Perpetual Motion Machines – Why I don’t believe in bicycles

I don’t believe in bicycles.

No, let me specify: I don’t believe in the physics that govern bicycles.

Even more specific: I don’t believe in the physics that govern the movement of bicycles.

A gif animation of a cyclist moving in three frames

A bicycle cannot stand up unless it is in motion. It will slump in a rigid heap on the ground in an instant if left to balance by itself. So how can something that does not have enough balance to stand still manage to stay upright while moving. My theory: human imagination. Continue reading “Perpetual Motion Machines – Why I don’t believe in bicycles”

Exquisite Explosions – The fine art of destruction

One of the first rules of writing is to open with a catchy line, and never with a technical topic. So I’m going to blow that one right out of the water and start by writing about entropy.

A Gif animation of a cup falling and shattering

Entropy is a theory in thermodynamics (yes, I’m doing it!) that has also crossed over into the fields of astrophysics and philosophy. It is used to describe a sudden change that causes erratic and chaotic events, often leading to the creation of entirely new objects. Entropy always moves forward with time, and creates events that cannot be undone. A good example is the collapse of a star, folding in on itself and becoming (perhaps) a black hole. Stephen Hawking describes the idea of entropy nicely in A Brief History of Time when he refers to how an “intact cup on the table is a state of high order, but a broken cup on the floor is a disordered state.” (p 161) Continue reading “Exquisite Explosions – The fine art of destruction”