Hugo Reading: Not-Novels

As much for my own future reference as anything else, some thoughts on the bits of the Hugo ballot that aren’t Best Novel (which I’ve already talked about). At this point, I’ve probably read as much of the voter packet as I’m going to (though if I’ve left out something actually good, I could go […]

Crude Monte Carlo Simulation of Light-Bulb Physics

Last week, I did a post for Forbes on the surprisingly complicated physics of a light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs produce a spectrum that’s basically blackbody radiation, but if you think about it, that’s kind of amazing given that the atoms making up the filament have quantized states, and can absorb and emit only discrete […]

Toy Roller Coasters and the Energy Principle

One of the points I make repeatedly in teaching introductory mechanics (as I’m doing this term) is that absolutely every problem students encounter can, in principle, be solved using just Newton’s Laws or, in the terminology used by Matter and Interactions, the Momentum Principle. You don’t strictly need any of the other stuff we talk […]