Facile Physics

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  • Intermediate Vectors for Linguists

    Posted: 2014-09-02

    In my previous article, I start introducing the idea of a vector from the perspective of translating words between two languages. Now that we have a way of representing a translation, let’s see what we can do with it.

  • Linear Algrebra for Linguists

    Posted: 2014-08-09

    People often thing that math is just about numbers. I intend to disabuse this notion by discussing linear algebra from a linguistic perspective.
  • Working on Energy

    Posted: 2014-08-03

    Just a quick note that the blog hasn’t died. I’m working on a blog post to define energy. What I wrote was confusing and ugly, so I’m starting over. I’ll try again next week.

  • You Were Lied to About Pulleys

    Posted: 2014-07-13

    In elementary school, we all learn the simple machines. I remember being very disappointed that we were supposed to be learning about machines, but all studied were stupid things that just sat there, like ramps an pulleys. A ramp isn’t a machine. There’s not that much difference between a ramp and a steep hill, but people would look at you like a madman if you called a hill a machine.

  • Making Up Vectors

    Posted: 2014-07-04

    One of the first places where people start getting confused in physics courses is the introduction of vectors. It doesn’t help that the material is always covered terribly. Some bearded blowhard in a plaid shirt stands at the front of the room and intones: “Vectors have both magnitude and direction”. He then starts doing a bunch of trigonometry problems. Any time you ask a question or make a mistake, the teacher declares: “No, that’s wrong! You forgot that vectors have magnitude and direction.”

  • Unsubstantiated Rumors about Archimedes

    Posted: 2014-06-29

    You've probably heard the story of Archimedes and the golden crown, but have you heard the full story?
  • A Quick Note

    Posted: 2014-06-07

    I’m making two posts on this blog today. Don’t expect that to happen again. I’m honestly aiming for a weekly schedule on this.

  • The Beauty of Unit Analysis

    Posted: 2014-06-07

    Every introductory science student hates units. I know that I hated it. After all, you spend an hour calculating the speed of a raft in a river after a bird lands on it, only to have your teacher dock you a point for writing “10” as opposed to “10 m/s”. It feels like tedious nitpicking and a cheap way to maintain a curve in the class.