Check this out.
So, the guy jumps from 150 feet into some cardboard boxes. Why are the boxes important? You want something that can stop you in the largest distance to make your acceleration the smallest. Here is my Dangerous Jumping Calculator. Basically, you put in how high you will jump from and how much distance you will take to land and it tells you your acceleration.
You will probably need this G-force tolerance info from wikipedia.
One problem - this calculator doesn't really work for this case. It doesn't take into account air resistance. Does air resistance even matter in this…

# numerical calculation

Red Bull is sponsoring this sky dive from really really really high up - Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space. Seems dangerous. The basic idea is that Felix Baumgartner will take a balloon ride up to 120,000 feet and jump out. Here are some questions:
Will he reach supersonic speeds?
The Red Bull site says: "can Felix react to a 35 second acceleration to mach 1?"
How about the claim that he will free fall for 5 minutes and 35 seconds? That seems pretty short.
In 1960, Joe Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet. Will 20,000 feet make a large difference?
Assumptions
Clearly, this can be a…

This is a requested post. Clearly, I do requests. The idea here is that I am going to give all the details needed to determine the equation of motion (and then model it) for a basic pendulum. Warning: this post is a little more advanced than my normal posts. There are some prerequisites. You need to understand derivatives. I will assume that you do. Here is a pendulum. (and this time I will stick to my variables)
Like I said before, this is a tricky problem unless I use some tricks. The problem is that the tension the string exerts on the mass changes. Here is my trick: think about a…

Looking back at part I of this idea, I don't think I did a very good job. Let me summarize the key things I wanted to say:
Normally, there are two ways of modeling the motion of an object:
Calculating the forces on the object and using the momentum principle or Newton's second law (which are the same thing). I called this the Newtonian way. The problem with this method is forces that constrain the motion (like the normal force). These forces have a variable magnitude to make the object stay on a particular surface.
Defining some variables that describe the system as it is constrained.…

If you didn't catch the latest MythBusters (yeah! new episodes), they did something straight from the physics textbooks. Just about every text has this example of shooting a bullet horizontally and dropping a bullet from the same height. The idea is that they should hit the ground at the same time. No one but the MythBusters could actually show this demo with a real gun.
The Physics
I am going to do some calculations, but I want to first write about the physics that accompanies this idea (and you can actually do it your self without the gun). What physics principle does this demo show?…

I have been reflecting on my recent failure to realize that the Giant Water Slide Jump was fake (more analysis here). I think the guys that made this video did a really good job on several levels. First, the motion appears to do two important things:
shows constant acceleration in the vertical direction
shows constant velocity in the horizontal direction
That seems like such a simple thing, but it is surprising how often fake videos don't have those two elements. Maybe they were not close, but with the error associated with the panning and zooming camera, it seemed close enough. Also, to…

I created another screen cast showing how to get started with a numerical calculation for one of my classes. In this case, the students are attempting to model the motion of an object falling with air resistance. The following example doesn't show the steps including the air resistance, but maybe it is enough to get someone started.
Record your screencast online

Some of the other blog sites have talked about physics vs. chemistry. It seems this started with The experimental Error blog. Tom at Swans on Tea added a very excellent point to the discussion and the discussion continues at Uncertain Principles.
So, here is my take on the subject. Physics essentially deals with the fundamental stuff. You know, Maxwell's equations, the four forces, the particles, quantum mechanics. Chemistry is the study of substances and their interactions. First, let me attack chemistry. Here are some things I don't like:
Photo electron. What is a photo electron?…

Basically, the title says it all. Here is a short tutorial on projectile motion calculations with a spreadsheet.
Record your screencast online
I left out a lot of details, so maybe these links will help:
Spreadsheet tutorial for numerical calculations (video)
More details on numerical calculations
Projectile motion

Maybe you know I like numerical calculations, well I do. I think they are swell. [VPython](http://vpython.org) is my tool of choice. In the post [Basics: Numerical Calculations](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/basics-numerical-calculation…) I used vpython and excel to do something simple. I will do that again today (in that this problem could also be solved analytically). However, there is one big difference. This problem has a non-constant forces. Suppose I have a mass that is connected by a spring to a wall. This mass-spring is sitting on a table with no friction.
![…

I already said I like [scratch from MIT](http://scratch.mit.edu). After building a simple rocket model, the kids said it should be a game. I caved. Here it is:
Learn more about this project
To play, press the space bar. The arrow keys are rocket thrusts. The goal is to get to the red circle in as little time. If you hit the wall or the sides, you start back at the green circle. Please forgive me masters of scratch (I know who you are - you find something to complain about in my program).