World’s Strangest

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The Physics of a Washboard Road

Do you ever drive on roads that feel like you’re driving on a washboard?

When I visit northern Minnesota, I always encounter a road that in midsummer becomes classically “washboard.” The county sends out a road grader to smooth it and give it a new crown, and a few weeks later it’s a washboard again.

Minnesotastan looked up the physics of why this happens. The explanation includes a video that led to the discussion of the word “widdershins” in the comments. Link

(Image credit: David C. Mays)

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July 11th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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