Author Archives: The Physicist

Q: If the world is a giant magnet, how come we can’t build a repelling magnet that can float?

Physicist: Three big reasons: 1) The Earth’s magnetic field is hella weak 2) it’s so big and roughly uniform that there’s no reason for a magnet to go one direction or the other 3) floating a magnet in a magnetic … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Engineering, Physics | 2 Comments

Q: How can something have different amounts of energy from different points of view?

The original question was: … in a scenario with two cars driving towards each other, the system could be measured externally to have an energy equal to the sum of the kinetic energy in the two cars. However, if you … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Relativity | 29 Comments

Q: Where is the middle of nowhere?

The original question was: Is there any location in intergalactic space which is so far away from anyplace that it would be impossible to see anything with normal naked eye vision?  No stars, but no galaxies, no nothing — just … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Physics | 13 Comments

Q: If light is a wave, then what’s doing the waving?

Physicist: In short: nothing.  Light acts like a wave, but unlike sound waves, light isn’t a material that’s moving back-and-forth. Waves are a coordinated movement of atoms.  A wave itself isn’t made of anything, it’s just a propagating motion through … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Experiments, Physics | 33 Comments

Q: If you’ve got different amounts of debt in different accounts with different interest rates, how should you pay them down?

Physicist: Focus on the one with the highest interest rate.  Get rid of it first, completely, before moving on to the next.  Debt is a like spiders.  If you can only kill a few at a time, kill the ones … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Math | 5 Comments

Q: Should we be worried about artificial intelligence? By “we” I mean humans.

Person: No.  Not at all.  Don’t give it a second thought. Behind every great triumph in artificial intelligence is a human being, who frankly should be feared more than the machine they created.  Most ancient and literal was the The … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, April Fools | 25 Comments