Dec 142017

One model’s idea for a white Christmas

Here are a few interesting Tweets during this week.

We are getting close to being able to take a stab at the probability of a White Christmas in the Ozarks.

I’ll put my forecast out early next week…





 Posted by at 6:26 pm
Feb 062012

After some time off and a sickness, the Tuesday installments of “Ted Keller the Science Feller” will be back on KOZL’s “Live at 4” show starting tomorrow.

The topics for the next few weeks:

Tuesday 2/7: Static Electricity

What is it?  The attractive force. Creating static charge. How to stop getting “shocked” in the winter.  Careful when pumping gas!

Tuesday 2/14: Magnets (attraction on Valentine’s Day!)

Magnetism as a force.  The dipole concept. The Earth’s magnetic field. Making a compass.

Tuesday 2/21: Fun with 2 Liter bottles including launching a rocket!

Making a cloud chamber.  The tornado in a bottle.  Using air pressure to launch one tens of feet into the air!


Jan 242012

I announced the start of a new science series on KOZL Live at 4 a few weeks back.  We did a great show on January 10th about the Bernoulli principle. Here’s an update regarding this show which will be be seen on Tuesdays.

The installment scheduled for 1/17 didn’t air because I was home with a stomach flu.  Also, I’ll be off for the next two Tuesdays.

Despite the slow start, the show will be back in February!  The next air date will be February 7th.


Jan 102012

Today’s Topic: Bernoulli Principle.

Before I start up with Bernoulli, what is the Venturi principle?  The idea is pretty simple and more intuitive than the Bernoulli’s.

Take a fluid (air qualifies under certain conditions), moving at a certain speed and force it through a narrower space.  The speed of the fluid will increase.  This principle is used in carburetors.

Daniel Bernoulli took it one step further in his paper “Hydrodynamica” published in 1738. He showed that the pressure exerted by the faster moving fluid decreases. It will increase again when the fluid slows.

The other thing you need to know is that a pressure force will always point toward lower pressure whenever a difference in pressure appears.

There are numerous demonstrations of the Bernoulli principle.  One oft used is a beach ball suspended in mid-air over a stream of air.  The air stream hitting the bottom of the ball is moving faster in the middle than on the sides therefore lower pressure exists right against the ball.  This inward-directed pressure force keeps the ball in the middle of the airstream.

Other examples include a table tennis ball in a funnel, round cheese balls (like Cheetos only round) and soda straws, air blown between two empty two liter bottles and air blown over paper. Toilet paper rolls and a leaf blower make a pretty dynamic demonstration too!

A wonderful interactive example of the Bernoulli principle is located at this web site.

What I found most surprising during my investigation of  the Bernoulli principle is the debate about how to best describe how an airfoil works or: what really gives a plane wing lift?  The other surprising item is that some text books are stating that air which separates above and below a wing must meet up exactly on the other side, forcing it to go faster on top of the wing and setting up the pressure difference required by Bernoulli’s principle.  Experiments have clearly shown that the air parcels never meet again after the wing splits them up.

Next Week’s Topic:

Fun Science Principles With 2 Liter Soda Bottles


Jan 042012

I’d like to introduce a new segment I’ll be doing starting next week during KOZL-TV’s “Live at 4” show.

In the spirit of “Mr. Wizard” or “Beakman’s World” (without the wild hair!), my new segment will feature a principle of science which will both be explained and then demonstrated.

My interest in science is lifelong (I actually know what they’re talking about in “The Big Bang Theory” television show more often than I should admit!).  I’ve also been a teacher at Missouri State University for nearly as long as I’ve been in Springfield now; teaching and explaining things comes very naturally to me.

I’m also a hands-on type of person so look for the live demonstrations to be both fun and entertaining!

Some of you may recall the fun we had on the show back in November when I brought my beer-making skills to the show with a live demonstration of fermentation.

The tentative date of debut is Tuesday, January 10 on KOZL-TV Ozarks Local “Live at 4”.  My tentative topic will be the Bernoulli/Venturi combined effects.

A special thanks goes out to my friend Tom Trtan for suggesting the idea and providing encouragement.  He also gets credit for the name of the segment, “Ted Keller the Science Feller”!


 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Nov 132011


Tornado Tracks: 1950-2003

This week is Geography Awareness Week.  In honor of this, every year at this time the Geography, Geology and Planning (GGP) Depeartment at Missouri State University (MSU) holds a week of special seminars.

This year’s presentations will be given in the state-of the-art lecture hall in Carrington 208 on campus.  Each presentation starts at 3 pm and is slated last one hour, with the last portion of the hour reserved for questions.

This year I was honored to be asked to present.  My title, “The Geography of Storms in the U.S.A.: Why Storm Chasing Works!” is scheduled for Wednesday.

Anyone already on MSU campus will find this easy to attend.  If you are not a student, faculty or employee of MSU, you will have to park in metered parking and walk a short distance.

There is a possibility of broadcasting this lecture live on Ustream! Check this blog for details.

Here’s the complete itinerary of speakers for the week:

Monday 11/14  Jason Combs (University of Nebraska): “Geography of Junk: Buying and Selling America’s Cultural Past”
Tuesday 11/15  Bethany and Kyle Gerecke: “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa’s Vertical Wonderland”
Wednesday 11/16  Ted Keller: “The Geography of Storms in the USA: Why Storm Chasing Works!”
Thursday 11/17:  Tim Rosenbury, AIA: “The most recent rebirth of Park Central Square”
Friday 11/18  Linnea Iantria: “Arouca Geopark:Northern Portugal’s True Gem”