Broaden Your Physics Background

I was recently asked by someone what would I suggest that might perhaps maybe help broaden one’s understanding of physics. The “might perhaps maybe” was not part of the question. I’m just stuffing that in there to sow the seeds of uncertainty concerning any specific result that may come from following my hair-brained (or is it hare-brained ala Bugs Bunny) ideas.

I apologize now for the meandering twisty path of my answer. I take the question very serious and thus I feel it is necessary to sneak up on the answer. Continue reading

Fun With Overhead Projector Sheets

I promised to send someone this particular table-top demo. So, I figured, put it on the blog then others can share in the elucidation and/or bewilderment. Also, I think I may release several of my other table-top demos that utilize “overhead projector sheets” or “write-on transparency film” — depending on where you go shopping. Which, by the way, Amazon has several varieties under $25 (for 100) and Staples has a couple types for under $25. There are $50-$80 transparencies out there. So be careful how you shop.

If you know me, and you are familiar with the Just Because Club or the “Any Game Cookbook” then what I’m about to say will come as no surprise: I am not going to tell you what this table-top demo will shop, prove, or demonstrate. Do the demo and find out for yourself.

Here’s the instructions.

1) Draw a maze (a simple maze) on a piece of paper.

2) Trace (as carefully as is reasonable) this maze onto 20 of the transparency sheets. Please use a proper pen that is made for transparencies — so that you can clean them later for reuse.

3) Go through the maze (using a color different from that one used to trace the maze).

4) Go through all 20 traced mazes.

5) Trace the maze onto 20 more of the transparency sheets.

6) Stack the first 20 completed mazes. Pay attention as you stack them. If you have a light table (or can mock up a light table) please use it.

7) Put the stack of “done” mazes to the side, and draw your way through the new mazes. As you finish each maze, place it on the existing stack — 20, 21, 22, 23, … This stack will grow to 40 as you continue. Draw, then stack, then draw, then stack.

If these instructions are not clear, ask. I can use your plea for clarification to help me improve the instructions.

If you have any question or comments (after doing the table-top demo) then ask. I will be happy to engage in a conversation about your results. However, if you ask me any questions about the demo before you have tried it, I will just suggest you try it. So you might as well do that to start with.

 

In-Game Gold

This is a little experiment / table-top demo that I highly advise.

Whenever I give a table-top demo, I feel compelled to also issue a small warning. A table-top demo is not a quiz, it is not a brain-twister, it is not an idea. A table-top demo is a hands on activity that one is supposed to actually care out.

Typical process:

  1. hear nifty idea for table-top demo,
  2. instantly intuit something or other that the demo is sure to illustrate,
  3. never actually do the demo.

I highly recommend the following:

  1. hear nifty idea for table-top demo,
  2. instantly intuit something or other that the demo is sure to illustrate,
  3. do the demo anyway.
  4. confirm that what you thought was gonna happen does.
  5. AND, along the way discover several nifty things that you would otherwise not have encountered.

It is because of #5 (discover several nifty things that you would otherwise not have encountered) that I strongly suggest you actually do the suggested table-top demo.

So, obligatory warning out of the way, here is the suggested table-top demo:

In-Game Gold

1) Start  playing a game such as Zelda (from the original if you have it). Zelda is most likely the best all around video game ever.

Play the game for a short while. Accrue some gold. Look at the amount of gold you have. Tell yourself (aloud is best) “Hey, I have 1000 (the actual number) gold.” Exit the game. Now, ask yourself (again, aloud is best) “I have left the game, did I take the gold with me?”

2) Start  playing a game such as Diablo II. In case you don’t know, Diablo II is vastly superior to its successor Diablo III.

Play the game for a short while. Accrue some gold. Look at the amount of gold you have. Tell yourself: “Hey, I have (fill in number here) gold.” Exit the game. Now, ask yourself: “I have left the game, do I have the gold with me?”

3) Start  playing a table-game such as Monopoly.

Play the game for a short while. Accrue some money. Count the money you have. Tell yourself: “Hey, I have (fill in number here) dollars.” Put the Monopoly set away — along with ALL of the parts, properties, etc. Walk away from the table. Now, ask yourself: “I have left the game, where is the money from the game?”

4) Reflect on each of the above games for a moment or two. Answer the question: “Given that I could not take gold or money from the game, what if anything was I able to take away from the game?”

Repeat the above demo a couple or more time is you wish. It is very possible that you will get new answers with each repetition.