## 0950: "Mystery Solved"

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cream wobbly
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

LSK wrote:The circumference of Earth is around 24500 miles. It's been 74 years since Amelia Earhart vanished, so that's approximately 331 miles per year, or 0.906 miles per day - a stunning 0.0377 miles per hour. Now, I don't have the physics background to say for certain whether that's enough to generate lift, but gut check says it probably isn't.

Or she could just have been flying really, really high.

pierreb
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

It could take 74 years if she tried to parallel park that plane...

Mscheep
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

What about the idea that world != earth?

rhomboidal
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

After her press conference, she was immediately hired by Delta.

philip1201
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Captain Chaos wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:All this assumes that she traced the equator as she flew, and went around the globe exactly one time, stopping at the same place she started, and with no altitude change whatsoever (but the latter is not a big factor).

Except that the Earth is (roughly) a sphere, so the circumference is actually the same wherever you start and in whichever direction you fly...

"Journey around the world in 80 days" takes place entirely on the northern hemisphere, but people are satisfied it's "around the world".

MFitzH2O
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Hovertext: Is this, like, a 'Richard' Cheney joke? 'Cause, yeah, that's bloody funny!

relative_entropy
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Let's assume that Amelia didn't fly non-stop for the last 74 years. Let's say she landed to eat, sleep, re-fuel the plane, and so on. She might have been able to do this without getting recognized, if she landed in foreign countries, and/or wore a disguise, and/or used a fake name. Also, after a few decades, she would start to look different because of age, and would therefore be unrecognizable. People would only have photos of her 39-year-old self. (I'm actually surprised that the guy in the comic recognized her.) So let's assume she landed often, and she only flew 8 hours a day.

She would need money to pay for all that food, places to sleep, plane fuel, and so on. So let's assume she worked some odd jobs to earn some money. Again, she'd have to hide her identity in the ways I described above. Let's say she flew 8 hours a day for one whole year, then worked and made money for one year, then flew 8 hours a day the next year, and so on, alternating years like that. That means she would only be flying for half the years, or 37 out of the 74 years.

Let's also assume that she's one of the lucky few people in the world to survive well past 100 years old. She would be 114 years old if she were alive today. The oldest person in history, whose age is verified and undisputed, was 122 years old when she died. So Amelia surviving to 114 is not completely impossible.

That gives us 37 * 8 * 365 = 108,040 hours of flying time.

The cruising speed of a Lockheed Model 10 Electra is 306 km/h. This gives 108040 * 306 = 33,060,240 km as the distance that she would have covered.

The circumference of the Earth is 40,075 km. 33060240/40075 = 825 (rounded). So she could have circled the globe about 825 times. So even with all these assumptions, this still doesn't make sense.

I actually prefer the idea that someone else suggested, of flying at relativistic speeds and experiencing time dilation. For that, I would imagine that her plane would have to be abducted by aliens, and upgraded with alien technology that allows it to double as a spaceship, fly outside earth's atmosphere, and accelerate to something like 99% of the speed of light. Someone who's more familiar with relativity should do the calculations for that.
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Obviously she sucks as a navigator, she must have been going so fast she got close to the speed of light, skipped ahead in time, and kept missing the airfield. Also commercial air traffic probably got pesky and she had to go into the thermosphere. On a related note, Chinese Emperor Wan Hu, the first astronaut, came back a couple days ago. China covered it up and killed him because he tried to conquer China from the communists, but apparently makeshift bottle rockets aren't as scary as they were in the 1500s.
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tesseraktik
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

arthi wrote:Is it really coincidence, that i watched this episode http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708976/ yesterday?
For it to have been a coincident, that episode would have had to be made, and it never was; never happened; you made it up.

Also, there have never been any Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant, and hadrosaurs did not build spaceships.
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Himself
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Perhaps she stumbled into a planet manufacturing facility much like the one inside Magrathea. That was pretty big.
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danivon
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

[quote=”martin878”] Wing span = 16.8 m
Cruise = 306 km/h
Earth surface = 510,000,000 km2
=============================
Time required = 11,319 years

So, er...![/quote]

On the other hand...

If she were to visit every square mile on the earth’s surface, and travel through each for an average of a mile, that would be 197,000,000 miles travelled. Doing that non-stop* over 74 years would average just under 304mph (488kph). The cruise speed quoted above is for the Lockheed 10-A, which had 450hp P&W 9-985s. She was in a 10-E with 600hp R1340 Wasp S3H1s : ie: 33% more powerful.

So it is credible that the 10-E was a bit faster (say 10%?) and if she were able to plot a course that cut the average distance travelled in each square mile (by about 20%?), then 74 years would not be far off at all.

*as in no landing, refuelling, sleeping, maintenance blah blah...

A_of_s_t
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Now that I've had time to look back on it, does anyone else feel as though Randall could have made an Atlas Shrugged joke about how all these people disappeared?
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neoliminal
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

relative_entropy wrote:The cruising speed of a Lockheed Model 10 Electra is 306 km/h. This gives 108040 * 306 = 33,060,240 km as the distance that she would have covered.

Even being generous as to the extent of visibility that plane might have, if she were to have flown over the entire world (and let's assume she was only going over the land masses) you can still make an argument that even using a Hilbert Curve pattern for most of it you'd end up with some rather large number like this.

In fact, I'm fairly certain that depending on how you increase or decrease the area coverage of a "fly over" of the surface area, you could come up with the number Randall created. In your example of ~825 times the fly over distance is very large.
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ryan7113
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Perhaps she finally decided to come back from the Delta Quadrant.
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rhhardin
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Had Amelia Earhart lived, she'd have been a great in country music, like John Denver.

caretaker82
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

I thought this was settled when USS Voyager discovered her in the Delta Quadrant....

Louis XIV
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

LSK wrote:The circumference of Earth is around 24500 miles...

Your estimation is based on the assumption that she followed a great circle. But if she followed, say, the coastline of Britain for a while, the distance could be much longer.

Spiky
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Captain Chaos wrote:Except that the Earth is (roughly) a sphere, so the circumference is actually the same wherever you start and in whichever direction you fly...

Thankfully it is not a perfect sphere. I can swim, but not forever!

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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Am I the only one that sees this not as some intense science solution to how she is *still* alive, how long the flight was or lifts and orbits, but rather an example of EPIC cosplay?

jpk
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

toadpipe wrote:Am I the only one that sees this not as some intense science solution to how she is *still* alive, how long the flight was or lifts and orbits, but rather an example of EPIC cosplay?

cosplay? You mean some sort of fetish involving trigonometry, or is this a word from some little internet clique that you and two of your friends know about?

Come on, people! The world is bigger than the little circles you run in! Use words that other people use, it's only polite!

Djehutynakht
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Completely disregarding the complicated math and scientific discussion that has gone on before this comment, I'm just going to be satisfied with saying that she managed to discover the secret of the time vultures.
Last edited by Djehutynakht on Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:39 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

TheSavageNorwegian
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

jpk wrote:
toadpipe wrote:Am I the only one that sees this not as some intense science solution to how she is *still* alive, how long the flight was or lifts and orbits, but rather an example of EPIC cosplay?

cosplay? You mean some sort of fetish involving trigonometry, or is this a word from some little internet clique that you and two of your friends know about?

Come on, people! The world is bigger than the little circles you run in! Use words that other people use, it's only polite!

I believe he was using the term to propose a new solution: perhaps this was not Amelia, but a cool practical joke using someone dressed up as Amelia? I believe cosplay is a lagitamite word for dressing up as someone.

I don't do cosplay myself, but I appriciate the nice variety of internet cliques that exist, whether I participate in them or not. This forum is one of the circles I run in, or at least try to. Let's be civil!

mitra
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Well, it doesn't look like much time had passed for her [lively step on the panel two, food fuel supplies, easily recognizable,... etc]. Which could only mean she had traveled forward in time.
The simplest explanation to that is a relativistic effect. So she traveled with the speed very close to the speed of light. So the distance was ~74 light years.

Assuming she really flew around the world (and that she had to keep the earth in the center): 74 = 2 * Pi *R + 2 * R
So R = 8.9 light years. Which is kinda boring. There are only couple of stars withing that radius.

Alternative could be the straight line. So 37 light years. The most boring site in the universe?
Apparently it is: http://37lightyears.com/ Registered in Canada too.. Booring....

Ed. there's been a new exoplanet announcement recently: "New ‘super-Earth’ that is 36 light-years away might hold water, astronomers say". Is that it?

musashi1600
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Alt text: ". . . the Franklin Expedition reached the Pacific in 2009 when the Northwest Passage opened . . . "

Unfortunately, looking that part up on Wikipedia reminded me why the name "John Torrington" freaked me out as a kid.
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s271
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

What about world=universe? It could be that she flown (FTL) in straight line and universe is finite or she flown through compactified universe (through infinity point)

silexh
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Mystery Solved? => http://news.discovery.com/history/amelia-earhart-resting-place.html

I'm opting for the cosplay interpretation.

DennyMo
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

jpk wrote:cosplay? You mean some sort of fetish involving trigonometry, or is this a word from some little internet clique that you and two of your friends know about?

Red Hal
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

silexh wrote:Mystery Solved? => http://news.discovery.com/history/ameli ... place.html

I'm opting for the cosplay interpretation.
I know we're all about gender-neutral role-names (Chair, Firefighter, Actor, etc) but damn, I love the term "Aviatrix".
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

I wanted to write a post saying exactly that when I approved the post earlier, but I thought no-one would listen to me.
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SirMustapha
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Felstaff wrote:Randall Munroe is generally known for his devotion to minutiae, eschewing such unimportant detail like facial expressions, environments, or... fingers!

I don't understand why trolls insist in coming here! If you don't like the comic, why do you keep reading? I wish the haters would get out of here and leave this forum for the REAL fans, who enjoy every single aspect of the comic without questioning. I get SO angry at the fact that you're criticising the comic, but of course I'm fully justified in criticising your post! Gee, I wonder if Randall will finally want to marry me now?

Felstaff
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

When I emphasise the more ridiculous aspects of xkcd fanboyism, I do it with a touch of class.

Anyway, criticising the simplistic art style (it really should be just a blog, but wevs--people like cartoons) and then pointing out that some people elevate the art to the Lofty Heightiness Of High Art Itself is frankly ridiculous is a lot different than general tiradery and polemic/hating the comic.

The fact I only read the comics as a result of moderating this subforum (one of the worst on the whole fora due to the influx of GOOMHRers/Loved This Comic!ers who have nothing really vital to say or listen to apart from how \$event has recently affected their life), and wouldn't go out of my way to read xkcd under other circumstances, is neither-here-nor-there. I like the rest of the forum; I'm here out of modly duties, and occasionally chip in to express my dis/satisfaction with the comic or point out that people, particularly new users and recurring trolls, are Being Too Silly.
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danivon
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Aww, you love us n00bs really, Felstaff.

As a long term lurker and only a recent poster, I will say that this is not one of the best of recent cartoons, but it was sheer geekdom that prompted me to post - I idly wondered how many sq miles the Earth's surface was, and when it turned out to be roughly 300*24*365*74 I wondered how come the other math freaks had missed it.

relarmane
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

libra wrote:
jpk wrote:I actually think Amelia Earhart was probably smart enough that she'd have come up with a cover story. Something involving time warps and sunspots and, hey, let's develop these pictures I got when I was flying over the Martian Canals..."

"I got abducted by aliens who took me to this colony on the other side of the galaxy, where I was thawed out by a kindly bunch of stranded astronauts from the 24th century. I built a flux capacitor out of spare parts they left me and time travelled back here. It's been a long flight. Where's the nearest ladies' bathroom?"

Seems legit.

Epic Star Trek: Voyager reference. And of course Back to the Future.

javajosh
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

I didn't get this strip. At first I was sad, but then I realized it was because there's nothing to get. I think I understand what Randall was trying to do, (probably make a comment on the size of the world and/or the subjectivity of the human experience) but he failed. (To add insult to injury he made Amelia Airheart seem an arrogant bitch.)

If it takes you 74 years to get somewhere there are two options:
1. You experienced that time and are now very old, among other things.
2. You did not experience that time and are still young.

If #1, then how did her plane stay in good repair? Why didn't anyone see her? And how the hell is a 114 year old woman still flying a plane? All of these questions she'd be aware of, and so would not be surprised (or insulting) if someone was shocked to see her.

If #2, then why is she so blase about the revelation of the actual year?

This comic is a total misfire. QED.

Djehutynakht
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

mitra wrote:Well, it doesn't look like much time had passed for her [lively step on the panel two, food fuel supplies, easily recognizable,... etc]. Which could only mean she had traveled forward in time.

Or adapted to the biological processes of a time vulture.

mitra
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Djehutynakht wrote:
mitra wrote:Well, it doesn't look like much time had passed for her [lively step on the panel two, food fuel supplies, easily recognizable,... etc]. Which could only mean she had traveled forward in time.

Or adapted to the biological processes of a time vulture.

But I'd stick to the near light speed travel to that [recently discovered] 'super-earth' in 36 light years - HD 85512b .
Especially considering her comment "The world is big. It's a long flight."... Mystery Solved?

shiznits
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

The joke here is that no explanation was given. She just disappeared, but now she's back. That's it. It's making fun of all the T.V. shows and movies that try to create scientific explanations of why certain mysteries happen.

Yosarian2
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

onionparadise wrote:What if she was travelling at relativistic speeds? If she was going around the earth more than once, then the time-dilation could explain the apparent time jump, and also, you wouldn't really be able to see an object moving at near light speed at the altitude she was likely flying at, thus explaining why no one could find her. Also, her radio signal would have shifted far away from the wavelength it was set to transmit, explaining why they lost radio contact with her.

I'm pretty sure that if someone was going at 99% light speed in the atmosphere, the sonic boom would destroy cities and level forests every time she flew by them. And considering she would take about a tenth of a second to circumnavigate the earth, this would happen kind of a lot.

mitra
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

Yosarian2 wrote:
onionparadise wrote:What if she was travelling at relativistic speeds? If she was going around the earth more than once, then the time-dilation could explain the apparent time jump, and also, you wouldn't really be able to see an object moving at near light speed at the altitude she was likely flying at, thus explaining why no one could find her. Also, her radio signal would have shifted far away from the wavelength it was set to transmit, explaining why they lost radio contact with her.

I'm pretty sure that if someone was going at 99% light speed in the atmosphere, the sonic boom would destroy cities and level forests every time she flew by them. And considering she would take about a tenth of a second to circumnavigate the earth, this would happen kind of a lot.

She flew at a near light speed to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_85512_b , around it and back. It took her 74 years earth time, but only a short time subjectively due to relativistic effects.
Fits nicely. But of course there might be some other solution or there's no solution at all and the comic is just an abstract "mystery solved" joke.

Himself
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### Re: 0950: "Mystery Solved"

javajosh wrote:If #2, then why is she so blase about the revelation of the actual year?

Perhaps she did the calculations and new when she'd land.
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