Beer Bottle Condensation: What Forces Produce Droplets?

philosophy, Physics
Dan asked us¹... "My question concerns condensation. What dictates how droplets form, then combine with each other? When you blow warm breath onto a cool surface, at first nothing appears to happen. Keep it up and droplets appear. These small droplets merge into bigger droplets. What physical laws dictate how this occurs? Also, what role does gravity play on vertical surfaces such as a chilled bottle of beer, producing tiny rivulets of moisture running down the sides?" Initial Commentary The answer, which follows, although it has some basis in well-known physical principles, depends in part upon observation, mental visualization, and (finally) blatant speculation. This is an interesting procedure, since so many of life’s mundane occurrences are in reality quite fascinating when closely examined. Initial Condensation We breathe in and breathe…
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Mathematics Intrinsic Value, or Simply a Tool?

Mathematics, philosophy
It is a sunny day; you want to take a walk. We here define walking as the taking of repeated steps in any given direction. Our walk will take us into the field of mathematics. An Unusual Walk Imagine a stretch of sidewalk that is precisely 6 feet long. An initial 3 foot step is taken. Every step after that must be 1/2 the distance of the previous step. So our second step is 1/2 the length of the first step. The third step is 1/2 the length of the second step, and so on. Questions: 1. Theoretically, how long would it take you to reach the end of the 6′stretch? 2. How far would you have traveled, after each step? Answers: 1. You would, again theoretically, never make it…
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What Is It Good For? Poison Ivy and Other Toxicodendron Species

philosophy, Plants
[caption id="attachment_18375" align="alignright" width="460"] Poison Ivy Leaves[/caption] Toxicodendron radicans is the Latin name for poison ivy. Images of various aspects of the weed are included in this article. An attempt at providing a thorough physical description of it can be found elsewhere at the reader's convenience. We wish to discuss whether there is at least one useful purpose for the presence of this apparently noxious weed on this "good earth". In discussing it, we encompass poison oak, poison sumac, and other plants. A Kind of Mission Statement In discussing T. radicans, we will consider all of its component parts. No, we will not give an encyclopedic description, as is commonly found in comprehensive articles. Instead, we will demonstrate the plant's better aspects. Personal Contact Most of us are careful to…
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Is Our Concept of Matter Merely an Incorrect Perception?

philosophy, Physics
Picture a large polished stainless steel bearing. Now visualize dropping it onto a concrete floor from a height of, say, h. It impacts the concrete and bounces back to a somewhat lesser height h′. What actually was the physics at the time of collision? Our concept of matter provides one answer. Our Concept of Matter The rock-solid steel bearing is not thrown, but “dropped”. It falls with a force equal to its mass times its acceleration due to gravity. That is, F = mg. Upon striking the concrete floor, the bearing experiences an equal yet opposite reaction forcing it to bounce back. Even so, due to internal and external factors, the bearing does not attain its original elevation. Is the Bearing Truly Solid? If the bearing were of solid and…
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The Difference Between Mohandas & Mahatma Gandhi

History, philosophy
[caption id="attachment_7716" align="alignright" width="380"] Mohandas K. Gandhi in 1909.[/caption] You've noticed it for years, but never understood why. What's the difference between Mohandas and Mahatma Gandhi? It's all very simple. What's in a Name? Mohandas Gandhi Both Mohandas and Mahatma Gandhi refer to the very same person. Mohandas is a name. Mahatma is a title. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was the man who led India to independence from Britain. In the process, the land was divided in two: Muslim Pakistan, with the remainder becoming the new Hindu-dominated India. What's in a Title? Mahatma Gandhi He employed peaceful means to accomplish this end, and so came to be revered among the people. The reverence is reflected in the title Mahatma, which is defined as a revered person or sage who, some…
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The Futility of Forging Science into Philosophy

philosophy
[caption id="attachment_6638" align="alignright" width="480"] Finding the answer.[/caption] At one time, most people were deeply religious, allowing their beliefs to direct their actions. That is, generally speaking, not the way of most of the world. Religion as a force for good is no longer the norm. In its place, some would forge science into philosophy, a substitute for religion. How futile! Science Into Philosophy Science is one of the most fascinating studies one can undertake. Science helps explain how the universe functions. But just as a hammer isn't the tool to remove a tooth, science isn't the tool to determine origins. Consider some examples. Astronomy The universe inspires believers in creation. Those not believing see only a big bang. Believers in creation can’t "prove" to the satisfaction of disbelievers that creation…
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