Skills and Techniques

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Balance of Rates: A Thought Experiment

Keywords: carbon emissions, rates, unbalanced rates

We often look at the number of tonnes of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere for a given activity. But what if it's not a question of how much- but rather, how fast?

We are pumping tens of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. In contrast, the naturally occurring exchanges of carbon dioxide happen in the hundreds of billions of tonnes. Does this render our human activity insignificant? In this activity, we explore how even small differences in a balance can cause a large influence over time.

1 year 31 weeks ago

Dimensional Analysis

Keywords: checking answers, dimensional analysis, units

Unsure if your result makes sense?

Learn how to check if results make sense by analyzing the units involved in the calculations.

7 years 9 weeks ago

Histograms, Measurement, and Uncertainty

3 years 45 weeks ago

LaTex Expressions - Symbols and Units

Keywords: LaTeX, symbols, units

Wondering what each symbol refers to?

A summary of symbols commonly used throughout the articles and the corresponding LaTeX expressions.

7 years 6 weeks ago

Order of Magnitude Calculations

Keywords: approximation, calculation, estimation, order of magnitude

How can we make reasonable approximations without tedious calculations?

Use order of magnitude calculations to make reasonable approximations.

7 years 9 weeks ago

Scientific Notation

Keywords: scientific notation

The suspect is a male, age 1.73 × 109 s, height 1.83 m, weight 7.5 × 101 kg.

Understanding how to express numbers in a way that is easily understood.

7 years 6 weeks ago

Significant Figures

Keywords: calculators, mathematics, physics, significant figures, what numbers mean

This tyrannosaurus is 70,000,003 years old. How many significant figures should I quote?

We examine this perennial student hang-up.

7 years 5 weeks ago

Symbols and Units Used on this Site

Keywords: symbols, units

Wondering what each symbol refers to?

A summary of symbols commonly used throughout the articles.

7 years 7 weeks ago

Trend Analysis in the Context of Global Warming

Keywords: anthropogenic climate change, climate, climate change, trend analysis

There are many sources ranging from politicians to mass media that claim that the Earth is actually cooling, not warming as scientists say it is. Unusually cold periods and local changes in weather are generally the cause for these statements. Why are these claims inaccurate?

There are many claims made refuting the existence of global warming. Most of these claims come from looking at very short term data in a very localized region. Global warming, as the name implies, is an increase in the global temperature and conclusions about it cannot be reached using measurements localized in time and space. Doing so is called "cherry picking".

1 year 50 weeks ago

Useful Numbers

Keywords: numbers, units, values

Wondering where we got our numbers from?  Check out this table!

A summary of numbers commonly used throughout the articles and where they came from. (e.g. energy content of fuels, solar power, greenhouse gasses etc.)

7 years 9 weeks ago
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