December 24, 2011

Characteristic Line Spectrum

Also previously known as the 'K and L in the graph'.

Previously, we were left with this 'hanging' piece of information:

The characteristic X-ray spectrum which consists of sharp peaks of high intensity occurs at specific wavelengths, unaffected by the voltage of the X-ray tube.
The peaks are a result of the electrons from the cathode knocking out inner shell electrons from the target atoms. When the vacant shells are refilled by free electrons, X-ray photons of specific wavelengths are emitted.
 Include the two MSpaint sketches of the mechanism behind the characteristic X-ray spectrum here.

The K and L in the previous graph each stand for their characteristic line series peaks respectively.

The K-series peaks consist of Ka and Kb. (assuming Ka = Kalpha and Kb= Kbeta for the sake of convenient typing/editing) These peaks occur when the innermost shell, the K-shell, is refilled by electrons from the outer shells. As a result, X-ray photons corresponding to the series are emitted. The figure above displays the transition responsible of the K-series peaks.

Similarly, The L-series peaks consist of La and Lb, and they occur when the second shell, the L-shell, is refilled by electrons from the outer shells.

The peaks are unique for each target element. In fact, an element can be identified from the peaks.


December 13, 2011

X-Ray Spectra!

This post will either be boring or extremely fascinating, depending on whatever floats your boat.

The minimum wavelength of an x-ray occurs when all the energy of the accelerated electron is converted into an X-ray photon in a single collision. However, most of the accelerated electrons are stopped after a few collisions. Different electrons convert different amount of their kinetic energies into X-ray photons of different wavelengths, resulting in the continuous background spectrum.

Using an X-ray spectrometer and a crystal as a wavelength selector, the intensity of X-rays emitted as a function of its wavelength can be measured and then plotted.

The X-ray spectrum.

The X-ray spectrum consists of a continuous background of X-ray radiation and a series of characteristic lines with intensity peaks. 

In the continuous background, the intensity varies smoothly with wavelength. The background intensity reaches a maximum value as the wavelength increases and then falls as the wavelength increases further.

The characteristic X-ray spectrum which consists of sharp peaks of high intensity occurs at specific wavelengths, unaffected by the voltage of the X-ray tube.

The peaks are a result of the electrons from the cathode knocking out inner shell electrons from the target atoms. When the vacant shells are refilled by free electrons, X-ray photons of specific wavelengths are emitted.

Witness my awesome paint skills.

Painstakingly painted in MS Paint.

The figures above show the mechanism behind the characteristic X-ray spectrum.

What's the K and L in the Graph? What do they stand for?

Until next time.

December 9, 2011

X-RAYS -genesis-

X-rays play a very important role in many fields, especially in medicine. X-ray images of internal organs are used extensively in medicine as a diagnostic tool. An X-ray technique called computer-assisted tomography (CAT) enables a clearer view of the structure of any part of the body without any need for surgery.

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. The wavelength of X-rays are in the range of .01 to 10 nanometers. Shorter than UV rays, longer than gamma rays. X-rays are also classified into two classes, 'soft' x-rays and 'hard' x-rays respectively.

Needless to say, hard x-rays have greater penetrating power. That's the only major distinguishing factor.


X-rays. What do you know about them? Nothing? How are they produced?

We're going to paint a basic picture about the production of x-rays.


Electrons are emitted through thermionic emissions when the filament is heated by current flowing in it. The electrons are accelerated towards the copper anode by the high potential difference ranging from 10^4 V to 10^6 V between the anode and the cathode.

The glass tube is evacuated so that the electrons are pulled towards the anode at a very high speed without colliding with air molecules.

The electrons decelerate rapidly on impact with the target. As a result, some of the kinetic energy is converted into X-rays. Less than 1% of the total energy supplied to the X-ray tube is converted into X-rays, the remainder is released as heat.

So inefficient.

The target metal must be made of heavy metals with a high melting point such as molybdenum or tungsten, to prevent the target from melting easily.

X-rays of short wavelength and high penetrating power are called HARD X-rays. X-rays of long wavelength and low penetrating power are called SOFT X-rays.

Minimum wavelength,  λmin = hc/eV

December 3, 2011

Laser -Degree-

Previously in our online 'course', we discussed about the basic principle of the laser technology. With the limited information provided, surely you must have come to a conclusion that stimulated emission is simply not sustainable without sufficient excited atoms.

And you may also have deduced that to achieve the required number of excited atoms is pretty complicated.

This is where population inversion comes into play. 

See, in lasers, light emission by stimulated emission occurs more than by spontaneous emission. To achieve this state, the number of atoms at high-energy levels must exceed the number of atoms at ground state. 

This situation is known as population inversion. To make population state possible, a state called metastable state is created. In the metastable state, the atom remains in the excited state a little longer than usual.

Which brings us to an example:

The Helium-Neon Laser.

A mixture of helium and neon gas in the ratio of 20:80 is contained in a tube with mirrors at both end. When a potential difference (Voltage) is applied across the tube, electrons will travel along it. 

Refer to the below diagram if you aren't a university graduate who probably should already know all this stuff.
Laser technology is taught even in the very basic of physics university courses.

Electrons colliding with the helium atoms cause them to be raised to energy level E2 (20.61eV). This value is close to the energy level of neon E4(20.66eV).

Collisions between the helium and neon atoms enables the neon atoms to attain energy level E4 easily, hence, the number of neon atoms at E4 is more than the number of neon atoms at E1.

And we have a Population Inversion.

Which brings us back to our previous course: 

The combination of all of this results in a highly coherent, intense beam of light.

December 1, 2011


LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Laser is a technology of paramount importance to the prosperity of mankind. As verbose as the previous sentence sounds, it is indeed the best way to rank the significance of the technology. Lasers are used in varying fields, ranging from laser hair removal and laser surgery to instrument calibration. 

As such, I believe that all of us should know the basic principles of laser production. Under any circumstances should you find yourself requiring a laser hair removal expert, you can rest at peace with the principles of laser production firmly in mind. It's not much, but it could prove to be a hell of an icebreaker with that pretty surgeon that you had your eyes on.

Without further ado:
Picture Unrelated
The principles of laser production are:
-Stimulated Emission
-Metastable State
-Population Inversion
-Light Amplification

Stimulated emission is the emission of a photon from an excited atom by another photon of the exact same frequency. Both of the photons are coherent. 

image from

Light amplification is the process in which one photon stimulates the emission of another proton of the same frequency. The two photons then stimulate the emission of two other photons. 
Think: 'Chain Reaction + Stimulated Emission'.

The chain reaction results in a burst of photons, all in phase, monochromatic(same frequency), and highly coherent. Constructive superposition of said waves produce a beam of high intensity. 

And that, is the basic idea of laser. More to come in a future post, wouldn't want to overload you with too much information.

EDIT: This post is apparently very popular in the general location of NYC, famous for cheap laser hair removal. NYC will then have gained a little knowledge of lasers. I flatter myself.

November 30, 2011


This site has undergone a minor-renovation. Changes in the code were made to surgically remove hairs, ala laser surgery style.

I think I should probably register under a proper domain. Apparently getting a proper domain requires some moolah, and as a student myself, I don't think that that will come anytime soon. Perhaps get a loan?

I could, of course, write up an entire post on high-profile law and insurance and hope that a rich lawyer would pass by and funnel some credit to this site, but I am a legal ignoramus (if that makes sense!). The only thing I know that is related to insurance is the student loan insurance. (check the archives for my article on student loan insurance).

November 29, 2011

Starcraft 2 and the real world.

Starcraft II is a Science-Fiction Real-Time Strategy game that is currently a successful e-Sport with many codes of ongoing tournaments that have prize pools ranging up to the hundred thousands.

Many of you who have played the game must have realised that the physics in the Starcraft II universe is flawed and cannot possibly exist in the real world. However, this month-old post on the forums attempts to illustrate the connection between known laws of physics and the official lore of starcraft.

Read it here:

Ever wonder what exactly are the Minerals in Starcraft?
How about the healing mechanism of the medivac?
How mutalisks can fly in space?
How do Warp Gates work?
Click the above link to find out!

Overall the post is really well written. There are a few issues which I feel are addressed poorly, specifically the Protoss ones. Negative Gravitation? While this phenomenon has been observed to exist, there is no logical way for a negative value of gravitational force to bring about time acceleration. Perhaps that would be the only way that 'Chronoboost' can be explained.

That aside, the protoss unit shields were claimed to be based upon an anti-gravitation force, when  perhaps the original explanation ( would have made more sense. It is surprisingly difficult to imagine anti-gravitation acting as a defense mechanism. The wikipedia article on 
might help to understand.

EDIT: I was wrong, as further study on Gravitational Time Dilation confirmed the acceleration of 'time'.  Read more:

September 24, 2011

Speed-of-light results under scrutiny at Cern

This is something that everyone should know.

Read it at:

What does this imply?

This could make us review the entire way of our understanding of our reality.

Basically, according to Einstein, the faster you go, the slower time travels, and at the speed of light, time stands still, and your energy would approach infinity.

September 14, 2011

Cognition and thinking

Yes, this is outside of the field of Physics.

To quote:

'The individual neurons of the brain coordinate to create a unified sense of a coherent mind, analogous to the social organization displayed in a colony of ants.'

On a related note,

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Highly recommended reading.

This point shall be stressed again. GEB is a magnificent book that screams to be read. 

Comments are always welcome.

September 4, 2011

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobility

- Benjamin Franklin.

We apologise for the lack of posts, partly due to the main (and only) writer being busy motivating himself to prepare for his upcoming exams. Wish him luck.

August 12, 2011

Missing dollar riddle

I was asked the following question last thursday:

You want to buy a T-shirt that costs RM97. You have no money.

You borrow RM50 each from your brother and your sister and with your current RM100, you purchase said T-shirt.
You hold in your hands the balance (RM3). You then decide to return RM1 to your brother, RM1 to your sister, and keep the remainder.

Now that each of them has RM1 back, the total owed is RM98. If you have RM1, what happened to the remaining RM1?

This riddle illustrates problems of confusion and misdirection can foil a person's clear understanding of the problem.

The original problem is as follows:

Three guests check into a hotel room. The clerk says the bill is $30, so each guest pays $10. Later the clerk realizes the bill should only be $25. To rectify this, he gives the bellhop $5 to return to the guests. On the way to the room, the bellhop realizes that he cannot divide the money equally. As the guests didn't know the total of the revised bill, the bellhop decides to just give each guest $1 and keep $2 for himself.
Now that each of the guests has been given $1 back, each has paid $9, bringing the total paid to $27. The bellhop has $2. If the guests originally handed over $30, what happened to the remaining $1?

I shall attempt to solve the original question.

Explanation 1:

The initial payment of $30 is accounted for as the clerk takes $25, the bellhop takes $2, and the guests get a $3 refund. It adds up. After the refund has been applied, we only have to account for a payment of $27. Again, the clerk keeps $25 and the bellhop gets $2. This also adds up.
There is no reason to add the $2 and $27 – the $2 is contained within the $27 already. Thus the addition is meaningless. Instead the $2 should be subtracted from the $27 to get the revised bill of $25.
This becomes clearer when the initial and net payments are written as simple equations. The first equation shows what happened to the initial payment of $30:
$30 (initial payment) = $25 (to clerk) + $2 (to bellhop) + $3 (refund)
The second equation shows the net payment after the refund is applied (subtracted from both sides):
$27 (net payment) = $25 (to clerk) + $2 (to bellhop)
Both equations make sense, with equal totals on either side of the equal sign. The correct way to get the bellhop's $2 and the guests $27 on the same side of the equal sign ("The bellhop has $2, and the guests paid $27, how does that add up?") is to subtract, not add:

           $27 (final payment) - $2 (to bellhop) = $25 (to clerk)

Explanation 2(or the TL;DR version):

The question attempts to confuse you by adding up loaned money. Simply put, the $2 is contained within the $27, and should not be added together.

An analogous situation would be adding 99 empty pails and 1 full pail of water. The two quantities are distinct from each other and it is meaningless to call the total "100 full pails of water" nor "100 empty pails of water".

The wikipedia entry elaborates further:


The "paradox" cleverly sets its room rates so that when we add the two terms $27 and $2, we nearly get $30. If not for this "near-miss", we would be more inclined to ask if those two terms have to add up to $30 when we break down the situation this way (and to realize that they do not).
With different prices, the illusion would vanish. Say the clerk initially accepted $30 but then learned that rooms are only $10 no matter how many people are in them, and sends back a refund of $20 via the bellhop. Again, the bellhop, seeing that $20 doesn't evenly divide, gives each guest $6 (for a total of $18) and keeps the leftover $2 for himself. Therefore each of the three guests paid $4, bringing the total paid to $12; add that to the bellhop's 2 dollars to get a total of $14. So where did the other $16 go?
With this setup it is more clear that the guests' new total amount paid ($12) is only the bellhop's $2 away from the actual room price of $10, not the original room price of $30. The target price to account for is the new $10 bill, not the old $30 one. In the original riddle it is only the "near-miss" with $30 that makes $30 seem like the correct target of the operation.
The riddle involves the phenomenon of 'suspension of disbelief' inherent in storytelling and its power over the human imagination. If one were to make the story a bit more complex and compelling the illusion is almost guaranteed to work in the moment of its telling and can be a good illustration for the explanation of the anomaly, although not a perfect one because there is an explanation. The more points added to the story cause the listener to pause and try to compute what each element may signify.
There are dozens of variations to the riddle.

Have a nice day.

See also:


August 2, 2011

Humble Bundle 3.0 -Review- Part II

For our next title, we have...

4. Hammerfight

Hammerfight is about 2D battles of flying machines equipped with various slashing, piercing and blunt weaponry.A unique combat system is based on realistic physics simulation, and it ties the movements of the rider to the movements of your mouse. As you wave the mouse, your rider swings his warhammer, smashing the foe into the wall!

Basically, if you don't play this title, you're missing out on a lot. You feel the strikes as though they are real, and landing a powerful blow is immensely satisfying. It is amazing how the developers managed to simulate the mass of the weapon in your hands, and the physics involved is spot on.

 Hands down my favourite out of the bunch, but the others are still really good.

The controls are sharp and intuitive, and when paired with the realistic physics and smashable objects scattered across the levels and the high quality art, produces an explosion of fun of the highest caliber.

Did I mention that there's multiplayer too?

5. And Yet It Moves

And Yet It Moves is a 2D platformer with a twist. It brings the genre to another level by allowing the player to rotate the game world in 90 degree increments. So simple, and yet, so refreshing.

Your objective in each level is merely to reach the goal. There are no enemies to jump on, power-ups to use, or coins to collect. Conflict is created by the fact that your goal is not immediately accessible. A sheer cliff cannot be scaled -- until you spin the world 90 degrees clockwise, that is, creating a nice flat plain to stroll across.

A spin might give you access to new areas but also send loose rock tumbling down on your head to crush you. You may have to spin the world multiple times in order to manipulate a group of bats into scaring off a man-eating lizard. Playing And Yet It Moves, you're constantly discovering new things. There is a lot of trial and error, but regular checkpoints keep frustration levels down.

The challenges scale in difficulty as you progress. This title is a very pleasing and relaxing experience and is definitely worth a try.

And that's all the five titles in Humble Bundle 3.0. Also, you get free access to Minecraft for free until the fourteenth of August 2011. As Minecraft is not, strictly speaking, physics-related, you'll have to go somewhere else for the review.

Steel Storm is also given away for free if you buy the package. Awesome.

I've devoted 2 days of my student life for this review.

TL;DR: GET HUMBLE BUNDLE 3.0 if you're looking for games that are worth your time.

July 30, 2011

Humble Bundle 3.0 -Game Review-

Many of you might have heard of the new deal in the gaming world - Humble Bundle 3.0.

Video games that support charity
For those of you who don't know, the Humble Bundle releases are exactly what they seem like - a number of great games with a 'pay-what-you-want' basis, all in the name of charity.

You heard me. Support charity through the purchase of this game!

Here's how the buying works: Purchase the Humble Bundle 3.0 at a price of anything(ranging from $0.01 to as much as you like). Then, you choose how your payment will be divided, between the game developers and the charity organisations. 

Of course, head over to the main site for more information(link above).

Now let's talk specifics. What does this release have in store for us? Before that, we would like to answer the question that is lingering in your mind right now: What is a game review doing in a Physics + Life blog?

  1. All of the games featured are Physics-based. (or puzzle-based)
  2. To satisfy the readers' desire to fiddle around with physics-based games.
Other physics-based games you should check out are: Fantastic Contraption and Trine

Moving on to the actual bundle:
All of the games are not graphic-intensive, so there's no need to buy insurance for your computer. Besides, all of them are aesthetically pleasing, and your eyes will be saved. Also, all of them have remarkable soundtracks, which will not kill your ears. They also contain hours of limitless fun in each of them.
TL;DR: Great value for money, and you can pay how much you like.

Our first game would be Crayon Physics Deluxe.

Exactly what it says on the box, Crayon Physics Deluxe is a combination of two of the greatest discoveries of man - crayon and physics. 

This is a near-flawless example of 2D-based physics problem solving. Levels consist of moving a ball to a star to progress, using any means necessary to do so. One accomplishes this feat by drawing a series of lines, circles and boxes (all of which are affected by gravity) to move the ball.

Do not be fooled by the screencaps.

My only gripe is that the resolution could have been a little higher. That aside, it's a very good game, and very fun to play. 

Game 2: Cogs

Limitless Fun.
Cogs is an award-winning puzzle game for the PC, iPhone, iPad, Mac and netbook. Immersed in a steampunk world with stunning visual design, Cogs players build an incredible variety of machines from sliding tiles. With 50 unique levels and three gameplay modes, we've packed in hours of entertaining, addictive fun.

I couldn't have said it better. This game is hard to describe, but rest assured, it is very fun and is definitely worth your money.

Cogs is a puzzle game similar to the mini-games of Bioshock, if you've played that. (Bioshock would require a powerful graphics card) There's different objectives each time, excellent brain exercises.

Game 3: VVVVVV

If you're just looking for casual, relaxing games, you might want to take a step away from this one. Not because it looks old (actually, they did a pretty good job in making the game retro, and it has awesome music too), but this game is HARD

As the captain of an interdimensional craft, you crash your ship, lose your crew, and then get lost yourself. To put it right again, you must explore the collapsing VVVVVV dimension, where you move by upending gravity.

 VVVVVV is a 2D platformer where you can’t jump. Instead you flip gravity on its head and fall upwards (by pressing ‘V’ – or space, or Z), then flip it back. The joy comes from plotting your path across ceilings and floors, around spikes, perhaps over moving platforms, to the next screen. VVVVVV is both reminiscent of long-gone Spectrum platformers, and completely its own game.

Checkpoints are everywhere, and an absolute necessity. The whole game is one long difficulty spike. We died 2,000 times in five hours. It requires absolute mastery of your three movement buttons – one pixel out and you’re dead, slipping off the edge of a platform and up into spikes. And then alive immediately afterwards, thanks to the checkpoints. It’s devilish. Inches from success after hours of failure. Even the small mercy of the frequent checkpoints is turned against you in one brilliant puzzle, where you need to be very careful about where you resurrect. One corridor is called ‘the warning’, and is full of them, mocking you.

It can be frustrating, but only because you’re not doing it right – this isn’t the silly end-boss brand of injustice, nor is it an obtuse lateral puzzle. It’s just a game that requires patience and absolute perfection. A typical puzzle will ask you to weave quickly and accurately through spike-choked shafts, flipping between multiple screens, to land on a vanishing platform for just long enough to flip gravity again, and re-thread the same path. All to cross a knee-high barrier you otherwise can’t jump over.

Which sounds maddening, and anyone watching will think you’re using some sort of self-torture device, but there’s a delicate joy hidden in VVVVVV. When you have to navigate four screens without dying, you can only start to practise the second when you’ve learned to zip flawlessly through the first. It’s like safe cracking – you run, you flip, you wait, you flip, you die, you try again. This time you get to the second platform, and when it raises you into the spiked roof, you notice that you can flip and land on the underside instead.

There are enemies of a sort: the word ‘LIES’ coming out of a megaphone, or spinning coins rotating in a corridor shaped like a dollar symbol. Touch those, touch pretty much anything, and you die. The point isn’t re-doing huge sections of the game when you fail. It’s about failing so often that it becomes a Zen experience. You either complete the level, or you find where developer Terry Cavanagh lives and deliver a horse’s head.

The fierce and relentlessly upbeat soundtrack is dripping with personality, a real labour of love. You could say the same about any aspect – the snippets of dialogue between excited or terrified crew members, the puzzle design, the strobing splendour of the world, and even the names of the rooms. It all makes VVVVVV truly special. It’s a beautifully made game with lots of challenge, atmosphere and polish.

You know that the game truly has to be worth your time because of the huge wall of text above.
I will review the other two games in my next post. 

Recap: The games do not require amazing graphic cards, and are still very good games. Get them, and donate to charity!

July 19, 2011

Music's Secret Recipe.

Verse 2
Chorus 2
Chorus 3

Does this look familiar to you? This has been the structure for most pop music for the past few years. A pop song usually consists of a series of verses, interspersed with a refrain(Chorus), and often with an instrumental breakdown(which are the favourite parts of songs of many, including yours truly).
The chorus is usually arranged to be in contrast with the verses harmonically, melodically and lyrically in a colourful burst of sound. Choruses are usually fuller in sound, and usually contain the 'hook' of the piece.

People have attempted to alter this primordial structure to give their songs a unique twist of their own, which ultimately resulted in the single-hook-endless-repetition songs that we have today.

It's a matter of personal taste in music, so I shall not delve any further into the genres of music.

In this blog, one would expect these types of chords.

To further enrich the musical deluge, the artists utilise chord progressions to their advantage. The most significant of them is the pop-punk chord progression.

"Four Chords" is one of The Axis of Awesome's best-known works. It is a medley of popular songs that all follow the pop-punk chord progression. The work is an attempt to outline the perceived formulaic nature of popular music.

Speaking of the Axis of Awesome, they also underline the similarities of the popular love songs of today in : How to write a Love Song

Until next time.

P.S. The Japanese music industry is frighteningly cutthroat. We really look up to the Japanese artists who made it up.

July 14, 2011

Which Fantasy RPG character quiz?

Here are my results:

Your result for The Fantasy RPG Class Test...

The Psionic Striker

15% Strength, 17% Bloodlust, 89% Intelligence, 35% Spirit, 20% Vitality and 20% Agility!
Instead of using magic to manipulate the elements and the world around them, Psionic Strikers will use their mind and mental energy. By focusing their mind, Psionic Strikers can use telekinesis to lift objects and even unleash powerful blasts and shields of mental energy. As masters of martial arts, Psionic Strikers can even use their telekinesis to increase the physical power of their punches and kicks or they can use it to levitate. Against weaker opponents, Psionic Strikers may use their powers to mentally shatter a person's neck or spine. By using their telepathy, Psionic Strikers can read their opponent's mind, and thus more easily predict their next move in battle. This makes them extremely difficult to counter because they always know what you are going to do next. Their telepathy can even be used to speak into another person's mind and plant thoughts and ideas there. They can use this power to manipulate and control their opponents, thus allowing them to turn any battle in their favor. Psionic Strikers often have a passion for death and battle, and some have mastered forms of dark magic. By fusing this dark magic with their psychic energy, Psionic Strikers can create and unleash devasting blasts of powerful energy from their mind and fists. On the other hand, some Psionic Strikers are more peaceful and have mastered forms of light magic, which they can also fuse with their psionic energy. In addition, Psionic Strikers can use their mastery over moon magic to enhance their strength and agility by transforming at night into various wild and ferocious beast-human hybrids.
Congratulations on reaching this frighteningly powerful class!
This is a special class and requires a very high amount of Psionic Force. You scored 72% on this variable!
Psionic Force overshadows any Hidden Power granted by the Genie.

Take The Fantasy RPG Class Test at HelloQuizzy


I must say, this is a pretty well-done quiz. Try it out for yourself, and share your results with me!
Put your class in the comments below!

July 9, 2011

10 percent of brain: True? + Other stuff.

We have all heard of the stories that we humans only use 10 percent of our brain capacity. These allegations all imply that the unused 90 percent of the brain is capable of extraordinary feats, namely psychic powers, telekinesis and ESP.

"It is a myth that man uses only 10 percent of present brain capacity; evolution theory argues against such a monumental waste of available resources."
-James Kakalios

Evolution theory engineers all beings to be as efficient as possible, thus it is highly improbable that humans would have such a big percentage of unused grey matter. Neurologist Barry Gordon (famous for his efforts in debunking this myth) states that man uses virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active at all times. 

Gordon also tells us that the myth's durability feeds on people's conceptions about their own faults as being attributed to untapped brain power. What is correct, however, is that at certain moments (rest/sleep) we might be only using 10 percent of the brain.

The human brain consists of the cerebellum, the cerebrum and the brain stem. (Basic high school biology/science class knowledge that you already know. Otherwise:

The cerebrum is the large hefty blob that is responsible for all cognitive functions. The cerebellum manages all your motor functions; while the brain stem is dedicated to involuntary actions such as breathing. 

The majority of the power consumed by the brain powers the rapid firing of millions of neurons communicating with each other. Scientists think it is such neuronal firing and connecting that gives rise to all of the brain's higher functions.

This brings us to - (source)
Evolution: The brain is enormously costly to the rest of the body, in terms of oxygen and nutrient consumption. It can require up to twenty percent of the body's energy--more than any other organ--despite making up only 2% of the human body by weight. If 90% of it were unnecessary, there would be a large survival advantage to humans with smaller, more efficient brains. If this were true, the process of natural selection would have eliminated the inefficient brains. By the same token, it is also highly unlikely that a brain with so much redundant matter would have evolved in the first place.

TL;DR :It is a myth that man uses only 10 percent of present brain capacity

Where are we going?
We are getting closer to the Corridor Theory.

Consider the notions: 
if neurons could be smaller and still fulfill their role in the brain. 
What happens when man finally discovers the boundaries of the universe?
Can escape velocity can be applied to the universe? On such scales, where the (approaching) infinite number of forces interact together, what happens?
And the most important question of all:

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

All of the above are under investigation, and (the findings) would be presented in a more concise format when the time comes. No promises.

June 28, 2011

Why do you need soap?

I'm sure all of us has had the day where we're in too much of a hurry to shower/bathe properly. In the hustle of the mornings, we don't shower with soap(if we're in a hurry).

It feels clean at first, but on your way to work, you'll most probably feel 'unclean', although you could have sworn that you'd washed your entire body properly, without soap. Then, you'd think would soap (or not using it) be the main trigger for the uncomfortable feeling of dirtiness, and would probably wonder how did the ancients survive without soap.

We are here to answer part one of the question.

That's a 'bar' of soap.
Besides the obvious fact that the-

Before that, let me tell how how does soap work. Soap is made of two chemicals: a fatty acid and a base, that are attached to each other. The fatty acid end is hydrophobic, it latches on to anything else but water, so it sticks to the dirt on your skin. The base end is highly hydrophilic, and when you rinse your body with water, the base end pulls the fatty-acid with it, and all dirt with it, leaving you with clean skin.

Let's get back to where we were. Besides the obvious fact that soap washes away dirt particles away, the surfactant nature of soap actually makes water wetter.

You ask: how can water be wetter when it is already wet?

Surface tension.

Surface tension is the term for the attractive force that results from the attraction of molecules in the liquid to each other. Such a force must of course be present - otherwise the molecules would fly away and return to the gaseous state. For most liquids, this force is a relatively weak electrostatic force (van der Waals attraction). This force is not too strong, for the liquid molecules must be able to move past each other and occupy the volume of a container whereas a solid would not.

A surfactant is a long, skinny molecule with different chemical groups at either end. Electrostatic interactions result in one end of this molecule sticking to water, while the other end is repelled(read the above illustration in the paragraph below the soap-controller). The molecule is fairly unyielding, and a large collection of such molecules will orient themselves so that all of the regions that are repelled by water are pointing in one direction.

This interferes with the water-water bonding at the surface of the water layer, and reduces the cohesive force between the molecules that was the source of the surface tension.

TL;DR: Soap helps one clean up by reducing the surface tension of water so that it can make direct contact with the dirt.

The Physics of Superheroes, ISBN 9780715639115

June 19, 2011


What determines how high you can leap? Two things: your mass and the force your leg muscles supply to the ground. Taking the Second Law of Motion into account, they determine how much acceleration you can achieve as you lift off the ground. Once you are no longer in contact with the surface, the only force acting on you is Gravity, which decreases your acceleration as you ascend. So there are two vectors we have to concern ourselves with: the initial force that gets you airborne, and the deceleration of gravity that eventually halts your ascension.

v^2 = 2gh gives the height h you will climb, and g represents the deceleration due to gravity.


As you might, or might not have noticed, nowhere does the final height that you achieve depend on your mass. Big or small, if you start off with a velocity v and the only thing pulling you back to earth is gravity, then your jump height depends only on the deceleration due to gravity g and your total velocity v. Of course, there is another acceleration that enters into the leap - that provided by your leg muscles at the start of the jump. And this acceleration depends on the mass of the jumper. Using the second law of motion, that force equals mass times acceleration [F=ma] it is clear that for a given force, F, the heavier a person is, the less of an initial velocity he will achieve.
Which means a lower height h that said person will be able to attain.

I was bitten by a radioactive spider. I can jump as far as a spider can.

It's not that spiders are such great leapers that they can jump many times their body length. Rather, it's that small insects have tiny muscles (small force), but they only have to lift an equally tiny mass to leap one meter, which just turns out to be many times larger than their sizes. Humans have much bigger muscles than insects, and can output much greater forces, however they also have to lift much heavier masses, so the net effect is that the range/height that they can jump is also about one meter.

TL;DR - F=ma demonstrates how Spiderman's jumping abilities are pure fiction.

June 9, 2011

Legacy: Humans?

The world is not immortal. Nothing is.

What do you think would happen if humanity were to disappear?

Let's imagine a future where there are no more humans on Planet Earth. A future where all humans are dead, or missing. A possible dimension where the world is free, without mankind.

I went out, one day, taking a stroll on the streets of human infrastructure. My mission was to observe all signboards, the buildings and the sidewalks, looking at everything as though all humans were to disappear. There must be another sentient, intelligent civilisation out there. What if they were to come across our deserted planet, one that had no signs of life?

I picture them to land and gather information regarding the human civilisation, by looking at the relics we left behind. What would they conclude?

What would you conclude?

Strolling down the streets, I see signboards and advertisements of people laughing, having fun. Flyers of insurance and bank loans are all over the pavement. The graffiti on the walls would probably make no sense to the lifeforms that would learn our history. I assume myself to be one of them, seeing everything in a different angle.

I see a group of people laughing at random people passing by. I remind myself that they are not there in this particular future, the future where no humans remain. I stroll on.

Electronic paraphernalia and screens flash and flare. Would they still work once humans are gone? I suppose so, since electricity cycle is automated. Probably not for long. I observe the images on the television screen. Bands perform, newsanchors drone on, citizens lament...

My brain stubbornly resisted my efforts to be an alien landing on Earth for the first time.

I reassure myself that the laws of the universe are constant throughout the cosmos. Aliens might not recognise Newton, but they'll surely know his laws of Motion. They might not recognise our concepts of science, but they will know Hydrogen has only one proton. They won't know Einstein, but they must know about relativity.

With this 'knowledge' in my mind, I transform myself into an individual that is no longer a part of the world. I continue my walk, taking each step forward with a brain utterly devoid of direction. Thoughts fill my mind and several voices in my head argue.

My efforts as an alien chronicler were valiant, but futile. I will try again in the future.


'The Corridor Theories' has had the pleasure of acquiring ourselves a new banner, courtesy of
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June 8, 2011

Premature Announcement, and SNEO

At the end of this year, this blog will undergo a major cosmetic change.

I wonder why the phrase 'Paradigm Shift' lingered in my mind when I typed the previous sentence.

Also, it's time for a round of 'Scientific Names for Everyday Objects'!

First, a comic.

Picture very related.
Do you see why I post SNEO segments on this blog now? evilface.jpg

Offline Information Retrieval Terminal

 Nutrient Displacement Device

 Analog Portal Activation Peripheral

 Anhydrous Sodium Chloride Stimulator

And as always, at the end, I leave one picture for you, the reader's input.

Kindly name the following object in similar fashion:

Until next time.

June 5, 2011

Life Tips + stuff you should read.

There's this .doc file that has been floating around the interwebs in image form. I have recently acquired the original copy and would like to share it with all of you. Highly recommended.

This file is a MUST READ. It will do you no harm.

(Kindly leave a comment if said link does not work)

Pro Tips

Also, here are stuff that I found over the last few days which prove to be interesting:

Insurance @ wikipedia
Permanent life insurance @ wikipedia
Travel insurance @ wikipedia
Health Insurance @ wikipedia

You: whoa, what's with the sudden influx of insurance links?

Well, recently insurance has become more and more popular amongst the netizens and people argue without presenting solid facts/evidence. Some people seem to have education wasted on them. I think all of you should read up on insurance and at least, not embarrass yourselves whenever someone brings up the insurance topic.

obligatory random image
Again, I highly recommend that you click the links above. Until next time, comrades.

June 3, 2011

Lasers from fighter jets distort trajectory of heat-seeking missiles

A current aircraft gadget will help protect fighter jets from incoming heat-seeking missiles, by blinding the trailing weapon with a high-powered infrared beam. 

The device, about the size of a ps2 console, uses lasers to send out pulses of infrared light. It creates a gigantic heat mask, which interferes with the heat-sensor on the missile. This distracts the weapon and hides the aircraft’s primary heat sources (engine and exhaust)

The aircraft then has to perform midair maneuvers to escape the predatory weapon’s grasp. Normally, aircraft use more traditional lasers, which only operate on a single wavelength. If the infrared radiation countermeasure isn’t on the same wavelength as the incoming missile, it will have the opposite effect, increasing the aircraft’s heat signature, rather than masking it. The military has to rely on gathered intelligence to choose the most effective countermeasure.

The new laser is small and durable enough to fit on the outside of most fighter aircraft. It will likely be rolled out in 2011, once the size has been reduced even further and the laser made up to four times more powerful. Helicopters are planned to be the first to get it, with fighter jets coming later. 

Will this spell the end for heat-seeking missile? Probably not, as heat-seeking missiles are one of the most effective anti-air option for defense or assault. As mentioned earlier, intelligence is vital for the IRCM to succeed. 

Knowing the enemy's missile wavelength is paramount for the IRCM to save the lives of the fighter jet pilots.

May 31, 2011

Corridor Theory?

I shall delve into it further once I have the time to really flesh out the foundations.

I would attempt to discuss the 'galaxies within a black hole' theory and the Infinite Corridor (not the MIT one)

Can consciousness really be defined by an equation? What is the relationship between consciousness and energy?

The main question: where does the corridor factor into all this?

Disclaimer: I cannot promise astonishing results, and the Corridor Theory might be just another way of stringing seemingly random stuff together. Worst case scenario, this blog will then be a full-fledged Physics + Life blog(i.e. no more Corridor Theories, just the name.). If all goes well, however, we will delve more into the corridors of the universe.

Dark Energy?