[Video] What Travels Faster Than Light

By Anupum Pant

Like always, another one of those awesome Vsauce videos where Michael explains how darkness and scissor intersections can travel faster than light and still not go against any physics laws. So much to learn! Let me just say nothing today.

P.S there’s a mention of the Dunning Kruger effect and the story of Mr. Mc Arthur Wheeler I covered some time back on the blog.

A Man-Made Leaf

By Anupum Pant

Julian Melchiorri, a graduate student from Royal College of art, claims to have fabricated the first ever man-made biological leaf which absorbs water & carbon dioxide, just like a leaf does, and produces oxygen.

It looks like a promising first step towards enabling longer distance space travel – in a way that the artificial leaf made by him could be used to supply oxygen in micro-gravity, in which terrestrial plants have a hard time growing.

The artificial leaf he made for his project involves extracted chloroplasts from plant cells laid on a matrix of silk protein.

The “first man-made biological leaf” could enable humans to colonise space from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Lower Part of a Wheel Travels Slower

By Anupum Pant

Stick a colourful piece of paper on the side of a rim of a wheel and make the wheel roll away. If you observe carefully you’ll see, whenever the paper is near the ground, it appears clearly. However when the paper is at the top of the wheel, furthest from the ground, the paper appears hazy.

Also if you observe the spokes of a wheel of a moving cart, you’ll see that the spokes at the lower part of the wheel appear clearly. While the spokes of the upper part appear to blend into a single body, as if travelling much faster than the lower part.

It seems, the upper part of the wheel is travelling at a higher speed than the lower part of the wheel. How can that be, when both are physical extensions of a single object?

Yes, in fact the upper part does travel faster than the lower part. This sounds incredible, while it seems very ordinary to others who understand the simple physics of it. The physics involved really is very basic. So basic that I’m sure many reading this are cursing me for writing something so ordinary. But I find it really incredible. And believe me, there still are people who need to know this.

Let’s suppose the wheel moves at a speed of v in the right direction. However that is just the speed of the centre of the wheel. The upper part of the wheel for instance rotates at a speed of, say v, and also translates in the same direction at a speed of v. So, the speeds add up. And the top is travelling at a speed of 2v.

Similarly, at the bottom part of the wheel, the rotation is in the opposite direction (towards the left) and translation is in the right direction. Hence the speeds get cancelled and the lowest part of the wheel is stationary.

rims of a wheel

These are the topmost and bottommost points I’ve discussed here. For all the other points on the rim the rotational speed v gets split into a horizontal and a vertical component. So their speeds vary and lie in between 0 and 2v.

Some call it the cartwheel riddle.

Now, if you already knew that there’s something mind-boggling for you here. There’s another similar thing about wheels which blows my mind. Demonstrated in the video below…