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### What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:07 am UTC
http://what-if.xkcd.com/44/

How high can we throw?

Is this a Sierpinski Triangle of giraffes I see before me?

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:28 am UTC
Ah, dang it. I came here to ask, if the giraffe stack would converge to a Sierpinski triangle.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:35 am UTC
We should file Ponytail as an above-average thrower.

- "a mechanism for hitting yourself in the head with a baseball after a four-second-delay"

Not taking into account aerodynamic effects, Ponytail throws the baseball about 4 giraffes high.

Hum. Ouch.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:41 am UTC
The first non-musical drumstick I thought of was the sweet:

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:47 am UTC
The question didn't specify that it had to be on earth

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:53 am UTC

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:05 am UTC
I have to say, I find the entire premise ridiculous: giraffes would CLEARLY make better basketball players than golfers or baseball players.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:16 am UTC
But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:29 am UTC
Klear wrote:But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?

In theory you can make use of the same range for deceleration as for acceleration.
The forces on the object (and on the thrower) would be of the same amount, as well.

'something' e { hedgehog, cactus, quail egg, spear, unstable ordnance } ... better you get yourself a mitt and practice.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:36 am UTC
Can anyone explain the rest of this what if to me? I read the 2nd paragraph and now I need to go lie down.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:32 am UTC
Throwing (gently) a swallow on the right day in autumn would yield pretty good results too....

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:38 am UTC
Anyone has already submitted another what if to ask why on earth they shoot blood from their eyes?

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:51 am UTC
As of today, the record for highest throw goes to the Voyager 1 launch team. And it looks like they will be able to hold that title for at least another decade, probably more.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:59 am UTC
And of course the worst height goes to the seamstresses who try to throw rugs.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 12:13 pm UTC
alessandro95 wrote:Anyone has already submitted another what if to ask why on earth they shoot blood from their eyes?

According to Wikipedia (with my own emphasis):
Wikipedia wrote:At least four species are also able to squirt an aimed stream of blood (see Autohaemorrhaging) from the corners of the eyes for a distance of up to five feet. They do this by restricting the blood flow leaving the head, thereby increasing blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids. This not only confuses predators, but also the blood tastes foul to canine and feline predators. It appears to have no effect against predatory birds.

Personally, this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 12:29 pm UTC
YttriumOx wrote:Personally, this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.

Humans are most likely seen as a predator (threat). It sure as heck confuses us.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:51 pm UTC
higgs-boson wrote:
Klear wrote:But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?

In theory you can make use of the same range for deceleration as for acceleration.
The forces on the object (and on the thrower) would be of the same amount, as well.

'something' e { hedgehog, cactus, quail egg, spear, unstable ordnance } ... better you get yourself a mitt and practice.

It's actually easier than that, since wind resistance limits the speed on the downward leg. In a vacuum, the return speed would equal the launch speed; with wind resistance it's always less. Unless you're throwing into a tornado.

As to being able to catch it -- you have to be mobile. Check out Coriolis effects (which apply even if you throw straight up, unless you're standing on one of the poles).

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:05 pm UTC
YttriumOx wrote:this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.

Ah, I see you haven't been to WTF Evolution yet. Go there. When you can laugh hysterically for prolonged periods.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:39 pm UTC
Someguy945 wrote:

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.

I didn't really get it either. But then I saw you said it had 87 members, and 87 + 2 = 89, so I'm guessing it is referencing the 89ers.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:42 pm UTC
The stack is 16 giraffes high, adding two more makes 18, so ... Australian Rules football?

Also compare

with

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:46 pm UTC
Draconaes wrote:
Someguy945 wrote:

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.

I didn't really get it either. But then I saw you said it had 87 members, and 87 + 2 = 89, so I'm guessing it is referencing the 89ers.

Certainly not that simple. Notice the platforms which have four, not 3 giraffes. Now build up the whole structure to support that final 3-giraffe platform to get 2 giraffes higher. This team is going to have hundreds of giraffes (the animal, not the unit of height) in it.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:53 pm UTC
Not quite.
Another two in height will almost complete the top triangle. Move the top two to the left, duplicate them and move them to the right. Then make a second duplicate and put them on top.
Hence you only need six more to obtain the required height.
With 7, you complete the triangle.
To get higher than that though requires a lot more giraffes, since you need a second large triangle to be part of your base.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:17 pm UTC
I'm halfway thru the article, but I stopped to say this: in it wasn't for TRON, I'd never know what jai alai is:

edit: oops, too big?

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:42 pm UTC
Someguy945 wrote:

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.

The stack is sixteen giraffes high.

16 + 2 is 18 giraffes high.

If you don't know much about baseball, you might calculate that there are 18 members of a baseball team if you count 9 starters * (offense + defense).

(I'm not entirely convinced by this line of reasoning.)

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 5:46 pm UTC
I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 6:09 pm UTC

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 6:10 pm UTC
As soon as I read the question on the what-if, I knew that the punchline would involve self-propelled projectiles. Not specifically a balloon - I was thinking of firework rockets (Don't try this at home, though...).

Red Hal wrote:

The giraffes in the 7th row from the top are supporting 11.5 giraffes' weight, plus beams, each... in fact, the giraffes in the 4th row from top are supporting 12 giraffes' weight plus more beams... This tower is either incredibly infeasible or those giraffes have eaten their broccoli!

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:12 pm UTC
So IFLS just posted this picture. Inspired by this perhaps?

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:43 pm UTC
I was thinking of yet another kind of drumstick:
drumstick.jpg (10.11 KiB) Viewed 14599 times

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:20 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure that A) giraffes can't swim, B) I know that piece of trivia thanks to something I read here of xkcd fora...

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 1:08 am UTC
Red Hal wrote:

Holy heck! A talking giraffe!

All in favor of making "Giraffe" an SI unit of measurement say Aye.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 1:21 am UTC
Relevant: Matt Cain w/ Kari Byron & Tory Belleci from Mythbusters destroy things (with a baseball)

1:50 seconds of a pro pitcher destroying random objects, demonstrating just how good we can be at throwing, I would have thought this was made up if it weren't for the Mythbusters in attendance.

Since I can't add a url to this forum as a new member without spam, you'll have to google for "Matt Cain w/ Kari Byron"

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 2:48 am UTC
Forgetting about giraffes, shooting blood and drumsticks for the time being, the question of throwing vertically has to be looked at from the human standpoint.

What-If postulates that a horizontal throw into a direction changing device is a reasonable way to approach the problem. I don't have the math to back it up but I'm pretty sure that much of the momentum of the thrown object would be dissipated by friction resulting in a vertical distance far less than a direct vertical throw.

That brings up another problem - the fact that human physiology is such that while it's easy to throw something horizontaly, it's hard to contort one's body in such a way as to acheive a truly vertical overhand throw. This leaves open the possibility of an underhand toss, which I believe is much less powerful than overhand.

Assuming that a perfectly vertical overhand throw could be achieved, if the object leaves the throwers hand at the 100 MPH of a very good pitcher, it will travel about 335 feet before falling.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:12 am UTC
McBee wrote:Throwing (gently) a swallow on the right day in autumn would yield pretty good results too....

That depends whether it's an African or a European swallow.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 12:44 pm UTC
Djehutynakht wrote:All in favor of making "Giraffe" an SI unit of measurement say Aye.

Aye! Then we can add SI prefixes. Like "kilogiraffe". And "petagiraffe".

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 2:09 pm UTC
That's 0.32324 x 10-35 giraffes.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 pm UTC
allanfieldhouse wrote:I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).

Aerobie can be thrown far due to the fact that iit generates lift. It will not do so if thrown straight close to straight up. Meaning the length you can throw an aerobie is irrelevant for how high you can throw it.

### Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 4:21 pm UTC
taemyr wrote:
allanfieldhouse wrote:I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).

Aerobie can be thrown far due to the fact that iit generates lift. It will not do so if thrown straight close to straight up. Meaning the length you can throw an aerobie is irrelevant for how high you can throw it.

A different calculation, certainly. But not irrelevant. I'm not saying that the aerobie would necessarily be better than a golf ball, but it definitely deserves to be considered as a candidate.