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Archive for April 24th, 2009

Stencil graffiti on the grey door faces a Shephard Fairey poster across the street,

Stencil graffiti on the grey door faces a Shephard Fairey poster across the street,

My physics department has a room dedicated to physics undergraduates as a study room. In the room there are two rows of computers, blackboards on opposite walls, a few comfy chairs, two large desks (about a dozen seats each) and a constant scattering of undergraduates. Often there are non-physics majors in the room but these are scant in comparison with the number of physics majors and occasionally grad students who breath often the air of this room.

In this room conversations evolve that would not flourish in any other environment. Today and in the future I hope to capture some of the topics that came out of the this mixture of stress, frustration and physics.

Can dolphins communicate or see at relativistic speeds?

Are they blind due to the sound never catching up with their target? If it could catch up would the location be so distorted from length contraction that it would become a jumble?

Would not the vacuum kill them first?

If they had special dolphin spacesuits could they communicate through radio? Could echo location work through a radio and would a dolphin be able to compensate for the speed of light?

Or would PETA shut down this experiment before we could finish building our Sub Orbital Porpoise Launching Apparatus?

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