happy today, but I miss Leif.  I went out to the farm on Saturday to check in on things for him (he’s finished week 2 of his Snow Bird Sojourn and has another week or more to go before serious contemplation of return) and to do a little laundry.  I was contemplating staying the night, but after about two hours I began to feel so horribly sad, lonely and anxious that I suddenly had to just finish and leave.  Being out there totally alone, no dogs, no cat, no chickens, no man-  it was soul crushingly depressing.  I cannot explain why, undoubtedly there is some subconscious message struggling to bubble up to the surface, but amid all the other life drama I don’t have time to stop and fish for it.  As it was, I became so agitated I couldn’t apply myself to any task other than hurrying up and leaving.

Anyway, I got back in town and yesterday’s 3 hour physics marathon actually left me feeling somewhat relieved this morning; I can start my week caught up on homework and it feels good.  I am going to try very hard to manage my time this week, to stay focused on the positives and start working on my new research appointment.

Man, it feels good to say that.  I have a research appointment.  I do research.  I will have to write my own research paper.

But first I have to learn more about my subject.  I am hoping I can kill two birds with one stone and use my research on Lyme Disease as my presentation for the seminar I have to give later this semester.  I can think of nothing more pleasant than to be able to combine them and make my seminar project have a more useful purpose than just killing off another graduation requirement.

And this brings me to today’s Monday Mental Health topic.  I’m really trying to embrace this crazy schedule ahead of me and make the best of the things I don’t want to do, so that hopefully the parts I do want to do can shine instead of getting buried in the crap.

So, I stumbled on this quote which I feel sums up certain aspects of my life quite nicely:

80% of success is showing up.

-Woody Allen

Well, I can definitely do that!  And, if only showing up could guarantee me an 80% in physics, well, I’d be super groovy okay with that!

January 25, 2015

Study Sunday and boring observations that bug me

by Janie Jones

So, it is almost 6pm on Sunday.  My day went primarily into paying bills, dealing with paperwork, cleaning and physics homework.  I meant to do a few other things, but after 3 hours of physics I was shredded.

Now it is good and dark outside I notice that I need a new desk lamp.  I cannot abide by dim lighting.  It really bothers me and makes it difficult for me to see and feel alert.  I had purchased this cheapy little desk lamp last fall that has a neat little organizer at the base with two outlets and it has a bendy neck on it so you can adjust where the light shines.  I liked it very well for the last 4 months, until I noticed that the 75 watt bulb I had in it was melting the plastic lampshade.  Only then did I bother to read the little warning sticker on the inside of the shade that limited the bulb wattage to a mere 40 watts.  So, I dutifully changed out the bulb with a 40 watt version, and now I can’t see a damn thing.  Seriously, what is the point of a desk lamp that barely provides more illumination than a candle?  And if any bloody environmentalists try to say that high watt bulbs are bad for the environment I’ll scream.  Didn’t your mothers ever warn you how bad it is for your eyes to read in dim light?

So the question is boys and girls:

Do I risk a major electrical fire and put the 75 watt bulb back in so I can actually see my Physics homework, or buy a new lamp rated for a higher watt bulb?

I suppose there’s a third option, just don’t do anymore Physics homework.  Well, now, I do rather like the sound of that…

January 21, 2015

Back to school: day two

by Janie Jones

Yesterday turned out to be not so bad.  The physics lecture was interesting, no math yet, just introducing electrostatic charges, and I like physics just fine until I have to do the calculations.  My microbiology lab instructor seems as though she’ll be awesome.  I got out of the afternoon class I’m a teaching assistant for way early, so that was a big bonus.

And, in class and walking the halls I ran into a lot of people I met last semester which was nice.  It feels good to not feel like a total stranger as you move through your day.

Today I meet the rest of my teachers.  Hopefully today will go as smoothly.

And as yesterday’s Tuesday Titters was somewhat lame, here’s a microbiology cartoon stolen from Google images:

microbiologists cartoon

January 6, 2015

Has it really been two weeks since my last post?

by Janie Jones

Greetings all.

I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth, nor get hauled away for being rude to unwanted house guests.

I did spend much of the last two weeks working and sleeping.  Then, just as I was feeling pretty good about my level of relaxation, I got a cold which knocked me out for the last week or so.

In any case, I had a very quiet Christmas with Leif at the farm, and am doing my best to enjoy every moment of not being in school.  The grades were posted, and while I would have preferred my grade point average to not take such a hit, I was very pleased in general to have got a C in Physics.  I tell you what, mediocrity never felt so satisfying before.  As it happens, I missed a B by 3 percentage points, so all in all I think I did pretty well.  But we are not done whingeing about Physics yet…  One more semester to go.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases and wish you the happiest new year!

New year comic