skipping-stones

maybe it’s about time i forget you, or maybe forgive you, whichever comes first. maybe it’s about time your echoing words stop rippling across my bloodstream like skipping stones. maybe it’s about time i forget the thunderstorms you awoke in my head, my skin lightning to the touch, my tornado heart spinning restless. maybe it’s about time i stop replaying you leaving like my favorite records that always make me cry. maybe it’s about time i stop thinking you’re the only one i could ever love, of working my life around you, of putting my dreams on hold. maybe it’s about time i stop thinking of myself as cracks in the pavement and you stop feeling like home.

because the truth is, i’ve thought about you a million times tonight; thoughts i could have used to make myself feel better, i’ve used to build you up. instead of moving on, i’ve given you excuses for all of the things you’ve done wrong. and maybe it’s about time i realize home doesn’t leave. the nights you’ve been gone, i’ve still had me. maybe it’s about time i focus on myself. maybe it’s about time i focus on my breathing. in and out, back and forth, how it feels like healing. maybe it’s about time i stop giving you the power to upset me. maybe it’s about time i mean it.

—  maybe it’s about time i forget you / @scarredconversations
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skipping stones

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Skipping a stone on water requires a flat, disk-like stone thrown at a shallow angle, but elastic spheres are remarkable skippers, too, even at higher impact angles. Researchers at the Splash Lab have just published their work on why these balls skip so well. As seen in the top animation, the elastic spheres deform on impact, flattening to a more disk-like shape that rides at an angle of attack relative to the air-water interface. Both features are important to the spheres’ enhanced skipping. By flattening, the sphere comes into greater contact with the water and by orienting at a larger angle of attack, the sphere increases the vertical component of force the water generates on the sphere. It’s this vertical force that lifts the sphere up and lets it keep bouncing.  

Because the ball is soft, it keeps deforming after its impact and bounce (see top animation). For some skips, the timescale of the sphere’s elastic waves is smaller than the length of time the sphere is in contact with the water. When this is the case, the sphere’s elastic waves will affect the impact cavity in the water, forming what the researchers call a matryoshka cavity, after the Russian nesting dolls. An example is shown in the second animation. For more, check out the USU press releasethe original paper, or the award-winning video they made a few years ago.  (Image credits: J. Belden et al./The Splash Lab)

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Fluids Round-Up

Time for another fluids round-up! Here’s some of the best fluid dynamics from around the web:

- Band Ok Go filmed their latest music video in microgravity, complete with floating, splattering fluids. Here they describe how they did it. Rhett Allain also provides a write-up on the physics.

- Scientists are trying to measure the impact of airliners’ contrails on climate change. (pdf; via @KyungMSong)

- Researchers observing the strange moving hills on Pluto suspect they may, in fact, be icebergs.

- The best angle for skipping a rock is 20-degrees. Related: elastic spheres skip well even at higher angles. (via @JenLucPiquant)

- Fluid dynamics and acoustics have some fascinating overlaps. Be sure to check out “The World Through Sound” series at Acoustics Today, written by Andrew “Pi” Pyzdek, who also writes one of my favorite science blogs

- Over at the Toast, Mallory Ortberg explores the poetry of the Beaufort wind scale.

- Could dark matter be a superfluid? (via @JenLucPiquant)

- Understanding the physics of the perfect pancake is helping doctors treat glaucoma. (submitted by Maria-Isabel)

- Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” shows swirling skies, but just how turbulent are they? (submitted by @NathanMechEng)

- The physics (and fluid dynamics!) of throwing a football - what’s the best angle for a maximum distance throw? (submitted by @rjallain)

(Video credit: Ok Go)

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Poetic Ideal: a language scrubbed clean by silences.

If we listen, the air is heavy with poems, ripe for plucking.

Branches are roots, too, in the sky.

Perhaps it is not poetry that purifies the language of the tribe, but Silence.

The true poet, or mystic, is not too proud to admit that, in matters great and small, they cannot proceed until they receive further instructions.

One never becomes a poet, except when they are writing a poem.

Yahia Lababidi, Skipping Stones,” Berfrois (12 October 2012)