Monday, March 30, 2015

Earth and Moon

Adam Dodge built Earth and Moon, a small orrery showing the rotation of the earth and the orbit of the moon. You can see a video of it in action here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stepping on a LEGO

Karl Smallwood of Today I Found Out investigated Why Does Stepping On A LEGO Hurt so Much? He starts by noting that the soles of the feet are highly sensitive, which helps us balance, and then he analyzes how much force stepping on a LEGO leads to. Here are the key paragraphs:

For an example, a standard 2×2 Lego brick has a surface area of roughly 2.25 centimetres squared (for the sake of simplicity we’ll ignore the studs, which certainly aren’t going to help matters for your foot anyway). Let’s say a person weighing 75 kilos (165 pounds or 734 Newtons) steps onto it.

Now, the pressure on a given object is equal to the force applied divided by the area over which it is spread (P=F/A). So even if that 75 kilo person were just standing on the Lego with one foot, rather than having their foot accelerating downward at some rate as with walking, this gives us 734 N/0.000225 m2 = roughly 3,262,222 pascals of pressure! For reference, that is roughly 32 times standard atmospheric pressure, all suddenly forcing its knobbly, unforgiving way against one of the most sensitive regions of the body.

To illustrate, here's a cartoon by ILoveDoodle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Albert Einstein

In addition to being Pi Day, March 14 is also Albert Einstein's birthday. Einstein is easily the most recognizable scientist of the 20th century. His theory of relativity helped move us from Newtonian physics into the modern era. He received the 1921 Nobel in physics for his work on the photoelectric effect, but more broadly on all of his work in physics. He helped start the Manhattan Project by signing a letter to President Roosevelt about the potentially devastating nature of atomic bombs. Since he is such a key figure, and also so recognizable, he has been the inspiration for a great number of LEGO renditions. Here are just a handful of ones I found.

This mosaic (by who?) was on display at BrickWorld this past weekend.

Arthur and Laura Sigg built this mosaic.

Here's a miniland version by Annie1.

This huge sculpture is found in Legoland Florida (and there are similar sculptures at other Legolands as well).

There are tons of other LEGO Einsteins out there, but I'll save them for another time. Maybe next year's birthday.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day

Happy Pi Day (3-14-15). Pi is an irrational number that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The first five digits are 3.1415. Here are various LEGO commemorations.

Bill Ward



Oscar Romero

Lesgo LEGO Movie