Monthly Archives: March 2013

Time for some more Misconceptions! Lets think about how we think:

The “10%” myth: It’s completely a myth that we only use 10% of our brain at any given time. Our brain is constantly using full capacity, controlling the body as well as conscious thought. And the stuff about Einstein? As real as unicorns (believe if you wish).

Multitasking: It’s not possible. What we think is multitasking is actually our brain switching back and forth between two tasks really fast. This obviously is not good.

Multitasking is strengthening: No, it doesn’t help. In a short-period, multitasking gives each task a huge performance cut. Over long-term, it wears your brain out. In fact, it has been proven that someone texting while driving drives similarly to someone with an illegal alcohol blood content!


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20130319-181309.jpgHundreds of students competed at MSOE on January 12 in the Wisconsin region Future Cities engineering competition.
The winner will go to Crystal City, Virginia and compete with 35 other teams, said Kelly Wesolowski, regional coördinator of Future City in Wisconsin. The competition will be on February 16-20, she said.
Wesolowski said that in 2012 the Wisconsin regional team won nationals. This year’s regional winner was St. Alphonsus, with a city called Nani Moku. Over 50 teams competed in Wisconsin.
Students had to create many items for their city, said David Kabara, a mentor for the Waukesha Catholic team. He has mentored for 4 years, and 3 grades.
“Future Cities is a program to allow students to gain further knowledge of engineering,” he said. ”It opens up the door to engineering for a field [that is] growing fast.”
Students were required to design a SimCity computer model, write an essay and narrative, and build a model out of recycled materials, Kabara says.
“It opens up creativity in a non-pressure system,” he says. Participants are given only $100 dollars to spend on their model, and are encouraged to use recycled materials. The model must include a moving part.
Moving parts have been things such as vehicles, water, and mass transit. Weslowski says, “one of the coolest things I have seen was [a team that used] little beads that went through a tube and they used canned air to move the beads along.”
The hardest part is getting students to agree, Kabara says, students learn coöperation skills as well as engineering.
Some students on Kabara’s team were 7th graders Nathan Dejeski, Patrick Burell, Zach Nelton, and Lance Berg. They were asked about what Future City is to them.
Dejeski said, “being with my friends and creating a city in the future.” Burell said, “Building things with [my] imagination.” Nelton said, “A chance to be in control of a whole city. Berg said, “Talking about everything, and [in] the last week building.”

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Cloud Computing. When it came out, some people went wild, while others said, “what are we going to do with this?”

What is it? The Cloud is simply a term referring to any server that consumers can store and edit data on. What makes it special is that you can view and edit the same data no matter where you are, whatever device you are on.

People worried about its security. If you consider what it is, it’s as secure as your internet connection. If you use it in a non-secure connection, people can get your data.

In fact, the Cloud has been used for years, in the simple “I’ll email myself with it as an attachment,” which is basically using your email client‘s server as a Cloud.

“Is the Cloud affected if it rains?” Of course not, the Cloud is not in the clouds!

Some popular clouds are Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Box, and Microsoft SkyDrive. Personal clouds can be created on personal servers relatively easily.

The Cloud can be an amazing productivity tool, or a useless gimmick. What it is for you is in the clouds!

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Harold White, a NASA scientist, believes he will soon be able to let objects move at speeds faster than that of light.
You would assume this is a direct violation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, but White says otherwise.

The idea was first thought of by Miguel Alcuberre. Here’s how it works:
A spaceship flies through space. At its back is a strange matter called negative energy (not to be confused with antimatter) which has a negative gravitational field.
The negative energy forces space-time to expand at the back of the ship and contract at the front.
The ship than rides the curvature of space-time, as a surfboard rides waves.
This pushes the ship at a speed faster than light.

This does not contradict relativity because Einstein’s theory only applies to objects in space-time, and the ship would, in effect, ride on space-time.

One problem, however, is producing the negative energy, or -e. Alcuberre’s model calls for a vast amount. White, however, says he can do it with a fraction of the amount.

Although there are still many problems, if warp drive can be achieved, it will revolutionize space travel.

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Quarks are the building blocks of matter. Smaller than atoms, they make up electrons and protons. Along with leptons, they make up everything that has mass in the universe.

There are six types: up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom.

Two quarks combine into a meson, and three into a baryon. A proposed type with five called a pentaquark has been claimed to have been observed, but has not yet been proven.

Example baryons are protons and neutrons, which are made of up and down quarks. They combine in specific proportions to give particles charge and mass.

Quark Symbol Spin Charge Baryon Number S C B T Mass*
Up U 1/2 +2/3 1/3 0 0 0 0 1.7-3.3 MeV
Down D 1/2 -1/3 1/3 0 0 0 0 4.1-5.8 MeV
Charm C 1/2 +2/3 1/3 0 +1 0 0 1270 MeV
Strange S 1/2 -1/3 1/3 -1 0 0 0 101 MeV
Top T 1/2 +2/3 1/3 0 0 0 +1 172 GeV
Bottom B 1/2 -1/3 1/3 0 0 -1 0 4.19 GeV(MS) 4.67 GeV(1S)

Up and down quarks are the least massive, and make up most of matter.

Strange quarks in a particle are denoted as S=-1 and may give a particle a longer life.

Charm quarks have a greater mass than any other, and tend to make very massive particles.

Top and bottom quarks have a high mass as well, but have not been studied as much.


Quarks have never been isolated, due to a force called “color force” which does not diminish at a distance, in fact it may even become stronger!

There is still so much we haven’t learned about our universe. Quarks are just yet another smaller particle we have found.

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An atom is made up protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons are positively charged and determine the atoms atomic number. Neutrons are neutral and at least one neutron is needed for two protons. Both neutrons and protons are in the nucleus.

The number of electrons equals the number of protons. Electrons are negatively charged and are found in the electron clouds. Isotopes are atoms that have the same amount of protons but different amounts of neutrons. Ions are atoms that have either lost or gained at least one electron.

Electrons, protons, and neutrons are made up of quarks. There are six types of quarks. They are: up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top. This is a basic overview of the atomic make-up. Picture from


What if you went to school and all through elementary to high school they tell you about how flat earth is and you do boring flat earth physics and then finally you get to college and they say PSYCH and show you a globe for the first time.

Sadly this exactly what we do with

1. Gravity– You probably have learned that gravity is based on mass and density and so you must have thought gravity cannot affect light, since it’s mass less.  Well, PSYCH! Gravity has nothing to do with mass or density directly, instead it depends on energy and momentum, which light certainly has.

2. Special relativity– Suppose there is a sheep running 2 mph, on a train also moving 2 mph. This means the sheep is running 4 mph, right? WRONG! Due to the earths curvature, you can’t add velocities just like that.

3. Momentum– You probably have been taught that Momentum = mass * velocity. I know I did, but actually that’s wrong. The real equation is  Momentum is mass times velocity divided by the square root of 1 – velocity divided by the speed of light. If that’s a bit hard to understand, I can show you a picture.

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Scientists say there are two types of radiation: wave and particle. There are three types of particle radiation. They are all named after Greek letters. α, β, γ, are the symbols for them, respectively.

Wave: Microwave, radio wave, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma ray

Particle: Alpha (two protons and two neutrons), beta (electrons), and gamma (x-rays and photons)