New York

Happy Birthday Carl Sagan!

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Carl Sagan is a major reason why this blog exists. I've been into science as a kid, but I always envisioned it as a niche, nerdy thing.  Carl Sagan showed me that science can be mainstream and cool because it affects everything around is, every day!  He directly inspires my #ScienceLooksGood hashtag.

Check out this amazing video from Sagan's audiobook for Pale Blue Dot. Sagan describes how humbling it is that the earth is nothing more than a pale blue dot in the vast openness of a much larger universe that we have yet to understand. If you can't see the video embed below, click here.

Happy birthday, Carl.

Sports Science: Basketball and Parabolas

I live in Philly now, but I'll always be a die hard Knicks fan. So when the Knicks were in town for a game against the Sixers, I was there in my Knicks jersey acting a fool. A fool for science!

Think of what happens when you throw a ball. After you throw it, it follows the motion shown below:

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This shape is known as a parabola. The ball beings to move up, but then gravity eventually pulls it back down.  This doesn't only work for a ball - it can also be a person! If someone is jumping, dunking, or do anything that launches them into the air, they will follow the same basic path. 

Another great example of parabolic motion is everyone's favorite part of a basketball game - free crappy t shirts! For some reason, people go crazy whenever offered free t-shirts that they will never wear in their lives. Philly takes it an extra step by having a huge t-shirt CANNON. I don't use that word lightly ... here's a pic of them wheeling it out onto the court.

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Yeah. It's not joke. I've seen it advertised that it can shoot up to 100 t-shirts per minute. Why that stat exists, and why I know it, is a story for another day.  But when you see it actually begin to shoot, it's pretty impressive. And of course, the t-shirts fly in a parabolic motion towards a sea of halfway inebriated fans that will break your neck to catch a future dust rag.  You can check it out in action in the video that I posted at the beginning of this thread.

Hey New York? Stop Messing Up The Shuttle Experience

 

When the space shuttles were first awarded to different cities across the country, I was a little peeved that New York was awarded one.  There are cities such as Houston that are more deserving of a shuttle due to a direct connection to the space program

Now, the geniuses are deciding to keep the Shuttle under a plastic bubble so that no one can see it. Why? The only thing that tempered my feeling about New York landing the shuttle was how awesome it would look on top of the Intrepid.  The current implementation has it hidden away behind an ugly bubble that's not even transparent, so you can't see anything unless you pay the $24 Intrepid museum fee.

It gets worse. On top of that, you have to pay an extra $6 in addition to the normal museum fee. Again, why? At the very most, it should be a suggested donation. No city should be able to get something as valuable as a shuttle without a plan to offer it free. Or, you know, don't put it in an ugly dome that people can't even see off of the highway or while flying into NYC.

Stupid.