Coriolis Assisted Record

The only thing better than my favorite NFL team having a perfect record to start the season, is for the perfect record to be the result of physics.

In week 5, the Cincinnati Bengals overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the (two-time defending NFC champs) Seattle Seahawks in overtime. Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal to win it, although by the slimmest possible margin (video):

The only thing that could make the victory sweeter is for a world renown physicist to credit an obscure pseudo-force usually associated (incorrectly) with the direction water swirls down your drain:

The Coriolis effect is the result of living on a spinning planet. Since a rotating system is a “non-inertial reference frame,” Newton’s laws need to be modified to account for the acceleration in objects observers perceive (video):

The headline on ESPN’s website “Astrophysicist says Bengals’ game-winning FG aided by Earth’s rotation“.


In a sense, the Earth’s rotation moved the goalposts with the football was in flight:

Mario Maker

A explosion of creativity has hit the Mushroom Kingdom. Nintendo’s latest Mario game is quite different from previous offerings, in that Mario Maker allows you to create, play, and share levels over the internet. In addition to the nostalgia factor of  building familar worlds for 8 bit Mario, completely new challenges can be thought up for our plucky plumber.

Beginning with the original NES system we had when I was in Elementary school (Super Mario Brothers and 3), I can date the eras of my childhood with the various sequels: High school (World at my cousin’s house), College (Mario 64 on my Roommate’s system), and grad school (Sunshine on a second hand GameCube).

Although Mario mods have existed for many years, they required special software and skills. Now that Nintendo has provided a platform for the masses to create, ideas are proliferating and cross-pollinating like crazy. Perhaps the evolutionary experimentation of the Cambrian Explosion came from a similar breakthrough: build the platform, and new ideas will come.