Dot Physics

I always enjoy new posts on dot physics. Whether its the physics analysis of a crazy device via video footage or the musings on the fundamental nature of science I’m always excited to see what’s new there. Rhett Allain’s posts remind me of college engineering courses where we flew threw the math instead of getting stuck in the mud of derivations and saw that the underlying principles of momentum, energy, and net forces could solve so many problems. Helicopters and helicarriers are way cooler than trusses though. I think he is right that applying physics to fictional objects, characters and situations is still informative of the world. I especially like the python and vpython examples. They inspire me to try out that sort of simulation of the world for problems I find interesting. Maybe I will find the time to post some of that in the future.


So I finished my coursera course in Python. While it ended up being a bit more beginner focused than I expected I did learn a lot. Some of the peculiarities of Python and a lot about event driven programming which I had only learned in an ad hoc way before. Overall I really enjoyed the experience, the opportunity to practice making Python programs, the chance at seeing my peers’ implementations, and definitely the resulting games we made. I really liked our final project ‘RiceRocks.’ I souped up mine with a few extra features like, a hyperspace jump to get out of trouble, increasing difficulty, best score tracker, splintering rocks, and multiple rock sizes.

Click play in the upper left corner to get started.

I learned a lot doing this project about Python and about writing good code. Having gone back to doing some MatLab things at work I have to say that Python really is more readable. At first the forced white space might seem tedious but the result really is a much prettier code. Having readability as a founding principle really made me think about my style and how to keep it looking nice as I went. And that definitely saved me in a few cases when I went back to add features. Stay tuned for more Python projects because this is definitely a beginning rather than an end.