Apr 22, 2011

Reading Club!

If there was something missing in my school's 5-star rated facilities (I think they are), it would be the lack of English books in the library. The only ones that are my level are... the Harry Potter series. So I made this thing called the reading club, to share and read English books.
Today will be the first day for it, I hope it'll go well.

I made a blog for it, here at Reading Club Tokyo.
I'll write more on it soon.

Apr 17, 2011

Quantum Mechanics 101 (part 1)

Quantum mechanics. Some people might get a headache by just hearing it. I sort of got interested in it and have read a few books about it, but it's pretty hard to comprehend. But, the general idea is easy to understand;

It is a new type of physics that deal with things smaller than atoms, contrary to classic mechanics which people are more familiar with and probably learned a lot about in school.

In the world of quantum mechanics, weird things (compared to classic mechanics) happen. (which I'll write more about later, if I have the time to write pt. 2)

light quantum physics
One basic thing is that light is both a wave and a particle at the same time.
2 pencils interference patternThankfully, it's pretty easy to understand this.
When you hold 2 pencils together like this and look through it, you can see interference patterns (horizontal lines). This happens only with a wave, so now you know light is a wave.

BUT, then this won't make sense. Why are gamma rays and x rays, which have very short wavelengths more powerful than red lights, which has a far longer wavelength?

That's where the idea "lights are particles" comes in.(and when we think of lights as particles we call them photons. Gamma and X rays are like bullets, but red lights are like feathers so it doesn't make much damage to things like your body.

It's pretty confusing, but it's important to keep in mind that light is both a wave and a particle.

The state-of the art system

The earthquake early-warning system by the meteorological agency in Japan actually tells us about an earthquake BEFORE it hits. It's becoming very useful (and annoying, it pops up during tv programs and the show gets postponed for a while) these days when aftershocks are becoming an everyday thing.
There was a quake at school today too, but that actually wasn't an aftershock, it was another different one.
What does an earthquake alert look like? If you're living in Japan and is watching where there are people, you'd better warn them this isn't the real thing so they won't panic.

All the people in the diet are like "w..w..wh..what??"
The alert combines a lot of discords, so it sounds something terrible.

that's the point.
Even if we're just turning on the tv as a sort of a background music, this leaps to your ears, screaming for attention. And so you get up and go under a desk or something.

How does this system work?
It's done by catching the P-wave, a very weak wave coming from the epicenter when a quake occurs. Though it's weak, it's a  lot faster than the very big S-wave, so technically the big S-wave comes after the P-wave.
how an earthquake early warning system works

And when you catch the P-wave, calculate the epicenter and VERY QUICKLY put it on tv and radio, everyone can at least have a few seconds before it starts shaking. Big deal? You don't know what a few seconds can do. You can get under a desk or something to save yourself. And I think it's pretty big that we get ready for the quake in an emotional way. It's better than being hit without notice at all.