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Some physics experiments


Roland Piquepaille was pointing out today that regular ballpoint pen in fact work in space. Apparently, the Russian used them for some time, after using pencils (that are more troublesome), while the American used fancy/expensive Fisher Space Pen. But it seems the Fisher pen does also allow writing in more extreme conditions (vaccum, underwater, extreme temperatures).

In last month's Popular Science, an experiment by Theodore Gray. It uses very intense magnetic fields to shrink coins. Google also brings Bert Hickman as having performed this experiment.
I'm hoping to get a scientist friend of mine understand how this works. I'll post more details then.

Jean-Louis Naudin built some levitating structures (lifters) that uses an electrodynamic effect to lift small loads into the air, with no moving part.
I've had the occasion to one work and altough I don't understand the phenomenon so far, it was really impressive.

Slashdot recently pointed to a nice experiment that aims at measuring the speed of light with a microwave.

For explanations of small mysteries of the everyday life, check out the How Stuff Works and the Questions & answers on everyday scientific phenomena pages. Also, if you are in San Francisco, check out the Exploratorium, and if you are in Paris, you should absolutely visit the "Palais de la Decouverte".

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