What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

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Vroomfundel
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What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Vroomfundel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:30 pm UTC

Bouncy Balls

What if one were to drop 3,000 bouncy balls from a seven story parking structure onto a person walking on the sidewalk below? Should the person survive, what would be the number of bouncy balls needed to kill them? What injuries would occur and what would the associated crimes be?

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In response to this What-If some reformist Muslim clerics are considering phasing out the antiquated current punishment for adultery (stoning) with mass killings with bouncy balls. It's considered to be more engaging for children in the process of being introduced to the strict interpretations of Shari'a law - radical Islam 2.0, if you wish.
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cellocgw
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:53 pm UTC

Teach me to fail to follow the official Subject Line rules. No big deal.

I was hoping for a few options. Like, suppose the balls were dropped from a hopper w/ a targeting pipe, so the poor victim was hit with a stream of bouncy balls right on the noggin (being too stupid to move). Would there at least be some repetitive-insult concussion?

Or, in keeping with "turn it up to 11," consider the shift from bouncy balls to ever more dense balls, with same mass. Then what?
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby steveUK » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:59 pm UTC

Why stop at a video of 20,000 bouncy balls, when "everyone knows" there's one with 250,000 around?

e.g. youtube: watch?v=9NymcQJjPCs

scalziand
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby scalziand » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS GOES 'BONK'.

cellocgw wrote:Or, in keeping with "turn it up to 11," consider the shift from bouncy balls to ever more dense balls, with same mass. Then what?



How about mouse balls? They're like ball bearings coated in rubber.
Last edited by scalziand on Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Klear
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Klear » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:20 pm UTC

Anybody understand the whale link? I didn't read the wiki article, but I skimmed it and I didn't see anything relevant.

Also, BONK!

scalziand
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby scalziand » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:21 pm UTC

The whale link is just a pun-citation/cetacean.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:40 pm UTC

What if we added more bonks?

Also, would increasing the height of the drop be worthwhile? What is terminal velocity of a bouncy ball?

I find the lack of more extravagant scenarios disturbing.
Last edited by Whizbang on Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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cellocgw
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:03 pm UTC

scalziand wrote:The whale link is just a pun-citation/cetacean.


That and most likely an indirect reference to whale --> flowers transformation per HHGTTG
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby rhomboidal » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:22 pm UTC

This is exactly why need to pass stricter legislation regarding 14-day waiting periods for coin-operated-machine-dispensed novelty toys and -- BONK.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby dlbruzzone » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:24 pm UTC

I would be surprised if you got off with manslaughter for dropping life-threateningly large quantities of anything from large heights. Seems like a pretty clear case of depraved-heart murder to me, which would be 2nd degree murder.

steveUK
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby steveUK » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:20 pm UTC

Surprised he settled for a 20,000 bouncy balls video rather than the well-known "Sony Bravia bouncy balls" video from a few years ago which had 250,000 of the things!

(registered to be first to point this out a while ago, but seems my earlier post got blocked somehow?)

Mr. Cat
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Mr. Cat » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:44 pm UTC

The term "Super Bowl" does not actually come the Super Ball product. According to Grayson Kamm at WTSP, the term Super Bowl was used months before Lamar Hunt supposedly dreamed up the title from his son's use of a Super Ball. The term was in fact just an extension of the use of the word "bowl" to refer to college football games.

I would post a URL link, but apparently it's being flagged as spam. Here's a shortened, Plain Text form instead:
goo.gl/RERxW

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby sparkyb » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:38 pm UTC

This reminds me of when Sony dropped/launched 100,000 bouncy balls for an amazing Bravia advert.

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Klear
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Klear » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:27 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
scalziand wrote:The whale link is just a pun-citation/cetacean.


That and most likely an indirect reference to whale --> flowers transformation per HHGTTG


Huh? First, where did you get flowers? Second, it was missile --> flowers and missile --> whale.

Oh, and thanks scalziand! I didn't catch that.

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rivulatus
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby rivulatus » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:41 pm UTC

Got to test this throwing bouncy balls at people, now to find me some bouncy balls and new friends.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:05 am UTC

Isn't the whole point of bouncy balls that they collide inelastically and thus retain most of their kinetic energy when they hit something?

Even if you dropped three million bouncy balls on someone, unless they were either dropped from a very low height or somehow confined in a relatively small space, I can't see them as being effective at either crushing or burying. Randall's assertion is very unconv — BONK.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby stianhat » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:06 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Isn't the whole point of bouncy balls that they collide inelastically and thus retain most of their kinetic energy when they hit something?


Inelastic = does not retain kinetic energy ( or more correctly, no loss of energy to deformation or any other source )

Bouncy balls are not very elastic, at least compared to steel. But they do bounce beutifully - mostly because of their low modulus of elasticity. Not many things are elastic and have such a low modulus. Steel balls would just deform the pavement and never get to utilize their elasticity.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:49 pm UTC

I'm kind of more interested in figuring out whether Black Hat Guy is throwing right-handed or left-handed. It's like those cube drawings where the perspective can be either from above or below.

ctristan
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby ctristan » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:22 pm UTC

I figured the Wikipedia link was referencing this from the page:

Some species are noted for their high intelligence. At the 2012 meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world's biggest science conference), support was reiterated for a cetacean bill of rights, listing cetaceans as "non-human persons"


I imagine there if there was enough coordination a cetacean could throw a small child pretty fast, possibly with the use of the tail fin. If not, I'm sure including them would throw the average strength of a "person" up pretty high.

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Klear
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Klear » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:29 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:I'm kind of more interested in figuring out whether Black Hat Guy is throwing right-handed or left-handed. It's like those cube drawings where the perspective can be either from above or below.


Resting his head on right hand.
Holding the laptop in his right hand.
Opening a submarine with his left hand AND using left hand to steal his hat back.
Hat in right, head supported by left.
Lit blowtorch in right, circular saw in left.

So I guess it's... inconclusive? If it wasn't for the submarine one, I'd say he's right handed for sure.

Oh, and maybe some of those are not unambiguous. It's easy to make a mistake in this, so feel free to point it out.

Oh, and it seems there are way less comics with BHG than I thought.

Edit:

ctristan wrote:I figured the Wikipedia link was referencing this from the page:

Some species are noted for their high intelligence. At the 2012 meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world's biggest science conference), support was reiterated for a cetacean bill of rights, listing cetaceans as "non-human persons"


I imagine there if there was enough coordination a cetacean could throw a small child pretty fast, possibly with the use of the tail fin. If not, I'm sure including them would throw the average strength of a "person" up pretty high.


That's nice - it reminds me of the fact that in the UK, cephalopods have a status as honorary vertebrates so they'd fit into some animal rights laws.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby ijuin » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:35 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:I'm kind of more interested in figuring out whether Black Hat Guy is throwing right-handed or left-handed. It's like those cube drawings where the perspective can be either from above or below.


Black Hat Guy is a rather sinister sort of person, so I would say it would be left-handed. :D

Anyway, what we clearly need here is BIGGER bouncy balls. Little 2-3 cm diameter ones don't impact with much force, but what if they were the size of bowling balls? Or even bigger?

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:55 am UTC

stianhat wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Isn't the whole point of bouncy balls that they collide inelastically and thus retain most of their kinetic energy when they hit something?
Inelastic = does not retain kinetic energy ( or more correctly, no loss of energy to deformation or any other source )
Acht! Shame on me. Mechanics was too long ago, I guess. :oops:

Bouncy balls are not very elastic, at least compared to steel. But they do bounce beutifully - mostly because of their low modulus of elasticity. Not many things are elastic and have such a low modulus. Steel balls would just deform the pavement and never get to utilize their elasticity.
But it's still the transfer of energy that it comes down to, as Mr. Ijuin suggests, is it not? The energy of steel balls go into deforming the payment, and the energy of the bouncy balls goes into bouncing far, far away.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Hydraulix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:20 am UTC

Made an account just for this: (And sorry in advance, this may sound a bit rage-y) :oops: :roll:


The bouncy balls would not spread out as far as is indicated! Dropping small objects from a helicopter is much different than from a roof. For one, remember how the heli is held in the air by pushing said air around? Prop wash is some serious twisty wind. Without prop wash, I think they'd hold together much, much better. Exponentially reducing the sideways airflow -> exponentially reduced sideways movement in my book. I thought the spread pattern would be more like that of an object entering the atmosphere - breaking off at the outermost edges where the most drag is, as the center stays more or less together. Especially after only 7 stories, it seems to me like they wouldn't spread all that much.

Anyway, rant for the day is done. Sorry! Just had to say it. :D

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby JunkBox » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:05 pm UTC

Now I wonder what the motive was behind the question... if it WAS malice, or if someone wanted to stand under a shower of bouncy balls!

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Klear
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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Klear » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:06 pm UTC

There was the question about the pressure cookcer shortly before the marathon bombings... I wonder what will happen now.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Mr. Cat » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:57 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:I'm kind of more interested in figuring out whether Black Hat Guy is throwing right-handed or left-handed. It's like those cube drawings where the perspective can be either from above or below.


Black Hat Guy is a rather sinister sort of person, so I would say it would be left-handed. :D


Well, in what-if (dot) xkcd (dot) com/imgs/a/52/bouncy_child.png [sorry, new account is still flagged for spam], the middle section shows Black Hat Guy holding the ball in his back hand. And while it's possible that his chest is facing away from us, it seems more likely that he is facing toward us, with his turned to the left. This view is further supplemented by the first image in the series, in which BHG is throwing a small child (citation needed), with his lower hand clearly on the right (his head is blocking the higher, left arm), making it highly likely that the back leg is his right leg (unless he has a highly disturbing level of flexibility and very strange ways of throwing things). The posture in this top image can be extended to the other two in the series to allow us to posturate that he is throwing the balls with his right hand.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Klear » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

Mr. Cat wrote:
ijuin wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:I'm kind of more interested in figuring out whether Black Hat Guy is throwing right-handed or left-handed. It's like those cube drawings where the perspective can be either from above or below.


Black Hat Guy is a rather sinister sort of person, so I would say it would be left-handed. :D


Well, in what-if (dot) xkcd (dot) com/imgs/a/52/bouncy_child.png [sorry, new account is still flagged for spam], the middle section shows Black Hat Guy holding the ball in his back hand. And while it's possible that his chest is facing away from us, it seems more likely that he is facing toward us, with his turned to the left. This view is further supplemented by the first image in the series, in which BHG is throwing a small child (citation needed), with his lower hand clearly on the right (his head is blocking the higher, left arm), making it highly likely that the back leg is his right leg (unless he has a highly disturbing level of flexibility and very strange ways of throwing things). The posture in this top image can be extended to the other two in the series to allow us to posturate that he is throwing the balls with his right hand.


Who says he's throwing the ball with the hand he's holding it in in the middle picture? He could have just produced it from his right pocket and then threw it with the other - left - hand.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Gleedaniel13 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:41 am UTC

What if one were to drop 3,000 bouncy balls from a seven story parking structure onto a person walking on the sidewalk below? Should the person survive, what would be the number of bouncy balls needed to kill them? What injuries would occur and what would the associated crimes be?


I think 20 balls will kill one person. That was too high and probably a great impact will result to the person and a ball.

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Re: What-If 0052: "Bouncy Balls"

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:29 pm UTC

The balls reach terminal velocity, so past a certain point they will not fall any faster if you drop them from any higher - they just get warmer from air resistance.

You're saying you could kill someone by throwing twenty bouncy balls at him. This is not a remotely plausible scenario. It sounds like something this guy would try.


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