An Investigation of Modern Physics by Brian Williams
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  • Laughter for the Ladies – (and other Females)

    Posted on November 21st, 2011 Brian No comments

    For years we have been getting e-mails from two female friends covering all types of comedy.

    Here are the first of a selection for the ladies.


    Just be careful lads.

    The first man married a girl from Essex.

    He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning.

    It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

    The second man married a girl from Sussex.

    He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking.

    The first day he didn’t see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.

    The third man married a girl from the North of England.

    He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal.

    He said the first day he didn’t see anything, the second day he didn’t see anything but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.


    A Womans Poem.

    He didn’t like my casserole,

    He didn’t like my cake,

    He said my biscuits were too hard,

    Not like his mother used to bake.

    I didn’t make his coffee right,

    He didn’t like my stew,

    I didn’t mend his socks for him

    The way his mother used to do.

    I pondered for an answer,

    I was looking for a clue,

    Then I turned around and  smacked him one,

    Like his mother used to do.


    Life in the Australian Army.


    Text of a letter from a kid from Romagna to Mum and Dad. (For Those  of you not in the know, Romagna is a  small  town, west of Quilpie in the far south west of Queensland, Australia )


    Dear Mum & Dad,


    I am well. Hope you are too. Tell me big brothers Doug and Phil that the Army is better than working on the ranch – tell them to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone! I was a bit slow in settling down at first, because you don’t have to get out of bed until 6am. But I like sleeping in now, because all you’ve got to do before breakfast is make your bed and shine your boots and clean your uniform.

    No bloody horses to get in, no calves to feed, no troughs to clean – nothing!!  You have to shower though, but its not so bad, because there’s lots of hot water and even a light to see what your doing!


    At breakfast you get cereal, fruit and eggs but there’s no kangaroo steaks or goanna stew like Mum makes. You don’t get fed again until noon and by that time all the city boys are knackered because we’ve been on a ‘route- march’ – gee, its only just like walking to the windmill in the bullock paddock!!


    This one will kill my brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals for shooting – don’t know why. The bulls-eye is as big as an apple and it don’t move and it’s not firing back at you like the Johnsons did when our big scrubber bull got into their prize cows last year! All you’ve got to do is make yourself comfortable and hit the target – it’s easy!

    You don’t even load your own cartridges, they come in little boxes, and you don’t have to steady yourself against the roll-bar of the truck when you reload!


    Sometimes you’ve got to wrestle with the city boys and I’ve got to be real careful because they break easy – it’s not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster.

    Turns out I’m not a bad boxer either and it looks like I’m the best the platoon’s got, and I’ve only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers – he’s 6 foot 5 and 15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as you know I’m only 5 foot 7 and eight stone wringing wet, but I fought him until the other blokes carried me off to the boozer.


    I can’t complain about the Army – tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how good it is.


    Your loving daughter,




    Black & White TV

    After being married for 50 years, I took a careful look at my wife one
    day and said “Fifty years ago we had a cheap house, a junk car, slept
    on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to
    sleep every night with a hot 18-year-old girl.

    Now … I have a $500,000.00 home, a $35,000.00 car, a nice big bed and
    a large screen TV, but I’m sleeping with a 68-year-old woman. It seems
    to me that you’re not holding up your side of things.”

    My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot
    18-year-old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be
    living in a cheap house, driving a junk car, sleeping on a sofa bed and
    watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

    Aren’t older women great? They really know how to solve an old guy’s


    Curtain Rods

    On the first day, she sadly packed her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.  On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.

    On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining-room table, by candlelight; she put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.

    When she’d finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimps dipped in caviar into the hollow center of the curtain rods.  She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

    On the fourth day, the husband came back with his new girlfriend, and at first all was bliss. Then, slowly, the house began to smell.  They tried everything; cleaning, mopping, and airing-out the place.

    Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned.  Air fresheners were hung everywhere.  Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which time the two had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked!

    People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.

    Finally, they couldn’t take the stench any longer, and decided they had to move, but a month later – even though they’d cut their price in half – they couldn’t find a buyer for such a stinky house.

    Word got out, and eventually even the local Realtors refused to return their calls.

    Finally, unable to wait any longer for a purchaser, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

    Then the ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for having the house.

    Knowing she could have no idea how bad the smell really was, he agreed on a price that was only 1/10th of what the house had been worth … but only if she would sign the papers that very day.

    She agreed, and within two hours his lawyers delivered the completed paperwork.

    A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home, and to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!

    Nice to have a happy ending.



    After three weeks in the Garden of Eden, God came to visit Eve. “So, how is everything going?” inquired God.

    “It is all so beautiful, God,’ she replied. ‘The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, the smells, the sights, everything is wonderful, but I have just one problem.

    ”It’s these breasts you have given me. The middle one pushes the other two out and I am constantly knocking them with my arms, catching them on branches and snagging them on bushes. They’re a real pain.”

    And Eve went on to tell God that since many other parts of her body came in pairs, such as her limbs, eyes, ears, etc. She felt that having only two breasts might leave her body more ‘symmetrically balanced’.

    “That’s a fair point,” replied God, “But it was my first shot at this, you know. I gave the animals six breasts, so I figured that you needed only half of those, but I see that you are right. I will fix it up right away.”
    And God reached down, removed the middle breast and tossed it into the bushes.

    Three weeks passed and God once again visited Eve in the Garden of Eden.

    ” Well, Eve, how is my favourite creation?’

    “Just fantastic,” she replied, “But for one oversight. You see, all the animals are paired off. The ewe has a ram and the cow has her bull. All the animals have a mate except me. I feel so alone.”

    God thought for a moment and said, “You know, Eve, you are right. How could I have overlooked this? You do need a mate and I will immediately create a man from a part of you. Let’s see….where did I put that useless T**?”

    Now doesn’t THAT make more sense than all that rubbish about the rib?


    Typical macho man married typical good-looking lady, and after the wedding, he laid down the following rules:

    “I’ll be home when I want, if I want and at what time I want — and I don’t expect any hassle from you.  I expect a great dinner to be on the table unless I tell you that I won’t be home for dinner. I’ll go hunting, fishing, boozing, and card-playing when I want with my old buddies, and don’t you give me a hard time about it. Those are my rules.  Any comments?”
    His new bride said: “No, that’s fine with me.  Just understand that there will be sex here at seven o’clock every night, whether you’re here or not.”


    Husband (a doctor) and his wife are having a fight at the breakfast table. Husband gets up in a rage and says, “And you are no good in bed either,” and storms out of the house.

    After some time he realizes he was nasty and decides to make amends and rings her up.   She comes to the phone after many rings, and the irritated husband says, “What took you so long to answer to the phone?”

    She says, “I was in bed.” .   Husband, “In bed this early, doing what?”

    “Getting a second opinion!”



    A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each
    other the silent treatment.. Suddenly the man realized that the next day he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight.

    Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, “Please wake me at 5:00 AM .”  He left it where he knew she would find it. The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight..

    Furious, he was about to go to see why his wife hadn’t wakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.   The paper said, “It is 5:00 AM. Wake up.”


    A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her

    girlfriends when Steven, a tall, exceptionally handsome, extremely sexy,

    middle-aged man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not

    take her eyes off him.

    This seasoned yet playful heartthrob noticed her overly attentive stare

    and walked directly toward her. (As any man would.) Before she could offer

    her apologies for staring so rudely, he leaned over and whispered to her,

    “I’ll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, no matter

    how kinky, for $20.00…

    on one condition…” Flabbergasted but intrigued, the woman asked what the condition was.

    The man replied, “You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three


    The woman considered his proposition for a moment, and then slowly removed

    A $20 bill from her purse, which she pressed into the man’s hand along with

    her address. She looked deeply and passionately into his eyes, barely

    concealing her anticipation and excitement, and slowly and meaningfully






    “Clean my house.”


  • Understanding Heating and Ventilation – Rev 1

    Posted on November 19th, 2011 Brian No comments

    Originally posted on October 3rd, 2010. (In the last few weeks it disappeared for some unknown reason)

    Understanding mechanics is nothing to do with mathematics, it is the reality of what is actually happening and why it is happening.  Note:- I have been asked “what has heating and ventilating got to do with mechanics?”

    Mechanics is about moving things, and relates to anything that moves, whether levers, steam engines, ships, aircraft, spacecraft, arms and legs, water, sewage, blood, air, heat, light, magnetic radiation, radio waves, electricity etcetera.

    Heating and ventilating is primarily about moving air, water and heat.


    As one of the jobs that my wife has added to my very long list of things more important that physics, I am now in the process of redoing my loft insulation, a most uncomfortable job.

    This has brought to mind an occasion many years ago when one of my duties was to arrange for ‘Air Curtains’ (An industrial version of the air curtains found in many shopping centres and stores.) to be fitted to the industrial doors in a large production area.

    I arranged for quotations from 6 manufacturers.  Over the next few days I took manufacturers engineers around the production area to enable them to produce their quotations.  These visits normally took about 2 hours.  However, one manufacturers engineer was there for two days.

    The following week  I received the quotations and arranged separate interviews with the manufacturers to discuss their quotations.

    The company whose engineer had taken two days I left till last, because their quotation had been the lowest and I was curious.

    When I finally asked them how they had arrived at their price, I was given a technical file of about 30 pages.  That included the details of every single source of heat production within the manufacturing area.  This included machinery, pipe-work, workers and normal heating devices.  It even included variations allowing for summer/winter and night/day.  They got the job, but I had difficulty with our directors, who had a practice of throwing the highest and lowest quotes out, and then choosing between the remainder.  They did not understand that being a real expert allowed you to bring your prices down.

    What finally convinced them were the running costs and guarantees.

    The same problems arise with home heating and ventilation.  Every item in your house affects the temperature and ventilation requirements.  Heating costs are higher in a ‘minimalist’ environment,  (all goods and furniture are like storage heaters.) An empty room can lose all its heat in a few minutes, but an over furnished house will take hours to drop to the same temperature.  I have been looking after an old terraced cottage for a lady in hospital for 12 months.  The cottage is stuffed with furniture and other goods, but over the severe winter in which outside temperatures hardly ever got above zero, the temperature inside the cottage never felt uncomfortably cold.  There is no central heating in the cottage and the only form of heating was a gas fire, and the gas was turned off.

    Like our manufacturing area, every item in a house either stores heat or produces heat.  The heat storage includes walls, furniture, goods and even items down to cutlery and children’s toys.  The heat producers include lighting, electrical equipment, bodies (including animals) sunlight and finally your main heating source whether a central-heating system or electric fires, gas fires or solid fuel burning.

    Basically your central heating system compensates for reductions in the overall heat input into your house.

    If you decide to switch off all your lights, the central heating system will compensate for the heat loss.  (The energy dissipated by lighting is nearly all heat, only a  small amount is radiated as light, and most of this is converted to heat when striking some object.  In the olden days when I was a lad, it was not uncommon for people to put an electric light bulb in a biscuit tin or similar metal container to use as a heater)

    If everyone leaves the house, the central heating system will make up for the heat loss.  If you let the cat or dog out, the central heating will make up the heat loss.  If you switch off all your electrical equipment that is in standby mode, the central heating system will make up for the heat loss. However, if the outside temperature is high, switching off ‘heat producing items’ will save you from discomfort and save you money.  During the summer we had about 8 days in which the central heating was off, but the radiators were still very warm due to the heat accumulated in the roof-space, and we had ‘free’ hot water for a week.

    Normally, in Britain, you will only save energy by ‘energy saving light bulbs’ or switching off electrical goods that are normally on standby mode’ when the outside temperature is higher than the set temperature of your central heating system, and that doesn’t happen very often.

    I have saved a little bit of energy by adding external insulation to our freezer, (its under the stairs in my computer room so it doesn’t worry about looking pretty).  I used under-floor insulation which is only about 2.5mm thick but is a good insulator.  If you put your hand on anything and feel the cold immediately, then it is a serious source of heat loss.  The only problem is that fridges and freezers circulate heat.  Any heat removed from inside the fridge is returned through the radiator at the back.  Obviously, if your fridge or freezer is outside in a garage or shed you should save energy and money.  However, if it is inside the house you will not save much money however ‘energy efficient’ it is.  My computer room is about 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the house therefore I save some heat.

    Generally, it is better to look at more obscure methods of saving heat.  Many people will quite happily insulate the hot water pipes in a house, but ignore the cold water ones.  However, the cold water pipes in your house absorb heat from the general house temperature.  In winter, flushing your toilet loses more heat than boiling a pint of water.  (I will be carrying out some experiments to verify the actual amount lost, and trying a method of insulating the cistern on the inside to reduce heat loss into it, and also reducing the condensation on the outside which can be a problem sometimes)

    When you run your cold water tap, the water in the pipe-work has been absorbing heat from your house, which is then generally flushed down the drain.  (This depends on how close to the main water inlet  to your house is to the particular tap you are running, complicated isn’t it?)  Water can absorb a lot of heat, which is why it is used in central heating systems.  The ideal solution for showers is a heat exchanger in which the draining water heats the incoming water feeding the shower.  This can save approximately 40% of the cost of running the shower, but can be difficult to construct in many houses.


    How HOT Is It?

    Many people get confused when attempting to estimate whether something is hot or cold.  This, in many cases, is because of the ‘rate of heat flow’ between different materials.  In between the two extremes of freezing and boiling (or burning) there is a ‘comfort zone’ in which no damage is caused to the human body.  At freezing point damage can be caused due to the high water content of the human body.  At boiling point the water in the human body starts to boil.  Both are obviously dangerous situations.

    However, if you have both a cushion and a piece of steel at freezing point it will be fairly obvious, if you touch it, that the steel is at freezing point.  You would probably argue, on touching the cushion, that it was a lot warmer than the steel.  This is because the rate of heat transfer (RHT) between you and the cushion is a lot less that that between you and the piece of steel.  There is energy passing from your hand to the cushion or the piece of steel.  The human ‘machine’s’ heat detection system uses this ‘rate of heat transfer’ to assess danger levels.

    When the RHT is too high, damage is done to the body.  This applies whether the heat is travelling out of the body or into the body.

    There is a similarity between the action of low temperatures and the action of low pressures.

    See Understanding Pressure and Vacuum.



    Ventilation is a major source of heat loss, whether by open windows, open doors or just draughts.  Unfortunately we cannot manage without ventilation.

    All ventilation is a source of heat loss.  With doors the airlock principle works quite well, but is subject to the fact that the door is open for particular reason, and generally the reason takes your mind off saving heat, and the door is left open longer than necessary.  There is not a lot you can do about human nature.

    Windows have a tendency to be opened when a room becomes stuffy.  Unfortunately, it gets left open until someone claims that it is too cold!  Your central heating then has to make up for the lost heat.

    Most houses have a heat store that is ignored, and that is the roof space.  This heat can be re-used both for heating, and reducing the heat loss due to ventilation.  Its use for heating is used in quite a few industrial buildings, where the warm air at high levels is ducted down to lower levels with the aid of small fan units.  Note:-  It is advisable to thoroughly clean the attic with a vacuum cleaner before using it as a source of warm air, alternatively bring fresh air into the attic via a galvanised duct (preferably rectangular, it gives a better heat transfer) to isolate the air in the attic from incoming air.

    It can also be used to warm-up ventilation air by running a separate duct at high level in the roof space (the fan unit should be at the ‘fresh air’ end of the ducting so that the duct is at positive pressure).  Note that a fine mesh filter should be fitted to the air intake to keep out wasps and other undesirables.  You would not be pleased if a swarm of bees arrived in your living room by way of your heating duct.

    All ducting should be of galvanised steel, not stainless steel or plastic.  The zinc on galvanised steel is fatal to many bugs and viruses.  I have a feeling that many of the cases of ‘Legionnaire’s Disease’ may be caused by the use of plastics or stainless steel for the ducting.  These materials are relatively inert, so a warm ducting is an ideal environment for many ‘nasties’.  This problem may also occur in water systems where storage is by plastic or stainless steel tanks.

    SEE ALSO “Boil or Carbuncle?”

    Tip from my recent attic insulation antics. I had to carry out some extra electrical work and therefore needed to clear some of the insulation. I decided to cover the area of insulation I had to remove, with a thin plastic dust-sheet. Folding the insulation back using two pieces of wood, after doing  the electrical work the insulation folded neatly back without sticking to the rest of the insulation. I followed this by doing the rest of the attic in the same way. It keeps the dust off the insulation and in the case of any small water leaks will help to isolate the damage. Note: do not try to cover the entire attic with one sheet, multiple sheets help to retain some necessary air flow.

    More to come on this.

  • Physics in the News – Single Molecule Car

    Posted on November 10th, 2011 Brian No comments

    From BBC

    This picture published on the BBC website is supposed to show a single molecule ‘car’ travelling across a sheet of copper.

    Molecule Car

    This type of thing really annoys me. For a start the picture is obviously a computer graphics interpretation of the event. (The ‘light’ shining on the copper atoms is casting incorrect shadows.)

    Why can’t the physicists show exactly what they saw? Have they actually seen this claimed molecule? A computer generated graphic does not qualify as any form of evidence.

    If the human eye (with with the aid of a scanning microscope) can see the claimed event why can’t a camera?

    This type of graphic is as scientifically valid as claiming that the drawings in ‘Peter Pan’ proves the existence of fairies.

    Brian Williams – Author

  • Points to Ponder.

    Posted on November 7th, 2011 Brian No comments

    Division of Labour!

    This morning I had to delete 14 fake comments for a particular brand of running shoes.

    Checking on the web showed that apparently over 62,000,000 people were selling these.

    I wonder how many people were actually making them?



    Cross Legs

    For over 30 years I’ve wondered why people crossed their legs. Yesterday I checked on Google to see if it had bothered other people. I was amazed to find over 330,000,000 entries. There was no point in checking all these but I checked the first 5 pages and then a random page sample. What surprised me was the number of arguments  (about 50%) relating to modesty.

    The point about leg crossing is that most mammals do this, from cats, dogs, lions tigers etcetera, and I doubt if any of these are particularly  interested in modesty. A woman may deliberately cross her legs for this reason, but unconscious leg crossing cannot be caused by this. The second most popular reason given is comfort,  but again I am unhappy about this, because it is not particularly comfortable. So, anybody got a better idea?

    Anyone like to add their own Points to Ponder?

  • Understanding Mechanics – Waves.

    Posted on November 3rd, 2011 Brian No comments

    A major subject brought up in physics discussions is wave mechanics. Unfortunately, physicists know very little about waves and almost nothing about mechanics therefore you cannot really expect anything sensible from their discussions.


    Waves are mainly divided into two groups.

    Group A  is the transmission of energy. Normally travelling waves

    Group B  Is the transmission of mass. Normally standing waves

    Both groups are further divided into Generated waves and Created waves.

    If you drop a pebble into a pond waves are created that transmit energy. They are created because the pebble does not have any ‘wavelike’ properties and the ‘falling’ motion does not have any ‘wavelike’ properties.

    Generated Waves

    Electrical/radio waves are generated. The waves in a ripple tank are generated. The large waves sometimes found in holiday swimming pools are generated.

    Generated waves follow a ‘pattern’, like the electrical generator that may rotate at 50 revolutions per second will generate electrical waves at a frequency of 50 cycles per second. The pulse mechanism on the ripple tank will generate waves at the same frequency as the mechanism itself.

    Created Waves.

    Normal waves in the sea are created, and are caused by two different mechanisms.

    A. Being caused by the winds operating over the oceans.

    B. The tidal flow across the Earth.  (Note; the tidal bulge itself is  a generated wave, it follows the ‘pattern’ of the moon’s movement around the Earth.)

    If there was no land-masses the tidal bulge would flow smoothly across the globe. However, due to the land masses. parts of the tidal bulge ( really a single wave travelling around the Earth) are reflected from the land creating waves which are transmitted back into the seas. (This wave creation normally requires a vertical face to reflect from to create serious waves.)

    Tsunamis are created, and may be considered in the same way as dropping a pebble in a pond, in that  they may be caused by a landslip (massive pebble). Tsunamis may be caused by a sub-sea  earth-quake or volcano, but the mechanics involved is the same as dropping a pebble in a pond.

    However, when a tsunami hits the shoreline the transmission of energy changes to a transmission of mass. All the energy stored in the tsunami is transferred into moving the mass of water onto the land. If the tsunami hits a vertical rock face then a wave is created that is reflected back across the ocean

    Ripples on the Beach.

    These should be considered as created waves. They are formed due to the water rushing up the beach picking up sand particles. As the amount of sand in the water increases, the extra weight slows the speed of the water and the sand begins to fall out again. This pick up and drop out creates the ripples. The same thing happens as the water retreats down the beach and the ripples are changed again.

    Neither the sand nor the water surge up the beach have any wave-like properties

    Waves and Ripples in the Desert.

    Caused in the same way as ripples on the beach, but by the wind instead of water. The huge dunes seen in deserts are the ‘sand breakers’, the equivalent to the sea breakers beloved by surfers. The wind speeds in the deserts are higher than the water speeds in the sea.

    Neither the sand nor the wind has any wave-like properties.

    Neither of the above two are really waves, but ‘wave-forms’. True waves must transmit mass or energy.

    Obstruction in Smooth Flow.

    If you have a smooth flow of water and you poke a stick into the water, then waves/ripples are created in the water just in front of the stick and pass each side of the stick.

    It is clear that neither the water nor the stick have any wave-like properties.

    In this situation there are three distinct actions occurring.

    A. Below the surface of the waveform itself  there is an increased flow of water (mass) along the waveform.

    B. The surface water flow passes over this flow. (If you drop a light object such as a petal onto the water surface upstream of the stick, the petal will cross over the waveform without deviating.)

    C. As the waveform travels downstream it also moves sideways, (as a boats wake does). This indicates that there is also a transfer of energy sideways. (This is caused by slumping of the waveforms)

    (In water waves you also have to allow for differences in speed between the surface water and the various sub-surface levels.)

    Sorry about this , but fluid mechanics are extremely complicated, and light follows the laws of fluid mechanics.

    Accelerating Waves.

    See also ‘Introduction to Physics’. Click on tab at top of page.

    Brian Williams – Author