0669: "Experiment"

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PhantomPhanatic
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0669: "Experiment"

Postby PhantomPhanatic » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:04 am UTC

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669

Title Text: "The other two are lost on the infinite plane of uniform density."


As soon as I saw the FWOOOOOOSH I knew he was gonna have a hard time breathing.

What is the significance of the laptop on the floor?
Last edited by PhantomPhanatic on Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:27 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.
We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
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Kyros
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Kyros » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 am UTC

I feel that you could also put the words last night in the second panel.

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Nintendon't
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Nintendon't » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 am UTC

4 minutes and no thread? My gosh.
Also, I couldn't stop laughing at this. Definitely one of my favourite comics.
Last edited by Nintendon't on Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:08 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

rickane58
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby rickane58 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 am UTC

This is exactly what I think about in physics when I should be doing vectors. Get outta my head!

scottgoblue314
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby scottgoblue314 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 am UTC

"Infinite plane of uniform density" immediately made me think of the Monolith. ACC strikes again!

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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby GuitarFreak » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 am UTC

This one took me til the last panel, but then I was burned by cheese. Literally too, I was eating pizza :(
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RogerMurdock
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby RogerMurdock » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:07 am UTC

It's so classic too, because literally every problem in my physics book starts with "There is a 1kg ball on a frictionless slope, find blah blah, neglect air resistance".

Good stuff. Though it took me a second to realize the FWOOSSH meant the air was leaving.

SocialSceneRepairman
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:07 am UTC

All right, I've defended some of the others, but this one is going to be 100% lost on anyone who hasn't taken Physics I.

And we love you for it.

Also, good to see those crazy kids have found some common ground! ...actually, common ground involving murder has already been found, hasn't it? But this one has no bloodletting! A step up!

freyyr890
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby freyyr890 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:08 am UTC

Reminds me of my 11th grade physics teacher who declared the mass of a cat to be a 40 kilogram constant for all word problems. A rat was also a constant - 60 kilograms.

Rofler
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Rofler » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:08 am UTC

As a physics major, i both appreciate and love this comic.

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PhantomPhanatic
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby PhantomPhanatic » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:08 am UTC

If he was smart he'd reach for the laptop and throw it in the opposite direction so he could reach the door before he passed out.
We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
-- Wernher Von Braun

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Omegaton
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Omegaton » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:09 am UTC

For some reason, I was thrown off because I was convinced the laptop was actually important.

This is so true, and encapsulates why one of my friends doesn't like physics.

eliana
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby eliana » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:10 am UTC

I don't think they'd mind if we just treated them as an infinitesimal particle of infinite density, do you? Otherwise, the mathematics are far too rigorous. We have been modelling ice skaters as 170 cm tall, 20 cm in diameter cylinders, which is relatively humane.

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joee
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby joee » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:13 am UTC

RogerMurdock wrote:Though it took me a second to realize the FWOOSSH meant the air was leaving.


Ohhh.... it makes sense now. Nice work Randall :) <3

also, hi glasnt!
Hi glasnt.

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Squid Tamer
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Squid Tamer » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:16 am UTC

It took me a minute to figure out this one.
I've always wondered if it would be possible to stand up for any amount of time on a frictionless surface. I guess you could as long as you didn't get too active.

Also, if you're wondering, the whole "Humans explode in a vacuum" thing isn't true. I believe it is quite possible for a person to survive for 90 seconds with few ill effects, but you are only conscious for about 15 seconds due to the oxygen diffusing OUT of your bloodstream through the lungs.
And whatever you do, don't try to hold your breath. It's a really bad idea.

(Note: The above is not about Explosive Decompression, which is probably much, much worse on the body than a slow depressurization.)

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limerick
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby limerick » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:23 am UTC

fffffffffffthis has always bothered me.

"Disregarding friction"
"Disregarding air resistance"
"A frictionless pulley of a negligible weight"

THAT'S NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS

Oh, Physics. c:

ikefalcon
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby ikefalcon » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:27 am UTC

If you want to get really picky, you wouldn't be able to move at all in a frictionless environment because your muscles wouldn't be able to contract. I doubt you'd be able to stand at all unless you were staning perfectly balanced. Otherwise, you'd just fall over and your muscles couldn't help you correct for balance.

However, before I considered this, my first thought was that the physicist could use the laptop to get towards the door. Just grab the laptop and fling it directly away from the door ... Of course, you wouldn't be able to grasp the laptop without friction ... :-D

ACMEsalesrep
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby ACMEsalesrep » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:28 am UTC

Not spherical enough.

Comic JK
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Comic JK » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:29 am UTC

I, for one, am very pleased that Randall didn't show the guy exploding once the air was removed, a piece of unscience that has gotten around way too much.

I'm intrigued as to how the ground was suddenly made frictionless, though.
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googlyeyesultra
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby googlyeyesultra » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:35 am UTC

Comic JK wrote:I'm intrigued as to how the ground was suddenly made frictionless, though.


Well, we don't know that it was done suddenly. After all, the physicist passed out. That having been said, I suspect a large quantity of WD-40 and a metamagic-enhanced grease spell may have been in play here.

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PhantomPhanatic
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby PhantomPhanatic » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:36 am UTC

ikefalcon wrote:If you want to get really picky, you wouldn't be able to move at all in a frictionless environment because your muscles wouldn't be able to contract. I doubt you'd be able to stand at all unless you were staning perfectly balanced. Otherwise, you'd just fall over and your muscles couldn't help you correct for balance.

However, before I considered this, my first thought was that the physicist could use the laptop to get towards the door. Just grab the laptop and fling it directly away from the door ... Of course, you wouldn't be able to grasp the laptop without friction ... :-D


I'm fairly certain the floor is the only frictionless part of the experiment. I doubt BHG would be able to make every part of the laptop or the physicists body frictionless. Although, making a large section of floor frictionless might be only slightly less difficult. Perhaps cryogenics and superfluids are involved.....
We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:40 am UTC

In the last panel "vacuums" is misspelled.
Try the Printifier for xkcd. You can now scale the comic between 50 and 150%.

I find these very useful: Common Errors in English Usage (web site) and Eats, Shoots & Leaves (book). You may, too.

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10nitro
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby 10nitro » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:42 am UTC

1) In my physics class, this place is known as ``physitopia''. I makes word problems way shorter. Wait, no. Physitopia has friction, but the air there is frictionless, the rope massless.

2)
PhantomPhanatic wrote:If he was smart he'd reach for the laptop and throw it in the opposite direction so he could reach the door before he passed out.
We had essentially this problem. Except it was a frozen pond (the ice in Physitopia is also frictionless), and you took off and threw your boots an whatnot. Of course, Chris's solution was to jump, crack the ice, and swim under. XD

3) I'm reading this instead of doing the physics homework that's due tomorrow.

3) Recently I showed a ComicJK to my physics teacher:
him: Ha. Reminds me of X C K...
me: xkcd?
him: yeah

so he is familiar with the comic, but meh.

[edit]also, today he pointed out this comic magnet'd to his blackbard[/edit]
Last edited by 10nitro on Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:24 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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glasnt
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:50 am UTC

That is the best comic of a stick-figure's eyes popping out of their head due to a vacuum I've ever seen! So detailed!

Hi joee!

chuck981996
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby chuck981996 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:52 am UTC

For all who are confused:

He was supposed to WORK on the laptop, that's what it's for; but he didn't, and that is what the BHG is commenting on.

~Chuck981996

Wolfkeeper
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Wolfkeeper » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:59 am UTC

They killed Kenny "stick man"!

Bastards!

LSN
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby LSN » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:59 am UTC

Poor physicists...
http://xkcd.com/435/
http://xkcd.com/356/
...they probably deserve it...

lingomaniac88
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby lingomaniac88 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:03 am UTC

This comic made me think of this:

http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/physics.html
"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

chaos4ever
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby chaos4ever » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:07 am UTC

ikefalcon wrote:However, before I considered this, my first thought was that the physicist could use the laptop to get towards the door. Just grab the laptop and fling it directly away from the door ... Of course, you wouldn't be able to grasp the laptop without friction ... :-D

He's probably a theoretical physicist. I'd suspect applied physicists would respond faster.

Eschiesser
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Eschiesser » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:09 am UTC

ikefalcon wrote:If you want to get really picky, you wouldn't be able to move at all in a frictionless environment because your muscles wouldn't be able to contract. I doubt you'd be able to stand at all unless you were staning perfectly balanced. Otherwise, you'd just fall over and your muscles couldn't help you correct for balance.

However, before I considered this, my first thought was that the physicist could use the laptop to get towards the door. Just grab the laptop and fling it directly away from the door ... Of course, you wouldn't be able to grasp the laptop without friction ... :-D

If the environment was truly frictionless, I think he'd have more to worry about than just contracting his muscles. The force that causes friction is electromagnetism, and the interaction of EM fields....so without that...I can't even begin to speculate. I spose you wouldn't have to get rid of electromagnetism to have no friction, but nonetheless.

Point being "if you really want to get picky," then I find myself getting taken off track from the hilarity of the main theme: Every physicist has been taught with the ridiculous notion of things like frictionless surfaces, massless pulleys, point charges, infinite planes of uniformly distributed charge, perfect dipoles, etc. I, perhaps we, find it funny because we're attempting to describe the world with unworldy things...

Uh, there i go, I've ruined it. Sorry.

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JulienC
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby JulienC » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:17 am UTC

This comic reminded me of a comment I read Saturday on Slashdot
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1460002&cid=30257172

PatrThom
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby PatrThom » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:19 am UTC

JK wrote:I'm intrigued as to how the ground was suddenly made frictionless, though.

Obviously, the floor is made of a material that is only frictionless when in a vacuum. As soon as the air is removed, the physicist falls over. Q.E.D.

What I want to know is where these people conduct their experiments where it is always precisely 1G?

--Patrick

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stardek
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby stardek » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:23 am UTC

freyyr890 wrote:Reminds me of my 11th grade physics teacher who declared the mass of a cat to be a 40 kilogram constant for all word problems. A rat was also a constant - 60 kilograms.



That is exactly what my 11th grade physics teacher does now! Apparently spiders are 30kg and bees are 35kg...

tim314
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby tim314 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:28 am UTC

The anti-physics whiners don't get it . . . they're simplifying things for your benefit, because otherwise your homework problems would be too damn hard. Of course real physicists have to take into account friction, air resistance, the fact that the earth is rotating, relativistic corrections and god knows what all else.

Good comic, though.

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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby 10nitro » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:56 am UTC

PatrThom wrote:What I want to know is where these people conduct their experiments where it is always precisely 1G?

Not even 1G, but precisely 9.8 m/s/s!

tim314 wrote:The anti-physics whiners don't get it . . . they're simplifying things for your benefit, because otherwise your homework problems would be too damn hard. Of course real physicists have to take into account friction, air resistance, the fact that the earth is rotating, relativistic corrections and god knows what all else.

That's BS. I keep getting this ``yeah, but you need calculus if you want the rope to have mass''. Ok, so teach me calculus. But then I get this ``But then you'll have taken every math class we offer, and wouldn't be able to take any the next two years''. Okay, that's fine. ``Not taking math those years looks bat to colleges, and disqualifies you from IB and honors''. ``You're telling me that taking Calculus early looks bad to colleges?''

Ok so that was more of a rant about math. And how it sucks here.
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Max2009 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:31 am UTC

Totally epic.
I think I may print this out and show it to my physics prof. I know for a fact that he has a sense of humor.
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TheAbstractor
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby TheAbstractor » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:31 am UTC

PhantomPhanatic wrote:If he was smart he'd reach for the laptop and throw it in the opposite direction so he could reach the door before he passed out.


Reading that immediately made me think of Zork Zero.

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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby Kain » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:47 am UTC

For some reason this comic made me think of my geophysics textbook: it has a problem that requires us to calculate the expected gravitational field of a particular point on earth with latitude, altitude etc given, and then in the same chapter has a question on calculating the gravitational attraction between newton and the apple as it hits him.
For some reason that question was more odd to me than the whole frictionless issue back in physics: how exactly are we supposed to represent Newton? I basically wrote three different answers, one for each of three stupid assumptions: Newton as a point source = infinity, Newton as a uniform density sphere with collision at center = 0, Newton as a ninja who dodges the apple completely and utterly = end of universe... I ended up crossing out the last one before I turned it in
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eSOANEM
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:53 am UTC

this most definitely burnt my cheese. Methinks a new background is in order.
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Re: "Experiment" Discussion

Postby tim314 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:36 am UTC

10nitro wrote:That's BS. I keep getting this ``yeah, but you need calculus if you want the rope to have mass''. Ok, so teach me calculus. But then I get this ``But then you'll have taken every math class we offer, and wouldn't be able to take any the next two years''. Okay, that's fine. ``Not taking math those years looks bat to colleges, and disqualifies you from IB and honors''. ``You're telling me that taking Calculus early looks bad to colleges?''

Ok so that was more of a rant about math. And how it sucks here.

Maybe you can get them to let you take math at the local college or something . . . I know some people who did that in high school because the school had run out of math classes for them.

Or wait until college and major in physics. Once you get past the intro courses, I promise you things get a lot more complicated in a hurry. Not just the stuff you knew they were ignoring, like air resistance, but the stuff they didn't even bother to mention, like projectile motion being effected by a Coriolis force due to the rotation of the Earth. Of course to see where it comes from you have to be able to transform to a rotating coordinate system . . .


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